The European Business Council for Africa

This policy brief provides eight recommendations that the EU could pursue to tackle debt sustainability in the Global South and maintain the momentum for ambitious climate action.

There has been no shortage of warnings on the unsustainable debt burden in the Global South. ​​40% of African countries today are in, or at high risk of, debt distress. This debt crisis is linked to the climate crisis. The effects of climate change push countries to borrow more and drive up the costs of capital, leading to a vicious cycle between sovereign debt and climate risk.

Effective global climate action requires a rapid increase in the mobilisation of international climate finance, as well as fiscal space and affordable capital to implement far-reaching economic reforms. Both are increasingly out of reach for a growing number of countries.

In this edition of ENI's World Energy, several topics pertinent to Africa are covered: a restart of the EU-Africa relationship, an unseen African energy renaissance, green recovery and a just transition.

Ghana is vulnerable to increasing aridity, droughts and extreme rainfall events and flooding, and faces significant challenges from a changing climate to its ecology, economy, and society. In addition, Ghana has a high degree of risk to natural hazards and disasters. The country is exposed to risks from multiple weather-related hazards, primarily those due to floods and droughts in the Northern Savannah belt. There are also risks related to coastal resources, including storm surges and coastal erosion as well as landslides, earthquakes, pest infestations, and wildfires. Between 1991 and 2011 the country experienced seven major floods. In 2010, floods in the White Volta River Basin affected hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed many of their livelihoods. Urban floods also regularly impact major cities. Current development dynamics and demographic changes in Ghana further compound the risk of disasters. These dynamics are related to rural poverty, rapid urbanization, and environmental degradation. Agriculture and livestock, two sectors most impacted by weatherrelated hazards, constitute the foundation of Ghana’s economy and employ 55% of the economically active population. Climate change and variability are already affecting Ghana’s water resources with damage and flood exposure projected to result in $160 million annually.

Sustainable development is firmly anchored in the European Treaties and has been at the heart of European policy for a long time. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015, have given a new impetus to global efforts for achieving sustainable development. The EU is fully committed to playing an active role in helping to maximise progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. This publication is the sixth of Eurostat’s regular reports monitoring progress towards the SDGs in an EU context.

The World Food Programme has published its report on the security implications of the conflict in the Ukraine. The war has disproportionately affected the developing world, significantly worsening the situation on the African continent which relies on wheat imports from the Ukraine and Russia.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has published its report on addressing poverty and vulnerability in Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area officially became operational in 2021, making it the cornerstone of trade integration in Africa. The objectives of the Area are to create a single, continent-wide market and to enhance competitiveness at the enterprise level. The African Continental Free Trade Area Country Business Index is the first comprehensive tool based on a robust methodological framework in which data are collected in a way that allows businesses to express their views on implementation of the Area.

In 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic had the world firmly in its grip for the second year. The consequences are dramatic and go far beyond a health emergency. We are witnessing a poly-pandemic with a severe impact on livelihoods, education, inequalities, poverty, economic growth and global stability. Development progress of several decades is being undone. Hundreds of millions of people have fallen back into poverty.

This crisis is also showing us the value of multilateralism and the importance of practical and effective solutions. It is opening our eyes to existing fragilities and growing inequalities.

Our world is more connected than ever before. We can no longer close our eyes to the global crises that are a threat to our future. We have to take decisive action to address poverty, climate change and the accelerating loss of biodiversity and the resources essential for the survival of humankind.

The spread and impact of Covid-19 on populations around the world has triggered unprecedented economic shock waves. In emerging and developing countries in particular, the entrepreneurial fabric has been severely damaged by the effects of health measures and the freezing of many local commercial activities. Whole sectors of these economies have been slowed down and MSMEs – which account for up to 80% of formal jobs in these countries – have suffered significant financial difficulties.

This study investigates the potential contribution of the metaverse to global economic activity. The metaverse as conceived today is considered by many a “successor” of the Internet and is sometimes referred to as an “embodied Internet.” One way to think about the metaverse is as a set of interconnected digital spaces, including immersive XR experiences that combine the digital and physical words, in which individuals can easily move between different spaces and experiences as well as interact and collaborate with other people who are not in the same physical space. Some of the early components of the metaverse and the experiences and activities it is envisioned to support or enable are already in exhibit, such as augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality, blockchain, and non-fungible tokens. These technologies, which are expected to be the backbone of the metaverse and its offerings, are already being used around the world by businesses and creators. As users continue to adopt these technologies, their potential to transform society in unpredictable ways will only accelerate.