Saturday, September 23, 2023
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Desiderio Consultants Ltd. is a think tank and a network of independent professional international development consultants established to promote and influence customs & trade-related policies in African nations to achieve trade facilitation reforms aimed at improving international and regional trade
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UNCTAD report reveals that Africa borrows more from private creditors that from multilateral and bilateral ones

A new report from UNCTAD calculates that public debt worldwide has increased more than fivefold in the past two decades, outpacing global GDP. The many crises that have occurred in recent years, such as COVID-19, the cost-of-living crisis and climate change have contributed to this growth. Obviously, borrowing means paying interests: money that could otherwise fund public expenditure, is sectors such as health and education, or other important investments needed for development. The UNCTAD report shows that in developing countries, such higher rates are much higher, compared to developed countries. Not surprisingly, Africa is the region in the world where interest on debt is highest.


OECD publishes fifth edition of Africa’s Development Dynamics report

Africa’s Development Dynamics 2023, Investing in Sustainable Development is a report that is jointly prepared by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the OECD Development Centre analysing the investment climate in Africa and how African regions can accelerate sustainable investment in strategic sectors so to accelerate the economic development of the continent. In the latest years, due to a general climate of uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 outbreak first and the war in Ukraine after, global investment has shifted focus away from Africa more than any other world region. Among the solutions that can reverse this trend, two are particularly interesting.


African Union High Level private sector Forum opens in Nairobi

Today the 14th African Union High Level Private Sector Forum was opened at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi, Kenya. The African Union High Level Private Sector Forum is an annual event which is organized by the African Union Commission aimed at exploring how the Private sector can drive the economic development Agenda in Africa. The Forum has expanded over the years its participation, and is now one of the strategic platforms organized by the African Union Commission to engage policymakers, private sector representatives, academia, civil societies and development organizations, and other stakeholders in discussions on how to accelerate industrialization and escalate investment in Africa. This year’s edition has been named “Public - Private Sector Engagement for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development while Deepening Regional and Continental Trade and Investment towards Implementation of AfCFTA”. Organized in collaboration with the East African Community Secretariat, it will end on 12 July 2023. Hereunder are some of the main conclusions from the first day of the Forum.


WTO publishes 2023 version of world tariff profiles

World tariff profiles is the publication that the World Trade Organization (WTO) makes in collaboration with ITC and UNCTAD to give an overview of the tariffs and non-tariff measures imposed by various countries and customs territories in the world (170 in total). In analyzing data referred to Africa, it is interesting to note how the Most-Favored Nation (MFN) average tariffs vary widely among its nations. MFN tariffs are the tariff rates that a country applies to imports from all its trading partners which are not part of a preferential trade agreement (such as a free trade area or customs union). In practice, MFN rates are the highest (most restrictive) tariffs that a country can charge on imports (see the table below). The WTO data shows that in Africa, the higher tariffs are applied by Sudan (21.6%), Tunisia (19.5%) and Algeria (18.9%). To be noted that the first and the last country (Sudan and Algeria) are non-WTO members. On the other hand, the lowest tariffs are applied by Mauritius (0.8%) and Seychelles (2.5%). In terms of Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the ones with the lower MFN tariff rates are SACU (7.6%) and ECOWAS (12%), while the one with the highest is CEMAC (18%). A mistery, instead, remains the huge difference in MFN tariffs between EAC member States, that as a customs union should apply a common tariff towards non-EAC members.


Latest edition of the World Investment Report reveals decrease of investment in Africa

According to the latest edition of the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2023, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows in Africa registered a 44 per cent decline with respect to 2021, falling back to the 2019 level of $45 billion. However, the report also admits that the strong growth of FDI in Africa in 2021 was “anomalous”, having been influenced by a single large intrafirm financial transaction that was concluded in South Africa in that year. If this transaction is excluded, the change in FDI flows to Africa in 2022, compared to 2021, would have increased by 7 per cent.


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