We must act now to stop the COVID crisis from undermining Africa’s energy future

By Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA)


This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.

We must act now to stop the Covid crisis from undermining Africa’s energy future

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause major disruptions to societies and economies around the world, and has dealt a worrying blow to years of hard-won progress in reducing the number of people in Africa who lack access to electricity. For seven years in a row, the number of Africans living without electricity has steadily decreased, thanks to efforts from governments, businesses and civil society. But this year, it is set to rise by 13 million amid the turmoil brought by the pandemic, according to IEA analysis. The worst effects are being felt in countries such as Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Niger. By putting energy services out of reach of more and more people, the crisis threatens to deepen their difficulties and those of economies across Africa.

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Africa state of the climate report: an urgent call for climate-related development planning

By Blair Trewin, Lead Author of the World Meteorological Organization’s 2019 State of the Climate report for Africa

Tropical Cyclone Idai approaching the Mozambique coast on 14 March 2019 (Source: NASA)

Africa is highly vulnerable to the influence of the climate. The continent contains many of the world’s least developed countries, who have limited capacity to mitigate against the impacts of extreme events. The continent is also highly dependent on rain-fed agriculture which is at the mercy of fluctuations in rainfall from season to season. Amongst the most vulnerable areas are the semi-arid regions of the Sahel and the Greater Horn of Africa; many of these regions also suffer from unstable security situations, and in the worst cases, drought and conflict can combine to trigger famine, as in Somalia in 2011-12.

Like the rest of the world, Africa is warming. 2019 was likely the third-warmest year on record for the continent, after 2010 and 2016. Over the last 30 years, the continent has been warming at a rate of 0.3 °C to 0.4 °C per decade, a similar rate to the global average for land areas. 2019 was an especially warm year in southern Africa, where parts of South Africa, Namibia and Angola had temperatures more than 2 °C above the 1981-2010 average.

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L’Afrique pense par elle-même son développement

Par Firmin Edouard Matoko, Sous-directeur général, Priorité Afrique et Relations extérieures


Ce blog fait partie d’une série qui invite acteurs et penseurs à renouveler le discours actuel sur l’Afrique et son développement.

Les africains ont aujourd’hui plusieurs certitudes quant au futur de leur continent: celui-ci regorge de richesses naturelles (« un scandale de la nature » disent certains) ; il est culturellement riche et abonde de ressources humaines talentueuses. Enfin, après des décennies d’enfermement idéologique et d’injustice épistémique, l’Afrique est désormais capable de penser par elle-même et d’écrire son avenir[1].

La réalité d’une Afrique riche en ressources naturelles mais non encore totalement exploitées a été le fil conducteur des stratégies de développement post-indépendances d’inspiration classique ou libérale. Deux économistes africains, l’égyptien Samir Amin et le zimbabwéen Thandika Mkandawire se distinguent très vite par leurs analyses sur les conditions inégales de développement des pays africains et en se situant dans un schéma de rupture anticolonial. Dans un sens, on peut situer à travers les thèses de ces deux précurseurs le point de départ d’une pensée africaine du développement. D’ailleurs, la création en 1973 du CODESRIA dont les deux éminents économistes suscités furent secrétaires exécutifs avait pour objectif de « développer des capacités et des outils scientifiques susceptibles de promouvoir la cohésion, le bien-être et le progrès des sociétés africaines. Ceci passait évidemment par l’émergence d’une communauté panafricaine de chercheurs actifs, la protection de leur liberté intellectuelle et de leur autonomie dans l’accomplissement de leur mission et l’élimination des barrières linguistiques, disciplinaires, régionales, de genre et entre les générations ».

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Victoire historique devant la Cour suprême en Zambie : des milliards de dollars US en recettes fiscales supplémentaires et un message par-delà les frontières

Par Ignatius Mvula, Directeur adjoint, Unité de vérification dans le secteur minier, Administration fiscale de la Zambie, Mary Baine, Directrice, Programmes fiscaux, Forum de l’administration fiscale africaine, et Ben Dickinson, Chef de la Division des Relations internationales et du développement, Centre de politique et d’administration fiscales, OCDE

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En mai 2020, l’administration fiscale de la Zambie (ZRA) a remporté une victoire fiscale historique devant la Cour suprême contre Mopani Mining Copper plc. Le Tribunal a condamné l’entreprise à payer 240 millions de kwacha (13 millions USD) d’impôts supplémentaires. La décision tenait au fait que la Zambie devait baser la partie technique de son dossier en apportant la preuve de l’évasion fiscale par des stratégies de l’érosion de la base d’imposition et du transfert de bénéfices, ou BEPS.  Partout dans le monde, des entreprises multinationales exploitent les failles et les inadéquations entre les règles fiscales internationales, occasionnant aux pays une perte s’élevant jusqu’à 100 à 240 milliards USD par an, soit l’équivalent de 4 à 10% des recettes totales de l’impôt sur les bénéfices des sociétés dans le monde. Par ailleurs, pour les pays en développement, leur dépendance proportionnellement plus élevée à l’égard des recettes de l’impôts sur les sociétés signifie qu’ils pâtissent de l’érosion de la base d’imposition et du transfert de bénéfices de manière disproportionnée. La Zambie ainsi que beaucoup d’autres pays africains indiquent que l’utilisation abusive des règles de prix de transfert – telle que la fixation des prix des biens et des services entre parties liées d’une entreprise multinationale – représente l’un des risques les plus élevés de BEPS pour leur assiette fiscale.

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Landmark Supreme Court victory in Zambia: collecting millions in tax revenues and sending a message across borders

By Ignatius Mvula, Assistant Director – Mining Audit Unit, Zambia Revenue Authority, Mary Baine, Director – Tax Programmes, African Tax Administration Forum, and  Ben Dickinson, Head of the Global Relations and Development Division, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, OECD

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In May 2020, the Zambian Revenue Authority (ZRA) won a landmark tax case against Mopani Copper Mining plc in the Supreme Court. The Court ordered the company to pay additional tax of 240 million Kwacha (USD 13 million). The judgement hinged on Zambia making a technical case showing evidence of tax avoidance through base erosion and profit shifting or BEPS strategies. In countries around the world multinational enterprises (MNEs) exploit gaps and mismatches between different countries’ tax systems, costing countries up to 100-240 billion USD in lost revenue annually, the equivalent to 4-10% of the global corporate income tax revenue. Moreover, developing countries’ higher reliance on corporate income tax means they suffer from tax base erosion and profit shifting disproportionately. Zambia and many African tax administrations report that the abuse of transfer pricing rules – the pricing of goods and services between related parties of a multinational enterprise – represents one of the highest BEPS risks to their tax bases.  

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Mapping development assistance to small arms control: why does it matter?

By Giovanna Maletta and Lucile Robin, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

Small arms, large impacts

Widely available and easy to conceal, small arms and light weapons (generally referred to as SALW) are easily trafficked and acquired both in times of war and peace. This can negatively impact the development of a country in many ways. Among the most directly identifiable effects are the deaths and injuries they can cause, which can increase financial pressure on households, communities, and health systems. In Zambia, treating a patient for gunshot wounds costs more than $100, which represents approximately ten times the cost of treating a patient with malaria. Small arms proliferation can also indirectly fuel conflicts and armed violence, force displacement, reduce economic opportunities, and limit access to healthcare and education.

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Achieving inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and the SDGs in the post-COVID-19 world

By Professor Arkebe Oqubay, Senior Minister and Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia


This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

In the context of international development, the year 2015 marked the transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the much broader 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the much more ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It signalled an emerging paradigm shift in the international development agenda, a collectively agreed set of universal goals for an inclusive and sustainable global development process.

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COVID-19 has pushed extreme poverty numbers in Africa to over half a billion

By Baldwin Tong, PhD candidate, MODUL University Vienna, Department of Sustainability, Governance, and Methods


This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.

The global economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a large setback of the international community’s goal to achieve SDG 1 of “no poverty” by 2030. Extreme poverty around the world is increasing, the first time that has happened this century after decades of global poverty reduction. Over 700 million people worldwide are currently estimated to be living in extreme poverty. Global poverty headline numbers have therefore returned to approximately 2015 levels meaning that the world has lost almost 5 years in its effort to end extreme poverty due in large part to COVID-19. The following analysis is based on data from the World Poverty Clock.

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African narratives vs. African development strategy

Carlos Lopes and Alan Hirsch, Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, University of Cape Town


This blog is part of a thread that aims to challenge existing narratives about Africa and its development.

Africa’s positioning in the global scene is seldom immune to controversy. The numerous debates about Africa’s true size and developmental successes can deflect Africans and potential partners from a coherent continental development strategy.

Despite its landmass of 30 million square kilometres, the commonly used Mercator projection maps Africa’s size to be equal to Greenland’s, which is fourteen times smaller. That such a depiction is popularised even by Google Earth shows the endurance of certain perceptions. Moreover, contemporary afro-pessimism is rooted in history and is not limited to the injustices of modern-day cartography or the erroneous views portrayed in contemporary literature. It is about risk perceptions, levels of conflict, political instability, and the variety of economic experiments. Many continue to identify Africa as uniformly beset by conflict, crisis, bad governance, and a risky place for making investments.

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Strengthening the climate resilience of cities through cross-border co-operation

By Richard Clarke, Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC/OECD)

The southern nations of West Africa are beginning to experience the second and shorter of their rainy seasons, whilst those countries further north are seeing the end of theirs. For many the happiness of seeing these rains is mixed with anxieties from memories past and current realities. Exceptionally heavy seasonal rainfall in 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2017 saw several major rivers break their banks, causing destruction of houses, bridges, roads and crops, wrecking livelihoods and displacing vast swathes of the population.

In recent weeks, floods have severely hit parts of Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger and Nigeria, leading to the death of at least 107 people and affecting hundreds of thousands. In Senegal, a state of emergency has been declared following heavy rainfalls and the death of four citizens, while in Chad nearly 200,000 people have been affected. Yet again, the urgent need for immediate action to mitigate and alleviate the effects of climate change has been exposed.

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