Value chains in Africa: what role for regional trade?


By Eyerusalem Siba, Economist and international expert in private sector development, spatial industrial policies and sustainable urbanisation


The Covid-19 pandemic and associated containment measures hit businesses hard, exposing them to record levels of uncertainty, disrupting value chains, and reversing countries’ hard-earned progress in economic and social development. The knock-on effects of these disruptions on GDP, foreign direct investment (FDI), trade and industrial production have been highest among globally integrated economies that have smaller domestic markets, rely heavily on vulnerable sectors and have limited capacity to adjust.

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Why the least developed countries of the Commonwealth are doing better at trade


 By Brendan Vickers, Economic Adviser and Head, International Trade Policy Section; Salamat Ali, Economic Adviser & Trade Economist and Neil Balchin, Economic Adviser, Trade Policy Analysis, The Commonwealth Secretariat


In 2020, the share of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in world trade remained at just 1%. Although the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) for LDCs and SDG target 17.11 both sought to double LDCs’ share of global exports by 2020, the world’s 47 LDCs missed the target. While this could be regarded as a “lost decade” for  gains from trade, the performance of the Commonwealth’s 14 LDCs tells a more promising story: their collective share in global exports was 1.27 times higher in 2020 than in 2011 and two LDCs — Rwanda and Tuvalu — almost doubled their share of world exports.

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Mieux planifier les infrastructures urbaines pour accélérer la transformation structurelle des économies


Par Alain Tchibozo, Chef Économiste de la Banque Ouest Africaine de Développement – BOAD, avec la collaboration de l’équipe des Économistes chargés de la Stratégie et des Études 


Avec la croissance démographique la plus rapide de toutes les régions du monde (2,63% par an contre 1,15% pour l’Asie du sud), l’Afrique sub-saharienne enregistre également une croissance soutenue de son taux d’urbanisation. Actuellement de 41,4% contre 31,4% en 2000, ce taux atteindra 50% en 2035 et pourrait se rapprocher de 60% vers 2050. L’accroissement naturel de la population suivi d’un afflux de populations rurales vers les villes accélèrent le développement de villes intermédiaires, de grandes villes, voire de mégapoles mal préparées à accueillir ces populations nouvelles.

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Women working in a potato field in Bangladesh

Least Developed Country graduation: Past, present and future


By Jose Antonio Ocampo, Professor at Columbia University and chair of the ECOSOC Committee for Development Policy. Former UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Finance Minister of Colombia


As the world prepares for the 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) in Doha[1], we need to ask not only whether this category is still relevant today but also what graduation from this status implies. After the LDC category was created fifty years ago, the number of such countries grew steadily due to the emergence of newly independent countries that faced significant disadvantages as well as major setbacks experienced by other developing countries. Nonetheless, LDC status was envisaged as a temporary phase in a country’s development trajectory: the concept of graduation was introduced twenty years after the LDC category itself.

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How aid for trade can best support Least Developed Countries in the next decade


By Ratnakar Adhikari, Executive Director of the Enhanced Integrated Framework Executive Secretariat at the World Trade Organisation and Annette Ssemuwemba, Deputy Executive Director of the Enhanced Integrated Framework Executive Secretariat at the World Trade Organisation


The median recovery time of least developed countries (LDCs) from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is three years, according to the International Monetary Fund. More worryingly, more than a dozen of them are likely to take at least five years to recover.   

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Street view of the market in Lome, Togo, Western Africa, October 16, 2007. Photo by EiZivile, Shtetterstock

50 ans de pays moins avancés : l’heure est venue pour une nouvelle génération de mesures de soutien international


Par Ablamba Ahoéfavi Johnson, Ministre, Secrétaire général de la Présidence de la République du Togo.


La catégorie des pays les moins avancés (PMA) a été établie par l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies en 1971, suite à la prise de conscience par la communauté internationale de la nécessité de mettre en place des mesures d’appui aux pays souffrant de handicaps structurels et qui sont menacés par l’extrême pauvreté.

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How can research help Least Developed Countries achieve sustainable development?


By Kunal Sen, Director of United Nations University – World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER)


The next decade is a make-or-break for the world’s most vulnerable countries. To tackle the unprecedented confluence of COVID-19, climate, and economic crises, new solutions are desperately needed. Scientific research is one key for finding long-lasting solutions.

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Interconnexion des infrastructures de transport : clé de succès de l’intégration régionale ouest-africaine


Par Alain Tchibozo, Chef Économiste de la BOAD, avec la collaboration de l’équipe des Économistes chargés de la Stratégie et des Études


Une approche fondée sur une plus grande intégration régionale, visant à pallier les contraintes liées à l’étroitesse des économies de chaque État membre dès sa création en 1994, l’Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA) s’est fixé pour objectifs : i) le renforcement de la compétitivité des activités économiques et financières dans le cadre d’un marché ouvert et concurrentiel, et d’un environnement juridique rationalisé et harmonisé ; ii) la mise en œuvre de politiques et actions communes notamment sur les transports, l’aménagement du territoire, l’agriculture, l’énergie, les télécommunications. Au cours de ses 26 premières années d’existence, l’UEMOA a ainsi bénéficié d’un développement d’infrastructures dites structurantes, en particulier dans le domaine des transports avec un effet amplificateur sur l’expansion des échanges intra-régionaux.

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How emerging markets can leapfrog into the digital age

By Angel Melguizo, Vice President, External & Regulatory Affairs, AT&T VRIO Latin America; Eduardo Salido Cornejo, Public Affairs and Policy Manager Latin America, Telefónica; and J. Welby Leaman, Senior Director, Global Government Affairs, Walmart, Inc1


IPhone, Google, Facebook, Netflix, YouTube, Bitcoin, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, Uber, Rappi: how many of them have you used today? And if so many of the things that impact our day-to-day lives, creating common experiences across the globe, did not exist 25 years ago (see John Erlichman’s tweet), what can an increasingly connected world create over the next 25 years? The next 60?

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It’s time to move beyond a debt moratorium and finance productive capacities in least developed countries

By Paul Akiwumi, Director, Division for Africa, LDCs and Special Programmes, UNCTAD


According to recent UNCTAD analysis, most LDCs will likely take several years to recover the level of GDP per capita they had in 2019, and compared to developed countries, which may experience a short V-shaped recovery, the median LDC would take roughly three years to climb back to pre-COVID-19 levels of output per capita. Moreover, extreme poverty in LDCs is projected to rise to 35%, equivalent to 32 million people, due to the pandemic.

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