Man preparing bananas to shipment

Why stronger regional value chains can help Africa rebound from economic shocks


By Yeo Dossina, Head of Economic Policy and Research, African Union Commission, Arthur Minsat, Head of the OECD Development Centre’s Unit for Africa, Europe and Middle East and Rodrigo Deiana, Consultant, OECD Development Centre


Africa’s value chains hold the key to unlocking its productivity, deepening its economic integration, and strengthening its resilience to shocks. Yet regional value chains accounted for just 2.7% of Africa’s total value chain participation in 2019, compared to 26.4% in Latin America and the Caribbean and 42.9% in developing Asia according to the latest edition of Africa’s Development Dynamics, a joint report by the African Union Commission and the OECD Development Centre.

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Women working in a potato field in Bangladesh

Three thoughts on the graduating Commonwealth LDCs          


By Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) and Member, United Nations Committee for Development Policy & Ms Mamtajul Jannat, Programme Associate at CPD


The recent experience of a significant number of least developed countries (LDCs) graduating from that category has generated a certain level of interest in the development discourse. The Commonwealth Secretariat’s latest report is a welcome addition to that. It presents a cogent picture of the accomplishments and challenges that the 14 Commonwealth LDCs have experienced over the past decade. Five of these LDCs, Bangladesh, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Zambia, are poised to graduate in this decade.

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Towards gender-inclusive industrialisation in a post-pandemic world


By Elissa Braunstein, Colorado State University, Elisa Calza and Alejandro Lavopa, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)[1]


The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the world unlike any other crisis in recent history. During 2020, world gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 3.3%, the deepest global recession in 70 years, with an estimated loss of 255 million full-time employment jobs and an additional 97 million people falling into poverty. The effects were especially severe in developing and emerging industrial economies, which suffered an average estimated output loss of 7.7% compared to 3.9% for industrialised economies, according to the UNIDO Industrial Development Report 2022. Within countries, SMEs were more likely to shut down operations than large firms and suffered larger declines in sales and profits. Across workers, women experienced greater labour-market losses than men.

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Resilient state-building: A new approach for the hardest places


By Jonathan Papoulidis, Global Director of Fragility and Resilience, Food for the Hungry Inc., Fellow, Columbia World Projects


Today, fragile contexts are the centre of the global development crisis and poised to bear the worst of the pandemic and climate change. Even before COVID-19, some 80% of the world’s poorest were estimated to live in fragile contexts by 2030—the end of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

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How Africa can move up the value-chain


By John Stuart, tralac Associate[1]


Africa is a resource-rich continent, specialising in fuel, mineral and agricultural exports. Statistics on revealed comparative advantage (RCA) show that Africa exports proportionally more primary products than most other regions. Crude materials, which include ore, metal, wood, cotton and other raw textiles, are the continent’s dominant product category, followed by tobacco, various agricultural products and fuel. One consequence of specialising in primary product exports is that other countries get to enjoy the benefits of the value they add to these raw materials. These benefits can range from higher profits for their corporations to a more diversified industrial base and consequently better insulation from economic shocks, as well as a more highly skilled, higher-earning workforce.

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Can the African Continental Free Trade Area drive Africa’s automotive industry?


By Anthony Black, Professor of Economics at the University of Cape Town [1]


With a large and growing middle class, Africa has huge potential as an automotive market. Vehicle ownership rates across the continent are low, at just 45 per 1 000 persons compared with a global rate of 203 per 1 000. Even more striking is the low level of production: the continent accounts for less than 1% of global vehicle output. Outside South Africa and Morocco, production is minimal: most small national  markets are supplied by imports, consisting mainly of used cars shipped primarily from Europe, Japan and the US.

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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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