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The Making of Tax Haven Mauritius

Tax Justice Network - 1. Februar 2023 - 0:15

In this extended special episode of the Taxcast, we look at the 'Desai Leaks' - the story you probably never heard of: it goes back decades and looks at a key player in the making of tax haven Mauritius that's been hurting Indians and Africans ever since.

We speak with a whistleblower and the journalist who broke the story. Is the Indian government investigating? What does the story tell us about the global economy?

Transcript available here (some is automated) https://taxjustice.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/The-Taxcast-Transcript-Jan-2023.pdf 

Our website is https:///www.thetaxcast.com 

Kategorien: english

The CE-RISE Project Has Kicked-Off With Circular Economy and Digitalisation at its Core

SCP-Centre - 31. Januar 2023 - 10:20

In January 2023, the CSCP and 28 projects partners from 12 European countries came together in Dublin, Irland, to kick-off the Circular Economy Resource Information System (CE-RISE) project. In line with the European Green Deal, which aims for net-zero emissions by 2050, the main objective of the project is to minimise the loss of secondary raw materials (SRM) and optimise their reuse within value chains. It will do so by developing and piloting an integrated framework and resource information system.

The information system will identify optimal solutions for the effective reuse, recovery, and recycling (RE) of materials:

  • by defining a set of RE-criteria,
  • incorporating information on these criteria and material composition into the digital product passport (DPP),
  • enhancing the DPP with information on the product environmental footprint (PEF) and socio-economic and environmental (SEE) impacts of reuse, recovery, and recycling processes,
  • enabling confidential and anonymised information exchange between actors along value chains based on blockchain technology,
  • and providing an open-access software application to disseminate information on the assessment of RE criteria, PEF and SEE impacts of products to all stakeholders, including consumers and policymakers.

The CE-RISE information system will be piloted through the development, implementation and evaluation of five case studies in the fields of information and communication technologies (ICT), heating systems, photovoltaics and batteries. In particular, the role of the CSCP will entail stakeholder engagement and training by identifying RE and SEE criteria for product systems, providing recommendations on how to efficiently and effectively implement RE-criteria in companies as well as developing training and learning materials for different stakeholders along the value chain. In addition, the CSCP will be involved in providing the theoretical basis for the case studies.

At the project kick-off in Dublin, organised by the project coordinator, the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), the project partners presented and discussed the different project work streams and aligned on how to best collaborate toward greater impact.

CE-RISE will run for four years by working in collaboration with 28 partners, associations and affiliations from universities, research institutes, recycling companies and producer responsibility organisations, amongst others. CE-RISE is funded by the European Commission.

For further questions, please contact Marianne Magnus-Melgar.

The post The CE-RISE Project Has Kicked-Off With Circular Economy and Digitalisation at its Core appeared first on CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Will a global circular economy help or hurt Africa?

Brookings - 30. Januar 2023 - 21:13

By Bright Simons

In Davos, many of the assembling elites had circular economy on their mind and lips, and the program was replete with its implications. “Circular economy” is a concept described by its supporters as the biggest economic opportunity since the industrial revolution. They peg its scale at $1 trillion by 2025 and $4.5 trillion by 2030.

As both an economic means and an end, circularity is about “designing waste out of the system.” According to its proponents, by reusing resources, repurposing end-of-lifecycle items, recycling garbage, refurbishing the broken, and rewiring the torn, we can build a more sustainable world reset from the current course of depleting nature at rates unprecedented in millions of years.

It is estimated that if circularity gathers steam, global consumption of new materials could be reduced by 32 percent in 15 years and by 53 percent in 30 years. On the other hand, business as usual will see the human population increase by 20 percent by 2050 but waste expand by a far more staggering 70 percent.

A bonanza for Africa?

Considering Africa’s status as one of the most marginalized continents, circularity is expected to have massive positive impacts. Modelers relying on Cambridge University’s FRAMES tool who have undertaken deep dives into the prospects of several African countries report substantial gains should the principles of circularity take root. Below is a sample summary of circularity’s benefits to Ghana by 2030 in one such report:

dwarf the Great Wall of China.

Experts say this is tantamount to dumping $57 billion worth of precious minerals into landfills around the world. Unsurprisingly, European companies like Umicore and Ecomet (much beloved by the Vatican) are leading the charge to recover these precious substances from the waste heaps of the world.

It is to be expected that those regions that consume the most electronics and have the best technologies will be able to safely recover the most value without causing further harm to health and the environment. In low-technology contexts, such as West Africa, initiatives to manually recycle e-waste pose additional pollution and health hazards.

Furthermore, minerals usually concentrated in Africa in their raw form have the greatest commercial attraction to international recyclers. Take discarded printed circuit boards, one category of e-waste. For them, 85 percent of the value of recovery is in gold and palladium, Africa’s most prominent minerals besides petroleum. It is obvious that in a world where circularity in mineral processing is run full cycle in mineral processing, far less minerals would be required from Africa.

Poorer prospects for income-poor, resource-rich DRC

In a country like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where minerals generate 99.3 percent of exports and nearly 50 percent of government revenue, just two minerals and their derivatives, copper, and cobalt, bring in 90 percent of mineral income. DRC accounts for three-fourths of the world’s cobalt supply. These minerals are vital for the battery components of the emerging green power transition.

While many Western companies have been renewing their interest in the DRC’s riches because of the green wealth boom, others like Canada’s Electra (formerly “First Cobalt”) are choosing to recycle cobalt from discarded lithium-ion batteries as well.

It is not difficult to imagine a world where such recovery technologies mature exponentially, recovery rates soar, and source countries like DRC see their importance in the equation fall. Compounded by the intensification of an ongoing decline in demand for minerals and materials due to miniaturization of systems and components in the electronic industries.

official development strategy of Africa’s mineral-rich countries is to add value to their resources as the primary precursor to industrialization. How would that be possible in a world where those who consumed the final forms of the most minerals in the past—the Global North—will produce the most going forward?

Not all of Africa is like the DRC

But the economic significance of minerals in Africa is exaggerated. It is also true that since Harvard’s Atlas of Economic Complexity gained popularity, most analysts have realized that traditional value addition theories based on vertical integration and so-called “beneficiation” are not how industrialization happens nowadays. Rather than foster linkages, many national value-addition strategies have deepened “enclaves”.

Industrialization today principally involves the lateral expansion of production scope as a country extends capabilities from one value chain to an adjacent one by building general innovation capacity. Hence resource-rich Western countries like Australia, Canada, and Norway still export massive amounts of raw resources even as they boost R&D spending for strategic innovation capacity.

Still, resource-based industrialization policies have been triggers and catalysts for countries in tackling barriers in the way of innovation generally. By using lessons from resource-based industrialization, both Malaysia and Chile have with varying but consistent levels of success diversified from resource-dependence.

There is thus a real risk of abrupt transitions to high-tech-enabled resource circularity denying currently resource-dependent African countries from getting onto the ladder of industrialization if their mines become stranded assets.

Traceability and repeated royalties

One solution to this dilemma of encouraging circularity without deepening poverty in the Global South is to use traceability solutions. By efficiently tracking the lifecycle of precious minerals throughout the value chain, African countries could earn “royalties” each time a quantity of minerals originating in Africa is recycled.

The idea is not outlandish. Such thinking is now respectable in the market of intangibles, through concepts like intellectual property. Furthermore, Africa is a global pioneer of traceability (this author has operated in this field for a decade and a half) and can illuminate its end of the chain.

Traceability has other benefits. If not coupled with modern traceability technologies, the growth of local recycling could create an entry point for shady, conflict, and other dodgy minerals masquerading as recovered materials. In that sense, lifecycle traceability is a fundamental requirement for effective circularity anyway.

Circular royalties and reparations earned through “track and trace” have to be re-invested through multilateral arrangements into innovative circular industries in Africa in order to build resilience. For this, African nations have to improve government accountability.  Otherwise they will suffer the fate of traditional royalties that in many countries are being squandered due to poor governance.

      
Kategorien: english

Social cohesion

GIZ Germany - 30. Januar 2023 - 17:24
: Thu, 06 Oct 2022 HH:mm:ss
Young people, liveable cities and fair social systems strengthen societies from within. That promotes social cohesion in times of crisis.
Kategorien: english

South Africa: vaccines for the entire continent

GIZ Germany - 30. Januar 2023 - 17:24
: Thu, 17 Feb 2022 HH:mm:ss
The African Union has learned lessons from the pandemic and is preparing for the future with its own vaccines. South Africa is now setting the course for research and production.
Kategorien: english

Only 99 months to put the brakes on the climate crisis

GIZ Germany - 30. Januar 2023 - 17:24
: Thu, 28 Oct 2021 HH:mm:ss
On the road to climate protection, there is no way around transportation. An article by GIZ Managing Director Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven.
Kategorien: english

Milestone: GIZ has achieved climate neutrality worldwide

GIZ Germany - 30. Januar 2023 - 17:24
: Thu, 21 Oct 2021 HH:mm:ss
The company has offset all its own greenhouse gas emissions worldwide for the first time. It has ambitious targets for the coming years, too.
Kategorien: english

Correcting misperceptions about trends and norms to address weak collective action

GDI Briefing - 30. Januar 2023 - 17:08

We study how correcting people’s beliefs about social norms and behavioral trends encourages collective action in a setting where the desired behavior is not yet prevalent. In a field experiment among 1,709 subjects, we test whether low sign-up rates for a recycling program in urban Peru can be increased by providing information (1) that most people regard participation in the program as important, i.e., on the "injunctive norm", (2) on an increasing recent trend in sign-up rates. Correcting inaccurate beliefs increases sign-up decisions significantly among people who underestimate either the injunctive norm or the positive trend. This evidence demonstrates that belief updating can be used effectively to encourage collective action where it is currently weak.

Kategorien: english

How to Catch a Dictator

UN Dispatch - 30. Januar 2023 - 16:32

My guest Reed Brody is a veteran war crimes prosecutor and author of the new book “To Catch a Dictator: The Pursuit and Trial of Hissene Habre.”

Hissene Habre was the brutal dictator of Chad from 1982 to 1990, when he was ousted in a coup and fled to Senegal.

The book tells the story of Reed Brody’s years long obsession to bring Habre to justice, and his partnerships with African lawyers and victims rights advocates who secured a conviction.

We kick off discussing the abuses of Hissene Habre and the successful legal strategy that resulted in a life sentence. We then take a step back and discuss the lessons learned from this successful trial that might be applied to other abusive leaders elsewhere.

To listen to this episode on your preferred podcast player, go here

 

 

 

The post How to Catch a Dictator appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

Join Us at the Water Projects Europe Community of Practice Meeting on 14 February 2023!

SCP-Centre - 30. Januar 2023 - 14:11

When an emergency situation occurs, first responders, law enforcement, and emergency medical services are the first to arrive on the scene. Behind the scene, a whole chain of additional relevant actors need to be involved and aligned. Our PathoCERT project, which focuses on increasing capacities of first responders in cases of waterborne pathogen emergencies, takes a Communities of Practice (CoP) approach to bring all stakeholders together and enable collaboration.

At the Water Projects Europe 2023 event, PathoCERT joins two other innovative European projects utilising Communities of Practices as a multi-stakeholder engagement, collaboration, and co-creation format. The goal of the event is to showcase the added value of the CoP format, but also to learn, exchange, and discuss ways on how to improve CoPs in the future.

All three projects, PathoCERT, ULTIMATE and WATER MINING work toward more sustainable and safer water management, however they vary on their specific approaches. PathoCERT’s focus is on increasing the ability of first responders to rapidly detect waterborne pathogens; ULTIMATE aims to create economic value and increase sustainability by valorising resources within the water cycle; and WATER MINING addresses the challenge of a dwindling water supply by exploring alternative water sources and developing sustainable water management solutions.

During the meeting, project representatives will share their individual experiences of implementing and conducting regular CoP meetings. They will share benefits of using the CoP format, learn from each other’s challenges, and create synergies that can continue beyond project cycles.

Event: Water Projects Europe 2023: Communities of Practice
Date: 14 February 2023
Time: 09:30-12:00 CEST
Location: Online
Language: English
Costs: Free of charge

To join the event, please register here.

The event is organised by Water Europe in collaboration with PathoCERT and is part of the event series Water Projects Europe, aiming to bring together projects on water related topics. Connecting similar projects will encourage an exchange of experiences, support aligned policy development and stimulate the market uptake of innovative solutions. The CSCP will present how the CoPs were implemented in PathoCERT and co-moderate the plenary exchange with Water Europe.

For further information, please contact Francesca Grossi.

The post Join Us at the Water Projects Europe Community of Practice Meeting on 14 February 2023! appeared first on CSCP gGmbH.

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Globale Strukturpolitik 2.0 – selbstkritischer, glaubwürdiger und wertegeleitet?

GDI Briefing - 30. Januar 2023 - 10:00

Bonn, 30. Januar 2023. Am 24. und 25. Januar stellte das Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) seine neue Afrikastrategie „Gemeinsam mit Afrika Zukunft gestalten“ vor. Die Strategie steht im Zeichen der Zeitenwende und bekennt sich zu multilateraler Kooperation und europäischen Lösungen, um „dem Narrativ der globalen Spaltung“ entgegen zu wirken. Neben zahlreichen Kontinuitäten besteht eine prinzipielle Neuerung der Strategie darin, dass das Ministerium seine eigene Haltung zu Entwicklungsfragen stärker thematisiert und seine Rolle als Partner in einer multipolaren Welt reflektiert. Die Wiederkehr einer globalen Strukturpolitik stellt hohe Ansprüche, an deren Umsetzung Deutschlands Glaubwürdigkeit als Partner afrikanischer Staaten gemessen werden wird.

Eine Strategie für eine Welt im Wandel

Das Papier reagiert auf die Folgen des russischen Angriffskrieges und die Verwerfungen im Zuge der COVID-19 Pandemie, verliert aber auch langfristige strukturelle Transformationen nicht aus dem Auge. Während (privat)wirtschaftliche Entwicklung zur Bekämpfung von Fluchtursachen Kern des Marshallplans mit Afrika (2017-2022) war, sind nun weitere Themen hinzugekommen; darunter feministische Entwicklungspolitik und Pandemieprävention. Der Privatsektor ist weniger stark in der Strategie verankert und spielt primär in den Klima- und Entwicklungspartnerschaften und bei der Infrastrukturfinanzierung eine Rolle. Bei der Migrationspolitik gibt es eine Trendwende hin zur Förderung legaler Migrationswege. Auch die Reformpartnerschaften sollen in sektorale Kooperationen überführt werden. Zivilgesellschaftliche Akteure und Multi-Akteurs-Partnerschaften spielen eine prominente Rolle. Ob dieser neue Schwerpunkt tatsächlich zu einer Erhöhung des bisher vergleichsweise geringen Anteils bilateraler deutscher Entwicklungsgelder an zivilgesellschaftliche Organisation führen wird, bleibt abzuwarten.

Interessen und Werte

Die Strategie sieht Deutschland im Wettbewerb um Einfluss auf dem afrikanischen Kontinent mit Akteuren wie China, der Türkei, den Golfstaaten und Russland. Deutsche Zusammenarbeit mit afrikanischen Partnern will sich unterscheiden, indem sie auf gemeinsamen Interessen und Werten fußt. Deutschland will bilateral und als Teil der EU seine Attraktivität durch ein noch stärkeres Bekenntnis zu Demokratie, Rechtsstaatlichkeit und Menschenrechten steigern. Hierzu beitragen soll eine „vertiefte Reflexion der Folgen der Kolonialzeit“. Dies ist Teil der neuen feministischen Ausrichtung, die strukturelle Ungleichheiten zwischen den Geschlechtern sowie rassistische und post-koloniale Strukturen abbauen möchte. Gleichzeitig werden paternalistische Tendenzen in der Entwicklungspolitik abgelehnt – ein Vorwurf, welcher von afrikanischer Seite zuletzt im Zuge der Kontroversen über das Abstimmungsverhalten afrikanischer Staaten in der UN-Generalversammlung zum Russland-Ukraine Konflikt oder bei Diskussionen über die Nutzung fossiler Brennstoffe aufkam. Gerade wertegeleitete Politik kann jedoch als paternalistisch verstanden werden; ein Spannungsfeld, das Deutschland nur über transparentes Abwägen von Interessen und Werten lösen kann. Die Gefahr eines de facto Ausschluss zahlreicher Partner besteht, wenn die Zusammenarbeit auf Länder mit gemeinsamen Werten beschränkt ist. Auf die fortschreitende Autokratisierung vieler Länder muss das BMZ deutliche und praktikable Antworten finden.

Wiederkehr der Strukturpolitik

Eine mit Afrika erarbeitete globale Strukturpolitik und ein Bekenntnis zum globalen Schuldenmanagement rücken in den Vordergrund der Strategie. Dies erinnert an die Prioritäten der rot-grünen Bundesregierung vor über 20 Jahren. Globale Strukturpolitik bedeutet Mitverantwortung und kann nur durch multilaterale Kooperation geschaffen werden. Dies wird in der Ankündigung deutlich, dass bestehende Asymmetrien in der Handels- und Agrarpolitik angegangen werden sollen. Auch setzt sich das BMZ für „eine angemessene Mitsprache afrikanischer Staaten und der AU in den multilateralen Foren ein“. Um seine Glaubwürdigkeit zu steigern, muss Deutschland diese Position mit mehr Nachdruck verteidigen.

Die Afrikastrategie bietet viele Anknüpfungspunkte, um einen ressortgemeinsamen Ansatz der Bundesregierung in ihren Beziehungen mit Afrika weiter voranzubringen. Die Strategie unterstreicht diesen Punkt indem sie auf die afrikapolitischen Leitlinien der Bundesregierung verweist und sich zu enger Zusammenarbeit mit anderen Ressorts und EU Instrumenten bekennt. Konkrete Beispiele werden nur wenige genannt, darunter der als bewährt erachtete Ressortkreis Afrika ebenso wie der Team Europe Ansatz, Joint Programming, und das Global Gateway EU-Afrika Investitionspaket. Wie eine Evaluierung der Reformpartnerschaften betont, ist insbesondere eine bessere Abstimmung zwischen dem BMZ und dem Auswärtigen Amt vonnöten, damit Deutschland als verlässlicher Partner wahrgenommen wird.

Die Strategie liest sich als ein Bekenntnis zu einer gelebten Partnerschaft mit Afrika, die alte Denkmuster hinterfragt und Gemeinsamkeiten hervorhebt. Dabei deckt sie thematisch eine große Bandbreite ab, ist an vielen Stellen aber eher deskriptiv als strategisch. Eine Frage bleibt ungeklärt: wie lässt sich eine wertegeleitete Außen- und Entwicklungspolitik in Ländern realisieren deren Regierungen deutsche Prioritäten nicht teilen? Eine einfache Antwort hierauf gibt es nicht. Der Weg dorthin führt über realpolitische Pfade und verlangt mehr denn je ein kohärentes und bestimmtes Auftreten Deutschlands und der EU in der Welt.

Kategorien: english

A two-wheeled transition to sustainable transport

GIZ Germany - 28. Januar 2023 - 16:56
: Fri, 10 Jun 2022 HH:mm:ss
Using bicycles to achieve climate targets: GIZ is encouraging bicycle use through its projects, supporting people, the environment and the economy in the process.
Kategorien: english

Stabilising, supporting, strengthening - GIZ’s response to the food crisis

GIZ Germany - 28. Januar 2023 - 16:56
: Wed, 08 Jun 2022 HH:mm:ss
The Ukraine war has triggered a food crisis. In our interview, agricultural expert Heike Höffler explains who is particularly affected by this and what projects are doing to combat the shortage.
Kategorien: english

What should be the top priority for Africa in 2023?

Brookings - 28. Januar 2023 - 0:19

By Aloysius Uche Ordu

On Monday, January 30, the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative (AGI) will launch its annual flagship report, Foresight Africa.

Since we launched the previous edition of Foresight Africa in January 2022, our world has changed remarkably. Russia invaded Ukraine—an unanticipated event that roiled the global economy and sent food, fuel, and fertilizer prices sky high. Sanctions on Russia resulted in trade and logistical bottlenecks, which added more pressure on already strained supply chains. The U.S. Federal Reserve and other major central banks’ unrelenting efforts to tame inflation ushered in a new era of high interest rates and aggravated several countries’ ability to settle their international financial obligations. Meanwhile, the uneven recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continued to feature in headlines across Africa and elsewhere. The combination of fragility in parts of the African continent and adverse weather conditions dampened economic growth in the region in 2022.

With these external and internal headwinds, it is easy to be pessimistic about Africa’s prospects. Yet, time and time again—as we have seen in the case of the Ebola crisis, HIV/AIDS crisis, and now the COVID-19 pandemic—Africa has proved resilient. We must be conscious of the danger of a single story—especially as many African countries will continue to fare well, despite the odds. Indeed, even though the region is unlikely to be fully out of the woods in 2023, the Economist Intelligence Unit forecasts overall growth of 3.2 percent. Medium-sized economies, such as Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Kenya, will drive much of this growth—with predicted growth rates of 5 to 7 percent in the year ahead. On the other hand, the region’s economic powerhouses (South Africa, Nigeria, and Egypt) are expected to record slower growth.

Despite these obstacles, I open this year’s edition on an optimistic note, bearing in mind Africa’s resilience and demonstrated capacity to weather severe headwinds. This optimism is buoyed by several factors: an enhanced collaboration that culminated in operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA); the coming together of African institutions (the African Union, Africa CDC, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, African Export-Import Bank, and others) to secure funding for vaccines; and the region’s rapid adoption of technological innovations to address practical problems—as evidenced by the innovative digital services that boomed during the pandemic.

Being cognizant that there have been few moments in history where the world has experienced such a multitude of successive shocks, going into 2023, we see renewed solidarity and collaboration emerging across Africa to address the confluence of crises. I and the Africa Growth Initiative team are therefore excited to feature Africa’s newfound solidarity on this year’s cover. This is visually represented by ribbons flowing together and moving in the same direction, underpinned by a common purpose. The vibrant colors and ethnic texture in the ribbons embody the continent’s diversity, dynamism, and action toward a future together for the greater good of all Africans. Moreover, in sharp contrast to previous editions, this year’s report includes brand new themes based on feedback from policymakers on education and skills and cities and urban development. We are also proud that women account for a significant proportion of our contributors—and as we did last year, we have dedicated a full chapter to gender, specifically the gender dimensions of Africa’s economic recovery, and what strategies policymakers should be attuned to in order to close the gender gap.

As with every iteration of Foresight Africa, we aim to capture the top priorities for the region in the year ahead, offering recommendations for supporting Africa at a time of heightened global turbulence. We hope that Foresight Africa 2023 will promote dialogue on the key issues influencing development policy and practice in Africa throughout this year. Such ideas will ultimately provide sound strategies for expanding the benefits of economic growth to all Africans in the years ahead.

We will continue to incorporate the feedback we receive from our readers and lead the debate on Africa’s priorities through high-level convenings, impactful research, actionable policy briefs, and timely commentaries.

You can use #ForesightAfrica to follow the debate on Twitter or send your thoughts to @BrookingsGlobal to be part of the conversation.

Finally, we hope that you will join us for our launch event on Monday, January 30.

      
Kategorien: english

Foresight Africa 2023

Brookings - 28. Januar 2023 - 0:18

By Eric Abalahin

      
Kategorien: english

Economic Recovery and Growth: Tackling multiple headwinds

Brookings - 28. Januar 2023 - 0:17

By Victoria Kwakwa, Aloysius Uche Ordu, Njuguna Ndung'u, Théophile T. Azomahou

Economic Recovery and Growth: Tackling multiple headwinds 2023
  • Chapter 01
01

Economic recovery and growth

Tackling multiple headwinds

02

Food security

Strengthening Africa’s food systems

03

Education and skills

Equipping a labor force for the future

04

Health

Assuring health security for all

05

Gender

Closing the equity gap

06

Climate change

Adapting to a new normal

07

Africa’s cities

Realizing the new urban agenda

ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND GROWTH: Download chapter 1

Essay 1

Priority actions to address Africa’s economic recovery

Victoria Kwakwa and Aloysius Uche Ordu

Essay 2

African economies and overlapping crises: How to respond to the rising global headwinds?

Njuguna Ndung’u and Théophile T. Azomahou

Priority actions to address Africa’s economic recovery Victoria Kwakwa

Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa, World Bank

Aloysius Uche Ordu

Senior Fellow and Director, Africa Growth Initiative, Global Economy and Development, Brookings Institution

As we begin 2023, Africa’s development is threatened by multiple crises. This time is distinctly different from past episodes, first in the increased frequency of crises, as well as the persistence and deepening of climate and conflict crises. While in 2008/2009 Africa was able to use debt to weather the financial crisis, today, rapidly rising global interest rates and the absence of a well-functioning framework for comprehensive debt reduction and relief, threaten to cut access to international financial markets for many countries. Moreover, deglobalization trends could limit Africa’s ability to use international trade to drive growth.

“While the external environment is precarious and may remain that way for some time given the evolving geopolitical tensions, domestic policy actions do matter, and Africa’s policymakers are not helpless.”

While the external environment is precarious and may remain that way for some time given the evolving geopolitical tensions, domestic policy actions do matter, and Africa’s policymakers are not helpless. The time to act is now, in order to regain lost ground and move towards prosperous economies and resilient, inclusive societies.

Raise more domestic revenues and spend more efficiently

This is foundational to any credible home-grown solution. The continent collects less revenue than can be generated domestically at current levels of income, with tax revenue as a share of GDP averaging 16.1 percent of GDP for sub-Saharan Africa as a whole—see Figure 1. Strengthening tax administration and expanding tax sources to real estate, sugary products, and eventually carbon, are important opportunities to significantly raise domestic revenue. It is also important to eliminate excessive inefficiencies in both recurrent and capital spending. Countries need to move away from expensive (and often regressive) large-scale generalized subsidies and towards more selective, well-targeted approaches including technology-enabled social protection programs and high value investments such as research and development and infrastructure. Targeted programs allow governments to support the most vulnerable, while effectively supporting specific strategic objectives, and eliminating wasteful expenditure. Public investment programs need to be thoroughly reviewed to weed out poorly conceived investments and ensure limited resources are truly supportive of long-term growth, while strengthening programs that build long-term public investment capacity. Commodity exporters have a huge opportunity to fully leverage current commodity windfalls to build macroeconomic buffers and invest in flagship programs that will address long-term challenges. Finally, African countries need to develop deep domestic (or regional) financial markets, anchored by high savings from national pension funds—and regional sovereign wealth funds more broadly—which will require addressing regulatory constraints.

Enable African entrepreneurship to flourish and support modern competitive economies

African entrepreneurial talent is evident across the continent. Yet it remains largely untapped.[Fox, Louise, Philip Mader, James Sumberg, Justin Flynn, and Marjoke Oosterom. 2020. “Africa’s ‘youth employment’ crisis is actually a ’missing jobs’ crisis.” The Brookings Africa Growth Initiative.] African economies are also largely informal and operating at low levels of productivity—making it challenging to provide the requisite number of decent jobs for poverty reduction and to grow the middle class.[Coulibaly, B., Gandhi, D., and Mbaye, A. (2019). “Job creation for youth in Africa Assessing the potential of industries without smokestacks.” Africa Growth Initiative Paper 22. Washington, DC: Brookings.] Policymakers can enable the emergence of a more formal, competitive domestic private sector by building competitive markets characterized by stable, transparent, and fair regulatory regimes. Much can be done in the near term and complemented with more medium-term reforms. This will also support foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows which remain at low levels compared to other developing regions—see Figure 2. A related opportunity is enabling the private sector to play a much greater role in closing key energy, transport, and digital infrastructure gaps— which is essential for competitiveness. In energy, private sector participation in off-grid solutions is already contributing to increased energy access in some countries. The private sector is also delivering huge gains in financial inclusion through use of digital technology, widespread connectivity using mobile phones, and telemedicine. Policymakers can help address constraints to scaling up these successes and extending them across the continent. In order to close the infrastructure access gaps, governments will also need reforms to strengthen the performance and financial viability of public sector utilities.

Tap Africa’s huge demographic bulge

Africa’s population is the most youthful globally, with about 60 percent below 25 years.[United Nations. 2022. World Population Prospects. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division.] The time is now to turn this youth bulge into a demographic dividend to drive growth and development. Investing in the human capital of Africa’s youth is fundamental. Action is needed first to address the significant human capital losses from COVID-19, and to implement clear plans to tackle the silent learning crisis in the region. Children in sub-Saharan Africa are, on average, learning for only five out of the eight years in school due to weaknesses in education systems. A second area for attention is providing jobs for the rapidly growing numbers of unemployed youths.[Heitzig, Chris and Landry Signé. “Seizing the momentum for effective engagement with Africa.” 2022. The Brookings Institution. Initially prepared for the National Intelligence Council.] Technical and vocational educational training (TVET) programs, in partnership with the private sector, alongside well-designed apprenticeship programs need to be expanded and strengthened to provide requisite labor market skills.[Ibid.] The entrepreneurial talent of Africa’s youth, especially in the startup sector, will also need to be supported to thrive. Finally, the high fertility rate on the continent (4.8 against 2.4 globally), which drives up household consumption and reduces per capita investments in human capital, needs to be tackled. A multipronged approach including keeping girls in school, which will likely reduce child marriages and teenage pregnancy, improving access to family planning programs, and enhancing support to women’s labor force participation is needed.

Accelerate the rollout of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

“Managing the crises will demand a great deal from African policymakers. It will require political will and determination, as well as sound, well-informed judgement.”

This bold initiative by African leaders is a historic opportunity to integrate the continent. Trade within the continent is currently low, compared to intra-continental trade in other regions. A truly integrated continent will support broad improvements in competitiveness over time and is likely to build resilience to global shocks and mitigate, in part, the impacts of deglobalization.[Mold, Andrew. “The economic significance of intra-African trade—getting the narrative right.” The Brookings Africa Growth Initiative.] Implementation of the AfCFTA could also reduce food security risks by promoting intraregional agricultural trade. As of May 2022, 54 out of 55 countries have signed the AfCFTA and 44 have deposited their instruments of ratification.[Tralac. 2022. AfCFTA Ratification Barometer. The Trade Law Centre.] Already the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS), led by the Africa Export-Import Bank in partnership with the AfCFTA Secretariat and launched on January 13, 2022 after a successful trial in six West African countries, is a step in the right direction.[Ogbalu III, Mike. 2022. “Boosting the AfCFTA: The role of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System.” Chapter Five of Foresight Africa 2022. The Brookings Africa Growth Initiative.] [Africa Growth Initiative. 2022. Foresight Africa Podcast. Episode 8: “New tools for easing cross-border trade in Africa.” The Brookings Africa Growth Initiative] PAPSS enables African importers and exporters to settle intra-area trade obligations in their respective national currencies. Policymakers now need to focus on accelerating implementation, supporting trade facilitation, and strengthening regional connectivity, particularly in the key corridors.

Invest in developing Africa’s forward-looking mineral repositories

Several African countries have huge deposits of resources and minerals such as cobalt, lithium, copper, manganese, and nickel which will be key to achieving green transitions. As this transition takes hold globally, the increase in demand will present opportunities for African producers to capture market share and accelerate development. Also, the market for these minerals will likely be different than those for oil and gas. Three issues merit the attention of policymakers. First, is supply management: Leaders and policymakers need to define clear, credible strategies and plans for developing these resources and maintaining investments into the sector. Second, is a strategy for value addition. To use these resources as a springboard for economic transformation, a plan for local value addition, technology and knowledge transfer, and employment generation is needed. This will require difficult negotiations with often very sophisticated multinational corporations, where individual countries may be at a disadvantage. This is an area where regional coordination and cooperation, especially considering AfCFTA, can be helpful. Third, is revenue management: Investing the proceeds from these minerals wisely by putting in place effective mechanisms and frameworks to channel revenues to clearly defined and well-designed investments.

African countries are facing multiple global headwinds while their economies are still bearing the scars of a once-in-a century pandemic. Alone, each of these crises would normally present daunting challenges. But their combined impacts could be catastrophic. We believe that Africans can turn this moment of adversity into an opportunity: To accelerate development by drawing on the internal strengths of their respective nations. Managing the crises will demand a great deal from African policymakers. It will require political will and determination, as well as sound, well-informed judgement. It will also require a willingness to learn and to adapt, patience, and the ability to balance short- and long-term goals.

African economies and overlapping crises: How to respond to the rising global headwinds? Njuguna Ndung’u

Cabinet Secretary, National Treasury and Economic Planning for the Republic of Kenya

Théophile T. Azomahou

Acting Executive Director and Director of Training, African Economic Research Consortium

African economies under multiple headwinds

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a profound setback after a quarter-century of economic and social progress. Insecurity and political instability are becoming pervasive across Africa. The Russian-Ukrainian war is exposing millions of people to food insecurity, and the most vulnerable are the hardest hit as a large share of their income goes to food and transport spending. This is compounded by a harsh drought in the horn of Africa[NASA-Earth Observatory. 2022.“Worst Drought on Record Parches Horn of Africa”. National Aero-nautics and Space Administration.] that has affected food supply and food security. In parallel to these shocks that will likely have lasting consequences, African economies still suffer from several structural challenges including the effects of climate change.

As of the end of October 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic cost the lives of around 175,000 people, with more than 9 million reported cases in the continent according to the World Health Organization (WHO).[WHO. 2022. “WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard.” World Health Organization.] Thanks to effective policies and “good luck,” the health impact is lower than initially predicted. However, even though Africa is less affected compared to the other regions of the world, the economic impacts remain one of the highest. The real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined by 1.8 percent in 2020[IMF. 2021. “Regional Economic Outlook Sub-Saharan Africa”. International Monetary Fund.]—for the first time in more than 25 years—pushing 23 million people into extreme poverty according to the World Bank,[Abay Kibrom A., Nishant Yonzan, Sikandra Kurdi, and Kibrom Tafere. 2022. “Africa might have dodged a bullet, but systemic warnings abound for poverty reduction efforts on the continent.” World Bank Blogs.] exacerbating inequality, and shrinking fiscal space. Africa’s Human Development Index also fell for the first time in nearly three decades.[UNDP. 2022. Human Development Report 2021/22 https://hdr.undp.org/content/human-develop¬ment-report-2021-22.] The recovery itself is dragged and uneven because of unequal access to vaccines and slow vaccination progress, protracted conflicts and political instabilities, and the Russian-Ukrainian war. GDP growth is expected to slow down in 2022 (3.7 percent) compared to 2021 (4.8 percent).

According to Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP)’s Global Terrorism Report 2022, six out of the 10 countries most impacted by terrorism in the world are in Africa.[IEP. 2022. “Economics and Peace Global Terrorism Report Measuring The Impact Of Terrorism”. Institute for Economics & Peace.] Four of the six deadliest countries are located in Africa (Mali, Niger, Somalia, and Burkina Faso) and they accounted for 77.3 percent of total terrorism deaths in 2021 (3,223 deaths). This terrorist insecurity triggers political instability. Between 2020 and 2021, at least six successful and one attempted coup were perpetrated in Africa[The Conversation. 2022. “Vague de coups d’État en Afrique : on les appelle désormais des réinter-prétations constitutionnelles.”] (two in Burkina Faso, one in Chad, two in Mali, one in Guinea, one in Sudan, and one attempted coup in Guinea-Bissau).[Assogba, Henri. 2022. “Vague de coups d’État en Afrique : on les appelle désormais des « réinter¬prétations constitutionnelles.” The Conversation.] This political instability not only impedes economic recovery, but sets back more than 30 years of democratic progress.

“About 30 percent of Kenya’s imported wheat comes from Russia and Ukraine, and in 2021, 44 percent of Cameroon’s fertilizer imports came from Russia. As a result, 346 million people (a quarter of Africa’s total population) are facing severe food insecurity.”

The Russian-Ukraine war further compounds the challenges to economic recovery. The war and subsequent economic sanctions against Russia increased energy prices, triggered food inflation, tightened financial conditions, and caused global uncertainty. Brent oil price went above the $100/barrel mark for the first time since 2014, creating a ripple effect on other prices and challenging the green energy transition.

Although the imports from Ukraine and Russia—as a share of Africa’s total imports—are small, many countries rely on these countries for critical imports including wheat and fertilizers. For example, about 30 percent of Kenya’s imported wheat comes from Russia and Ukraine, and in 2021, 44 percent of Cameroon’s fertilizer imports came from Russia.[Sen, Ashish Kumar.2022. “Russia’s War in Ukraine Is Taking a Toll on Africa.” United Nations Insti¬tute of Peace.”] As a result, 346 million people (a quarter of Africa’s total population) are facing severe food insecurity.[FAO, ECA, and AUC. 2021. “Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2021: Statistics and trends.” Food and Agriculture Organization.] In Kenya, the supply disruption and the increase in wheat price will affect the production and the price of bread, which is the third most consumed food item in the country.
Moreover, the pandemic and war in Ukraine have created a highly polarized world— unprecedented since the Cold War, which undermines the international community’s capability to come together and address the world’s most pressing issues. Under such circumstances, how can African policymakers properly navigate the multiple headwinds?

How African countries can deal with multiple headwindsAddressing food insecurity diligently

Africa is home to 60 percent of the world’s uncultivated arable land. This contrasts sharply with the African continent’s incapacity to feed itself.[Plaizier, Wim. 2016. “2 truths about Africa’s agriculture.” World Economic Forum, Davos.] In 2022, the African population will be equivalent to the Chinese and Indian populations. Figure 5 displays the historical evolution and projections of the population of Africa, China, and India based on the U.N.’s medium fertility scenario. As shown on the graph, Chinese and Indian populations reach a tipping point and will decrease over the coming years.

By contrast, the African population will continue to grow over the next eight decades. In less than 40 years, the African population is expected to be greater than the Chinese and Indian populations combined. Feeding this population under climate change is one of the greatest challenges for Africa.

Beyond the short-term emergency to address the threat of food insecurity caused by the Russian-Ukrainian war, African countries have an opportunity to draw lessons from this crisis and bring their agricultural sector up to par. This includes, but is not limited to, investing in supporting technologies, building fertilizer factories, and building climate resilience by investing in climate-smart agriculture and adaptation. Food security and climate change should be developed into a strategic policy design. Education is also key to improving agricultural labor productivity. Failing to feed a young and fast-growing population can turn the expected demographic dividend into a demographic time bomb.

Fostering macroeconomic stability

The pandemic and the successive negative shocks dramatically deteriorated macroeconomic fundamentals in many African countries, particularly the sovereign debt balance. As of February 2022, 23 African countries were either in debt distress or at risk of it.[Harry Verhoeven. 2022. “China has waived the debt of some African countries. But it’s not about refinancing”. The Conversation.] Fiscal space and sound macroeconomic conditions will be key to properly respond to the various shocks faced by African economies. Improving efficiency in public spending, and mobilizing more domestic revenue by increasing tax administration efficiency, can contribute to building fiscal space and a sound macroeconomic framework, which is fundamental to sustaining economic recovery. However, achieving this (i.e., improving tax revenue collection and public spending efficiency) may entail structural reforms including technology adoption and fighting against corruption.

“Governments need to take adequate measures to avoid setbacks in democratic progress. To support an inclusive recovery, governments should engage in reducing people’s vulnerability and developing social safety nets.”

Inclusive and equitable recovery policies

Crises and recovery are uneven within and between countries. While the most vulnerable are hit the hardest, they also experience slower recovery than the others. To ensure that no one is left behind, recovery policies need to be inclusive and equitable. For instance, governments should pay attention to people falling into extreme poverty due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to those at risk of falling under the poverty line, and design policies that could help people to bounce back. Governments can also leverage digital financial services to improve access to finance for the most vulnerable population.

People’s vulnerability, political unrest, and political instability

Insecurity, vulnerability, and social unrest hinder political stability and development prospects. The current food insecurity and terrorism in the Sahel heighten the risk of social unrest on the continent. Governments need to take adequate measures to avoid setbacks in democratic progress. To support an inclusive recovery, governments should engage in reducing people’s vulnerability and developing social safety nets.

Endnotes
  1. 1. Fox, Louise, Philip Mader, James Sumberg, Justin Flynn, and Marjoke Oosterom. 2020. “Africa’s ‘youth employment’ crisis is actually a ’missing jobs’ crisis.” The Brookings Africa Growth Initiative.
  2. 2. Coulibaly, B., Gandhi, D., and Mbaye, A. (2019). “Job creation for youth in Africa Assessing the potential of industries without smokestacks.” Africa Growth Initiative Paper 22. Washington, DC: Brookings.
  3. 3. United Nations. 2022. World Population Prospects. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division.
  4. 4. Heitzig, Chris and Landry Signé. “Seizing the momentum for effective engagement with Africa.” 2022. The Brookings Institution. Initially prepared for the National Intelligence Council.
  5. 5. Mold, Andrew. “The economic significance of intra-African trade—getting the narrative right.” The Brookings Africa Growth Initiative.
  6. 6. Tralac. 2022. AfCFTA Ratification Barometer. The Trade Law Centre.
  7. 7. Ogbalu III, Mike. 2022. “Boosting the AfCFTA: The role of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System.” Chapter Five of Foresight Africa 2022. The Brookings Africa Growth Initiative.
  8. 8. Africa Growth Initiative. 2022. Foresight Africa Podcast. Episode 8: “New tools for easing cross-border trade in Africa.” The Brookings Africa Growth Initiative
  9. 9. NASA-Earth Observatory. 2022.“Worst Drought on Record Parches Horn of Africa”. National Aero-nautics and Space Administration.
  10. 10. WHO. 2022. “WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard.” World Health Organization.
  11. 11. IMF. 2021. “Regional Economic Outlook Sub-Saharan Africa”. International Monetary Fund.
  12. 12. Abay Kibrom A., Nishant Yonzan, Sikandra Kurdi, and Kibrom Tafere. 2022. “Africa might have dodged a bullet, but systemic warnings abound for poverty reduction efforts on the continent.” World Bank Blogs.
  13. 13. UNDP. 2022. Human Development Report 2021/22 https://hdr.undp.org/content/human-develop¬ment-report-2021-22.
  14. 14. IEP. 2022. “Economics and Peace Global Terrorism Report Measuring The Impact Of Terrorism”. Institute for Economics & Peace.
  15. 15. The Conversation. 2022. “Vague de coups d’État en Afrique : on les appelle désormais des réinter-prétations constitutionnelles.”
  16. 16. Assogba, Henri. 2022. “Vague de coups d’État en Afrique : on les appelle désormais des « réinter¬prétations constitutionnelles.” The Conversation.
  17. 17. Sen, Ashish Kumar.2022. “Russia’s War in Ukraine Is Taking a Toll on Africa.” United Nations Insti¬tute of Peace.”
  18. 18. FAO, ECA, and AUC. 2021. “Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2021: Statistics and trends.” Food and Agriculture Organization.
  19. 19. Plaizier, Wim. 2016. “2 truths about Africa’s agriculture.” World Economic Forum, Davos.
  20. 20. Harry Verhoeven. 2022. “China has waived the debt of some African countries. But it’s not about refinancing”. The Conversation.
Next Chapter

02 | Food security

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Kategorien: english

Food Security: Strengthening Africa’s food systems

Brookings - 28. Januar 2023 - 0:17

By Hailemariam Dessalegn, Ahunna Eziakonwa

Food Security: Strengthening Africa’s food systems 2023
  • Chapter 02
01

Economic recovery and growth

Tackling multiple headwinds

02

Food security

Strengthening Africa’s food systems

03

Education and skills

Equipping a labor force for the future

04

Health

Assuring health security for all

05

Gender

Closing the equity gap

06

Climate change

Adapting to a new normal

07

Africa’s cities

Realizing the new urban agenda

FOOD SECURITY: Download chapter 2

Essay 1

Food security in Africa: Current efforts and challenges

Hailemariam Dessalegn

Essay 2

Securing Africa’s food sovereignty

Ahunna Eziakonwa

Food security in Africa: Current efforts and challenges Hailemariam Dessalegn

Former Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Board Chair, Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa

Africa’s food systems are at a crossroad. Several challenges and exogenous shocks— including extreme weather events and climate change, recurrent outbreaks of pests and diseases, limited availability and adoption of yield-increasing technologies—have exposed fragilities of Africa’s food systems, undermining the ability to meet the food demand of a burgeoning population.

“Africa’s food systems must become more resilient and guarantee access to healthy and affordable diets for all. Tested systemic models have demonstrated that agriculture transformation is possible in input and output market systems, and that it can be scaled across the continent.”

More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have disrupted the supply chain for agricultural inputs, fuel, and food. The state of food security in the continent is worsening, with over 20 percent of the continent’s population (roughly 257 million people) undernourished.[Armstrong, Martin. 2022. “A fifth of people in Africa are suffering from chronic hunger. This map shows where the situation is most severe.” World Economic Forum. August 2022.] Africa bears the heaviest burden of malnutrition,[FAO. 2022. “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2022.” The Food and Agriculture Organization.] while the African Union’s Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Biennial Review report (2019-2021) further reveals that Africa is not on track to meet its goal of ending hunger by 2025.[AU. 2021. “3rd CAADP Biennial Review Report.” The African Union.] In 2022, over 20 million people and at least 10 million children faced severe food shortage in Africa due to crop failure and four consecutive dry seasons.[UNICEF. 2022. “At least 10 million children face severe drought in the Horn of Africa.” United Nations Children’s Fund.] East Africa alone lost close to 2 million livestock in a year due to recurrent drought and low response capacity.[Bloomberg. 2022. “’On Brink of Catastrophe’: Horn of Africa Drought Kills Over 1.5 million Livestock.” Bloomberg. February 2022.] Moreover, projections by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa point to Africa’s annual food imports increasing significantly; by a factor of seven from $15 billion in 2018 to $110 billion by 2025, and by a factor of three from the current $43 billion.[UNECA. 2021. “Regional Dialogue: African Food Systems: Seventh Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development.” Background paper. United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. March 2021.]

Current efforts by AGRA and other African-led institutions

Given these worrying food security trends, Africa’s food systems must become more resilient and guarantee access to healthy and affordable diets for all. Tested systemic models have demonstrated that agriculture transformation is possible in input and output market systems, and that it can be scaled across the continent. Besides engaging in immediate recovery efforts, such as our $11 million investments to tackle the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has supported African countries to build capacities for the design of agricultural sector strategies and evidence-based policy reforms. At a country level, AGRA has made significant strides in helping resource national agriculture programs, working closely with ministries of agriculture to design 11 flagship programs. Some of the early dividends of this work include:

  • Enhanced capacity of African governments to design and implement policies, and hence respond to emergent agricultural and food systems challenges. AGRA recognizes that “business as usual” is no longer sustainable and has therefore developed a program called “sustainable farming” to ensure that farmers concomitantly achieve three major livelihood objectives, namely: Food security, protecting ecosystem services, and resilience to climate and other shocks. It employs context-specific farming system solutions with emphasis on improving water and nutrient efficiency of crops, replenishing over extracted nutrients through application of judicious amounts of fertilizer, and diversifying the farming systems with climate resilient crops and management practices.
  • To improve climate resilience, AGRA invested in the development of African scientists and African research institutions. AGRA has thus far trained more than 500 national research system breeders at PhD and MSc level, to create local capacity of genetic development.
  • Responding to the climate risks, Africa has capacity to breed and release varieties of crop that are climate adaptive; early maturing, and drought tolerant like cassava, maize, rice, groundnuts, cowpeas, high iron beans, and b-carotene rich sweet potato that can be scaled.
  • Recognizing the malfunctional extension system in Africa, the introduction of private-sector led village-based agricultural advisors’ engagement has helped to reduce post-harvest losses by about 30 percent in countries such as Mali, Mozambique, and Nigeria.
  • Together with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), AGRA is building the Regional Food Balance Sheet (RFBS) to address the dearth of reliable, timely, and accurate data and guide food and nutrition related decision making in Africa.
  • Together with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission and other partners, AGRA has established the ECOWAS Rice Observatory (ERO) with respective national chapters, where rice-related matters of trade policy, market development, and farmer support will be discussed, and solutions identified.
  • Within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, AGRA has established Chinyanja Triangle Soybean Trade initiative and linked a total of 22,179 smallholder farmers to regional trade markets, supplying over 7,070 million metric tons (MT) of soybeans valued at more than $4 million unlocking trade financing valued at $2.5 million which will support aggregators to source soybeans from smallholder farmers at competitive prices.
Critical next steps

Beyond this progress, strategic and urgent measures are still needed to enhance the resilience of Africa’s food systems and bolster the ability to deliver on food security and nutrition objectives. Some of these actions include:

  • Accelerating the adoption and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in order to avert food supply disruptions, as experienced during the pandemic.
  • Providing an enabling policy environment for the financial sector to supply more business and financial tools to Agri-SMEs.
  • Supporting the establishment of Strategic Grain Reserves (SGRs) as a buffer against unexpected exogenous shocks. Social Protection Programs are also priorities and should be implemented with clear graduation targets for the beneficiaries.
  • Moving towards sustainable farming: Although Africa owns about 60 percent of the world’s potential land for agricultural expansion,[Wim Plaizier. 2016. “2 truths about Africa’s agriculture”. World Economic Forum.] by 2050, about 45 percent of the additional food should come from sustainable intensification (i.e., producing more food and fiber per unit of land and water).
  • African food systems should be diversified, moving from the major global commodities: Rice, wheat, and maize; and more investment must be made towards African indigenous and resilient crops including sorghum, millets, teff, and cassava.
  • Increasing investments in market infrastructure and other incentive mechanisms to support African farmers to adopt climate smart policies, technologies, and practices, including afforestation and rehabilitation of degraded lands, wetlands, and protected areas to enhance carbon sequestration and reduce carbon losses.
  • Investment in irrigation infrastructure is critical. Rainfed food production sits at the center of 70 percent of Africa’s livelihoods. This heavy reliance on rainfed systems exposes farmers to recurrent drought and other extreme events, hence water-centered adaptation must be a priority for Africa.
  • Increased availability of clean and renewable energy for rural Africa, the absence of which is currently contributing hugely to deforestation and climate change exposure.
  • Institutional capacity: Africa’s level of exposure and vulnerability is connected to its low institutional capacity and governance systems. We need to ensure that national systems have the capacity to convert climate policies and commitments into action.
  • Early warning systems and associated climate advisories that are demand-driven and context specific, combined with climate change literacy and awareness, can help make the difference between coping and informed adaptation responses.
Securing Africa’s food sovereignty Ahunna Eziakonwa

United Nations Assistant Secretary General, UNDP Director, Regional Bureau for Africa

The war in Ukraine laid bare a vexing and persistent structural vulnerability in most African countries.[UNDP. 2022. “The impact of the war in Ukraine on sustainable development in Africa.” United Nations Development Programme.] The continent, with 60 percent of the world’s unused arable land, cannot feed itself because of low yields, poor farm management practices, and distortions in agricultural markets.[UNECA. 2013. “Eighth African Development Forum (ADF-VIII) Governing and Harnessing Natural Resources for Africa’s Development.” United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.] Consequently, the continent is overly dependent on food and fertilizer imports to feed its people. Africa’s farmers find it increasingly difficult to enhance productivity, create jobs, and boost wealth in the agricultural sector.[UNDP. 2022. “The impact of the war in Ukraine on sustainable development in Africa.” United Na¬tions Development Programme.] The Ukraine crisis should be a wake-up call. African countries must embrace a food systems approach to scale-up food production, overhaul farm management practices, and improve food marketing to move beyond food security and attain food sovereignty.[UNDP. 2022. “Towards Food Security and Sovereignty in Africa.” Regional Bureau for Africa Working Paper. United Nations Development Programme] This will not only ensure the availability of affordable food, but it will also help countries attain a number of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including: SDG #2 zero hunger, SDG #3 good health and wellbeing, SDG #5 gender equality, SDG #8 decent work and economic growth, and SDG #10 reduced inequalities.

The 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) highlighted the challenges Africa continues to face with regards to tackling the effects of climate change. While we are buoyed by the groundbreaking decision to establish a loss and damage fund, the failure to reach global consensus on tangible action that will reduce emissions reminds us of the difficult road ahead.[World Economic Forum. 2022. “What did COP27 accomplish and what actions can we expect as a result?” World Economic Forum.] Without this thorny issue being resolved, our efforts to attain food sovereignty will remain stymied.

Food sovereignty speaks to the ability of a country to feed itself. In Africa, this must involve increasing production and ensuring that farming systems are more resilient to price and environmental shocks. The 2006 Abuja Declaration of African agriculture ministers called for an increase in Africa’s average fertilizer application rates from 20 kg/ha to 50 kg/ha to boost production. Africa’s average application rates are still at 2006 levels, while the global average is slightly over 130 kg/ha.[UNDP. 2022. “Towards Food Security and Sovereignty in Africa.” Regional Bureau for Africa Working Paper. United Nations Development Programme.] While it is evident that fertilizers are not the proverbial silver bullet, it is clear that better farming practices could be a crucial first step in Africa’s journey towards food sovereignty. Recent UNDP research suggests that meeting the 2006 Abuja target could more than double Africa’s food production in a couple of years.

In order to accomplish this, Africa does not need to be overly dependent on fertilizer imports from Ukraine and Russia. The continent produces sufficient potash and ammonia to sustain a thriving fertilizer industry. In addition, existing fertilizer blending facilities (in 19 African countries) and manufacturing plants (in 10 African countries) operate well below capacity. Concerted investments in infrastructure, technology, and skills, including through public-private partnerships, could boost fertilizer production. Leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) could also widen and deepen Africa’s market and facilitate the availability of affordable fertilizer across Africa. In Nigeria, for example, if fertilizer-producing plants were working at full capacity (Dangote’s full capacity is 3 million tons and Indorama’s 1.4 million tons), the country could meet its own 1.5 million tons of fertilizer consumption, while also meeting the rest of the region’s needs.

“Food sovereignty speaks to the ability of a country to feed itself. In Africa, this must involve increasing production and ensuring that farming systems are more resilient to price and environmental shocks.”

A case for food sovereignty

Food sovereignty in Africa is not just about production and trade. It is also about resilience and ensuring that the continent’s food production is not held hostage by natural and market shocks. The use of technology, fertilizer, and improved farm management practices could revolutionize Africa’s food sector. In addition, African countries must take steps to reverse their dependence on food aid and food imports. Free or cheap food imports have made local food production in Africa less competitive and, in turn, shifted consumer preferences away from local brands to foreign ones. As a result, Africa is now the most food-import-dependent region in the world, dedicating more than 13 percent of its import expenditure to buying food and agricultural commodities. This contributes to overall fiscal stress.

Revolutionizing food production in Africa will improve the continent’s development prospects and build resilience. Using fertilizers produced in Africa and fully integrating research from Africa’s agricultural research institutes could help the continent attain food sovereignty by minimizing imports. This would make Africa’s food markets more resilient during global shocks and prevent the pass-through of global price shocks into domestic inflation. It would also have the added benefit of relieving stress on scarce foreign exchange earnings.

Assuming Africa had adhered to the 2006 Abuja Declaration and gradually increased fertilizer application rates from 20 kg to 50 kg per hectare between 2010 and 2020, food production could have grown cumulatively by 209 percent instead of just 24 percent. Such an increase would have had a salutary impact on reducing hunger and addressing malnourishment.

The increased agricultural productivity would also significantly impact women and girls, helping Africa make more progress on SDG 5 regarding gender equality. Research by the Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that women comprise 43 percent of the agricultural labor-force in developing countries and are mainly concentrated in harvesting and weeding.7 Boosting food production could therefore also contribute to decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), especially for women and girls.

Policy options

Some African countries are already improving food production and attaining food sovereignty. Malawi’s 2006-2010 agricultural development program, which has been described as “pro-poor,” increased yields, raised incomes, and made the crops more resilient to drought.[Arndt, Channing, Karl Pauw, and James Thurlow. 2015. “The Economy-wide Impacts and Risks of Malawi’s Farm Input Subsidy Program.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Volume 98, Issue 3 p. 962-980.] Ethiopia’s 2005 productive safety net policy program (PSNP) targeted households and communities that are chronically food insecure and offered insurance, as well as investment in public goods such as soil and water conservation.

“Free or cheap food imports have made local food production in Africa less competitive and, in turn, shifted consumer preferences away from local brands to foreign ones. As a result, Africa is now the most food-import-dependent region in the world, dedicating more than 13 percent of its import expenditure to buying food and agricultural commodities.”

Despite progress in a few countries, Africa needs coordinated policy changes and sustained action to increase food production, improve distribution, ensure affordability, and reduce dependency.[UNDP. 2022. “Towards Food Security and Sovereignty in Africa.” Regional Bureau for Africa Working Paper. United Nations Development Programme.] African leaders should prioritize incentives to increase domestic and regional food supply. This will include using appropriate inputs to boost and scale up production to cater to national and regional markets. An important goal in this context is the full operationalization of the AfCFTA to facilitate the free movement of labor, inputs, and food across the one-Africa market. From a policy perspective, Africa must shift the narrative from food supply to developing resilient food systems.[Ibid.] Africa’s default must no longer be only trying to address food availability. Policies must focus on ensuring that the entire continental food value chain is robust, profitable, and leaves no one (and no community) behind.

Africa’s development partners also have a critical role to play.[Ibid.] While temporary aid is needed, the primary need is to fully support programs that de-risk and boost critical investments in Africa’s food sector. This will facilitate financial and technical resources to modernize food production, storage, and marketing in Africa. Africa’s development partners can also promote efforts to maximize regional food trade, by reducing disincentives and inefficiencies in global markets—such as dumping, subsidies, and tariff structures that would disadvantage or discourage domestic production in African countries.

Conclusion

Africa has a long history of food dependency, a legacy of food-aid policies and low domestic productive capacity.[Ibid.] As a result, much of its food is imported, implying that any major global shock can lead to severe trade disruptions, increased hunger, and pass-through inflation, eroding both household and public budgets. Africa’s food sovereignty pathway involves enhancing agricultural productivity by improving farm management techniques.

UNDP analysis shows that Africa could easily produce the fertilizer inputs it needs, and that meeting the 2006 Abuja Declaration targets would boost food supply, while positively impacting the SDGs.[Ibid.]

Ensuring Africa’s food sovereignty—implying increased availability and affordability—is key to the continent’s own economic sovereignty, sustainable development, and achieving the SDGs.[Ibid.]

Endnotes
  1. 1. Armstrong, Martin. 2022. “A fifth of people in Africa are suffering from chronic hunger. This map shows where the situation is most severe.” World Economic Forum. August 2022.
  2. 2. FAO. 2022. “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2022.” The Food and Agriculture Organization.
  3. 3. AU. 2021. “3rd CAADP Biennial Review Report.” The African Union.
  4. 4. UNICEF. 2022. “At least 10 million children face severe drought in the Horn of Africa.” United Nations Children’s Fund.
  5. 5. Bloomberg. 2022. “’On Brink of Catastrophe’: Horn of Africa Drought Kills Over 1.5 million Livestock.” Bloomberg. February 2022.
  6. 6. UNECA. 2021. “Regional Dialogue: African Food Systems: Seventh Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development.” Background paper. United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. March 2021.
  7. 7. Wim Plaizier. 2016. “2 truths about Africa’s agriculture”. World Economic Forum.
  8. 8. UNDP. 2022. “The impact of the war in Ukraine on sustainable development in Africa.” United Nations Development Programme.
  9. 9. UNECA. 2013. “Eighth African Development Forum (ADF-VIII) Governing and Harnessing Natural Resources for Africa’s Development.” United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
  10. 10. UNDP. 2022. “The impact of the war in Ukraine on sustainable development in Africa.” United Na¬tions Development Programme.
  11. 11. UNDP. 2022. “Towards Food Security and Sovereignty in Africa.” Regional Bureau for Africa Working Paper. United Nations Development Programme
  12. 12. World Economic Forum. 2022. “What did COP27 accomplish and what actions can we expect as a result?” World Economic Forum.
  13. 13. Arndt, Channing, Karl Pauw, and James Thurlow. 2015. “The Economy-wide Impacts and Risks of Malawi’s Farm Input Subsidy Program.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Volume 98, Issue 3 p. 962-980.
  14. 14. UNDP. 2022. “Towards Food Security and Sovereignty in Africa.” Regional Bureau for Africa Working Paper. United Nations Development Programme.
  15. 15. Ibid.
  16. 16. Ibid.
  17. 17. Ibid.
  18. 18. Ibid.
  19. 19. Ibid.
Next Chapter

03 | Education and Skills

Related Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2023

On January 30, AGI will host a Foresight Africa launch featuring a high-level panel of leading Africa experts to offer insights on regional trends along with recommendations for national governments, regional organizations, multilateral institutions, the private sector, and civil society actors as they forge ahead in 2022.

What should be the top priority for Africa in 2023?

BY ALOYSIUS UCHE ORDU

Aloysius Uche Ordu introduces Foresight Africa 2023, which outlines top priorities for the year ahead and offers recommendations for supporting Africa at a time of heightened global turbulence.

Foresight Africa Podcast

The Foresight Africa podcast celebrates Africa’s dynamism and explores strategies for broadening the benefits of growth to all people of Africa.

      
Kategorien: english

Health: Assuring health security for all

Brookings - 28. Januar 2023 - 0:17

By John Nkengasong, Edwine Barasa

Health: Assuring health security for all 2023
  • Chapter 04
01

Economic recovery and growth

Tackling multiple headwinds

02

Food security

Strengthening Africa’s food systems

03

Education and skills

Equipping a labor force for the future

04

Health

Assuring health security for all

05

Gender

Closing the equity gap

06

Climate change

Adapting to a new normal

07

Africa’s cities

Realizing the new urban agenda

HEALTH: Download chapter 4

Essay 1

Finishing the job on HIV/AIDS

John N. Nkengasong

Essay 2

Leveraging lessons from COVID-19 to build stronger health systems

Edwine Barasa

Finishing the job on HIV/AIDS John N. Nkengasong

U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Health Diplomacy, U.S. Department of State

What it will take to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic as a global health threat by 2030

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a renewed need for domestic and donor support to end the HIV/AIDS pandemic as a global health threat. This requires a strong emphasis on galvanizing political and programmatic leadership to sustain the response, centering programs around health equity, sustainably strengthening public health systems, and health security.

Introduction

In 2001, the Heads of State of Africa met in a special summit in Abuja devoted specifically to addressing the exceptional challenges of HIV/AIDS. The HIV/AIDS pandemic had been raging worldwide with an acute impact on most countries in Africa. The spread of the disease was impacting every dimension of society–in African countries most affected, AIDS had lowered life expectancy of adults on average by 20 years. This session, which came soon after the unprecedented U.N. Security Council Resolution in 2000 declaring HIV/AIDS a security threat, acknowledged the tremendous impact that the spread of HIV was having on the continent as not only a health crisis, but also an economic and security crisis, which would lead to massive instability in the continent if left unchecked.

The Abuja summit concluded with heads of state committing to take personal responsibility and provide political leadership at the highest level to commit all necessary resources and measures to attack the epidemic–from pledging 15 percent of budgets to the health sector, providing access to affordable treatment, scaling-up educational efforts, to reforming national policies. These commitments helped spark a regional movement to attack the HIV/AIDS pandemic on the continent by governments, donors, advocates, non-profits, private companies, and more.

Progress to date

“In many countries, donors are currently performing many of the core functions around performance management and service delivery. Until countries take over programmatic accountability, the HIV/AIDS response will continue to be viewed as a donor-led activity.”

Twenty years later, the annual number of new infections has dropped by 75 percent (from 3.4M to 870,000), and deaths have dropped 80 percent (from 2.3 million to 460,000) in Africa.[UNAIDS. 2021. “UNAIDS Data 2021.” Reference. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/ AIDS.] Several high-burden African countries have reached the UNAIDS 90- 90-90 targets.[90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy; 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.] It is no coincidence that this period has resulted in the fastest economic growth in Africa’s history and has seen tremendous gains in other development indicators such as poverty alleviation, educational attainment, gender equity, and maternal and child health. Analysis comparing U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) recipient countries with similar non-PEPFAR supported low-and middle- income countries found that PEPFAR countries experienced 35 percent greater reductions in child mortality, 25 percent reductions in maternal mortality, and significant improvements in childhood immunizations. GDP per capita growth rates were 2.1 percentage points higher for PEPFAR countries compared to non-PEPFAR supported countries, and the share of girls and boys out of school declined by 9 and 8 percent respectively. The effects were strongest where PEPFAR engaged in more intensive planning and funding.[Carbaugh, Alicia, Anna Rouw, and Jennifer Kates. 2022. “HIV Policy Alignment with International Standards in PEPFAR Countries.” Kaiser Family Foundation.]

Despite this progress, we are at a new inflection point in the HIV/AIDS pandemic in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic particularly impacted access to HIV prevention services, and the rate of decline of new infections has slowed. If the current pace continues, we will be off-track to reach the UNAIDS global target of 370,000 infections by 2025.

What is worse is that the most vulnerable populations continue to be at the highest risk. Approximately 52 percent of children living with HIV receive the lifesaving treatment they need, compared to 76 percent of adults.[WTO. 2022. “New global alliance launched to end AIDS in children by 2030.” Joint News Release. World Trade Organization.] Adolescent girls and young women continue to be more than twice as likely to be infected relative to their male counterparts. And Key Populations (KP)–men who have sex with men, transgender persons, people who inject drugs, sex workers, incarcerated people)–make up an increasingly large share of new infections.

PEPFAR’s five-year strategy

To meet the moment in the trajectory of the HIV/AIDS response, we launched PEPFAR’s new 5-year strategy on December 1, 2022. The strategy outlines several areas that PEPFAR will be pursuing to help achieve the global goal of ending HIV/AIDS as a global health threat. There are three key areas where African policymakers have a unique role to play in the response.

1. Elevating HIV/AIDS to the highest levels of political leadership to sustain the response

The 2001 Abuja summit was a powerful example of African political leadership. African heads of state outlined concrete goals and commitments and helped to galvanize the global community to aid in the response. In the decade that followed, thanks in large part to continued African leadership and partnerships, 27 countries increased the proportion of their expenditures on health. However, the situation has deteriorated; in 2016, 19 African countries were spending less on health as a percentage of their public spending than the early 2000s, and only three countries exceeded the 15 percent threshold.[WHO. 2016. “Public Financing for Health in Africa: From Abuja to the SDGs.” World Health Organi¬zation.]

New political leadership is needed to sustain progress. Over the next decade, HIV/AIDS programs should primarily become the responsibility of African countries as support from outside donors inevitably declines, even as PEPFAR continues its commitment to our partner countries. This should start with clear political commitments from Heads of States to lead and manage their own HIV response–by articulating and acting on their own vision and holding their ministries accountable for results. This will help to unlock greater programmatic leadership for the oversight and management of HIV prevention and care efforts, and the broader strengthening of health systems (workforce, labs, data and surveillance, supply chains, etc.) that underpin HIV/ AIDS programs.

In many countries, donors are currently performing many of the core functions around performance management and service delivery. Until countries take over programmatic accountability, the HIV/AIDS response will continue to be viewed as a donor-led activity. Over time, more robust political and programmatic leadership should help to unlock financial leadership as well by encouraging ministries of finance, and development to recognize that investing in HIV/AIDS and health systems programs domestically will yield high returns.

PEPFAR will help to enable these three components of sustaining the response by working with countries in partnership with the African Union (AU) and other regional and global entities to jointly develop a sustainability roadmap, articulating a shared pathway for countries to take increasing responsibility for their own epidemics and hold all parties accountable for results.

2. Improving health equity for priority populations

“Between 70- 90 percent of drugs consumed on the African continent are imported; (China and India have comparable populations and import 5 percent and 20 percent, respectively). For vaccines, only 1 percent of vaccines consumed are manufactured in Africa.”

The HIV/AIDS pandemic does not affect people uniformly. We know that persistent inequities for the most marginalized populations persist—countries should address these inequities head-on to close these gaps. This starts with adolescent girls and young women, who remain disproportionately impacted by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa. Governments need to recommit to providing holistic, multi-layered support and enabling policy environments that for meet the needs of girls and women given the intersecting challenges they face that increases their risk for contracting HIV. This includes ensuring they can stay in school, access economic opportunities to earn livable incomes, receive comprehensive destigmatized sexual and reproductive health services like PrEP, and thrive in their daily lives free from violence.

Children remain less likely than their adult counterparts to receive treatment, despite the existence of highly effective pediatric treatments in the form of dolutegravir. This gap is unacceptable, and the seven countries that make up the roughly 80 percent of these missing children (Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia) should especially double down on the funding and management of preventing mother to child transmission (PMTCT) and care linkage programming.

Lastly, Key Populations (KPs)—continue to bear the highest per capita risk of contracting an HIV infection. Governments and donors need to bring KPs and community organizations in the lead to inform the design and expansion of equitable and nondiscriminatory prevention, testing, and treatment services. Governments also need to look critically at the restrictive laws and policies that criminalize or stigmatize these populations and prevent them from accessing the services they need–and learn from peer countries in the region who have successfully pursued reforms.

3. Leveraging the PEPFAR platform to strengthen public health systems and health security

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent Ebola outbreak in Uganda, and other disease outbreaks, the public health infrastructure, relationships, and practices that PEPFAR has helped to establish and strengthen for HIV proved essential to responding to new and unexpected health threats. While maintaining focus on HIV as our core mission, moving forward, PEPFAR will continue to apply lessons learned from HIV and intentionally strengthen overall public health systems to respond to health security threats. Such investments will aim to protect HIV/AIDS gains and ensure increased sustainability for countries’ HIV/AIDS response.

Regionalized and modernized supply chains for health commodities

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated the need for a robust regionally diversified, sustainable pharmaceutical manufacturing and supply chain ecosystems to protect against health security threats, including in Africa. A strong, diversified, and sustainable manufacturing base would also decrease procurement costs, prevent stockouts, introduce new products faster, and create substantial economic benefits. However, between 70-90 percent of drugs consumed on the African continent are imported; (China and India have comparable populations and import 5 percent and 20 percent, respectively). For vaccines, only 1 percent of vaccines consumed are manufactured in Africa.[Nweneka, Chidi Victor and Tolu Disu. 2022. “The future of vaccine manufacturing in Africa.” Foresight Africa 2022, Public Health Chapter. The Brookings Africa Growth Initiative.] For Africa to address this challenge, it needs a holistic approach and an enabling environment for sustainable regional manufacturing that allow manufacturers to supply multi-country geographies, promote healthy competition, and enables sizeable, sustainable manufacturers to emerge. PEPFAR will lead by setting explicit, ambitious targets for African procurement of HIV commodities for the next decade and will adjust our procurement policies to help jumpstart demand–and drive other donors to follow.

To create this enabling environment, we will need to work with African policymakers and multilateral organizations to develop tariff and trade policies, environmental policies, and regulatory policies to support sustainable local manufacturing capacities. It will also be critical for African policymakers to certify and fund the African Medicines Agency (AMA) to lead in certification of products and implement the African Free Trade agreement to enable cross-border trade. Leaders of global and African development finance institutions should take this opportunity to provide financing and other support to pharmaceutical manufacturers standing up or expanding operations and enhancements to health supply chains across the region.

But manufacturing is not enough to get the products to the people who need them quickly and efficiently. We continue to see high rates of stockouts across PEPFAR-supported countries, and our supply chains are simply not people-centered.

African policymakers need to promote a long-term vision for a modern and sustainable supply chain, which includes movement away from the emergency nature of Central Medical Stores and integration of private sector providers across the value chain; strengthening government capacity in supply chain leadership, oversight, comprehensive planning and risk management; and diversifying channels of last-mile delivery of products beyond the public clinics. Policymakers need to also recognize that supply chains go beyond ministries of health and engage the ministries of finance, development, and trade to remove bottlenecks that create artificial supply shortages at the port or the border. PEPFAR will coordinate with African partners and other donors to help to strengthen country capacity to lead in the development and implementation of this long-term approach to supply chain modernization.

Robust health workforce

Despite the lessons from Ebola, COVID-19 and other outbreaks, the health workforce remains one of the most under-invested areas of the public health system. Africa needs 6,000 field and 25,000 frontline epidemiologists but has only trained 2,000 and 5,000 respectively. In 2017, the AU launched a two million community healthcare worker initiative, but to date only a few hundred thousand professionalized workers have been deployed, and many remain un-salaried, and poorly trained, equipped, and supervised. Nurses continue to be under-equipped and poorly prepared for new outbreaks, leading to high rates of mortality among their cohort.

Country leaders need to bring together ministries of health, education, and finance to develop an integrated plan to train, finance, and support the next cohort of nurses, community health workers, epidemiologists, and health data scientists. PEPFAR and other disease-specific donors need to align their future health workforce investments to better support those integrated country plans and, workforce leadership programs going forward.

Empowered national public health institutes

National Public Health Institutes (NPHIs) serve as the backbone of an effective public health response; during COVID-19, countries with strong NPHIs were more effective in coordinating the outbreak response. More than 30 African countries have already created NPHIs, and for those countries it is incumbent on political leaders to financially support their core capabilities (surveillance, lab networks, emergency operations centers, research). PEPFAR will work to strengthen NPHIs by partnering with the Africa CDC to enlist NPHIs to lead on core HIV-control functions such as conducting household surveys to measure the epidemiological change in the disease and leveraging their EOCs to tackle pockets of new infections.

Conclusion

PEPFAR has a critical role to play in the future of the HIV/AIDS response. But without leadership from policymakers, all our collective efforts will be unsustainable. African leaders need to recognize that strong public health systems are a fundamental element of strong national security and economic growth, and prioritize it accordingly in domestic budgets, laws, and policies. Country leaders also should endorse, fund, and strengthen regional institutions such as the Africa CDC and AMA who are taking a lead in coordinating the health response. Disease-specific donors including PEPFAR need to come together to harmonize and prioritize public health systems and security investments, and support country leadership in developing and implementing integrated national plans. We have come so far, and together we can end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat on the continent and globally.

Leveraging lessons from COVID-19 to build stronger health systems Edwine Barasa

Director of the Nairobi Programme, KEMRI-Wellcome Trust
Visiting Professor of Health Economics, University of Oxford

Sir Winston Churchill averred, in the aftermath of World War II, that one should never let a “good” crisis go to waste. The COVID-19 pandemic offered several lessons for Africa’s health systems that should form the basis for a stronger, more inclusive recovery. One such lesson is that African governments ought to prioritize investments in the health sector as a means, not only to improve population health, but also to safeguard the economy. African health systems are chronically underfunded; it is estimated that on average African countries’ government expenditure on health, as a share of gross domestic product (GDP), is 2 percent—far less than the 5 percent recommended threshold for low- and middle-income countries to register meaningful improvements in population health outcomes.[AHAIC Commission. 2021. “The State of Universal Health Coverage in Africa.” The Africa Health Agenda International Conference Commission.] COVID-19 has made it abundantly clear that the social and economic fortunes of a country are conjoined with population health. For example, the World Bank estimated that COVID-19 was responsible for a 3.3 percent economic contraction of Africa’s GDP in 2020, pushing 40 million individuals into poverty.[World Bank. 2020. “World Bank Confirms Economic Downturn in Sub-Saharan Africa, Outlines Key Polices Needed for Recovery.” World Bank Group.] Under-investment in the health sector meant that African health systems were ill-prepared for the pandemic, and thus, suffered great economic loss.

One way to unlock additional financing and resources for the health sector is to exploit efficiency gains by reducing wastage. Two strategies are worth considering. African countries could achieve better outcomes from existing resources by introducing and institutionalizing the use of economic evidence to guide and inform healthcare resource allocation decisions in ways that promote value-for-money. One such approach is health technology assessment (HTA). HTA is a multidisciplinary process that uses explicit methods to determine the value of health interventions and services in ways that promote efficiency and other health system goals. Good examples of countries that have implemented HTA to improve the efficiency of their health system include Thailand’s universal coverage scheme, and the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). Likewise, there is also a need for African governments to tackle corruption head-on by implementing effective anti-corruption strategies. Some estimates put the loss of healthcare resources owing to weak governance and accountability environments that in turn facilitate health sector corruption to as much as 10 percent annually.[Gee, Jim and Mark Button. 2015. “The financial cost of healthcare fraud 2015: What data from around the world shows.” PKF Littlejohn LLP.]

“It is imperative however, that these efforts are coordinated and aimed at addressing continental shortages, rather than narrow individual country needs. Vaccine and pharmaceutical manufacturing in Africa will only be sustainable if the market can support commercial viability.”

The second lesson is that African countries ought to foster self-reliance by investing in the manufacture of essential health commodities. The vaccine nationalism and apartheid witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with international supply chain disruptions, exposed the vulnerability of African health systems to over-reliance on imports. Some estimates indicate that Africa imports more than 80 percent of its pharmaceutical and medical consumables, and 99 percent of its human vaccines.[AHAIC Commission. 2021. “The State of Universal Health Coverage in Africa.” The Africa Health Agenda International Conference Commission.] It is encouraging that several African countries have since initiated plans to establish local vaccine manufacturing. African governments must also understand that the sustainable development of vaccines and pharmaceutical manufacturing is underpinned by a vibrant research and development (R&D) ecosystem. While African countries have committed to spending 1 percent of their GDP on R&D, the continent’s funding of R&D stood at only 0.42 percent, compared to the global average of 1.7 percent.[Adepoju, Paul. 2022. “Africa’s future depends on government-funded R&D.” Nature Africa. An Audi¬ence With, 25 September 2022.]

The third lesson is that African governments must re-prioritize universal health coverage (UHC). COVID-19 revealed that countries with advanced UHC systems are far better at responding to a pandemic or health shock.[Haghighi, Hajar, Amirhossein Takian, and Mohsen Aarabi. 2020. “The role of universal health cov¬erage in overcoming the covid-19 pandemic.” BMJ Opinion.] A system where individuals face financial barriers to access healthcare, compromises vital public health strategies during a disease outbreak (i.e., detect, isolate, and treat) such that infected individuals go undetected and cannot access isolation or treatment services, and thus continue to spread disease. While many African countries have made political commitments to UHC, this commitment has hardly translated to investment and implementation. Out-of-pocket spending, as a share of total health spending, in Africa is also among the highest in the world at 38 percent—with countries like Nigeria having levels as high as 77 percent.[AHAIC Commission. 2021. “The State of Universal Health Coverage in Africa.” The Africa Health Agenda International Conference Commission.] During the pandemic, this manifested in the form of individuals not accessing testing, isolation, and treatment because they could not afford to pay for these services, and in some cases, individuals are being forcefully detained in health facilities for not being able to pay the costs of isolation or care.

In addition to increasing health sector funding, several shifts will be required to course correct the continent’s UHC aspiration. The first shift is the need for African countries to re-orient their UHC plans and ground them on tax-funded approaches as opposed to contributory health insurance. Many African countries are planning or already implementing public health insurance systems that rely on individual/household premium contributions as a means to achieve UHC. There is overwhelming evidence that it is problematic to achieve scale and equity in coverage, with health insurance systems that rely on individual/household premium contributions—especially in Africa where large shares (up to 80 percent) of the population are in the informal sector with unpredictable and irregular incomes. A recent analysis found that only four out of 36 African countries (Rwanda, Ghana, Gabon, and Burundi) have achieved health insurance coverage levels greater than 20 percent, and that coverage for all four countries, was characterised by substantial funding from tax revenues.[Barasa, Edwine, et al. 2021. “Examining the level and inequality in health insurance coverage in 36 sub-Saharan African countries.” BMJ Global Health 6, no. 4.]

“A second shift is the need for African countries to re-orient their health systems to prioritize primary healthcare (PHC)—a platform for providing basic health interventions and essential public health services. This would be a departure from the current arrangement where African health systems are hospital-centric, prioritizing higher-level care.”

Contributory health insurance systems were also found to be highly inequitable on the continent. A third shift is the prioritization and financing of common goods for health (CGH). CGH are core, population-based functions that are essential to the health and wellbeing of entire societies, as opposed to individual-based services. Examples of CGH include disease surveillance systems, research and development, regulatory systems, and public health policies. CGH not only support the health and wellbeing of populations generally, but also bolster health security.

Lastly, several regional opportunities abound for African governments to leverage and strengthen their health systems. I will highlight two here. First, African leaders should take advantage of regional integration to strengthen healthcare markets and systems. The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), is the world’s largest free trade area in terms of population (1.3 billion) and number of countries (54), and has the potential to spur the growth of Africa’s health markets by opening up markets for labour (health workers) and health commodities, and by attracting investments into the continent’s health sector. In addition, it has the potential to support the continent’s initiative to develop vaccines and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Another regional opportunity that African health systems should take advantage of is, the continent’s strong regional organizations that include the African Union (AU), the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), and the African Development Bank (AFDB). These organizations not only have immense convening power, technical capacity, and capacity for advocacy, but they have also put in place initiatives whose implementation will leapfrog Africa’s health system. For instance, the AU and Africa CDC have outlined a blueprint to strengthen health security in Africa labelled the “New Public Health Order.” The AU has articulated a plan to spur pharmaceutical manufacturing—Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa (PMPA), while the Africa CDC has also laid out a framework for the development of local vaccine manufacturing (the partnership for Africa Vaccine manufacturing). Further, the AFDB has established the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation, that plans to spend $3 billion over the next decade to support the continent’s pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing plans. However, these efforts will only be successful if African governments support and facilitate the leadership role of these regional agencies.

As we look forward to 2023 and beyond, here is hoping that African governments learn from the COVID-19 pandemic and invest in nurturing the resilience of the continent’s health system to safeguard

Endnotes
  1. 1. UNAIDS. 2021. “UNAIDS Data 2021.” Reference. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/ AIDS.
  2. 2. 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy; 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.
  3. 3. Carbaugh, Alicia, Anna Rouw, and Jennifer Kates. 2022. “HIV Policy Alignment with International Standards in PEPFAR Countries.” Kaiser Family Foundation.
  4. 4. WTO. 2022. “New global alliance launched to end AIDS in children by 2030.” Joint News Release. World Trade Organization.
  5. 5. WHO. 2016. “Public Financing for Health in Africa: From Abuja to the SDGs.” World Health Organi¬zation.
  6. 6. Nweneka, Chidi Victor and Tolu Disu. 2022. “The future of vaccine manufacturing in Africa.” Foresight Africa 2022, Public Health Chapter. The Brookings Africa Growth Initiative.
  7. 7. AHAIC Commission. 2021. “The State of Universal Health Coverage in Africa.” The Africa Health Agenda International Conference Commission.] COVID-19 has made it abundantly clear that the social and economic fortunes of a country are conjoined with population health. For example, the World Bank estimated that COVID-19 was responsible for a 3.3 percent economic contraction of Africa’s GDP in 2020, pushing 40 million individuals into poverty.[World Bank. 2020. “World Bank Confirms Economic Downturn in Sub-Saharan Africa, Outlines Key Polices Needed for Recovery.” World Bank Group.
  8. 8. Gee, Jim and Mark Button. 2015. “The financial cost of healthcare fraud 2015: What data from around the world shows.” PKF Littlejohn LLP.
  9. 9. AHAIC Commission. 2021. “The State of Universal Health Coverage in Africa.” The Africa Health Agenda International Conference Commission.
  10. 10. Adepoju, Paul. 2022. “Africa’s future depends on government-funded R&D.” Nature Africa. An Audi¬ence With, 25 September 2022.
  11. 11. Haghighi, Hajar, Amirhossein Takian, and Mohsen Aarabi. 2020. “The role of universal health cov¬erage in overcoming the covid-19 pandemic.” BMJ Opinion.
  12. 12. AHAIC Commission. 2021. “The State of Universal Health Coverage in Africa.” The Africa Health Agenda International Conference Commission.
  13. 13. Barasa, Edwine, et al. 2021. “Examining the level and inequality in health insurance coverage in 36 sub-Saharan African countries.” BMJ Global Health 6, no. 4.
Next Chapter

05 | Gender

Related Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent in 2023

On January 30, AGI will host a Foresight Africa launch featuring a high-level panel of leading Africa experts to offer insights on regional trends along with recommendations for national governments, regional organizations, multilateral institutions, the private sector, and civil society actors as they forge ahead in 2022.

What should be the top priority for Africa in 2023?

BY ALOYSIUS UCHE ORDU

Aloysius Uche Ordu introduces Foresight Africa 2023, which outlines top priorities for the year ahead and offers recommendations for supporting Africa at a time of heightened global turbulence.

Foresight Africa Podcast

The Foresight Africa podcast celebrates Africa’s dynamism and explores strategies for broadening the benefits of growth to all people of Africa.

      
Kategorien: english

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