Browsing: UNCTAD

Africa debt crisis
  • As national debts grow, many African countries find themselves spending more on debt than on health.
  • IMF says the debt ratio in Sub-Saharan Africa surged to 60% from 30% of the countries’ GDP between 2013 and December 2022.
  • Kenya is for instance using nearly 60% of its annual revenues on paying debt obligations.

As the Africa debt crisis roils, over half of the countries have found themselves spending more money in servicing their loan obligations than even the amount they have budgeted for health services to their citizens.

This unfolding scenario is further burdening millions of their citizens who have little choice but to shoulder heavy tax burdens to settle mountains of debt.

Prof Danny Bradlow, a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship in Pretoria, South Africa, captures the dire situation, stating: “over the  last three years (2019/22), more than 25 African governments allocated …

Infrastructure investment Africa

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has stated that inadequate infrastructure investment in African countries hinders the continent from securing a more advantageous position as a global supply chain destination.
The organization highlights, among other points, in its annual 2023 Africa economic development report, the need to prioritize certain aspects to strengthen Africa’s role in the supply chain, recognizing its potential to become a key player in the global supply market.…


The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is now widely touted as the African Union’s (AU) most audacious project. The framework ties together the most significant number of member countries of any trade agreement since the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 1995.

The AfCFTA had become topical even before its formal launch. Members of the business community eagerly awaited the full implementation of the AfCFTA. But two years since its formal launch, how far has the AfCFTA ushered in the ‘new era’ of African integration it promised?…

  • The forum offers a unique chance to shape global investment policies by tackling the challenges to international investment. 
  • The forum will offer policymakers and other stakeholders an opportunity to identify solutions and reach a consensus on climate finance and investment priorities.

UNCTAD World Investment Forum Executive Director James Zhan has announced the launch of ‘UNCTAD World Investment Forum 2023’. Taking place under the theme ‘Investing in sustainable development’, the forum, which will be held in October will bring together government leaders, global CEOs and other investment stakeholders.

Zhan stated that the UNCTAD World Investment Forum is the foremost global platform dedicated to investment and development. The forum is aimed at coming up with strategies and solutions for the challenges faced by global investment and development. 

Climate finance and investment priorities

It also offers a unique chance to shape global investment policies by tackling the challenges to international investment resulting from

Africa doubled its FDi flows in 2021 UNCTAD reports

Southern Africa, East and West Africa saw their flows of FDI rise in 2021. It was only in Central and North Africa that flows of foreign direct investment were flat or declined, respectively. Flows to North Africa fell by 5 per cent to $9.3 billion.

Egypt saw its FDI drop by 12% as large investments in exploration and production agreements in extractive industries were not repeated. Despite the decline, Egypt has the second highest flows of FDI in 2021 on the continent.

UNCTAD reports that it expects FDI flows to increase in North Africa owing to pledges of as much as US$ 22 billion to the region from Gulf states. In Egypt, according to the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2022 tripled green field projects of US$ 5.6 billion and real estate projects of US$ 1.5 billion.

In Morocco, FDI flows increased by 52% to US$ 2.2 billion. This was driven …

Exports in Africa

UNCTAD argued that in the fourth quarter of 2021, all major trading economies saw imports and exports rise well above pre-pandemic levels of 2019.  Moreover, the report pointed out that trade in goods increased more strongly in developing countries than in developed ones. 

It is essential to realize that Africa has more to tap into the intra-African trade, standing at around $21.9 billion, according to UNCTAD. 

Further, exports of developing countries were about 30 per cent higher than during the same period in 2020, compared with 15 per cent for wealthier nations. 

The UNCTAD report argued that growth spiked in commodity-exporting regions as commodity prices increased. …


So now the government through its Ministry for Agriculture has decided to take action to increase domestic production of edible oils. To do this, the government has developed several strategic approaches including upgrading peasant technology.

This initiative fits into the country’s overall industrialization initiative that targets mainly agricultural mechanization. By increasing funding for the set up of factories and smaller production plants, Tanzania is able to increase its output of edible oils.

However, the country needs to increase seed production hand in hand with increasing its value chain capacity. This is where the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (Tari) based in Dar es Salaam comes in. A globally-renowned research institute that develops hybrid seeds among other agricultural research works.…

Africas creative economy UNCTAD

Africa’s creative digital economy, which includes music, film, art, fashion, cultural artefacts, apps and games is not only creating wealth for the creators but also contributes to the gross domestic product, exports and boosting development outcomes according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

“The creative economy is recognized now as a tool of sustainable development,” says Marisa Henderson, Chief of the Creative Economy Program at UNCTAD. UNCTAD defines this “creative economy” aka “orange economy” as the sum of all the parts of the creative industries, including trade, labour, and production.

They have tracked trade in creative goods and services for close to twenty years and consistently found that the growth rate of creative economy exports outpaces that of other industries[11]. Africa’s cultural goods sector is estimated to employ about half a million people and generate US$4.2 billion in revenue[12].…

A seaport. East Africa is undertaking several mega projects ranging from port expansions to railway systems and airports.

To achieve sustainable development in Africa through the blue economy, the relationship between trade and development cannot be overemphasized.
The UNCTAD notes that trade has been recognized as the engine for inclusive sustainable development and growth with maritime transport and its related activities being motors for trade facilitation.…

A section of the SGR under construction by the Chinese at the Ngong site. The Chinese target infrastructure as their primary FDI projects in countries they invest in.

In the years from 2014 and 2018, China was Africa’s biggest FDI source estimated at 16 per cent of all FDI into the continent. The Chinese represented the main source of FDI into the continent with the United States and France holding eight per cent of the total FDI.
With Covid-19 hitting the continent in March 2020, the cascading health and economic challenges on the continent has significantly affected FDI inflows.…