THE United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) held a virtual meeting on Monday to prepare for the 53rd Session of the Commission.
The Conference will be held on March 22nd 2021, and will bring together Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, His Excellency, Emmanuel Mwamba chaired the meeting of the Bureau.
The Bureau is preparing for the 53rd Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
The theme for the Conference is; “Africa’s Sustainable Industrialisation and Diversification in the Digital Era in the Cintext of Covid-19”.
The meeting will hold a high-level ministerial policy dialogue and will discuss matters relating to Africa’s sustainable growth post Covid-19 era.
It will also discuss Africa’s mechanisms to manage debt, innovative finance for fiscal sustainability and the role of the private sector.
The Bureau Meeting held on Monday also followed up on the $100million that UNECA is sourcing to help member states respond to the economic challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought.
Zambia is a member of the Bureau that include Morocco, Togo, Ethiopia and Equatorial Guinea and holds the position of Vice Chairperson.
This is according to press release issued by Mrs. Inutu Mupango Mwanza,First Secretary (Press&Tourism), Addis Ababa.
Mega-rich recoup COVID-losses in record-time yet billions will live in poverty for at least a decade
The 1,000 richest people on the planet recouped their COVID-19 losses within just nine months, but it could take more than a decade for the world’s poorest to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic, reveals a new Oxfam report today. ‘The Inequality Virus’ is being published on the opening day of the World Economic Forum’s ‘Davos Agenda’.
The report shows that COVID-19 has the potential to increase economic inequality in almost every country at once, the first time this has happened since records began over a century ago. Rising inequality means it could take at least 14 times longer for the number of people living in poverty to return to pre-pandemic levels than it took for the fortunes of the top 1,000, mostly White male, billionaires to bounce back.
A new global survey of 295 economists from 79 countries, commissioned by Oxfam, reveals that 87 percent of respondents, including Jeffrey Sachs, Jayati Ghosh and Gabriel Zucman, expect an ‘increase’ or a ‘major increase’ in income inequality in their country as a result of the pandemic.
Oxfam’s report shows how the rigged economic system is enabling a super-rich elite to amass wealth in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression while billions of people are struggling to make ends meet. It reveals how the pandemic is deepening long-standing economic, racial and gender divides.
• The recession is over for the richest. The world’s ten richest men have seen their combined wealth increase by half a trillion dollars since the pandemic began —more than enough to pay for a COVID-19 vaccine for everyone and to ensure no one is pushed into poverty by the pandemic. At the same time, the pandemic has ushered in the worst job crisis in over 90 years with hundreds of millions of people now underemployed or out of work.
• Women are hardest hit, yet again. Globally, women are overrepresented in the low-paid precarious professions that have been hardest hit by the pandemic. If women were represented at the same rate as men in these sectors, 112 million women would no longer be at high risk of losing their incomes or jobs. Women also make up roughly 70 percent of the global health and social care workforce − essential but often poorly paid jobs that put them at greater risk from COVID-19.
• Inequality is costing lives. Afro-descendants in Brazil are 40 percent more likely to die of COVID-19 than White people, while nearly 22,000 Black and Hispanic people in the United States would still be alive if they experienced the same COVID-19 mortality rates as their White counterparts. Infection and mortality rates are higher in poorer areas of countries such as France, India, and Spain while England’s poorest regions experience mortality rates double that of the richest areas.
• Fairer economies are the key to a rapid economic recovery from COVID-19. A temporary tax on excess profits made by the 32 global corporations that have gained the most during the pandemic could have raised $104 billion in 2020. This is enough to provide unemployment benefits for all workers and financial support for all children and elderly people in low- and middle-income countries.
Gabriela Bucher, Executive Director of Oxfam International, said:
“We stand to witness the greatest rise in inequality since records began. The deep divide between the rich and poor is proving as deadly as the virus.”
“Rigged economies are funnelling wealth to a rich elite who are riding out the pandemic in luxury, while those on the frontline of the pandemic —shop assistants, healthcare workers, and market vendors— are struggling to pay the bills and put food on the table.
“Women and marginalized racial and ethnic groups are bearing the brunt of this crisis. They are more likely to be pushed into poverty, more likely to go hungry, and more likely to be excluded from healthcare.”
Billionaires fortunes rebounded as stock markets recovered despite continued recession in the real economy. Their total wealth hit $11.95 trillion in December 2020, equivalent to G20 governments’ total COVID-19 recovery spending. The road to recovery will be much longer for people who were already struggling pre-COVID-19. When the virus struck over half of workers in poor countries were living in poverty, and three-quarters of workers globally had no access to social protections like sick pay or unemployment benefits.
“Extreme inequality is not inevitable, but a policy choice. Governments around the world must seize this opportunity to build more equal, more inclusive economies that end poverty and protect the planet,” added Bucher.
“The fight against inequality must be at the heart of economic rescue and recovery efforts. Governments must ensure everyone has access to a COVID-19 vaccine and financial support if they lose their job. They must invest in public services and low carbon sectors to create millions of new jobs and ensure everyone has access to a decent education, health, and social care, and they must ensure the richest individuals and corporations contribute their fair share of tax to pay for it.
“These measures must not be band-aid solutions for desperate times but a ‘new normal’ in economies that work for the benefit of all people, not just the privileged few.”
Follow the link to read the report: https://oxfamilibrary.openrepository.com/bitstream/handle/10546/621149/bp-the-inequality-virus-250121-en.pdf
Dr. Chitalu Chilufya replaces Nakachinda in Parliamentary Budget Committee
FORMER Minister of Health Dr. Chitalu Chilufya has been appointed to serve on the Parliamentary Budget Committee.
First Deputy Speaker Hon. Catherine Namugala made the announcement this afternoon during the second meeting of the fifth session of the 12th National Assembly.
She said Dr. Chilufya’s appointment was necessitated by the appointment of Raphael Nakachinda as Cabinet Minister.
On 10 January 2021, President Edgar Lungu fired Dr. Chitalu Chilufya as Minister of Health.
PULA closes $6m Series A fundraise
Pula, an InsureTech service provider that specialises in digital and agricultural insurance to de-risk smallholder farmers across Africa, has closed a US$6 million Series A fund with TLcom Capital.
According to a statement to the media issued yesterday, the new investment would be used to scale-up operations in Pula’s existing 13 markets across Africa.
The Series A fund was led by TLcom Capital, with the participation of Women’s World Banking.
Currently, Pula has impacted over 4.3 million farmers on the African continent and the new funding would also help to propel its expansion into Asia to power resilience and profitability for Asian small-holder farmers, reads the statement.
Launched in 2015 by Rose Goslinga and Thomas Njeru, Pula designs and delivers innovative agricultural insurance and digital products to help small-holder farmers endure climate risks.
Other services include improving small-holders’ farming practices and bolster their incomes over time.
“For small-holder farmers in emerging markets, the traditional method of calculating insurance through farm visits is often unaffordable for farmers, meaning these farmers are often neglected from financial protection against climate risks,” the statement read.
“Through its area yield index insurance product, Pula leverages machine learning, crop cuts experiments and data points relating to weather patterns and farmer losses to build products which caters for a variety of risks including drought, excessive rainfall, pests and diseases.”
Pula’s key clientele include the likes of the World Food Programme, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Zambian government and the Kenyan government.
Speaking on the new fundraise, Pula co-founder and co-chief executive officer Rose Goslinga said: “when Thomas and I launched Pula in 2015, we had one goal in mind: to build and deliver scalable insurance solutions for Africa’s 700 million small-holder farmers and with our latest funding, now is the time to break into new ground.
“In our five years since launching, we’ve built strong traction for our products but the fact remains that across Africa and other emerging markets, there are still millions of small-holder farmers with risks to their livelihoods that have not been covered.”
Meanwhile, Maurizio Caio, managing partner and founder at TLcom Capital, said in Pula, his organisation had found a company addressing a hugely underserved market in one of Africa’s key drivers of growth.
“This [is] an opportunity for major economic upside. The potential for the insurance market for small-holder farmers in Africa is huge and under the leadership of Rose and Thomas, Pula has rapidly established a strong presence throughout the continent and has a number of high-profile clients on their books,” said Caio.
“We are confident of Pula’s potential for growth in spite of the pandemic and look forward to partnering with them as they execute the next phase of their journey.”