Ghanaian Communication Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful speaks during an interview with Xinhua in Aswan, Egypt, on Dec. 12, 2019. The digital economy provides an opportunity for African countries to transform their economies and create skillful jobs, Owusu-Ekuful said in a recent interview with Xinhua.(Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)
by Marwa Yahya
ASWAN, Egypt, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) — The digital economy provides an opportunity for African countries to transform their economies and create skillful jobs, Ghanaian Communication Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
“Many conflicts in Africa are fueled by poverty, inequality and exclusion. With technology, we have a chance of providing more opportunities for people to get sustainable jobs in health, education, agriculture, trade and commerce sectors,” Owusu-Ekuful said.
Terming technology as an enabler and accelerator, the minister said “access to the internet data and communication should be treated like water and electricity utilities.”
“We can’t leave our young people, who breathes technology, behind,” she added, explaining if the youth feel excluded, or have no opportunity for the future, they will get involved in antisocial activities, which may fuel conflicts.
Developing the banking sector in some African countries like Kenya by revolutionizing digital financial services is an example of embracing technology and utilizing it to create more opportunities for our youth, she reiterated.
However, Owusu-Ekuful said “many innovative solutions that young Africans have developed are just waiting for investors to help them to take it to the markets.”
She stressed on the role of the governments in providing an enabling and regulatory environment, and the frame works that would be “the key to unlocking the potential of African youth.”
It’s the right time for African countries to allocate more funds for the digital infrastructure, she said.
So broadband, fiber connectivity and access to electricity and to the skills that will enable them to use this infrastructure are also critical, she emphasized.
“Africa within the next 20 years with our youthful population will provide the workforce for the rest of the world,” said the minister.
Commenting on some concerns of losing jobs if work depends greatly on technology, the minister said “I think that some jobs will be lost. Many more will be created if they have the right skills.”
So, “the emphasis for us is on providing them with quality education and the digital skills to enable them to succeed,” she stressed.
Technology is great for those who have skills, Owusu-Ekuful said, noting that “there is a transition from the old way of doing things to the new exciting way of doing things. And many more jobs which were unheard of a few years ago are now being created.”
She highlighted while some traditional labor-intensive occupations, jobs will be lost, the young people will acquire new skills that they need to succeed.
“I believe that only technology will help Africa leapfrog and it is in our interest to invest in that because governments can’t do it alone without the private sector and foreign investments,” added Owusu-Ekuful.
She reiterated that technology is a key factor for promotion of the African Union’s 2063 Agenda which is a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years.
She highlighted women in Africa still have a long way to go, but increasingly are pushing forward the boundaries.
For women, they can work for better flexible time and deliver the results through communications and technology, without leaving home, so that they can take care of children and still deliver according to the deadlines, she said.
The same for the young people who can get included in any digital work. “With technology, we can energize and accelerate every sector and that is what makes it so pivotal.”
“Africa doesn’t just have to be a consumer of technology produced elsewhere,” she added, pointing out Africa is rich with a huge market waiting to be discovered.
“Investing in the infrastructure and the people of the continent will ensure that those men and women take part in the development of our continent without exclusion that destroys the continental potentials and drags it into conflicts,” she added.
World Bank sees ‘significant’ inflation risk from high energy prices
Energy Prices are expected to inch up in 2022 after surging more than 80% in 2021, fueling significant near-term risks to global inflation in many developing countries, the World Bank said in its latest Commodity Markets Outlook on Thursday.
The multilateral development bank said energy prices should start to decline in the second half of 2022 as supply constraints ease, with non-energy prices such as agriculture and metals also expected to ease after strong gains in 2021.
“The surge in energy prices poses significant near-term risks to global inflation and, if sustained, could also weigh on growth in energy-importing countries,” said Ayhan Kose, chief economist and director of the World Bank’s Prospects Group, which produces the Outlook report.
“The sharp rebound in commodity prices is turning out to be more pronounced than previously projected. Recent volatility in prices may complicate policy choices as countries recover from last year’s global recession.”
The International Monetary Fund, in a separate blog https://blogs.imf.org/2021/10/21/surging-energy-prices-may-not-ease-until-next-year, said it expected energy prices to revert to “more normal levels” early next year when heating demand ebbs and supplies adjust. But it warned that uncertainty remained high and small demand shocks could trigger fresh price spikes.
The World Bank noted that some commodity prices rose to or exceeded levels in 2021 not seen since a spike a decade earlier.
Natural gas and coal prices, for instance, reached record highs amid supply constraints and rebounding demand for electricity, although they are expected to decline in 2022 as demand eases and supply improves, the bank said.
It warned that further price spikes could occur in the near-term given current low inventories and persistent supply bottlenecks. Other risk factors included extreme weather events, the uneven COVID-19 recovery and the threat of more outbreaks, along with supply-chain disruptions and environmental policies.
Higher food prices were also driving up food-price inflation and raising questions about food security in several developing countries, it said.
The bank projected crude oil prices would reach $74/bbl in 2022, buoyed by strengthening demand from a projected $70/bbl in 2021, before easing to $65/bbl in 2023.
The use of crude oil as a substitute for natural gas presented a major upside risk to the demand outlook, although higher energy prices may start to weigh on global growth.
The bank forecast a 5% drop in metals prices in 2022 after a 48% increase in 2021. It said agricultural prices were expected to decline modestly next year after jumping 22% this year.
It warned that changing weather patterns due to climate change also posed a growing risk to energy markets, potentially affecting both demand and supply.
It said countries could benefit by accelerating installation of renewable energy sources and by cutting their dependency on fossil fuels.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; editing by Diane Craft)
Global Climate Policy Acceleration Means Sink-or-Swim Decade for Canada's Economy: Report – Canada NewsWire
OTTAWA, ON, Oct. 21, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Canada’s economy faces a “sink-or-swim” decade, according to the first study to assess Canada’s economic prospects in the face of accelerating global market shifts responding to climate change.
Sink or Swim: Transforming Canada’s economy for a global low-carbon future is a major new report from the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices, Canada’s independent climate policy research institute. The report assesses Canada’s economic prospects in response to the global low-carbon transition and offers recommendations for successfully navigating that transition.
Countries responsible for over 70 per cent of global GDP and over 70 per cent of global oil demand have committed to reaching net zero emissions by mid-century. Trillions of dollars in global investment will move away from high-carbon sectors. The impact of these global shifts will be profound, shifting trade patterns, reshaping demand, and upending businesses that are too slow to adapt.
To better understand the risks and opportunities of this transition for Canada, Sink or Swim stress tests publicly traded companies under different scenarios. Without major investment, the report finds, many exporters and multinationals will see significant profit loss in the coming decades. The stakes are high for Canada, with almost 70 per cent of goods exports and over 800,000 jobs in transition-vulnerable sectors, including oil and gas, mining, heavy industry, and auto manufacturing.
To succeed in this global transition, the report concludes, Canada must use climate policy, company disclosure, and targeted public investment to mobilize private finance and improve the resilience of Canada’s workforce and impacted communities.
“Our analysis shows that global policy and market changes will have a profound impact on Canada’s economy and workforce. To stay competitive, Canada needs to rapidly scale up new, transition-consistent sources of growth—and successfully transform existing ones. Moving too slowly is now a greater competitive risk than moving too quickly.”
—Rachel Samson, Clean Growth Research Director, Climate Choices
“The global transition means Canada must transform its economy in the face of new market realities. With smart, certain policy and innovation across the private sector, there is a path to strong economic growth, gains in well-being, and lower emissions.”
—Don Drummond, Stauffer-Dunning Fellow and Adjunct Professor at the School of Policy Studies at Queen’s University and fellow-in-residence at the C.D. Howe Institute
“Major Canadian investors understand the pressures our economy will be facing as a result of accelerating global market shifts, and we’re issuing a strong call for increased climate accountability and transparency in the corporate sector.”
—Dustyn Lanz, CEO, Responsible Investment Association
“The Aluminum Association of Canada supports a holistic view of Canada’s trajectory towards net zero emissions. A multifaceted approach with room for everyone will support a transition to a prosperous and sustainable economy.”
—Jean Simard, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Aluminium Association of Canada
“Canadian businesses and investors need clarity on which economic activities are consistent with the transition to a low-carbon future. Without that clarity, there is a risk that finance will flow in the wrong directions and miss areas of great opportunity. The analysis in this report will support the development of practical taxonomies that can be used for transition-consistent investment decisions and financial products.”
—Barbara Zvan, CEO & President, University Pension Plan and member of Canada’s former Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance. UPP is a participating organization of the Sustainable Finance Action Council
ABOUT CLIMATE CHOICES
The Canadian Institute for Climate Choices is Canada’s independent climate policy research institute, providing evidence-based policy analysis and advice to decision makers across the country.
SOURCE Canadian Institute for Climate Choices
For further information: Catharine Tunnacliffe, Director of Communications, (226) 212-9883
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