2022 marks the 20th anniversary since the launch of the African Union, an increasingly relevant voice within the international community and a key player for regional integration and economic development in Africa. A crucial step towards reducing the continent’s fragmentation was the 2021 inauguration of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), an ambitious initiative with the potential to integrate a continental market of over one billion consumers.
In March, the establishment of a new administration parallel with Abdelhamid Dbeibah’s United Nations-backed Government of National Unity (GNU) caught global attention, as Libya slipped back to an era of explicit political divisions. However, the timeline and fault lines of this crisis predate the appointment of Fathi Bashagha’s parallel Government of National Stability (GNS), which is supported by the House of Representatives (HoR, Libya’s parliament). Instead, the roots can be traced to the battle to control Libya’s budget throughout the last eighteen months.
Since the 1960s, the need to overcome the limitations of individual countries has driven the effort to create African regional institutions capable of managing concerted political processes. The desire to promote regional integration met the difficulties of a set of countries with small and uncompetitive domestic economies, often dependent on external markets, in many cases landlocked, and therefore subject to higher transportation costs for goods.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is Africa’s most ambitious integration initiative. This free trade area will add to the existing regional economic community customs unions, free trade areas and other trading arrangements, including bilateral trade agreements. It is designed to liberalise trade between countries that are not trading under trade preferences, addressing not only tariff but also non-tariff barriers (NTBs).
Economic sanctions imposed by the EU against Russia aim at weakening Moscow’s economy by cutting it off trade flows with European countries. So far, six rounds of sanctions have been introduced, but have they been effective? Are they going to harm European economies as well, and to what extent? In the short term, Europe growth prospects will be affected; but in the medium to long run, it might be possible for the EU to strengthen its trade partnerships with other countries thanks to its extensive networks of Preferential Trade Agreements.
Africa has been moving fast: with an average growth rate between 4.5% and 5% over the last two decades, the continent is one of the most dynamic regions in the world. Its economy has been progressively shifting from a raw-material export-orientated model towards a consumer economy supported by its demographics – currently 1.5bn, forecast to reach 2.5bn in 2050.
Franco-German relations have always been at the core of Paris’ European policy. With the 2019 Aachen Treaty, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel built on the 1963 Elysée Treaty and further strengthened their relations. Since the Covid-19 crisis, however, Paris has found itself more aligned with Rome than Berlin in many respects, as shown by a number of economic indicators. France’s average growth rate before the pandemic (2015-2019) was around 1.6%, just a bit lower than Germany’s (1.7%) and higher than Italy’s (1%).
France reinforces its Space Strategy to compete in the new arena, with a focus on EU cooperation.
Chinese policy makers have been engaged in a massive regulatory crackdown for over a year. A number of sectors have been affected, starting with the tech sector, followed by the education sector. At the same time the real estate sector has also been severely affected by a specific regulatory crackdown (the three red lines) and a more general antitrust push has also taken place. In addition, President Xi Jinping has put at the top of the agenda the quest for common prosperity.
Xi Jinping a Davos esalta la crescita cinese e invita ad abbandonare “la mentalità da Guerra fredda”. Intanto la Cina si prepara a festeggiare il capodanno, tra lockdown e culle vuote.
Globalization as we know it is destined to change. Disruptive changes in industrial production and global demand are contributing to this phenomenon.
In 2022, the global supply chain crunch will worsen. Why and what comes next?
The difficulties plaguing global supply chains have captured the world’s attention in recent weeks. These supply chain issues will likely persist for the next six months to a year, possibly even longer.