COVID-19 has further exacerbated the debt situation in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Prior to the pandemic about half of low-income countries (LICs) were at high risk of debt distress or in debt distress, including a large number of LICs in SSA. A shift in the composition of debt from concessional to non-concessional financing needed to finance infrastructure and human capital development contributed to higher debt levels.
Of the six government defaults recorded in the world in 2020, four were in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Not just that: in 2020 four other countries in the region benefitted from the debt service suspension initiative (DSSI) set up by the G20. Indeed, according to the latest World Economic Outlook (IMF, April 6, 2021), in 2020 general government gross debt in the area as a whole rose by about 9 percentage points of GDP, giving Latin America and the Caribbean the unenviable record of most indebted region in the developing world.
In 2013, Chinese president Xi Jinping officially charted the idea of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) during an official visit to Kazakhstan. From mines to railways, China embarked in a large number of infrastructure projects to enhance land and maritime trade connectivity. There was never a clear target in terms of the amount of investments needed for the BRI to be successful, though official estimates hovered between 4 and 8 trillion USD.
The pandemic has caused a very large increase in public and private debt all over the world. The G20 is deeply involved, in particular, in dealing with sustainability issues of poorest countries’ debt. In order to advance on this front, several measures are under discussion, including debt cancellation, various forms of restructuring, international risk sharing, and an increase in common debt issued via multilateral financial institutions.
The G20 measures in 2020 to support low income countries (LICs) facing unsustainable debt burdens were intended to give nations the space to mitigate consequences of the virus and rebuild their economies in a manner consistent with development and climate goals. It has now become acutely apparent that such efforts were incomplete and inadequate. It is paramount that the G20 build on past work on debt relief and supplement it with new thinking and financing.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, public debt surged from 103.8% to 120% on average in advanced economies and from 54% to 63.4% in developing countries, with significant differences among them. After the COVID-induced economic crisis, a new financial crisis may arise, wherever it comes from. Debt relief measures for poor countries were launched by the Saudi G20 and have been recently strengthened by the Italian G20 presidency. Are they sufficient or should they be further enhanced?
As global trade continues to face waves of uncertainty amidst the pandemic and ongoing geopolitical tensions, not least the unresolved trade war between the United States and China, the future of EU-Asia relations is going to be heavily impacted by the most recent development in the Asia-Pacific. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) signed last November is a symbol of a pan-Asian trade network, inspired by the belief that greater market openness will lead to greater economic prosperity.
The pandemic has cast a severe negative influence on the world economy. The Global Economic Outlook Report released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows that global GDP fell by 4.2% in 2020, which means that the total global economy dropped from $87.75 trillion in 2019 to $84.07 trillion in 2020, shrinking by $3.68 trillion.
2020 was a terrible year for Asia but for some less than for others. A number of countries managed to grow positively despite the pandemic, with Mainland China as the most obvious example but not the only one. Taiwan grew above potential and Vietnam grew positively. The rest of Asia really had a hard time, especially India as well as Indonesia and the Philippines, due to the much wider spread of the pandemic and the limited fiscal and monetary space.
Tourism activity represents a considerable part of the economy in Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece.The sector accounts for between 6% and 8% of these countries’ GDP directly and for further 8% to 13% indirectly, representing a major component of services exports.
Political transitions are difficult, but economic transitions are even harder. Ten years after the uprisings that ousted long-established political regimes in the Middle East and North Africa, the social grievances and structural economic weaknesses that sparked the protests all over the region remain largely unaddressed. With its sluggish growth and high unemployment, Tunisia is no exception.
From smart cities to digital economy, from geo-localization to smart-mobility, from telecommunications to international security, the most prominent innovations of nowadays society are shaped and progressively rely on Space platforms and tools. Space is in fact one of the most promising markets globally: a magnet for private and public investments, estimated to reach a value of €500 billions in the next decade.