Updates from Nigeria, Climate Change and Tunisia

COVID-19 Maintains Persistent Economic Disruption in Nigeria

On Tuesday, Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics and the United Nations Development Program reported that around 20% of Nigerian workers have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, joint research examining the impact of the pandemic on Africa’s largest economy found a staggering 33% unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of 2020. Workers in the informal sector have particularly struggled to access credit. and financing to stay open as trade slows. Notably, losses across all sectors were not uniform, as more than half of the companies surveyed were successful in retaining their workforce, a finding that the authors say suggests Nigeria has maintained “pockets of resilience” throughout. throughout the pandemic.

In addition, on Wednesday, JP Morgan announced economic growth forecasts for Nigeria significantly lower than those of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Central Bank of Nigeria. JP Morgan now predicts that the Nigerian economy, which contracted 1.79% in 2020, will grow only 1.5% in 2021. The IMF and the Central Bank of Nigeria had estimated GDP growth at around 2.5 and 3%, respectively, for the country. This year. JP Morgan explained his prediction from a weaker outlook on the country’s “continued lack of foreign currency liquidity, underlying economic weakness, an emerging third wave of Covid-19 infections and slow vaccine rollout will slow down probably the recovery process “.

For more comments on the impacts of COVID-19 on the Nigerian economy, see: “Understanding the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the Nigerian economy. For more on job creation strategies for young Africans, see the article “Addressing Youth unemployment in Africa through industries without smokestacks: A synthesis on prospects, constraints, and Policies.” ”

Gabon wants to be paid for its role in the fight against climate change; South Africa takes action to reduce emissions

Earlier this week, Gabonese officials said the country would seek payment for its role in tackling climate change. Importantly, in March last year, a study published by the journal Nature found that many areas of the Congo Basin were showing signs of reduced carbon uptake and specifically predicted that, d ‘By 2030, the basin will absorb 14 percent less carbon than the previous one. 10 to 15 years old. This decrease in the carbon absorption capacity of the Congo Basin will be detrimental to the fight against climate change given the key role of the region in regulating moisture transport, rainfall regimes and the global climate. In fact, according to the study, while the Congo Basin is the second largest rainforest in the world behind the Amazon, it stores more carbon in the same area. Gabon, home to 12 percent of the Congo Basin, has managed to protect its share of rainforest, making it one of the few countries in the world with a negative carbon footprint.

In related updates, on Thursday, September 23, the South African cabinet adopted ambitious new emission reduction targets. As a result, South Africa, Africa’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, now aims to reduce its emissions between 350 million and 420 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030. This announcement precedes the United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in November where South Africa’s state-owned electricity company Eskom plans to apply for funding to help it switch from coal to renewable energy sources. Likewise, an announcement by the Minerals Council of South Africa said South African mining companies plan to invest $ 2.7 billion to build 2,000 megawatts of power generation capacity. Eskom’s persistent blackouts have prompted mining companies to develop power plants, Bloomberg says, and mining companies have shown willingness to move away from coal-fired power as investors become more vigilant about the climate crisis.

In other climate news, a Beninese startup has built computers from jerry cans, plastic containers used to transport liquids. The startup, BlowLab, not only used recycled jerry cans, old computer parts and other recycled materials to build computers, but also taught others how to build theirs for free. These computers are also cost effective: a traditional desktop computer can cost between 300 and 350,000 CFA francs ($ 0.54 and $ 625) while “jerrys” can cost between 100 and 150,000 CFA francs ($ 0.18 and $ 266). BlowLab has also announced its intention to make these computers available to schools in remote areas.

Tunisian President proclaims power by decree

On Wednesday September 22, Tunisian President Kais Saied announced new measures that will allow him to rule by decree, ignoring the provisions of the current constitution. The measures, which include granting the power to unilaterally issue legislative directives and appoint ministerial posts, follow the suspension of the Tunisian parliament and the dismissal of the prime minister by Saied on July 25. The actions of the past few months have drawn criticism from Saied. Tunisian political rivals as well as Western donors, who pressured Saied to take steps to find a new prime minister and restore democratic rule. On Thursday, four political parties opposed to the president (who ran as an independent) —Attayar, Al Jouhmouri, Akef and Ettakatol — issued a joint statement condemning Saied’s decision, saying: “We consider that the president has lost its legitimacy by violating the Constitution. ”The most represented party in Tunisia’s parliament, Ennahda, also rejected Saied’s request and had previously called his suspension from parliament a“ coup ”.

In Wednesday’s announcement, Saied said he would form a committee to draft amendments to the 2014 constitution with the aim of ultimately establishing “a true democracy in which the people are truly sovereign.” In the meantime, Saied has indicated that the preamble to the 2014 constitution and any clauses that do not contradict its new legislative and executive powers will still be enforceable.

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