RCEP to benefit poorer countries in the region

London — The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement, signed on November 15, will provide a boost for foreign investment into the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the region, officials said.

The RCEP deal includes all ten ASEAN countries, along with Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea.The agrement will benefit Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, among others. Continue reading

WHO establishes Council on the Economics of Health for All

Geneva, 13 November 2020 — The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced a new Council on the Economics of Health for All, comprising leading economists and health experts, to put “Health for All” at the centre of how we think about value creation and economic growth.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the consequences of chronic under-investment in public health. Continue reading

‘The LDCs should enhance their participation in the global value chain and attract investment‘

DR RATNAKAR ADHIKARI has been serving as the Executive Director of the Geneva-based Enhanced Integrated Framework (www.enhancedif.org) since October 2013, prior to which he was the Chief Executive Director of South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE), a Kathmandu-based regional think-tank. He also served as a Visiting Professor at the Mid-western University, Nepal; as Senior Adviser to the National Planning Commission, Government of Nepal; Trade Programme Specialist for UNDP, Asia Pacific Regional Centre in Colombo; and Manager at the Nepal Indosuez Bank Ltd. Dr Adhikari has published extensively in the areas of trade, investment, technology, intellectual property and competition. Having completed his Masters degrees from University of Delhi, India and World Trade Institute, Switzerland, he obtained his PhD from the University of Warwick, UK. Dr Adhikari spoke to BHAGIRATH YOGI on issues related to the impact of COVID -19 on LDCs, trade and investment. Excerpts:

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How much do people around the world care about climate change? We surveyed 80,000 people in 40 countries to find out

New survey results from 40 countries shows that climate change matters to most people. In the vast majority of countries, fewer than 3% said climate change was not serious at all.

We carried out this research as part of the University of Oxford’s Reuters Institute annual Digital News Reports. More than 80,000 people were surveyed online in January and February of this year. Continue reading

Dealing with the economic challenges for Nepal brought about by Covid-19

  • Professor Surya P. Subedi

The pandemic of Covid-19 has brought many challenges for states of all size and shape, whether economically or politically. The hardest hit is likely to be the least-developed countries like Nepal which already suffer from other handicaps. They lack a long-term strategy to use economic diplomacy successfully to develop the economy of the country. Economic diplomacy is about knowing how to exploit the unique selling points that the country has, maximise the benefits resulting from them and putting in place policies designed to achieve such objectives. The following are some of them:

  1. Benefiting from competition among foreign actors

 

We are often led to believe that Nepal is a resource poor country, but in reality, it is a country rich in water resources and other resources such medicinal Himalayan herbs and has a huge potential for the development of the tourism and other services sectors. Since the country is endowed with such resources and there is so much potential for the services sector, Nepal is well placed to attract foreign investment to harness its natural resources and develop its services sector since the country has achieved some degree of political stability. Continue reading

Support LDC health systems to cope with the Covid-19, UN officials say

London — The international community must support LDC governments in mobilizing adequate resources to allow their health systems to cope with the Covid-19 emergency, while also assisting vulnerable segments of the population, two UN officials have said.

COVID-19 exacerbates poverty risks in the poorest countries

Writing a blog, Paul Akiwumi and Giovanni Valensisi of the Division for Africa and Least Developed Countries, UNCTAD, have also called for the provision of emergency financial resources – preferably on a grant basis – and of technical support, as well as secure access to critical medical supplies. Continue reading

World Bank approves $39.5M project to help South Asia build climate resilience

Worldbank, Washington DC — The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved a $39.5 million project to help South Asia build resilience to climate threats and disasters by sharing regional data and knowledge, developing regional standards and guidelines for infrastructure, and promoting climate-resilient policies and investments.

The Climate Adaptation and Resilience for South Asia (CARE) Project will help develop a public platform to inform climate planning and investments, and fund innovative and disruptive technology to support resilience in South Asia. It will also assess climate impacts in districts across Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan to support agriculturelivestock, water, and transport. Continue reading

G20 agree to provide temporary debt relief to the world’s poorest countries

London – The Group of 20 leading economies have agreed to provide temporary debt relief to the world’s poorest countries in the wake of the corona pandemic.

During a teleconference meeting held on Wednesday,  G-20 finance ministers and central bankers said the moratorium on debt payments would begin on May 1 and last through the end of the year 2020. They also asked private creditors to join them. Continue reading