In 2018, the African heads of state signed an agreement that has eventually brought to life the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). In July 2019, 54 of the 55 African Union states signed the Agreement, with Eritrea the only country staying out. Finally, on January 1st, 2021, the African Union officially launched the African Continental Free Trade Area, a step towards continental integration and the main target of the African Union Agenda 2063. It will be the world’s free trade area with the largest number of member countries, and is expected to be a game-changer in how Africans trade with each other and the rest of the world.
According to a recent survey across 34 countries, more people worry about income inequality than about the current COVID-19 pandemic. Pessimism with regard to inequality appears to be particularly widespread in France, followed by Spain, Greece, and Germany.
Global inequality increased until the 1970s/80s. Yet, more recent historical developments show a different picture. In fact, global income inequality decreased significantly during the past decades. Those who care about decreasing global inequalities should advocate better institutional contexts, to enhance growth in poorer countries and ease migration flows on a global scale.
This year’s winner of the Nobel Peace Prize came as a real surprise. The World Food Programme (WFP) of the United Nations received the award “for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.” In betting agencies, the most popular candidates were the World Health Organisation and Greta Thunberg. Very few had the WFP on their betting slips.
The Coronavirus has infected more than 48 million people and caused more than a million deaths. Numbers are still on the rise. This virus has not only taken people’s lives but also people’s jobs, businesses, and wealth. In a sentence, it has created an unprecedented global economic crisis.
After the fall of the Iron Curtain, comparing political and economic system appeared to have become a futile exercise. Western democracies had outperformed the socialist-communist social systems. Yet, thirty years later we see that no “End of History” has occurred, and that the fundamental question of economic systems is back. Despite being an authoritarian one-party state, China has become a global economic and military superpower. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the rigorous action taken by the Chinese government is sometimes praised as effective and superior to that of the West.
The Evil of Agricultural Subsidies: the Case of EU Common Agricultural Policy, Netherlands and New Zealand
Although we live today in an interconnected global economy, where international trade is the norm, and most of the products we use daily are manufactured abroad, agriculture remains one of the most protectionist industries. All over the world, the agriculture sector is heavily subsidied and protected by governments from foreign competition. For example, in the United States, 20 billion dollars are allocated from the federal budget every year to subsidize the agricultural sector, while Europe gives 72 billion dollars every year in support of the agricultural industry. Today, due to these subsidies, several trade disputes keep the World Trade Organization (WTO) busy.
In recent years, the word “populism” has been everywhere. The first figure shows the rising use of the term by considering the frequency with which it was googled over the 2004-2020 period. As one can see, the US Presidential elections raised considerable interest. Queries reached a peak at the beginning of 2017, when Donald Trump took office. A burst of interest in populism also went hand in hand with Jair Bolsonaro’s political fortunes in Brazil. He was indeed depicted by the International Press and by many neutral observers as an ultra-right-wing populist, who took the presidency of the world’s fourth-largest democracy by virtue of people’s frustration, disillusion and anger.
While Europe’s GDP declines (12.1% in the Eurozone and 11.9% in the EU) and the debate on the EU next 7-year budget becomes heated, the relations between specific countries and the EU went largely unnoticed. The fact in point is that on July 10, the ECB welcomed Bulgaria and Croatia to the ERM2, aka as “the Euro’s Waiting room”.