COVID-19’s path of destruction has not left untouched the fundamental need we all share for food security. Rising food prices and other factors have cut access, especially for the world’s poorest, to nutritious, affordable food. Government and relief agencies worldwide are scrambling to ensure the fulfilment of this most basic human need.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made 2020 a truly singular year. With a deep global recession resulting from strict lockdown measures being implemented throughout much of the world, there has been little for investors to cheer. But with signs that the worst may be mostly behind us, an increasing number of opportunities will undoubtedly present themselves as we move into 2021.
The global economy is caught up in a vicious spiral of worsening financial conditions spawned by the pandemic. Many developing economies were lumbered with high debt loads before COVID-19, but the crisis has greatly aggravated their crippling debt situations. As millions of people teeter on the brink of extreme poverty levels, what are the three weakest gaps in the international debt architecture, and how can they best be patched up?
Technology has responded to the call to produce innovations that will slow global warming, creating an arsenal of renewable-energy alternatives to fossil fuels. But distribution of these innovations to developing countries has not kept pace, and they are lagging behind in low-carbon adoption. What needs to be done to transfer and deploy existing low-carbon technologies throughout the globe as quickly as possible? The answer lies in solutions such as trade.
January 13 of this year marked the 10th anniversary of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, a devastating episode that levelled much of the Caribbean nation, leaving 300,000 dead and displacing a further 1.6 million (more than 10 percent of the total population).
2019 was the year of two consequential free-trade agreements involving Latin American and Caribbean countries: USMCA and EU-Mercosur. How much of a positive impact these South-North agreements will have on especially countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, which have been languishing after the commodity boom, is yet to be seen. But they are likely to be more effectual than the South-South agreements that are in place in the region.
On the final Monday of 2019, protesters staged a sit-in at the Beirut offices of Bank Audi, Lebanon’s largest bank. Chants of “We want the money!” were heard as the furious protesters—many of them Audi’s clients—demanded that tellers give them their funds.
A key global initiative that currently unites much of the world is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Launched by the United Nations back in 2015, Agenda 2030 is an action plan for “people, the planet and prosperity”, which countries and stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, have pledged to implement.
Despite the gender-diversity rhetoric in business, the gender makeup of corporate boards, including those of MENA, reveal that the female population is poorly represented at the top. And studies prove that this imbalance works against the bottom line. Companies with female directors tend to fly higher profit-wise than their all-male competitors. Changes need to start at the societal level, with more women succeeding on every rung of the business ladder.
A recent report by Access to Cash has suggested that cash transactions could fall to just 10% of all payments within the next 15 years. This is not very surprising given thatlast year, debit cards officially overtook notes and coins as the UK’s most popular form of payment.