6 African Business February 2021
Business Intelligence News
UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, is seeking $100m to enhance refugee protection in African countries en route to the Mediterranean in 2021 after violence in the Sahel forced an estimated 2.9m people to flee the region. The strategy seeks to increase outreach, identification and assistance to refugees along the route, as well as enhance access to education and livelihoods in countries of asylum. Priority is also given to protection assessments for those in remote locations, and to increased cash-based assistance to vulnerable refugees in urban settings. At least 1,064 deaths were recorded on the central and western Mediterranean crossing routes in 2020.
SA regulator calls for tougher approach to cryptocurrencies
South Africa’s financial industry regulator is calling for extra powers to regulate dealing in cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, the watchdog’s head of enforcement has told Bloomberg. The move follows a Financial Sector Conduct Authority probe into the failure of Mirror Trading International, a South African Bitcoin platform which claimed to have around 260,000 members. The regulator also wants more power to prosecute fraudsters. (For more about Bitcoin, see pages 38-39.)
UNHCR seeks $100m to improve protection for refugees
AfDB launches programme to accelerate climate change adaptation
The African Development Bank has launched the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP) to mobilise $25bn to scale up and accelerate climate change adaptation actions across Africa. The AAAP, a joint initiative with the Global Center on Adaptation, was announced as UN secretary general António Guterres called for 50% of all climate finance provided by developed countries and multilateral development banks to be allocated to adaptation and resilience in developing countries. Separately, the Bank signed an action plan with the European Investment Bank to boost public and private sector investment.
Vaccine rollout boosts expectations of global recovery, says IMF
The approval and rollout of vaccines have boosted expectations of a global recovery and lifted risk asset prices, despite rising Covid-19 cases and persistent uncertainties surrounding the economic outlook, according to the IMF Global Financial Stability Update issued in January. Until vaccines are widely available, the market rally and the economic recovery remain predicated on continued monetary and fiscal policy support, says the Fund, while inequitable distribution of vaccines risks exacerbating financial vulnerabilities, especially for frontier market economies. An ongoing rebound of portfolio flows provides better financing options for emerging market economies facing large rollover needs in 2021, the report says.