All posts by Michael Patotschka

Wheat

We are looking for
50 000 t of Wheat

Grade 1
Protein: 11.5% Min
Moisture: 14% Max
Test weight: 79 kg/hl, Min
Foreign matter: 0.75% Max
Broken kernels: 1.5% Max
Heat damaged kernels: 0.5% Max
Total damaged kernels: 1.0% Max
Smutty kernels: 0.1% Max
Weevil kernels: 0.5% Max
White belly: 15% Max
Melilotus indicus L: 8 sds
Gluten: 2.7% Max
Water absorption: 75% Min
Radiation: none

Contact:
AYSHA TRADING
Michael Patotschka
D 47058 Duisburg
Germany
Tel. +49 1737692688
E-mail: mpatska@gmail.com

Michael Patotschka

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IMF projects improved growth for Africa but debt and limited taxes still prompt concern

he International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that the continent’s economic growth will reach 3.5% in 2024 and 4% in 2025.

Some of the factors fuelling this optimism include the fact that inflation has almost halved, public debt ratios have broadly stabilised, and several countries have issued Eurobonds this year, ending a two-year hiatus from international markets.

“After peaking at almost 10% in late 2022, inflation has nearly halved to around 6% in the early part of the year thanks to decisive action by central banks,” Abebe Aemro Selassie, the director of the African department at the IMF, told reporters during the Fund’s spring meetings this April.

He emphasised that lower inflation has translated to slower food price increases, terming this as a “positive development” for a region where the cost-of-living crisis has been acute in recent years. “In addition, fiscal consolidation efforts are starting to pay off, with the median public debt stabilising at around 60% of GDP, halting a 10-year upward trend,” he observed.

Not out of the woods yet

“These are encouraging signs. But the region is not out of the woods yet,” cautions Selassie, citing concerns around high borrowing costs amid a crippling funding squeeze facing several countries on the continent. “Far too many countries still face a funding squeeze. Their borrowing costs are high, and funding sources curtailed. Government interest payments now account for about 12% of revenues, more than double the level a decade ago. And official development assistance has become scarcer.”

The impact of these challenges on Africa is significant. Rather than increasing investment in critical areas such as health, education, agriculture, and infrastructure – sectors that can drive development and lift millions out of poverty – governments are allocating essential funds toward debt servicing. This has implications for the region’s growth prospects and its ability to withstand future shocks, argues Selassie, who oversees the IMF’s operations and engagement with 45 countries across sub-Saharan Africa.

He believes that in the face of these challenges, governments in the region should prioritise domestic resource mobilisation, laying emphasis on tax policies that help governments cut their deficits. Specifically, he called for African countries to “cut back tax expenditures” that undermine equity. Tax expenditures are special provisions in the tax code – such as exclusions, deductions, deferrals, credits, and preferential tax rates – that benefit specific activities or groups of taxpayers. He also called for continued digitization of tax procedures to boost efficiency and transparency.

Getting African countries to pay more tax, while ensuring that the burden is equitably shared and economic stability and growth are not compromised in the process, will be key in bolstering Africa’s efforts to reduce its unhealthy reliance on international debt markets.

Many African countries receive a much lower proportion of their GDP in tax than do countries on other continents, according to a report by the Organisation for Co-operation and Economic Development (OECD). The report, which covers tax revenue data for 30 African countries between 1990 and 2018, shows that the average tax-to-GDP ratio for the 30 African countries was 16.5% in 2018. This compared with an average of 34.3% in the 38 OECD member states; and 23.1% for the Latin American and Caribbean nations.

Calls for global financial architecture reform grow louder

Africa’s challenge in collecting sufficient taxes partly stems from international firms exploiting loopholes in the global taxation system to evade paying taxes on the continent, leading African countries to an unhealthy reliance on international debt markets.

“A new global tax system attentive to the needs of the global south is a key priority,” notes Brahima Coulibaly, vice president and director of global economy and development, Brookings Institution. There are positive signs that the global taxation system is moving toward greater equity. Last year, an Africa-backed resolution at the United Nations (UN) paved the way for transferring control of international tax rules from the OECD – comprising 38 wealthy countries – to the UN. This shift ensures that all 193 member states are on a more equal footing, giving African countries a fairer chance at shaping outcomes on negotiations relating to international taxation.

Continue reading IMF projects improved growth for Africa but debt and limited taxes still prompt concern

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ECA executive secretary Claver Gatete: Only a regional approach can deliver fast development

Rwanda’s former minister of finance Claver Gatete takes over as the executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission of Africa at a time of great change for the continent.

Claver Gatete takes over the leadership of the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) at a pivotal juncture, as we approach the halfway stage of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and as Africa enters the second decade of its development blueprint Agenda 2063.

The long shadow of Covid-19 still hangs over the global economy with countries around the world, but especially in Africa, trying to recover from the supply chain shocks, sky-high inflation and the subsequent interest rate hikes. Adding to the current instability is the war in Ukraine – arguably a symptom of a re-ordering in the 70-year old rules-based, neoliberal order that had, seemingly, been entrenched in the wake of the last major disruption, the Second World War.

Into the mix comes the latest, harrowing manifestation of the long running conflict in the Middle East and its potential to spill over with incalculable consequences for the world. The need for finance Also on the table is the stark fact what while Western countries, especially in America and Europe, have been able to run large deficits and inject large amounts of cash to kick-start growth, those in Africa and the wider developing world continue to be bogged down by a lack of concessional or affordable financing.

To add to their woes they also face existential threats from climate-related events, hence the urgent demand for a greater say in the global economic and political structures that do not serve them fairly. This is the maelstrom that Gatete steps into as executive secretary of the UN agency, which wasspecifically set up to “promote the economic and social development of its member states, foster intraregional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa’s development”.

In pursuit of this mandate, the Commission offers advice to member states, helps to strengthen macroeconomic policy and supports efforts towards regional and sub-regional integration. Perhaps the best summary of what the ECA has been responsible for was provided by the late Professor Adebayo Adedeji, the celebrated former head of the organisation, in his presentation – History and Prospects for Regional Integration in Africa” in 2002. He said that the ECA had been involved in “the establishment of virtually all the major existing African regional integration arrangements (ARIA) namely, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS, 1975), the Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern Africa (PTA, 1981) which was subsequently transformed into COMESA, the Central African Economic Community (CAEC, 1983) and the African Economic Community (AEC, 1991)”.

When we met Gatete in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, he offered a practical assessment of what the ECA’s role should be during this dramatic moment in the history of the continent. Its more routine task is to support macroeconomic management, which he explains includes fiscal management, supporting the real productive sectors and fostering a balance between payments and monetary policy.

“Everything you do has an implication on the monetary side. Whatever decision you take definitely has an implication because if you have to accumulate more debt or more deficit, it has implications. So we help countries to manage their own macroeconomic situation, because that’s what is going to actually stabilise the country,” he says.
Continue reading ECA executive secretary Claver Gatete: Only a regional approach can deliver fast development

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A UAE company has secured African land the size of the UK for controversial carbon offset projects

In late September, Zimbabwe’s environment minister signed away control over a staggering amount of land — almost 20% of his country — to a little-known foreign company. Blue Carbon was a small, new outfit, not even a year old, but its chief was no fledgling entrepreneur: he was an Emirati royal whose family had ruled Dubai for 190 years, flush with oil money.

The Dubai-based Blue Carbon has secured forested land nearly equivalent to the size of the United Kingdom across five African nations to run projects to conserve forests that might otherwise be logged, preventing huge amounts of planet-heating carbon dioxide, or CO2, from entering the atmosphere.

Continue reading A UAE company has secured African land the size of the UK for controversial carbon offset projects

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