For Matilda Payne, founder of My Extreme Deco, waste is the new gold. Her small Ghana-based enterprise has found a way to valorize waste in an unexpected and creative way: by transforming it into jewelry, furniture and décor. Today, Matilda’s business’ main asset is waste.
SWITCH Africa Green, a joint European Union – UN Environment project, has been instrumental in helping Matilda establish her business and open new horizons for her to grow in the waste management industry.
“Before joining SWITCH Africa Green, My Extreme Deco was solely profit-oriented. My business is now impact-oriented and environmentally-friendly, as we reuse and recycle waste materials into valuable output,“ says Payne.
According to the UN Environment’s Africa Waste Management Outlook, Africa only recycles four per cent of its generated waste. About 90 per cent is disposed of on land, often in uncontrolled dumpsites while the rest is unaccounted for. The report urges African countries to find innovative solutions to address current waste management challenges and to prepare for the expected growth in waste generation on the continent.
A great way to help alleviate the waste menace is to enable businesses to transition to an inclusive green economy through policy support, and access to finance and markets. Through the influence of SWITCH Africa Green, small and medium enterprises such as My Extreme Deco are better able to apply sustainable consumption and production patterns that help them acquire and transform waste.
The growth of green businesses in Africa helps create decent job opportunities and reduce poverty in a more sustainable way. My Extreme Deco is a model example of this type of green business. More than just recycling and turning waste into valuable items, they also benefit the lives of those around them.
The company employs people from the surrounding community, especially women and youth. It also engages in corporate social responsibility by donating five per cent of the sale of every product to the education of underprivileged girls in the community.
However, establishing a business such as My Extreme Deco in Africa has not been easy. Small and medium enterprises within the continent face many challenges including limited access to financing, weak infrastructure, inadequate government regulations and difficulty in reaching markets within the region. “Transporting our products to other countries is one of our biggest challenges,” says Payne. “You go through a lot of payments, taxes and scrutiny. Sometimes, it can be very frustrating. Our other challenge is that people don’t understand the worth of what we are doing.”
Enabling a conducive environment to foster growth of green businesses through innovative initiatives such as SWITCH Africa Green is necessary to support Africa in its transformation towards a greener and more inclusive economy.
The Theatrics of the US Debt Ceiling: Fiscal Austerity or Political Brinkmanship?
It amazes me sometimes how pointless some discussions are to begin with, yet the hype they garner is just outrageous compared to relatively pressing issues in the mainstream spotlight. I am no Democrat supporter or even a backer of Mr. Biden – as my columns would effectively relay. But I am also no fan of idiocy when I see it (also apparent in my writings). And the ongoing tensions lacing the US polity, unfortunately, qualify that criterion by a long shot. While the debate around the debt limit is neither novel nor unprecedented, the preachy statements posited in the US Congress to justify the GOP posturing are downright ridiculous. But even if we don ignorance and accept their premise as is, I fail to see any alternative path toward economic balance and prosperity – assuming that is actually the end goal of the Republican lawmakers.
Before even delving into the nitty-gritty of the debt ceiling saga, let’s get some ambiguities clear and out of the way. The debt limit is a statutory cap on the total amount of money the US federal government is authorized to borrow. Currently, that amount stands at $31.4 trillion – already reached about two weeks ago. However, breaching that limit is well-nigh avertable: All the US Congress needs to do is raise that limit higher, and the chaos would disappear overnight. No risking the smooth functioning of the money markets, no pressure on the Treasury and the Federal Reserve, and no uncertainty while the world grapples with demons on geopolitical and economic fronts. But what about fiscal responsibility? Since 2001, the United States has consistently rolled around with budget deficits year after year and filled the gap with excessive borrowing to meet its financial obligations. In that period, the US has accreted about $20 trillion in national debt; debt held by the public as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has roughly tripled from 32% to 94%. Even for an economy as omnipotent as the United States, that’s prohibitive. But we need a thorough comparison to realize the underlying trends – both on the macroeconomic and political scale.
The US last enjoyed a fiscal surplus during the presidency of a Republican. Mr. George W. Bush. But you rarely witness a vociferous detour around that nook of history by any GOP members. It is perhaps because he squandered that surplus on tax cuts for the wealthy. Or on the invasion of Iraq. While one led to more inequity in an already lopsided social demography, the latter ushered those resources to decimate a foreign land on bogus pretenses. Another manifestation of the ‘Trickle-Down’ economic principle (apparently notorious for the Conservative fractions on both sides of the Atlantic) was during the Trump tenure. Mr. Donald Trump ran through another profligate tax-cutting regime to do good for the US economy. But ironically, the debt ceiling got raised three times during his own term, sans the drama we witness whenever the Republican Party holds either of the chambers of the US Congress but not the presidency. At this point, some people won’t need any more evidence to gauge the true intentions of the right-wing bloc baying for fiscal austerity. But let us sieve through the Democratic rule for a non-partisan outlook.
During the past two decades, only two episodes stand out apropos of record debt as a function of the US economy: the Great Recession 2007-09 and the Covid-19 pandemic. While I admit Mr. Biden’s nearly $2 trillion worth of American Rescue Plan helped (in large part) fuel the current inflation, it also helped avoid a devastating recession and jumpstart a speedy recovery. It kept businesses running, people employed, and spending buoyed. Notwithstanding that the unemployment rate in America is still at a multi-decade low, the economy could very well trip into another recession as the Fed moves aggressively to blunt the pain of price increases. But insofar as projections go, it appears that the American economy would brush past a prolonged recession and manage a relatively softer landing. According to recent estimates, annualized inflation has slowed consistently for the past six months, dipping to 6.5% from a summer peak of 9%. While the Republicans tried effortlessly to channel their narrative around the economy, their embarrassing rout during the Midterm elections was a testament to the facetious nature of their claims.
Then there was the infamous standoff in 2011. We all know how the markets got rattled; borrowing costs spiked; and why the S&P downgraded the credit rating of US debt, even though we didn’t actually breach the limit. But we rarely ask: Why did the Obama administration end up with a debt of such mammoth magnitude? The answer is obvious. The Great Recession dried up tax receipts as the economy plunged into turmoil; the social safety net programs swelled, especially as spending on unemployment benefits soared. In 2008, the federal budget deficit stood at $458.6 billion, which staggered to $1.4 trillion in the subsequent year. Despite that, it took roughly eight years for unemployment to return to normality. Had the government raised taxes or cut spending drastically, the US would have witnessed something like Great Britain.
In the aftermath of the financial crisis, while America sustained spending to bolster the economy via borrowing, the Tory-led British government embarked on an austerity drive: Annual expenditure, as a percentage of GDP, was cut from 46% to 36%; spending on health infrastructure dragged down by half over the last decade. In hindsight, the difference is remarkable. While American wages have just stagnated over the course of the past 15 years, real wages in Britain have declined over the same period. While the US still contends with a rousing China for global economic superiority, Britain got recently supplanted by India (its former colony) as the fifth-largest economy in the world. The story couldn’t be any more lucid.
Ultimately, the GOP political mumble of “adding guardrails” and “fiscal reforms” to bend the debt curve might be politically splendid, but to an economic mind, it is frankly garbage! And I have no doubt that regardless of cogent reasoning, the hardline Republicans would hold the government paralyzed – as was evident when they scrapped concessions from Mr. McCarthy in barter for his post as the House speaker. Nonetheless, the bottom line is that regardless of your disposition – Democrat or Republican, pro-spending or pro-austerity – the debt ceiling is, as aptly verbalized by Senator Ron Wyden, “not about adding new spending,” but “it’s about paying debts that the government [already] owes – debts that were incurred under presidents of both parties.”
The Prolongation of BRICS: Impact on International World Order and Global Economy
BRIC, coined by an economist Jim O’Neil in 2001 as an acronym for the four countries like Brazil, Russia, India and China. South Africa joined in 2010 and this organization turned into BRICS. The prime goal of BRICS was to the formation of the diplomatic and economic assistance framework, and the challenges to western influence in the global economic order. The Western cordially welcomed BRICS with the earnestness. The BRICS, five major emerging economies, together represent about 26% of the world’s geographic area, inhabitant of 2.88 Billion people which is about 42% of the world’s population and accounted for a quarter of the global GDP. The enlargement of BRICS was talked on June, 2022 at the groups summit which took place in Beijing. The 2023 summit will take place in South Africa.
Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov stated that Algeria, Argentina and Iran have already applied for joining in BRICS. In contrast, Saudi Arabia, Turkey , Egypt have declared their intense interest for becoming the member of BRICS and they are already engaged in the membership process. Now the question is what outcomes or impacts may be happened in the International world order and global economy in order to the expanding of BRICS?
Russia is the second largest producer of crude oil among OPEC+ members. Russia is a self-contained of its oil production. Because of Russia-Ukraine War, America and its European allies imposed sanctions on Russia and some European countries minimized their dependency on Russian oil. China imports its oil from Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq, Oman, Brazil and Kuwait. China increases at 21% its imports crude oil from Russia in 2022. The member of OPEC+ decided to reduced their oil production by 2Million barrels per day two month before and it will continue in the end of 2023. The U.S.A and other western countries aggravated.
Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s largest crude oil exporters, 11% of the world’s petroleum liquid production and has 15% of the world’s oil reserves. Recently it has declared that it will take initiatives to boost its oil production from 10 to 13 Million barrels per day. Egypt is a prominent petroleum producer and exporter. Egypt exports cotton and textiles, raw materials, chemical products and petroleum products. Egypt is a dialogue partner to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Iran is the world’s largest hydrocarbon Reserves in the world. Western world impose sanctions again and again. Iran is also the member of OPEC+ and Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Algeria, 10th largest natural gas reserver and 6th largest gas exporter. It is also a member of OPEC+. Turkey exports motor vehicles and their parts, gold and petroleum oil. It is the world’s 7th exporters of cotton. Argentina is a major exporter of wheat and corn.
If Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Argentina, Turkey become the member of BRICS, it will enormous impact on the World order and global economy.
1. The sphere of influence of the oil producer countries will be strengthen. The structure of oil market in the global economy will be changed.
2. Lula da Silva, President of Brazil suggested to make a common currency for the BRICS countries. If it takes place, a more stable currency will be created.
3. As China, Russia, Iran have a rivalry with the U.S.A, they will make more alliances to combat the U.S.A influence in the world.
4. As the U.S dollar is the world’s dominant currency in the global financial and monetary system, and it is the Centre of U.S.A global leadership, the monopolistic influence of Dollar will be undermined. If BRICS countries will reach an agreement to continue their trade through a common currency, De-dollarization will be accelerated.
5. As Turkey, Algeria, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others have already shown their interest to join BRICS, it will accelerate to boost BRICS global influence. Russia, China will lead collectively in the world order.
6. Most of the countries reserve crisis will be resolved.
7. Saudi Arabia, Russia, Brazil will be able to export their oil collectively to China, India, Egypt and Turkey. China is Saudi Arabia’s biggest trading partner with more than $50 Billion.
8. The investment of China and Russia in African continent will be extended. China is the largest trading partner of South Africa. South Africa is more advanced than any other countries of Africa because of its natural wealth and location.
9. De-Dollarization will deteriorate the U.S.A capability to alter the behavior its opponents. If BRICS continuously expand, China will easily promote its agenda and grand strategy in the world.
10. According to World Bank, BRICS grew at an average of 6.26 percent in 2021. On the contrary, G7 grew at 5.15%. If BRICS continues to attract other countries to join, it will emerge as a powerful force of the global leadership. The GDP is hoped to double to 50% of global GDP by 2030.
Are we going into another economic recession? What history tells us
An economic recession or depression is a period of economic decline, typically characterized by a decline in the gross domestic product (GDP), high unemployment, a decline in manufacturing and industrial production, a stock market crash, and a decrease in consumer spending.
The Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe economic downturn that lasted from 1929 to 1939. It was the longest and most severe depression of the 20th century. The Great Depression began in the United States and quickly spread to countries around the world. Many factors contributed to the Great Depression, including economic policies and structural weaknesses in the global economy. During the Great Depression, unemployment rates reached as high as 25% and GDP fell by as much as 30%. Many businesses and banks failed, and people lost their savings and homes. The depression had a profound effect on society, leading to widespread poverty and social unrest. Governments around the world implemented various economic policies in an attempt to combat the depression, including increased government spending, protectionist trade policies, and monetary policies such as the devaluation of currencies. The Great Depression had a lasting impact on the global economy and political landscape, leading to the rise of fascist and communist regimes in some countries and shaping the economic policies of governments for decades to come.
The Suez Crisis of 1956
The Suez Crisis of 1956 was a political and military conflict that arose after the Egyptian government nationalized the Suez Canal, a strategic waterway that connected the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. The nationalization of the Suez Canal led to the withdrawal of foreign investments and a decline in international trade, which hurt the economies of Egypt, France, and the United Kingdom, the three main countries involved in the crisis. The crisis also led to a rise in oil prices, as the closure of the Suez Canal disrupted the flow of oil from the Middle East to Europe. This had an impact on the economies of oil-importing countries and also led to inflation in many developed economies.
The Sue Crisis also led to a decline in stock markets around the world and a fall in the value of the British pound and US dollar, as investors sought safe-haven assets in the wake of the crisis. The Suez Crisis also had a long-term impact on the global economy, as it led to a shift in the balance of power in the Middle East and contributed to a decline in the influence of the Western powers in the region. It also had a lasting impact on international relations, as well as on oil prices and the global economy. The crisis also contributed to the formation of the OPEC and the oil embargo in 1973 which had a significant effect on the world economy.
The International Debt Crisis of 1982
The International Debt Crisis of 1982 was a financial crisis that arose from the inability of several developing countries to repay their debt to international creditors. The crisis began in the early 1980s, when several Latin American countries, as well as some countries in Africa and Asia, found themselves unable to service their debt and were forced to seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international organizations. The crisis was caused by several factors, including a rise in interest rates, a fall in commodity prices, and a decline in economic growth in many developing countries. The crisis was also exacerbated by the fact that many developing countries had borrowed heavily in the 1970s, during a period of high commodity prices and strong economic growth, and were now facing a difficult economic environment.
The International Debt Crisis had a significant impact on the global economy. Developing countries affected by the crisis saw a decline in economic growth and an increase in poverty and unemployment. The crisis also led to a decline in foreign investment in many developing countries. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank responded to the crisis by providing financial assistance to affected countries, in exchange for economic reforms such as austerity measures, structural adjustments, and trade liberalization. These measures had a significant social and economic impact on the affected countries and were criticized for their negative effects on the poor and vulnerable populations.
The International Debt Crisis also had an impact on the global financial system, as many banks and other financial institutions that had lent money to developing countries were at risk of default. The crisis led to a decline in the value of the US dollar and a rise in the value of other currencies, as investors sought safe-haven assets in the wake of the crisis. The International Debt Crisis of 1982 was a major event in the history of the global economy, and its effects were felt for many years afterward. It also led to important changes in the way the international financial system operates and the role of the IMF in providing financial assistance to developing countries.
The East Asian Economic Crisis 1997-2001
The East Asian Economic Crisis, also known as the Asian Financial Crisis, was a period of financial and economic turmoil that affected several countries in East Asia, including Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, and Malaysia, between 1997 and 2001. The crisis was characterized by a sharp devaluation of currencies, a decline in stock markets, and a rise in interest rates, and had a significant impact on the economies and people of the affected countries. The crisis was triggered by several factors, including a rapid increase in debt, a property market bubble, and a lack of transparency in the financial systems of the affected countries. Many of these countries had experienced rapid economic growth in the preceding years and had attracted large amounts of foreign investment, but their economies were not well-equipped to handle the sudden influx of capital.
The crisis led to a sharp devaluation of currencies in the affected countries, which made it difficult for businesses and individuals to repay their debt. This, in turn, led to a wave of bank failures and a decline in economic activity. The crisis also led to a decline in the value of stock markets and a sharp increase in interest rates, making it more difficult for businesses to access credit.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) intervened to provide financial assistance to the affected countries, in exchange for economic reforms such as austerity measures, structural adjustments, and trade liberalization. These measures had a significant social and economic impact on the affected countries and were criticized for their negative effects on the poor and vulnerable populations. The East Asian Economic Crisis had a significant impact on the global economy, as the crisis led to a decline in economic growth and a fall in stock markets around the world. It also led to a decline in foreign investment in many developing countries, as investors became more cautious about investing in countries facing economic problems.
The East Asian Economic Crisis of 1997-2001 was a major event in the history of the global economy, and its effects were felt for many years afterward. It also led to important changes in the way the international financial system operates and the role of the IMF in providing financial assistance to developing countries.
The Russian Economic Crisis 1992-97
The Russian Economic Crisis of 1992-1997 was a period of economic turmoil and financial instability that affected the Russian Federation following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The crisis was characterized by hyperinflation, a sharp decline in industrial production, and a sharp fall in the value of the Russian ruble.
The crisis was caused by several factors, including the massive structural and political changes that occurred following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the rapid privatization of state-owned enterprises, and the lack of a clear economic plan or strategy. Additionally, the crisis was exacerbated by the failure of the government to implement necessary economic reforms, and the ongoing conflicts in the region. The Russian economic crisis had a significant impact on the lives of the Russian people, as living standards declined sharply and poverty and unemployment increased dramatically. The crisis also led to a decline in foreign investment and a fall in the value of the Russian ruble.
The government responded to the crisis by implementing several economic reforms, such as the introduction of a new currency, the Russian ruble, and the implementation of a tight monetary policy to combat hyperinflation. The government also implemented several structural reforms, including the privatization of state-owned enterprises, the liberalization of prices, and the opening up of the economy to foreign trade and investment. The Russian Economic Crisis of 1992-1997 had a significant impact on the global economy, as the crisis led to a decline in economic growth and a fall in stock markets around the world. The crisis also led to a decline in foreign investment in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union, as investors became more cautious about investing in countries facing economic problems.
The Russian Economic Crisis of 1992-1997 was a major event in the history of the Russian economy and had a lasting impact on the country’s economic and political landscape. It also had important lessons for other countries undergoing the transition from a planned to a market economy.
Latin American Debt Crisis in Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina 1994-2002
The Latin American Debt Crisis of 1994-2002 was a period of economic turmoil that affected several countries in Latin America, including Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. The crisis was characterized by a sharp devaluation of currencies, a decline in economic growth, and a rise in interest rates. The crisis had a significant impact on the economies and people of the affected countries. The crisis was triggered by several factors, including a rapid increase in debt, a lack of transparency in the financial systems of the affected countries, and the failure of governments to implement necessary economic reforms. Many of these countries had experienced rapid economic growth in the preceding years and had attracted large amounts of foreign investment, but their economies were not well-equipped to handle the sudden influx of capital.
The crisis led to a sharp devaluation of currencies in the affected countries, which made it difficult for businesses and individuals to repay their debt. This, in turn, led to a wave of bank failures and a decline in economic activity. The crisis also led to a decline in the value of stock markets and a sharp increase in interest rates, making it more difficult for businesses to access credit. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) intervened to provide financial assistance to the affected countries, in exchange for economic reforms such as austerity measures, structural adjustments, and trade liberalization. These measures had a significant social and economic impact on the affected countries and were criticized for their negative effects on the poor and vulnerable populations.
The Latin American Debt Crisis of 1994-2002 had a significant impact on the global economy, as the crisis led to a decline in economic growth and a fall in stock markets around the world. It also led to a decline in foreign investment in many developing countries, as investors became more cautious about investing in countries facing economic problems. The Latin American Debt Crisis of 1994-2002 was a major event in the history of the global economy and its effects were felt for many years afterward. It also led to important changes in the way the international financial system operates and the role of the IMF in providing financial assistance to developing countries.
The Great Recession
The Great Recession was a period of economic decline that lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. It was considered the most severe recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Great Recession began in the United States and quickly spread to other countries around the world. The primary cause of the Great Recession was the collapse of the housing market in the United States, triggered by the widespread use of risky subprime mortgages and lax lending standards. The housing market crash led to a decline in housing prices and a wave of foreclosures, which in turn led to a decline in consumer spending and a decrease in economic activity.
As the recession deepened, several large financial institutions, such as Lehman Brothers, failed, leading to a financial crisis and a credit crunch. This made it difficult for businesses and consumers to access credit, further exacerbating the economic decline.
Governments around the world implemented various policies to try to combat the recession, including monetary policy measures such as interest rate cuts, fiscal policy measures such as stimulus spending, and bank bailouts. Despite these efforts, the recession caused high levels of unemployment, a decline in GDP, and a fall in stock markets around the world. The Great Recession had a profound impact on the global economy, leading to widespread job losses, a decline in economic activity, and a loss of wealth for many people. It also led to significant changes in economic policy and regulations, particularly in the financial sector, to try to prevent a similar crisis from happening again in the future.
The current economic crisis is a downturn in the global economy that is caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ukrainian war, devaluing currency, Economic sanctions on Russia and Iran, New Strategic alignment, and US-China competition. It has resulted in widespread economic disruptions around the world, leading to a decline in consumer spending, an increase in unemployment, and a fall in economic activity.
Similarities between the current economic crisis and previous economic recessions include a decline in the gross domestic product (GDP) and an increase in unemployment which stands at 6.4% from 5.4% in 2021. Businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are facing severe economic challenges, with many closing down or filing for bankruptcy. Consumer spending also took a hit as people become more cautious about spending money and saving for uncertain futures. The current crisis also has some similarities to the 2008 financial crisis, as it has led to a decline in stock markets and a fall in the value of many currencies. The crisis has also led to a decline in foreign investment and a rise in uncertainty in the global economy, populist leadership.
Governments around the world are taking measures to mitigate the economic impact of the crisis, including fiscal policies such as stimulus spending and monetary policies such as interest rate cuts. Central banks are also taking action to provide liquidity to the financial system and to support the economy. The current economic crisis is a reminder of the interconnectedness of the global economy and the importance of swift and coordinated action to mitigate the economic impact of such crises. The crisis has also highlighted the importance of economic diversification, and the need for countries to build resilient economies that can withstand future shocks.
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