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Towards More Inclusive Growth in Senegal

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The World Bank Group’s Board of Directors today discussed the Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Senegal that lays out the World Bank Group program for FY20–FY24 and expressed broad support for the WBG’s engagement in Senegal’s structural reforms to achieve economic transformation and become an emerging economy by 2035.

The WBG will continue and deepen its support to implement Senegal’s ambitious  policy reform agenda. The Board acknowledged the transformational reforms to enable private sector driven growth in the energy sector and the digital economy and welcomes the commitment in the CPF to accelerate poverty reduction and address inequities by investing in human capital and enabling jobs and economic transformation.

According to World Bank Country Director Nathan Belete, “Senegal is approaching the third decade of the 21st century with tremendous promise and opportunities. This new partnership strategy will support the country to take advantage of its attributes and overcome persistent challenges to achieve transformational impact and emergence by 2035.”  

Senegal’s economic expansion has been accelerating and growing consistently above 6 percent per year since 2014. This high growth trajectory places Senegal among best performers in Sub-Saharan Africa and is reflective of incipient structural transformation, supported by reforms aimed at improving the investment climate, governance and investment in infrastructure, energy and agriculture. The growth outlook is favorable and projected to remain solid at about 6.8 percent in 2020, reflecting higher investment and exports. Growth could exceed 7 percent from 2021 onwards if fiscal vulnerabilities are contained and transformational reforms are implemented to crowd-in private sector investments.

“We are confident that the CPF will fully leverage IFC’s strategy, which foresees an ambitious upstream agenda of reforms to catalyze greater private investment in Senegal,” indicated Aliou Maiga, IFC’s Director for West and Central Africa.

“MIGA will focus on encouraging foreign investment through its political risk insurance instruments, including in the energy, water, and transport sectors, while also leveraging the engagement of IDA and IFC. In addition, MIGA will continue to explore opportunities to support public investments in these sectors through its credit-enhancement product,” said Hoda Atia Moustafa, MIGA’s Africa Regional Head based in Dakar.

Guided by the priorities of the government’s Plan Senegal Emergent and its second Priority Action Plan (2019-2023), and the recent Systematic Country Diagnostic of Senegal. The World Bank Group’s three areas of support are to:

Build human capital to enhance productivity: A child born today will achieve only 42 percent of his or her productivity potential if key health and education outcomes do not improve. Building on the gains of the social safety net and education and health projects, the world Bank will accelerate progress in establishing strong literacy and numeracy skills among primary and lower secondary school children; promoting employability for youth; and empowering adolescent girls and women to have more control over their childbearing and productivity.

Boost competitiveness and job creation: Investment climate in Senegal has improved, with Senegal jumping 35 ranks in its Doing Business ranking from 161 in 2015 to 123 in 2020 by improving access to credit information and streamlining tax administration for Small and Medium Enterprises through the eTax platform. The focus will now be on improving digital and physical connectivity at the national and regional levels; lowering energy costs and carbon footprint and optimizing the energy mix; promoting the service economy, including through financial; and boosting the productivity and competitiveness of agriculture and related value chains.

Building resilient institutions and communities: with the rapid urbanization and spatial inequalities in access to water and sanitation, the World Bank will focus on promoting and protecting, ecosystems, and infrastructure in the face of climate change; ensuring access to water and sanitation in marginal rural and peri-urban areas; and improving the efficiency and transparency of governance institutions and social protection systems.

The strategy will also promote digital technology particularly in education, agriculture, social protection, and finance to support Senegal’s leapfrogging into a modern economy. It also puts gender at the center of the strategy by focusing on girls and women’s empowerment and promotes resilience to climate change across   the various areas of focus.

Currently, Senegal the country has 18 projects receiving IDA financing amounting to $1.8 billion, and nine regional IDA projects for $346.5 million. IFC has a portfolio of about $140 million with significant investments in the power sector, financial sector and to local businesses in agro-processing. MIGA’s exposure in Senegal is $306.2 million, its 6th largest in Africa.

Finance

COVID’s led to ‘massive’ income and productivity losses

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Job losses or reduced working hours due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic cost the world the equivalent of 255 million jobs in 2020, the UN International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Monday, noting that the “massive impact” was nearly four times the number lost during the 2009 global financial crisis. 

According to the ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the world of work, the losses resulted in an 8.3 per cent decline in global income, before factoring in support measures, equivalent to $3.7 trillion or 4.4 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP). 

Recovery scenarios 

While there is still a high degree of uncertainty for 2021, the ILO estimates projected that most countries could see a relatively strong recovery in the second half the year, as COVID-19 vaccination programmes take effect. 

ILO put forward three scenarios: a baseline estimate showing a 3 per cent decline; a pessimistic forecast indicating a 4.6 per cent loss, and in the most optimistic scenario, a 1.3 per cent decrease in working hours through this year. 

“The signs of recovery we see are encouraging, but they are fragile and highly uncertain, and we must remember that no country or group can recover alone”, Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General said

“We are at a fork in the road. One path leads to an uneven, unsustainable, recovery with growing inequality and instability, and the prospect of more crises. The other focuses on a human-centred recovery for building back better, prioritizing employment, income and social protection, workers’ rights and social dialogue”, he added. 

“If we want a lasting, sustainable and inclusive recovery, this is the path policy-makers must commit to.” 

Women and children most vulnerable 

In terms of sectors and groups, women were more affected than men, as were younger workers, ILO said. 

“Globally, employment losses for women stand at 5 per cent, versus 3.9 per cent for men. In particular, women were much more likely than men to drop out of the labour market and become inactive”, it added. 

Similarly, younger workers either lost jobs, dropped out of the labour force, or delayed entry into it.  

‘Lost generation’ risk 

“The employment loss among youth (15-24 years old) stood at 8.7 per cent, compared to 3.7 per cent for adults. This highlights the all too real risk of a lost generation” according to ILO. 

Accommodation and food services was the worst hit sector, where employment declined by over 20 per cent, on average, followed by retail and manufacturing.  

In contrast, the information, communication, finance and insurance sectors, grew in the second and third quarters of 2020. Marginal increases were also seen in mining, quarrying and utilities. 

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Human Rights

Syria: 18 children killed since the start of the year

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The brutal fighting in Syria continues to exact a terrible toll on children, with at least 18, including a one-year-old killed in incidents involving explosive weapons and unexploded ordnance, since 1 January, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Sunday. At least 15 others were wounded. 

“Children and families in Syria have suffered so much over the past decade, with still no end in sight,” Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director said in a statement

“With each week, the fast-spreading COVID-19 pandemic is making it harder for families to survive and provide even basic education and protection for their children,” she added. 

Families hit hard by fighting, poverty and severe weather are reeling under fuel shortages and mounting food prices. The situation is further complicated by lack of basic services and destroyed civilian infrastructure, such as water services. 

“Water disruptions force civilians to rely on unsafe water which exposes people, particularly children, to contracting potentially deadly waterborne diseases,” Ms. Fore said. 

Fighting ‘must end’ 

Across the war-ravaged country, about 4.8 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection, making up about 45 per cent of the 11 million overall in need of aid, according to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). 

In spite of daunting challenges, UNICEF and humanitarian actors continue to work tirelessly to support millions of children and families, Ms. Fore said, adding “but we cannot do it alone, we need funding, we need better access.” 

“And most importantly we need everyone to protect children and keep them out of harm’s way. The violence in Syria must end,” she stressed. 

Millions out of school 

UNICEF also called on warring parties in Syria to protect education facilities and personnel.  

“While the war continues, education remains the beacon for millions of children. It is a right that should be protected and persevered,” Muhannad Hadi, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis; and Ted Chaiban, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement on Sunday. 

“We call upon those fighting to refrain from attacks on education facilities and personnel across Syria,” they urged. 

More than 2.4 million children – of whom 40 per cent are girls – are out of school, and one in three schools inside Syria can no longer be used because they were destroyed, damaged or are being used for military purposes, according to UNICEF. 

Mr. Hadi and Mr. Chaiban also appealed for funds for education programmes.  

“Sustainable and long-term funding to education will help to bridge the gap and incorporate children in education, and provide them with the skills they need to rebuild their country when peace returns to Syria.” 

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Tech News

Deloitte Bolsters Cyber Threat Hunting Capabilities with Root9B Acquisition

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Deloitte & Touche LLP announced today its acquisition of substantially all the assets of Root9B, LLC (R9B), a leading provider of advanced cyber threat hunting services and solutions. The deal will bolster Deloitte’s existing Detect and Respond cyber client offering with R9B’s deeply experienced cyber operations professionals and its award-winning threat-hunting and risk assessment solutions.

“Commercial and government entities contend with cyber adversaries who use incredibly sophisticated technology to penetrate legacy defenses and take advantage of expanding attack surfaces,” said Deborah Golden, Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory Cyber and Strategic Risk leader and principal, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “The addition of R9B’s business will expand our complement of skilled cyber professionals and leading technologies, while also offering our clients an advantage against adversaries.  Our newly combined powerful and innovative solutions for preventing, detecting and mitigating cyber threats are unlike anything we’ve seen available in today’s market.”

Beyond offering tailored managed services and solutions focused on cyber threat hunting/detection and response focusing on unique organizational needs, R9B also offers tech-enabled vulnerability assessment and penetration testing, defense forensics and incident response, as well as defensive security and hunt operator training.   

With the addition of R9B’s business, Deloitte’s Cyber Detect and Respond offering will continue to help clients gain a leading edge in cyber defense, integrate fragmented security toolsets, achieve efficiencies in security operations programs, accelerate response time to potential threats and provide data-driven threat insights. 

“Deloitte continually works to provide outstanding value to our clients,” said John Peirson, Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory CEO.  “Adding R9B’s business to our existing cyber practice is just one more way we’re accelerating meaningful investments into the innovative approaches we offer our clients as they work to manage emerging threats.” 

R9B founder and CEO Eric Hipkins added, “Our shared commitment to our clients’ missions and recognition of the importance of combining exceptional technology, people and processes to solve the most challenging security problems of our day makes joining Deloitte a logical next step in our story. At Deloitte, we’ll be able to accelerate scaling and development of offerings we consider vital to proactive cyber threat hunting and remediation.” 

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