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Analysis of the Logistics and Energy Map of the Eurasian Transhipment Lines: Strategic North

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Abstract: Analysing the possible ways to solve the fundamental problem, the author emphasizes the importance of the largest land mass of the globe – Eurasia and transport logistics through it. The study provides an overview of potential CO2 mitigation targets for international railway and maritime transport. The author analyses three possible ways of developing Eurasian transhipment lines in accordance with green standards. The main problems and opportunities of railway roads, Southern warm congested waters are considered. Special attention is paid to the development of Northern waters transhipment lines between the most-producing countries of G-7 and advanced OECD markets.

Today the whole world is aware of the global problem of climate warming. Due to the increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases and harmful emissions into the atmosphere, this problem is getting worse every year. Air pollution occurs due to the development of industry, increased transport, and overall economic growth in countries around the world.

Thinking on the question how we can answer the fundamental challenge of global warming, we should understand that the most inhabitant part of the world and the largest landmass of the Globe is Eurasia. Thus, it is the biggest producer of CO2 and, hence, the most polluted part of the world. Also, important to underline that the biggest countries-producers (China) and countries-consumers (West Europe), producing the biggest economic output, are located on the edge of the Eurasia. These countries, which are states of G-7 (Atlantic states and other European countries) and other advanced OECD economies, drive world’s economies and may play crucial role in improving ecology and environmental standards.

It is equally important to emphasize that the most ambitious logistics and infrastructure project of today – “One Belt – One Road” – runs through the vast expanses of Eurasia. Transportation logistics between Far East and Western Europe is vital for world’s economic development, but today we do not have reliable technologies and transport lines. Due to this it is necessary to think on few aspects, which may determine the development of environmentally friendly economies in future:

–    reliable transportation (safe and environmentally friendly) ;

–    cheapest modes and transhipment lines;

–    fastest modes of transportation

Transportation aspect

The most reliable mode of the transportation is railway. It has certain advantages (compared to air and maritime transport) in the following areas: regularity (rhythmicity), reliability (guaranteed on-schedule delivery and cargo preservation) and the ability to deliver the cargo to any destination.

When comparing cargo transportation from the Far East to West Europe by sea and by rail, the delivery time is often the key argument in favour of the railway. At the same time, the amount of 14 – 15 days is often mentioned. In practice, it takes longer: 35 – 50 days by sea, 28 – 32 days by rail, 6 days by plane and 4 days by roads (See Figure 1). This difference in numbers is caused by the need to form a train, delays at some stations, etc.

Figure 1. Transhipment lines from Far East to Western Europe

Source: IFIMES, 2021

Underlining the reliability of the railway transhipment lines in terms of friendly environmental standards it is assumed that carrying a TEU between the Far East and West Europe using diesel trains would result in emissions of around 0.7 tonnes of greenhouse gas emission. However, the emissions from electric trains could be lower, possibly even falling to zero if they were powered entirely by renewable sources. This suggests that, by using railway mode, the Eurasian transhipment lines are likely to be beneficial to the environment.

While in theory, the implementation of railway electrification and the use of renewable energy sources can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, perhaps even to zero, in practice this process can take decades that our planet is unlikely to have.

This fact makes us think about other possible modes of transportation that are both “convenient” (speed, regularity, and accuracy of delivery), and beneficial to the environment.

The cheapest mode of transportation is by the sea, but it also has some pros and cons. Thus, the warm waters (red) shipping line from Far East to the port of Rotterdam in Netherlands today has great logistics prospects. Currently, 80% of cargo from China to Europe goes through the Atlantic Ocean to the ports of Northern Europe. The warm waters shipping line through the Arabian sea and the Suez Canal to the Balkans reduces the transport time by 7 – 10 days: this is so far the shortest sea route from Far East to Europe (however, to use it to its full capacity, CEE countries need to build the transport infrastructure that the region has a huge need for. This is especially true of the Balkan Peninsula and Ukraine, which are gradually entering a period of stable development after riots and wars that caused serious damage to infrastructure and the economy).

Another significant reason that slows down the speed of transportation, and thus increases CO2 emissions and reduces the level of „convenience” of warm waters transhipment lines – is the high level of congestion in reservoirs. The low cost and the higher degree of safety compared to transportation by land, has led to an increased number of commercial fleets over the past few decades. Thus, the biggest challenge is the problem of the high level of congestion in warm waters. Currently there are several maritime zones of bottlenecks (see Figure 2):

Figure 2. Main maritime shipping routes

Source: Dept. Of Global Studies and Geography, Hofstra University, 2018

  • The Straits of Malacca and Singapore (hereinafter SOMS) is the second most important global chokepoint, with over 16 million barrels per day (120,000 ships passes this route each year). It is a vital strategic region for seaborne trade since it is the shortest route between the Pacific and Indian Oceans. This narrow, 550-mile strait is also a major route for oil transportation, hence creating a danger of potential oil spills or collisions, significantly damaging the biodiversity and the marine environment. Moreover, the SOMS is polluted not only by the oil and ships, but also by enormous noise, influencing the marine bio-life. The transhipment line in addition is not considered as a safe pass, since it is beset with challenges, natural (during frequent squalls from the Indian Ocean, visibility can decrease considerably to make it difficult for mariners to navigate) and man-made (piracy).
  • The Phillips Channel in the Singapore Strait is just 2.7km wide making it another maritime zone of bottlenecks and potential oil spills. With so many vessels in the crowded Singapore Strait, there is often an increase of incidents.
  • From the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, ships make their way to the South China Sea, another zone of unstable waters in the South – East of the Indian ocean. The South China Sea is a prominent shipping passage with $5.3 trillion (nearly one-third of all global maritime trade) worth of trade cruising through its waters every year. Since this zone has emerged as one of the most dangerous flashpoints in the Indo – Pacific over the last decade, the transhipment here is rather unsafe, not mentioning the ecological disasters which are emerging currently there.
  • The Strait of Bab-El-Mandeb, one of the World’s Most Dangerous Straits (situated in the high conflict zone between Yemen and Somalia), is also the shortest trade route between the Mediterranean region, the Indian Ocean, and the rest of East Asia. Oil-rich Arabian Gulf nations rely heavily on it: approximately 57 giant oil vessels from these countries pass through the strait each day, over 21.000 each year. This fact makes the straight not only the zone of interests of main powers (and hence high tension in the region), but a big threat to the environment (oil spills).
  • The Strait of Hormuz is a strategically important strait or narrow strip of water that links the Persian Gulf with the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. As one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, is also one of the most essential ones, due to the amount of oil tankers that navigate these waters daily. Around one third of the world’s oil is transported through this strait, making it essential not only for trade, but for the global economy. The same fact is making this route one of the most dangerous to the environment, considering existent oil spills or collisions.
  • The Suez Canal (Including Strait of Gubal) provides the shortest route between the Atlantic and Indian oceans (saves 7000 Km of extra travel). The 120-mile pass goes between Israel and Egypt and passes from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. 100 boats travel the canal daily and 3.9 million oil barrels travelled daily. Thus Around 8% of global sea-borne trade takes place through it. Despite the projects of Canal’s extension, it’ s waters are still congested, making the usage less safe, extending the time, and raising the costs of transhipments. 
  • Connecting the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, the Strait of Gibraltar (including 20 nm either side of Europa Point) is one of the most used shipping routes in the world. The strait is only seven nautical miles (13 kilometres) across at its narrowest and 23.7 nautical miles (44 kilometres) at its widest. Approximately 300 ships cross it every day, about one ship every five minutes, which causes a high amplitude internal wave, upwelling of nutrient-rich water and affecting bio-life, not mentioning the noise pollution and heavy maritime traffic.
  • The Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits separate the Sea of Marmara from the Aegean and Black Seas. Both straights are on the Europe – Asia boundary and lie within Turkey. The Bosporus is located on the northern edge of the Maramara and southwestern edge of the Black Sea. Turkish Straits provide the only access between the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea. The Dardanelles, on the southern tip of the Marmara and north-eastern coast of the Aegean Sea (which is connected to the Mediterranean) is wider than its northern counterpart. More than 40,000 vessels are passing through these waters per year, transporting almost 650 million tons of cargo. Located in the conflict of the power’s interests, this zone has been always considered vulnerable in terms of safety, not mentioning significant damaging of local maritime bio life.

Thus, it can be traced that the current sea arteries of warm waters are not just seriously congested, but also dangerous not only for the ecology and because of security reasons (robbery, piracy etc), but also for the stable development of trade and economy. The consequences of these dangers may be fatal in few years, unless the measurements of improving the maritime transhipment infrastructure are not taken.

Thus, the cheapest in the cost, this transhipment line is not beneficial in terms of second criteria – timeframe (See Figure 1).

Another shipping line (cold water – blue line), which arose because of the rapid melting of the Arctic ice cap, opens prospects for the reduction of transport waterways in areas free of ice. Thus, it is another alternative to the main transcontinental routes that pass-through Eurasia, namely land rail (green line), air (white line) and warm southern waters of Eurasia and further to Africa through the Suez Canal (red shipping line). There are basically three possible routes, each of significance:

  • the Northwest Passage, connecting the American Continent and Far East Asia;
  • the Northern Sea Route, offering a shorter way from Europe to Asia along the Russian Arctic coastline; and
  • the Arctic Bridge, connecting Canada and Russia (See Figure 3).

Geographically the position of the North waterways is very beneficial. The Northwest Passage connects the Atlantic and Pacific along the northern coast of North America through the Arctic waters from the Davis straits and Baffin Bay all the way to the Bering Sea shortens the distance between Far East Asia and the American East coast (via Panama) by approximately 7,000 kilometres.

Figure 3. Northern shipping. Major transport routes through the Arctic

Source: Centre Port Canada, 2008.

The Northeast Passage, which connects the Atlantic coast of Western and Northern Europe with the Pacific coast of Northeast Asia via the Russian Arctic coastline, is cutting the distance between the edges of two continents, making it shorter by about 40% in comparison to the traditional, warm seas transport routes via the Suez or Panama Canal.

As it is highlighted in the analysis entitled “IFIMES for the Global Greening Economy (A Brief Impact Study)”, the Arctic Bridge is a seasonal route which shortens the connection between the North American and European continents via the Arctic Ocean. Observation shows that the transhipment route between the North Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean straight over the Central Arctic Ocean (the so-called Arctic Bridge) might be in reach earlier than expected due to climate change. In this case Iceland’s strategic position will change dramatically and could turn the island into an economic hub – a power base for transportation-related services, bringing along a whole new range of economic activities to the Europe.

Thus, in terms of logistics, the cold waters shipping line (blue – Northern sea or Arctic passage) will allow to deliver cargo to Europe by sea faster than the 48 days (that it takes on average) to travel from the Northern ports of the Far East to Rotterdam via the Suez canal, considering that the passage of a cargo ship from Shanghai to Hamburg along the North sea route is 2.8 thousand miles shorter than the route through Suez canal. (i.e., in 2019 the Russian Arctic gas tanker “Christophe de Margerie” reached South Korea from Norway without an icebreaker escort in only 15 days) (See Figure 1).

Another advantage, which play into the hands of the blue transhipment routes is the decrease of using of harmful to the environment material – cement. Building new land infrastructure (especially roads) requires cement, a material that contributes more than 6 per cent of global carbon emissions. Shifting the transportation mode to the sea, therefore, will reduce the amount of roads constructions on the land.

In addition to the time criterion, cold water shipping line is beneficial in terms of capability. It is usually characterized as the shortest sea route between Europe and Asia, the safest (i.e., the problem of Somali pirates) and has no restrictions on the size of the ship, unlike the route through the Suez Canal. Thus, the Arctic route will allow to deliver cargo to Europe faster by sea, reducing the route by 20 – 30%, and hence being more environment friendly (by using less fuel and decreasing CO2 emission) and saving human resources. Nevertheless, the capitalizing on that opportunity requires much work in terms of improved navigation procedure and installation of safety-related infrastructure.

Energy aspect

But the shortening of the transhipment routes and hence slight decreasing of CO2 emissions will not solve the problem completely. The global environmental issue of CO2 consumption should be treated starting from the main root of the problem and in regards with it, Arctic may play the key role.

The projects launched in the Arctic (i.e., project Yamal LNG) meets the goal of reducing the share of coal in total energy consumption in the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters below 58% by the end of 2020, as this project allows to diversify countries’ energy sources, contributing to its withdrawal from coal use. This, in turn, reduces CO2 emissions within the country and may contribute to the implementation of the same scheme in the framework of the building of the transhipment routes.

The goal to reduce a dependence on coal and fossil fuels requires a huge surge in the use of natural gas, and the adoption of renewable energy. Which is resulting in not only infrastructure constrictions, but also the development of the projects connected with energy (See Figure 4). One of the key factors driving the implementation of this projects is that, unlike traditional fossil fuels, renewable energy sources are widely available around the world. Whether it is solar or wind power, tidal energy or hydroelectric plants, most countries have the potential to develop some clean energy.

Figure 4. Investments into the Renewable energy projects

Source: Boston University Global Development Policy Centre, 2019.

The region covered by new transhipment routes (esp. South – Eastern Europe, Eurasia and South – Eastern Asia covered by Eurasian transhipment lines) has significant potential to be powered by solar energy. Thus, it is estimated that less than 4 percent of the maximum solar potential of the region could meet the countries’ electricity demand for 2030 which gives the world a possible solution to reduce the countries’ need for fossil fuels as they develop.

Only in Europe, due to the implementation of renewable energy projects (i.e., Francisco Pizarro plant in Spain, Nikopol Solar Power Plant, Ukraine, Cestas Solar Farm in Bordeaux, France etc) the solar capacity increased by 36% to 8 GW in 2018. By 2020, several members stated in the European Union pushed to meet their 2020 renewable energy targets. 

Along with solar projects, wind onshore wind farms projects (i.e., southeast region of Ukraine, the Fantanele – Cogealac wind park, Romania etc) are also destined to meet increased national energy needs in the wake of phasing out fossil fuel power plants. Thus, the renewable energy potential and cooperation opportunities is a chance for the countries to leapfrog from their carbon-intensive trajectories to low-carbon futures.

Conclusions

Summing up, for now it can be seen that there are two possibilities for developing transport systems and economies in accordance with green standards:

  • Transcontinental railroad system (which requires huge amount of investments);
  • Optimization of the cheapest mode of transportation (maritime warm waters transhipment lines) (See Figure 3).

But while thinking on the best ways of the decarbonizing of transport connections between the most-producing countries of G-7 (Atlantic states and other European countries) with other advanced OECD economies, all the existing risks (such as “convenience”, roads “safety” (piracy, oil spills), water congestion levels and maritime traffic) should be considered. As it was mentioned above, warm waters transhipment lines (See Figure 1) currently present certain dangers, being high congested and unsafe (both for trade security and environment), and hence rather vulnerable. Due to this fact, it is crucial to consider other alternatives of connecting the biggest countries-producers (China) and countries-consumers (West Europe).

Statistical data on logistics proves, that the development of the cold waters (i.e., Arctic passage or blue line shipping line) route (See Figure 1) drastically reduce the time and distance between the largest G-7 producers and developed OECD markets. Nevertheless, though there is high potential to slash international shipping distances by opening shorter routes in the north, the high risks on these alternative routes are keeping most traffic running over the classic transport routes like the Suez and Panama Canals.

But when building and improving the continent’s logistics chains, it is also important to consider the standardization aspect along the One Belt One Road initiative.

Today countries of Eurasia, not including China, account for about 18% of global GDP and 26% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Current transhipment lines going through these countries are estimated to increase carbon dioxide emissions by at least 0.3% worldwide – but by 7% or more in some countries as production expands in sectors with higher emissions, unless the measures to decarbonize the initiatives are taking. The window for action is narrow: investment decisions made in the coming few years will determine the carbon intensity of critical infrastructure and major real-estate assets that will operate for decades. Thus, by linking policy, finance, and the international community’s expertise and technological resources, it is possible to lay the groundwork for low-carbon development in the countries’ economies. To ensure that development in the transhipment lines does not undermine the global climate agenda, meaningful steps must be taken to reduce substantially the carbon footprint of new investments in these economies. 

Analysing this issue, it is worth mentioning that the carbon dioxide emissions in developed countries have been in decline for over a decade and are at approximately the same level right now they were at 25 years ago, while the developing countries are experiencing an explosion in the growth of carbon dioxide emissions. This is explained by the fact, that developed countries achieved their development on the back of coal, which is now being phased out. On the other hand, developing countries are currently developing by using coal, and that is driving up their carbon emissions. It is also explaining the fact that developing countries are not willing to follow stated “greening” goals, since it will require higher financial costs and longer process of the project’s implementation.

To reach consensus in timing, price, and environmentally friendly standards the growing push to decarbonize economies, implement the green construction methods should be done. Unfortunately, this approach may take decades to be adopted, which our planet may not have. And the understanding of this fact should be the basis for the development of all countries without exception and the logistical development of the initiative “One Belt – One Road” in particular.

Dr. Maria Smotrytska is a senior research sinologist and International Politics specialist of the Ukrainian Association of Sinologists. She is currently the Research Fellow at International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES), Department for Strategic Studies on Asia. PhD in International politics, Central China Normal University (Wuhan, Hubei province, PR China) Contact information : officer[at]ifimes.org SmotrM_S[at]mail.ru

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Accelerating COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake to Boost Malawi’s Economic Recovery

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Lunzu market in southern Malawi. WFP/Greg Barrow

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries including Malawi have struggled to mitigate its impact amid limited fiscal support and fragile health systems. The pandemic has plunged the continent into its first recession in over 25 years, and vulnerable groups such as the poor, informal sector workers, women, and youth, suffer disproportionately from reduced opportunities and unequal access to social safety nets.

Fast-tracking COVID-19 vaccine acquisition—alongside widespread testing, improved treatment, and strong health systems—are critical to protecting lives and stimulating economic recovery. In support of the African Union’s (AU) target to vaccinate 60 percent of the continent’s population by 2022, the World Bank and the AU announced a partnership to assist the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) initiative with resources, allowing countries to purchase and deploy vaccines for up to 400 million Africans. This extraordinary effort complements COVAX and comes at a time of rising cases in the region.

I am convinced that unless every country in the world has fair, broad, and fast access to effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines, we will not stem the spread of the pandemic and set the global economy on track for a steady and inclusive recovery. The World Bank has taken unprecedented steps to ramp up financing for Malawi, and every country in Africa, to empower them with the resources to implement successful vaccination campaigns and compensate for income losses, food price increases, and service delivery disruptions.

In line with Malawi’s COVID-19 National Response and Preparedness Plan which aims to vaccinate 60 percent of the population, the World Bank approved $30 million in additional financing for the acquisition and deployment of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. This financing comes as a boost to Malawi’s COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness project, bringing World Bank contributions in this sector up to $37 million.

Malawi’s decision to purchase 1.8 million doses of Johnson and Johnson vaccines through the AU/African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) with World Bank financing is a welcome development and will enable Malawi to secure additional vaccines to meet its vaccination target.

However, Malawi’s vaccination campaign has encountered challenges driven by concerns regarding safety, efficacy, religious and cultural beliefs. These concerns, combined with abundant misinformation, are fueling widespread vaccine hesitancy despite the pandemic’s impact on the health and welfare of billions of people.  The low uptake of COVID-19 vaccines is of great concern, and it remains an uphill battle to reach the target of 60 percent by the end of 2023 from the current 2.2 percent.

Government leadership remains fundamental as the country continues to address vaccine hesitancy by consistently communicating the benefits of the vaccine, releasing COVID data, and engaging communities to help them understand how this impacts them.

As we deploy targeted resources to address COVID-19, we are also working to ensure that these investments support a robust, sustainable and resilient recovery. Our support emphasizes transparency, social protection, poverty alleviation, and policy-based financing to make sure that COVID assistance gets to the people who have been hit the hardest.

For example, the Financial Inclusion and Entrepreneurship Scaling Project (FInES) in Malawi is supporting micro, small, and medium enterprises by providing them with $47 million in affordable credit through commercial banks and microfinance institutions. Eight months into implementation, approximately $8.4 million (MK6.9 billion) has been made available through three commercial banks on better terms and interest rates. Additionally, nearly 200,000 urban households have received cash transfers and urban poor now have more affordable access to water to promote COVID-19 prevention.

Furthermore, domestic mobilization of resources for the COVID-19 response are vital to ensuring the security of supply of health sector commodities needed to administer vaccinations and sustain ongoing measures. Likewise, regional approaches fostering cross-border collaboration are just as imperative as in-country efforts to prevent the spread of the virus. United Nations (UN) partners in Malawi have been instrumental in convening regional stakeholders and supporting vaccine deployment.

Taking broad, fast action to help countries like Malawi during this unprecedented crisis will save lives and prevent more people falling into poverty. We thank Malawi for their decisive action and will continue to support the country and its people to build a resilient and inclusive recovery.

This op-ed first appeared in The Nation, via World Bank

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An Airplane Dilemma: Convenience Versus Environment

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Mr. President:  There are many consequences of COVID-19 that have changed the existing landscape due to the cumulative effects of personal behavior.  For example, the decline in the use of automobiles has been to the benefit of the environment.  A landmark study published by Nature in May 2020 confirmed a 17 percent drop in daily CO2 emissions but with the expectation that the number will bounce back as human activity returns to normal.

Yet there is hope.  We are all creatures of habit and having tried teleconferences, we are less likely to take the trouble to hop on a plane for a personal meeting, wasting time and effort.  Such is also the belief of aircraft operators.  Add to this the convenience of shopping from home and having the stuff delivered to your door and one can guess what is happening.

In short, the need for passenger planes has diminished while cargo operators face increased demand.  Fewer passenger planes also means a reduction in belly cargo capacity worsening the situation.  All of which has led to a new business with new jobs — converting passenger aircraft for cargo use.  It is not as simple as it might seem, and not just a matter of removing seats, for all unnecessary items must be removed for cargo use. They take up cargo weight and if not removed waste fuel.

After the seats and interior fittings have been removed, the cabin floor has to be strengthened.  The side windows are plugged and smoothed out.  A cargo door is cut out and the existing emergency doors are deactivated and sealed.  Also a new crew entry door has to be cut-out and installed. 

A new in-cabin cargo barrier with a sliding access door is put in, allowing best use of cargo and cockpit space and a merged carrier and crew space.  A new crew lavatory together with replacement water and waste systems replace the old, which supplied the original passenger area and are no longer needed.

The cockpit gets upgrades which include a simplified air distribution system and revised hydraulics.  At the end of it all, we have a cargo jet.  If the airlines are converting their planes, then they must believe not all the travelers will be returning after the covid crisis recedes.

Airline losses have been extraordinary.  Figures sourced from the World Bank and the International Civil Aviation Organization reveal air carriers lost $370 billion in revenues.  This includes $120 billion in the Asia-Pacific region, $100 billion in Europe and $88 billion in North America.

For many of the airlines, it is now a new business model transforming its fleet for cargo demand and launching new cargo routes.  The latter also requires obtaining regulatory approvals.

A promising development for the future is sustainable aviation fuel (SAP).  Developed by the Air France KLM Martinair consortium it reduces CO2 emissions, and cleaner air transport contributes to lessening global warming.

It is a good start since airplanes are major transportation culprits increasing air pollution and radiative forcing.  The latter being the heat reflected back to earth when it is greater than the heat radiated from the earth.  All of which should incline the environmentally conscious to avoid airplane travel — buses and trains pollute less and might be a preferred alternative for domestic travel.

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There Is No Business, Like Small Business: New Strategy

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Marc Chagall, Circus Horse, 1964

Once upon a time, all big businesses of the world were only small businesses. However, occasionally, when big businesses classified as too big to fail, it is the special status when they start failing their own nations, damaging common good, hurting humankind at large. This is when big business allowed to morph into a Godzilla to trample all over the governments and institutions and line them up as hostages. Study the rise and fall of the world’s largest business empires of last century. 

Now Showtime: There is no business, like small business, because the small business sector is not only a giant business, but also the biggest layer of the economy, largest contributor in kind to its nation, adding jobs, paying taxes and creating real value creation, while taking all the abuse and bureaucratic nonsense.  Hence, post pandemic recovery will take no prisoners and harshly unleash economic challenges as mirror on the economic development competency and question national priorities. Here, no worries, as usual the big business will always take care of itself. Small business will be the only game left in town, something for the political leadership to cling on to and something for local trade groups to try to claim as success. The definitions on what is big and what is small are both on the table for honest evaluation and equally juxtaposed need a declaration on what business serves the economy of the nation and what business destroys the economies of nation.

New math of the post pandemic world clearly shakes down old mindsets. Unless national economic development leaders, trade groups and trade associations acquire proven entrepreneurial experiences, expertise and tactical battlefield capability at the very top and display a warrior mindset to upskill for global competitive excellence, they are just a dance party with water pistols.  Entrepreneurialism is the real value creation driving force behind the economy and not a value manipulation exercise with some certificates. Any misunderstanding on such issues only creates shiny cities, surrounded by tent-cities. Study the global economic chaos and worklessness is creeping across the world.

The illusion of super big technology driving super global growth is another myth of crypto-tyrannies. The worshiping super magnanimous technologies, including Facebook engaged in stealing the future from the next generations, now manipulating data to divide and conquer elections and serving special agenda groups causing tribalism and global socio-economic damage. Study how the future routinely stolen in broad daylight by Social Media. 

Mutation of economic thought:  Why is creation of fake economies much easier; this is where zeros bought, sold and traded as real assets, everything multiplied, subtracted, divided but nothing adds up, there are no bottom-line totals, ever. When columns do not fit anywhere, like an abstract art on canvas, for the eye of the beholder they glow in the dark. Hence, cubism-finances  and impressionist-economies, while on the other hand, real value creation economy is one of the hardest journeys,it isrealentrepreneurialism wrapped in integrity and solid hard day’s work creating common good. The reason is that small medium businesses have lost trust in their government and major institutions, while they paint the economy as abstract art and print invisible unlimited money but SME only thrown in jail if they only photocopy a dollar bill.  Covidians demand a new narrative on economic affairs and overall totals of budgets.

Unless trade groups of nations assembled and thanked profusely for their work done over the last century. Invited to join as new players, as this is now a new page for a new age and a new direction for a new digital future. Let meritocracy chart out the future of trade-groups; let vertical sectors build their own independent global age narratives to ride on entrepreneurial mindsets. When methodical agenda on simultaneous synchronization bring all key components under master plan tabled critical thinking and hardcore business experiences should lead. When vertical groups and all upskilling and reskilling features interact on digital platforms combined, eventually they will all see the light and most importantly learn the future of the global-age of digital commerce. Upskilling of all layers is critical so all grow together. Reskilling to create real value production is essential so it becomes a sustainable model. 

With no room to spend another decade on some academic feasibility studies, organize a warrior team to undertake such mobilization developments. Such national mandates are often not new funding dependent rather execution starved and deployment hungry. Why shut down the electricity of the building and climb the skyscraper via the staircase.  With the majority of nations locked up in an old mindset on digitization, today, they simply cannot zip up to the top floor, exhausted and breathless as they are climbing stairs and badly stuck on lower floors.  Pandemic recovery is harsh. Fire the first person who says they need heavy new funding, fire the second person who says they are too busy to change. Change is a gift for free but for the right mindset.

The New Trends: National mobilization of entrepreneurialism will advance; small and medium businesses will grow, as they have no choice but to upskill innovative excellence and reskill for quality manufacturing of goods and services. Learn from Asia, study Africa, stop reading newspapers but the world maps, acquire new math from ‘population-rich-nations’, and expand collaborative alliances with the knowledge-rich-nations to reach global markets.

New Trends on Small Medium Business Economy:

The new math:  why all over the world it is now attracting new entrepreneurs at rapid speed? Why are Covidians all over the world refusing high-rise, low pay, cubical-slavery and transforming to creative freedom, global-age access and hammocks. Today a USD $1000 investment in technology buys digital solutions, which were million dollars, a decade ago. Today, any micro-small-medium-enterprise capable of remote working models can save 90% of office and bureaucratic costs and suddenly operate like a mini-multi-national with little or no additional costs.

The new uplifts: How struggling economies are now exploring the “National Mobilization of Entrepreneurialism on Digital Platforms of Exportability Protocols” as alternate revolutionary thinking. Study how Africa model under Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is expanding and why the groups of western developed economies are so fearful of such a mega shift in thinking. Study Expothon on Google.

The new speed: If Agrarian age to industrial age took a millennia, while industrial age to computer age took a century, now from cyber-age to paperless, cash-less, office-less and work-less age it is almost knocking the door, just open and see. Is this the revenge of The Julian Calendar, time like a tsunami drowning us in our own depths of performance, challenging our lifelong learning and exposing our critical thinking forcing us to fathom the pace of change, swim or drown?

Time to study deeply, why forest fires always put out by creating more selected fires;  therefore let government and bureaucracy stay where they are, while creating a far superior brand new meritocracy centric digital firefighting unit to act at the top and bring required results. The cost is a fraction of what routinely wasted 1000 times in lost and missed opportunities.

Time to appreciate, why is the fear of exposure of limited talent the number one fear of adapting digitizationas digital-divide is just a mental-divide.Why without digitization there is no economy and why it has taken decades?

Time to apply entrepreneurial mindset, why incentivizing all frontline management of all midsize business economic development and foreign investment attraction and export promotion bodies is a requirement of time? Observe the power of entrepreneurial mindset in the driver seat, deploy national mobilization of midsize economies, accept upskilling as a national mandate, and digitization as national pride.

Is there any authoritative leadership on entrepreneurialism present in the boardroom?  No need to have chills, as mainly from Asia, there are some 500 million new entrepreneurs already on the march, therefore, no need to ask where are they headed but rather ask where your national entrepreneurialism is going? Study why entrepreneurialism is neither academic-born nor academic centric, why all most successful legendary founders that created earth shattering organizations were only the dropouts?

Is there a new realization or back to water pistol games? Not to be confused with academic courses on fixing Paper-Mache economies and already broken paperwork trails, chambers primarily focused on conflict resolutions, compliance regulations, and trade groups on taxation policy matters.  Mobilization of small medium business economy is a tactical battlefield of advancements of an enterprise, as meritocracy is the nightmarish challenges for over 100 plus nations where majority high potential sectors are at standstill on such affairs. Surprisingly, such advancements are mostly not new funding hungry but mobilization starved. Observe the trail of silence. The empty shelves are not supply chain issues but symptoms of broken down economies. Economies are not cryptopia; they are about real value creation by the local small medium business forces to create local grassroots prosperity. The failure is not having the right mindsets.

Five things to watch for the year 2022: US election will surprise the world as it has the last two times. World economies tested, financially along with leadership competency levels. Big business will remain big and undisturbed.  The Covidian will march for truth. Small medium business mobilization will further grow as a reliable answer to the economy and jobs.This is how humankind will crawl towards critical thinking.

The rest is easy

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