UN: Another global economic slowdown on horizon

By Addis Getachew

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA) – World economy remains on a shaky ground a decade after the 2008 financial crisis, according a new UN report on Wednesday.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report, named “Trade and Development Report 2018: Power, Platforms and the Free Trade Delusion”, was unveiled in a media launch in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The trade wars being witnessed between the global powers (U.S. and China) were only “a symptom of a deeper malaise”, it finds.

While the global economy had picked up since early 2017, the growth remained “spasmodic” and many countries are operating below potential, the report said, adding that this year is “unlikely to see a change of gear”.

The report analyses current economic trends and major international policy issues and makes suggestions for addressing them.

According to the report, trade under hyper-globalization has failed to foster broad-based structural change in developing countries and has contributed to the increased worldwide inequality.

The report mentions China as having stood out in trade performance, considering it has become a country that continues to excel in its usage of digitization for production.

“Even China stands out among the BRICS,” it said.

“Excluding China, the share of the Russian Federation, India, Brazil and South Africa in global output went up from 3.7 per cent in 1990, to around 7.4 per cent in 2016 — an increase but not a spectacular one.

“By contrast, when China is added, the share of the BRICS increases from 5.4 percent to 22.2 percent during this period,” it added.

In her presentation at the launch of the report, Rashmi Banga, a senior economic affairs officer with UNCTAD, said Africa has a lot to do to enter the digitized world as well as to reclaim its own data.

Banga said that of the 25 top tech firms, 14 are in the U.S., three in Europe, three in China, four in Asia and only one in Africa.

She called for a data policy in Africa so that it can “own its data”, which she said was crucial for growth.