The Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, Mr Wamkele Mene, recently identified an efficient implementation of the intra-African free trade agreement as a critical tool in the hands of the continent’s leaders to stimulate and re-inject dynamism into Africa’s post-COVID-19 economy.

SOURCE: Business Hallmark

Image credit: AFP PHOTO

Governments’ economic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have included an array of measures to help people and businesses weather the storm. Small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) are in an especially difficult position. Plunging demand has forced them to lay off workers, and many don’t have the financial resources to survive in this climate. In many countries, up to one-third of SMEs could go bust within three months of when the pandemic began in their countries.1 But their viability will be critical to any postcrisis recovery: SMEs account for two-thirds of global employment and half of global GDP. A failure to protect them could put the entire global economy at risk.

SOURCE: Mc Kinsey

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The COVID-19 Project will develop WCO Guidelines for Customs administrations on business continuity and incident response in dealing with various disruptive scenarios represented by COVID-19 and other similar emergency situations on the basis of collected best practices. This project will also promote relevant WCO instruments and tools, in particular to WCO developing Members including Least Developing Countries (LDCs), through various assistance measures including national and regional training, considering each country’s individual situation and particular needs.

SOURCE: World Customs Organization

Image credit: WCO

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, developing countries at the World Trade Organization (WTO) are faced with demands to i) permanently liberalize their markets in health products, and also in agriculture; ii) ban export restrictions in agriculture; and iii) conclude new digital trade rules including liberalizing online payment systems, and agreeing to free data flows.

SOURCE: The South Centre

Image Credit: The South Centre

On April 7, 2020, the Thai government issued its third stimulus package worth 1.9 trillion baht (US$58 billion) to mitigate the economic impact caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

This latest package, named Phase 3, is equivalent to 10 percent of GDP. 1 trillion baht (US$30 billion) was provided through bond issuance and 900 billion baht (US$27.8 billion) from the central bank, Bank of Thailand (BOT).

Source: ASEAN Briefing