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Blinken vows to avoid opaque, coercive Africa infrastructure deals



Blinken vows to avoid opaque, coercive Africa infrastructure deals
© Reuters. U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives a speech on U.S. – Africa Policy at the Economic Community of West African States in Abuja, Nigeria November 19, 2021. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS


By Libby George

ABUJA (Reuters) – The U.S. will do things differently in helping Africa build its infrastructure needs, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a policy speech on Friday, adding that too often, international infrastructure deals were opaque and coercive.

Africa, which needs billions of dollars a year to develop roads, railways, dams and power, has over the last decade received most of its funding from China, which generally does not tie the money to political or human rights-related conditions.

In a U.S.-Africa policy speech in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, Blinken said infrastructure needs were holding back growth and opportunity in too many places.

“By meeting those needs, we can improve people’s lives, strengthen economies, and protect the planet at the same time,” Blinken said.

“Too often, international infrastructure deals are opaque, coercive. They burden countries with unmanageable debt. They’re environmentally destructive. They don’t always benefit the people who actually live there. We will do things differently.”

On Thursday, Blinken said Washington’s involvement in infrastructure in Africa was not about China, but intended to improve the standard of infrastructure without countries becoming burdened by debt.

The Biden administration has been criticised by some as being inattentive to Africa, a common complaint about U.S. foreign policy but one that rings louder now at a time China has deepened its political and economic roots on the continent.

Olugbenga Agboola, CEO of Africa-focused payments giant Flutterwave, saw Blinken’s visit as important.

“For us, seeing more US deepening their partnership with Nigeria is great,” he said.

A key priority of Biden’s administration has been to revitalise its alliances worldwide after four years of a unilateralist approach under former president Donald Trump.

Blinken warned that authoritarianism was on the rise around the world and even the United States was struggling with threats to its democracy.

“Technology is being used to silence dissent and prosecute citizens. And democracies must answer the call to fight back against disinformation,” he said.

Blinken’s trip to Africa comes at a time when several crises are engulfing the continent, most recently the war in northern Ethiopia and the military coup in Sudan.

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South Korean exports dropped 14% in November, the highest in 2.5 years



exports South Korea

South Korea’s exports fell 14 percent year-on-year to $51.91 billion in November, preliminary data from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy showed. The November drop was the biggest in 2.5 years since May 2020 and was caused both by the deteriorating global economy, which even a Google price chart showed, and a truckers’ strike in the country.

South Korea exports 2022 – reasons for the drop

Exports fell for the second month in a row. Analysts on average expected an 11% decline, according to Trading Economics. Respondents to MarketWatch predicted a 10.5% decline.

Shipments of semiconductor products overseas, the country’s top export item, fell 29.8%; petrochemicals fell 26.5% and steel exports fell 10.6%. Meanwhile, exports of automobiles jumped 31% and petroleum products 26%.

Exports to China, South Korea’s largest trading partner, fell by 25.5%, and to Asian countries – by 13.9%. Below, supplies to the USA grew by 8% and to the European Union – by 0.1%.

In January-November exports rose by 7.8% on the same period last year and reached a record $629.1 billion.

South Korean imports rose 2.7% to $59.2 billion in November, marking the 23rd consecutive month of gains, but the current rate of growth is the lowest since November 2020. Experts had predicted an increase of only 0.2%.

South Korea’s trade deficit last month was $7.01 billion, compared with a surplus of $2,973 billion a year earlier.

The negative balance was recorded for the eighth month in a row. As a result, by the end of 2022, the country may record a foreign trade deficit for the first time since the financial crisis in 2008.

Earlier we reported that the UN estimates the cost of humanitarian aid in 2023 at a record $51 billion.

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The UN estimates humanitarian aid costs in 2023 at a record $51 billion because of an impending humanitarian crisis



a humanitarian crisis

Joint humanitarian operations will require a record $51.5 billion in 2023 to address urgent problems.

The UN Office for the OCHA estimates that 339 million people will need urgent aid in 2023. At the same time, OCHA called on donor countries to provide funds for assistance in 2023 to the 230 million people most in need, living in 68 countries.

Griffiths explained that aid is needed not only for people experiencing conflicts and disease outbreaks. but also for those suffering the effects of climate change, such as people in peninsular Somalia facing drought and those in Pakistan experiencing severe flooding. For the first time, the growing humanitarian crisis has brought the number of displaced people worldwide to the 100 million mark. Also worsening an already bad situation is the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, which affects the poor. Note that the general economic crisis has begun to negatively affect even the Netflix price chart.

Earlier we reported that house prices in the UK fell by 1.4% in November.

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Average house prices in the UK fell 1.4% in November



average house prices in the uk

Average house prices in the UK fell 1.4% in the previous month in November to 263,788 thousand pounds (about $319,000), according to the British mortgage company Nationwide Building Society.

The decline was recorded at the end of the second consecutive month and was the most significant in almost 2.5 years – since June 2020. Analysts on average had forecast a decline of only 0.3%, according to Trading Economics.

Are house prices in the UK going to fall even more?

Residential real estate prices in November compared to the same month last year increased by 4.4%. At the same time, experts expected a larger increase of 5.8%. The growth rate slowed down significantly compared with 7.2% in October. Because of the difficult economic situation, British investors are investing in other instruments. The Microsoft price chart, for example, is showing potential for growth, so many are interested in the U.S. stock market. 

“The market looks set to remain under pressure in the coming quarters. Inflation will remain high for some time, and interest rates are likely to continue to rise,” believes Nationwide Senior Economist Robert Gardner. – The outlook is unclear, and much will depend on how the overall economy behaves, but a relatively soft landing is still possible.”

Earlier we reported that Sanctions Circumvention was included in the EU’s list of criminal offenses.

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