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La réunion annuelle 2022 du Forum économique mondial est reportée

Le Forum économique mondial va reporter sa réunion annuelle de Davos, en Suisse, en raison de l’incertitude persistante concernant l’épidémie d’Omicron.

La réunion annuelle devait se tenir à Davos-Klosters, en Suisse, du 17 au 21 janvier 2022. Elle est désormais prévue pour le début de l’été.

Les participants assisteront en revanche à une série de sessions sur l’état du monde qui réunira les dirigeants mondiaux en ligne pour se concentrer sur l’élaboration de solutions aux défis les plus pressants de la planète.

Les conditions actuelles de pandémie rendent la tenue d’une réunion mondiale en personne
extrêmement difficile. Les préparatifs ont été guidés par des conseils d’experts et ont bénéficié de l’étroite collaboration avec le gouvernement suisse à tous les niveaux.

Malgré les protocoles sanitaires rigoureux de la réunion, la transmissibilité d’Omicron et son impact sur les voyages et la mobilité ont rendu le report nécessaire.

La santé et la sécurité de toutes les personnes impliquées dans les réunions physiques –
participants, collaborateurs et communauté hôte – ont toujours été la priorité du Forum.

Le professeur Klaus Schwab, fondateur et président exécutif du Forum économique mondial, a déclaré : « Le report de la réunion annuelle n’empêchera pas la réalisation de progrès grâce à la poursuite des rencontres numériques entre les dirigeants, d’entreprises, de gouvernements et de la société civile. La coopération entre le secteur public et le secteur privé a progressé tout au long de la pandémie et cela va se poursuivre à un rythme soutenu. Nous avons hâte de bientôt réunir en personne les dirigeants mondiaux. »

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Related News

BAD

Le Conseil d’administration du Groupe de la Banque africaine de développement a approuvé, le 23 décembre dernier à Abidjan, un investissement en capital de 10,5 millions d’euros dans le cadre du premier tour de table du fonds panafricain pour les start-up technologiques, Janngo Start-Up Fund.

Les fonds communs comprennent sept millions d’euros de la Banque africaine de développement et 3,5 millions d’euros de l’Union européenne et de l’Organisation des États d’Afrique, des Caraïbes et du Pacifique.

Janngo Start-Up Fund, qui est géré par le fonds d’investissement Janngo Capital, crée, développe et investit dans des start-up technologiques qui ont un modèle économique pérenne et un impact social inclusif. Ses domaines d’intervention sont l’agroalimentaire, les services financiers, l’énergie, l’éducation et la santé, principalement en Afrique de l’Ouest francophone.

Selon Stefan Nalletamby, directeur du département Développement du secteur financier de la Banque africaine de développement, le fonds peut favoriser la transformation d’un écosystème d’affaires classique en communauté entrepreneuriale dynamique, axée sur les jeunes et sur la technologie.

« L’Afrique connaît une pénétration rapide de la téléphonie mobile avec Android et d’autres plateformes. Cela offre d’énormes possibilités de développer des start-up et des PME innovantes et à forte croissance, a souligné M. Nalletamby. Mais il y a un manque cruel de capital-risque pour la première et toute nouvelle génération de fonds de capital-risque ciblant les entreprises en phase de démarrage. »

Le fonds devrait permettre de renforcer le secteur privé en déployant des modèles commerciaux basés sur la technologie pour les petites et moyennes entreprises qui répondent aux besoins des populations défavorisées, qui créent des opportunités d’emploi pour les jeunes et les femmes et qui améliorent la qualité de vie des populations africaines.

Cet investissement commun renforce le programme « Boost Africa », une collaboration entre les partenaires contributeurs et la Banque européenne d’investissement pour soutenir les fonds d’investissement qui ciblent les entreprises innovantes en phase de démarrage en Afrique subsaharienne.

Le soutien de la Banque africaine de développement au Janngo Start-Up Fund s’inscrit dans le cadre de sa stratégie en faveur de l’emploi des jeunes et de son soutien à la croissance et à l’entrepreneuriat, tirés par le secteur privé dans les économies africaines.

OMC

Dans le discours principal qu’elle a prononcé le 17 décembre lors d’un webinaire du Programme de chaires de l’OMC intitulé “Commerce inclusif: l’égalité hommes-femmes et l’emploi du point de vue juridique et économique”, la Directrice générale adjointe, Angela Ellard, a évoqué les moyens par lesquels la politique commerciale pouvait contribuer à l’autonomisation économique des femmes. Elle a souligné les faits nouveaux qui ont permis d’institutionnaliser la question de l’égalité hommes-femmes à l’OMC, ainsi que l’importance de la recherche sur le commerce et l’égalité hommes-femmes menée dans le cadre du Programme de chaires. Le texte complet de son discours est reproduit ci-après.

(temporairement en anglais)
 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to be part of this event launching a very important project of the WTO Chairs Programme, which explores the intersections between trade, employment, and decent work for women.

The global economy is not gender-neutral. Evidence shows that women represent 38% of the global workforce, yet they receive only 77% of what men earn worldwide. Globally, 606 million women provide unpaid care on a full-time basis, compared to only 41 million men.

Trade is not gender-neutral either. Women face higher obstacles than men in accessing the global market and the economic opportunities created by trade. Women entrepreneurs face higher trade costs than men, which prevent them from going international. As a result, only 1 in 5 female-owned small businesses is exporting.

Gender inequalities are rampant, and the COVID-19 pandemic has widened the existing gaps between men and women to a point that, in today’s world, so many women are set back economically and socially. Women lost more than 64 million jobs last year, a 5% loss, compared to 3.9% loss for men. Yet, only 9% of all measures taken to mitigate the COVID-19’s impact target women’s economic security.

Women entrepreneurs have been de facto excluded from many relief packages set up by governments because they condition access to requirements that women entrepreneurs, who often run smaller businesses, cannot meet. The majority of them are self-employed, and many work from home, which makes it impossible for them to access the relief measures, which are often limited to companies above a certain number of employees.

We can change this paradigm through trade. Inclusive trade can open the door to women’s employment, decent work, and economic empowerment. Trade can make a difference by lifting women, and therefore their families, out of poverty.

In fact, firms that trade internationally employ more women.

Worldwide, women represent 33% of the workforce of exporting firms, compared with 24% of non-exporting firms. Moreover, women constitute 36% of the workforce of firms involved in global value chains and 38% of the workforce of foreign-owned firms. This is 11 and 12 percentage points more than the proportion in firms that are not part of global value chains and are domestically-owned firms.

In some countries, such as Morocco, Romania, and Vietnam, women represent 50% or more of the workforce of exporting firms, thus creating jobs for more than 5 million women in these countries. And this is roughly 15% of the female population working in these countries.

Trade can also free women from the informal sector, where women are often concentrated, and the risks associated with it. For example, in Afghanistan, 96% of women-owned businesses are unlicensed. Working in the informal sector leaves women without the protection of labor laws and deprives them of social benefits. Women work for lower wages and in unsafe conditions. Trade offers them the opportunity to work more safely and conduct their businesses in the formal sector. According to our joint study with the World Bank, women are 20% more likely to work informally in sectors with low levels of exports compared with 13% in sectors with high levels of exports.

While this is interesting data, we need to understand what is actually behind these statistics. And what’s behind is global trade rules and trade agreements, including those concluded at the WTO. So, let me now elaborate on how trade fosters employment for women and improves women’s working conditions.

First of all, trade policy can create opportunities for women to enter the workforce.

In the last decades, a majority of WTO members have designed gender-responsive trade policies that promote women’s employment. Such policies are aimed at supporting economic growth and development, or even responding to shortfalls in the workforce in export-oriented sectors by hiring women, thus continuing to drive their economies. Nigeria, for instance, fostered women’s participation in the construction sector, where a labour shortage was identified. Similarly, in Zambia, women were encouraged to work in the male-dominated mining sector.

Many governments include women’s economic empowerment and their integration in the job market as a key priority in their national trade and investment strategies.

They mostly use financial incentives to achieve this target. For example, some trade policies envisage financial support to key export sectors to hire women. Others focus on re-integrating women who are on career breaks or reducing the number of women leaving the workforce because of childbirth. Some trade policies also have made women’s employment a criterion for eligibility for grants.

By supporting women entrepreneurs, WTO members also support women’s employment.

For example, some trade policies provide financial incentives in the form of tax credits to encourage small businesses to re-employ women disconnected from employment. While these incentives are provided to both male- and female-owned small businesses, governments can also support women’s employment by targeting women entrepreneurs.

In addition, businesswomen themselves employ a vast number of female workers. Data from WTO regional surveys in South Asia, East Africa, and Latin America show that in companies with fewer than 10 employees, which are vastly owned by women, 57% of workers are female.

Moreover, trade policy can balance the scale in favour of women by reducing gender discrimination and creating more decent work conditions.

Some trade policies have had the result of socially empowering women.

Trade policy can transform unpaid domestic work and care into paid work. For example, Japan opened its services sectors to foreign housekeepers, with a view to promoting women’s participation in society, meeting their need for assistance for housework, encouraging economic growth, and creating jobs for other women.

Trade policy can reduce wage gaps between men and women. For example, Switzerland’s government procurement policy has conditioned the allocation of contracts to companies that have and implement an internal wage equality policy.

Some trade policies, while not primarily targeting women’s economic empowerment, have resulted in better working conditions for female employees and even better social laws base on gender equality. This is the case in the Philippines where the government took measures in support of its business process outsourcing (or back-office services) sector. Initially, these measures were meant to support the sector at large, but more than 55% of the industry’s workers are female. Thus, the measures aimed to boost the sector had a positive effect on gender equality.

In many countries women have been banned from certain professions due to their physically demanding or dangerous nature. This has kept women away from higher-paid work in traditionally male-dominated sectors. But the tide is turning. To give but a few recent examples, in 2018, Ukraine, where the gender pay gap is 20%, abolished the list of 458 jobs from which women were legally barred. Kazakhstan, where women earn on average 32% less than men, did the same a few months ago. Among the more than 200 professions previously denied to women were relatively well-paid jobs in construction, mining, and oil extraction sectors. This is an important step as women earn 3 times more in such male dominated sectors.

My next point is that issues related to women’s employment have been addressed in some trade agreements.

Some regional trade agreements, especially more recent ones, contain gender provisions and even chapters. They recognise women’s contribution to economic growth, sustainable development, and socio-economic transformation.

Some agreements establish gender equality in the workplace as a key objective. Others outline a “toolbox” of measures, such as capacity-building and skills enhancement of women at work; programmes promoting gender equality within enterprises; collecting and using gender disaggregated labour statistics; or ensuring the stability of employment and professional progress for women workers through technologies.

Some trade agreements also address women’s working conditions focussing on childcare, nursing mothers; the prevention of gender-based workplace violence and harassment; and the elimination of gender discrimination in employment.

The WTO is playing its part too.

Since 2017, two thirds of our membership has been exploring how trade can support women’s economic empowerment. Over the past year, these members have crafted the WTO’s first formal Declaration on trade and gender equality — a Declaration supported so far by 121 WTO members, to be adopted at the WTO 12th Ministerial Conference when it takes place.

Through this Declaration, these members are taking action in areas crucial to advance women’s economic empowerment through trade, such as gender-disaggregated data collection, trade policy making, Aid for Trade, and female leadership. This Declaration gives the WTO a strong mandate to work on trade and gender.

Another positive development is an inclusion of a non-discrimination provision into the Services Domestic Regulation plurilateral agreement, which was concluded a few weeks ago among 67 WTO Members. This provision prohibits gender discrimination in the context of authorization procedures for service suppliers. And this is the first gender equality provision in a WTO-negotiated outcome.

These developments further institutionalize the issue of gender in the WTO, transforming the Organization from a gender-blind to a gender-responsive one.

To conclude, I would like to highlight the Treaty of Versailles of 1920, which establishes the principle of universal peace and stipulates that it can be achieved only if it is based on social justice. And it adds that one of the components of social justice is the protection of women.

I am sure you are asking yourselves why am I quoting from this Treaty? What’s the relationship with trade? Well, this Preamble sits on the wall of the main entrance to the WTO building. I believe this message from the past carries a lot of weight, especially today as the COVID-19 pandemic has destroyed the economic security of so many women and as societies struggle to protect them.

I therefore cannot emphasize enough the importance of the research on trade and gender conducted under the auspices of our Chairs Programme. The WTO is acting to make trade work for women, and when women do better, societies do better.

Thank you.

BAD

Le Conseil d’administration du Groupe de la Banque africaine de développement a approuvé une subvention de 1,5 million de dollars destinée à évaluer les lacunes des politiques dans les écosystèmes du commerce numérique et de l’e-commerce dans 10 dix pays d’Afrique.

Les fonds proviennent du Fonds africain de développement, le guichet concessionnel du Groupe de la Banque. Ils sont alloués à Smart Africa Alliance, un partenariat de 32 pays africains, d’organisations internationales et d’entreprises mondiales dont l’objectif est de créer un marché numérique unique en Afrique d’ici 2030.

Nicholas Williams, directeur de la Division des opérations technologie de l’information et de la communication de la Banque, a déclaré : « Ce projet est à la fois opportun et vital. Pour que le continent puisse créer un marché unique numérique d’ici à 2030, les efforts doivent se concentrer sur l’harmonisation et la mise en place d’un environnement politique cohérent pour le commerce intracontinental. La Banque africaine de développement est heureuse de s’associer à Smart Africa Alliance pour promouvoir des objectifs politiques clés qui favoriseront un développement numérique de grande ampleur dans toute l’Afrique. »

Le projet examinera le contexte politique existant dans 10 pays : Côte d’Ivoire, Bénin, Ghana, Liberia, Ouganda, Soudan du Sud, Zimbabwe, République du Congo, São Tomé et Príncipe, et République démocratique du Congo. Smart Africa mènera des consultations auprès des acteurs des secteurs public et privé afin de développer un programme de formation en ligne dont bénéficieront directement 600 parties prenantes (comprenant des fonctionnaires, des petites et moyennes entreprises, des opérateurs de réseaux mobiles du secteur privé) et indirectement 2 500 autres.

Lacina Koné, PDG de Smart Africa, a déclaré : « L’un des défis majeurs qui empêchent le continent de se préparer à un avenir ambitieux est l’incapacité d’effectuer des paiements transfrontaliers de biens et de services, en raison d’un manque de solutions et de l’existence de politiques paralysantes. Notre partenariat avec la Banque africaine de développement est crucial pour créer un environnement propice à la progression des paiements électroniques, et l’économie numérique est essentielle à la renaissance de l’Afrique. »

OMC

Dans une déclaration publiée le 14 décembre, les ministres de l’Australie, du Japon et de Singapour — co-organisateurs des négociations sur le commerce électronique menées à l’OMC — se sont félicités des progrès substantiels réalisés dans le cadre de cette initiative.

(temporairement en anglais)

Australia’s Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Dan Tehan, Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Yoshimasa Hayashi and Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) Koichi Hagiuda, and Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong highlighted the good convergence achieved in eight articles so far.

  • « Thanks to the good progress achieved so far, we’re on track to achieve convergence on the majority of issues in the negotiations by the end of 2022. Australia, Japan and Singapore are committed to driving negotiations towards this objective, » said Minister Tehan.
  • Foreign Minister Hayashi of Japan said: « Although the 12th Ministerial Conference has been postponed, this negotiation on e-commerce remains one of the key areas for the WTO as an organization that promotes global trade. I believe it is important to continue delivering results from this negotiation, aiming for further progress in the next year. Japan has been advocating the concept of “Data Free Flow with Trust (DFFT)” and sees significant value in realizing this concept. While maintaining inclusiveness for participating members, Japan, as a co-convener of the initiative, will continue to accelerate the negotiation to achieve a high-standard outcome, including on the rules of free flow of data. »
  • METI Minister Hagiuda added: « We welcome the substantial progress made in the negotiations over the past three years, and will continue to lead them in order to secure convergence on the majority of the remaining issues by the end of 2022. As the world becomes increasingly connected through digitalization, digital trade is making people more affluent the world over. The WTO has many members, so providing it with rules on digital trade that materialize « Data Free Flow with Trust » (DFFT) will make business more predictable and stable. This will in turn promote further digital trade. With the aim of achieving early results, we will work to accelerate and add further impetus to the negotiations. »
  • Singapore’s Minister Gan said: “Digital trade is becoming a key mode of doing business today. The initiative will provide a stable regulatory environment for digital trade by enhancing rules and streamlining regulations. The initiative, which involves 86 members, will also contribute towards bridging the digital divide and encourage the adoption of digitalisation, which positions our economies well to harness the benefits of new opportunities in the digital economy. Singapore, together with our fellow co-convenors Australia and Japan, will intensify our efforts to steer the initiative and forge convergence on major issues by end-2022.”
    The ministers said the outcomes already achieved in important areas of the negotiations would deliver important benefits, including boosting consumer confidence and supporting businesses trading online. They said they would arrange the initiative’s work programme to secure convergence on the majority of issues by the end of 2022.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said the progress achieved by negotiators from the 86 WTO members participating in these negotiations would bring important benefits to smaller businesses and to women entrepreneurs.

« The work undertaken promises more stability and predictability for consumers and businesses in a fast-growing sector of the digital economy. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of e-commerce as a tool for inclusion, helping small business access international markets, particularly businesses headed by women. I encourage the initiative to continue to keep its doors open for other members of the WTO to join and to continue discussing development issues necessary to bridge the digital divide, » she said.

In their statement, the co-convenors noted support by initiative participants for the continuation of the multilateral e-commerce moratorium. They said they considered it crucial that the initiative make permanent among participants the practice of not imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions.

The co-convenors emphasised the importance of supporting the engagement of developing members and least-developed country (LDC) members in the initiative, including implementation of commitments. They said they would continue to deepen the discussion on capacity-building options and support for implementation for developing members and LDC members in 2022.

The full statement is available here.

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