From Brazil to Canada to France, China has expanded trade relations to help ensure it has adequate supplies of meat while it rides out the African swine fever crisis. In recent weeks China has accelerated steps both at home and abroad to head off pork shortages and stem rising prices. Although African swine fever was first reported in China more than a year ago, it wasn’t until months later that the depth of the crisis became apparent. To secure more meat imports, China has forged new trade ties and patched up problematic old ones. At home, the country has retrofitted pork processing plants to boost production of other meats. And it has leaned on institutional facilities, such as schools and hotels, to shift meal offerings to chicken instead of pork. The measures appear to be having some success, and retail pork prices in China, which hit a recent peak in late October, have since dropped by 20%.
Brazil’s soybean crop appears headed for record production this year, giving a boost to the South American country’s long-term pursuit of dominance in the global soybean market. Brazil has taken advantage of the US-China trade war to continue its drive for soybean expansion, even as US farmers retrench. The South American country has added 65% to its soybean planted area in the past decade, with 3% growth expected this year. Crop yields are also forecast to move higher, following gains totaling 23% in the past 10 years. And Brazil is giving high priority to internal logistics, such as improving key transportation routes and expanding port capacity, to smooth the path of getting its soybeans to world markets. This year, Brazil’s crop size is expected to best the US by a stunning 27%. By contrast, US output topped Brazil’s by 10% as recently as 2015. To be sure, China has played a big role in those countries’ reversed positions. Beijing has levied tariffs on US soybeans as part of the trade war and has proposed a billion-dollar investment in Brazilian infrastructure to secure long-term supply of the soybeans it needs.
The share of working-age young people in Africa south of the Sahara has risen due to past declines in mortality coupled with high fertility. This “youth bulge” has created a sense of urgency among national governments and the international development community as the prospect of widespread youth unemployment in Africa, and the social instability and political unrest it could bring, looms closer. As a result, African governments are under pressure to create more and better jobs for the region’s young and rapidly growing population. Although the scale of policy reforms and actions needed to address Africa’s youth bulge is daunting, there is an increasing alignment of interests and incentives: African governments have made youth employment a policy priority, and African youth are demanding policies that improve their job prospects. This creates promising opportunities to enact policies that effectively address rural youth employment—policies that are grounded in local evidence rather than stylized facts.
The new 20-year AEDP (2018 – 2037), which was approved by the Cabinet on April 30, 2019, is likely to lower the biofuel consumption target. The biofuel price subsidy will be phased out during 2020 – 2022 under the new State Oil Fund Act, which was enacted on September 24, 2019. Ethanol production and consumption for 2019 is expected to continue to increase, albeit at a slower pace than 2017 due to the delay in the cessation of Octane 91 E10 sales. Biodiesel production and consumption is expected to grow by 12 and 11 percent respectively in 2019.