The Friday Fish

This week's haul from behind the headlines
OECD Observer

No 22: Korean Environment; G7; African Growth; Clean Energy Employment

Korean Environment

At the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity on Jejudo Island, OECD Deputy Secretary-General Rintaro Tamaki urged Korea to bolster its contributions to the fight against global climate change. Korea has already pledged to keep its emissions at 30% below business-as-usual levels in 2020, but Tamaki believes that’s not enough. In fact, he criticised the OECD’s first Asian member country and one of the organisation’s fastest growing economies since accession for its plans to build new coal-powered plants and electricity subsidies.


Aside from all eyes on Obama’s visit to Hiroshima and Brexit, the international community looked to the G7 this week for news on global growth. G7 leaders–that is, those of the world’s wealthy economies of Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, and the United States–pledged they’d stay committed to inclusive and job-rich growth. But Japanese Prime Minister Abe warned that the risks to the global economy of another financial crisis weren’t just migration and violent extremism. Subsidies and low wages need to be tackled with as much vigor.  

African Growth

Africa is growing – and fast. According to OECD data published in The Economist, its economy will expand by 3.7% in 2016. But is Africa’s middle class benefiting?  Professor Henning Melber thinks that just defining a middle class in Africa is a challenge, let alone determining how it’s doing. Today’s definition, determined by notable economists from the Centre for Global Development, the OECD, and the World Bank, qualifies middle-class individuals as people with US$2-10 a day of pocket money. But Melber believes that a new age of development means obstacles that weren’t assessed before, and that the difference between starving and middle-class should no longer equate to US$0.01 of daily pocket money.

Clean Energy Employment

In 2015, people working in renewable energy jobs in the US numbered 769,000, while those working in oil and gas were 187,000. As solar and wind jobs grew by 20%, oil and gas jobs fell by 18%. The International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) attributes these numbers to high oil prices and low renewables prices, which contribute to a growing global appetite for sustainable and affordable alternatives to fossil fuel.

Economic data

GDP growth: -9.8% Q2/Q1 2020 2020
Consumer price inflation: 1.3% Sep 2020 annual
Trade (G20): -17.7% exp, -16.7% imp, Q2/Q1 2020
Unemployment: 7.3% Sep 2020
Last update: 10 Nov 2020

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