The daily drama of money and work from the BBC.
The business of seed banks
Increasingly scientists are using genetic material from wild plants to make agricultural crops more resilient to climate change. To find out how, Rebecca Kesby heads to the Millennium Seed Bank for the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, in the south of England. There she meets Dr Chris Cockel, one of their project coordinators. We also hear from Asmund Asdal of the Global Seed Vault, which is located in a mountain on the archipelago of Svalbaard, between mainland Norway and the North Pole. We speak to Dr Shivali Sharma, who is developing climate resistant varieties of pigeon pea, a staple crop in many parts of rural India. And Mohamed Lassad Ben Saleh, farmer in Tunisia, tells us how breeding crops that combine properties of indigenous wild varieties has improved the quality and yield of his crops.
Producers: Clare Williamson and Benjie Guy
(Picture: a hand holding seeds. Credit: Getty Images.)
The US and its trillion dollar infrastructure bill
The physical infrastructure of the United States is crumbling and businesses there are feeling the effects. So why is this bill that aims to restore roads, bridges and communications facing such a treacherous political road ahead? Successive Presidents have tried and failed to get something done about it. Now President Biden is having a go. A farmer in Mississippi tells Will Bain about the impact poor roads have on his business. He also hears from Emily Feenstra from the American Society of Civil Engineers who outlines just how bad the situation is and from the former Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell who now co-chairs the infrastructure think-tank Building America's Future.
(Picture credit: Getty Images)
The future of vaccines
The founders of German biotechnology company BioNTech were researching how to fight cancers using messenger RNA, "the unloved cousin of DNA", when covid-19 first appeared and they realised mRNA could be used to make a vaccine for the disease. Financial Times journalist Joe Miller has been following the company since just before the pandemic and tells Rebecca Kesby how they created the first covid-19 vaccine. Could mRNA help cure other diseases and improve vaccine access to low income countries? We ask Oksana Pyzik of the UCL School of Pharmacy. And how might the technology change the whole pharmaceutical industry? We hear from Dr Richard Torbett, CEO of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.
Producer: Benjie Guy
(Picture: a collection of mRNA covid vaccines. Credit: Getty Images.)
Rethinking tourism in Africa
Tourism in Africa, even before the pandemic, was still not bringing in as many visitor dollars as it might. But, from stargazing trips to plans for a brand-new museum of evolution, we hear from the people changing perceptions around holidays in sub-Saharan Africa. Safari tours aren't going away, but the industry is changing and that's good news for Africa's underperforming tourism sector. Vivienne Nunis hears from Susan Murabana, CEO of The Travelling Telescope under the stars just outside Nairobi, Dr. Muchazondida Mkono, a Zimbabwean academic and lecturer in tourism at the University of Queensland Business School, and from famous Kenyan paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey.
(Image credit: Supoj Buranaprapapong, Getty Images.)
Does sustainable investing make any difference?
Is corporate social responsibility, so called "greenwashing", really changing carbon emitting businesses or just making it look that way? Canadian businessman Tariq Fancy used to work as Blackrock's Chief Investment Officer for sustainable investing. He tells Ed Butler why he thinks CSR isn't a good enough tool to achieve a net zero economy.
(Picture: Two climate activists from Extinction Rebellion talk to each other outside the Bank of England during a protest. Credit: Getty Images.).
In this edition of Business Weekly, we look at why one of the poorest countries in Latin America, El Salvador, decided to make Bitcoin legal tender. We also find out what happened when the cryptocurrency crashed on the first day it was rolled out. We hear about the devastating economic effect of covid in Kenya as it rolls out further curfew restrictions. Also, in a few weeks’ time, the matriarch of European politics, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, will step down. We hear what issues are playing on the minds of German voters as they get ready to head to the polls. And for years Lamu, Kenya’s ancient trading port, has been in decline. But government hopes the opening of a vast, new facility means it can be a commercial superstar once more. Plus, the chief executive of Babbel, Arne Schepker tells us why the company is listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and whether lockdowns have impacted on people’s desire to learn languages. Business Weekly is presented by Lucy Burton and produced by Matthew Davies.