tralac’s Daily News Selection
Africa has been battling to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic and to address its impacts but the socioeconomic hardship suffered is significant. The continent has experienced a severe economic contraction of at least 2.6 per cent which comes in contrasts to the growth rate of 3.2 per cent that was forecast for 2020 before the crisis.
According to Ms Mama Keita, Director of ECA in Eastern Africa, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our normal way of doing things but all is not dark as the crisis has created unusual opportunity, exposing that heavy reliance on imports of essential goods in sensitive areas such as medical, nutritional and pharmaceutical, is not a sustainable solution for Africa.
COVID-19: Travel in Africa updates
As African countries begin to reopen borders and air spaces, it is crucial that governments take effective measures to mitigate the risk of a surge in infections due to the resumption of commercial flights and airport operations. “Air travel is vital to the economic health of countries,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “But as we take to the skies again, we cannot let our guard down. Our new normal still requires stringent measures to stem the spread of COVID-19.”
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged governments in Africa and the Middle East (AME) to implement alternatives to quarantine on arrival that would allow economies to re-start while avoiding the importation of COVID-19 cases. Government-imposed quarantine measures in 36 countries across Africa and the Middle East (AME) account for 40% of all quarantine measures globally. With over 80% of travelers unwilling to travel when quarantine is required, the impact of these measures is that countries remain in lockdown even if their borders are open.
African countries have lost almost $55 billion in travel and tourism revenues in three months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the African Union (AU) commissioner for infrastructure and energy said on Thursday. Amani Abou-Zeid told a news conference the economic impact of lockdowns and border closures to curb the spread of the virus would be severe, with the continent’s air industry hit particularly hard.
European travel bans impacting oilfield productivity, says African Energy Chamber (Hydrocarbons Technology)
The African Energy Chamber has said that the continuation of travel restrictions between Africa and Europe is heavily impacting the oil and gas industry’s recovery efforts. The oil and gas industry majorly relies on global value-chains and the movement of people, goods, and services between foreign and local contractors.
Attendees of the African Ministerial Roundtable—which focused on three key areas for Africa’s energy future: electricity, oil and gas, and sustainable inclusive transition—stressed a number of key recommendations, including:
An efficient secure, affordable and sustainable power sector is vital to Africa’s economic recovery and transformation
Setting bold energy sector priorities and plans today can enable much-needed investments to stimulate broader economic growth tomorrow
Africa’s oil and gas exporters, who have been severely impacted by the crisis, can seize the opportunity to re-evaluate their strategies to generate the most value and jobs across their economies and to promote broader economic diversification.
Enhanced regional and international cooperation can play an important role in helping to build robust, affordable, sustainable and resilient energy systems across the continent.
Nigeria launches $2.9b gas pipeline project (The EastAfrican)
Nigeria has flagged off the construction of its $2.8 billion first phase of natural gas pipeline project to supply gas to three electricity power stations and later to North Africa. The 614 kilometres Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) project will be done on a build-and-transfer Public-Private Partnership (PPP) basis. When completed, the pipeline is expected to transport 3,500 million metric standard cubic feet per day of dehydrated gas from several gas gathering projects located in southern Nigeria.
The Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), Mr Ebrahim Patel, has today issued a trade policy directive to the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) to urgently look into measures to help support the metals industry which, as a result of COVID-19, is facing several severe challenges due to increased global demand for raw materials and a significant price increase for all main inputs into the sector.
AfCFTA: Vegetable producers demand structured funding to survive (GhanaWeb)
Representatives of over 60 vegetables value chain-associated institutions and networks have called for the establishment of a dedicated funding arrangement to help horticultural businesses meet both domestic and continental vegetable demand, especially for those vegetables that the country has competitive and comparable advantage in producing. The proposed Horticultural Support Facility, they said, should be part of a broader value chain policy that will help the local horticultural sector withstand the threats associated with the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
Tanzania joins middle income status ahead of schedule (The Citizen)
Tanzania was on Wednesday July 1 declared a middle income country, a feat that has been achieved five years ahead of schedule. Tanzania enters into that bracket of middle-income countries with a GNI per capita between US$1,006 and US$3,955 per World Bank 2018 classification. Tanzania last year recorded economic growth of 7 per cent making it one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. Tanzania which is the second largest economy in East Africa and among the top 10 in Africa joins Kenya as the second East Africa Community member state in the middle-income strata.
Namibia: Levies to discourage vegetable imports (The Namibian)
The Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) yesterday announced strict regulations to curb the importation of fresh fruits and vegetables, with effect from 1 August 2020. The new measures involve import levies, trade levies, subjecting all aspiring and existing importers to register with the board and acquire import permits. The new regulations are aimed at protecting local producers from excessive foreign competition and to encourage local production, said NAB.