tralac Daily News
South Africa: Update on partial re-opening of borders (SAnews)
Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, has convened an inclusive meeting involving senior immigration officials and ports of entry managers to address challenges arising from the implementation of regulations pertaining to travel into the country. This also includes the opening of the tourism industry and promoting trade in order to stimulate economic recovery. The visa free status of citizens of some countries and territories was temporarily suspended at the start of the lockdown period. In line with government commitment to take urgent steps to address the economic and tourism stagnation brought about by the outbreak of COVID-19, the visa free status of citizens from the following countries and territories has been re-instated
KRA raises tax on 31 goods despite firms’ freeze plea (Business Daily)
Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has increased tax on at least 31 goods including beer, fuel, bottled water and juice, rejecting manufacturers petition to freeze the higher duty.KRA increased excise duty on the products by 4.94 percent in line with the average inflation rate for the year to June, just days after the reopening of bars following a lengthy Covid-19 lockdown. The adjustment is in line with the law that demands excise duty be revised upwards in tandem with the cost of living measure or the average rate of inflation in the previous financial year.
Namibia registered a surplus on the current account during the second quarter of 2020, mainly due to a merchandise trade surplus and an increase in secondary income inflows. The current account recorded a surplus of N$5.1 billion, which is a turnaround from a deficit of N$1.9 billion at the same time last year. According to the Bank of Namibia’s quarterly bulletin, the surplus was attributed to the merchandise trade balance that reflected a significant decline in import payments and an increase in export earnings coupled with the higher Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) earnings.
Govt establishes first free zone at Entebbe airport (Daily Monitor)
Arrangements have been finalised for government to establish the first public free zone at Entebbe International Airport to boost export-oriented investment in the country. The development of Public Free Zone is expected to cost Shs48b. It will house seven production units and trade houses such as offices of the Uganda Free Zones Authority, Uganda Revenue Authority, and other government offices to facilitate the smooth flow of business. Under the arrangement, the project targets sectors which include food processing, mineral processing, warehousing, storage and simple assembly, where all operators in the public free zone will process their products for onward export through Entebbe International Airport.
Uganda Airlines yesterday resumed commercial flights from Entebbe, flagging off its first flight from the Entebbe International Airport to Nairobi.The Ugandan airport closed down 6 months ago due to the coronavirus pandemic, leading to suspension of service for the airline. “We have now embarked on our expansion drive that was brought to a halt by the pandemic, we will soon start flying to more African nations,” said Cornwell Muleya, CEO, Uganda Airlines.
Angola has defended the urgent need for the countries to work together on improving the role and participation of women in tackling the crisis caused by Covid-19, building social cohesion and strengthening of societies with peace and sustainable development. Maria de Jesus Ferreira described the crisis as setback for many gains related to gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.
Manufacturing like any other sectors of the economy has been affected by Covid-19. The Star’s Martin Mwita spoke to the Kenya Association of Manufacturers CEO Phyllis Wakiaga, on the state of the sector during the pandemic and post Covid-19 recovery strategies. On tariffs and levies in cross-border trade in key blocs of EAC, COMESA and SADC, are there any concerns/proposals by manufacturers in Kenya? Regional trade integration is a cornerstone of EAC and COMESA trade policies. This involves strengthening of public institutions and private sector organisations involved in export promotion. Trade contributes towards industrialization and structural transformation. The prosperity of any nation not only depends on a country’s productivity but also on the strategic choice of trading partners, export products, and policies that promote trade.
The Minister for Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amechi, has revealed that US$10 billion is lost annually to illegal fishing, stating that dumping of toxic waste and indiscriminate use of plastics is hindering the growth of Nigeria’s maritime economy. He noted that the ministry would liaise with the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) by using the African Union’s (AU) recommendations to aid the stimulus of Nigeria’s blue economy. Yusuf added: “We are not on track to harness the benefits of the blue economy and this is a good time to share ideas and resources to establish a unified approach towards the development of the country’s blue economy.”
Economic Analysts Question South Sudan’s Large Loans (New Delhi Times)
South Sudan has secured $88 million in loans from the Africa Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) after receiving cabinet approval, but local economic analysts say the hefty loans won’t solve the country’s serious economic problems. “The Afreximbank in the last meeting approved a loan of $25 million. This time the bank has decided to increase the amount, and it also approved that they will give us an additional sum of $63 million for the same pandemic trade impact mitigation,” said Makuei.
South Africa’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel has been elected as the chair of the Ministerial body tasked with finalising negotiations on the terms for the commencement of the preferential trade under the African Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). He takes the leadership of the African Ministers of Trade (AMOT) three months prior to the start of trading under the AfCFTA and with the continent still in the grip of the Covid-pandemic, with 1,5 million people on the continent infected to date.
The AMOT meeting outcome confirmed the commitment of countries to the start of preferential trade under the AfCFTA on 1 January 2021. Currently there are 28 AU Member States that have deposited their instruments of ratification of the Agreement. Two additional countries have ratified the Treaty and their formal depositing of the ratification instruments are now awaited. The Ministers emphasised the importance of ratification by AU member states to enhance inclusiveness in preferential trade under the AfCFTA and therefore encourage members to ratify the Agreement.
The report on “Identifying Priority Products and Value Chains for Standards Harmonization in Africa” jointly published by the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) and the African Union Commission (AUC) was launched during a webinar to launch a series of Pan African Quality Infrastructure (PAQI) publications in support of AfCFTA implementation.
Speaking at the webinar, Mr. David Luke, Coordinator of the ATPC, emphasised that the AfCFTA Agreement has the potential to be a game changer for Africa’s industrialization but it is now widely understood that the industrialization and trade potential of the AfCFTA will not be realized without adequate quality infrastructure systems including metrology, standardization, accreditation, quality management and conformity assessment.
First Geneva Trade Week: Africa’s Digital Trade Integration under Spotlight (CUTS International)
“The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) offers a unique opportunity for building a stronger and more inclusive participation in e-commerce in Africa,” said Tammo Strümpler on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (BMZ) Trade Division, at the opening of a virtual discussion jointly organised with CUTS International Geneva on the opening day of the Geneva Trade Week. Held under the title “Trade and Digital Africa: Innovating for Inclusive and Sustainable Continental Integration”, the discussion aimed to share key research findings and exchange views on what should be the key considerations for African negotiators and other stakeholders for the upcoming e-commerce Protocol under AfCFTA.
Free Trade Areas are special creation that propel the growth and advancement of many economies worldwide. The FTZ has been successfully deployed from North America to Europe to Asia. Africa’s embrace of the model is now more than critical in view of the advent of the Africa Continental Free Trade Zone. Aggressive adoption of free zone model and its best practices are compulsory for Africa to realize the continent’s desire to advance industrially.
Center urges Ethiopian businesses to use Africa free trade (New Business Ethiopia)
The founder and head of the Center for Accelerated Women’s Economic Empowerment (CAWEE) urges Ethiopian businesses to get prepared to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA). Speaking to New Business Ethiopia, the Founder and Executive Director of CAWEE, Nigest Haile, said AfCFTA is a big opportunity for Ethiopian businesses to boost the trade of the country with other African countries. Indicating that Africa’s trade with itself currency represents less than 20 percent, she noted that the AfCFTA that lifts trade tariff, is a great opportunity for the growth of Ethiopian businesses and the economy in general.
The Acting Director General of the Nigerian office of Trade Negotiations, Victor Liman has said that his office has negotiated and almost concluded the rules of origin to pave way for Nigeria’s ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). Rules of origin is the criteria needed to determine the nationality of a product that could make or break the AfCFTA process. He said: “We have made a lot of progress and as today, we have negotiated and almost concluded the rules of origin to pave way for Nigeria’s ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.” Liman added: “As part of the agreement, It is proposed that ‘Value add’ should be between 30 and 45 per cent.”
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement will reduce the erosion of the naira, which has suffered nearly 90% devaluation since 2016, through exports of Nigerian made goods and services, and give exposure of the naira to other currencies. Mr. Francis Anatogu, Secretary, National Action Committee on AfCFTA added that Nigeria was meant to take preemptive actions before joining the WTO, like the creation of a trade remedy mechanism. He said trade remedy is an area that has been identified by the National Action Committee to ensure Nigeria is not used for dumping. “We are starting with short term measures (trade remedies), and eventually submitting the bill to the National Assembly.”
New pmaphlet: Promoting harmonized, standardized and coordinated entry and exit for travellers in African Union Member States through digital solutions
SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, has said the region has stepped up efforts to address the impact of COVID-19 on Member States’ health delivery systems, the business environment and to mitigate the impact on their economies and socio-economic environments. COVID-19 has brought multiple challenges to the SADC Member States and these include unavailability of drugs and equipment, food insecurity, gender-based violence and a negative impact on the economies of Member States. SADC has conducted a study on COVID-19 and has produced a report which details the extent of the impact of the pandemic on Member States. The study recommends the way forward for the region to mitigate against the disease.
As the Partner States in the East African Community (EAC) region ease measures that were established to prevent and respond to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the EAC Secretariat has commenced a training of trainers’ course for staff at 12 One Stop Border Posts between the Partner States. Depending on the size of the border posts, between 16 and 32 staff members are trained as trainers in 2-day courses. They come from customs, immigration, port health and animal health, bureau of standards, security, cargo and baggage handlers from both sides of the border as well as from the Joint Border Management Committees. This contributes at the same time to regional integration. Clearing agents are also included in the training.
Ghana to cement position as ECOWAS automobile production hub – Report (MyJoyOnline.com)
Ghana will cement its position as West African’s automotive production hub in the coming years, according to Fitch Solutions, research arm of ratings agency Fitch.The report noted the expected dominance of the nation in the automobile space in West African is due to the comprehensive policy by the government. “We believe developments in Ghana’s metals sector (steel and aluminium in particular) raises the potential for the country’s nascent autos industry to move up the value chain.”
India and South Africa want the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to waive intellectual property rules to make it easier for developing countries to produce or import Covid-19 drugs, a letter to the WTO shows. In their letter dated October 2 the two countries call on the global trade body to waive parts of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which governs patents, trademarks, copyright and other intellectual property rules globally.
Africa Must Lead On Climate Change (Forbes)
To preserve its own survival, and secure its own prosperity, Africa must provide global leadership on responsible environmental stewardship and offer the world a novel model of climate led development. This could also make Africa rich. Africa’s reality as a late latecomer to industrialization may actually present the continent an extraordinary opportunity to regain a position of global leadership and contribute powerfully to forward innovation. The continent must stridently carve out a bold path as a climate change leader – proactively developing a completely novel, a priori approach to building sustainable and resilient eco-aligned societies. Doing so offers Africa’s nations and their international partners the opportunity to rethink effective approaches to driving economic growth. Reimagining how we power, transport and manufacture economies harbors the potential to earn Africa quite a lot of money, innovation and geopolitical influence. Africa should seize the initiative.
Rwanda gears up for Commonwealth Head of State Meeting 2021 (East African Business Week)
President Paul Kagame said that CHOGM Rwanda 2021 will be an exceptional occasion to deliberate together on the enormous technological, ecological, and economic challenges and opportunities facing the Commonwealth, particularly our young people, and which are all the more pressing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. “Rwanda looks forward to welcoming all delegates and participants to Kigali next year for a safe and productive meeting,” Kagame said. “At this historic CHOGM, the first to be held in Africa for over a decade, we look forward to Commonwealth leaders coming together to take practical action on the critical issues we all face,” he said.
North and South united in need for COVID-19 collaboration (news.trust.org)
In the battle against COVID-19, we all have a common goal: to save lives, reopen our societies and rebuild our economies. New diagnostic tests, treatments and vaccines offer the best hope of achieving this – but only if they are deployed when and where they are needed most. This is not just the right thing to do; it is the smart thing to do. Against a foe that respects no borders, national solutions are bound to fall short. Countries that only focus on ensuring supplies of vaccines, drugs and diagnostics for their own populations must wake up to the fact that they risk delaying the end of the pandemic for everyone. The pandemic transcends national borders – our efforts should be aligned to fight this pandemic collectively. Vaccines, drugs and diagnostics must be made available for all in need. If not, we risk delaying the end of the pandemic for everyone.
The authors: Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa are co-chairs of the ACT-Accelerator Facilitation Council.
Emerging technologies can change the African financial landscape (Cointelegraph)
Africa is the home to 1.2 billion people and what has been described as the world’s largest trade area – the African Continental Free Trade Area. Africa is forging a new path to driving development, and access to financial services will play a significant role in its economic growth. The need to provide improved systems for poverty reduction, if not alleviation, is further accentuated when one considers that 416 million Africans live in extreme poverty, and access to financial services is right at the heart of the solution. In a review of the impact of financial inclusion on economic growth, the World Bank argues that “such services must be provided responsibly and safely to the consumer, and sustainably to the provider.” Construed appropriately, financial inclusion has the potential to reduce poverty and inequality by helping disadvantaged groups to benefit from opportunities that otherwise would not have been available.
UK-Ghana partnership yields £80.3m Tema-Aflao road project (MyJoyOnline.com)
The United Kingdom-Ghana partnership has brought together funding and expertise to build a new major road system that will create jobs and build expertise across Ghana. A statement issued by the British High Commission (BHM) in Accra, copied the Ghana News Agency, said the partnership has yielded a £80.3 million project to build the Tema-Aflao highway agreed between BHM and the Ministry of Roads and Highways. Mr Iain Walker, the British High Commissioner to Ghana said: “The significant strengthening of Ghana’s road system shows the UK-Ghana partnership at its best; a long-term partnership working for the long-term benefit of Ghana. Together we are committed to creating opportunities that move beyond aid and towards the trade and investment relationships which drive economic growth and local job creation.”
A group of US legislators has warned President Donald Trump against weakening Kenya’s restrictions on plastic pollution.The seven senators and 54 members of Congress in their October 1 letter to Trump said they “strongly oppose using the trade negotiations with Kenya to undermine domestic efforts to restrict importation or consumption of single-use plastic and other polluting products. With nearly 400 million tons of plastic produced globally each year and failed policies to reclaim and recycle that plastic, we are creating suffocating amounts of plastic that are harming our environment, our health and our budgets.”In 2019, the US exported more than 1 billion pounds of plastic waste to 96 countries, including Kenya.
State eases dairy farmers’ competition fears in US trade pact talks (Business Daily)
The government has moved to ease fear among local dairy farmers that when Nairobi and Washington strike a trade deal, it will usher unfair competition. Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai said they will not allow an unfair deal that jeopardises the welfare of local farmers. “Negotiations on modalities to allow importation of milk from the US are ongoing with the government pledging to protect the local dairy industry from unfair competition from the imported products,” said Mr Kimtai.
The EACC 15th Annual Trade and Investment Conference will take place on Wednesday 7th October 2020. This virtual Annual Conference brings investors from across the USA and East African decision-makers together for a two days of B2B engagement. This is a conference for businesses, organizations and individuals with interest in trade and investment between North America and the East African Community.
EAC endorses Kenya’s Amina Mohamed for WTO director-general (The East African)
The East African Community (EAC) has endorsed the candidature of Kenya’s Amina Mohamed to head the World Trade Organisation, in the latest boost to her bid. The endorsement was announced on Sunday just two days before the global trade regulator names the two contenders for the final round of the race.
Nigeria’s former finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala remains the favourite for the job of director-general of the World Trade Organisation as the body’s General Council meets next Tuesday to reduce the five candidates still in the race to two. “Aside from Okonjo-Iweala, no other contestant has ever worked or held a key position in a major international body like the World Bank.... In addition, Okonjo-Iweala worked as foreign affairs minister. All her opponents have no international career record,” added another pundit.
France-Kenya: Kenyatta mounts Paris seduction operation for WTO (The Africa Report)
During his five-day official visit to France, the Kenyan President pushed for French investments in his country while defending the candidacy of Amina Mohamed at the head of the WTO. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta made a vibrant plea in favor of a win-win partnership with French companies when he addressed French leaders gathered by the Medef in the salons of the Cercle Interallié on October 2. “Ten years ago, very few French companies were still present in Kenya. They are more than a hundred today,” said Kenyatta, on a five-day official visit to France.
Russia-Africa: Time to Act – interview with Alexander Stuglev (Modern Diplomacy)
Q: What are your views on trade between Russia and Africa following the inaugural Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum in October 2019? Trade needs to flow in both directions. What can Russia offer Africa, and vice versa?
A: Russia has achieved impressive results across numerous areas to date, and is ready to share its experience and expertise with its African partners. Specific examples would include agriculture, energy, medicine, digital technologies, and infrastructure projects. I am convinced that Africa possesses enormous potential to become, for example, one of the key players on the international food market. It is Russia’s objective to help Africa achieve this by entering into an equal and mutually beneficial partnership. By working together, we can fully deal with any of the difficulties which can be encountered in certain regions of Africa.
Top business leaders say the global economy is facing its worst crisis in a hundred years, and “downside risks remain elevated” unless urgent reforms are enacted during the G-20 summit hosted by Saudi Arabia in November.” The global economy is in its worst state in a century,” warned Yousef Al-Benyan, chairman of the Business Twenty (B20), a group made up of high-level CEOs from around the world. “The challenging opportunity is to build back better, with real urgency required from policymakers and business leaders,” he added.
As tourism recovers, a new publication from the World Bank’s Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy (ENB) Global Practice and the Global Environment Facility-funded Global Wildlife Program is available to offer some suggestions. Tools and Resources for Nature-Based Tourism curates the wealth of knowledge and resources available on NBT topics and makes them easily accessible to practitioners as they work to restart tourism.