News

tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News
Photo credit: Bloomberg

07 Oct 2020

National

South Africa’s exports to China were surprisingly better in the ‘pandemic quarter’ (Engineering News)

While South Africa had seen on overall decline in exports during the lockdown, exports to China had grown by just more than 2% year-on-year during the second quarter, says research institute Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS). The result is that, during the quarter, China’s dominance as South Africa’s main export destination grew to 13.4% of all exports, at R36.6-billion. The top five products that were exported to China during the second quarter were ores, iron and steel, wood pulp, copper and fruit and nuts, altogether accounting for 88% of South Africa’s total exports to China by value.

Copyright Act ‘discriminatory and ‘exclusionary’ and reform is urgent, say civil society organisations (Daily Maverick)

A group of civil society organisations and activists have written to Parliament, the Department of Trade and Industry, Economic Development, Tourism, Small Business Development and Employment and Labour, regarding the recently amended Copyright Bill. The group says that in its current format, the copyright regime is “discriminatory” and “exclusionary” and that it infringes the rights of pupils, teachers, people with disabilities, artists, musicians, and writers. They are lobbying for urgent reforms that would be in line with our Constitution’s Bill of Rights as well as the international human rights agreements that South Africa has ratified.

4IR Commission Report Recommendations gazetted (SAnews)

Communications and Digital Technologies Minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, has announced the release of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) Commission Report for public consumption. This comes after Cabinet last month approved the report, which was handed to President Cyril Ramaphosa in August.

N$8 million earmarked for informal economy (New Era)

Through the Southern African Development Community (SADC) trade-related facility, the industrial upgrading modernisation plan (IUMP) is expected to inject around N$8 million into Namibia’s informal economy. The funds are to be distributed to 52 beneficiaries by end of October this year. “The adoption of the national policy will foster an operation that will foster an approach that recognises different levels of the formation such as being traceable through registration with a recognised informal economy association and operating from a normal place,” explained trade minister, Lucia Iipumbu.

Tuna value dropping, industry must plan ahead – report (New Vision)

Tuna is holding steady as a $40 billion-a-year business, but commercial fisheries worldwide are hauling in bigger catches of dwindling value, threatening the long-term survival of some species, according to a new report. “Fisheries caught 500,000 more metric tons in 2018 than in 2012, but were paid $500 million less in dock value,” study co-author Grantly Galland, an officer with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ international fisheries group, told AFP. Unless governments that regulate the industry through regional management bodies adopt long-term strategies, everything from supermarket tuna to $100-a-portion sashimi could wind up in short supply, the report warned.

Economist call for support for small businesses (New Vision)

Economic experts have called for evidence based research to support the design of interventions for the micro, small and medium size enterprises that can sustain them post COVID-19 pandemic. The economists have expressed fears that bigger enterprises might benefit from current government support at the expense of the micro and small enterprises if support measures are not inclusive for little enterprises. This was during the launch of a study on the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 on MSMEs in Uganda.

Mthuli Ncube rules out de-dollarisation (The Zimbabwe Mail)

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube says that Zimbabwe is beginning to engage multilateral creditors, with a view of clearing its US$1.8 billion arrears, which will see the country unlock fresh funding to aid its economic growth efforts. Zimbabwe owes US$1.2 billion to the World Bank and US$600 million to the African Bank. Ncube said the clearance plan had been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which had seen resources being deployed in order to control and curtail the spread of the virus. As a result monthly token payments to the creditors had been suspended.

Tanzania’s central bank says economy on track amid COVID-19 pandemic (The Star Online)

Tanzania’s economy continued to perform satisfactorily despite spillover effects from the global economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the central bank said on Tuesday. The Bank of Tanzania said in a statement that the bank’s monetary policy committee assessment of the performance and outlook of the economy showed that the it will grow at the projected 5.5 percent in 2020. “The projection is underpinned by adequate domestic food supply, stable exchange rate, moderate oil prices and prudent monetary and fiscal policies,” said the statement.

PPE makers worried as State orders slow down (Business Daily)

Manufacturers are worried of being stuck with stockpile of personal protection equipment (PPEs) and other Covid-19 kits after the government slowed orders amid ongoing probe at the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa). Kenyan textiles factories, which previously exported at least 80 percent of their production largely to the US and the UK, switched to making PPEs and masks to fill a gaping domestic demand at the height of coronavirus pandemic. “Most of the procurements of PPEs, masks and other related items made in the EAC are driven by the public sector through the respective ministries of Health,” KAM chief executive Phyllis Wakiaga said via email.

SON DG targets quality local production, reduced red tapes (The Guardian Nigeria)

The newly appointed Director-General and Chief Executive of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Farouk Salim has stated that efforts would be geared towards reducing red tapes and stimulating the production of quality goods locally for self-sufficiency. “The LCCI would advise the need to strengthen collaboration with critical stakeholders including the private sector to ensure that he achieves the objectives of the organisation. Synergy and collaboration are very key in getting intelligence, information, collaboration and also in the area of logistics. All those things are very important in achieving the desired results,” said a statement.

Ethiopia further opens up sectors to diaspora and foreign nationals (The Africa Report.com)

As part of Ethiopia’s plan to liberalise its economy and boost investment, it is set to open up sectors that were once reserved for domestic investors. The new regulation is an extension of the country's new investment proclamation, which came into effect earlier this year that gives equal playing field to Ethiopian-born foreign nationals and foreign investors.

South Sudan oil firm bids to set up a $500m regional refinery (The East African)

South Sudanese oil marketing giant Trinity Energy Ltd is set to inject $10 million worth of new investments in its Kenyan operations and also plans to build a $500 million crude oil refinery in South Sudan to serve the region with refined petroleum products. The refinery, to be built by American firm Chemex, is expected to be operational in two to three years, with plans to start distribution of refined petroleum products to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo by road, owing to the absence of railway and pipeline connectivity between these countries.

Major Boost For Businesses, SDGs As President Akufo-Addo Launches 4BBT (Modern Ghana)

On Tuesday, October 6th 2020, President Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo launched ‘For Better Business Together (4BBT)’ to inspire business-worthy behaviour, discuss and critically analyse specific local issues, and serve as a convergence point for the youth of the world. The move, according to business and industry stakeholders will go a long way to further boost business interest in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Africa

AfCFTA: The Government of Niger, the ECA and the Organization of Industrial Professionals of Niger organise the 4th edition of the trade fair “100% Made in Niger” (UNECA)

On Thursday, October 1, 2020, in Niamey, the Minister of State, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Mr Albadé Abouba, representing Prime Minister Brigi Rafini, officially launched the 4th edition of the trade fair “100 % Made in Niger”, together with the “Buy Nigerien” campaign. “This initiative aims to strengthen sub-regional economic integration and the development of intra-community trade that is consistent with the objectives set through the AfCFTA, the start of which is scheduled for January 2021,” explained Minister of Trade and the Promotion of the Private Sector, Mr. Sadou Seydou.

EAC’s resource dispute resolution treaty up for signing, adoption (The East African)

East African member states are reviewing the Protocol on Environment and Natural Resources Management to create provisions for combating climate change, e-waste management and peaceful resolution of disputes related to trans-boundary resources such as the contentious Migingo Island. The EastAfrican has learnt that the agreement, which is now ready for signing, has clear provisions on reduction of greenhouse emissions, e-waste management and resolution of disputes arising from shared natural resources. The reviewed protocol provides that any dispute arising from shared resources should be addressed in a peaceful manner by the respective EAC ministers of Environment.

Member States Hold the Key to the Operation of the COMESA Information Sharing Portal

Seven countries: Burundi, Rwanda, Comoros, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mauritius and Madagascar have nominated officers that will serve as the focal persons in operationalizing the newly developed COMESA Information Sharing Portal. The portal is a resource page for real time exchange of information on regional supply and demand of essential goods manufactured in the region. Developed to support Member States during COVID-19 and after, the portal will connect producers, sellers and buyers of essential goods and help small-scale cross-border traders and Small and Medium Enterprises have access to market information.

Tripartite Transport Corridor Trip Monitoring System Set for Piloting (COMESA)

Preparatory work for launch of a Corridor Trip Monitoring System (CTMS) pilot project are an advanced stage. The CTMS is an initiative of the tripartite regional blocs; COMESA, EAC and SADC on trade and transport facilitation. Piloting of this project is planned for sections of the North-South (NS) and Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi (WBNL) Corridors (which transit Zambia to the Kasumbalesa Border with DR Congo). Initial focus is on Zambia, a well land-linked State with eight neighbouring countries. An Inter-Agency Technical Coordination Committee (IATCC) is being set up for the Chirundu OSBP to come up with recommendations on how to address operational challenges at the border during the COVID-19 pandemic and after.

Cross Border Traders Plead With Gvt To Re-Open Borders (263Chat)

Cross border traders have pleaded with the government to reopen the Beitbridge border post which provides gateway into neighboring South Africa citing that its continued closure puts livelihoods that largely depend on trading from the southern neighbor at high risk of poverty. The call comes after South Africa re-opened its side of the border making it impossible for traders to access passage. The president of the Zimbabwe Cross-Border Traders Association, Killer Zivhu in a statement said cross border traders have since fallen on hard times.

Delays in cargo clearance at Beitbridge (The Herald)

It’s still taking up to 28 hours for a truck carrying commercial cargo to clear border controls at Beitbridge Border Post, with traffic building up as more importers and exporters in Sadc switch transit traffic from Botswana to Zimbabwe. According to transporters, the situation has been the same since Thursday last week with commercial trucks experiencing long delays related to the new Covid-19 clearance procedures by Port Health in South Africa. The delays started when South Africa temporarily stopped accepting commercial trucks from Sadc where drivers had no such certificates, just the clearance documents from their home countries. This resulted in the commercial cargo forming long queues for more than 5km in Beitbridge town.

How Africa can curb illicit financial flows to strengthen economies post Covid-19 (The Mail & Guardian)

The Covid-19 pandemic crisis has worsened the vulnerabilities caused by the excessive reliance of African economies on world markets. Africa’s main trade partners include the European Union, China, the United States and United Kingdom. Together they represent more than 50% of the continent’s trade flows. Africa’s dependence on external markets for medicinal and pharmaceutical products is particularly acute – Africa imports more than 95% of these products from outside the continent. As the continent’s main trade partners have been severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, Africa has suffered significant business disruptions and output contraction, including in export sectors.

ECA, Smart Africa & Future State launch Africa Data Leadership Initiative (UNECA)

The Economic Commission for Africa raised the flag on data governance Tuesday by jointly launching the Africa Data Leadership Initiative (ADLI) with Future State and Smart Africa, creating safe space for policymakers, digital rights experts and entrepreneurs to learn together. The ADLI is a peer network designed for and by African policymakers, consumer rights advocates, and private sector stakeholders to ensure the data economy drives equitable growth and social progress across the continent. The tripartite partnership is creating a peer learning and exchange network in pursuit of three interrelated and interdependent goals

Co-operation between African states key in Covid-19 jump-start (BusinessLIVE)

As the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic makes its presence felt across sub-Saharan Africa, all eyes are on the next policy moves governments will make to resuscitate growth. Now, with the IMF forecasting that the volume of goods and services trade will shrink by 12% in 2020, it is clear that fragmentation is something Africa can ill afford. Encouraging intra-African trade and getting AfCFTA back on track have become a matter of urgency. Several hurdles still lie in the way of the effective implementation of AfCFTA, over and above that 24 AU member states and signatories have yet to ratify the agreement. These issues should be priorities for policymakers in clearing the road ahead.

AU, Africa CDC Launch Tech Portal to Digitise COVID-19 Certificates for Travel (Capital Business)

The African Union Commission and the Africa Centre for Disease Control Prevention (Africa CDC) have launched a Covid-19 “Trusted Travel” Portal to simplify verification of public health documentation of travelers during entry and exit across borders. The portal’s key features include information about the latest travel restrictions, and entry requirements, a database of authorised laboratories and vaccination compliance information, as well as Africa CDC mutual recognition protocol for Covid-19 testing and test results and vaccination certificates.

ONE and ECA Report on Remittances urge governments to help preserving this Lifeline for Africa hindered by the COVID-19 (UNECA)

The anti-poverty organisation ONE and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), launched a new report highlighting the severe impact which the global Covid-19 pandemic has had on remittance inflows to Africa, mainly due to the situation of migrants in the countries mostly affected. The report notes that remittances have steadily increased over the past few decades and have become the main financial inflow in developing countries, surpassing foreign aid, private capital flows and foreign direct investment. However, due to the global outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has caused a global economic downturn, remittance flows to Africa are projected to decline by 21 per cent in 2020. That could mean $18 billion less going to people who rely on that money.

pdf Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and migrant remittances: Protecting an economic lifeline (1.67 MB)


As Africa reopens, researchers see new chance for data-driven response (Devex)

As Nigeria lifts its COVID-19 lockdowns, the government is facing the knock-on consequences of the response. “The restriction in movement created a lot of issues, particularly for a lot of daily wage earners and those who live from hand to mouth,” Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Nigeria’s minister of health, said at the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit. As countries reopen, governments have another opportunity to weigh the health and economic impacts of every decision and develop a response that makes sense for their contexts.

Scaling up Climate Change Adaptation in Africa (UNDP)

Gabon’s firm commitment to climate is exemplified not only by its leadership of the initiative, but also by its generous financial contribution to the AAI. The ‘Enhancing Knowledge and Evidence to Scale-up Climate Change Adaptation in Africa via the Africa Adaptation Initiative’ will leverage the capacities of our network of experts from local to global levels ,working seamlessly across our Nature Climate and Energy teams, in particular across our Climate Change Adaptation portfolio, NDC Implementation Support Programme, National Adaptation Plans portfolios and the growing work in supporting countries on Insurance and Risk Finance.


International

Kenya’s plans for digital taxes and its data protection bill hit a potential snag (Techpoint Africa)

Kenya’s plan to enforce taxes on digital services and global tech giants and some provisions of its data protection bill might hit a major setback following ongoing negotiations with the United States on a free trade agreement. The Office of the United States Trade Representative released the details of the negotiation in a document titled pdf “United States-Kenya Negotiations: Summary of Specific negotiating objectives” (852 KB) . According to the document, the United States demands that Kenya removes provisions to enforce taxes on digital products like software, e-books, music, and others. It also wants Kenya to remove any provision in its data protection bill that requires US firms to store data locally

Trump sucked into Kenya plastic ban row (Business Daily)

President Donald Trump has been sucked into a row between members of the US Congress and big oil companies that are pushing to have Kenya drop its strict limits on plastics in the ongoing bilateral trade talks with Washington. “The United States should make no attempt to undermine Kenya’s, or any other developing nations, domestic law or regional agreement developed to meaningfully protect the health and environment of its people such as bans on plastic bags and restrictions on single-use plastics,” some 62 members of the US Congress said in the October 1 letter.

UK’s latest business risk guidance for South Africa covers both strengths and weaknesses (Engineering News)

The UK Department of International Trade released its updated “Overseas Business Risk – South Africa” guidance at the end of last month. The concise document provides political and economic overviews, and covers key economic developments, the business environment, human rights, bribery and corruption, security and intellectual property. “South Africa is a young, relatively stable democracy, dominated by one political party,” states the guidance. “South Africa remains the most sophisticated and developed economy in Africa and has high class companies in finance, real estate and business services, manufacturing and wholesale and retail trade.”

WTO contender suffers EU Brexit slight in leadership bid (The National)

Britain and its erstwhile EU partners have found a new battleground to play out their tension by throwing their weight behind different candidates in the race to find the next leader of the World Trade Organisation. The global system is creaking under the strains of international division as it chooses a new leader after Director General Roberto Azevedo unexpectedly quit less than a year into his second term. Voting is under way to whittle the second-round contenders list down to a final two before the end of this week.

Preparing for the next chapter in trade and sustainable development governance (Trade 4 Dev News)

The debate over how to ensure sustainable development considerations are incorporated within trade policy-making is now some decades old. There is now an increased understanding that national and global economies function better when they are also inclusive, where inequalities are addressed, and where sustainability considerations are put front and center. Yet while there is now an active, engaged community on trade and sustainable development, often this work continues in silos. Meanwhile, those who do not work directly in this space may have a broad sense of the importance of sustainability, but not have a window into the technical and political nuances of these policy decisions and what these mean for daily life.

WTO Members Advance Text Negotiations on Fisheries Subsidies (IISD)

World Trade Organization (WTO) members began work on a consolidated draft document towards an agreement on curbing harmful fisheries subsidies. Members reviewed draft language on subsidies contributing to overcapacity and overfishing, subsidies to distant water fishing, transparency provisions, and special and differential treatment of developing and least developed countries (LDCs).

Reversing the Inequality Pandemic: Speech by World Bank Group President David Malpass (World Bank)

I’m here to set the stage ahead of the IMF and World Bank Group’s Annual Meetings, which will focus primarily on COVID and debt, and will also engage partners in urgent discussions on human capital, climate change, and digital development. The pandemic has already changed our world decisively and forced upon the world a painful transformation. It has changed everything: the way we work, the extent to which we travel, and the manner in which we communicate, teach, and learn. It has rapidly elevated some industries – especially the technology sector – while pushing others toward obsolescence.

The Long Ascent: Overcoming the Crisis and Building a More Resilient Economy (IMF)

Emerging markets and low-income and fragile states continue to face a precarious situation. They have weaker health systems. They are highly exposed to the most affected sectors, such as tourism and commodity exports. And they are highly dependent on external financing. Abundant liquidity and low interest rates helped many emerging markets to regain access to borrowing – but not a single country in Sub-Saharan Africa has issued external debt since March. So, my key message is this: The global economy is coming back from the depths of the crisis. But this calamity is far from over. All countries are now facing what I would call “The Long Ascent” – a difficult climb that will be long, uneven, and uncertain. And prone to setbacks.

Trade shows signs of rebound from COVID-19, recovery still uncertain (WTO)

World trade shows signs of bouncing back from a deep, COVID-19 induced slump, but World Trade Organization economists caution that any recovery could be disrupted by the ongoing pandemic effects. The WTO now forecasts a 9.2% decline in the volume of world merchandise trade for 2020, followed by a 7.2% rise in 2021. These estimates are subject to an unusually high degree of uncertainty since they depend on the evolution of the pandemic and government responses to it.