News

tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News
Photo credit: SAPS

08 Oct 2020

National

Illicit trade hotline to curb illegal activity (IOL)

Illegal trading is one of the biggest threats to economic order and growth in the country, according to the Consumer Goods Council of SA (CGCSA), who have launched the illicit trade hotline. Following the temporary ban on the sale of cigarettes and alcohol to help manage the health impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, concerns were voiced by traders and other groups that an unintended consequence may have been an increase in illicit trade of these products. President of the SA Informal Traders Alliance (Saita) Rosheda Muller, said: “As the national voice of the thousands of informal traders, hawkers, spaza shop owners and home-based operators across all nine provinces in South Africa, we are calling on all informal traders across South Africa to report illicit goods.”

Industrialisation and Beneficiation Gaining Momentum-Director General October (the dtic)

The Director-General of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, Mr Lionel October, has presented the Annual Performance Reports for the Financial Year 2019/2020 of the Economic Development Department and the Department of Trade and Industry to the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry. One of the key initiatives of the dtic has been the development of Master Plans for different sectors of the economy, with the aim of developing and protecting them to ensure they contribute towards economic growth and job creation. October stated that the Poultry and the Retail-Clothing, Textile and Footwear Masterplans were developed and launched at the Presidential Investment Conference in November 2019.

South Africa mining resilient despite COVID-19 challenges (Mining Global)

South Africa’s mining companies remained resilient and performed on all fronts, according to a PwC report, highlighting the bullish impact of stronger commodity prices and a weaker rand on the key sector. “South Africa’s mining sector continues to be a meaningful contributor to the economy and has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic in many respects – showing good profitability and retaining strong balance sheets,” says Andries Rossouw, PwC Africa Energy Utilities & Resources Leader. “The long-term future is unknown, however, as there is little consensus on how the pandemic will impact the mining industry. The pandemic highlighted the absolute need to build back better and mining will play a key role in that recovery.”

Downstream Sector Deregulation Will Boost Investments – NNPC (Economic Confidential)

The deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria will increase investment in the refining business and facilitate exponential growth in the nation’s refining capacity. Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari, disclosed this at the African Refiners Association Week 2020 which held virtually on Tuesday. “It is important to note at this point that the future of our continent does not just lie in our ability to unlock value from our vast natural resources or powering an industrial and economic revolution, but also in our ability to implement proven refining solutions that consider the broader public health implications of our business decisions.”

Sisi orders shortening customs clearance time, simplifying procedures (State Information Service Egypt)

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has ordered the customs development strategy to be focusing on the governance of Egypt’s exports and imports, in addition to simplifying customs clearance procedures and shortening their time. The customs development strategy is based on upgrading the technological infrastructure and automating procedures, in addition to linking customs offices and points across the country through the single-window system and tightening customs control using the latest techniques on that score, the minister noted.

Cotton export revenue set to increase (New Vision)

Uganda’s export revenue from cotton is set to increase following the launch of the Cotton Development Organisation (CDO) module under the Uganda Electronic Single Window (UESW) system. This will see stakeholders enjoy reduced paper-based procedures and delays in getting the required regulatory documents for export, such as ginnery certificates, ginning certificate, lint export certificate and the lint quality certificate. This, according to the TradeMark East Africa acting country director for Uganda, Damali Ssali, will enable the country export more cotton and increase export revenue from the cash crop.

Nigeria’s Debt Fast Becoming Unsustainable, May Reach N34trn – LCCI (Economic Confidential)

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said the growing level of Nigeria’s debt is fast becoming unsustainable in the light of dwindling oil prices and production and might hit N34tn by year-end. Quoting the Debt Management Office, Mabogunje said the public debt stock grew by eight per cent to N31tn at the end of the second quarter, equivalent to 21 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product. According to her, the increase in public debt stock was fueled by fresh domestic and external borrowings required to plug the wider fiscal deficit in the revised 2020 budget given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of recent exchange rate depreciation.


Africa

Mozambique: Malawi Should Not Remain Landlocked – Nyusi (allAfrica.com)

Mozambique and Malawi must work very closely together in order to maximize bilateral cooperation and facilitate the transit of Malawian goods through Mozambican ports and rail corridors, thus reducing the landlocked country’s isolation, declared Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Tuesday. “The Beira and Nacala development corridors have many opportunities that can be explored for mutual benefit. The potential can be maximized, putting into effect a new approach, which will turn Malawi into a connected country, no longer landlocked. We support this vision,” Nyusi said.

Minister defends Congo road project (New Vision)

Works and transport minister Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala has said Uganda is guaranteed a high return on investment in the 223km road project in DR Congo. Katumba said if Uganda could earn $532m from trade with DRC in 2018, the return could be much higher with a well constructed road network. Figures from the global trade quantifier; United Nations International Trade Statistics Database (COMTRADE) , indicate that in 2018, Uganda’s total exports to DRC stood at $532m, with informal trade exports worth $312m and formal trade accounted for $221m. Uganda’s imports from DRC were $34.49m.

Dar Port, Mombasa competition heats up (New Vision)

The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) commissioner customs Abel Kagumire, said an increasing number of traders are now opting to use the Dar es Salaam Port following the deployment of URA officers at the port to clear Uganda bound cargo as well as that in transit. This, he said, has smoothened the clearance process, increasing efficiency at the port. “You can pay your taxes in Uganda when your goods are in Dar es Salaam and simply pick them and drive non-stop to your final destination which never used to happen before,” he said.

JPM eyes trade volume rise (Dailynews)

President John Magufuli has welcomed the opening of a new chapter for trade relations between Tanzania and Malawi. Dr Magufuli was optimistic over a brighter future, particularly rising trade volume between the two nations following successful talks on a number of issues meant to facilitate trade flow between Dar es Salaam and Lilongwe. Among other trade facilitations, Dr Magufuli said they have agreed to establish One-Stop-Border Post to allow ease movement of people, goods and services between the two nations. “We want the relationship between Malawi and Tanzania to become more commercial, and with this Malawian President’s visit, I believe we’ll move very fast,” he assured before delegations from both countries at the Magogoni State House.

Legislative agenda for gender mainstreaming in renewable energy should be strengthened (The Chronicle)

Members of Parliament in southern Africa have been urged to take concrete action in driving the legislative agenda to advance gender equality in the renewable energy sector. Speaker of the National Assembly of Zimbabwe, Advocate Jacob Mudenda said during a virtual workshop with Parliamentarians from the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) that women entrepreneurship within the energy sector has the potential to significantly enhance economic growth. “It is of significance that MPs take a concrete legislative agenda whose objective is to expeditiously gender mainstream renewable energy in their respective countries,” Adv Mudenda said.

African refiners seek financial solutions, infrastructure upgrade (The Guardian Nigeria)

African Refiners & Distributors Association (ARA) has stressed the urgent need for countries on the continent to finance downstream projects, especially refineries, as part of measures to ensure cleaner air, and mitigate premature death. ARA believes that shoring finance to upgrade oil refineries and associated storage and distribution infrastructure will check the numbers of premature deaths caused by air pollution in other developing world economies. “The key is to define ‘sustainable’, adding: ”Only then can we secure the financing for the projects required to upgrade our refineries and infrastructure and deliver efficient supply chains for clean fuels to let Africa catch up with the rest of the world on the climate change agenda,” said Executive Secretary, Anibor Kragha.

Fight against money laundering and terrorism financing: The BEAC opts for digital solutions to trace financial flows (Business in Cameroon)

The Bank of Central African States (BEAC) recently launched a selection process for the acquisition and implementation of an IT solution that will filter, profile, and trace financial flows within the CEMAC region. This process is launched about two (2) years after the Action Group against Money-Laundering in Central Africa (GABAC) sent a report (on September 27, 2018) to its seven-member countries denouncing the persistence of the deficiencies it previously identified in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing. According to the GABAC, in addition to exposing the member countries to sanctions provided by the Mutual Evaluation Procedures Manual, these deficiencies may result in complaints being filed against the countries before the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Transport costs still a concern for importers, shippers says (The Star)

In its 2019/2020 budget, the government announced that imported goods will not be re-inspected at the port of Mombasa once cleared at the port of origin, a move aimed at speeding up the flow of goods in the market and cutting on shipment costs. SCEA chairman Genesio Mugo said that the last mile costs for instance to the Industrial Area, Nairobi, remain high from an average of $100 (Sh10,850) in the years prior to 2018. “The rise on the rates is informed by the high truck turnaround time at the ICDN averaging seven hours,” said Mugo.

Information Brief on AfCFTA Third World Network-Africa: 23rd September 2020 (TWN Africa)

Some three months to the official date of January 1, 2021, for the trading of goods under Africa’s Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), work still remains to be done within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) before the regional bloc can operationalize the trade pact. This borders on the rules of origin, the regional list for the market access offer as a customs union and building the productive capacities of the various stakeholders.

African Continental Free Trade Agreement to benefit Namibia through intra-regional trade (Namibia Economist)

AfCFTA is one of the flagship projects of the Africa Union, a key programme and initiative that has been identified to accelerate Africa’s growth and development by boosting intra-African trade and the Continent’s trading position in the global marketplace. At the recent Africa Summit at Princeton University in the United States under the theme “The Future is African: Post-COVID Economic Recovery Reimagined,” Ms Eunice Ajambo, an economist and the Development Coordination Officer at UN Namibia, did a presentation on AfCFTA as a source of economic stimulus post-Covid, and its contribution to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. She noted that the impetus for AfCTA is founded on its potential to enhance the following:

AfCFTA: NASME urges government to scale up investments for SMEs (WorldStage)

The Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), has urged government to scale up investments in infrastructure, manufacturing and agriculture to boost the capacity of Small and Medium Enterprises for the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Mr Eke Ubiji, Executive Secretary, NASME made the remarks in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos. “To build a thriving and sustainable economy, a lot of works need to be done in the following areas of infrastructure, injection of more funds into manufacturing and agriculture and the MSME Sector.

Cemac: Budget deficit worsens to XAF495 bln in Q1-2020 (Business in Cameroon)

The six CEMAC countries recorded a budget deficit of XAF495 billion in Q1-2020, according to a note on public finances recently published by the central bank (BEAC). The budget deficit (a closely monitored indicator in the CEMAC region) has thus worsened considerably compared to the XAF15 billion budget surplus recorded in Q1-2019. This is due to the coronavirus pandemic, which affected the prices and volume of commodities exported by the countries.

Pandemic to dominate SADC PF plenary (New Era Live)

The SADC Parliamentary Forum will hold its 47th Plenary Assembly Session virtually from between 9-11 October under the theme: ‘The Role of Parliaments in Strengthening Accountability during a pandemic: The Case of Covid-19.’ This would be the first time that a SADC PF plenary takes place virtually. “The theme recognises that there has been a change in the global, regional and national situations and there are new challenges. Therefore, national parliaments are on uncharted waters. This plenary will enable sharing of new experiences within the region based on inter-parliamentary cooperation as we move to strengthen parliamentary democracy in the SADC region,” SADC PF Secretary General Boemo Sekgoma this week said.


International

World Bank Confirms Economic Downturn in Sub-Saharan Africa, Outlines Key Polices Needed for Recovery

Driven by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 global pandemic, growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is predicted to fall to -3.3 percent in 2020, pushing the region into its first recession in 25 years, according to the latest regional economic analysis Africa’s Pulse: Charting the Road to Recovery. “The road to recovery may be long, and it may be steep, but prioritizing policy actions and investments that address the challenge of creating more, better and inclusive jobs will pave the way for a faster, stronger and inclusive recovery for African countries,” said Albert Zeufack, World Bank Chief Economist for the Africa regions.

Africa’s Pulse No. 22 - October 2020

WTO members narrow field of DG candidates

From 24 September to 6 October, WTO members expressed preferences on five remaining candidates during consultations with Amb. Walker, Amb. Dacio Castillo of Honduras and Amb. Harald Aspelund of Iceland. Based on the depth and breadth of preferences articulated to the facilitators, Amb. Walker told a Heads of Delegation meeting on 8 October that the two candidates who secured the broadest and deepest support from the membership and who should subsequently advance to the final round are Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria and Yoo Myung-hee of the Republic of Korea.

EAC, EU launch regional economic integration programme

The EU Ambassador to Tanzania and the East African Community, Manfredo Fanti and the Secretary General of the EAC, H.E. Libérat Mfumukeko, today launched a new EUR 16,400,000 (approx. 43.87 billion TZS) joint programme to strengthen regional economic integration, through advancing implementation of the Customs Union and Common Market Protocols. In particular, the Common Objectives in Regional Economic Integration (CORE) programme will be instrumental in moving towards a fully-fledged Customs Union, by supporting more robust information, communication and technology (ICT) based data exchange protocols for the clearing of goods. Thanks to digital solutions, customs operations will be simpler, quicker, as well as safer during this pandemic situation thereby resulting in a reduction of the costs of cross-border trade.

UK’s Minister For Africa To Visit Zambia (Zambia Reports)

The UK’s Minister for Africa, James Duddridge MP, will make a two-day visit to Zambia beginning tomorrow, 8th to Friday, 9th October 2020. The Minister’s visit will strengthen the broad bilateral relationship that exists between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Zambia. Mr Duddridge said: “This visit provides an opportunity to strengthen trade links between the UK and Zambia and highlight where we can work together now and in the future. Zambia has an important role to play in SADC and the southern Africa region and I will be discussing a range of important regional and international trade and security issues with members of the Government and other key stakeholders.”

United States commits nearly $23 million to support Economic Governance and Women’s Empowerment in Egypt (Africanews)

The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and Egypt’s Ministry of International Cooperation signed an agreement to add $22.8 million to the five-year Inclusive Economic Governance bilateral assistance agreement. In line with Egypt’s Vision 2030, this funding is intended to improve the investment environment and empower women to join in the labor force. “This year, we identified seven priority sectors and allocated additional financing to execute more projects in health, education, higher education, science and technology, agriculture, governance, and trade,” H.E Dr. Rania Al Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, said.

Following week of trade discussions, 4 takeaways for LDCs (Trade 4 Dev News)

As 2020 continues its turmoil, the global trade community is continuing to try and adapt, along with everyone else. With the cancellation of the World Trade Organization’s annual Public Forum due to COVID-19, Geneva Trade Week came to fill in the gap, creating a digital space for the dialogues that usually happen in person in the negotiation and meeting rooms, the halls and the courtyard spaces along Lake Geneva. What is affecting least developed country (LDC) trade the most? What are the main concerns? What promise and potential is there? What issues intersect with larger interests? Moving forward, here are a few items that stand out.

Top global traders push to cut shipping emissions (Reuters)

Some of the world’s biggest commodities and energy players on Wednesday launched an initiative to cut and track emissions from the ships they charter as efforts intensify to reduce the maritime industry’s carbon footprint. About 90% of world trade is transported by sea, and the UN shipping agency – the International Maritime Organization (IMO) – aims to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from 2008 levels by 2050.

How more inclusive ICT policy and infrastructure could stem the spread of COVID-19 (ITU)

Epidemiological evidence has shown that the spread of pandemics across regions and nations follows patterns of underlying social and economic inequalities, among them digital exclusion. In her opening remarks, Ms. Bogdan-Martin emphasized how ICT infrastructure and universal connectivity can reduce the pandemic’s disproportionate effects on the digitally excluded. “As the Internet becomes the primary information channel on the pandemic for those lucky enough to have a connection, inequality in access to services and ICT infrastructures results in increased information asymmetry between users and non-users,” she said. “This compromises the development potential of this transformative technology.”

MSF supports India and South Africa ask to waive coronavirus drug patent rights | MSF

In a landmark move, India and South Africa on 2 October asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to allow all countries to choose to neither grant nor enforce patents and other intellectual property (IP) related to COVID-19 drugs, vaccines, diagnostics and other technologies for the duration of the pandemic, until global herd immunity is achieved. “A global pandemic is no time for business-as-usual, and there is no place for patents or corporate profiteering as long as the world is faced with the threat of COVID-19,” said Leena Menghaney, South Asia Head of MSF’s Access Campaign. “With this bold action, India and South Africa have shown that governments want to be back in the driver’s seat when it comes to ensuring all people can have access to needed COVID-19 medical products, medicines and vaccines, so that more lives can be saved,” said Menghaney.

Waiver from certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the prevention, containment and treatment of COVID-19: Communication from India and South Africa


Strong government response needed in COVID battle (Harvard Gazette)

A worldwide forum convened to share insights gleaned from the fight against the novel coronavirus highlighted the importance of a strong, coordinated government response as crucial to stopping its spread, both within a country and internationally. Salim Abdool Karim, director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) and member of the African Task Force on Coronavirus, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), said that COVID-19 now appears to be in decline on the continent, though that could be from underreporting or under-testing in some of its countries, or fewer of its citizens travel internationally. However, he too credited a coordinated government response with saving lives. Citing a “strong and consistent political commitment” by the African Union, he noted that Africa CDC quickly set up a platform for a coordinated response for supplies. “We were not competing against each other for, say, test kits,” he said.

Commonwealth Finance Ministers call for extended financial support for vulnerable nations (The Commonwealth)

Commonwealth Finance Ministers have today issued their first joint statement in over a decade, in which they called on the G20, Paris Club, World Bank and IMF to extend financial support to vulnerable nations given the deep and widespread economic impact of the COVID19 pandemic. It urges the G20 to extend its Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) beyond 2020 and on the Paris Club group of countries to lead on innovative debt instruments which could help provide additional liquidity to Commonwealth and other vulnerable states.

COVID-19 to Add as Many as 150 Million Extreme Poor by 2021 (World Bank)

Global extreme poverty is expected to rise in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years as the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic compounds the forces of conflict and climate change, which were already slowing poverty reduction progress, the World Bank said today. “In order to reverse this serious setback to development progress and poverty reduction, countries will need to prepare for a different economy post-COVID, by allowing capital, labor, skills, and innovation to move into new businesses and sectors. World Bank Group support – across IBRD, IDA, IFC and MIGA – will help developing countries resume growth and respond to the health, social, and economic impacts of COVID-19 as they work toward a sustainable and inclusive recovery,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass.

World Economic Outlook, October 2020 – Analytical Chapters (IMF)

To contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and protect susceptible populations, most countries imposed stringent lockdown measures in the first half of 2020. Meaanwhile, economic activity contracted dramatically on a global scale. This chapter aims to dissect the nature of the economic crisis in the first seven months of the pandemic. It finds that the adoption of lockdowns was an important factor in the recession, but voluntary social distancing in response to rising infections also contributed very substantially to the economic contraction. Therefore, although easing lockdowns can lead to a partial recovery, economic activity is likely to remain subdued until health risks abate.

Chapter 2: The Great Lockdown, Dissecting the Economic Impact