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tralac Daily News
Photo credit: Gallo Images | Brenton Geach

09 Oct 2020

National

One SA’s Economic Recovery Plan revealed: 20 key interventions (The South African)

One South Africa Movement (One SA) Chief Activist Mmusi Maimane, on Thursday 8 October at a press briefing in Johannesburg, delivered the movement’s Economic Recovery Plan entitled “Review, Repurpose, Rebuild, Reform: A bold plan to turn SA’s fortunes around”. The plan, according to Maimane, is a comprehensive set of specific interventions which seek to build a stronger, revitalised South Africa in the challenging post COVID-19 years. “Our recovery plan requires four approaches to the economy and the State at large; review, repurpose, reform and rebuild. In this light, we argue the following 20 interventions – at least – are required to change South Africa’s fortunes and place us on the right track towards a better future,” he said.

Agricultural transformation a Presidential imperative, says Ramaphosa (Engineering News)

President Cyril Ramaphosa has highlighted access to agricultural land for subsistence farming and commercial production as a national priority, stating that the transformation of patterns of ownership “are fundamental in addressing not only food security, but also historical injustices”. Owing to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, South Africa’s economy suffered a significant contraction during April, May and June, with gross domestic product (GDP) having fallen by 16% between the first and second quarters. However, while nearly all other sectors of the economy registered significant drops in output, Ramaphosa said “agriculture bucked the trend”, noting that there had been an increase in maize exports and rising international demand for citrus fruit and pecan nuts, helping the industry grow by 15.1%.

Trade sector in South Africa: Confidence edges up in Q3 (The Africa Logistics)

he improvement in sentiment across the entire trade sector in South Africa can certainly be attributed to the eased lockdown restrictions since the BER’s 20Q2 survey – when the sector registered record low levels across all categories. COVID-19 lockdown restrictions have eased from a regime that only permitted the sale of essential goods under restricted trading hours, to one that pretty much allowed retailers to trade all products except for cigarettes and alcohol.

Startups marked for tax relief to spur innovation (Business Daily)

Kenyan startups admitted to incubation hubs will pay less tax, if Parliament adopts proposals in a Bill which seeks to promote innovation among enterprises. The Startup Bill, 2020 recommends a range of incentives including fiscal and non-fiscal support as well as protection of intellectual property rights. Lack of capital has been flagged as key put off for entrepreneurship in Kenya, especially among the youth eyeing to kick-off their first ventures. “The Bill seeks to provide a legislative framework that promotes an enabling environment for the establishment, development, conduct of business and regulation of startups,” said Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja who has sponsored the Bill.

New system helps Zambia track mining revenue (The Southern Times)

The Mineral Output Statistical Evaluation System (Moses) developed by the Zambia Revenue Authority and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development has is helping the Southern African country track illicit trade practices and recover funds. The UNCTAD data evaluation tool was developed as part of its Automated System for Customs (ASYCUDA), which helps developing countries modernise customs clearance processes.

Nigeria announces plans for new economic zones to boost solid minerals (China.org.cn)

The Nigerian government is working toward establishing special economic zones for solid minerals and creating a large number of employment opportunities, a top official with the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) said. The initiative is part of the government’s promise to revamp the mining sector to enable it to contribute more to national income, said Adesoji Adesugba, Managing Director of NEPZA in a statement reaching Xinhua on Thursday. “We must emulate countries like South Africa, Ghana and Kenya that have taken their mining sector to an enviable height with substantial (amount) of their revenues coming from the sector,” he said.

Freight Forwarders Decry High Debt Notes By Customs (Economic Confidential)

Freight Forwarders in Lagos have called on the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) to curb the indiscriminate issuance of Debit Note (DN) by the compliance team at the Tin-Can Island Customs command. Speaking with journalists, they said the compliance team created in 2019 ought to arrest infractions in duty payments by importers and clearing agents before they exit the seaport, but have been slamming debt notes on already cleared cargoes. Chukwu Nwanne, a forwarder said: “The major challenge we have right now is that the compliance team which was established by the Area Controller is strangulating importers, they are not doing what they are created to do. The compliance team is now the one giving DN to clearing agents. Which should we now follow? This is a duplication of duty.”

Tanzania’s economy to grow by 5.5 percent in 2020, says BOT (The Citizen)

“The MPC is satisfied that the economy continues to perform satisfactorily despite spill-over effects from the global economy due to Covid-19. The economy will grow at the projected 5.5 percent in 2020,” MPC chairman and BoT governor Florens Luoga, said. The MPC, which met on Monday to assess the performance and outlook for the economy, asked the BoT to continue implementing accommodative monetary policy in a low inflationary environment in the remainder of 2020 in order to further stimulate growth of the economy and safeguard the stability of the financial sector.


Africa

Zim poised to become regional fuel hub (The Herald)

Zimbabwe has laid out plans to fully utilise existing capacity and build new infrastructure to position itself as a regional hub for fuel distribution using its strategic location in the region and extensive storage facilities. The new planned pipeline will have capacity to transport 50 million litres per day, which will afford the country an opportunity to fully utilise its storage capacity of 500 million litres for local and regional purposes.

Uganda envoy optimistic on Tanzania business relations on day of (The Citizen)

Ugandan High Commission in Tanzania has said that non-tariff barriers (NTBs) that have been hampering trade between Tanzania and Uganda are currently being addressed at a bilateral level and the East African Community. “We had challenges on the weigh bridge especially at Mutukula which have currently been reduced tremendously, but currently sugar exports, rice and fish imports taxes are being addressed at both bilateral and EAC level,” he said. He said trade between the two countries has been increasing with Uganda importing rice from Tanzania as well as petroleum products while also planning to import gas in their near future which the latter has in abundance. Uganda on the other hand exports sugar and milk to Tanzania.

EAC losing billions due to poor value addition in horticulture, leather goods (The New Times)

East African Community partner states are losing out billions of dollars by inadequately investing in adding value to horticulture and leather goods produced in the region and not addressing bottlenecks derailing growth in the sectors, a new report shows. The report by the East African Business Council (EABC) in collaboration with GIZ is titled, ‘Building the Leather, Fruits and Vegetable value chains in the East African Community’ was launched Thursday, October 8.

EAC partner states slap taxes on Comesa, SADC (Daily Monitor)

To support local production through import substitution, East African Community member states have resolved to retain taxes on goods originating from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) as well as the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The two regional blocs – Comesa and SADC, comprise of about 37 countries with the EAC member states belonging to at least one of the blocs, save for Tanzania which has dual membership. Mid last month (On September 15th 2020, the Council of EAC ministers issued a legal notice in the East African Community gazette, announcing stay of application of Common External Tariffs for goods originating from Comesa and SADC up to June 2021.

Angola plays important role in ECCAS economic integration (ANGOP)

During a meeting he held with Angolan businesspeople on increasing trade between the ECCAS countries, Gilberto da Piedade Veríssimo said that Angola has the highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the community, which could make it an engine for economic integration in the region. However, he noted that it was necessary to take into account some assumptions that make these objectives impossible, such as the lack of formal or physical integration, due to the lack of adequate roads, the lack of a common customs tariff, which created difficulties in the entry and exit of products, as well as the disabling of the 3,000 kilometres of sea coast.

UNECA analysis shows AfCFTA gains for Ghana (Business24 Ghana)

A United Nations’ Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) assessment of the expected impact of goods-trade liberalisation under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) treaty shows significant economic gains for the continent, with strong potential to promote industrialisation. According to the assessment, AfCFTA modalities on goods trade will lead to an increase in GDP of all African countries, with a projected growth of between 0.35 percent (US$28bn) and 0.54 percent (US$44bn) in Africa’s GDP in the year 2040 relative to the baseline without AfCFTA in place. Ghana’s GDP in 2040 will be between 0.29 percent (US$450m) and 0.31 percent (US$510m) higher than the baseline without AfCFTA, the assessment estimated. The assessment also tipped the country’s exports in 2040 to increase by between 1.7 percent and 2.0 percent, equivalent to US$867m and US$1bn respectively, relative to the baseline situation.

African Union leading on Data Economy in Africa ... for Africa (African Union)

For Africa, Data is an essential resource for economic growth, competitiveness, innovation, job creation and societal progress. It is used in almost every sector, its applications ranging from supporting small farmers in increasing their productivity to modelling and tracing the spread of pandemics such as COVID-19 and the improved management of basic services such healthcare, water and electricity supply chains. H.E. Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy addressed the Launch event of the ‘Africa Data Leadership Initiative (ADLI)’, organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Smart Africa and Future State. This initiative aims at ensuring the data economy drives equitable growth and social progress across the Continent.


International

Nigeria’s former finance minister puts Africa one step closer to WTO leadership (African Business Magazine)

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has progressed to the third and final round of the World Health Organisation’s (WTO) leadership race, raising the chances of an African director-general at the most powerful organisation in global trade. The former Nigerian finance minister joins South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee in the last stage, assuring that the next director-general will be a woman.

Ambassador David Walker, chairperson of the general council, said today that the ultimate objective of the selection process is to make sure that the head of the global trade body is chosen by consensus. “Our aim continues to be to encourage and facilitate the building of consensus among members, and to assist in moving from this final slate of two candidates to a decision on appointment,” he said during Thursday’s announcement.

Next Africa: A Chance to Be Heard at the WTO (Bloomberg)

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s advance to the final selection round for director-general of the World Trade Organization gives Africa a chance to have a say in shaping global commerce. If Okonjo-Iweala wins she will be the first African and the first woman to lead the WTO. “An African at the head of the WTO who is also a multilateralist is an enormous opportunity for the continent and a source of pride,” said Vera Songwe, head of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

See the Statement by the AUC Chairperson on the outcome of the second round of consultations for the position of Director-General of the WTO


DDG Wolff: Open markets essential to global economic recovery (WTO)

Keeping international markets open to trade is an essential part of the agenda for economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff said on 8 October. In remarks delivered to the virtual GLOBSEC 2020 Bratislava Forum, DDG Wolff said the WTO’s contribution to the recovery would be substantially enhanced if members take forward the ongoing process of systemic reform.

Consortium of Global Multilateral Development Banks Calls for Measures to Support Trade Continuity in Sub-Saharan Africa (Africanews)

The Pulse check report issued by a consortium of multilateral development banks and trade research institutions, recounts the views of sub-Saharan banks on multi-lateral development banks’ (MDBs) responses to uphold a well-functioning trade finance market. Demand for trade finance instruments in the first half of 2020 seems to have flattened compared to growth expectations, while banks, supplying those instruments, have typically “flown to safety” restricting their lending to existing clients. Overall, according to interviewees, the market has contracted from at least 10% on average from 2019 levels in volume and even greater in value because of furloughed projects and investments. Full recovery is only anticipated by end of 2021 at the earliest. The report makes several priority recommendations for MDBs.

COVID-19 crisis is pushing us to refocus priorities, says Bank Vice President Quaynor in Global Infrastructure Forum event on infrastructure project preparation (AfDB)

The African Development Bank hosted an online seminar 7 October as part of the fourth annual Global Infrastructure Forum, drawing together representatives of government, the private sector and multilateral development institutions to discuss strengthening infrastructure development in the COVID-19 pandemic era. The COVID-19 pandemic has sharpened Africa’s already urgent need for added infrastructure spending. The African Development Bank estimates Africa’s infrastructure financing needs at up to $170 billion a year by 2025, with an estimated financing gap of as much as $108 billion a year.

Greener Africa: Time for ‘free trade but also fair trade with Europe’ (The Africa Report)

Africa’s summit meeting with the European Union (EU) in 2021 is a critical opportunity to assert that the relationship is mutually beneficial only if Africa produces what it consumes. Europe should in turn practice the solidarity it preaches in principle, by supporting capacity building in Africa for self-sufficiency. Africa needs to stand firm, with a clear, long-term vision, in order to forge with the EU a common and equitable path to prosperity.

Pandemic highlights importance of EU-AU partnership (EURACTIV)

If there was any doubt about the importance of a strong relationship between Africa and the European Union they have been dispelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, says Samuel Outlule, Botswana’s ambassador to the EU and Belgium. “The EU has been a very strong and consistent partner and COVID-19 has demonstrated that we need each other more than ever before,” Ambassador Outlule told EURACTIV. Back in early March, the European Commission unveiled its ‘Towards a comprehensive strategy with Africa’ as part of a shift towards a less paternalist approach to its relations with African leaders. Within days of its publication, however, the pandemic swept across Europe and, six months on, the world looks rather different.

EAC eyes strengthening economic integration in new partnership with EU (The Kampala Post)

The East African Community (EAC) has partnered with the European Union (EU) to roll out a 16.4-million-euro program aimed at strengthening regional economic integration (CORE) through advancing implementation of the Customs Union and Common Market Protocols. “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,” the EAC said in a statement. “A new impetus will be given through this programme to promote free movement of services, a crucial building block for the creation of the EAC Common Market.”

Pandemic has forever changed online shopping, UN-backed survey reveals (UN News)

The study examined how the global crisis has impacted the way people use e-commerce and other digital tools, with more than half of respondents reporting they now shop online more frequently. “The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards a more digital world. The changes we make now will have lasting effects as the world economy begins to recover,” said UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi. The greatest shift to online shopping occurred among consumers in emerging economies, according to the survey.

Standards continue to grow as consumers focus on health, sustainability (ITC)

Consumer preferences to buy healthier and more sustainably grown goods continues to underpin the steadily rising popularity of certified products such as soybeans, cocoa and bananas. More farmland than ever is being used to grow standard-compliant crops, according to the International Trade Centre’s (ITC) latest report on sustainable markets. The State of Sustainable Markets 2020: Statistics and Emerging Trends presents the most recent data on area, production volume and producers for 14 major standard-setting organizations focusing on eight commodities and forestry. The report finds that the share of certified farmland of most of these crops is expanding and that this trend will probably continue – especially if emerging markets and producing countries get on board.

Business supply chain strategies are evolving, can poor countries benefit? (Trade 4 Dev News)

Participation in value chains has been a key plank of low-income country development strategies over the past generation. Many analysts and businesses are anticipating a period of transformation that will see a wide-ranging overhaul of supply chain configuration. Forces at play include the adoption of fourth industrial revolution technologies, the rise of political and economic nationalism, the urgent need to address environmental sustainability and the greater frequency of shocks to the global trading system emanating from endogenous and exogenous risks like extreme weather events, pandemics, cybersecurity and financial crises. As the supply chain management decisions of multinationals and lead retailers adjust to this new environment, what are the implications for less developed countries?

Eighth United Nations Conference on Competition and Consumer Protection (UNCTAD)

The Eighth United Nations Conference taking place on 19-23 October 2020 will review all aspects of the set of multilaterally agreed equitable principles and rules for the control of restrictive business practices. The Conference provides an occasion for members of Government, heads of competition and consumer protection authorities and senior officials from both developed and developing countries, including least developed countries and economies in transition, to establish direct contacts and promote voluntary cooperation and the exchange of best practices.

Unemployment Main Concern for Business Leaders but Climate is Moving Up List of Top Risks (WEF)

Unemployment is the main concern for business executives globally, with fiscal crisis – the top concern in 2019 – coming third, according to the World Economic Forum’s interactive map on Regional Risks for Doing Business 2020. “The employment disruptions caused by the pandemic, rising automation and the transition to greener economies are fundamentally changing labour markets. As we emerge from the crisis, leaders have a remarkable opportunity to create new jobs, support living wages, and reimagine social safety nets to adequately meet the challenges in the labour markets of tomorrow,” says Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum.

IMF Executive Board Discusses Paper “Toward an Integrated Policy Framework”

The International Monetary Fund’s Executive Board met on September 28, 2020 to discuss findings of staff’s analytical work on an Integrated Policy Framework (IPF) aimed at helping formulate appropriate responses to fluctuations in international capital flows and other shocks. A staff paper summarizes the key analytical findings, which will serve as an input into a forthcoming review of the IMF’s Institutional View on the Liberalization and Management of Capital Flows.