tralac Daily News
South Africa’s new Reconstruction and Recovery Plan should help unlock greater job creation and faster economic growth. “The plan contains many practical initiatives which together should improve the underlying investment environment and unlock greater job creation and faster economic growth. Much now depends on how quickly the specific measures proposed in the plan can be implemented,” Nedbank economists said. Infrastructure is a key element of the plan announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa with the Infrastructure Fund due to provide R100 billion in catalytic finance over the next decade, leveraging as much as R1 trillion in new investment for strategic infrastructure projects.
South Africa Revenue Service announces new trade facilitation measures (Logistics Update Africa)
South Africa Revenue Service (SARS) has announced a revision in the customs declaration process where all bonded goods imported into South Africa must be under sealed containerised conditions. According to section 64D of the Act, the removal of goods in bond states that no person, except if exempted by rule, can remove any goods in bond, or for export, or any other goods that may be specified by rule, unless licensed as a remover of goods in bond. SARS has stated that the amendments to section 64D of the Act does not, and will not, affect and/or influence the declaration process of cargo that is to be transported, nor will it affect and/or influence importations, exportation or transit cargo.
If South Africa is to adopt the right localisation policy at a larger scale, about 3.2 percentage points could be added to the country’s annual GDP, says President Cyril Ramaphosa. This policy would include manufacturing 10% of goods locally, as well as supplying 2% of goods that African countries buy from outside the continent. “If we were to manufacture just 10% of these goods locally, it is estimated that we could add 2 percentage points to our annual GDP. “The rest of Africa currently imports R2.9 trillion worth of manufactured goods from outside the continent each year. “If South Africa were to supply just 2% of those goods, it would add 1.2 percentage points to our annual GDP,” he said.
Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba has said that the ongoing Covid-19 is “a wake-up call” and the SADC region’s members of parliament must adapt to the new norm. He made the remarks when he officially opened the virtual 47th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum last Friday. “It is evident that the Covid-19 pandemic is a wake-up call to all of us - governments, parliaments and the citizenry all over the world. In the rude rush to respond to the novel pandemic, in some instances, responses were knee-jerk and suffered from experimentation,” Mbumba said.
Kenya’s economy contracted for the first time in almost 12 years in the second quarter as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic battered key sectors. Gross domestic product fell 5.7%, compared with growth of 4.9% in the three months through March and expansion of 5.3% in the same period a year earlier, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday on its website. The median of six economists’ estimates in a Bloomberg survey was for a contraction of 2.3%.
Kenya drops four places in investment attraction ranking (Business Daily)
Kenya has dropped four places in the index that measures the capacity of countries to attract local and foreign investments, a new report has shown. The fourth edition of Absa Africa Financial Markets Index 2020 show Kenya lost seven points to score 58 out of 100 points, placing it at the seventh position from last year’s third. Four countries – Nigeria, Botswana, Namibia and Ghana – leapfrogged Kenya to join South Africa and Mauritius who retained top two positions with 89 and 79 points respectively.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga is committed to ensuring that there is funding that is needed for the implementation of the Sugar Act 2020. According to her, a board of directors should be appointed according to the law which needs funding for adequate implementation. “We are going to ensure that during this budget cycle, we make a provision for some money to start the board and the other activities,” said Kadaga.
South Sudan abandons plans to introduce new currency (CGTN Africa)
South Sudan said it has reversed its plans to introduce a new currency as the pound continues to depreciate against the U. S. dollar and other major currencies due to the economic crisis. Michael Makuei Lueth, minister of Information and Broadcasting, said the move to change the local currency was only a mere proposal by the economic crisis management committee as a means to salvage the economy from further collapse but was not agreed and passed by the cabinet.
Zambia’s debt crisis worsens (The East African)
Zambia’s debt situation seems to be deepening with some commercial creditors “refusing” to grant it some relief it has been seeking to ease the pressure, the country’s Parliament heard late Thursday. “Although we have obtained some relief under the debt service suspension initiative (DSSI) window, particularly from official creditors, engagements with commercial creditors, have not yet yielded the expected results. This is because these creditors were concerned that we were not treating all creditors equally,” Finance minister Bwalya Ng’andu told the House in a statement.
Gambia: Reopening of Land Borders! (The Point)
The closure of borders between The Gambia and Senegal has impacted negatively thus amounting to huge economic losses in both countries economies. It was in late March when the two countries closed its borders as part of measures to stem the rise of coronavirus in both countries. This has caused hardship and challenges to many businessmen and even travelers in these countries. The Gambia is getting prepared for the reopening of its borders planned for this Thursday. Many welcome this development as they prepare to continue their daily activities across the two country’s borders.
In a landmark ceremony, held under the auspices of HE President of the Republic of Djibouti, Ismail Omar Guelleh, Djibouti inaugurated the regeneration project to turn the Historical Port of Djibouti into an international business district. The regeneration will see the historical port transformed into a district called the East Africa International Special Business Zone, which will take place in six phases. The development of an international business district will advance Djibouti’s Vision 2035, the national development strategy to maximise the country’s geostrategic position.
“E-government procurement is a global trend and from the research carried out by the World Bank, it had been established that countries that have taken off with e-government procurement have witnessed exponential economic growth and they have stimulated ICT in those countries. “It will reduce corruption to the barest minimum because it will reduce the human interface within the process. The overall cost is about N1.6 billion,” he said.
AfCFTA To Commence On January 1 As planned (Modern Ghana)
Mr Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) said the AfCFTA Secretariat was targeting January 2021 for the commencement of the implementation of the free trade agreement following its postponement due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr Mene said this ahead an engagement with the diplomatic community from Africa Member States based in Accra. “We are looking to the agreement mechanisms for the removal of non-tariff barriers to trade on the African Continent,” he said. “We will have to work with the various countries to put in place the requisite tariff infrastructure and customs’ administration infrastructure for the new agreement,” he said.
The African Trade Observatory (ATO) – a mechanism being implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) to help the new African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) function when it goes live in 2021 – has begun testing the online dashboard to give real-time trade statistics to African users. Such information will include intra-continental trade flows (traded values, traded quantities, the use of tariff preferences, taxes and fees paid at the border), and information on market conditions (such as taxes applicable at the border and regulatory requirements).
The ECA Office for North Africa held on Wednesday 14 October 2020 a webinar on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the mitigation of the COVID-19 Impact on trade strategies in North Africa. The meeting provided representatives of trade ministries, private sector representatives and academics from Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia with an opportunity to share their experiences in using national trade strategies to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on populations’ health and access to food, as well as the pandemic’s repercussions on foreign trade. Participants observed that COVID-19 has disrupted supply chains and international trade, triggering a reorganisation of international trade and increased protectionism.
Cognizant that, the bulk of migration almost 80% in Africa is intra-continental, and conscious of the need to better understand and manage the migration phenomenon for the benefit of the continental aspirations articulated in Agenda 2063, the African Union Commission in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with the support of the USA and Switzerland launched virtually the first ever edition of the Africa Migration Report. The first edition, therefore, seeks to provide additional perspectives that ensure a more complete understanding of this complex phenomenon, thereby correcting misconceptions regarding African migration.
SB Moyo speaks on Tripartite agreement (The Herald)
Zimbabwe is in the process of coming up with its development strategy within the context of implementing the Tripartite Free Trade Area incorporating the Common Market For Eastern and Southern Africa, the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community, whose trade agreement was signed in June 2015, legislators heard yesterday. Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo said implementation of the agreement was on course and Zimbabwe could capitalise on its highly skilled labour to benefit from it.
The African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) hosted the third of a series of five virtual experts group review meetings on innovative new research on preferential trade arrangements in Africa. The study is the widest in scope, covering all African sub-regions, and providing an overarching framework for the ECA-OACPS project to assess issues related to preference utilization in Africa and identify areas for improvement. The objective was to evaluate the extent to which African businesses are utilizing the trade agreements available to them, with a specific focus on shining light on the challenges African producers face with trading agreements ‘within’ Africa, which is an under-studied area.
Hundreds of trucks parked at borders stall African trade pact (Engineering News)
Hundreds of trucks have been parked at Benin’s border for more than a year since its eastern neighbor Nigeria abruptly curbed imports. To the west of Benin, officials in Ghana’s capital have shut Nigerian-owned stores to comply with a law that curbs foreign participation in its retail trade. Such actions embody the hurdles that must be overcome if Africa is to fulfill its vision of instituting a continental free-trade agreement. For now, protectionism remains the name of the game for West Africa’s economic powerhouses, whose governments are preoccupied with overcoming the devastation wrought by the coronavirus.
Kenya Intervenes In Busia, Malaba Border Crisis (New Vision)
The Kenyan government has intervened to address a huge hold-up of cargo trucks at the Malaba and Busia border posts. Over 2,500 cargo trucks heading to Uganda are held up on the Kenyan side of the border posts due to lack of COVID-19 testing reagents. Ugandan importers were incurring huge losses after their cargo remained at the border for days.
The Republic of Congo becomes the eighteenth AU member state that have signed the Treaty for the establishment of the African Medicine Agency (AMA) on 15 October 2020, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Agency will regulate the access to safe, effective, good quality and affordable essential medicines and health technologies. AMA will do this through coordination of on-going regulatory systems, strengthening and harmonizing efforts of the AUC, RECs, Regional Health Organizations (RHOs) and member states, providing regulatory guidance.
The Energy sector experts from the government of Rwanda, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the RES4Africa Foundation held a virtual meeting to discuss the Rwanda Energy Policy and Regulation related to attracting the participation of the Private Sector. Ms Mama Keita, Director of ECA in Eastern Africa stressed the importance of the energy sector to boost development across Africa, stating that investment in energy infrastructure at both the national and regional levels is required for future economic growth and prosperity on the continent.
The Government of Nigeria has approved its contribution of USD 2 million to the 2020 budget of the West African Power Pool (WAPP), according to a news report by Daily Trust. He said: “The pool is about trying to have coordination and synergy among West African countries. This decision has been taken by ECOWAS. It’s for the generation of electricity throughout the region so as to have a robust, constant, and steady power supply. It’s just like the national grid we have here in Nigeria. Now, we want to have a regional grid. It means in case there is a failure in one country, another can supplement it.”
Boris Johnson says UK should prepare for no deal with EU (Evening Standard)
Boris Johnson has said that the EU has “abandoned the idea of free Brexit trade deal” and that the UK should prepare for an Australian-style solution – Downing Street language for no-deal – in the post-Brexit trade talks. The Prime Minister put the country on notice that its EU departure at the end of the transition period on December 31 could be without a trade deal with the European bloc. Such a scenario would leave businesses facing tariffs and quotas to trade with the European bloc, and transport delays could see some food shortages, a supermarket chief warned.
New African oil pipeline traces a regional divide on energy policy (Upstream Online)
A new 1950-kilometre pipeline being built by China National Petroleum Corporation to carry crude from Niger’s Agadem basin to Port Seme in Benin will cut through a well established Sub-Saharan Africa oil region and will serve as a symbolic barrier of sorts marking vastly different approaches to the oil and gas industry. Challenges are not unknown in Niger, Benin and Nigeria, which the new pipeline will traverse. But the three nations are mostly business friendly and relatively welcoming to international companies.
COVID-19 Spells Trouble for China in East Africa (The Diplomat)
On September 22, a report by the Kenyan Parliament’s transport committee made it abundantly clear that the East African country is struggling to meet its commitments on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), a flagship infrastructure project of Kenya-China engagement that is mutating into a critical test beyond the bilateral relations. As a result of the global economic circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the report makes the case for the government not only to renegotiate the terms of the loan provided by Chinese lenders but also to try to slash operational costs by at least 50 percent.
The WTO Secretariat has published a new information note about how the global intellectual property (IP) system relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and potential contributions it could make to efforts to address it. The note provides an overview of IP-related measures taken by WTO members and other stakeholders since the start of the crisis.
EU summit focuses on ties with Africa (Anadolu Agency)
The second day of EU leaders’ summit on Friday will focus on relations with Africa. “Today, we’ll have the opportunity to tackle the international relations, especially our future relationship with Africa. In December, we’ll have in Brussels an important meeting with the African Union,” Charles Michel, president of the European Council, said in a doorstep statement. “It will be the occasion to renew our partnership and even our alliance with Africa, this alliance is natural for geographic reason, for historical reasons, for cultural reasons. There is a huge potential, if we take, together with the African leaders, the right decisions,” he added.
Kenya, US seek to strengthen trade ties (The Star)
Kenya and the United States continue to seek ways to transform their trade and investment partnerships in ways that can accelerate economic growth and have a deep impact on peace and development in Kenya and, indeed, in the East African region.The upcoming Free Trade Agreement with United States holds great promise for a much more invigorated trading regime between the partner countries. Nothing sends a powerful signal for growing and better trade relations than a partnership built around a stable and progressive political environment devoid of any threats, particularly those of terrorist elements such as Al-Qaeda and its affiliates including, Al Shabaab.
Turkey-South Africa trade to rise in post-pandemic period (Anadolu Agency)
Bilateral trade and investments between Turkey and South Africa are expected to grow as the two countries recover from the effects of the novel coronavirus, the Turkish ambassador to South Africa said. “I am confident that bilateral investments will further improve as our economies recover in the post-COVID-19 period and as growth prospects improve,” Elif Comoglu Ulgen, Turkey’s ambassador to South Africa, said in an interview with Anadolu Agency. Ulgen said she is hopeful that with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) becoming effective soon will further increase the investment attractiveness of South Africa to Turkish businesses in the near future.
TIACA together with Pharma.A ero on Wednesday expressed strong concern over the current state of air cargo readiness for the upcoming Covid-19 vaccine transportation, with only 28 percent of the industry feeling well prepared for it today. As compared to companies which are already in close engagement with vaccines manufacturers, companies not involved in direct conversations with the manufacturers felt the least prepared for the upcoming logistics challenge of vaccines transportation.
Morocco amends trade agreement to curtail Turkish imports (The Arab Weekly)
The Moroccan government imposed further restrictions on products manufactured in Turkey for a period of five years. It also imposed strict restrictions on Turkish store chains in Morocco, and warned it would close them if they do not comply with measures aimed at promoting Moroccan industry. Under the new measures, customs duties on textiles bearing Turkish seals will increase by 90% The agreement also stipulates that the Moroccan side will not apply any other duties on imports of Turkish origin, except those covered under articles 18 and 19 of the free trade agreement between the two countries.
What developing countries can teach us about how to respond to a pandemic (The Conversation)
Nine months into the pandemic, Europe remains one of the regions worst affected by COVID-19. Ten of the 20 countries with the highest death count per million people are European. The other ten are in the Americas. Most of Africa and Asia, on the contrary, still seems spared. Of the countries with reported COVID-related deaths, the ten with the lowest death count per million are in these parts of the world. When it comes to managing infectious diseases, African countries show that experience is the best teacher.
During the week of October 12, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) met virtually for their 2020 Annual Meetings as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread around the world, sickening and killing millions, forcing 1.5 billion children and young people from schools and advanced education, devastating economies, and pushing millions in poverty as lockdowns closed businesses and put workers out of work.