tralac Daily News
The South African government is committed to strengthening bilateral economic relations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and the greater Middle East region in order to promote South African value-added goods and services. This was said by the Director of Export Promotion and Marketing responsible for the Middle East at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), Mr Thulani Mpetsheni during the virtual Outward Selling Mission held with both countries this week. In 2019, total bilateral trade to the region was valued at R159.7 billion. The UAE accounted for R54.7 billion of this total. Whilst Saudi Arabia accounted for R58.8. The UAE represented 34.2% of total trade when compared to Saudi Arabia 36.8%, highlighting the strategic nature of the relationship with both countries.
Growing export markets boost trade (New Vision)
The Government pledged to undertake numerous trade initiatives to improve the country’s trade balance so as to achieve the goals. These include increasing and diversifying exports and ensuring stable supply to meet market targets, identifying new export destinations in regional and emerging markets and ensuring that the exports are competitive and meet international standards. The country’s exports have indeed posted substantial growth over time. Available statistics indicate that Uganda’s overall merchandise exports have registered substantial growth over the years, growing from $450.1m (sh1.65 trillion) in 2001 to $3.3b (sh12.2 trillion) in 2017, before rising to $3.64b (sh13.4 trillion) in 2018. In 2019, Uganda’s exports were valued at close to $4.09b (sh15.1 trillion), according to figures from Bank of Uganda.
Government of Uganda is lobbying to host the East African Community Statistics Bureau (EACSB) at Entebbe, Chimp Corps report. The bid to lobby EACSB was decided by Cabinet on July 30, 2014 and UBOS Board resolved to support the Cabinet position on April 3, 2019. Consultations with the development committee of the Ministry of Finance and other stakeholders are underway to oversee the success of the project in its entirety. “This same environment will host statistics in service training centre, data science labs, archive centre, Conference Hall, disaster recovery centre and some offices to decongest Statistics House in Kampala,” said Byamugisha during the new board’s first visit to UBOS Entebbe office this past Friday.
GIPC eyes increased intra-Africa investment (Ghanaweb)
The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) says it will promote intra-Africa investments in an effort to monetise the economic opportunities spread across the continent. Speaking at the launch of the half-year Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) report on Friday, CEO of the centre, Yofi Grant added: “We are also preparing to have a dialogue with the EU to see how many European companies we can actually bring to locate and manufacture in Ghana and the continent.” Increasing intra-Africa investment will ensure that the continent takes over its own destiny, he said. GIPC registered total investments of US$869.47m, with total FDI value amounting to US$785.62m, between January and June 2020, as FDI project registration showed rare strength in the final moments of the second quarter of the year, undeterred by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Egypt becomes largest orange exporter by volume (FreshFruitPortal)
Egyptian orange production is undergoing a boom in desert regions, establishing the country as the world’s top supplier by volume, according to government officials. Officials in Cairo say Egypt has become the world’s largest exporter of oranges by volume, surpassing rivals Spain and South Africa, though these two countries still make much more in revenue from their orange exports. Egypt exported almost 1.8m metric tons (MT) of oranges in 2019 scraping to first position just ahead of Spain, according to the International Trade Centre. The exports generated a value of US$660m. “Global orange consumption has grown and Egypt has been able to capture the increase in the market,” Mohamed Abdel Hady, an orange grower and exporter who heads the Citrus Committee at the Agricultural Export Council, told The Financial Times.
With a view to delivering its maximum economic benefit, the federal government has called for collaboration and cooperation of West African leaders in monitoring and halting illegal trans-border trade of solid minerals within the sub-region Oga, in a statement to the press in Abuja by the Acting Director of Press of the ministry, Mr. Timothy Akpoili, while explaining efforts being made to diversify Nigeria economy, through the Mineral Sector, especially the Presidential Artisanal Gold Mining Initiative (PAGMI), said for the sub-region to properly harness the economic benefit of the abundant mineral resources, efforts must be made to curb illegal exploitation and transaction of minerals in the sub-region.
Rwanda, Angola Sign Deal To Exploit Investment Opportunities (Taarifa Rwanda)
Rwanda and Angola have begun discussions on how to showcase investment opportunities for business people in both countries. Rwanda Development Board (RDB) together with the Agency for Private Investment and Promotion of Exports of Angola (AIPEX) held a Rwanda-Angola virtual business seminar on Friday morning to showcase investment opportunities in both countries. The two countries will showcase investment opportunities in Manufacturing, ICT, Tourism, Mining, Health, Agriculture and Transport. In addition, an MOU on Investment and Export Promotion was signed between RDB and the AIPEX.
AfCFTA – The Key to Ushering Trade and Investment to Africa (The National Law Review)
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the African continent has seen challenges like other parts of the world that are affecting trade. This includes a moving effective date for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which slid from July 1 to possibly January 1, 2021, to avoid distracting African leaders as they respond to the pandemic. Nevertheless, there is a push to have the continent move forward with the implementation of the AfCFTA, to spur further collaboration and intra-Africa trade, which, in turn, could help the continent better weather economic downturns related to the global pandemic. The AfCFTA, once implemented, will create a US$3.4 trillion economic bloc, which would provide Africa with increased leverage in the global economy.
Phase II negotiations of the AfCFTA have also been delayed. If Africa truly desires increased US investments, there needs to be more proactive and expansive action on addressing corruption at all levels in the second phase of the AfCFTA talks.
23 October 2020 | As part of the continuing efforts to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, a teleconference was held on 09 October 2020 between the African Union Commission, the F15 Finance Ministers and the AU Special Envoys, for the mobilization of international support for Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of the meeting was for the Finance Ministers, Special Envoys, and the AUC to collectively discuss and agree upon a coordinated approach for the negotiations of resources to secure the COVID-19 vaccine for the continent and build back the economies.
African Union Chairperson, President Cyril Ramaphosa, says while the African Union COVID-19 Response Fund has to date raised USD 44 million – more still needs to be done. “However, we need to raise at least a further USD 300 million to ensure assistance is provided to societies and countries in need, and to enable us to weather the health and economic storm in the weeks, months and years ahead,” said the President. The call for more funds was made by the President during the virtual fund-raising webinar for the AU COVID-19 Response Fund on Saturday. Established in April this year, the Fund was set up to mitigate the social, economic and humanitarian impact of the pandemic across the continent. It is a financial instrument to mobilise and manage funds from the private sector and other stakeholders.
“The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will offer an opportunity to sell to over 1.2 billion persons with a collective GDP of US$ 2.5 trillion, but what can Central African countries sell on the new continental market? As a result of COVID-19, Africa has not been able to get some of the food supplies it usually imported from other parts of the world. With Central Africa’s vast expanse of arable land and a good mix of agricultural geographies, why not produce these locally instead of importing them?” These were teasers for reflection put to an assembly of senior State officials from all the eleven countries of the Economic Community of Central Africa States (ECCAS) by the Director of the Subregional Office for Central Africa of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) – Antonio Pedro, Friday.
Small farmers are SADC’s future – Dr Tax (Dailynews)
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) joined the international community to commemorate World Food Day on 16 of October which was proclaimed by the Conference of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation to heighten public awareness of the global problem of food absence, scarcity and to strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty. This year, the day was commemorated under the theme “Grow, Nourish, Sustain, Together. Our actions are our future”. It is a clarion call for countries, the private sector and civil society to ensure that food systems grow a variety of food to nourish a growing population and sustain the planet, together.
As Africa entered a new decade, there was sustained, if not vibrant, optimism for the future. Many of the continent’s economies were continuing to grow, while poverty was continuing to decline. The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered that landscape. While the pandemic has not hit Africa as hard as Asia, Europe, and parts of the Americas from a health perspective, it continues to severely strain African economies, threatening to undermine decades of progress and jeopardize long-term goals, including economic transformation. African governments and their development partners must leverage the urgency of the COVID-19 crisis to make meaningful policy changes that will not only help in the short term but also strengthen Africa’s long-term recovery efforts.
The African Development Bank’s African Natural Resources Centre (ANRC) and the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) hosted a dialogue on responses by governments and the industry to the COVID-19 pandemic in the extractive sector, focusing on South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya. Umar Isa Ajiya, Group Executive Director at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), made the point that national oil companies should set aside risk funds to minimize the impacts of unforeseen events. Nigeria’s heavy reliance on oil revenues, oversupply and the dramatic fall in demand for example, has impacted its economy, he said.
Rwanda and British envoys get COMESA accreditation (East African Business Week)
The new Ambassador of Rwanda to Zambia Amandin Rugira and the British High Commissioner to Zambia Nicholas Woolley have been accredited to COMESA as Permanent Representative and Special Representative respectively. The two presented their letters of credence to COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe on yesterday at the COMESA Secretariat in Lusaka. As part of the collaboration, the UK government has announced a new partnership between Trademark East Africa and Zambia to improve trade flows at one of Southern Africa’s busiest borders – the Nakonde border post between Zambia and Tanzania were 135,000 trucks pass every year.
Despite the Trump administration’s announced December 2018 Africa strategy, a significant gap between the lofty blueprint and the concrete actions needed to turn it into reality remains. U.S. interests in the region are being increasingly undermined as China, Russia, and other powers move to fill the policy spaces left vacant by the United States and other Western nations. When it comes to policy priorities, given the increased importance of job creation to everyday African citizen, directing more aid toward efforts that (directly or indirectly) lead to job creation – or at least making a better case for why investment in areas such as education, infrastructure, and electricity is directly tied to economic growth and jobs – might also increase positive sentiments toward the U.S. in the region.
African civil society groups want to be part of drawing up a new ‘strategic partnership’ between the EU and the African Union, in a bid to overhaul a process which many believe is deeply dysfunctional. More than two thirds of civil society organisations from Africa and Europe believe that cooperation between the two continents “does not work well” or “not at all”, according to a survey of over 360 representatives of civil society organisations from Africa and Europe by VENRO, the umbrella organisation of German development NGOs, in October. “A deeper partnership has to be more than a process between governments. It must be built on human relationships, and enable dialogue and participation,” argues a VENRO policy paper published ahead of the delayed EU-Africa summit, which is pencilled in for December.
As India seeks to emerge as a prominent global power, New Delhi is cementing its both defence and economic ties with countries of significance. With Africa drawing both new Delhi and Beijing, India and Morocco could sign a defence pact to further boost bilateral relations. Morocco is also considered as a gateway to Africa by the Indian businesses since the country’s stable political environment and promising economic returns ensure a safe haven to invest in the country. Many leading Indian companies in several sectors are currently operating in the country, reflecting the aligned interest of both sides. Morocco is rapidly emerging as North Africa’s economic leader and is a major source of phosphates for India, and continues to bolster its trade ties with Indian businesses.
UK risks road rage with China in Africa (POLITICO)
Britain is eying investment in Africa as a way to boost trade and influence after Brexit – but it faces stiff competition from China. The U.K. has, to date, announced one significant project as part of its new strategy – more than £100 million for a road in the West African state of Benin. China, on the other hand, plowed $683 million into the country in borrowed funds between 2000 and 2018, according to the China Africa Research Initiative. African states have been eager to soak up Chinese money, after western nations lost interest in recent decades. “The Chinese have largely taken advantage of the fact that Africa was desperate for investment and there wasn’t enough competition,” said Nick Westcott, director of the Royal Africa Society. That’s now changing, with the EU and the U.S. pushing to up their influence and increase trade with the continent. And Britain is getting in on the action too. U.K. Export Finance, Britain’s export credit agency, is investing more than £100 million to improve the link between the cities of Bohicon and Parakou, boosting trade lines between Benin and neighboring nations.
Turkey plans to establish logistics centers in strategic areas in Africa, the Americas, Europe and the Far East, the country’s trade minister said on Sunday. The centers aim to enable Turkish goods to reach customers in foreign markets in the fastest way and at affordable costs, Ruhsar Pekcan said in a statement. “Sustainable export growth will be achieved to these regions with these centers, which will increase Turkey’s competitiveness in international markets,” Pekcan said. “We will establish the logistics centers that we aim to launch as soon as possible in a way that can serve within the framework of the demands and needs of our exporters.”
IMF to offer low-cost lending into next year as loans hit Sh1.7trn (Business Daily)
The International Monetary Fund has pledged to continue loaning sub-Saharan countries into 2021 after the Bretton Woods body hit Sh1.7 trillion loans over the last six months. IMF said this year, it released $16 billion in loans and debt relief as emergency assistance but more would be needed since the global financial markets have become too expensive for small economies. “The IMF is stepping up efforts to continue this support in 2021. Many of the countries that have received funding from the IMF have reached, or are approaching, their relevant limits for annual access,” IMF said in ‘ pdf Sub-Saharan Africa regional Economic Outlook (2.44 MB) ’. “So the IMF has temporarily increased these annual limits and has allowed for more frequent disbursements under the Rapid Credit Facility, allowing members to obtain further financial support from the IMF during this extraordinary period.”
WTO holds back on LDCs’ request to extend TRIPS waiver (The Financial Express)
The Least Developed Countries’ (LDCs) request to extend the transition period of Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) didn’t get full support from the members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Chad, on behalf of the LDC Group, placed a formal request at the meeting of the Council for TRIPS on October 16 in Geneva to extend the transition period for further 12 years. The current transitional period ends on July 1, 2021. In the request, Chad argued that LDCs continue to face serious economic, financial and administrative constraints and are still struggling with various challenges to uplift the socio-economic conditions with very limited capacities. “Such a situation is restricting them to divert resources from other areas, where there is utmost necessity to improve the socio-economic condition of their people,” the written request added.
The latest contraction in services trade is the steepest since the financial crisis, when global commercial services trade plummeted by 17% in the second quarter of 2009. Services exports in the second quarter of 2020 were down 32% in North America, 29% in Asia and 26% in Europe on a year-on-year basis. Preliminary estimates suggest even sharper declines for Latin America and the Caribbean (-46%) and a drop of 60-65% for least-developed countries.
The coronavirus pandemic has proved itself as an unprecedented challenge on a global scale that disrupted global trade and the global economy in just a few short months. Yet it carries major opportunities in the area of e-commerce, particularly for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), according to the general manager of GittiGidiyor, an eBay enterprise and one of the leading e-commerce sites in Turkey. “From this process, especially SMEs can get the opportunity to open up to the world through e-exports,” Öget Kantarcı said, stressing the growth of e-commerce in the global market. “In this process, SMEs that best keep up with technological developments can benefit from the $1.5 trillion e-export pie in global trade.
Global collaboration is key to recovery and achieving the SDGs (Modern Diplomacy)
The COVID-19 pandemic has stalled the advancement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). It is creating many challenges, yet also it unveils opportunities to build back better. In this context, inclusive and sustainable industrial development, which is at the core of SDG9, is expected to play a critical role in overcoming the crisis and setting countries back on the path of economic development. SDSN President, Jeffrey Sachs, highlighted the need for global collaboration, and how the world should turn toward six transformation pathways to achieve the SDGs amidst the pandemic. Sachs specifically highlighted the need for the first transformation relating to education, gender and inequality, and the sixth transformation relating to a Digital Revolution for Sustainable Development.
22 October 2020 | In a context of unprecedented global social and economic fragility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we stress the heightened threat from and serious impact of corruption on economic growth, sustainable development, quality investment and innovation, and trust between governments and citizens.... The fight against corruption in international trade and investment, as a key dimension to promote a level playing field, remains a top priority of the G20. We encourage countries to promote cooperation with the private sector on this topic and we encourage enterprises of G20 countries to take appropriate measures to raise awareness of corruption risks and deploy effective mitigation and compliance systems.