tralac Daily News

News

tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News
Photo credit: World Bank | IFC

National

Technical advisory panel on investment infrastructure being finalised (SAnews)

Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille says the department is in the process of recruiting professionals to serve on the Technical Advisory Panel of Infrastructure South Africa (ISA).

“In August, we also advertised for professionals to serve on the Technical Advisory Panel for the Infrastructure Investment Plan. “This is to support the implementation of the plan and the panel will consist of technical experts from the following sectors - energy and alternative energy, financial structuring, infrastructure investment and planning, the oceans economy, urban management and green financing to name a few,” she said. De Lille said the experts will be used on a needs basis and called upon to provide independent, strategic, tactical and technical assistance to ensure the expedited planning, monitoring and implementation of the Infrastructure Investment Plan.

Bots wants to boost trade ties with Namibia (The Southern Times)

The Botswana Investment and Trade Center (BITC) wants to grow its relationship with the Namibia Investment Centre (NIC) to promote trade and joint ventures between companies from the two countries. Incoming Botswana High Commissioner to Namibia, Dr Batlang Comma Serema, last week told Globe Media that efforts were also being made encourage collaboration between the two countries’ chambers of commerce. According to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade, Namibia’s exports to Botswana in 2019 stood at US$610,56 million, while Botswana’s exports to Namibia were valued at US$194,63 million.

Zambia debt woes expose difficulties in international assistance (Global Times)

Zambia has reached a deal to defer debt repayments that were due this month on a loan from the China Development Bank (CDB), the Reuters reported. Zambia’s debt woes show that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on international development assistance is increasing. Developing countries, especially the Least Developed Countries (LDC), are facing more difficulties. For the majority of underdeveloped countries, the pandemic has exacerbated the risks they face. There are signs that in underdeveloped countries, whether in terms of governance, gender equality, social equity, or many other goals set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, they have stalled.

Ghana: SPS Requirements and Good Practices for Export (CUTS International)

The manual identifies the good practices of safety and hygiene procedures of five food products for export to European Union. These products are (i) Cocoa beans, whole or broken, raw or roasted (ii) Cocoa butter, fat, and oil (iii) Cocoa paste, wholly or partly defatted (iv) Fresh or dried cashew nuts, in shell (v) Prepared or preserved tuna/skipjack/bonito. This is done at all stages of the product marketing circuit (production, harvesting, transport, packaging and export) through the understanding and monitoring of the various stakeholders in agriculture sectors in Ghana. The manual is based on findings from studies conducted along the selected food products to promote the competitiveness of SMEs so that they can better leverage the Europeans Union market opportunities.

COVID-19 harm Govt revenues (The Patriot On Sunday)

Minister of Finance and Economic Development Dr Thapelo Matsheka said government revenues would fall from P62.4 billion to P52.3 billion in 2020/21 financial year due to the big decline in mineral revenue from P20 billion to P10.5 billion. Billions of dollars’ worth of goods begin the final leg of their in-land journey to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo aboard transport trucks originating at the sprawling port of Mombasa in southeast Kenya. The drivers were identified early on as a high-risk group for the spread and transmission of COVID-19. This, combined with border closures and other mobility restrictions, brought much of the trade in the region to a grinding halt.

Rwanda to commission consulate in Ghana to enhance intra-African trade as AfCFTA takes off (Ghana Business News)

The Rwanda government has announced the commissioning of its consulate in Ghana to coordinate and strengthen Ghana-Rwanda relations in the face of a common trade platform. The Mission in Ghana will add to the already existing ten on the African continent. According to Dr. Kacyira, the High Commission in Ghana will cement the bilateral relations between the two countries. She mentioned among other things key areas both countries need to focus on including tourism, agriculture, and education. “My appeal is that we need to celebrate this milestone of Africa integration. My president is very very committed to the AfCFTA,” she said. “The AfCFTA is just one of the reasons for us to come and establish here in Ghana. Ghana produces cocoa and it’s processed in Switzerland. Why not in any other African country?” she asked.


Africa

Senzo Mchunu launches Africa Sovereign Credit Review Report (Devdiscourse)

Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu in his capacity as the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Focal Point for South Africa has launched the First Edition of the Africa Sovereign Credit Review Report. The APRM authored an Africa sovereign credit rating review report in collaboration with the African Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. The report is the first edition of a bi-annual publication on developments and trends in the area of sovereign credit rating services by international rating agencies among African countries.

Nigeria – Ghana trade tensions: Proof AfCFTA may not bring unity (The Africa Report)

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), initially meant to rollout in July of this year, was created to solidify economic regional cooperation within the continent. But looking to the complex trade relations already brewing in West Africa, many of the problems the AfCFTA is likely to face on the continent are already being highlighted. West African governments, particularly the administration in Nigeria led by Muhammadu Buhari, have shown signs of leaning towards economic nationalism and protectionism – protecting people and property above all, with a fear of foreign competition. In addition, the path towards a singular currency in the region has not been without dispute. Looking at the trade relations between Nigeria and Ghana – the two economic giants of West Africa – in recent years, it is clear that trade relations are strained, with the actions and reactions from both sides drawing them further away from cooperation.

Digital ‘Travel Pass’ set to accelerate Africa free trade area and economic integration (The Zimbabwe Daily)

African countries agreed last year to create the world’s largest free trade area measured by the number of countries participating, by January 2021. But amid health concerns stoked by the global Coronavirus pandemic, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has urged African governments to embrace technology that helps speed up the continent’s economic integration. This has resulted in the Africa CDC establishing the Trusted Travel Platform to help digitally verify public health documentation for travellers at national borders. “We understand that governments are under pressure to implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as a way of reviving their economies, that are expected to lose between 25 and 30 million jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But we are calling for caution as they open their borders,” a spokesman for the Econet Group said recently.

Yellow Card Scheme (Regional Motor Third Party Insurance Scheme for the COMESA Region) (The Zimbabwe Daily)

The COMESA Yellow Card cover is a regional third-party motor insurance scheme recognised by COMESA member countries as evidence of a guarantee to provide the minimum insurance cover required by the laws of the country visited by the travelling motorists. It was established by a protocol signed by Heads of State and Government in 1986 and became operational on 1st July 1987. Members of the National Bureau of Zimbabwe have now been granted permission COMESA to issue the by COMESA Yellow Card Third Party Motor Insurance cover under the Business to Business arrangements in South Africa and Mozambique.

Ministers to deliberate on the implementation of the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan 2020-30 and the SADC Vision 2050 (Namibia Economist)

SADC ministers responsible for energy and water will deliberate on the implementation of the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan 2020-30 and the SADC Vision 2050 particularly programmes for infrastructure development of the two sectors on 30 October virtually and chaired by Mozambique. The ministerial meeting will among others, review the initiatives aimed to support implementation of the regional power programmes and projects, petroleum and gas subprogrammes, promotion of new and renewable energy sources and energy efficiency issues, and the status on the establishment of energy regulators and modalities of strengthening the Regional Energy Regulators Association.

Private sector investment in Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Senegal to accelerate following EIB insurance support (Social News XYZ)

Private sector investment in Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Senegal, will be strengthened following European Investment Bank support for the countries in their membership and share capital increase in the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI). The West and Central African states, Burkina, Chad and Senegal will join 18 African countries including Benin, who is already a member, where business investment, job creation and access to finance has been increased by targeted investment insurance. As seen elsewhere across Africa, ATI membership will help to address the economic, social and health challenges caused by COVID-19.

Timely COVID-19 Testing of Mombasa Port Truckers Helps Reinvigorate Economies - Kenya (ReliefWeb)

Thousands of truck drivers across Kenya have been tested for COVID-19 by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) since July, as part of a broader effort to reinvigorate regional economies impacted by COVID-19. Billions of dollars’ worth of goods begin the final leg of their in-land journey to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo aboard transport trucks originating at the sprawling port of Mombasa in southeast Kenya. The drivers were identified early on as a high-risk group for the spread and transmission of COVID-19. This, combined with border closures and other mobility restrictions, brought much of the trade in the region to a grinding halt.

SMEs need policy support to compete in AfCFTA – Report (News Ghana)

A research report has recommended policy support for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to be competitive in participating in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The report said the support should focus on cheaper and more innovative trade finance products, trade policy, trade infrastructure, improved capacity, trade information and facilitation, market access for growth and expansion of SMEs in the country. Dr Samuel Frimpong Boateng, the Lead Consultant for the Research made these recommendations at a stakeholder workshop on the report titled “Mobilising Diagnostics Data to Inform Bottom-Up Decisions on Government Policies.”

African FTA Could Transform Trade on Continent, but Infrastructure, Complacency Seen Pitfalls (Export Compliance Daily)

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) could potentially transform trade on the continent and bring it into global supply and value chains, but key parts of the deal remain unfinished, and infrastructure investment will be necessary to tap the agreement’s potential, panelists said on an Oct. 28 webinar hosted by law firm Squire Patton. Intra-regional trade has clear benefits for economic growth, social transportation and well-being, but Africa has the least of it of any continent, said Samuel Mwale, a Kenya-based business executive and coffee trader and an adviser with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance. AfCFTA is an opportunity for a “great future” for Africa, and one of the boldest pushes for a different Africa in the 21st century, Mwale said. But the deal isn’t done yet.

‘Better customs means better trade’ (The Southern Times)

The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) needs to spruce up its systems to facilitate efficient trade and support economic development, a senior Namibian government official has said. At a workshop on customs modernisation in Windhoek this week, deputy director in the Namibian Finance Ministry, Ms Yoolokeni Haihambo said modern customs unions went beyond revenue collection and played an active role in trade facilitation.

Sensitisation of shippers and businesses on AfCFTA critical-AGI (Ghana Shippers Authority)

The Volta and Eastern Regional Chairman of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Mr. Dela Gadzanku has underscored the need for shippers and businesses to be sensitised on the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. This, he said, would help them to make informed business decisions in order to take advantage of the full potential of the agreement for the economic transformation of Ghana and Africa as a whole.

AfCFTA key in driving auto sector investment momentum on the continent – Nissan boss (The Africa Report)

“We see Africa as a big opportunity,” says Guillaume Cartier, senior vice-president and chairman for Africa, the Middle East and India region at car maker Nissan. “The market will grow,” Cartier says. He points to the continent’s sizeable population – “it’s big.” Auto ownership is not as high nor as saturated as other more mature markets. Most importantly, “there is potential.” Nissan is looking at, among other opportunities on the continent, first-time buyers and government fleet solutions. “Africa is fascinating. What we have to look at is how we can onboard the first-time buyer. This is a large part of the market – it’s nothing compared to Europe, the US, where you have to renew customers. That is one big category,” Cartier tells The Africa Report.

Study on Extending the Benefits of Free Trade to Informal Cross Border Traders in the ECOWAS Region reviewed by experts (UNECA)

The African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has today hosted the fourth in a series of five virtual experts group review meetings on innovative new research on preferential trade arrangements in Africa. The project is in partnership with the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS). The study assesses the options presented for overcoming the challenges of Informal Cross Border Traders (ICBT) and in particular policies for extending the benefits of free trade to informal traders. Two key areas are the focus of this study: i) systems for more structured ICBT, including the potential for a simplified trade regime in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region; and ii) institutionalising ICBT data collection for policymaking.

The new investment case for Africa and emerging sectors of opportunity (How we made it in Africa)

From the days of African independence to the turn of the 21st century, developed countries’ economic engagement with African nations was largely limited to the provision of humanitarian and development aid. The beginning of the new millennium saw a shift as traditional donor countries began to focus on boosting African economic growth via increased trade. Over the past decade, this dynamic has shifted once more, with an increased emphasis on facilitating private investment into African economies. The business case for investing in African markets can no longer rest solely on the dated adage that six of the 10 fastest-growing countries are in Africa – it now needs to be updated to the post-Covid emergent economic reality.

Access to finance poses the biggest challenge for African businesswomen (UNECA)

Inadequate finance and information are among the leading non-tariff barriers (NTBs) facing African businesswomen and may undermine the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), according to an advocate for businesswomen on the continent. Speaking today during a webinar on the Trade Easier platform, a mechanism for reporting, monitoring and eliminating NTBs under AfCFTA, the Executive Director of the Pan African Business Women’s Association (PABWA), Ms Yavi Madurai, said.

The 26th ICSOE Meeting of Southern Africa Elects a New Bureau with calls for medium-term fiscal consolidation (UNECA)

The Minister of Finance, Kingdom of Lesotho, Thabo Sofonea, officially opened the 26th Meeting of the Inter-Governmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts (ICSOE) of Southern Africa. He said that, although the current response to the pandemic was through emergency health and economic mitigation measures, fiscal consolidation and structural reforms were required to restore external balance, preserve debt sustainability and stimulate inclusive growth over the medium-term.

The meeting concluded with an outcome document which proffered recommendations and appealed to member States, United Nations and development partners to pull together resources to strengthen the national and regional macroeconomic environment, create a platform for the implementation of the AfCFTA in Southern Africa, enhance the role of the private sector and build back better post-COVID-19.

‘Better customs means better trade’ (The Southern Times)

The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) needs to spruce up its systems to facilitate efficient trade and support economic development, a senior Namibian government official has said. At a workshop on customs modernisation in Windhoek this week, deputy director in the Namibian Finance Ministry, Ms Yoolokeni Haihambo said modern customs unions went beyond revenue collection and played an active role in trade facilitation.

The renewAfrica Initiative presented to EVP Timmermans (UNECA)

The renewAfrica Initiative was today presented to Mr Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal. The renewAfrica Initiative has been structured to implement PPPs, so to create a level playing field for European industry and investors. In this regard, the Initiative will contribute to add value to existing European financial instruments, so to mobilise the scale of public and private capital necessary to the creation of a pipeline of sustainable and bankable renewable energy projects in Africa.

EAC trade suffers due to border restrictions (The Standard)

The East African Business Council (EABC) is calling upon East African Community Partner States to allow movement of persons across border posts, lifting the restrictions currently in place. A move set to boost trade-in services such as tourism and re-open closed cross-border markets. Currently, some border posts such as the Taveta-Holili One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) and the Isebania-Sirare border post (Kenya-Tanzania) are still not allowing movement of persons despite travelers having Covid-19 certificates.

The future of mobility in Africa (The New Times)

This week, the UN published a report about the impact of used vehicles on the environment in Africa. According to this report, Africa is the destination of 40% of used light duty vehicles from Europe, Asia and the USA. This trend contributes to the astonishing low GDP-high emissions paradigm, whereby African cities have the same pollution levels such as industrialised ones. The failure to absorb internal demand of mobility products will be exacerbated with the rising middle class in Africa. The said report details how global fleet of light duty vehicles will double by 2050 and how 90% of this growth will take place in low and middle-income countries. Against this background, an urgent action plan is needed to transform the demand of mobility into an engine of growth for Africa.

Digital payments key to Africa growth (The Southern Times)

The World Bank has estimated that Africa could potentially hold 90 percent of the global poor population by 2030 and has recently cut its economic growth predictions to between -2,1 percent and -5,1 percent in 2020 from the 2,4 percent of 2019. The situation has been significantly worsened by the global pandemic, as the continent hits its first recession in 25 years. But this is not the picture that defines a continent that has long defied expectation and prediction.

SMEs need policy support to compete in AfCTA – Report (News Ghana)

A research report has recommended policy support for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to be competitive in participating in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The report said the support should focus on cheaper and more innovative trade finance products, trade policy, trade infrastructure, improved capacity, trade information and facilitation, market access for growth and expansion of SMEs in the country. Dr Samuel Frimpong Boateng, the Lead Consultant for the Research made these recommendations at a stakeholder workshop on the report titled “Mobilising Diagnostics Data to Inform Bottom-Up Decisions on Government Policies.”


International

Mapping African regional cooperation (European Council on Foreign Relations)

The African regional security landscape is something of a multi-layered jigsaw puzzle. Regional conflicts in the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin have led to the creation of multiple and overlapping membership organisations that to seek to deal with cross-border challenges. This project maps African regional initiatives in west and central Africa and provides a data-based and a geographical overview of the ‘à la carte’ nature of African regional cooperation.

Europe’s Pivot to Africa: Shaping the Future of the Strategic Partnership (EUBULLETIN)

2020 seemed set to be “a pivotal year” for EU-African relations, with the 10th Commission-to-Commission meeting between the EU and African Union (AU) held in February, followed by a renewed comprehensive EU Strategy with Africa published in March. However, with the planned 6th African Union-European Union Summit now postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the leaders should use the upcoming months to forge a true strategic partnership which goes beyond the archaic donor-recipient relationship. Only then can EU-Africa relations become a building block in Europe’s quest to obtain geopolitical power, and can Africa fully benefit from its longstanding yet so far disappointing relationship with Europe.

The new investment case for Africa and emerging sectors of opportunity (How we made it in Africa)

From the days of African independence to the turn of the 21st century, developed countries’ economic engagement with African nations was largely limited to the provision of humanitarian and development aid. The beginning of the new millennium saw a shift as traditional donor countries began to focus on boosting African economic growth via increased trade. Over the past decade, this dynamic has shifted once more, with an increased emphasis on facilitating private investment into African economies. The business case for investing in African markets can no longer rest solely on the dated adage that six of the 10 fastest-growing countries are in Africa – it now needs to be updated to the post-Covid emergent economic reality.

BRICS Business Council seeks more growth opportunities post pandemic (Political Analysis South Africa)

The BRICS Business Council released a statement on Thursday, 29 October 2020, detailing the resolutions from the ten-day BRICS Business Forum. The physical gathering was conducted in Russia, but most international delegates attended virtually. The participants included business leaders and representatives from BRICS countries, namely, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The primary focus was on growth prospects post the pandemic, as well as possible partnerships between business and the state. This is in an effort to revitalise the economies of the respective states.

Five BRICS Countries Accentuate UN’s Central Role in International Affairs (IDN InDepthNews)

Parliamentarians of five BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have pledged to join hands in combating COVID-19, facing the challenges and threats that each member state currently faces, and strengthening cooperation, including at the inter-parliamentary level. In view of the coronavirus pandemic, the Sixth Parliamentary Forum on October 27 was organized via video conference. Its main theme was "BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth: parliamentary dimension".

Market Illiquidity: Experts advocate diversifying investment options through global best practices (BusinessAMlive)

Philip Buyskes, chief executive officer at Frontclear, said there is a plan underway for the implementation of regulatory reforms to help the proper functioning of the market. “Progress has been made in the last couple of years in the government bond market. But there is still low liquidity in the African secondary market. Overall, it is still a relatively small and illiquid market. Interesting to highlight is the focus of the money market in Africa. We now look forward to seeing more liquidity in the bond and repo market. We are also working on implementing regulatory reforms to help the proper functioning of the bodies or players in the market. Ultimately, our goal is to finance infrastructure. The view is to get the basic things right and being able to achieve real payments in the market.”

FOCAC grows in pragmatic cooperation since its inception two decades ago (China.org.cn)

On October 7, the air cargo route from Wuhan in central China to Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa became operational as the first flight took off, carrying nucleic acid test kits to detect the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), masks and other epidemic prevention materials. It was a telling gesture with the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) celebrating its 20th anniversary the same month. FOCAC, already an important platform for collective dialogue and practical cooperation between China and Africa, has, in the wake of the global pandemic, shown its role in enhancing support between the two sides to tackle the disease.

COVID-19: Remittance Flows to Shrink 14% by 2021 (World Bank)

As the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis continues to spread, the amount of money migrant workers send home is projected to decline 14 percent by 2021 compared to the pre COVID-19 levels in 2019, according to the latest estimates published in the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief. Remittance flows to low and middle-income countries (LMICs) are projected to fall by 7 percent, to $508 billion in 2020, followed by a further decline of 7.5 percent, to $470 billion in 2021. The foremost factors driving the decline in remittances include weak economic growth and employment levels in migrant-hosting countries, weak oil prices; and depreciation of the currencies of remittance-source countries against the US dollar.

How COVID-19 Will Increase Inequality in Emerging Markets and Developing Economies (IMFBlog)

Emerging markets and developing economies grew consistently in the two decades before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, allowing for much-needed gains in poverty reduction and life expectancy. The crisis now puts much of that progress at risk while further widening the gap between rich and poor. As part of our latest World Economic Outlook we explore two facts about the current pandemic to estimate its effect on inequality: a person’s ability to work from home and the drop in GDP expected for most countries in the world.