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tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News
Photo credit: World Bank | IFC

National

Critical shortage of building and construction materials in SA (Moneyweb)

Critical shortages of building and construction materials, including cement, steel, bricks and timber, are suffocating the sector’s recovery from the Covid-19 lockdown and diminishing its impact on the recovery of the economy. David Metelerkamp, senior economist at construction market intelligence firm Industry Insight, said the shortages, if they continue for an extended period of time, have the potential to derail government’s planned massive infrastructure investment plan to stimulate the economy post the Covid-19 lockdown.

Taxman’s bitter pill will be hard to swallow (Mmegi Online)

Following months of signals from authorities such as the Bank of Botswana (BoB) and the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS), the Finance and Economic Development ministry has confirmed that the dreaded increases in certain types of tax will take effect next year. The Budget Strategy Paper, a Finance Ministry blueprint released as part of the budget process each year, indicates that government expects revenues of P58.8 billion in the 2021-2022 financial year, up from P52.3 billion in the current year, which ends on March 30, 2021. The difference, or P6.5 billion, will come from, amongst others, potentially higher mineral revenues as the sector recovers, as well as strong receipts from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU).

Tanzania’s inward-looking policies unlikely to change (The East African)

Last week’s swearing-in ceremony of Tanzania President John Magufuli was attended by several leaders from the Southern African Development Community and only one EAC head of state. However, the country’s inward-looking policies are unlikely to change in the next five years. While Tanzania is a member of both the EAC and SADC, it has been seen to lean strongly towards SADC. “Regional integration does not appear to be a national priority for President Magufuli. He is likely to continue his protectionist tendencies over the next five years thereby slowing down the EAC integration process,” Amukowa Anangwe, a former Kenyan Cabinet minister, added.

Zimbabwe looking underground for golden economic revival (EWN)

Reeling from decades of economic mismanagement, Zimbabwe is banking on gold to shore up revenue and tackle the upshots of rampant hyperinflation, corruption and coronavirus restrictions. Global gold prices have surged more than 30% this year, topping a record $2,000 (1,700 euros) an ounce in August, as the precious metal became a safe haven for investors in the face of COVID-induced volatility. Plans are under way to reap $12 billion (10.2 billion euros) from mining by 2023, mainly through gold.

Public debt to hit Sh7.5trn by June next year, says report (Nation)

The country’s debt stock is expected to hit Sh7.5 trillion by June 2021, according to projections by the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO). The office warns that given the current and projected expenditure demands, Kenya’s debt stock could reach Sh9.2 trillion in the 2022/23 financial year. The projected increase this year, which is Sh873 billion or 15 percent above the national debt of Sh6.6 trillion as at June 2020, is largely attributed to the impact of low generation of domestic revenue and pressure from expenditure on the ongoing capital projects.

New Normal: Nigeria Trade Policy in Post-COVID Pandemic (Africa International Trade)

In Nigeria, the crisis has triggered severe economic imbalances while the external sector is suffering a major contraction. Just like many other countries, Nigeria’s first measure to contain the spread of the virus was to restrict cross-border movement and labour mobility. The action has consequentially wedged on both domestic and international trade flow. Lending credence to this is a World Bank survey on COVID-19 impact, which estimated that trade is the most affected of all the analysed sectors by the pandemic. This could, however, implies that the trade sector which accounted for 33.0 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP in 2018 and 16 per cent of 2019 GDP is bound to further decrease in 2020 as recent statistic reveals.

Nigeria is broke, borrowing to service debts (The Guardian Nigeria)

Speaking at a two-day National Summit on Tax and Development, organised by ActionAid Nigeria, in Abuja, Onyekpere said continued borrowing to service old debt is grossly inimical to national development, and would only leave behind a bleak future for the younger generation. “Nigeria is broke, which is why we are experiencing all forms of financial crises, such as delayed salary payments, strikes, and other challenges. All that the government is doing is borrowing from Peter to pay Paul,” said Lead Director of the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), Mr. Eze Onyekpere.


Africa

Development Bank grows value of its assets to more than R100bn (IOL)

The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) provided R15.4 billion towards social and economic infrastructure projects in its past financial year, and it grew the value of its assets by 12 percent to more than R100bn, chief executive Patrick Dlamini said on Friday. The near doubling of non-performing loans in the year had started to improve, with notably some fragile sub-Saharan African countries again beginning to service their loans, but he said “we are not yet out of the woods”, and risks associated with potential second waves of Covid-19 infections remained.

SADC steps up efforts to exploit its natural gas reserves

The Southern African Development Community is exploring ways of harnessing the potential of the massive reserves of natural gas that exist in the Region following the development of Regional Gas Master Plan which seeks to unlock the potential of gas in Southern Africa. SADC has some of the largest deposits of natural gas in the world and harnessing this would improve the energy situation in the Region and contribute to the regional energy mix, which is dominated by coal.

There are unmatched investment returns in Africa despite the challenges, AIF’s Anohu tells global business leaders (AfDB)

Africa Investment Forum (AIF) Senior Director Chinelo Anohu on Thursday joined business leaders in a webinar to discuss opportunities for Africa in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and how the continent could leverage them to attract investment for development. The panel discussion, organized by the Africa Debate, a flagship event of Invest Africa, a leading investment forum in London, discussed domestic manufacturing as a path to expand intra-continental trade while also reasserting Africa’s position in global markets.

Ghana’s trade negotiation team making moves to include locally assembled vehicles to trade under AfCFTA (MyJoyOnline.com)

Ghana’s trade negotiation team is making effort with the West African sub-region to consider locally assembled vehicles from Ghana into its tariff offer. If accepted, locally assembled vehicles could be part of either the 90 per cent duty-free goods or classified as sensitive with its tariff as other products in that class. With few months to begin the implementation of the Agreement, Ghana is expected to join the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) in submitting a uniform tariff offer for consideration.

Egypt seeks to increase economic cooperation with COMESA (EgyptToday)

Trade and Industry Minister Nevin Gamea discussed on Sunday with Secretary General of COMESA Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe ways of increasing Egypt’s economic cooperation with the grouping. She expressed Egypt’s support of COMESA efforts against coronavirus that negatively affected trade exchange among countries as well as the movement of commodities. She underlined the importance of the electronic platform the ministry set up lately to facilitate trade exchange with the grouping’s states.

COMESA to Construct Border Export Zones for Small Scale Traders

Plans to construct at least six border export zones for Small Scale Cross Border Traders (SSCBTI) are at an advanced stage in the selected sites between Zambia on one hand and Malawi, Zimbabwe, DR Congo and Tanzania. The project is being implemented by COMESA with funding from the European Union under the 2nd European Development Fund (EDF 11). To this effect the COMESA Secretariat has been conducting consultative meetings with stakeholders at the select borders to develop border concept designs for the markets and assessing their specific needs.

National Investment Agencies Receive Support from COMESA RIA Towards COVID 19 Recovery (COMESA)

The COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA) has embarked on building the capacities of National Investment Promotion Agencies (NIPAs) in Member States to support investments rebound from the effects of COVID-19. In addition, the initiative is aimed at creating understanding of market conditions and drivers, undertaking financial and economic appraisals of investment projects, packaging investment opportunities and sharing best practices on methods applied by IPAs to proactively market their locations and generate leads

‘A game changer for African trade’ (The Southern Times)

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which will create a single market of 1,2 billion with a GDP of over US$1,4 trillion, could be the game changer for the region’s drive to spur economic development and enhance livelihoods. Last week, Namibia’s Minister of Trade and Industrialisation Lucia Ipumbu told global delegates to the annual Bank of Namibia Symposium in Windhoek that for the first time ever, African countries had the opportunity to solidify trade between each other.


International

COVID-19: Global trade value chains, taxation and recovery (UNCTAD)

Widespread border closures, travel restrictions and shelter-in-place policies that economies adopted early in the pandemic to slow down the global contagion have disrupted productive activities, with long-term economic consequences. Unsurprisingly, this major global disruption is leading to reduced trade locally, regionally and globally, as supply chains are disrupted, production reduced and other country-specific challenges. Unfortunately, the slow pace of international trade activities also reflects those of domestic economies, marking a missed opportunity on government earnings, especially in developing countries. It is imperative, therefore, that we keep trade flowing.

UK partners Zim to improve exports (The Chronicle)

Zimbabwe is poised for improved export competitiveness in the horticulture sector through scaling up capacity building support for farmers with the aim of alleviating poverty in the country. Executive director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), Pamela Coke-Hamilton, on Thursday launched the United Kingdom Trade Partnerships (UKTP) Programme in Harare. The intervention seeks to assist farmers and producers affected by trade disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic by unlocking the potential of economic partnership agreements with the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Brexit: ‘Significant differences remain’ over trade deal (The Star)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday said a trade deal with the European Union was “there to be done”, with its broad outline already “pretty clear”. Following a call with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday, the PM said progress had been made but there were still issues around the “level playing field” and fishing. Both parties agreed negotiating teams would resume talks in London on Monday. Negotiations aimed at agreeing the new relationship – including a trade deal, but also rules in areas like fishing access, the regulation of medicine, and security co-operation – were always intended to be held after Brexit day and during the transition.

Working group finalises package of declarations and recommendations to assist small business (WTO)

The Informal Working Group on Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) finalised the technical work on a package of six recommendations and declarations aimed at facilitating the participation of smaller businesses in international trade at its meeting on 5 November. This package will be officially endorsed in December this year.

WTO members have ensured support for Okonjo-Iweala’s candidacy – Garba Shehu (Nairametrics)

Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has urged the US President-elect, Joe Biden, to build on US-Nigeria relations, especially on widening the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for integration with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). “Not only do I congratulate you on your victory, but I also urge you to build on US-Nigeria relations, especially on widening the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for seamless interplay with the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).


Africa’s response to Joe Biden’s US presidential election win

A selection of news articles

How African leaders have reacted to Joe Biden victory (Africanews)

African leaders have congratulated US president-elect Joe Biden on his victory, expressing hope that ties will be restored between the continent and the US, following the rule of President Donald Trump. Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari also congratulated Biden “on his election at a time of uncertainty and fear in world affairs.”

What US election outcome means for East Africa (The East African)

Like Obama before, the Trump administration maintained the Bush-era African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) which allows duty- and quota-free exports from eligible countries into the U.S. But in 2018 Trump suspended Rwanda from Agoa in a dispute over the East African country’s ban on the import of second-hand clothes. Earlier this year the United States and Kenya launched negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which are likely to continue regardless of the outcome of the White House race.

Biden should widen the AGOA for integration with the AfCFTA – Atiku (Nairametrics)

Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has urged the US President-elect, Joe Biden, to build on US-Nigeria relations, especially on widening the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for integration with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). “Not only do I congratulate you on your victory, but I also urge you to build on US-Nigeria relations, especially on widening the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for seamless interplay with the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).

Biden won. What does that mean for Kenya? (The Standard)

AGOA was signed by US President Bill Clinton as a 15-year trade pact allowing exporters from Africa and several other developing countries duty-free access to the US market. Currently, there are negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Kenya and the US which look likely to continue during Biden’s rule.

Biden’s election is a reminder that democracy is the best form of government – Buhari (Nairametrics)

Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has urged the US President-elect, Joe Biden, to build on US-Nigeria relations, especially on widening the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for integration with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). “Not only do I congratulate you on your victory, but I also urge you to build on US-Nigeria relations, especially on widening the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for seamless interplay with the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).

Kagame congratulates US President-elect Biden (The New Times)

“President Kagame and the Government of Rwanda congratulate U.S. President-elect @JoeBiden and Vice President-elect @KamalaHarris,” the President’s Office said in a tweet on Sunday. President Paul Kagame on Sunday joined world leaders to congratulate the United States President-elect Joe Biden on his victory, and his Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Congratulatory message on victory of President-elect Joseph Biden of the United States of America (The Presidency)

On behalf of the Government and people of South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended congratulations to President-elect Joseph R. Biden of the United States following elections held on 03 November 2020. South Africa and the United States enjoy historic relations. The United States contributed to the liberation struggle in South Africa and continued to provide support to help consolidate

A Biden administration favours South Africa (News24)

Analysts believe that Africa, and in particular South Africa, can look forward to better relations with the US under the Biden administration, as his predecessor Donald Trump had no desire in strengthening ties in Africa. With Joe Biden clinching the election to become the US’s 46th president, South Africa can look forward to better relations, but the new president elect first needs to place his focus on home.

Now begins undoing of Trump’s prejudice – Mandela Foundation on US elections (EWN)

The foundation congratulated Biden and his Vice-President Kamala Harris on what “has been a successful but punishing election campaign”. The foundation congratulated Joe Biden and his Vice-President Kamala Harris on what “has been a successful but punishing election campaign”.

Biden’s victory a breath of fresh air, says group (Vanguard)

“The Democratic process of the United States of America on the just concluded presidential election that declared Biden as winner is a demonstration of the will of the American people and we congratulate him and his Vice President elect. A political pressure group, Tinubu Solidarity Vanguard, has commended the American people and government on the recent victory of Mr Joe Biden in the presidential election, describing it as “a breath of fresh air.”

Joe Biden wins White House, ending Trump presidency (Business Daily)

Trump had no immediate reaction to the announcement, but as Biden’s lead grew during vote counts since Tuesday’s election, the Republican president lashed out with unsubstantiated claims of fraud and claimed, falsely, that he had won. Biden secured his win by recapturing the Midwestern states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin -- traditional Democratic territory that Trump had flipped in 2016 with his powerful appeal to white, working class voters.

Kenya’s long wish list as Trump era nears an end (The Star)

Kenya’s economy is expected to calm under US President-elect Joe Biden’s administration, a relief from the volatilities arising from trade wars orchestrated by Donald Trump’s four years. Biden’s election to the White House is expected to wipe out those volatilities to the benefit of import-dependent countries like Kenya.


End plastic waste trade for a healthier future (Bangkok Post)

New trade deals heighten fears that countries in Africa and small island developing states may become the world’s next dumping ground for plastic waste. Unless we address this crisis, the trade in plastic waste will increasingly harm people in low and middle-income countries. Only 9% of plastic waste is recycled. Yet production is set to quadruple by 2050 from 2016 levels as companies seek to expand the plastics market into low and middle-income countries.

Climate Finance Provided and Mobilised by Developed Countries in 2013-18 (OECD)

This report is an update with 2018 figures to the previous publication Climate Finance Provided and Mobilised by Developed Countries in 2013-17. It provides insights on the evolution of the following four components of climate finance over the period of 2013-2018: bilateral public climate finance, multilateral climate finance (attributed to developed countries), climate-related officially supported export credits, and private finance mobilised by developed countries public finance interventions.