tralac Daily News
Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel has warned that South Africa’s foreign direct investment will experience a sharp decline next year as the Covid-19 pandemic has driven the appetite for new investments to an all-time low. Patel told a preparatory briefing of the Third South African Investment Conference scheduled for next Wednesday and Thursday that UNCTAD forecasts a drop of about 40 percent in foreign direct investment flows this year, and that the decline would continue even in 2021, only recovering in 2022. He said that the economic outlook was highly uncertain as South Africa was bracing for the next credit ratings downgrade, following a deeper recession, with its growth set to contract by 8.2 percent this year.
Technical Regulation Key In Supporting Local Manufacturing (The Department of Trade Industry and Competition)
Technical regulation is key in supporting local manufacturing. This was the message the came out clearly in the webinar on technical regulations which are essential for local producers who manufacture products for the domestic and international markets. The Chief Director of Industrial Procurement at the dtic, Dr Tebogo Makube, said technical regulation was key in supporting local manufacturing and entrepreneurship. According to Makube, standards, measurements, certifications and other aspects that require regulation are also key in promoting locally produced products and their access to market. He said there was a need to identify gaps in technical regulations and how, through their correct application, the population and the economy can be protected from harmful goods.
The Government has destroyed counterfeit goods worth Ksh100 million in Changamwe Mombasa as it escalates efforts to counter illicit trade. Anti Counterfeit Authority Chairperson Florah Mutahi said among the counterfeits destroyed were goods meant for the fight against COVID-19 pandemic valued at Ksh25 Million confiscated from unscrupulous traders. The Chairperson observed that a study carried out recently revealed electrical goods account for the bigger percentage of counterfeits into the country.
Botswana economy expected to rebound next year (Government of Botswana)
The economy is expected to rebound at 7.7 per cent in 2021 following a contraction of 8.9 per cent this year mainly due to challenges emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic. In his State of the Nation Address November 9, President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi said this year’s poor economic performance was attributable to decline in sectors such as mining, trade, hotels and restaurants, construction, manufacturing and transport and communications. Mining is projected to grow at a rate of 14.4 per cent, trade, hotels and restaurants at 18.8 per cent while transport and communications is expected to grow at 4.2 per cent.
Museveni Appeals for Open Market for Ugandan Products in Tanzania (The East African)
President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has appealed to his counterpart John Magufuli of Tanzania to allow Ugandan milk, maize, sugar, bananas and manufactured goods to be sold in Tanzania because "the Ugandan market is not big enough" to absorb the country's produce and products. The country will soon catch up with Tanzania, which recently attained middle income status, he said, adding that Uganda was looking to the region, and Africa in general, to expand the market for its produce and products.
The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry have projected that the country would realize a total amount of US$134 million from oil palm export in the next 10 years, to reverse the current deficit in the product’s export. Through the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS) for the country’s non-traditional export sector, the Trade Ministry and GEPA are both ready to promote and support the efforts of companies in the secondary and tertiary processing of palm oil to gain footholds in and expand their share of export markets.
NAFDAC partners MSMEs to grow economy (The Nation)
The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has said it will continue to encourage the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises MSMEs in order to harness the potentials of trade and investment for the nation’s economic growth and sustainability. NAFDAC Director General Prof Mojisola Adeyeye made this known at the ‘National Trade and Investment Summit 2020’ held in Lagos, where she reiterated the importance of MSMEs in the development and growth of the nation’s economy.
In Cabo Verde, tourism and trade at a crossroads (Trade 4 Dev News)
In the last few decades, the country has forged a new path with tourism, pushing economic growth in a place with few resources and little wealth. The result has been a move from “least developed country” (LDC) status to “developing” in 2007, a reduction in poverty and, for 2019, an annual growth rate of 5.7%. “For Cabo Verde, 25% of the GDP is tourism, and we depend on it,” said Francisco Martins, National Director for Tourism at the Ministry of Tourism and Transport. “But since COVID, from March nothing has happened, there has been no activity.” The country started to slowly open back up to tourism a few weeks ago, and is moving forward with plans to diversify both its tourism sector and its trade more generally.
Africa's supply chain remains under pressure despite ease of lockdowns (Bulawayo24 News)
The measures that countries have adopted around the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have had an unprecedented effect on trade this year as a result of a unique combination of shocks to both global trade supply and demand. Africa is expected to be severely impacted by this slowdown. According to the latest data published by UNCTAD, in 2017, the share of trade in the continent's GDP was 56 % while the share of its exports to the rest of the world ranged from 80 to 90 %, indicating that the continent is both heavily dependent on trade and, specifically, trading outside of Africa.
While four-day delays at the Beitbridge border post are creating an unhealthy and unsafe environment for transport companies, the biggest loser ultimately is the regional economy. It is estimated that local transport companies will lose R620-million this month, as their trucks sit idle at the Beitbridge border crossing into Zimbabwe. This is according to Mike Fitzmaurice, CEO of the Federation of East and Southern African Road Transport Associations (FESARTA) who used GPS data from Globaltrack to calculate the delays.
The Africa investment protocol: a prickly pear for Africans (Mail & Guardian)
In April the secretariat of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement announced that the July 2020 launch would be postponed. The launch is now set for January 2021. Africa needs this agreement to facilitate enhanced intra-Africa and international trade as a cornerstone of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, which should result in the elimination of barriers to the free movement of goods, services and people. The question is: Why were African leaders forging ahead with the AfCFTA in the absence of an agreement on investor protections?
The 48th EARACGs meeting to discuss experiences and address challenges facing tax administrations in the region will be held virtually on 11th November, 2020. The meeting themed “Rethink, Restart and Reinvent: Our Road to Recovery”, will concentrate on lessons learnt by the EAC Partner States during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the innovative approaches that will shore up revenue in the region. The meeting is expected to among other discuss the modalities of how to collaborate with the EAC Secretariat to establish a Committee on Tax Affairs at the East African Community (EAC).
The first of the regional conferences on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement and the National Export Development Strategy will be held from today, November 10 in the Ashanti Regional capital of Kumasi. The conferences are to sensitise relevant stakeholders from the private and public sectors, especially Ghanaian businesses in the various regions, about export development interventions aimed at empowering the private sector. A statement issued by the Public Relations Department of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority said all 15 regional conferences would be held in November.
According to Trudi Hartzenberg, executive director of the Trade Law Centre (Tralac) in Stellenbosch, South Africa, negotiations between African nations are ongoing virtually, but they have now hit ;some sensitive issues’. "The negotiations are pretty complex because the countries who are negotiating would lose tariff revenues. Reducing the tariffs means the import duties are lower so they would be gathering less revenues than before," she explains. "For some countries, the tariff revenues they get from trade taxes amounts to 25% or more of their total fiscal tax revenues. The easiest taxes to collect are import duties."
EAC partner states get five years to join Kenya-UK trade deal (The East African)
East African Community member states have up to five years to join the UK-Kenya trade agreement due to be signed ahead of the Brexit transitional deadline, officials privy to the draft text say. While Kenya negotiated solely, other East African countries could ride on the deal for the next few years as they figure out whether to enter, based on what parties called “transitional clauses.” These transitional clauses could further discuss variable new issues such as services trade, new technology, and research and innovation, which were lacking under the European Union Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).
Speaking on 8 November at the High-Level Regional Dialogue on WTO Accessions for the Arab Region hosted by the Arab Monetary Fund and Islamic Development Bank, Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff said the accession process has served as an effective external anchor for domestic reforms and a catalyst for economic growth. Eight countries in the region are still negotiating their membership terms.
The need to reform the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) agriculture subsidy rules and to clinch a deal that disciplines harmful fisheries subsidies are well known, and the latter agreement is now nearly within striking distance. These are important advances, which can be a boon to addressing long-standing hurdles in the field of sustainable development. As this work continues, WTO members are also debating why it remains so difficult to meet existing requirements to notify government support to their economic sectors – and what more can be done.
Remotely addressing the fifty-second annual general meeting of the African Airlines Association on Monday, International Air Transport Association (Iata) director-general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac highlighted the damage that the continent’s airlines have suffered as a result of travel restrictions imposed to counter the Covid-19 pandemic. He also stressed the danger this posed to African economies and called for the aid announced for the continent’s airlines to be disbursed.
This edition of the Economy and Politics anchored by Ottoabasi Abasiekong captures developments around Global Trade Development and the Prospects for Africa. It highlights the recent elections in the United States of America and the declared winner Senator Joe Biden and how it will shape the face of international trade, the program takes a look at the postponement of the announcement of the new Director General of the WTO and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and Opportunities for the region.
President Cyril Ramaphosa will participate in a virtual business and investment roundtable on Tuesday (10 November) with representatives from three major business organisations from the United States – the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU), the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), and the US Chamber of Commerce. “The roundtable will provide a platform for engagement by 32 companies representing sectors such as healthcare, information communication technology, consumer goods, retail, energy, defence, agro-processing, aviation, space, transportation, film and TV production, finance, and consulting.” Ramaphosa is expected to share South Africa’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan as well as the opportunities for doing business in the country.
What the Biden presidency would mean for Africa (The New Times)
Many prominent media organisations and experts project Joe Biden as the country’s next president. What the world didn’t see and hear during the highly contested presidential election, particularly Africa, is what the new presidency would mean towards Africa-US relations. Critics of the US foreign approach have constantly accused the country of exploiting Africa and pursuing self-interests as opposed to doing genuine business. “But what Africans need from America is not lectures on how they should live their lives; they need a relationship based on trade,” Lonzen Rugira, a political analyst, notes.
Lockdown flies global airlines into turbulence (The East African)
The global airline industry is yet to clear the turbulence caused by the Covid-19 pandemic with prospects of an early recovery crashed by the onset of a second Covid-19 wave in Europe. Many countries that had partially opened up are still maintaining quarantines, severely constraining demand for travel. Although East Africa’s airspace has been open since October 1, capacity restrictions mean that airlines are operating fewer flights.
Inevitable Clash When Climate Meets Trade at the Border (Chatham House)
Trade policy has long included reassuring references to appease environmentalists, including in provisions related to domestic environmental protection and conservation, as well as largely respecting global environmental norms, national policies and processes. But this uneasy peace is likely to be tested sharply by fast-evolving climate policies, with a growing number of jurisdictions setting target dates to become carbon-neutral, using carbon taxes and other market-based measures as well as regulations, standards, and subsidies to get there.
For almost 25 years, extreme poverty was steadily declining. Now, for the first time in a generation, it is increasing. This setback is largely due to major challenges – COVID-19, conflict, and climate change – facing all countries, but in particular those with large poor populations. A new World Bank report , Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2020, provides recommendations for a complementary two-track approach: responding effectively to the urgent crisis in the short run while continuing to focus on foundational development problems, including conflict and climate change.
Less than a month ago, the International Monetary Fund downgraded its forecast for world growth in 2021, saying the recovery would be “long, uneven and uncertain.” Now, the possibility of a successful vaccine being manufactured and distributed as soon as early next year may warrant significant revisions to growth projections for as soon as the first quarter. “This is a game changer, this is what we’ve been waiting for since March,” said Torsten Slok, chief economist at private-equity firm Apollo Global Management Inc. “Overall, this will turn all forecast spreadsheets upside down.”
Internet Governance Forum calls for bridging digital divides, harnessing the Internet to support human resilience and build solidarity amid COVID-19 (United Nations Sustainable Development)
Never before has the Internet proven to be such a vital lifeline in maintaining economic and social ties, as the world is battling the COVID-19 pandemic. The high-level segment of the Internet Governance Forum opened today, with participants discussing the critical and central role of the Internet in keeping businesses afloat, maintaining family ties and friendships, and enabling global coordination in the efforts to tackle the pandemic. At the same time, the increased reliance on connectivity must be accompanied by stronger efforts to bridge the alarming digital divide that threatens to leave some people behind economically and socially, the participants stressed.
Renewable power is growing robustly around the world this year, contrasting with the sharp declines triggered by the Covid-19 crisis in many other parts of the energy sector such as oil, gas and coal, according to a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA’s) Renewables 2020 report released today. Driven by China and the United States, new additions of renewable power capacity worldwide will increase to a record level of almost 200 gigawatts this year, led by wind, hydropower and solar PV. Wind and solar additions are set to jump by 30% in both the United States and China as developers rush to take advantage of expiring incentives.