Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News
Photo credit: Domenic Gorin | tralac


Agri sector predicted to show positive growth (IOL)

Although the agriculture sector was expected to show positive growth next year, the Agribusiness Business Chamber (Agbiz) said this would be at a much lower rate than in 2020. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo wrote in the organisation’s agricultural market viewpoint on Monday that the sector’s gross added value for 2020 was forecast at a 10 percent year-on-year expansion. The lower growth rate would primarily be a function of base effects. “The output will most likely be large, all else being equal. The same is true for food price inflation, which we continue to believe won’t exceed 5 percent year-on-year in 2021 from an expected 4.5 percent in 2020 and the actual rate of 3.1 percent in 2019.

Weak demand likely to slow production in the near term (IOL)

Manufacturing output decelerated slower than expected in September, but weak demand is likely to continue to depress near-term factory production, economists said on Monday. Food and beverage manufacturing activity grew by 4.2 percent year on year following five consecutive months of declines. It added 1.2 percent to the top line reading, on account of its substantial and revised 27.14 percent weighting in the manufacturing basket. Textiles, clothing, leather and footwear production also edged up, rising by 1.9 percent year on year following August’s -9.4 percent year on year slide. Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) figures showed the largest negative contributions were by the iron and steel sector (-7.5 percent), motor vehicle and other transport equipment (-12.7 percent), wood, paper, publishing and printing (-7.7 percent), and petroleum, chemicals and plastic products (-1.9 percent).

Govt to provide incentives to mining exploration companies (The New Times)

Rwanda says it has put in place an incentive package that seeks to attract investors to invest in mining exploration activities, part of the drive to strategically reposition the country’s mining sector in the region. “We are excited about a new incentive [package] for exploration companies that gives incentives for a 10 year-loss carry over,” Francis Gatare, the Chief Executive Officer at Rwanda Mines, Gas and Petroleum Board (RMB) said during a press briefing. “This means that companies that invest in initial exploration can carry forward losses or expenses incurred during that period.”

Current account deficit improves due to exports rise (Daily News)

The Tanzania current account improved to a deficit of 671.1million US dollars in the year ending September, which is more than a half of the deficit of 1,839.5 million US dollars registered in the corresponding period last year. According to the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) monthly economic review for October, the improvement of the current account deficit was on account of increase in export of goods and a decrease in imports. During the reference period, the overall balance of payments recorded a deficit of 439.0 million US dollars compared with a deficit of 34.5 million US dollars on account of a relatively low official flows. The export of goods and services amounted to 9,467.9 million US dollars in the year ending September, compared with 9,515.0 million US dollars in the year ending September last year on account of a decline in services receipts.

Kenya commissions railway facility to boost ease of doing business (CGTN Africa)

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday officially commissioned the country’s revamped commuter rail system in efforts to decongest traffic in the capital, Nairobi. The system, which will also feature a new light cargo handling facility, was built to improve the ease of doing business in the country, particularly for small scale traders. “We are also talking about the ease of doing business by our small traders they are our biggest employers and we need to ensure that they are treated fairly, and they are facilitated just like all others are,” President Kenyatta said while commissioning the project.

Uhuru hands traders lifeline in clearance of cargo at railways hub (Business Daily)

Small-scale traders who consolidate their imported cargo will now be able to clear the goods individually at the Nairobi Railway Station, eliminating the need to use costly clearing agents and the Sh100,000 container deposit. The clearing process will be even easier for those with goods of Customs value of $10,000 who can make import declaration on a mobile app while those with goods of Customs value above $10,000 will clear through a registered clearing agent in the Customs system. President Uhuru Kenyatta Tuesday launched the initiative that comprise a new Container Freight Station at the Kenya Railways Corporation transit shade where the consolidated cargo importers will have their goods cleared and released for either rail or road transport to their destinations. The cargo clearance plan is expected to be faster than the initial approach where the consolidated goods were cleared as a single container unit at the Inland Container Depot.

Nigeria: Dangote Refinery, African Free Trade hinge on better roads (The Africa Report)

Dangote Group director Devakumar Edwin spoke to reporters last week about the date petroleum products from the giant project will hit the market. “Middle of next year, we start the commissioning process, and it’s a huge refinery, the commissioning process may take three to four months” COVID-19 and the recent disruption to business caused by protests against police brutality may push that into 2022, says Femi Ademola, executive director at Cordros Capital in Lagos. But unless a planned new coastal road is completed before the refinery starts operation, “moving crude from the ports through the roads may not be efficient,” he says.

Trade-offs will be crucial for a resilient maritime sector amid pandemic (Ghanaweb)

The Coronavirus pandemic has had a disruptive impact on the global supply chain, particularly on the port and shipping business and like all port nations, Ghana has had its fair share of the viral sting. On the global front, the shipping sector’s recovery has been tied to the ongoing reorganisation of economic production system which could push shipping companies to rationalise services on specific routes whilst reinforcing intra-regional maritime transport networks, in the longer term. In Ghana, strict adherence to protocols to curb the virus’ spread had a significant impact on the domestic shipping industry with unprecedented drops in both imports and exports for the first half of the year. Official first-quarter trade figures released by the Ghana Shippers Authority have revealed the severity of the impact of COVID-19 on the country’s maritime sector, with significant declines in all aspects of the business.

80% of businesses project recovery by mid-2021 (Ghanaweb)

A majority of businesses are optimistic of recovery from the devastating effects of the novel coronavirus by the middle of 2021, the latest survey by the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has shown. The survey, which was aimed at assessing the impact of COVID-19 on businesses in Ghana, revealed that about 80 percent of firms across the manufacturing, services and construction sectors expect to recover by June 2021. “Government must make a dedicated effort to scale up and ensure policy-driven local content in contracts and procurement across key sectors. This will help stimulate demand for goods and services to speed up recovery while developing local supply chains,” Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AGI, Mr. Seth Twum-Akwaboah said.

Egypt Economic Monitor - From Crisis to Economic Transformation: Unlocking Egypt's Productivity and Job Creation Potential (World Bank)

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing the most severe global health and economic crisis in at least seven decades. In Egypt, the disruptions caused by the pandemic started in March 2020, and has since interrupted a period of macroeconomic stability, characterized by relatively high growth, improved fiscal accounts, and a comfortable level of foreign reserves. Going forward, for businesses to expand and create sufficient and high-quality employment opportunities, a three-pronged approach will be necessary: (i) Sustaining macroeconomic stability and overall policy predictability whilst incentivizing domestic savings to finance investments, (ii) Getting the enabling environment right to create attractive opportunities for domestic and foreign investments and (iii) Upgrading human capital and firm capabilities to fast-track the economic transformation process in Egypt and to strengthen the country’s resilience against such severe shocks.


AfCFTA expects a wave of ratifications following Angola (UNECA)

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement expects several ratifications from member countries following Angola's deposit of its ratification instrument with the African Union last week. Angola's ratification makes it the 30th country to become a State Party to the AfCFTA Agreement. The Angolan move comes less than two months before trading based on the AfCFTA Agreement is scheduled to start on 1 January 2021, thereby raising hopes that more countries will follow Angola's lead before the end of the year. Angola's ratification was greeted with excitement by the AU Commission, where AUC's Commissioner for Trade Albert Muchanga said: "A new wave has been triggered and we expect more instruments in the coming weeks ahead of the start of trading."

16th CAADP PP to highlight Progress of the Malabo Commitments (IPPMEDIA)

The CAADP PP is an open, African Union (AU) member states-led forum aimed at reflecting on adapting continued learning to changing circumstances, needs and aspirations in the advancement of CAADP’s vision and objectives. The platform also stimulates and facilitates a process of sharing experiences on substantive agricultural transformation issues including policies, institutions, technologies, partnerships and alliances, skills and knowledge. According to the concept note that was made available to the Guardian reads that the proposed theme of the 16th CAADP PP is “Malabo Commitments Five Years on: Translating Lessons Learnt into Accelerated Action towards 2025”. We are midway through the 10-year period of the Malabo declaration and as such we should use the 16th CAADP PP for collective retrospective/retroactive reflection (ex-post)

AUDA-NEPAD and RECs Coordination Mechanism (AUDA-NEPAD)

Challenges and opportunities in the development and implementation of innovative regional response strategies to COVID-19 in Africa are being interrogated by AUDA-NEPAD and Regional Economic Communities (RECs). This is in line with their responsibility for building and strengthening African Union Member States and regional capacity for the implementation of development priorities. AUDA-NEPAD and the RECs are fostering regional support to the most vulnerable countries and strengthening regional mechanisms for disasters, as well as capacitating regional surveillance and early warning systems.

The work of the AUDA-NEPAD and RECs Coordination Mechanism comes in the wake of a call for continued to support to countries in strengthening their health systems in the areas of digital tracking systems, adoption of harmonised regional testing systems for COVID-19, to allow cross border movement and enhance the human capacity to track, test, trace and treat. This support will be aligned under the Africa CDC strategies. Another request is for support in information-sharing, through the promotion of information technologies, experience capitalization across the region and through south/south cooperation and sharing of data amongst regions and Member States.

Continental Body Ranks Rwanda As Leading Country Against #COVID-19 (Taarifa Rwanda)

The African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) has placed Rwanda at the forefront among countries that put effective COVID-19 tax relief measures in Africa, followed by Lesotho, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Niger, Madagascar, South Africa, Togo, Cameroon, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Ghana, Angola, Burundi and Namibia. On March 21, 2020, Rwanda took a strong decision to enforce a total lockdown across the country to curtail the spread of COVID-19, a week after the first case of the epidemic was registered in the country. Social and economic activities were halted, except for the essential supply activities including health and food related; with a range of social distancing and hygiene measures were set up, such as hand-washing equipment at agricultural collection centers.

Regional integration: WAEMU Commission reviews reform implementation in Togo and other states (Togo First)

This week, the commission of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) is assessing in Lomé the implementation of political reforms, community projects, and programs in Togo.  In comparison to previous years, Togo has significantly improved its ranking under the “Trading across borders” indicator by adopting multiple reforms that focus mainly on the digitization and reduction in delays, for import and export procedures related to import and export.

Agriculture in the SADC Region Under Climate Change (ReliefWeb)

The agricultural sector is of major social and economic importance in the SADC region. Several climate hazards including drought, unpredictable and extreme rainfall events, heatwaves and strong winds are adversely affecting the region’s predominantly rainfed (95% of cultivated area) agricultural sector The most common climate hazards that affected the SADC region between 1970 and 2020 were drought and extreme rainfall events. By 2059, it is projected that drought will be a widespread and common occurrence with extreme rainfall events affecting most of the northern areas of the region. Climate hazards impact all actors along the agricultural value chain from pre-production to consumption. These impacts are further complicated by a variety of external trends and drivers of change. To move towards a more resilient agricultural sector there is a need to implement enabling policies and public and private investments, adopt innovative technologies and good agricultural management practices.

AU Statement on AU Vaccines Financing Strategy (EIN News)

His Excellency, President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa, and Chairperson of the African Union convened and presided over a teleconference Meeting to discuss Africa’s strategy for financing COVID-19 vaccines on 7th November 2020.

In his opening remarks, His Excellency President Ramaphosa outlined the objective of the Meeting, namely to assess options for acquisitions and financing of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa. While recognizing that the Continent has made remarkable progress in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, he noted that Africa needed to urgently implement its vaccine strategy, with a focus on acquisition and financing, in order to fully control the spread of the virus. He stressed that Africa should take appropriate measures, as part of the strategy, to secure timely access to COVID-19 vaccines when they become available. President Ramaphosa further noted that about $12 billion was required, and this was expected to come from three sources: the COVAX Donor Initiative, The World Bank, direct donors, and African Import Export Bank, which has committed to raise up to $5 billion.


President Ramaphosa reinforces economic ties with US (SAnews)

President Cyril Ramaphosa has reiterated his commitment to strengthening South Africa’s ties with the United State. Speaking during a virtual business and investment roundtable on Tuesday, President Ramaphosa began by congratulating the Americans for their successful elections held last week, which saw Joe Biden win. The President told delegates that the roundtable is taking place at an important time when both countries have begun the laborious task of rebuilding economies while working to overcome the Coronavirus pandemic. “It is now more important than ever for South Africa and the US to deepen our strategic partnership conducted through a number of political and economic forums,” he said, adding that the United State was South Africa’s third-largest trading partner.

Biden should build on Trump's shaky legacy in Africa - analysts (African Business Magazine)

Joe Biden should build on the shaky foundations laid by four years of Trump administration Africa policy as the continent transitions towards a Continental Free Trade Area, analysts say. “From a commercial point of view the incoming administration should look to build on a lot of Trump’s initiatives. He [Biden] could build on these and give them the strategic direction and resources they need. A lot of these policies had the right idea – they just weren’t executed to full potential.”

Digital trade facilitation for women cross-border traders (UNCTAD)

Digital trade facilitation refers to making full use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) and going paperless for all steps of the cross-border trade process. Facilitating trade using digital solutions particularly benefits to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) including small cross-border traders – many of them women or women-led businesses – which tend to be overly impacted by cumbersome and lengthy import, export or transit procedures. Additionally, digital trade facilitation can help to mitigate the negative impacts of crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic on them. This article firstly discusses the increasing importance of digital trade facilitation in times of global pandemic. The second section explores key challenges faced by women traders in moving forward with digital trade facilitation. The third section provides recommendations to address these challenges.

Preferential tariffs continue for eligible developing countries (GOV.UK)

British importers will continue to pay zero or reduced tariffs on everyday goods such as clothing and vegetables from the world’s poorest countries now the UK has left the EU, Liz Truss will announce today (Tuesday 10 November). The UK’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) will cover all the same countries that are currently eligible for trade preferences under the EU’s GSP, allowing businesses to trade as they do now without disruption. Imports from 47 of the world’s least developed countries, including Bangladesh and Malawi, will not face any tariffs – supporting their economic development through business and trade. Low-income and lower-middle income countries will benefit from lower tariffs compared to the UK Global Tariff.

Financing the reduction of extreme poverty post-Covid-19 (ODI)

The Covid-19 pandemic has wiped out years of progress in ending extreme poverty: we forecast an additional 250 million people in extreme poverty by 2030 and expect that it will take 10 years of economic growth just to bring extreme poverty numbers back to where they were before the crisis. Middle-income countries (MICs) have 100 times more tax than low-income countries (LICs) and could raise a further $1,960 billion, which would cover most of the costs of ending poverty; LICs could only raise another $11 billion and still could not afford even half the costs. If donors better prioritised their aid and met the 0.7% aid target, all LICs could afford at least half the costs.

COVID-19 crisis threatens Sustainable Development Goals financing (OECD)

According to the OECD’s latest Global Outlook on Financing for Sustainable Development, developing countries are facing a shortfall of USD 1.7 trillion in the financing they would need this year to keep them on track for the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as governments and investors grapple with the health, economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.  The report says developing countries are set to see a USD 700 billion drop in external private finance in 2020 and a gap of USD 1 trillion in public spending on coronavirus recovery measures compared to what is being spent in advanced economies, where governments have a greater capacity to borrow. The drop in private finance comes from a fall in portfolio investments, foreign direct investment and a decline in remittances sent home by migrant workers.

Indo-Africa Summit panel calls for strong PPPs to close Africa’s infrastructure gap, strengthen trade (AfDB)

Panelists at the IMC Indo-Africa Summit called for stronger public-private partnerships to close Africa’s infrastructure gap and speed up intra-continental and world trade. The three-day event, which took place virtually from 4 to 6 November, drew lessons from India’s public-private partnership experience, which some speakers described as a good model for Africa. Sanjeev Gupta, Africa Finance Corporation Executive Director for Financial Services, drew attention to the need to develop bankable projects to attract the private sector. “African governments cannot be expected, and are indeed in no position, to take early-stage project risks, although they should be. This risk arguably resides better with the private sector, to better realize commercial aspirations,” Gupta said on Friday, explaining how various fragmented systems in Africa constituted practical challenges. In contrast, India had the benefit of being one country with one set of challenges.

The African oil markets of the People's Republic of China and the continuous daily needs for crude oil (Israel Defense)

In an attempt to position themselves as international players in the global oil and gas market, China's national oil companies are investing heavily in the exploration and production of oil and gas supplies in Africa. Africa is the second largest region in supplying oil and gas to China, after the Middle East, with over 25% of its total imported oil and gas.

"The increase in domestic energy demand has led China to diversify its imports of natural resources and China’s presence has increased significantly in almost 20 African countries," said Coa Chai, an expert at GlobalData. One of China’s largest trading partners is the largest African oil producer, namely Nigeria. Nigeria currently pumps two million oil barrels a day and aims at producing three million barrels a day by the end of 2023. As China's domestic oil production keeps on declining, experts predict that up to 80% of crude oil will be imported over the next 15 years.


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