tralac Daily News
The first leg of the two-day South Africa Investment Conference will get underway this afternoon at the Sandton Convention Centre. The conference, which is in its third year, aims to attract R1.2 trillion in investments. Since 2018, the conference has secured over R650 billion of investment as leaders from business, government, and the investment community forged relationships and explored ways to reignite growth in South Africa. The 2020 instalment of the Investment Conference comes as countries around the world continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic with little funds to spare.
Govt, industry sign the sugar master plan (Engineering News)
Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel, Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza and sugar industry stakeholders have signed the Sugar Industry Master Plan. As part of the master plan, industrial users and retailers have agreed to minimum offtake of sugar for a period of three years, with at least 80% of sugar consumption to come from South African farms and millers during the first year, increasing to 95% by 2023.
Kenyan manufacturers are preparing to increase production in order to tap into African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which kicks off from Jan. 1, 2021, a senior government official said on Monday. Betty Maina, cabinet secretary, ministry of industrialization, trade, and enterprise development told journalists in Nairobi that Kenya is targeting to supply the continent with goods and services that are currently imported from outside Africa. “Our manufacturers are preparing to ramp up production in agro-processing industries to take advantage of liberalized trade in Africa,” Maina said. She added that Kenya is prioritizing the African market because it absorbs most of the country’s processed exports.
Micro-lenders lose Sh1bn in one year (Business Daily)
Kenya’s micro-lenders suffered a Sh1 billion loss in 12 months to June, a 30 percent decline from a Sh0.7 billion last year, a Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) report shows. The 14 micro-finance banks (MFBs), which operate in the regulated space, have been on a loss-making streak since 2015, suffering from high default rates and competition from digital lenders. The small lenders target loans to the ‘bottom of pyramid’, made up of the people most financially affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, making it difficult for their customers to meet repayments against high cost of operations.
Manufacturing is one of the pillars of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda and has the potential to transform the country’s economy, catapulting industrial growth and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. However, illicit trade particularly influx of contraband and counterfeits is a huge impediment to the realisation of growth in the goods making sector. Notwithstanding, President Kenyatta’s government has progressively addressed the threat of illicit trade through a multi-agency approach.
Kenya MPs against forced use of SGR to ferry goods (The East African)
Kenyan lawmakers have recommended the removal of the compulsory requirement for the use of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to transport cargo. The government was also advised to consider adjustments to the Railway Development Levy (RDL) as an incentive to use the SGR such as importers paying a preferential RDL of 1.5 percent of the value of their goods. Conversely, importers who choose to use road transport will attract an additional surcharge of 0.3 percent of the value of goods imported, up to a maximum of $138.
The swelling public debt, dwindling savings and a plunge in government integrity have weighed down Kenya’s economy over the past decade. The country has been ranked at position 108 out of 167 for economic quality globally, four points down from the number 104 in 2010. This is according to the Legatum Prosperity Index, which measures countries’ changes in prosperity overtime. “While many nations continue to grapple with the social, economic and health impacts of Covid-19, choices need to be made that are likely to have longer-term consequences,” said Dr Stephen Brien, director of policy at the Legatum Institute.
Mnangagwa launches new five-year economic blueprint (New Zimbabwean)
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday launched the country’s new five-year economic blueprint that is targeting economic growth rate of five percent per annum to catapult the country into an upper middle income economy by 2030. Dubbed the National Development Strategy (NDS), the plan runs from 2021-2025 and succeeds the Transitional Stabilization Program (TSP) which ends this year. Its other objectives are to accelerate economic growth, improve the public sector and strategic infrastructure such as energy, ICT, transport and house delivery, among others.
Stakeholders in the Maritime Sector have called on the various political parties to spell out their proposed policies for the sector. They noted that the sector, also known as the blue economy, had more to offer the country but because politicians did not engage sector players in formulating policies, those policies lost their support during implementation. They made the call on Thursday during an open forum organized by the Maritime Courier Publication aimed at giving the various political parties contesting the 2020 election the opportunity to engage the maritime and shipping industry players on their proposed policies.
Horticulture roadmap validated (The Point)
While horticulture holds higher economic prospects relative to other agricultural products, it accounts for only a fraction of the country’s estimated 285, 000 hectares of arable land available for agriculture. Ousman Bojang, director of Trade at the Ministry of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment said the roadmap would promote and sustain market linkages between hotels and farmers. “The roadmap highlights several sets of activities and provide coordinating approach to support horticulture gardens to response to the need of the market which includes constructions of a vegetable center and infrastructure as well as storage facilities,” he stated.
This year’s celebrations present a unique opportunity to consolidate the continent’s vision to build a self-resilient, self-reliant Africa, the Africa We Want, given remarkable political traction on regional economic integration, as confirmed by milestones this far on the trade front through fruition of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a liberal trading regime that will create an enlarged US$3 trillion market, with 1.27 billion consumers.
Governance progress slowed across Africa for the first time in a decade, even before the coronavirus pandemic hit, with commitment to democracy and civil rights faltering, a major report said Monday. The Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance, published every two years, gives each country’s government a score according to criteria including anti-corruption measures, protection of civil liberties and caring for the environment. Across Africa, progress in some areas such as economic opportunity has come alongside “worrying declines in participation, rights, inclusion, rule of law and security,” the report said. For the first time, the report looked at new areas such as digital rights and inclusiveness as well as environmental sustainability.
Inaugural Africa Mining Forum digital event kicks off (Miningreview.com)
While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption to African mining operations, the inaugural Africa Mining Forum (AMF) digital event, titled The next smart move: COVID-19 recovery plan to stimulate investment into mining exploration in Africa, provides the perfect opportunity for key sector players to engage meaningfully with each other. Hubert Danso, CEO and vice-chairman of Africa Investor, added that the continent’s potential to be a global mining investment haven cannot be disputed given its mineral wealth. “This includes 90% of the world’s platinum and cobalt supply, 50% of the world’s gold supply and 35% uranium…. That said, Africa only received less than one third of the $3 billion exploration investment in 2019. COVID-19 offers a unique opportunity to try different approaches and public-private partnership models to attract mining investment in Africa,” he explained.
The Program for Infrastructure Development Program (PIDA) focal points drawn from African Union Member States, Regional Economic Communities, and continental institutions get together virtually for PIDA Continental Technical Validation Workshop. The workshop presented the progress, outcome, and the draft priority list of projects for the second phase of the PIDA Priority Action Plan (PIDA PAP2) which has entered an active consultation phase in November 2019. Seventy on (71) regional infrastructure projects in the four PIDA sectors – Energy, Transport, Trans-Boundary Water, and ICT – have been prioritized from a long list of over 240 proposed projects. The balance of projects will constitute a reserve list that will serve to replenish the priority list at planned reviews during the 10-year implementation time frame from 2021 to 2030.
The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) concluded its 52nd Annual General Assembly on Tuesday with a rallying call for airlines to take specific measures to build resilience and emerge stronger after the crisis. The assembly further called for a multi-sectoral and pragmatic approach by governments and stakeholders to support the recovery of the air transport industry and interrelated sectors such as tourism. The general assembly was held in a virtual format under the theme ‘Redefining Air Transport for a New Era’. In a comprehensive analysis of the industry’s outlook for 2021 and beyond that was presented in AFRAA’s annual report it was noted that recovery of traffic in Africa is expected to start with domestic markets. Intra-African routes are projected to follow suit, while international traffic is expected to take more time to reach pre-crisis levels due to a challenging operating environment.
Angola-Tanzania railway line construction in the offing (Construction Review Online)
Plans are underway for the construction of the “Angola-Tanzania railway line” which will begin from the port of Lobito in the city of Lobito, Angola to connect with the Port of Dar-es-Salaam, in Tanzania. This was revealed by the Angola ambassador to Tanzania, Sandri De Oliveira at the occasion to mark the Central African country’s 45th independence anniversaries held in the capital city of Tanzania. “In order to have the railway link with Tanzania the Angolan government would construct a new railway line into Zambia that would further link to the 1,860 km Tanzania-Zambia Railway (TAZARA),” Ambassador Oliveira said.
African governments, regional economic communities, and development agencies have been urged to strengthen and harmonize biotechnology policies and biosafety regulations to create an enabling environment for biotechnology development in Africa. It was revealed that less than 30 per cent of African countries have functional biosafety frameworks and the number of biotech products getting to farmers is still very low. Hence, a further call was made to fully integrate biotechnology into Africa’s agricultural development agenda to ensure that food and nutrition security is attained across the continent. These calls to action were made by experts during a continental Consultative Roundtable on Agricultural Biotechnology, Innovation and Emerging Technologies for Africa’s Rural Economic Transformation in October 2020.
The ECA office for North Africa will organise the 35th meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts (ICSOE) for North Africa on Tuesday 17 November, under the theme: “Recovering from COVID-19: Policies and Strategies for North Africa”. Discussions will build on five webinars held by the office over the last month, and in which participants have discussed issues such as the implementation of Agenda 2030 (SDGs) and Agenda 2063 in North Africa and the impact of the pandemic on the progress being made; North Africa’s economic and structural challenges and the reforms needed to facilitate its economic recovery; the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and how it can help mitigate the impact of the ongoing crisis on member countries’ trade strategies; best practices for job creation and finally how innovation and new technologies can help the sub-region navigate post COVID-19 economic trends.
China has announced that it will help to finance the development of an Africa-wide free-trade area, which on completion will be the world’s largest, spanning 55 nations with a combined GDP of US$3.4 trillion and about 1.3 billion consumers. Speaking at an event to mark the 20th anniversary of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Beijing welcomed the development of the African Continental Free-Trade Area (AfCFTA) and “will provide cash assistance and capacity-building training to its secretariat.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the South African delegation at the virtual 12th BRICS Summit scheduled for Tuesday. BRICS is an association of five major emerging countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, which together represent about 23% of GDP and 18% of global trade. Russian President Vladimir Putin will chair the 12th BRICS Summit under the theme: “BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth”. Leaders will be focused on strengthening intra-BRICS relations and mutually beneficial cooperation across the BRICS pillars of cooperation, namely, political and security, economic and finance, social, and people-to-people cooperation.
The Group of 20 major economies do not plan to make a pledge on fighting protectionism at their summit this weekend, despite the increasing need to promote free trade to prop up the global economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, sources close to the matter said Monday. The G-20 leaders have refrained from vowing to combat protectionism in joint communiques at their summits in the last two years in the face of opposition from the United States. The G-20 nations will also discuss a plan to support developing countries in addressing the pandemic, with measures including providing coronavirus vaccines at lower prices and reducing their debts to help them fund steps to curb infections and ease the economic fallout, according to the sources.
Trade relations are likely to be at the heart of the delayed EU-Africa ‘strategic partnership’, but only if long-standing tensions can be resolved, including different views on the content and form of the future trade partnership. The EU-African Union summit, originally planned for mid-October, was delayed until 2021; officially because of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, but long-standing disagreements are simmering over future trade policy between the two continents. The main demand of African leaders is expected to centre on the continent’s ability to develop local industries and productive capacity to export high-value products rather than raw materials.
Borrowing goes through the roof as EA amasses $73b in external debt (The East African)
Countries in the region have seen increased borrowing over the past decade, amassing $73.8 billion in external debt. The International Debt Statistics 2021 report by the World Bank shows that between 2009 and 2019, countries in the region increased external borrowing by nearly four times, from $19.9 billion to $73.8 billion. During the period, Kenya was the biggest borrower raising the stock of external debt from $8.5 billion to $34.2 billion. “The overhang of debt may slow investment and growth for years to come, a burden on the poor that now needs to be addressed,” said David Malpass, the World Bank Group president.
Chinese influence is assured – how should Africa respond? (African Business Magazine)
The coming decade will see a consolidation of China’s position as the dominant external actor in Africa, but the implications for the continent’s future are still an open question. A major narrative over the first two decades of the 21st century has been the rise of China and its emergence as an influential actor in Africa. That relationship, and China’s activities elsewhere, have faced withering criticism and prompted Africa’s traditional partners, Europe and the US, to reassess their relationship with the continent. Covid-19 has altered that trajectory and global trends are converging now to ensure that the coming decade will see a consolidation of China’s position in Africa as the dominant external actor.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the challenges and opportunities of Africa’s development landscape, former British prime minister Tony Blair said on Monday in a lecture organized by the African Development Institute in Abidjan. “We have the same problems but what we also have is vastly increased urgency… not so much a wake-up call but a wake-up command,” Blair said. The former UK prime minister addressed a virtual audience on the topic Building Back Better in Post COVID-19 Africa: The Role of Technology and Governance, as part of the Kofi A. Annan Lecture Series. Blair, in his first ever virtual lecture, outlined three aspects which in his words would make a big difference to Africa: investing in industrialization, accelerating technological innovations, and building capacity for institutions to get things done
This paper looks at what development finance institutions (DFIs), including multilateral development banks, can do to support a gender-sensitive economic recovery from COVID-19. A sustainable COVID-19 recovery will not happen without a strong gender emphasis, in all its dimensions. DFIs have an important role to play in adopting a gender lens to their operations and incentivising their clients to do the same, seeking synergies with other international and local actors, both public and private. All DFIs should promote women’s access to finance and to sustainable energy and digitalisation and, with a gender lens, provide support to sectors such as health and agriculture and to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
IAPH-WPSP Barometer: Upticks in hinterland delays as well as port storage utilization levels for medicines, foodstuffs and consumer goods (World Port Sustainability Program)
The International Association of Ports and Harbors (WPSP) COVID-19 Task Force has released its fourteenth report since April and the initial outbreak of COVID-19 on a global scale. The report, compiled by Professors Theo Notteboom and Thanos Pallis, is based on the comprehensive and complete replies of 73 world ports, which on this occasion has obtained improved responses from Asia and Africa to complement the decent response from the Americas (20.1%) and Europe (41,1%). While global trends have emerged out of the survey responses, regional variations of the impact of the pandemic are prevalent in most findings.
Tanzania dethrones US as Kenya’s tourism top source market (The East African)
Tanzania edged out the US as Kenya’s leading tourism top source market in September buoyed by its lesser Covid-19 lockdown measures, new data shows. Rising virus cases have hampered arrivals from the world’s biggest economy after many countries, including Kenya, categorised US travellers as Covid-19 high-risk. This has forced many of them to either cancel or postpone their trips indefinitely. Latest data from the Tourism Research Institute (TRI) shows the US trailing Tanzania at number three. This is a significant jump from August when the country could not even appear among the top 30 source market of visitors to Kenya.
Global Summit of Development Banks Fails to Learn from Destructive Past (Inter Press Service)
450 public development banks from around the world met for the Finance in Common Summit at the Paris Peace Forum. They gathered to discuss how they can direct their combined investments of over USD 2 trillion – 10% of total investments in the world – “to support the transformation or the global economy” and “build new forms of prosperity that take care of people and the planet.” The very idea of international development finance has to be reshaped under the leadership of communities who have repeatedly called for the lens of collective responsibility and reparations. People who are the purported beneficiaries of development finance have to be the key decision-makers.
A new trade bloc covering a huge swathe of the Asia-Pacific region will play an important role in developing poorer economies and in post-pandemic stimulus, according to a report published on Monday by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement (RCEP) was signed on Sunday by 15 countries including China, Japan, Australia, Vietnam and South Korea, jointly covering a total population of more than 2.3 billion people – five times the size of the European Union.