tralac Daily News
It has been a gathering filled with promise and optimism. It has also been a practical Conference, focusing on the numerous opportunities that exist in this country, the challenges that investors face and the measures that must be undertaken to address these. But it has also been about new investments, about companies that are looking beyond the pandemic to invest in a growing economy. I am therefore immensely pleased to announce here today that we are firmly on track to meet our five year target of $100 billion in new investments.
Related: Economic Recovery Plan: The key to unlocking SA’s growth (SAnews)
South African debt crisis can be avoided, Ramaphosa says (BusinessTech)
South Africa’s government is committed to reining in its debt and will avoid a sovereign debt crisis, president Cyril Ramaphosa said. “I am certain that we will be able to bring our debt levels down and avoid what you could call a debt crisis because we are focused,” Ramaphosa said in an interview Wednesday with Bloomberg Television on the sidelines of an investment conference in Johannesburg. “A country that needs to grow needs to reduce its debt.”
South Africa’s non-integrated chrome ore exporters want to discuss ways of solving the existential threat to South Africa’s struggling ferrochrome industry to avoid the need for an export tax being imposed on the export of locally mined chrome ore. However, they are not legally permitted to enter into discussion fully until they receive an exemption to do so from the Competition Commission. “Introducing a tax will not, in the longer term, give ferrochrome any benefit at all. It’s like prescribing the wrong medicine for an illness,” McAdam, also a former ferrochrome executive of long-standing, said.
Kenya to defer Sh75bn after U-turn on G20 debt relief plan (Business Daily)
Kenya is now ready to defer Sh75.5 billion ($690 million) in debt payments to help it weather the Covid-19 pandemic, marking a U-turn stance on the G20 coronavirus debt relief initiative it had snubbed in May. Treasury Secretary Ukur Yatani says Nairobi has received clarity on what impact the debt relief programme might have on the country’s credit rating and a final decision will be made as early as next week.
Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, the Speaker of Parliament, on Wednesday launched the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) 2019 Annual Progress Report (APR) in Accra. The 108-page report assesses the progress of implementation of the Medium-Term National Development Policy Framework. On the economic dimension, there was inadequate financing for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) due to fiscal constraints within the private sector as a result of contractions in market coverage, long term finance, high cost of accessing capital and low innovation capacity. Key policy recommendations include expediting of processes for establishing a National Development Financial Institution (Development Bank) that will provide long term loans at affordable rates to businesses and industry.
Oil pipeline route to be cleared (New Vision)
The long-awaited decision on the environmental and social implications of the proposed East African crude oil pipeline is going to be made in the coming weeks. Dr Tom Okurut, the executive director of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), acknowledged that the environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) of the pipeline has delayed, but pointed out that they are still on track and insisted the process is moving smoothly.
Compilation of trade statistics is a high priority for the African Union and its Member States. With the adoption of Agenda 2063 in 2013 and its first ten-year implementation Plan, a number of aspirations, objectives and targets are related to trade. Thus for a successful implementation of Agenda 2063, various trade policies need to be enacted upstream.
The 55 African Union Member States account for around 3% of world’s trade in goods. During the period 2013-2019, the AU trade annual exports and imports had both first a decreasing trend between 2013 and 2016 and an increasing trend afterwards, with imports exceeding exports over the observed period. Consequently, the trade balance from 2013 up 2019 was negative.
Strengthening intra-African trade is very important for the economic development and integration of the continent. However, the share of Intra-African trade remains low: on average 13% for intra-imports and 20% for intra exports over the period of the last seven years. The value of total intra-African exports decreased and the share of intra-exports trade increased slightly (from 18.2% in 2013 to 19.6% in 2019).
The major player in intra-African trade is South Africa, which share in intra exports varies from 26 to 31% over the period of seven years and is followed by Nigeria (13.9% in 2019) and Democratic Republic of Congo (7% in 2019). South Africa is a leader for intra imports (14%) as well, followed by Namibia (7%) and Botswana (6%)
Extra African trade makes up more than 80% of the total trade. The extra-AU trade balance is negative over the period followed, with an average of 372 billion US dollars for exports and 495 billion US dollars for imports.
Countries have embarked on national activities in celebration of the African Statistics Day on the theme “Modernizing national statistical systems to provide data and statistics to support sustainable peace and development in Africa”. The Director of the Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) African Statistics Centre, Oliver Chinganya, stated: “Digitization of statistical systems and processes, will be key in modernizing national statistical systems to provide data and statistics for decision making timely. The effect of COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that there is need to not just strengthen but re-engineer statistical systems and this has to be done now, and the African Statistics Day is the dawn to this change.”
Africa on course to implement AfCFTA: AU official (China.org.cn)
African countries are determined to start trading in line with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on Jan. 1 next year, said a senior official of the African Union Commission (AUC) on Wednesday. Chief technical adviser and head of the AfCFTA negotiation support unit Prudence Sebahizi made the remarks while addressing the 7th Africa Think Tank Summit. Trudi Hartzenberg, executive director of the Trade Law Centre (tralac) in South Africa said there is so much energy in AfCFTA with increase in countries signing and ratifying the protocol. She stated that African countries have to diversify the productive capacity, improve payment systems and infrastructure to facilitate the implementation of the protocol.
Kenya’s High Commissioner to Ghana, His Excellency Eliphas Mugendi Barine, has called for inter-institutional collaborations among private sector groups in African countries that would create the synergy necessary to diversify product range to meet the international demand. Speaking on Eye on Port, the Kenyan High Commissioner to Ghana, explained that because the various countries are endowed differently in terms of resource, it is important for private sector groups in African countries to be in close cooperation with their counterparts in other countries to enjoy the full benefits of a liberated market.
Egypt seeks to augment economic cooperation with African countries: Gamea (Daily News Egypt)
MSMEDA Deputy Executive Director Tarek Shash said, on behalf of Minister of Trade and Industry Nevine Gamea, that MSMEDA’s contribution into the launch of the “50 Million African Women Speak Digital Platform” comes in tandem with Egypt’s orientations to reinforce economic cooperation and increase trade exchange with African countries. This comes as a further step to open new potential markets for products of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
African airlines advised to share basic facilities (The East African)
The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) is urging the continent’s airlines to co-operate and merge operations to fill existing gaps in the sector and build resilience for post-Covid-19 recovery. AFRAA’s secretary-general Abdérahmane Berthé said smaller airlines need to consolidate and share basic facilities while established airlines need to co-operate and code-share to avoid operating in the same routes. “Africa will need to focus on aviation as one of the critical drivers for socio-economic recovery and development. We are conscious of the enabling role that aviation plays in facilitating trade and growing our economies as we collectively navigate these times,” said Ricardo de Abreu, the chief guest and Angola’s Minister for Transport.
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has released the Afreximbank African Commodity Index (AACI) for Q3-2020. The composite index fell marginally by 1% quarter-on-quarter (q/q), mainly on account of a pull-back in the energy sub-index. In comparison, the agricultural commodities sub-index rose to become the top performer in the quarter, outstripping gains in base and precious metals. The recurrence of adverse commodity terms of trade shocks has been the bane of African economies, and in tracking the movements in commodity prices the AACI highlights areas requiring pre-emptive measures by the Bank, its key stakeholders and policymakers in its member countries.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has recorded an increase in aquaculture production which rose to 100,950 tonnes in 2020, from 92,773 tonnes reported in 2019. The fisheries sector in SADC Member States, comprising marine and inland capture fisheries and aquaculture, generates a variety of benefits, including nutrition and food security, livelihoods, employment, exports and foreign currency, and conservation and biodiversity values that are of global significance. As part of the implementation of the SADC Regional Aquaculture Strategy, 12 Member States have implemented national aquaculture programmes in line with the regional strategy, resulting in the increase in aquaculture production.
Mr. Phodiso Valashia, Commissioner of Customs, Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) and Vice-Chair for the WCO East and Southern Africa (ESA) region, and Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, WCO Secretary General, participated in the ESA Extraordinary Governing Council held virtually on 12 November 2020. He underscored the important work done by the WCO as it continued to assist Customs administrations worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic by developing guidelines and standards to harmonize Customs procedures and facilitate trade, in addition to the provision of global capacity building support. The Vice-Chair highlighted the part to be played by Customs in accelerating Africa’s market integration and economic development under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and reiterated the readiness of the region’s Members to play critical supporting roles to this end.
“North Africa is the most impacted sub-region of our continent after Southern Africa, and although most of its countries are not in the low-income category, COVID-19 has made its economies vulnerable. When the G20, OECD, IMF and the World Bank meet next, we want to ask for a substantial package for Africa and make the case together for better market rates for borrowing, including for countries such as Morocco or Egypt who have already gone to the market”. This was stated by the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Vera Songwe in her remarks at the opening of the 35th meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts (ICSOE) for North Africa on Tuesday 17 November.
President Cyril Ramaphosa will this weekend lead the South African delegation to the virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit. The G20 Leaders’ Summit is convened by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with a focus on deepening global cooperation around the theme of ‘Realising Opportunities of the 21st Century for All’. The summit will set out to lead international efforts to develop a robust coordinated global response to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, safeguard the global economy and enhance international cooperation.
Opportunities in Egypt: Securing US investments (Al-Ahram Weekly)
According to Sherif Kamel, president of AmCham Egypt, the country is an attractive environment for investors of all nationalities, including US investors. “Egypt is a huge and growing market,” he said. The size of the trade exchange between the two countries last year was $8.6 billion, the largest in Africa, he added. Such opportunities can be further enhanced as the country continues its economic-reform programme, Kamel said. “Through Egypt’s reform programme, we have a higher chance of increasing trade exchange with the US, and I hope there will be greater direct investments, especially in non-oil sectors,” he added.
ICC advocates for sustainable, secure, and inclusive digital policies for all at IGF 2020 (International Chamber of Commerce)
During the first-ever virtual IGF, ICC convened business, government, civil society and the technical community to discuss the most pressing issues related to Internet governance through a series of workshops, high-level sessions, and roundtable discussions. Taking place under the theme of “Internet for human resilience and solidarity,” this year’s IGF developed around four thematic tracks: data, environment, inclusion, and trust.
BRICS countries to step up economic, trade cooperation: MOC (China.org.cn)
BRICS countries have agreed to strengthen economic and trade cooperation in the next five years, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC).Member countries have decided to improve trade facilitation and are committed to safeguarding the multilateral trading system as part of efforts to enhance anti-pandemic cooperation, said Chen Chao, an official with the MOC. Chen described the consensus as one of the important achievements of the 12th BRICS summit. BRICS countries have formed a strategy for economic partnerships, focusing on three key areas, including trade investment and finance, digital economy and sustainable development.
The British government has launched an £8.9-million programme to help businesses in the Southern African Customs Union, plus Mozambique (SACU+M), to enter and grow their export markets. Known as Trade Forward Southern Africa (TFSA), the initiative is part of the UK Prosperity Fund Global Trade Programme, and is especially intended to support women-owned and women-dominated businesses. “This programme aims to help business better understand the new terms of trade under the new UK-[SACU+M] Economic Partnership Agreement,” explained British High Commissioner to South Africa Nigel Casey. “In particular it ensures the private sector and customs and trade facilitation officials have the information and tools they need to manage export and import clearance procedures effectively.”
This year’s Bloomberg Economics report for the New Economy Forum speaks to the three biggest challenges facing the world today. First, getting well by spurring recovery from the Covid-19 recession. Second, sticking together by guarding against the risk of the U.S. and China decoupling. Third, owning the future. We model GDP growth out to 2050 for the world’s major advanced, emerging, and frontier economies. Starting from that baseline, we explore scenarios for geopolitics, climate change, globalization, and technology, and what megatrends in those areas mean for the size of the global economic pie and how it’s divided up.
Over the past four years, the stated aims of the foreign policy of the Donald Trump administration included an “America First” approach to trade and diplomacy. Trump’s Africa strategy not only focused on advancing US economic interests in Africa, but also sought to economically contain China’s impact on the continent. The key focus of the strategy was to counter China’s commercial, security and political influence in Africa, which has been solidified through deepening economic engagement, closer security cooperation and high-profile diplomacy epitomised by the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Over the next four years, Biden needs to develop a clear, comprehensive bipartisan long-term vision for its US-Africa policy that is aligned to the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
The COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated vulnerabilities in food systems – highlighting the insecurity of rural livelihoods, the tragedy of food waste, and stark inequities in access to healthy food. As the global population races to 10 billion, more needs to be done to feed the planet while tackling the environmental impact of agriculture and addressing lack of biodiversity. To mobilize the coordinated and large-scale action needed to support our future, the World Economic Forum and 13 organizations from the public and private sectors have partnered on the Bold Actions for Food as a Force for Good event from 23-24 November 2020.
Investment in providing electricity and clean cooking to hundreds of millions of people is “orders of magnitude” below what is needed to meet a global goal for everyone on the planet to use modern, green energy by 2030, researchers said Thursday. “As we deal with the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, and the ever-growing impacts of climate change, the need for modern, sustainable energy access has never been more important,” said Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and co-chair of UN-Energy.
This 24th WTO Trade Monitoring Report on G20 trade measures was prepared against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the human, social and economic toll it continues to exact. The new report reflects more fully the impact the global health crisis has had on trade and trade policy. Although world trade had already been slowing before the pandemic, merchandise exports in nominal USD terms was down 21 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the previous year, while commercial services exports was down 30 per cent. Of the 133 COVID-19 trade and trade-related measures recorded for G20 economies since the outbreak of the pandemic, 63 per cent were of a trade-facilitating nature and 37 per cent were trade restrictive.