tralac Daily News
South Africa’s refinery woes raise reliance on fuel imports (BusinessTech)
South Africa, which buys nearly a third of its fuel requirements from overseas, is undergoing a surge in imports with the refining industry walloped by the coronavirus and anticipated clean-fuel regulations. Africa’s most industrialized nation imported 135,000 barrels a day of clean fuels last year, and shipments are expected to rise 16% in 2020, according to energy consultant Citac. The South African Petroleum Industry Association is in talks with the government about challenges “such as demand destruction due to the Covid-19 pandemic, pressure to decarbonize and low refinery margins.”
Ghana records $1.7bn trade surplus in 10 months (MyJoyOnline)
According to the Summary of Economic and Financial Data by the Bank of Ghana, the nation recorded $1.7 billion dollars trade surplus, about 2.6% of Gross Domestic Product in October 2020. The trade surplus is bigger than what was achieved during the same period last year and could even grow larger this year, exceeding the $2.2 billion dollars registered. This comes despite the impact of covid-19 on the economy. But diversified exports appear to have been doing the trick for the nation as the economy has benefited immensely from escalating gold prices from the international market.
Food prices rise dramatically in October (New Era Live)
Food and non-alcoholic beverages recorded the highest annual inflation rate in 2020 with 7.1% recorded in October 2020 compared to 4% registered at the same time last year, according to the latest Namibia Consumer Price Index (NCPI) from the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA). This substantial increase emanated mainly from price increases in meat from 1.9% to 9.3%, fish from 2.5% to 8.5%, oils and fats from 0.6% to 7.1%, sugar, jam, honey, syrups, chocolates, and confectionery from 0.7% to 6.6%.
Export diversification hedge against shocks, stabilise revenue (Tanzania Daily News)
Tanzania has been among the countries benefitting from export diversification that help hedge against adverse terms of trade shocks by stabilising export revenues and the negative impact of terms of trade in primary products. According to the Export diversification in African countries, 2018 report, Tanzania is one of the sixth African countries with highest export diversification that reflects the concerted efforts put by the government recently in driving up industrial sector.
With 10 years left to deliver the vision, which retired President Kibaki designed back in 2008 against tightening budgets and huge debt, the government is changing tact in seeking to deliver Vision 2030 projects. Newly appointed Vision 2030 Director General Isaac Mwige says they are making short-term plans with measurable outcomes and finding ways to ensure changes in the political scene do not affect the homestretch for delivering on the flagship initiatives.
Investment, regional co-operation top Magufuli’s new goals (The East African)
The Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) will now be under the Office of the President to ensure efficiency, as President John Magufuli focuses on investment and regional co-operation in his second term. It was previously under the Office of the Prime Minister. In his inaugural address to parliament in Dodoma on Friday, President Magufuli said his priorities are to attract foreign and local investments with a focus on industrial, agriculture, tourism, livestock and fishing development.
Kenya must address budget gaps, resource utilisation and the rising debt, financial experts have cautioned. The Institute of Public Finance (IPFK) and the International Budget Partnership Kenya (IBPK) say the country’s budget continues to experience deficits forcing the government to continue borrowing heavily. Kenya’s public debt currently stands at a new high of Sh7 trillion. This year is projected to be worse on the effects of Covid-19 on the economy.
‘Devolution agenda success requires collective effort’ (The Chronicle)
Addressing heads of Government departments during a Provincial Development Committee (PDC) meeting recently, Ms Lathiso Dlamini said: “I urge all Ministries to come up with plans on how to further the devolution agenda. While we are waiting to be fully devolved there is a lot that we can be doing and there are a number of strategies that we can put in place to ensure the success of the devolution programme,” she said.
In 2015, the East African Community (EAC) partner states agreed to increase tariffs on second-hand garments to help grow the region’s textile and garment industry. Three years later, only Rwanda implemented the agreement, while the other partner states withdrew from the plan succumbing to pressure from Donald Trump’s America. Rwanda would soon pay the price when it was removed from the list of countries that accessed duty-free apparel market in the United States through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) framework.
Manufacturers says no to UNBS’ plan to introduce digital stamps (Daily Monitor)
Manufacturers and the private sector have asked government to stop being insensitive as it piles them with costs that not only threaten their businesses but are likely to harm the economy. Reacting to a proposal that Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) had partnered with a Swiss company to introduce digital tracking solutions, Mr Gideon Badagawa, the PSFU executive director, warned that government is going to constrain production and force industrialists to take drastic measures that might harm the economy.
Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has warned that Nigeria must stop borrowing for anything other than essential needs, adding that very non-essential line items in the proposed 2021 budget must be expunged and others in a bid to kick start the economy from a recession. Atiku disclosed this in a social media statement on Sunday, titled: “We Must Exit This Recession With Precision”.
EACC recovers assets worth Sh25bn in one year to June (Business Daily)
Documents shared with National Treasury shows that the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) latest recoveries jumped 5.6 times compared to the previous year’s Sh4.5 billion. The latest recoveries are more than the Sh22.56 billion that the commission had cumulatively recovered in cash and immovable property between 2003 and end of December 2019.
Kenya’s Ministry of Energy unveils bioenergy strategy (The Standard)
The government has launched a bioenergy strategy (2020-2027) placing the country on track in meeting clean cooking targets by 2028. The plan aims at providing investors with information on viable opportunities for bioenergy development and promotes sustainable production and consumption of bioenergy with attendant human health, economic, and environmental benefits. It also seeks to serve as a framework for regional cooperation and trade in bioenergy and related feedstock as called for by the Africa Bioenergy Policy Framework and Guidelines (African Union & UNECA).
The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), which is coordinating the border closure exercise, has approved the release of over N130 billion goods stuck at the Seme border, more than one year after President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the abrupt closure of the borders. National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Iju Tony Nwabinike, had recently expressed worries that trucks laden with goods worth over N130 billion belonging to private businesses have been trapped since August 18, 2019, when the borders were shut.
How EAC will hack the US$4 Trillion AfCFTA market (The Exchange)
With the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the region has to work together now more than ever if the countries in the region are to reap maximally from the agreement. For starters, the East African Community (EAC) should fast-track AfCFTA negotiations for the region’s private sector to tap into the US$4 trillion market. In addition, there is an urgent need to fast track the formation of a continental institution mandated to articulate the views of the private sector on the actualization of the continental agreement.
Nigeria’s Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Katagum has said that transportation was an indispensable sector to maximising the potentialities of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). “There is need to extend the presence of transportation across Africa and have regional linkages to take advantage of logistics infrastructure that already exists. “There is also the need to build cross-border relationship, identify what needs to be done and who should do what, to make African trade to blossom,” she said.
What hosting the continental export fund means for Rwanda (The New Times)
Rwanda will be the permanent home to the Fund for Export Development Fund in Africa (FEDA), thanks to the agreements signed over the weekend between the government and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). On Sunday, November 22, the two parties entered three agreements that will see Kigali host the Fund’s headquarters whose ultimate aim is to provide equity capital to export and trade-oriented businesses in Africa.
Industrialization and development go hand in hand. There is hardly a country in the world that has developed without building a strong manufacturing base. But for Africa – sometimes referred to as the continent of the future – the fruits of industrialization have often seemed just out of reach. A debt crisis, ill-designed structural adjustment policies and a crash in commodity prices left Africa poorer at the end of the decade than at the beginning.
Despite ongoing challenges and a levelling off in GDP growth since 2017, many countries have made significant strides in boosting their industrial and agro-processing sectors, notably in food and beverages, leather, textiles, automotive and heavy machinery. The diversity needed to allow manufacturing to really take off has not yet taken root, but there are pockets of success.
Time for Manufacturing Africa (The Nation Newspaper)
Last Friday, November 20 marked 2020 edition of Africa Industrialization Day (AID). The theme of this year’s AID is “Inclusive and sustainable industrialisation in the AfCFTA and COVID-19 era”. Industry is the key driver of sustainable jobs and development for national economies and the foundation of good living standards. With large small or medium scale enterprises, Africa must consume products it produces not imported or smuggled as it is the case in Nigeria.
SADC rolls out strategic development blueprint (CAJ News Africa)
Celebrating its 40-year milestone, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has restated its commitment to peace, security and development. This as the regional bloc rolls out its Vision 2050 and the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030. The SADC Summit approved the strategic documents in August this year. Both blueprints aim for “a peaceful, an inclusive middle to high income industrialized region, where all citizens enjoy sustainable economic well-being, justice and freedom.”
Puzzle of EAC bills that are passed but not effected (The Citizen)
Dozens of bills passed by the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) have yet to be assented to by the partner states. The Treaty for its establishment provides that a head of state who withholds assent should refer it to the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) for reconsideration. However, it emerged last week during an Eala sitting that rarely does the
The 41st Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee began, Monday 23rd November. The two-days virtual meeting will discuss and review implementation of regional integration programmes, plan activities and make recommendations to the Council of Ministers meeting scheduled on Thursday, this week, for decision making. Zambia’s Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Hon. Christopher Yaluma opened the meeting. “Owing to travel restrictions brought on by the pandemic, the region has witnessed a dramatic decline and destabilization in domestic, regional and international trade, requiring the employment of comprehensive economic recovery strategies,” he pointed out.
The African Development Bank, ENERGIA and the Climate Investment Funds have developed four country briefs looking at the current status of gender and energy in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. Based on an in-depth review of policy documents and consultations with key stakeholders, the briefs aim to provide policymakers and practitioners with recommendations to effectively integrate gender in energy planning, implementation and monitoring. The briefs present key data, an overview of the institutional set-up and targets on gender and energy, and an analysis of barriers and opportunities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented global emergency and significantly amplified existing challenges to Africa’s energy sector and created myriad new ones. The African Union Commission (AUC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) will co-organize a virtual Second Ministerial Forum on 24 November 2020. The aim of the Forum is to agree on and promote actions to ensure a sustainable economic recovery and scale up of energy investments in Africa over the next three years coinciding with end of the first 10-year Action Plan of the Agenda 2063.
For nearly 70 years, oil has been a mainstay of the Angolan economy, contributing about 50% of the nation’s gross domestic product and around 89% of exports. The country holds the continent’s second-largest proven oil reserves and is behind only Nigeria in terms of production. In recent years, though, the drop in oil prices scared off foreign investment, putting pressure on Angola’s well-established oil and gas industry. Despite its vast resources, not only was production on the downturn, there had not been a major new discovery since 2011. Like its neighbours to the west, South Africa has been the site of considerable excitement over frontier discoveries.
While East African Community (EAC) Member States have made good progress in adopting regionally harmonized standards that include limits on aflatoxins, the high cost and complexity of meeting these standards has led to a large share of food being traded outside the regulatory system. Especially as countries in the EAC look to recover from COVID-19 and build resilient food systems for the future, minimizing the cost of market transactions is more important than ever.
Ghana, Ivory Coast threaten to suspend sustainable cocoa schemes (Thompson Reuters Foundation)
Ghana’s cocoa regulator has threatened to suspend the sustainability schemes used by major cocoa and chocolate companies to assure consumers that the beans they use are sustainably and ethically sourced. But companies in west Africa were thwarting government attempts to combat farmer poverty. As a result, their sustainability schemes, which allow companies such as Barry Callebaut and Nestle to charge consumers a premium for chocolate certified as sustainably sourced, could be suspended.
How to curb illegal mining in Great Lakes Region amid COVID-19 (Miningreview.com)
An all-inclusive approach involving all stakeholders is what is needed to curb illegal sourcing and trafficking of mineral resources in Africa’s Great Lakes region. The countries are well endowed with natural resources and have one of the richest concentrations of precious minerals and metals on Earth. However, the exploitation and trade of minerals are too frequently conducted illegally and often finance non-state armed groups, which further destabilise the region.
Two lobbies are reviving the rivalry between Kenya’s Amina Mohamed and Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the top job at the World Trade Organization, long after the race ended. They appear to question the integrity of the European Union endorsement, which tilted the race in favour of Dr Okonjo-Iweala and South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee after the second round of the race. But in a letter to the European Commission earlier this month, the European Renewable Energies Federation, the association of green energy in the EU, argued Ms Mohamed should have been the “ideal” candidate to be endorsed by the EU for the WTO top job due to her pledges on climate-friendly policies. The federation asked the EU to rescind the endorsement of the Nigerian.
Digital businesses have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis to varying degrees with those in poorer nations struggling to bridge the digital divide, according to an UNCTAD study. “The existing divides in terms of digital readiness underline the need to accelerate policy reforms and mobilize support to build the capacity of developing countries to leverage e-commerce in their COVID-19 recovery plans” Ms. Sirimanne said. “Digitalization must be placed at the heart of the development debate,” she added.
A growing number of governments have adopted policies aimed at promoting innovation and technological progress for their economies, a trend which has implications for trade flows and the rules that govern global commerce, according to the 2020 edition of the WTO’s World Trade Report. The flagship publication, launched in an online event on 23 November, maps out the use of government policies in the digital era and underlines the importance of countries working together to encourage positive global outcomes while minimizing negative spill-overs.
Commonwealth Leaders adopted the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda (CCA) at the Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April 2018 to boost trade and investment links across the Commonwealth and raise intra-Commonwealth trade to US$2 trillion by 2030. The 3rd Cluster Week presents an opportunity to reflect and reprioritise, sharpening focus on the areas within the Connectivity Agenda where Commonwealth countries can work together to support each other to emerge faster from the Covid-19 crisis.
SADC countries seal new pacts (The Southern Times)
Namibia has ratified the SACU-Mozambique and United Kingdom Economic Partnership Agreement (SACUM-UK EPA). At the same time, Malawi and South Africa signed a memorandum of understanding on trade to bolster bilateral commercial ties. The SACUM-UK EPA aims to secure continuity for preferential trade between SACU members Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa on one hand, and Mozambique as well as the UK following London’s decision to exit the European Union.
From regional to global: the path to graduation for African LDCs? (Trade 4 Dev News)
The debate concerning the participation of least developed countries (LDCs) in global value chains is not new and has come to the fore on many occasions since the category was created by the United Nations in the early 1970s. In becoming the focus of renewed interest, the debate helps raise awareness of the need to speed up the industrialization and structural transformation of LDCs so as to create conditions for sustainable and inclusive development.
BRICS Annual Summit November 2020 – Review (Silk Road Briefing)
The annual meeting of the BRICS grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South African heads of state was held this week, with Russian President Vladimir Putin hosting a virtual conference from Moscow. Combined, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa have a population of approximately 3.1 billion people – some 41 percent of the global population, and 18 percent of global trade. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa all participated.