tralac Daily News

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tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News
Photo credit: Henk Kruger | African News Agency

National

‘80% of truck drivers are South African’ (IOL)

The National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry has said by far the majority of truck drivers in SA, who fall under their jurisdiction, are local citizens. The bargaining council reacted to comments made by the All Truck Drivers Foundation (ATDF), which claimed this week that about 80% of truck drivers employed by SA companies were foreign nationals.

SA revisits disaster management strategies amid COVID-19 (SAnews)

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to strengthen government’s risk reduction strategies and disaster management frameworks, systems and personnel, says Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Strategies, she said, must also find tangible expression at provincial and national levels, and must have all stakeholders involved, “so that all of society can be active participants in prevention, avoidance and mitigation”.

Growth forecasts revised downwards as Covid batters economy (Lesotho Times)

Finance Minister Thabo Sophonea yesterday presented his mid-term budget review indicating that the Covid induced decline in economic activities such as diamond mining and textiles production had resulted in lower than anticipated revenue collection which would lead to a 14 percent decline in economic growth in the current fiscal year. “The pandemic is expected to have a negative impact on the balance of payments in 2020/21. The trade deficit will deteriorate reflecting a slowdown in exports. Although the income account will continue to register a surplus due to robust SACU receipts, remittances from mine workers will remain subdued,” Mr Sophonea said

Treasury Revises Kenya’s 2020 Economic Growth to 0.6pc (Capital Business)

Kenya’s economic growth for 2020 has now been revised downwards to 0.6 percent. Speaking during the public hearings on the financial year 2021/2022, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said the new projection has been influenced by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the global and domestic economy. “It is important for us to underscore that what happens in the global arena has major implications in the performance of our economy. The on-going COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic crises are likely to deplete domestic public resources by affecting tax and non-tax revenues,” reads Yatani’s statement.

Food insecurity, overdependence on food imports pose challenge to agric sector — Nanono (Vanguard)

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Sabo, Thursday, disclosed that food insecurity and overdependence on food imports currently pose challenges to the agricultural sector. According to him, his Ministry will work with key stakeholders to build an agribusiness economy capable of delivering sustained prosperity by meeting domestic food security goals.

A growth-centred Budget (The Herald)

Boosting production, getting infrastructure fixed and expanded, supporting the vulnerable and increasing the spending power of ordinary people are the main planks of the 2021 National Budget presented by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube yesterday. The 2021 National Budget comes in the context of a two-year slow-down and Covid-19 induced economic slow-down that will see the local economy sliding by -4,1 percent this year, but the new measures are expected to drive gross domestic product (GDP) growth next year to 7,4 percent.

Financial Year 2021: PM Dion Ngute Presents Government’s Priorities (Cameroon-Tribune)

“The COVID-19 pandemic has weakened our public finances, already strained by the economic and financial situation faced by States of the Central Africa Sub Region. Mindful of the situation, we have defined and are implementing a strategy for economic recovery to mitigate the effects of the health crisis…. At the national level, the budget balance deteriorated slightly due to the effects of COVID-19. It stood at -2.3%, against an initial target of 1.1%.”

CGEM: Mauritania to Ease Visa Requirements for Moroccan Entrepreneurs (Morocco World News)

The General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM) announced on Monday that Mauritania accepted to ease visa requirements for Moroccan entrepreneurs and companies. CGEM said that companies affiliated to the federation can obtain multi-entry business visas to Mauritania. Data from Tralac shows that Mauritania’s international exports rose by 6% between 2017 and 2018. The website said that Mauritania mainly trades with Morocco. The trade between the two countries accounts for 31% of Mauritania’s total exports and imports.

Oil production increment good for revenue generation - Barimah (Ghanaweb)

Paul Apraku Twum Barimah, the Aspiring Member of Parliament for Dormaa East, says the recent Fitch report on expected oil production of Ghana next year will strengthen the confidence of investors in the industry. The report said Ghana’s oil production was expected to increase by two per 

Senegal joins World Logistics Passport as hub for Africa (Trade Arabia)

Senegal is to boost its position as a trade hub for Africa by joining the World Logistics Passport, a major initiative by Dubai to link nations around the world and increase South-South trade. The World Logistics Passport has been created to overcome trade impediments, such as logistics inefficiency, that currently limit the growth of trade between developing markets. South-South trade is already worth an estimated $4.28 trillion annually, more than half of total developing countries exports in 2018, according to the WTO. 


Africa

AfCFTA a Vehicle to Lift African Citizens Out of Years and Depths of Poverty (Department of Trade, Industry and Competition)

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) provides a great opportunity for African countries to lift citizens of the continent out of poverty. This is according to the Chief Director of Trade and Invest Africa at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) (TIA), Mr John Rocha. He was speaking on the first day of a two-day South Africa-Ethiopia Trade and Investment Webinar. The event is held as part of efforts to increase bilateral trade and investment between South Africa and Ethiopia.

Why Tanzania should not fear AfCFTA (The Citizen)

“Tanzania is expected to experience a larger tariff revenue loss, equivalent to 1.3 percent of total government revenue but our estimates also indicate that it is one of the countries which will benefit most from the AfCFTA, through higher levels of trade and economic activity,” said ECA director for the Eastern Africa sub-region office Mama Keita who spoke during the online meeting yesterday. “The revenue losses in cases like this may well be considered by policymakers a price worth paying for the added dynamism of the domestic economy – which overtime will, in itself, lead to higher government revenues through VAT and other taxes,” she added.

How Nigerian businesses can benefit from Africa Free Trade Treaty — Osinbajo (Vanguard)

Just as the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) treaty comes into force in January 2021, Nigerian businesses and the entire private sector have to become conversant and knowledgeable with the rules as this would be required so as to benefit maximally from the treaty. Prof. Osinbajo stated this Thursday at the opening session of the 52nd Annual National Conference of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM). According to him, “it is imperative for Nigerian businesses to also familiarize themselves with AfCFTA rules because they will have to assist in providing the evidence to trigger action on trade remedies by government.”

Put small-scale traders at the heart of efforts to accelerate trade and investment in Africa post COVID-19 (AfDB)

Industry experts meeting this week for a virtual discussion focused on resetting, retooling and restarting regional integration in Africa in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, underscored the importance of putting small scale traders at the heart of any initiatives. "AfCFTA creates a new trade and integration reality... integrating unequal partners across the continent," said Trudi Hartzenberg Executive Director of the Trade Law Center (TRALAC). Trade facilitation enjoys specific focus within the AfCFTA, with digital, e-payments, and e-commerce particularly important, she added, citing a 2020 WTO report that emphasized education and healthcare as fundamental to industrialization.

Tema Port ranked the largest port in West, Central Africa (Ghanaweb)

The President of Ports Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) and the Director-General of Ghana’s Ports and Harbours Authority, Michael Luguje has revealed that with the completion of phase 1 of the MPS Terminal 3, the Tema Port is currently the biggest in terms of capacity of all ports in the West and Central Africa. “If you look at single terminal volumes that are handled, we were able to do 1 million TEUs at the close of 2018 and 2019. Barring COVID-19, our target was to cross the 1 million mark,” the DG asserted.

Ports: six key recommendations for Africa’s growth (The Africa CEO Forum)

The AFRICA CEO FORUM and the strategy consulting and financial advisory firm Okan is publishing their report on the African logistics sector. This year’s edition, entitled “Africa’s ports: fast-tracking transformation”, gives an overview of the sector’s strengths and weaknesses while providing a list of six recommendations that have the power to turn Africa’s hubs into global giants. The Covid crisis has led to significant upheaval in the transport and logistics sectors. One of the most major impacts is no doubt the decline in trade flows, taking the form of a 30% to 40% decrease in traffic for certain African ports.

Uganda-Tanzania pipeline runs into legal challenges (Daily Monitor)

Four non-governmental organisations have moved to the East African Court of Justice to block the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) by Uganda and Tanzania. The NGOs are now seeking a permanent injunction against Uganda, Tanzania and the EAC, whom they have sued, from constructing the pipeline through protected areas, among other orders. The pipeline will transport crude oil from Hoima district in Uganda to Chongoleani in Tanga, Tanzania.

Truckers trapped in ‘60km-long’ queues at Kenyan border (Business LIVE)

The queue of lorries snakes down the narrow tarmac road, stretching back as far as the eye can see on both sides of a sign that reads: “Welcome to Busia, the gateway to east and central Africa”. Before Covid-19, Kenyan driver Joseph Kimani used to expect a five-hour wait to cross from there into Uganda with his cargo of diesel. Now the queue on the Kenyan side, which he and other drivers say extends for upwards of 60km, take five days to clear and, for them, life on the road has become literally that

Supporting farmer organisations to access regional markets (Daily Monitor)

Limited access to reliable markets is one of the constraints limiting commercialisation of agriculture among smallholder farmers. Without ready markets, smallholder farmers are unable to earn decent incomes from their production, and this limits their level of investment in agriculture in subsequent seasons. Mr Patrick  Muganga blames the limited access to markets by farmers on limited market research and end market engagement by farmers and other value chain actors, resulting in the mismatch between market requirements and what is supplied.

New Market Realities for 2021 Expected to Drive Revisions of Fiscal Terms to Improve Competitiveness (African Energy Chamber)

Without bold fiscal reforms, Africa is doomed to further loose its global market share of oil & gas investment and production. This is a major takeaway, if not the most important takeaway, from the Africa Energy Outlook 2021 released this month by the African Energy Chamber. As oil prices settle around the $60/bbl threshold in a few years, the end of the super-profit era is over and adopting competitive fiscal frameworks will become increasingly central to maintaining investment in the sector. Across the continent, major projects are unlikely to be sanctioned because of challenging market dynamics, but especially because of uncompetitive fiscal regimes.

Chairs' Summary for the AUC-IEA Second Ministerial Forum (IEA)

African ministers from countries making up 70% of Africa’s total primary energy supply, nearly 70% of its GDP and more than half of the continent’s entire population met with global energy leaders via videoconference on 24 November 2020. A revitalised energy sector is key to Africa’s economic transformation. African countries must engage in robust, innovative actions to strengthen energy security, scale up infrastructure investment, and promote the growth of the green economy, making use of all available opportunities to continually accelerate Africa’s clean energy transitions. These interventions can be bolstered by enhanced rates of internal trade in Africa, including in the energy sector, through a speedy implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

SADC and ICPs convene ground-breaking virtual dialogue (SADC)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the International Cooperating Partners (ICPs) have risen above COVID-19 circumstances and demonstrated attributes of true indomitable partnership. The SADC-ICP Dialogue Platform meetings are a key enabler in facilitating critical conversations with ICPs and create a common understanding regarding joint considerations and approaches for the implementation of the region's strategies and priorities. H.E Dr Tax highlighted that the SADC region remains vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19 and commended Member States for the swift and decisive response measures and adherence to safety protocols.


International

Africa Looks to China, Russia to Boost Scant Vaccine Supplies (Bloomberg)

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union have discussed Covid-19 vaccine trial partnerships with both China and Russia, part of an effort to ensure Africa is not last in the queue for vaccines when they become available. “We are not limiting ourselves to any particular partner,” John Nkengasong, head of Africa CDC, said Tuesday at the Bloomberg Invest Africa online conference. “As a continent of 1.2 billion people, we are willing to work with any partner who adheres to our strategy plan for vaccine development and access in Africa.”

Four key priorities for revisiting LDC vulnerabilities (Trade 4 Dev News)

Despite commendable progress implementing the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPOA) for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), structural vulnerabilities in LDCs continue to exist and warrant urgent attention. Many LDCs have limited productive capabilities, rely heavily on exports of a narrow range of primary commodities, and face high and unstainable debt levels. Pressing challenges related to climate change and the health and economic crises created by the COVID-19 pandemic are exacerbating these vulnerabilities. COVID-19 threatens to stall, or even reverse, the economic transformation gains already achieved by LDCs and stifle the prospects of countries looking to graduate out of the LDC category.

Why Africa’s small-scale fisheries “may not count” (SeafoodSource)

Despite the huge potential of Africa’s small-scale fisheries to boost the region’s food security, ramp up nutritional levels, alleviate poverty, and enhance environmental conservation, decision-makers across the continent have given the sector little attention – largely because of inadequate data to support its potential role in sustainable development. John Virdin, the director of the Ocean and Coastal Policy Program at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, is hoping to change the perception of Africa's small-scale fisheries as part of a continuing partnership with the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization.

Keeping the Global Focus on Low-Income Countries | by Kristalina Georgieva & Sigrid Kaag (Project Syndicate)

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the global economy is suffering its sharpest decline since the Great Depression. But while everybody is hurting, it is the world’s poorest countries that will pay the highest price unless they receive more help. Some 1.5 billion people live in low-income developing countries, struggling to overcome weak public health systems, limited institutional capacity, and, in many cases, high debt levels. All these countries entered the crisis with a limited capability to fight it. They faced a dramatic increase in spending needs just when the pandemic caused a decline in revenues from tourism, remittances, and commodity prices. While actions to protect advanced-economy businesses and workers amounted to some 20% of GDP, this support in low-income countries was only about 2%

Covid vaccine: TRIPs waiver patently needed (@businessline)

Last week, the announcement by Pfizer and its collaboration partner BioNT about their potential Covid-19 vaccine candidate showing an improved efficacy of more than 90 per cent in its Phase III, late-stage, study hit the headlines globally. Following this, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said they are close to a much-needed breakthrough to the world. But many of the developing and least developed countries are now concerned on how a fair distribution of the vaccine can be ensured. The concern on the fair distribution of the vaccine is now focussed on the decisions to be made by the WTO.

DDG Agah at ITC Joint Advisory Group: Open trade and economic inclusion key to post-COVID recovery (WTO)

Global trade has, thus far, held up better than many had expected, though WTO economists still expect merchandise trade to shrink by 9% this year. Fiscal and monetary support have helped prop up demand, and the scope of new trade restrictions has been relatively modest. Many of the export controls on food and medical supplies introduced early in the pandemic have been rolled back. Governments have cooperated with the WTO’s monitoring efforts.

The task facing us is two-fold. First, we must keep international markets broadly open, and continue the process of reforming the WTO and the global trade rulebook to respond to new commercial realities. And second, we must ensure that the benefits from trade, and from economic activity in general, are widely shared.

What the end of the UK-EU transition period means to UK-SA trade (Engineering News)

With effect from January 1 this year, the UK left the European Union (EU). But that day also inaugurated the start of a transition period, during which the UK remained part of the EU customs union and single market. That transition period ends on December 31 and thereafter the UK is free to implement its own trade deals with countries and blocs around the world. To date, the UK has signed, or agreed in principle, trade agreements with six African partner countries or groups. These are Côte d’Ivoire (signed), the Eastern and Southern Africa trade bloc (Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe – signed), Kenya (agreement in principle), Morocco (signed), the Southern Africa Customs Union plus Mozambique (SACU+M – signed) and Tunisia (signed). The agreement with SACU+M was one of the earliest that Britain negotiated with its international trading partners, being concluded more than a year ago.

Closer Africa-Europe Collaboration Needed to Deliver Food and Nutrition Security Roadmap, Says Leading Research Body (East African Business Week)

Africa’s apex organization for coordinating and advocating for agricultural research and innovation has called on more African and European countries to prioritize investment in science, technology and innovation for agriculture on the continent. The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) updated partners on a joint initiative between the European Union and the African Union to promote sustainable agriculture during its General Assembly this week. FARA also called on the agricultural research for development sector on the continent to unite and implement a roadmap for food and nutrition security.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: how global and local experience would play out in WTO top job (The Conversation)

The global economy faces profound uncertainties, particularly in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, faith in the efficacy of international bodies such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has been weakened by a power struggle between China and the US. As the process for appointing a new head of the organisation moves into its final phase, it’s worth considering what front runner Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala could bring to the complex role of managing an international organisation, including designing and implementing reforms.