tralac Daily News
South Africa has been described as having the most ‘developed digital economy’ in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is according to a global index by The Fletcher School at Tufts University. Dubbed the ‘Digital Intelligence Index’, it measures “the progress countries have made in advancing their digital economies, fostering trust and integrating connectivity into the lives of billions”. According to the Intelligence Index, connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa is lagging behind other regions. However, “digitalisation is advancing fast and being embraced by those who do have access”, says the report.
Government will release its draft one-stop border post (OSBP) policy for public comment during the first quarter of 2021, after Cabinet approved the draft policy during its meeting this week. In a statement, Cabinet said that the OSBP policy would give effect to the framework adopted in 2018. The policy sought to harmonise the movement of people and goods between South Africa’s land ports of entry and its neighbouring countries, while also addressing the congestion that resulted in costly trade delays and frustrated travellers.
African recovery and return to economic growth following the Covid-19 pandemic presented a significant opportunity to the general aviation sector across the continent, but particularly in South Africa, SA Flyer editor Guy Leitch pointed out on Thursday. He was addressing the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa’s virtual 2020 symposium. “South African general aviation is the single largest repository of aviation sector expertise in Africa,” he highlighted. “Intra-African connectivity is the big opportunity.” This opportunity was open to both the general and commercial aviation sectors.
South African economy should recover strongly next year, predicts economist (Engineering News)
The South African economy is already on course for a strong recovery and significant growth next year, economic adviser to the Optimum Investment group Dr Roelof Botha told the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa’s virtual 2020 symposium on Thursday. The Covid-19 pandemic had hit the travel and leisure sector very hard, both globally and in South Africa. But the development of Covid-19 vaccines had radically changed the outlook for the sector. He pointed out that, on the world’s major stockmarkets, travel and leisure stocks had surged by 5% to 30% following the announcement of the development of the first vaccine, by Pfizer.
The Chairman of the Implementation Team of the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS), Emmanuel Ohene has disclosed that government exceeded its revenue target in August and November, 2020 from Ghana’s ports. This, he attributed to the introduction of the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) at the ports.
US$300m upgrade for Beitbridge border post (The Herald)
The Zimborders Consortium has secured nearly US$300 million for the upgrade and modernisation of Beitbridge border post, the country’s busiest inland port of entry and one of the region’s key transit points, the company has revealed. The project, to be implemented under a Public Private Partnership with the Government, will be privately funded with a 17 and half years’ operating concession period following the completion of the construction works expected within two years.
CBK raises alarm over rising borrowing by State agencies (The Standard)
Central Bank of Kenya has warned that increased borrowing by State firms from commercial banks could expose the banking industry and other financial institutions to the risk of bad debt. According to the Kenya Financial Stability Report released yesterday, the banking industry’s loans to parastatals amounted to above Sh100 billion by December 2019. The energy sector accounts for the largest share.
Manufacturers issue ultimatum, demand retaliation against Kenya (Daily Monitor)
Manufacturers have given government up to or before Christmas to come up with retaliatory measures against Kenya, which they accuse of unfairly blocking a number of Ugandan products from its market. In a statement released yesterday, manufacturers, under Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA), also expressed frustration “over government’s inability to decisively resolve the unfair trade practices subjected to Uganda by Kenya in blatant disregard to the EAC common market commitments”, noting the statement was a culmination of untold frustration by government in the pursuit of equity from EAC partner states.
Tanzania pays attention to Angola’s railway link (The Citizen)
The government said yesterday that it was closely following up on reports that Angola was mulling the construction of a railway line that would connect it (Angola) to Tanzania via Zambia. The plan was to build a trans-African railway between the ports of Dar es Salaam in the east of the continent and Lobito in the west. At present, Angola’s economy depends overwhelmingly on exports to China – in 2018 these accounted for more than $25 billion, more than its exports to the rest of the world combined, and consisted mainly of oil. There is almost no trade between Angola and Tanzania. In 2015, Tanzania exported less than $5m to Angola, and Angola less than $500,000 worth of goods to Tanzania.
Although the Botswana economy is destined to bounce back next year, full recovery will only be realised in 2022. This was said by FNB chief economist, Mr Moatlhodi Sebabole during the virtual Youth Entrepreneurship Studio held Wednesday as part of De Beers Diamond Impact Week. Mr Sebabole, who was deliberating on the topic “Recovery and Growth” – Botswana and the Global Outlook from an Economist’s Perspective, said only in 2022 would the economy return to its 2019 size. Describing COVID-19 as a perfect storm in the world economy, he noted that it hit both the demand and supply sides and affected production of goods and services.
The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has said that following the introduction of the new Diaspora Forex Remittances policy, the apex bank was targeting about $2 billion monthly from Diaspora remittances. Emefiele who disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja, yesterday, said that the implementation of the policy has commenced adding that the Nigerian public can now receive remittances from their family members, friends and associates in Diaspora in the foreign currency of such remittances.
Chairman of the federal government Economic Advisory Council, Dr. Doyin Salami, has said border closure was not a sustainable strategy. According to him, the nation must take pragmatic steps to reduce the costs of production for its products to be internationally competitive. He said Nigeria would lose out in the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA, unless its products could withstand international competition.
No significant reduction in cargo traffic at ports – GPHA boss (Ghanian Times)
The Director-General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, Michael Lujuge has applauded efforts being made by the government to expedite processes leading up to the realisation of efficient multimodal linkages that would complement the ongoing massive developments in Ghana’s port infrastructure. “Trade feeds on distance, time and cost. Connectivity is key. That is why the ideal situation is for you to have multimodal transport,” he said.
AU holds AfCFTA Extraordinary Summit (SAnews)
The African Union will this weekend host the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Extraordinary Summit, in preparation for the start of the AfCFTA on 1 January. Cabinet, in a statement following its meeting this week, said the AfCFTA holds “enormous benefits” for South Africa as it serves as a “catalyst to economic growth and investment”. “The free-trade area opens our exports of goods and services to a market of more than 1.2 billion people. As Chair of the AU, South Africa has been at the forefront of driving the implementation of the AfCFTA,” reads the statement. Cabinet reiterated that the agreement advances economic integration and development, women empowerment on the continent, and strengthens efforts towards peace and stability in Africa.
With trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, expected to start January 1, 2021, officials and experts say, a lot of ground as regards outstanding negotiations and readying prerequisites to make things work has been covered. The negotiators are still busy trying to wrap up before the beginning of trade. Prudence Sebahizi, Chief Technical Advisor on AfCFTA at the AU Commission, told The New Times that “much progress has been made” to ensure that trading starts on January 1. “Member States have been able to conclude outstanding negotiations on rules of origin to the level above 80% and tariff offers have been submitted to allow trade in goods to start.”
President Felix Tshisekedi Warms Up For AU Chairperson (Taarifa Rwanda)
Moussa Faki, Mahamat the Chairperson of the African Union Commission flew to the DRC capital Kinshasa to meet President Felix Tshisekedi who is preparing to assume his new role as Chairperson of the AU in early 2021. Moussa Faki confirmed President Tshisekedi will assume the functions of head of the African Union during the Ordinary General Assembly in early February 2021 in Addis Ababa.
The hopes and aspirations attached to the AfCFTA – for trade, industrialisation and addressing the effects of COVID-19 – place it high on the agendas of African policymakers, but also of their partners who support the process. This paper provides an overview of some of the potential opportunities and benefits of the AfCFTA, particularly in relation to manufacturing, agriculture, services and e-commerce, but also of the challenges involved in moving from agreement to impact.
Morocco reiterates full support for African free trade area (The North Africa Post)
Morocco voiced its full support for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as a lever of African integration and a development trigger, Minister delegate in charge of African affairs said. Morocco spares no effort to materialize the AfCTA on the ground, Mohcine Jazouli told an African Union meeting held by video conference. He recalled that King Mohammed VI had underscored Morocco’s commitment to promote an intra-African cooperation based on economic solidarity.
Although most African countries have, to date, been largely successful in fighting the spread of COVID-19, with far fewer reported cases and deaths from the disease than Europe, Asia, or the Americas, the pandemic has still had substantial socioeconomic impacts on African citizens. Policy measures to limit the spread of the disease, such as travel restrictions, lockdowns, and school closures – while both necessary and effective at limiting health impacts – have slowed economic activity worldwide. As a result of the health and economic effects of the pandemic, up to 49 million more Africans could be pushed into extreme poverty in 2020.
African Of The Year: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Forbes Africa)
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been adjudged the ‘2020 African of the Year’. Previous winners have been Rwandan President Paul Kagame (2018) and African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina (2019). Okonjo-Iweala is well-positioned to take on the next big role, transforming Africa and negotiating on the world stage.
Africa has had impressive economic growth over the past one decade, including 6 of the ten fastest growing economies in the world. While the pandemic has set us back now, with a decade of growth lost, I am confident that Africa will bounce back. The same fundamentals that drove growth are still there. At the core of this must be the growth of the private sector, and the deployment of supportive environments for their operations. Globally, Special Economic Zones have powered the economic growth of several countries. Collectively, they have contributed exports worth $3.5 trillion, roughly 20% of global trade in goods.
Only decade ago, the map looked very different: South Africa was slipping into corruption and stagnation, Angola was a full-blown kleptocracy, and donor darlings, Rwanda and Ethiopia, were deeply repressive strongman technocracies. Meanwhile, across much of the East African Community and among its immediate SADC neighbors, progress – halting and complicated but unmistakable – was underway. If SADC and the African Union find themselves now ignored by leaders they have coddled, they have largely themselves to blame. Kenya’s hastily agreed free-trade deal with Britain, meanwhile threatens to drive a wedge into the East African Community.
African Development Bank launches new regional integration strategy 2020-2025 (Caribbean News Global)
On November 26, 2020, the African Development Bank launched the West African regional integration strategy for the period 2020-2025 during a virtual seminar, which brought together representatives of the Bank, regional economic communities and member countries. The main objectives of the webinar were to provide an overview of the new strategy and to create a platform for multi-stakeholder and multidisciplinary collaboration for high-level dialogue to mobilize regional member countries in favor of regional integration.
Although advantageous, local currency financing for off-grid renewables projects and businesses in Africa is still limited, according to a new report released by the African Development Bank. The report, Exploring the Role of Guarantee Products in Supporting Local Currency Financing of Sustainable Off-Grid Energy Projects in Africa, summarized findings of an in-depth study of documents on the off-grid energy and local currency financing sector, as well as interviews of energy stakeholders in the commercial and industrial and mini-grid sectors in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Tunisia.
African governments should leverage capital, technology and manpower from industry to hasten realization of sustainability agenda and pandemic recovery in the continent, a senior UN official said on Thursday. Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy secretary-general, said that targeted investments from Africa’s indigenous businesses are required to catalyze inclusive growth in the continent amid COVID-19 linked economic shocks. “The private sector in Africa should seize the opportunity to invest sustainably and create a peaceful, prosperous continent that is also resilient to the shocks triggered by the pandemic,” said Mohamed.
Europe’s preparation for the European Union–African Union Summit in 2021 needs to successfully provide a coherent African policy on security, immigration and climate change that goes beyond trade and provides, at the very least, an opportunity for dialogue with the Russian Federation, which is also re-engaging in Africa. The reality is the COVID-19 economic impact will have knocked back significantly Moscow’s Africa ambitions and this will result in a greater niche focus on key countries such as South Africa.
Last month the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CCP) laid out the country’s socio-economic blueprint for the next five years. As China’s 14th five-year plan, this particular one marks an important transition from China’s first to its second centennial goal. Ahead of next year’s Forum on China and Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), hosted by Senegal, it is worth examining the difference between the two centennial goals, and what that could mean for Africa’s own development prospects
We are, today, living in an unprecedented time, with extraordinary challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. While governments, in all economies, are taking steps to mitigate its impact, trade, no doubt, continues to remain a key part of the solution to protect jobs, ensure steady income and improve standards of living of people in Africa. Against this challenging environment, the successful implementation of the AfCFTA could help mitigate the economic crisis; and set the continent on a common path for renewed growth.
The Need for EU-Russia Dialogue on Africa (Chatham House)
Africa is confounding predictions of a COVID-19 apocalypse, but widespread anxiety remains. Valuable lessons must be taken forward from the successful national responses so far across public health, security, and the economy.
The fintech market has continued to help expand access to financial services during the COVID-19 pandemic – particularly in emerging markets – with strong growth in all types of digital financial services except lending, according to a joint study by the World Bank, the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School, and World Economic Forum.
The number of destinations closed to international tourism has continued to fall. According to the eighth edition of the UNWTO Travel Restrictions Report, 70% of all global destinations have eased restrictions on travel introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In comparison, just one in four destinations continue to keep their borders completely closed to international tourists. Europe continues to lead the way in lifting or easing travel restrictions followed by the Americas, Africa and then the Middle East.
What Africa Needs Now Is Its Own Singapore (BloombergQuint)
When it comes to economic development, China’s amazing success soaks up much of the attention. But another huge region has quietly begun what looks like a new phase of exponential growth: Southeast Asia. The sustained enrichment of this region will transform the world, and carry important lessons for struggling countries like those in Africa.
Located far from booming Asia, Africa may have to wait its turn to be the next manufacturing hotspot.