tralac Daily News

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tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News
Photo Credit: Reuters, Siphiwe Sibeko

Country focus

New bill aims to make it easier to do business in South Africa (BusinessTech)

The opposition Democratic Alliance has tabled its Ease of Doing Business Bill which is aimed at cutting and reducing red tape associated with doing business in South Africa. The private member’s bill specifically aims to deal Regulatory Impact Assessments (RIA) and the impact and cost that new regulations will have on the economy.

Agriculture has potential to ignite SA’s recovery, but finance and policy constraints weigh (Engineering News)

The South African agriculture sector is one of a few sectors that have proven to be resilient throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and has been earmarked by government as a cornerstone of the country’s economic reconstruction and recovery. The sector, together with State departments and other social partners, is in the final stages of drafting an Agricultural and Agroprocessing Master Plan, which identifies industries that can play a critical role in developing the sector and bring about the necessary transformation towards an inclusive sector.

Embrace standards to reap AfCFTA gains (The Herald)

A Standards and systems certification body for Southern Africa has urged entrepreneurs in the region to embrace quality standards to leverage on opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Botswana, Namibia explore partnership on water project (CGTN Africa)

Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi met with his Namibian counterpart Hage Geingob during a working visit to Namibia’s capital Windhoek Thursday. The pair discussed developing water resource infrastructure along with other aspects of the neighboring countries’ bilateral relationship.

Cameroon and Algeria sign bilateral air transport agreement (Business in Cameroon)

On February 24, 2021, in Yaoundé, Cameroon’s Minister of Transport Jean Ernest Ngallé Bibéhé and Algeria’s ambassador to Cameroon signed a bilateral air transport agreement, official sources reveal.   The agreement is aimed at promoting tourism and boosting commercial transactions between the two countries. It will also expedite the Algeria national airline’s (Air Algérie) project to enter Cameroon’s sky. Indeed, in 2019, Cameroon Civil Aviation Authority announced that Air Algérie was planning to start a route to Cameroon.

Kenya’s port cargo volumes peak amid easing of COVID-19 restrictions (CGTN Africa)

Kenya’s Mombasa port has witnessed steady growth in import volumes for both general and containerized cargo following cessation of COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns in major countries across the world.

House shelves debate on UK trade pact over sneaked annexure (The Star, Kenya)

Speaker Justin Muturi has shelved the debate on the partnership agreement between Kenya and the United Kingdom. This was after the National Assembly Trade committee tabled the agreement for ratification by members of Parliament without attaching annexure showing goods that will be traded by the two countries.

South Sudan, Kenya battle it out for EAC’s top post (The Citizen)

The battle for the post of secretary general of the East African Community (EAC) looms large as two partner states plan to field candidates. While Kenya has been reported to put pressure to have its national take over, South Sudan is said to front a candidate for the same.The position of the principal executive officer of the EAC will fall vacant at the end of April with the end of tenure of Liberat Mfumukeko.

China, Ethiopia agree to boost cooperation in technology (CGTN Africa)

China and Ethiopia have agreed to boost cooperation in the technology field, according to the Chinese embassy in Ethiopia on Thursday. The agreement to boost cooperation in the technology field between the two countries was reached Wednesday during a discussion held between Chinese ambassador to Ethiopia Zhao Zhiyuan and the Ethiopia Minister of Innovation and Technology Abraham Belay.

 


News from Africa and Africa’s international trade relations 

ICC, UPS, Tralac, and West Blue join forces to provide women entrepreneurs in Africa with the resources to digitise their operations (International Chamber of Commerce)

Building off the recent launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the partnership will help women-led SMEs expand their operations to new marketplaces in Africa and around the world. Through the establishment of the “Women Traders in the AfCFTA” working group, the partners will collaborate with interest groups, trade associations, and other stakeholders in the region to support women-led SMEs and entrepreneurs in the region. Working with leaders from government, business, and civil society, the partners will develop policy recommendations to ensure that women-led SMEs benefit from the AfCFTA.

East Africa: EAC Pushes to Align Regional Bank With Bloc's Structure (All Africa)

The East African Development Bank (EADB) could soon be answerable to the East Africa Community (EAC) if a report on the bank's governance and structure is passed. The report, to be submitted to the EAC's Council of Ministers on February 27, was commissioned by the EAC Heads of State in 2016. They also directed the council "to review the EADB Charter to streamline it into the EAC main structure."

 


Global economy 

DDG Wolff calls on members to work with new Director-General to reform WTO (World Trade Organisation)

Speaking to heads of WTO member delegations on 25 February, Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff urged them to build on their warm welcome for incoming Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala by working with her to deliver much-needed reforms to the WTO. “Enthusiasm, optimism and hope need to be translated into concrete action” to enhance global trade’s contribution “to a more effective pandemic response as well as a strong and sustainable economic recovery,” he said.

TRIPS waiver: Pressure mounts on WTO as supporting voices grow (Mint)

The World Trade Organisation is under pressure to seriously consider the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver on Covid-19 vaccines after several European Union lawmakers and a group of least developed countries (LDC) recently lent their support to India's proposal.

Enhancing efficiency in international trade – the time is now (Global Banking and Finance Review)

Despite significant advances in digital enterprise technology in recent years, international trade remains overwhelmingly manual and fraught with inefficiency. Financial market participants spend millions of dollars to save fractions of seconds. Central banks are rushing to offer “fast” domestic payments in under three seconds. But cross-border trade relies on payments involving more than one country and bank, with no common central bank to provide cover and currency conversion. It takes at least a day or, in most cases, two – and that’s not even the most inefficient part of cross-border trade.

Building productive capacities can avert a lost decade in the poorest countries (UNCTAD)

The COVID-19 crisis shook the very foundations of the international system, triggering an abrupt and severe global recession, which threatens to heighten economic contagion. While no country is spared, the coronavirus has hit the world’s poorest nations disproportionately.