tralac Daily News
Small businesses urged to challenge govt over red tape (Eyewitness News)
The biggest stumbling block to entrepreneurship and a growing economy in South Africa is government red tape and a restrictive policy environment, and the Small Business Institute is challenging the business sector to tackle the challenge. This is contained in the institute’s latest report, “Tackling the ‘Disabling Environment’ to boost Economic Growth, Small Business and Jobs”, released jointly with the Small Business Project, a research and policy advocacy group, last week. The SBI is now calling on business to launch what it calls a ‘Reduce Red Tape Challenge’. “A practical way to set the agenda for red tape reduction is for business to sponsor and run a “reduce red tape challenge” – a public call to business and especially small business owners,” the institute wrote in the report. “For the very first time in South Africa, a “reduce red tape challenge” will provide the opportunity to crowd-in the voice of small business owners (formal and informal) in one of the most critical factors that constricts their enterprises to form, run and grow and employ more people.”
SA birds flu outbreak sends shock waves in SADC (cajnews.co.zw)
The Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE) is wary of the ban on exports from South Africa to some countries in the region plunging the local poultry industry into further turmoil. Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional members – Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Namibia – have imposed the ban after the recent Avian Influenza (AI) outbreak. AMIE is hopeful the outbreak through various locations in South Africa will be contained. A widespread epidemic can – which supplies the main protein source to South Africa’s middle to low income consumers – into further economic turmoil. Furthermore, the bloc is a potentially huge market for South African poultry exports.
Despite structural reforms across all fronts, including in economic policy, the majority of South Africans continue to live in poverty and inequality remains a challenge. Unemployment is at a record 32.5%. Jobs continue to be lost, with the rising industrial cost base making the sector uncompetitive in terms of trade, and too unsustainable to invest in. Adopting the right policies and speeding up their implementation is key. It is important to state that the challenges facing the SA manufacturing sector, especially the M&E component, cannot be ignored. These include rising administered costs in energy, energy supply reliability, rising logistics costs, as well as inefficiencies from key government entity service suppliers.
New Scramble For DRC Begins As Tshisekedi Steadies Ship (New Zimbabwe.com)
A new study by the East African Business Council in collaboration with the German International Co-operation Agency shows that the country presents a huge trade opportunity given that its huge population accounts for almost half of the population of the EAC member states combined. The study titled “Opportunities for Trade in DRC: A perspective from East Africa” carried out in 2020 shows that the potential for trade in DRC has not been fully exploited by the EAC member states largely due to the prevalence of non-tariff barriers and the informal nature of the trade amongst them.
Was Kenya ban on Uganda, Tanzania maize justified? (Business Daily)
Early March Kenya banned maize importation from Tanzania and Uganda over concerns about the high levels of aflatoxin. Kenya claimed the levels were above EAC’s harmonised maximum limit (ML) for total aflatoxin. Millers faulted the government over blanket ban on imports instead of intercepting only non-conforming consignment and asked that the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs), the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) and accredited laboratories to test for aflatoxins at the border point to avoid further delays that would lead to shortage and higher consumer prices. The control and regulation of trade in maize in EAC is critical to ensure free trade and at the same time to protect the life and health of citizen.
Kenyan exports to China, India stay flat despite charm offensive (Business Daily)
The share of Kenya’s exports to China and India has remained largely flat despite a strategic shift three years ago to woo more buyers in the key markets. Kenya’s earnings from exports to the two giant markets amounted to Sh22.77 billion last year, an equivalent of 3.48 per cent of Sh654.31 billion ($6.035 million) total sales abroad, according to trade data Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) shared with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). “The (exports) strategy has adopted a value chain approach that focuses on key sectors that promise growth and has identified the cross-cutting issues that need to be addressed holistically to catalyse development of sectors, products as well as interventions in the markets for improved performance,” Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (Keproba) said via email.
Assorted equipment ranging from low load trailers, extension cargo handlers, trailers and other cargo handling equipment were loaded from berth number 20 and they are expected in Lamu on Tuesday. Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) assistant training and equipment operations officer in charge of Lamu Port Ernest Mbalanya said the second batch of equipment will leave Port of Mombasa on May 15 for assembling ready for the opening of the port. Before the port is officially opened, KPA will compensate all those affected by the port and from Monday this week, consolidation of the final list of compensation. Hundreds of Lamu residents affected by Lamu Port, South Sudan, Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) have also been assured they will receive compensation before the port starts its operations.
43% of Kenya’s sugar imports to be sourced from Uganda (Daily Monitor)
Ugandan sugar will now account for 43 per cent of the total imports by Kenya from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa). This comes after Kenya and Uganda ironed out a trade dispute over the commodity that has lasted close to a year now. Kenya had stopped Uganda from exporting its sugar to its market on claims that the commodity was being imported and repackaged before being dumped in the country. However, Uganda dismissed the claims, noting Kenya, which has a huge sugar deficit, was only using the excuse for protectionist purposes. The verification exercise had been postponed twice, which had worried local producers amid growing stockpiles.
Exploring AfCFTA gains with cross-border expansions (The Nation Newspaper)
The gains of cross-border transactions in Africa are fast rising. Still, the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is expected to make such benefits more pronounced in the years ahead. For many stakeholders, the AFCFTA offers significant opportunities for the private sector, especially financial institutions to expand into new markets, and seek new business opportunities. But the benefits from the AfCFTA deal to a financial institution or company depend largely on the level of preparedness undertaken by such institution in readiness for the trade pact full implementation.
Planning for 400m illion: Nigeria’s Opportunities and Challenges - 2050 (Proshare Nigeria)
Nigeria is due for massive investments in infrastructure to support its fast-growing population and emerging modern economy. The dearth of infrastructure across different industries represents a major investment opportunity at a large scale for private investors and governments alike. An estimated USD 3 trillion is required over the next 30 years to bridge Nigeria’s infrastructure gap. The good news is that Nigeria’s emerging economy is diverse and growing. From aggrotech to health-tech and logistics technology, the opportunities to harness and optimize new and existing industries through technology is compelling. These industries represent an opportunity for both investors and entrepreneurs to play their parts in rewriting of Nigeria’s economic story.
As part of the efforts to protect the sugar industry, which is governed by the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP), the federal government has banned the importation of refined sugar and its derivatives from the nation’s Free Trade Zones (FTZs). “Refined Sugar is being imported into the Nigerian Customs Territory under the concession granted to enterprises in the Free Trade Zones to export 100 per cent of their output to the Nigerian Customs Territory, and this is real potential threat to the goals of the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan (NSMP).”
The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in collaboration with the Nigerian ministries of agriculture and rural development (FMARD) and finance are set to establish a Special Agro-Processing Zone (SAPZ) in Nigerian Cross River State’s cash crop yielding belt – Ikom, Obubra, and Ogoja. The main agro-processing hub would be sited at Ikom, a town with a bevy of commercial activities, especially in cocoa, on the border with Nigeria’s eastern neighbour, the Republic of Cameroon. Uwaouo, leader of the AfDB, IFAD and FMARD team, noted that agriculture is the future of the world economy, saying he was encouraged by Governor Ayade’s positioning of Cross River to be an active player in the sector in the future.
President Samia Suluhu on Thursday unveiled a grand plan for Tanzania’s economic transformation in the next five years, emphasising empowerment and job creation. In her first address to parliament since she took over the presidency after the death of Dr John Pombe Magufuli, President Samia said her administration would promote investments by creating a good business environment. “Last year, our nation managed to enter the middle-income category where the per capita income increased to $1,080 from $1,036. It is a great achievement, but more effort is needed to accelerate the economy,” she added.
Artisanal cocoa processors demand support to expand (Ghanian Times)
Artisanal cocoa processors in the country have called on the government to provide them with the necessary support to expand their businesses and enable them to fully participate and benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The Vice President of the Cocoa Value Addition Artisans Association of Ghana (COVAAAGH), Mrs Ida Dela Kuekey Austine said this would make them expand their processing capacity, thereby creating more employment, particularly for the youth. “Unfortunately, since independence, Ghana has failed to capitalise on processing majority of the cocoa it exports, thereby earning less from the commodity.” She said despite the huge potential of the artisanal cocoa value addition sector for the country and its readiness to expand into the African market through AfCFTA, it is facing a number of challenges.
Trade Between Chad and Cameroon Falls After Deby’s Death (Voice of America)
Trade between Cameroon and its landlocked neighbor Chad has come to a virtual standstill, with Chad refusing entry to hundreds of trucks carrying essential supplies for its capital. Chadian military authorities sealed the border last week after the death of longtime president Idriss Deby amid threats from armed rebels. Hundreds of trucks with goods meant for Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, are sitting idle in Kousseri, a town on Cameroon’s northern border with Chad. Another long line of trucks sits and waits on Chadian side of the border.
As an example of this potential, the Argentinian agro-industrial sector, which constitutes the heart of the economy, could be very interested in the new generation of fertilizers developed by Morocco thanks to its great richness in phosphates, as it is the largest exporter in the world. This new generation of fertilizers used in agriculture is eco-friendly, the ambassador pointed out. The second sector with high potential for bilateral trade is that of components used in the car industry, the ambassador noted, recalling that Morocco is a major producer of these components.
African regional and continental news
ATO Steering Committee lays the ground for the launch of the final online dashboard (AfCFTA - African Continental Free Trade Area)
The African Union (AU), European Union (EU), and the International Trade Centre (ITC) continue their engagement through the African Trade Observatory to support and monitor the effective implementation of the AfCFTA. To ensure the African Trade Observatory reaches its full potential through a coordinated response from international and regional agencies, a Steering Committee meets regularly to assess progress and coordinate efforts. The second SC meeting, held on April 26, took stock of recent developments to strengthen regional integration by supporting sound evidence-based-policy and facilitating dialogue and consensus on high impact policy measures at different stages of the AfCFTA implementation. In the coming months, the dashboard will be enriched by an analytical module dedicated to African policymakers and expected to be launched during the Africa Integration Day on 7 July 2021.
As the world races to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) come 2030, there is an increasing awareness of the value of initiatives that are already in progress. For the African continent, one such strategy is to use regional trade integration to strengthen the energy sector and existing power pools, and improve utilisation of the region’s abundant renewable energy resources to meet the vast demand. The idea behind creating power pools is to encourage cooperation among countries, through linking excess capacity in countries where power is produced more economically, with excess demand in other countries that can benefit from cheaper imports.
The Chief Executive Officer of MTN Ghana Limited, Selorm Adadevoh, has noted that with the new normal created in a pandemic era, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) must re-strategise to penetrate global markets – starting with the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as a tool for skills acquisition. SMEs account for around 80 percent of businesses, and most usually struggle to penetrate more advanced overseas markets. However, with AfCFTA, the SMEs are well-positioned to tap into regional export destinations and can use regional markets as stepping-stones for expanding into overseas markets with the right skills and resources, he stressed.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat will develop a protocol to address issues of women and young people in the implementation of the continental free trade agreement, an official said here Monday. Emily Mburu-Ndoria, the director for Trade in Services and Intellectual Property at the AfCFTA Secretariat, said during the All-Africa High-Level Virtual Roundtable on AfCFTA Youth Inclusion that the heads of state and government of the continent had tasked the secretariat to formulate that protocol to ensure that women and youth have access and derive the intended benefits from the new trade arrangements. “At the core of the AfCFTA implementation, we have the roles of women and youth. The protocol will therefore ensure the full inclusion of women and youth,” said Mburu-Ndoria.
With financial support by the European Union, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Carleton University (Canada) and the Pan African Strategic & Policy Research Group (PANAFSTRAG) organise from 27th to 29th April a roundtable to discuss the likely impact of bilateral economic and trade deals on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The webinar will bring together policy makers and other experts on trade and economics from the UN, the AU, representatives from research Institutes and academia, form the private sector and civil society from Africa, Europe, Asia and North America Many African countries which are party to the AfCFTA, which entered into force on 1st January have signed various trade and economic agreements with non-party states, including the US, the EU, post-Brexit UK, China, Turkey, Russia and India. How will such side-agreements impact the implementation of AfCFTA?
A slow rollout of Covid-19 vaccines and a lack of funding to bridge the gap between poor and rich countries could set Africa back two to five years, according to the head of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. “The fact that Africa isn’t going to get vaccinated as fast is going to clearly slow growth,” Vera Songwe, the executive secretary of the UNECA, said Monday in an interview. A lack of access to vaccines that will keep barriers to travel and business in place will also slow trade and hamper investments that could set back economic growth and prevent the creation of 26 million jobs, she said.
“Twitter is now present on the continent”. With this short, very precise tweet, Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder and CEO, announced that the social network is opening its first office in Africa, more specifically in Ghana. With this move, twitter became another tech giant to establish local presence including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Huawei, Amazon, and more, as growing global tech appearance in the continent has been increasing in the past decade. On the surface, this seems like the perfect opportunity for growth, with job opportunities opening up for younger professionals, investments in local facilities, and more. But when diving a bit deeper, it’s not all roses.
Reopening and reimagining Africa (McKinsey & Company)
African countries need to find smart approaches to reopen economies in a calibrated way that brings key industries back into operation while ensuring safe ways of working. The COVID-19 crisis will likely persist for some time, and there is serious risk of a resurgence in infections. Accordingly, governments will need to build the capacity to alternate between reopening and restricting economies on a granular, local level—akin to developing and flexing a muscle. In the first part of this article we shine a spotlight on these approaches to smart reopening, suggesting pathways that countries can adopt to save lives and safeguard livelihoods.
Drones, satellites, geographic information systems, weather stations and advanced analytics are some of the most promising technologies for providing solutions to Africa’s agricultural challenges, according to the joint Digital Agricultural Profiles carried out by the African Development Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and CGIAR in three countries. The profiles, covering Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda and South Africa, map the challenges and opportunities to scale the adoption of innovative digital technologies in the agriculture sector. These include national digital technology and the policy landscape, user demands along the value chain and available digital agriculture services and applications. The profiles also examine the main barriers to adoption as well as the digital technologies with the greatest potential to transform the sector.
The African Union has unveiled the Animal Health Strategy for Africa (AHSA) 2018-2035 to bolster animal health, animal production, productivity, the safety of animal origin, public health, and a healthy environment continent. The AHSA 2018-2035 is “a continental framework for delivering a sustainable animal health system that meets global standards Healthy animals for enhanced livelihoods, safe trade public, and environmental health”. The strategy, validated in November 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda, has been endorsed by the African Union Specialized Technical Committee, which comprised the ministers in charge of animal resources, water, agriculture, and the environment.
Secretary-General Mathuki to rid EAC of hurdles stifling business (The East African)
Creating a conducive business environment will be top on the priority list of the new East African Community Secretary-General Peter Mathuki. Dr Mathuki said this will be achieved by eliminating non-tariff barriers, adopting business-friendly legal regimes and fast-tracking the Common External Tariff. “I firmly believe that we cannot attain a sustainable regional integration, if partner states do not urgently remove non-tariff barriers and other inconsistent laws that frustrate intraregional trade and investments,” Mathuki said at the handover ceremony in Arusha on Friday.
EU to offer expertise to drive renewables-friendly policy across Africa (pv magazine International)
The oft-heard industry call for more supportive policy for renewables, this time in Africa, has prompted the European Commission to pledge to work with its continental counterpart on improving the clean energy regulatory environment.
Without national regulatory frameworks geared to supporting renewables, the energy transition could remain a distant dream in Africa, according to Salvatore Bernabei, CEO of the Enel Green Power renewables division of the Italian energy company. Through the auspices of the African-EU Green Energy Initiative, the European Union and African Union would finally implement a long-desired strategic energy partnership which would aim to drive investment in clean power generation, raise access to electricity, and promote energy efficiency, said Timmermans.
Global economy news
Action plan for increasing LDCs’ share of blended finance (Trade for Development News)
Least developed countries (LDCs) receive only 6% of the private finance mobilized globally through blended finance, and even then funds are concentrated in a handful of LDCs while ‘last mile’ countries, sectors and businesses miss out. These were key findings from a joint UNCDF and OECD report that proposes actions to redress that imbalance as Covid-19 increases LDCs’ needs.
The participation of landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) in world trade has been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report by the WTO Secretariat finds. Submitted to the United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), the report assesses progress on the actions regarding multilateral trade recommended by the Vienna Programme of Action for LLDCs for 2014-2024.
US still cagey about WTO waiver, India and South Africa plough on (Hindustan Times)
While the United States rolled out a full range of support for India’s battle against Covid-19, it remained non-committal to on its position on India’s joint proposal with South Africa at the WTO to grant a temporary waiver of intellectual rights to vaccines and therapeutics to ensure they are freely accessible around the world. But India and South Africa are not giving up. Their ambassadors to the United State met Monday with a senior member of the US congress to argue their case, and to tap into and broaden support for their case among lawmakers.
WTO’s export-oriented compulsory licensing mechanism: Foreseen policy concern for Africa to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic (International IP and the Public Interest)
Africa has a history of grappling with outbreaks and high prevalence of disease. It currently confronts COVID-19 which is escalating because of local community transmission of the disease. Poorly resourced health systems in Africa are ill-prepared for the surging number of COVID-19 cases. COVID-19 vaccine has become available, but patent exclusivities might play a major role in hindering access to it. With little or no indigenous pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity of its own, Africa will almost entirely rely on importing COVID-19 vaccines or treatment from third parties. This paper emphasizes that in the current battle against COVID-19, policymakers should not lose sight of future policy challenges.
Video: Only the tip of the iceberg – can the south-south trade corridor go further (Global Trade Review)
Africa’s status as the youngest and most promising global economic market shows no sign of halting. With Dubai playing a significant role as a facilitator and ‘launchpad’ into Africa, this session offers key details on existing flows and volumes through the Africa-MENA-Asia trade corridor, as well as examining how the dynamics of exports and imports have changed.
In many parts of the world, women have had less access to financial services than men for years. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the challenge. At the onset of the pandemic, more women than men lost jobs. Sectors that absorb women workers such as tourism and personal services were hardest hit. While the gender gap at the global level diminished between 2011 and 2017, some developing regions, including Middle East and North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, witnessed a reverse trend. What accounts for the gender gap in access to and use of financial services? Reducing the gender gap in financial inclusion would require applying a gender lens to domestic and international policy actions.