tralac Daily News
The protection of intellectual property rights can go a long way to help combat illicit trade by ensuring the protection of goods, according to an expert. Monday, 26 April, marked World Intellectual property Day. The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) of South Africa hosted a virtual webinar which shed light on the importance of intellectual property rights in combating illicit trade. Amanda Lotheringen, senior manager of copyright and intellectual property enforcement of the CIPC noted that the Covid-19 pandemic had led to closer collaboration in the fight against illicit trade. “Collaboration and closer cooperation between different sectors, countries, and public and private institutions is key in our fight against counterfeit goods,” said Lotheringen.
Foreign arrivals to South Africa dropped by 71% from just over 15.8 million in 2019 to less than 5 million in 2020, according to the Tourism 2020 report released by Statistics South Africa on Thursday The report says it is evident that the Covid-19 pandemic hit the tourism industry quite hard around the world and in South Africa, mainly due to the lockdown and travel restrictions that were imposed.
Avian flu has been reported in Gauteng and the North West. It is too soon to tell if the avian flu outbreak detected earlier this month will lead to food insecurity, but importers want government to negotiate trade arrangements with poultry exporters to ensure continued supply. So far four member nations of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) – Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana and Lesotho – have imposed bans on the exports of poultry products from South Africa following the outbreak of avian influenza at two commercial farms.
Kenya imports from South Africa drop to 12-year low (Business Daily)
Kenya’s imports from South Africa slid to a 12-year low largely on reduced orders for iron and steel products amid a slowdown in public expenditure on infrastructure. The value of goods ordered from Africa’s most developed economy contracted 35.81 percent to Sh47.52 billion ($ 432 million), according to provisional trade data from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) shared with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). South Africa – which only emerged from the longest recession in 28 years in the quarter ended September 2020 – is Kenya’s largest source market in Africa, accounting about of a third of the imports on average in recent years.
The U.S. will carry on negotiating with Kenya for its first free-trade agreement with a sub-Saharan economy, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. President Joseph Biden’s administration is “looking forward to continue the ongoing discussions with regard to our FTA,” Blinken said Tuesday in a virtual meeting with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. Washington is keen on “seizing some of the opportunities that are out there, expanding trade and investment,” Blinken said.
eSwatini’s economy risk crashing (Africanews)
The Kingdom of eSwatini is carving a path to a private-led economy. An economy at risk of crashing if it does not embrace crucial economic reforms. For a while now, the Kingdom has been struggling to attract investments. But the covid-19 pandemic seem to have presented the opportunity it needs to restructure the local economy. That’s why late last year, eSwatini unveiled an economic recovery plan to get it out of the woods. The Kingdom of eSwatini is expecting big things from its ambitious post-Covid-19 economic recovery plan
560 MSMEs to compete in AfCFTA, other formal markets (Ghanaian Times)
About 560 Micro, Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSMEs) in the local sector are being supported to formalise their businesses to enable them to compete in formal markets, including the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Under an intervention called Progressive Licensing Scheme, the beneficiaries are being aided to have one of their products certified by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) at a reduced or no cost at all as well as receive training on branding and packaging. The scheme is being implemented by the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) and the Mastercard Foundation under their Young Africa Works Business Formalisation Project, which is aimed at helping MSMEs get certification from regulatory organisations.
Bank of Namibia (BoN) Governor Johannes !Gawaxab is concerned about the reluctance of people in receiving the Covid-19 vaccination, saying the vaccines is the weapon to achieve a faster economic recovery. !Gawaxab said the delay in vaccine roll-out will delay the number of tourists coming to Namibia and will also hinder businesses to be fully operational to help revive the domestic economy. Concerned with the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) revenue reduction for Namibia, the BoN governor advised government to focus on numerous revenue streams while doing the best to reduce expenditure. For the financial year 2021/22, !Gawaxab stated that Namibia’s share of the SACU receipts will decline by about 34% to N$14.8 billion, down from N$22.3 billion in 2020/21.
The Executive said that plans to formalise cross-border trade in Luvo, northern Zaire province, is one of the priorities, aimed to raise the tax revenues collected at that border check point with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This was announced by the Secretary of State for Commerce, Amadeu LeitÃ£o Nunes, while speaking to Angop on Tuesday. Greater control over the entry and exit of goods, collection of tax revenues, as well as the generation of jobs for locals are also among the advantages pointed out by Amadeu Nunes.
A third of Nigerians are unemployed: Here’s why (Down to Earth Magazine)
The economy of the sub-Saharan country has not been in good shape for the past 5 years and first went into a recession in 2016 The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics recently published the country’s unemployment rate for the fourth quarter of 2020, reflecting a continued deterioration during the COVID-19 year. The unemployment rate for this period stood at 33.3 per cent. Ogechi Ekeanyanwu, from The Conversation Africa, asked Ndubisi Nwokoma, an economics professor, to provide the context.
Exports: Cameroon’s performance is constant but still lags in the CEMAC region (Business in Cameroon)
Despite its increasingly diversified economy, Cameroon will be the country to contribute the lowest export revenues in the CEMAC region this year. This is revealed in a recent report published by the Bank of Central African States (BEAC). The highest export revenues on the three main commodities exported by the region will be recorded by other member countries, we learn. For the 2021 financial year, Cameroon’s export revenues are expected to rise by 18.2%. With the rise in its exports, Cameroon will reduce its trade deficit. According to the BEAC, that deficit would be XAF512.1 billion.
Total’s decision this week to suspend its $20 billion project in northern Mozambique indefinitely has effectively put an anticipated $120 billion gas boom on hold. It comes as neighboring Tanzania finds renewed momentum in the race to develop East Africa’s gas resources before a global campaign to end the use of fossil fuels renders them valueless. Initially, Mozambique surged ahead. But now, Mozambique is in the fourth year of a rapidly worsening Islamist militant insurgency in its gas-rich province.
Science, technology and innovation allow us to leapfrog in development – says president Bio (Sierra Leone Telegraph)
Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio today participated in a High-Level Virtual Dialogue on Leveraging Innovation and Technology for Food Systems Transformation in Africa. The organisers argued that the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting food security across Africa, “exasperating pre-existing impacts of climate change, rising fragility and conflict, and adverse events, such as locust invasions in East and Southern Africa. Africa must urgently strengthen its food systems as an integral part of efforts to recover from the pandemic and build resilience”.
2021 is the year of private sector engagement to build back a better and more inclusive world. Egypt recognises that engaging with the private sector is critical to the economic growth of the country. The Ministry of International Cooperation secured development financing agreements in 2020 with a total of $3.19 billion through direct financing to private sector companies as well in the form of credit lines to commercial banks for the financing of the micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). Egypt aims to strengthen the resilience of SMEs, by digitising their businesses, in order to adjust to the new normal and enable the businesses to become more sustainable and competitive.
Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) with funding from the World Bank has launched the Harmonizing and Improving Statistics in West Africa (HISWA) Liberia Project to promote development in the country. For the next five years, LISGIS will serve as the primary beneficiary of the HISWA project activities. Other Ministries, Agencies and Commissions will also serve as the secondary beneficiaries for the full implementation of the project.
African regional and continental news
‘AfCFTA a sanctions-buster’ (Chronicle)
The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) says embracing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA) is critical in busting the adverse economic impact of illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the Western countries and its allies. The Chamber’s national deputy president Mr Golden Muoni said: “Given a wider market being presented by the AfCFTA, as a country if we tap into such opportunities, we must forget about sanctions.” As such, Mr Muoni said ZNCC was aware of the potential presented by AfCFTA hence the need to facilitate linkages between local businesses and sister chambers across Africa to build synergies.
UK government-funded trade development programme Trade Forward Southern Africa (TFSA) has launched its free-to-use Trade and Information Hub tool that enables businesses to identify potential export markets, as well as to access information about the customs duties, rules, regulations and standards exporters must meet in various markets. “The hub is a new trading gateway for goods to the UK and international markets. It is expected that the hub will help to reduce the efforts and costs for companies to identify and enter a new export market and make a contribution to economic development in the region.”
SADC understands the existing network of roads, railways, ports, and airways currently meets the demand of most users but more are to be done as far as industries and economies develop throughout the region, “use of the transport network will exceed current capacity. The ongoing Dar es Salaam Port expansion is viewed by the block as an important move which will address future port traffic.
While South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya have the highest internet penetration in the continent, e-commerce penetration was at less than 40 percent, a report by PayU has found. Among the three African countries included in the report, South Africa had the highest internet penetration at 56 percent, with Nigeria and Kenya at 46 percent and 31 percent, respectively. However, e-commerce penetration was at 37 percent in both Nigeria and South Africa and at 25 percent in Kenya.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit hard the economies of many African countries, and pushed many more citizens into poverty, but some countries like Rwanda and Togo have used digitization to keep their economies running. Speaking during the launch of a Pan-African peer exchange series on the benefits of responsible digital government payments, the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Ms. Vera Songwe said the pandemic had a huge toll on African economies with GDP growth estimated to have dropped from 3.3% in 2019 to -2.6% in 2020. It is, however, anticipated that growth would return to 3.3% in 2021.
East Africa Community (EAC) partner states are estimated to have lost international tourism receipts to the tune of $4.8billion (Ksh. 517.6billion) last year, following the Covid-19 pandemic. This follows a study by the East African Business Council (EABC) with the support of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The study reveals that tourism which contributed an average of 9.5% in GDP in 2019 and an average of 17.2% to EAC total exports, was one of the most affected areas in the region. This was reflected in massive reductions in international tourist arrivals, receipts, jobs, visitors to parks and hotel occupancy rates.
Here comes EAC leather Industry network platform (Dailynews)
East African Community (EAC) Leather Industry Network Platform (LIN-East Africa) is due for launching today. The trade in leather and leather products in the EAC has enormous potential and is growing at an annual average rate of 1.5 per cent targeting among other things, to boost the trade among EAC member states. The Director of the Centre for Business Innovation & Training (CBiT), Ms Beatrice Mwasi had this to say on the issue: “This information is necessary in shaping the industry’s policy direction as well as disseminating market information that is key to improving industry processes to better meet the needs of customers. “More importantly, for the first time, the platform offers an easy-to-use interface that helps industry players to build and manage their business portfolios.
Private sector ‘key in fighting illegal wildlife trade’ (The Citizen)
Involving private sector and financial institutions is the best tactic that could be used to help investigate and prosecute syndicate leaders (Kingpins) involved in illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) and money laundering. African Wildlife Foundation senior manager and wildlife law enforcement species Didi Wamukoya said most of the culprits associate themselves with shell, front companies and banks to operate their business thus making it difficult to investigate and prosecute them.
The African Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the CGIAR System Organization, today pledged to work closely with African leaders to address rising hunger on the continent and shore up adequate financing to transform and modernize Africa’s food production. The impact of climate change, rising fragility and conflict, and locust invasions in East and Southern Africa is taking a toll on the continent. Across the continent, hunger poses an even greater risk than Covid-19. Agricultural and agro-business related activities could provide employment opportunities for millions of young Africans, who account for 70% of the population.
Africa spends billions on food imports (Chronicle)
The demand for food in Africa is growing, with statistics showing current output is 20 percent below requirements. This saw the continent spending US$80 billion on food imports last year, and that figure is rising at a rate of about six percent per annum, according to African Union Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment, Ambassador Josefa Sacko. This is despite the continent having immense acreage of under-used arable land.
Africa’s demand for livestock and livestock products is currently higher than the existing supply and is poised to increase significantly in the next three decades. By the year 2050, with increased population to 2.4 billion people, food demand for livestock products will nearly double in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, to around 400 kcal per person per day. This high and growing demand meets imports estimated at 4 billion USD per year as investments remain at an all-time low and a myriad challenge continue to stifle the sector’s potential for growth.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in partnership with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), concluded a 3-part capacity building programme for women – led and owned businesses and trade associations on utilizing the preferences African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). During the workshop series, titled “Maximizing the AfCFTA for SMEs, Traders and Producers”, participants learned about the provisions and implications of the AfCFTA, which will create an African market for goods and services, bring together 1.3 billion people, create a combined GDP estimated at $3 billion, and build on the progress already made in supporting integration within regional economic communities such as ECOWAS.
The West African sub-region suffered an economic downturn in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a top official said here Thursday. Unlike the average growth of 3.5 percent in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) before 2020, the sub-region recorded a 2.0-percent contraction last year due to the pandemic, said Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission. He said that the private sector was severely hit by the pandemic and many countries had to bail out various sectors to avoid their collapse.
In 2020, the economies of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia together grew by 0.88%, despite the significant downside risks precipitated by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and the accompanying economic shakeout. Stark divergence in growth profiles, underlying fragilities and significant risks create a complex context going forward. Finance Ministers of the Horn of Africa Initiative met virtually on March 31, 2021 to further the gains realized in strengthening regional integration in order to bolster resilience in the Horn of Africa.
Of the agreed package of $15 billion, an initial tranche of $3.3 billion has been mobilized from the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), the European Union (EU) and the World Bank to support regional economic corridors, energy trade, digital economy, trade facilitation, disease surveillance and response to the locusts’ crisis.
For many Africans – relations between the US and Africa have never been at their lowest point than during Donald trump’s (2016-2020) presidency. In his one term in office, he lived to his slogan of ‘America First’. Looking at the first 100 days of the Biden administration, observers today paint a different picture. Christian von Soest from the GIGA Institute for African Studies told DW, Biden has promised a “mutually respectful relationship”.
At a meeting of the Committee on Trade and Development in Special Session, the chair, Ambassador Kadra Ahmed Hassan of Dijbouti, encouraged WTO members to talk to each other to determine how progress can be made in the negotiations on special treatment for developing countries. Speaking on 27 April as part of a series of meetings she launched on 8 February, she reiterated her commitment to work with delegations to find compromise ahead of the WTO’s Ministerial Conference to be held from 30 November to 3 December.
A research paper by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has supported the joint proposal by India and South Africa that urges the World Trade Organization to grant a temporary waiver of the specific provisions of the global intellectual property rights (IPR) agreement for unhindered supply of vaccines and medical products to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. “This waiver will ensure that intellectual property rights do not restrict rapid scaling up of manufacturing and do not hinder an equitable and affordable access to vaccines and treatments throughout the globe,” UNCTAD said in the paper, adding that multiple manufacturers can start producing viable vaccines simultaneously through this.
DP World, best known for operating ports around the world, has launched a wholesale e-commerce website that it hopes will become the global platform for businesses to buy and sell goods. The platform, Dubuy, aims to connect buyers and sellers around the world with goods offered for delivery via the supply chain of DP World and its logistics partners. Dubuy is already live in Rwanda and will soon be expanded to some east African countries including Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, before being rolled out across the continent.
Boom for e-commerce trade? (Port Strategy)
E-commerce has been given a helping hand in Africa with the launch of a new platform. DP World has launched DUBUY.com, a global wholesale e-commerce platform that adds digital trading corridors to the physical corridors DP World has built across the African continent with its investment in ports, terminals and logistics operations.DUBUY.com is available first in Rwanda with plans to expand across Africa and around the world.
As debts come due, new expenses push envelope to the brink? (Daily Monitor)
Uganda is joining a fast growing group of countries requesting for rescheduling of its official $12 billion external debt. Uganda’s largest creditor is the International Development Association (IDA) the acronym for Least Developed Countries that borrow from the World Bank Group under mostly concessional terms with $3 billion. Second is China whose official debt is $2.5 billion absorbed in infrastructural projects. Other lenders in no significant order are banks, IMF, World Bank etc. IMF loans outstanding are $450 million but these come at the top of the envelope for budget support and carry strings in the form of reforms.
Civil society organizations from around the globe have published their demands for world leaders to consider at June’s summit of the G-7 group of leading industrial nations. In a communiqué, campaigners from over 200 organizations worldwide call on leaders to use the COVID-19 pandemic recovery to pursue systemic change. Here is an outline of their requests: A sustainable post-pandemic economic recovery; Protecting the planet; Equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
The pandemic’s impact on the world’s poor has been especially harsh. COVID-19 may have pushed about 100 million people into extreme poverty in 2020 alone, while the UN warns that in some regions poverty could rise to levels not seen in 30 years. The current crisis has derailed progress toward basic development goals, as low-income developing countries must now balance urgent spending to protect lives and livelihoods with longer-term investments in health, education, physical infrastructure, and other essential needs. In a new study, we propose a framework for developing countries to evaluate policy choices that can raise long-term growth, mobilize more revenue, and attract private investments to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
High Growth Sectors in the Post-Recovery Decade (Project Syndicate)
A multispeed economic recovery is underway, reflecting the significant cross-country variations in containing the coronavirus and acquiring and administering vaccines. But notwithstanding these differences in timing, there will soon be a cascading sequence of rapid recoveries around the world. Sectors that had to shut down because they could not function without unsafe human-to-human proximity will now (or soon) reopen. Businesses that survived the pandemic closures (many with support from fiscal programs) will experience rapid expansion, powered by pent-up demand. For investors, policymakers, businesses, and households alike, a major question is whether and to what extent we will return to pre-pandemic growth patterns. Will we witness a shift to some markedly different set of dynamics?