tralac Daily News
Africa Intra-continental Trade: SA exporters must be supported now (The South African)
KwaZulu-Natal’s (KZN) small businesses must be supported to take advantage of The African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA) by helping them to grow exports and beneficiate raw materials to grow intra-continental trade. This was the message from CEO of Trade and Investment KZN Neville Matjie to delegates at the launch of KZN’s Africa Export Opportunities seminar held in Durban on Tuesday. “Intra- Africa trade helps grow economies, creates jobs and reduces poverty,” Matjie said. However, he said the according to statistics released by the World Trade Organisation a comparative analysis showed that intra-Africa trade was currently just 18%, compared to intra-Asian trade at 52%; intra-North America trade at 50% and intra-EU trade at 70%. The aim of the AfCFTA is to remove tariff trade barriers as well as non-trade barriers to rapidly grow the level of trade between African countries.
South Africa’s failure to tackle toxic levels of air pollution produced by burning coal is a violation its post-Apartheid constitution, activists and a U.N. rights expert said in court on Monday. Campaigners are suing the South African government in the High Court, hoping to force tougher action against heavy polluters such as state power company Eskom and liquid fuel producer Sasol (SOLJ.J). The campaigners say tougher action is required to enforce a constitutional guarantee of the right to an environment not harmful to health. Environment Minister Barbara Creecy acknowledges that air pollution is a problem, but her submission to the court says the constitution does not require the ministry to impose stiffer rules. Using the constitution to try to force the minister’s hand violates the separation of powers, she argues.
Beef producers in South Africa have decried some elements of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which they said lacked clarity on the available opportunities. In a statement yesterday, Roelie van Reenen, the supply chain executive at Beefmaster Group, said there were a few elements that needed to be better understood before the beef industry could successfully leverage the agreement to its benefit. Beefmaster is a leading specialist supplier of beef products to the South African and global markets. He said the agriculture sector needed clarity on the plan whereby South African producers are urged by the government to seize the opportunities provided by the agreement, given that it aims to eliminate 90 percent of tariffs on goods and services for inter-continental trade, and projections suggest that it could increase intra-African trade by at least a third.
The government of Ghana has indicated its commitment to ensuring that the Continental Integration Agenda of the African Union is realised to the benefit of all. This information was contained in a press statement made by the ministry of foreign affairs and regional integration. The press statement which was issued to mark the 58th anniversary of the African Union noted that “Today, Ghana is proud to play host to the Secretariat of the AFCFTA, a key milestone in the attainment of our Agenda 2063. These initiatives among other flagship programmes, are meant to foster democracy, good governance, rule of law, as well as deepen regional integration on the African continent”.
Tanzania is finalizing processes for ratification of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement that will facilitate free movement of goods and services as well as allowing all African countries to do business without restrictions. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation, Liberata Mulamula said this in Dar es Salaam yesterday during the Africa Day 58th anniversary at the Julius Nyerere International Conference Centre (JNICC).
Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS), a specialised container operator in the country’s largest sea port Dar es Salaam, is seeing an increase in shipping activities and volumes coming through Tanzania. TICTS Chief Executive Officer, Horace Hui, said improved port performance reflects progress in cooperation with the government and the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) to modernise operations at the terminal. In April 2021 TICTS invested almost 5bn/- (2.0 million US dollars) to relocate three old ship-to-shore gantry cranes at the Dar es Salaam port, which were decommissioned by the TPA. That created additional berth length at the quayside allowing 3 vessels to berth at the same time and therefore increasing the annual handling capacity by almost 100,000 TEU’s.
Revised warehousing rule good for supply chain – KAM (The Star, Kenya)
The lifting of restrictions on the use of customs bonded warehouses in the country will help stabilise the supply of imported goods, local manufactures have affirmed. In a gazette notice dated April 15, 2021, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) revised an earlier order issued in May 2020, widened the scope of goods that were not eligible for customs bonded warehouses. A customs bonded warehouse is a warehouse licensed by the commissioner of customs for the storage of goods imported, into the region, pending the payment of duties. The 2020 decision had an impact on about 17 types of products, which had been locked out of the warehousing system with importers forced to pay duty upon arrival of goods into the country.
“Warehousing ensures continuous production as raw materials are kept within the country rather than imported when required,” KAM chief executive Phyllis Wakiaga told the Star. She said lifting the restrictions is critical in stabilising the supply of imported finished goods and raw material, a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the global supply chain.
CSOs react to proposed 2021/22 budget (The Independent Uganda)
Uganda’s newly proposed budget may not efficiently deliver services to the citizens, according to the Civil Society Organisations that do work on the budget. Speaking at a half day pre-budget dialogue on May 18 in Kampala, Mukunda said, the alignment of the new budget is at 61.9% less than the 70% benchmark set by the National Planning Authority. He also stated that the inadequate financing to local governments and all other sectors will, as has been the norm, affect effective service delivery to citizens distorting government efforts to uplift the welfare of citizens. He added that, there is need to ensure that all eligible taxpayers pay their fair share of taxes to enable government raise the much needed revenue to finance development. This comes just a few weeks Parliament approved a Shs44.7 trillion budget for the 2021/2022 financial year.
Rwanda extends passport phase out (The East African)
Rwanda on Tuesday extended the deadline for phasing out old passports by one year. The country is phasing out the old passports, and replacing them with the biometric East African e-passports. Around 100,000 passports were going to expire in the next one month. The announcement comes as many Rwandans abroad have been unable to travel back home to acquire new passports due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. The Machine Readable Passports will be replaced by the new East African e-Passports that have been in use since June 2019. Users of the old passports were given a two-year grace period to replace them with the East African e-passports.
New coffee fund to cushion farmers from falling prices (Business Daily)
Coffee farmers will be cushioned from extremely low prices if Parliament approves a proposed law aimed at cheering production of the crop. The State-sponsored Bill proposes the establishment of a Coffee Stabilisation Fund (CSF) to compensate profit margins for farmers whenever prices of the commodity plummet sharply. “There is established a Fund to be known as the Coffee Stabilisation Fund which shall be managed by the Board,” reads the Bill sponsored by Majority Leader in the National Assembly Amos Kimunya.”The Board shall apply the monies received into the Fund to income and price stabilisation and any investment that furthers the objective of stabilising the prices paid to farmers,” it reads.
The Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has said that the federal government through the Council, is working on some short and medium term priorities and initiatives that would ease the export processes in Nigeria enable the country to reap the full benefit of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). As part of the priorities, the Council said it is working with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to promote the use of alternative ports around the country, as well as working on construction of domestic export warehouses and common facility process centres for many of the export commodities. Olusegun Awolowo, CEO, NEPC, stated these yesterday at a webinar with a theme “AfCFTA: Revamping Nigeria’s Infrastructure for Global Trade”, organised by Arbiterz Media Limited, saying that most of the projects and initiatives would be completed and ready for take-off in the next six months.
Senior government officials from Mauritius convened on 20th May to prepare a comprehensive and country-driven assessment of Mauritius’s progress in realising Agenda 2063, the continent’s blueprint for inclusive growth and sustainable development. The two-day workshop organised by the African Union Commission (AUC) and African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) is part of a series of country and regional trainings to develop the Second Continental Progress Report on Agenda 2063 to be presented at the 36th African Union Heads of State and Government Summit in February 2022. The Report is an innovative mechanism to track implementation of the fifty-year roadmap, highlighting areas where progress has been made and areas where challenges remain.
Mauritius’ best strategy for economic recovery post-pandemic includes both temporary support to firms and households, and comprehensive reforms to address pre-existing structural challenges, says the World Bank’s latest economic analysis for the country. The newly-released Mauritius Country Economic Memorandum, Through the Eye of a Perfect Storm – Coming Back Stronger from the COVID-19 Crisis, says the COVID-19 crisis presents policy makers with an opportunity to confront long-standing challenges. “The current crisis brought to the fore the need to address long standing challenges to inclusive growth – unlocking investment, restoring competitiveness, maintaining inclusiveness, and doing more with fewer public resources,” noted Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank Country Director for Mauritius, Mozambique, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles. “This is the time to accelerate the recovery and re-emerge from the storm stronger than before with the adoption of a new series of reforms.”
UK-Liberia Chamber of Commerce Brainstorm On Trade, Investments (FrontPageAfrica)
The Liberia Business Association (LIBA) and the United Kingdom-Liberia Chamber of Commerce, have brainstormed on trade and investments that could help boost the Liberian economy that is struggling for improvement. Speaking via the Internet at the signing of a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday, March 25, 2021, the Director of Communication and External Affairs of the UK-LIBERIA Chamber of Commerce, Wofai Samuel, elaborated that the agreement seeks to promote education, health, agriculture and other useful businesses that could help to elevate the Liberian economy. According to her, the agreement also highlights collaboration and partnership between the Liberia Business Association and members of the UK-Liberia Chamber of Commerce that could benefit the Liberian Government and its people who are eagered for huge and sustainable investments that might augment their living standards.
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has stated that for Africa to have a post-pandemic economic recovery, it needs to focus on fiscal stimulus and policies geared towards reviving the services sector. The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation disclosed this at the UBA Africa Day event themed: “Africa to the world” on Tuesday, May 25th, 2021.
“First and foremost, is to solve the health problem in Africa. The next few actions on short term economic side include more fiscal stimulus into our economies. She added that for Africa to recover, the conversation on debt restructuring is important, as it gives African economies fiscal space to breathe and to enable investment, not only on the health side but also on the economic side, leading to recovery.
Dr Okonjo-Iweala added that Africa needs to revive the services sector as many of the countries depend on tourism, logistic/aviation. “How to get those industries revived, using these resources is important to get them going,” she said. The WTO DG stated that Africa must diversify its economies in order to key into the advantages that the AfCFTA provides.
Accelerating AfCFTA implementation key for Africa’s recovery (New Business Ethiopia)
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) says it will continue to work closely with its member States, the African Union Commission and other key stakeholders towards the effective implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). AfCFTA is expected to deepen and expand intra-African trade and help the continent build forward better in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Responding to Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau’s statement announcing funding of $15.2 million to the ECA’s African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, said the AfCFTA provided an excellent policy framework for Africa to build inclusive and resilient economies post-COVID-19.
African legislators discuss Covid-19 recovery, AfCFTA (The New Times)
The Parliament of Rwanda is hosting, from May 25 to 28, in Kigali, the 12th Conference of Presidents of Assemblies, and the Branches of the Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie’s Africa Region to discuss issues including recovery from Covid-19 pandemic. According to a press release issued on May 24, about 90 participants, including the Presidents of parliamentary assemblies and members of parliaments in the African region will take part in this conference. The President of the Chamber of Deputies of Rwanda, Donatille Mukabalisa underlined that “the conference will be an excellent framework for discussing, among other things, the political, social and health situation in the countries of the French-speaking African region, the contribution of Parliaments to the post-Covid-19 recovery as well as to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).”
African Continental Free Trade Area: A pipe dream or silver bullet? (Daily Maverick)
The continent’s import dependence and colonial trade patterns are reflected in traffic movements — trucks laden with minerals and other raw materials heading for the sea, returning either empty or loaded with imports. This is the reality that faces Africa as it unrolls its flagship project, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which started trading under the agreement in January 2021. The initiative brings together a potential market of more than a billion people and has a lofty ambition of increasing intra-African trade from under 20% currently to more than 30% in just a few years by attracting investment into manufacturing, agriculture and other sectors and building regional value chains.
Intra-African trade is well below that of other regions such as Europe (68%) and Asia (59%) despite years of trade facilitation, the existence of a raft of free trade areas and customs unions and high growth in many economies. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, trade within Africa is of a better quality than its trade with the rest of the world. The former has higher manufacturing (46.3%), and medium- and high-technology content (27.1%) as well as more product diversity than the latter. By extension, therefore, the free trade area can help African countries transform by expanding domestic productive capacity, enabling them to move up the value chain and diversify local and export production.
African Ministers of Finance, Economic Planning, and Integration and Central Bank Governors have adopted rich recommendations that would enable the continent realise the vision to have regional value chains that boost intra-African trade and enhance Africa’s share of global trade. The recommendations reinforce the need for improved business and investment climate especially for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to promote innovation through start-ups, investing in innovative business models and production revolution that diversify Africa’s exports through sustainable value chains.
At the just concluded Ministerial and Governors meeting of the Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration meeting, convened to focus on “Developing integrated and complementary value chains for sustainable recovery and reinforcing operationalization of the AfCFTA”, the Ministers and Governors also deliberated on effective ways to strengthen domestic resource mobilization through continental capital markets, functional African financial institutions, and conclusively addressing the illicit financial flows to accumulate resources to be utilized in accelerating the continental socio-economic transformation under development blueprint of Agenda 2063.
NEPAD has potential to transform African economies – Kenyatta (Capital Business)
President Uhuru Kenyatta has said the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) holds immense potential to transform African economies. The President said NEPAD, which was adopted in 2002 by the African Union as a continental socio-economic development framework, should be used to consolidate expertise and other resources needed to uplift Africa’s economy. “NEPAD is an important tool that can help mobilize resources for the continent to enable it achieve tremendous growth in all sectors,” the President said. “If we continue working together, we will enhance our capacity to handle future pandemics just as we are doing with Covid-19, and are managing to flatten the curve.”
“This year’s Africa Day highlights arts, culture and heritage as levers for building the Africa we want,” Secretary-General António Guterres said in his commemorative message. COVID-19 has triggered a global recession that has “exposed deep-seated inequalities and vulnerabilities”, according to the UN chief – endangering hard-won development gains throughout Africa and beyond. “On this Africa Day, I renew my call to developed nations to stand in solidarity with Africa”, concluded the Secretary-General.
Currently, there is a “profound imbalance” in vaccine distribution among countries, with the latest figures revealing that African countries have received just two per cent of vaccines, said the top UN official. To end the pandemic, support economic recovery and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he stressed the need for “equitable and universal access to COVID-19 vaccines”. The UN chief upheld that Africa Day can “can provide a strong foundation for inclusive economic progress as the continent strives to meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic”.
African leaders urged to support SMMEs (Cape Business News)
Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, has called on leaders on the continent to create an environment that will allow innovative Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) and entrepreneurs to flourish and access regional, as well as global opportunities. “This will contribute to local economic development, with local innovation often creating solutions that are relevant for our local circumstances and challenges. Often, such solutions can resonate globally too,” Ndabeni-Abrahams said. Addressing the virtual roundtable discussion with Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministers on Tuesday, the Minister said local innovation and SMME development can lead to an increase in the continent’s local intellectual property, higher value employment creation, and increased local and regional investment and production, as well as exports. “It is critical to our future as Africa to find ways to unlock the potential of local innovation,” the Minister said.
Kagame makes case for pan-African medicines agency (The New Times)
President Paul Kagame has called on African countries to speed up the process to establish the African Medicines Agency in the course of the year by signing and ratifying the treaty. Kagame was speaking Tuesday, while chairing the virtual 38th Session of the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee on. Kagame is the current Chairperson of the Committee. He said that the body which, is expected to play a regulatory role, will be central to Africa’s ambitions to produce safe and effective pharmaceuticals and vaccines for African citizens. Kagame also called on members to leverage the agency to address member states’ key pain points including resource mobilisation.
On Africa Day, the continent has been hailed as an important next growth frontier, with the potential to be an innovation and technology powerhouse. This was the word of Bocar Ba, member of the UN’s Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development and CEO of SAMENA Telecommunications Council, during a virtual high-level roundtable discussion this morning to commemorate this year’s Africa Day. The roundtable, hosted to by the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, was a celebration of the annual day, which commemorates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity, now known as the African Union. ICT ministers from three SADC countries, and industry experts, joined by minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, gathered to unpack the key strategic challenges and opportunities facing African countries in the ICT sector, and the related impact on the broader economy.
The African Centre for Statistics (ACS) at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Tuesday hosted a webinar on the need to improve relationship between producers of statistics and the media in order to enhance end user experience. “Data generated by producers of official statistics are critical for planning, decision making, monitoring and evaluation of public policies. The media, therefore, is an essential vehicle to ensure that such data is transmitted and shared with all stakeholders,” said ACS Director, Oliver Chinganya.
The East African Community Secretary General, Hon (Dr.) Peter Mathuki has pledged to put institutional strengthening and capacity building across all sectors at the forefront of integrating South Sudan into the East African Community. “I want to assure you of my total commitment in building the capacity of your institutions and that of the people of South Sudan to ensure they are able to participate fully in the regional integration agenda,” said Dr. Mathuki during a Private Sector Dinner organized by the South Sudan Chamber of Commerce in Juba yesterday evening. The Secretary General reaffirmed that the EAC was ready to support the integration of South Sudan, and more importantly to enhance her contribution to regional trade. “We have noted that institutional strengthening and capacity building in broader sense is vital, and we shall also look into the specific critical areas that will create an enabling environment that supports implementation of the Customs Union and Common Market protocols,” said Dr. Mathuki.
Freight charges between Nairobi and Zambia increased to $7,000 (Sh757,750) from $6,000 (Sh 649,500), with transit time increasing to an average 30 days from 10-12 days. The number of containers cleared within the four-day free period declined drastically at the Inland Container Depot, Nairobi (ICDN).Subsequently, about 60 per cent of cargo cleared through the ICDN incurred storage charges amounting to an average of Sh9 million to Sh11 million in storage charges weekly, SCEA data shows. The survey dubbed “Impact of Covid-19 on Transport and Logistics Sector in East Africa” however points out to a decrease in the road transport rate from Dar es Salaam Port to Rwanda (Kigali), from $3000 (Sh324,750 )in January last year to $2700 (Sh 292,275), in September.
The Committee of Ministers responsible for Disaster Risk Management of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will on 26th May, 2021 hold a virtual meeting to review Disaster Risk Management (DRM) policies, strategies, and legislation. The main objectives of the meeting is to review progress on the implementation of the Decisions of the SADC council of Ministers and consider progress in development of the SADC Disaster Preparedness and Response Mechanism. Amongst others, Ministers will also review progress on the implementation of the SADC Disaster Preparedness and Response Strategy and Fund 2016-2030 as well as the implementation of other programmes and interventions aimed to reduce disaster risks and enhance the resilience of the region’s communities.
The scale of the resurgence of the pandemic on the sub-continent could set off another round of growth contractions across the world. Food prices are set to soar across Africa as 11% of food imports are from India and Brazil – another COVID disrupted food producer. Critically, 25% of Africa’s rice comes from India. But even more devastating is the freeze in vaccine availability. The African rebound, like the global rebound, is linked to effective vaccinations. These kinds of black swans are what we must be focus on today to protect growth, lives and livelihoods. Africa is still in response and emergency mode. Africa has responded to the crisis through innovation.
EAC technical team meet in Arusha over EPA deal (Dailynews)
East African Community sectoral council on trade, industry and investment is meeting in Arusha to deliberate on implementing the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union (EU) and the EAC, the deal which remain unsigned since 2016. EPA has been postponed for several reason including some member state not having ratified the document. But a media communique released by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, detailed that the experts were meeting to discuss among other things the EPA deal. They are meeting to discuss implementation of previous decisions, a report from the EAC council of Finance Ministers, recommendations, report from the finance ministers, and reports from special committees on customs and trade sectors, the communique said. “Other issues being discussed are the implementation of the decision on the EAC-EU EPA, East African standards committee report, competition issues, investment industry committee report and other businesses,” it read in parts.
Joe Biden Must Prioritize Digital Transformation in Africa (The National Interest)
The Biden administration has a full foreign policy dance card, from rebuilding alliances to reasserting U.S. leadership in multilateral institutions. Engaging actively with African nations must be an important pillar of this agenda, and it was encouraging to see President Biden address the February African Union Summit. As we begin to emerge from the pandemic and countries prioritize rebuilding their economies, leveraging the potential of digital technologies will be critical. Just as Africa needs to share in the distribution of life-saving vaccines, the continent needs a place at the digital table.
African entrepreneurs have already risen to the challenge, creating innovative digital solutions to pandemic-induced challenges. Their efforts could be super-charged by investments in an enabling environment and digital infrastructure that deliver lower-cost data and broader access. Over twenty-five African governments set up e-learning tools for students affected by school closures and, according to the WHO, Africa accounts for almost 13 percent of all new or modified technology created to mitigate the coronavirus.
But it’s not enough. While there are hotspots of digital brilliance across the continent, Africa needs digital transformation that transcends all sectors. That transformation will require a sound policy framework, as well as both hard and soft infrastructure as outlined in studies like Google’s Digital Sprinters.
Opening on October 1, the world’s greatest show will showcase the African continent’s vast potential, including its innovations, business opportunities, art, natural wonders, and cultural heritage. Organisers said this is the “first time in the 170-year history of World Expos that every African nation will participate with its own pavilion. Africa’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai is a testament to the long-standing friendship between the UAE and Africa – a relationship that is based on mutual respect and a shared vision”. Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Africa is the future – not just for Africans, but for the entire world. The youngest, fastest-growing continent on the planet is brimming with promise, and the global community has a shared responsibility to ensure it grasps that opportunity for the good of us all.”
Dr Levi Uche Madueke, Commissioner General of the African Union at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “With our rich natural resources, ingenuity and youthful population, there are many potential areas for growth. Africa has a lot to offer. It is time for us to reach out to the world, for the world to understand us and see how they can collaborate with us.”
Africa’s energy transition dilemma (The Africa Report)
Facing pressure from the public and Western regulators, as well as from shareholders and financial partners, oil industry majors, especially those based in Europe – chiefly Shell, BP, Total and Eni – have initiated an unprecedented transformation by voluntarily reducing their crude oil activities in favour of “greener” forms of energy. This may be good news for environmental activists, but not so for Africa’s oil-producing countries that benefit from the tax revenues and jobs the industry brings. In the global race to reduce carbon emissions, Africa is a bystander rather than an active participant. In addition, more than half of its oil production is for export.
Through tailored partnerships with cutting edge solution providers, ICC Trade Now will scale up trade finance solutions, empower small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and provide financiers with new investment opportunities. International trade is a key driver of growth and innovation for SMEs worldwide – yet over 45% of SMEs see their requests for trade finance rejected and often struggle to find alternative sources of funding. Without adequate access to capital, SMEs are effectively cut off from international markets and unable to grow their operations to meet international demand. Coupled with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, SMEs desperately need short-term liquidity and access to international trade to survive the ongoing economic crisis and thrive once the worst effects of the crisis have subsided. Building on extensive market research, ICC is taking bold action to ensure that SMEs worldwide have the right tools and access to capital to trade now. ICC Trade Now will connect SMEs to innovative service providers who can help finance their trade operations and seize new business opportunities globally
Following the unprecedented falls and subsequent rebounds in 2020, growth of real gross domestic product (GDP) in the OECD area slowed to 0.3% in the first quarter of 2021, down from 1.0% in the previous quarter, according to provisional estimates. This slowdown is partly related to the strengthening of COVID-19 containment measures in some countries in early 2021. For the Major Seven economies as a whole, GDP growth slowed to 0.4% in the first quarter of 2021 (from 0.9% in the previous quarter), with quite divergent patterns across countries.
IFC highlights challenges for domestic food safety in Africa (Food Safety News)
Attendees of IFC’s first virtual food safety event have heard how Africa is tackling the issue of safe food domestically. The 9th International Finance Corporation (IFC) International Food Safety Forum covered domestic and trade issues, as well as food safety culture over two days in May and is still available to watch. IFC is part of the World Bank Group. In her opening comments, Jumoke Jagun-Dokunmu, IFC’s regional director for Eastern Africa, said discussions will cover the potential for increased investment that can unlock business opportunities while increasing food safety for people across the continent. “We believe that improved food safety is helping clients meet regional and export market requirements, attract investment, realize cost savings and strengthen their brands. So far, IFC’s food safety advisory program has helped over 200 clients attract $607 million in investment and generate $709 million in new sales,” she said.