tralac Daily News
South African Industrial Hub Has Found a Faster Route to the Sea (BloombergQuint)
A new inland transit facility between South Africa and Mozambique could slash transport times between the Maputo port and the region’s industrial and business hub.DP World’s new dry port depot in Komatipoort, a town on South Africa’s eastern border with Mozambique, operates as a bonded container facility, allowing shippers to clear customs quicker when they arrive from the Maputo port that’s a 100-kilometer (62-mile) drive away. That way, a container can reach the Gauteng province with South Africa’s financial hub, Johannesburg, and capital, Pretoria, within a day of it arriving in Maputo, the Dubai-based port operator said. Durban harbor, which handles 69% of South Africa’s maritime imports, has struggled to meet demand and cut transit times, with inbound containers spending an average of three days in the port, and those for export almost double that time.
One of the major determinants of the strength of the short-term economic recovery after Covid-19 will be the effectiveness of pandemic containment measures. South Africa intends to strengthen cooperation with the Asia and Middle East region in containing further Covid-19 outbreaks. As part of this strategy, we are aggressively pursuing opportunities towards the production of vaccines in Africa. South Africa, alongside India, has submitted a proposal to the World Trade Organization for a temporary waiver of certain rules in the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (Trips) agreement to facilitate wider access to technologies needed to produce vaccines and medicines, especially to the poorer countries. We are pleased with the support of the international community that we have received. A temporary waiver will allow the use of intellectual property, to share technology transfer, to produce vaccines and therapeutics, lower prices and expedite distribution to everyone, everywhere. Effective and comprehensive global vaccination is vital to ending the pandemic.
Gas a bridge for South Africa to become a low-carbon economy (Engineering News)
South Africa will need to use gas as a “very solid bridge” to ensure a just and inclusive transition to a low-carbon economy, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) Business School professor Maurice Radebe has said. The feedstock’s acting as a bridge, he explained during a presentation at the Enlit Africa conference on June 8, is feasible when one considers that gas has 55% less emissions than coal.
The South African BRICS Youth Association (SABYA) on Tuesday called for active participation by young people in multilateral institutions like BRICS, the African Union and United Nations, saying it would like to hear more voices of the youth in the local, regional and global institutions. “We seek to maximize youth participation in BRICS and other international engagements. We hope to build a cohort of policy-makers and influencers who are key players in creating a world free of internalized, interpersonal, and institutional oppression in strategic platforms such as BRICS, G20, UN, AU and others,” said founder and executive chairperson for SAYBA Raymond Matlala. “If we can get our youth to meaningfully participate in critical issues that affect the youth globally, then we can create a network of young diplomats to tackle challenges in making the world a better place.”
Kebs approves new code of conduct for miraa trade (Business Daily)
The Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has approved a new code of conduct for the miraa sector to promote quality standards during harvesting, packaging, and loading. The Kenya Code of Practice for the miraa (khat) standards requires growers, propagators, aggregators, transporters, shippers and cargo handlers to observe hygiene practices, ensure sanitary operations and comply with food packaging requirements. Others include keeping relevant records and labelling system for traceability as well as upholding worker’s health, safety and welfare issues. “The code of practice will ensure hygienic production and handling from the farms to final distribution channels,” Bernard Njiraini, Kebs managing director said.
Kenya said Tuesday it will intensify efforts in preventing illegal fishing along the coastal strip. Francis Owino, the principal secretary in the State Department for Fisheries, Aquaculture and the Blue Economy, said that this has been achieved through acquisition of a patrol vessel, operationalizing surveillance of the command center, and training personnel and vessel automation identification system. The official noted that the country has embraced the plan of action that came from the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing which was adopted in 2009 by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Kenya became a party to the FAO Agreement on Oct. 24, 2017.
Kenya, Ethiopia one-stop border post at Moyale opens (The East African)
The much-awaited Moyale One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) on the Kenya-Ethiopia border has finally commenced operations. This means that the border regulatory officials clearing traffic, cargo and persons from both Ethiopia and Kenya will now relocate to Moyale and sit side by side on either side of the border, where they will undertake exit and entry formalities in a joint and/or sequenced manner. “Let us utilise the OSBP and explore its opportunities to facilitate trade between Ethiopia and Kenya,” said Kennedy Nyaiyo, Kenya’s head of delegation and the Secretary of Kenya’s Border Management Secretariat. “The OSBP will improve efficiency by reducing time and transport costs for businessmen, traders, tourists, transporters, and communities while crossing from one partner state to another,” said Mr Abenet Bekele, TMEA Ethiopia Deputy Country Director.
Uhuru Kenyatta urges Ethiopia to open up market for M-Pesa (The East African)
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday evening urged the Ethiopian government to consider opening up opportunities for mobile money services as part of its ongoing telecommunications liberalisation process. “Studies have shown that enhanced access to mobile financial services have a great potential to reduce poverty as more people are enabled, easier and safer savings and in effect, greatly influencing the kind of choices they make in life,” President Kenyatta said. “In Kenya, the success of M-Pesa, Africa’s, if not global, first mobile money platform, is a classic example of what possibilities lie in mobile financial services, if fully exploited,” said President Kenyatta. “Women, have particularly been empowered by these services, and are now able to participate meaningfully in the economy, alongside men. This is an area we must devote our collective efforts to as we usher in the digital economy,” he said.
The framework of an agreement is expected to speed up cooperation between Kenya and Rwanda – best friends so to speak – to improve the East African region’s competitiveness as a tourism destination. The two countries, through the Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA), Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Rwanda Chamber of Tourism (RCT), and the East African Tourism Platform have inked a partnership agreement to speed up the development of tourist and leisure business in the East African region. Under the signed agreement early this month, the partner states will collaborate to address the challenges that the East African region faces in its tourism and travel industry. The signed agreement will help to chart out and explore various solutions and initiatives that can help transform tourism and travel business, then market regional tourism offerings to potential new travelers in new source markets as well as promote East African regional travel.
MSMEs hold key to increasing Ghana’s Intra-African trade – Report (Ghanaian Times)
The future of Ghana’s increased intra-African trade under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) trade lies with Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), a new study by CUTS Ghana has found. “With MSMEs accounting for a substantial amount of economic activity in the country, the AfCFTA provides an opportunity for them to export to other African countries, thus boosting intra-African trade. MSMEs form the bedrock of economic activity in Ghana and contribute immensely to reducing unemployment rates and the general growth of the economy,” the CUTS Ghana new study said in a new study titled “Assessment of Ghanaian Private Sector Readiness for AfCFTA Implementation”.
Malawi’s Trade Ministry, in collaboration with the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), a unit of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), on Monday commenced the review and validation of the country’s African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) implementation strategy. Director of the Regional Integration and Trade Division at the ECA, Stephen Karingi, appealed to the Malawian government to create a conducive environment for the private sector, as the body to implement the strategy, to thrive by investing heavily in execution and implementation of the strategy. Mr. Karingi, who was represented by Batanai Chikwene, a Management Officer with the ATPC, said: “The government will have to provide an environment in which exporters and importers can do business and set up firms that can compete globally. The importance of mutually reinforcing fiscal, monetary, industrial and trade and trade promotion policies cannot be overemphasized.”
Zimbabwe and Zambia are working on setting up industrial joint ventures riding on the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at facilitating close collaboration between the two countries towards rejuvenating the manufacturing sector, including textiles, agriculture and agro-processing, petrochemicals, and forest-based industries. Zimbabwe’s industry and commerce minister Sekai Nzenza told regional ministers at the 4th Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Committee of Ministers of Industry last week that the joint venture efforts would assist the two sides to unlock higher economic potential in line with regional industrialisation goals.
The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) that gives Ghanaian and other African exporters access to the American market, has been extended to 2025. The American Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie Sullivan, disclosed this to Joy Business. The reason for the renewal and extension, according to the US Ambassador, is due to the high demand of Ghanaian goods and also the resolve by the US government to grant Ghanaian exporters some certainty in their exports to the US. “AGOA is in force till 2025. That gives us predictability and certain. There are 18 products that can be exported through the West African Trade Hub. We have done some capacity building to help them meet those standards. One other issue is packaging of which we are dealing with. There is a huge market for Ghanaian products and my team and I are eager to work this out,” she told host of Joy News Market Place, Charles Ayitey.
Morocco-USA trade increased fivefold since 2005 (The North Africa Post)
Trade between Morocco and the United States has increased fivefold since 2005, the year before the entry into force of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries, to reach 5 billion dollars in 2019, said, Monday in Casablanca, the Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Morocco, David Greene. This commercial dynamic has allowed the creation of thousands of jobs and contributed to the economic development of the two countries, underlined David Green at an event celebrating the 15th anniversary of the American-Moroccan Free Trade Agreement.
The African Union officially launched the African Single Electricity Market (AfSEM), the world’s largest continent-wide energy trading program meant to interconnect all 55 African Union Member States through efficient, affordable, and sustainable electricity market. The event took place on 3rd of June 2021. H.E. Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid highlighted that the African Single Electricity Market (AfSEM) is a timely response to bridge the electricity gap in Africa by optimizing the continent’s abundant renewable energy sources towards achieving 100 percent access to electricity in the continent by 2030 in line with the AU Agenda 2063 and the UN Sustainable Development Goal Number 7. “AfSEM is yet another milestone to advancing our continent’s integration agenda. Well interconnected and efficient national, regional, and continental electricity markets will further human development, enhance economic prospects of the continent leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), underpinning productive transformation, industrialization, digitalization and job creation and that is what AfSEM is meant for,” underscored Commissioner Abou-Zeid.
AfCFTA: Opportunities abound for SMEs in agric (The Nation Newspaper)
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement is one of the most ambitious regional integration efforts of the 21st Century, aimed at fostering economic transformation. Many strategies are being deployed in getting small businesses in agriculture and services, to benefit from opportunities provided through AfCFTA. Helping enterprises in Africa to build capacities, expand their market knowledge, export readiness and business linkages, are seen as key elements to the development of intra-African trade. The Pan-African Farmers’ Organisation (PAFO) said enhancing the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises(SMEs) in agribusiness to explore opportunities provided by AfCFTA could empower them to trigger transformation across the continent. Although it is a neglected sector, more than 70 per cent of the population on the continent, according to analysts are involved in the sector.
The Mastercard Foundation has announced that it will deploy $1.3 billion over the next three years in partnership with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to save the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in Africa and hasten the economic recovery of the continent. The Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative will acquire vaccines for at least 50 million people, support the delivery of vaccinations to millions more across the continent, lay the groundwork for vaccine manufacturing in Africa through a focus on human capital development, and strengthen the Africa CDC. “Ensuring equitable access and delivery of vaccines across Africa is urgent. This initiative is about valuing all lives and accelerating the economic recovery of the continent,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation. “In the process, this initiative will catalyze work opportunities in the health sector and beyond as part of our Young Africa Works strategy,” she added.
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is supporting the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) to harmonise standards in the automotive sector in Africa in order to facilitate an accelerated development of the sector across the continent. The harmonised standards are to be adopted by individual African countries, facilitating cross-border trade, under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). There are 1432 international automotive standards worldwide largely developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation and the American Society for Testing and Materials. To initiate the process of developing African Automotive standards, ARSO prioritised what are referred to as “Whole Vehicle Standards” encompassing motor vehicle components, accessories, and replacement parts.
The ECOWAS Commission organized an online meeting of Ministers responsible for Infrastructure, Transport, Telecommunication/ICT, Energy and Water Resources sectors of ECOWAS Member States on June 1, 2021. The objective of the Meeting was to validate the ECOWAS Regional Infrastructure Masterplan study report and to recommend it for adoption by ECOWAS Council of Ministers. The Masterplan is the strategic framework for regional infrastructure development to meet projected economic growth and development needs of the ECOWAS region for the horizon 2020-2045.
Kisumu port, rail gives hope to industries and regional trade (The Star, Kenya)
The revival of the old Metre Gauge Rail to Kisumu and the link to Mombasa through the SGR is expected to boost trade in the region and with neighbouring countries. Local traders and industries are hoping to benefit from the projects with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and TradeMark East Africa terming the infrastructure as a “game-changer”. It includes the upgraded Kisumu Port expected to boost exports and imports through the lake transport network mainly between Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. “The railway line shall increase the efficiency of movement of raw materials to industries in Rift Valley, Western and Nyanza. Additionally, it shall speed up the transportation of finished goods from the factory to the markets,” chief executive Phyllis Wakiaga told the Star. The port will enhance market access in countries surrounding Lake Victoria. “We hope to see increased volumes of goods transported through Lake Victoria, into the East African Community markets,” said Wakiaga.
Six East African states are reportedly set to explore the possibility of using central bank digital currencies (CBDC) as an alternative to their shared payment system. The six countries, which are all members of the East Africa Community (EAC) trading bloc, are hoping this alternative will create a pathway that leads to the attainment of “a single currency for the region by 2024.” The revelations of the EAC’s digital currency plan follow the bloc secretariat’s “consultancy call for a feasibility study” on the planned upgrade of the East African Payment System (EAPS). Since its launch in 2014, the EAPS has failed to function properly due to member states’ distrust of each other’s currency.
The Secretary General of the East African Community, Hon. (Dr.) Peter Mathuki has taken over from SADC Executive Secretary, Dr. Stergomena Tax, the Chairmanship of the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Task Force (TTF) for the next one year. Making his remarks during the hand-over ceremony held virtually, Dr. Mathuki commended Dr. Tax for her exemplary leadership over the past year. He specifically noted the commitment and dedication exhibited by Dr. Tax especially when the implementation of agreed activities was impeded by the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr. Mathuki pledged to ensure continued collaboration amongst the RECs for their mutual benefit, particularly in enabling the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) enter into force by championing Member/Partner States who have not ratified the TFTA Agreement to do so in the near future.
Kenya and EAC sued over $2.34b IMF loan (The East African)
Kenya’s Attorney-General Justice Kihara Kariuki and the EAC Secretary-General Peter Mathuki have been named as first and second respondents respectively in a case filed by two Kenyan organisations at the East African Court of Justice. In an application before the EACJ, the Peasants League Ltd Company (PLLC) and the Kenya Abolition Debt Network (KABN) have sued the government and the East African Community over Kenya’s International Monetary Union loans. Kenya is accused of failing to observe the public debt ceiling as provided for in the EAC Monetary Union in its decision to borrow $2.34 billion (Ksh255.9 billion) from the IMF in April.
Climate change and the future of development financing across Africa (Ventures Africa)
One of the trends in recent years has been the shrinking of funds available to developing countries. Funding available to Africa has shrunk to $45 billion in 2020, down 10 per cent from 2019 according to the World Investment Report 2020. This is projected to drop even further owing to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses globally. One of the challenges limiting foreign direct investment is the perceived lack of equity contribution by local players who seem insistent on pitching these projects primarily on the grounds of being able to access development funds. To combat this, most DFIs have aligned their strategies towards backing projects that align with SDGs and are seen as bankable while representing an equity contribution from the proposing organisations and tying into the development agenda of the sponsoring agency.
A year and a half since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global economy is poised to stage its most robust post-recession recovery in 80 years in 2021. But the rebound is expected to be uneven across countries, as major economies look set to register strong growth even as many developing economies lag. Growth among emerging market and developing economies is expected to accelerate to 6% this year, helped by increased external demand and higher commodity prices. However, the recovery of many countries is constrained by resurgences of COVID-19, uneven vaccination, and a partial withdrawal of government economic support measures. Excluding China, growth is anticipated to unfold at a more modest 4.4% pace. In the longer term, the outlook for emerging market and developing economies will likely be dampened by the lasting legacies of the pandemic – erosion of skills from lost work and schooling; a sharp drop in investment; higher debt burdens; and greater financial vulnerabilities. Growth among this group of economies is forecast to moderate to 4.7% in 2022 as governments gradually withdraw policy support.
As the world’s first global freight loyalty scheme, WLP offers members access to three tiers of benefits – silver, gold and platinum – provided by a range of WLP partners including airport authorities, port operators, customs services and others that help to make supply chains more efficient. The decision of the Kenyan International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA) to join the WLP as the first Partner in Kenya lays the foundations for the launch of Kenya as a hub for East Africa. With improving infrastructure networks and close trade ties across East and Central Africa, Kenya is well placed to support the engagement of companies across the region; and the WLP continues to work with other potential partners in Kenya as well as freight forwarder associations and chambers of commerce in neighboring countries to bring them into the network. The South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF) has also joined the WLP as a partner. These two developments follow the news earlier in June that Ethiopia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Burkina Faso and Guinea have all joined the WLP. With these new entrants to the program, African and global traders will have easier east-west access to trade routes, while also capitalizing on key trading centers across Southern and Eastern Africa.
Although the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per capita have been lower in least developed countries (LDCs) than expected, the socio-economic fallout for their populations has been dire, pushing an estimated 32 million more people into extreme poverty in 2020. Women in these countries have borne the brunt of the crisis, as they work mainly in the hardest-hit sectors, such as tourism, horticulture and textiles. A new study by UNCTAD and the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) warns that the gender gap in income and overall well-being in LDCs will continue to worsen unless COVID-19 recovery efforts adopt a gender perspective. “As policymakers urgently try to restart their economies, they should ensure that both women and men receive the necessary means and support to recover from this crisis,” UNCTAD Acting Secretary-General Isabelle Durant said. The study, Trade and Gender Linkages: An analysis of Least Developed Countries, provides recommendations to help LDC governments adopt trade-related polices that are more gender responsive.
Although trade is a source of income, jobs, and opportunities, it generates 8 billion tons of climate-heating carbon emissions every year. In 2020, global CO2 emissions fell by 5.8% as measures to curb the COVID-19 pandemic locked down many populations and economic sectors. But a steep uptick is expected as global trade rebounds from the crisis. The second edition of the United Nations Trade Forum will shine a light on the actions needed for an inclusive and green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has highlighted trade’s pivotal role in the global provision of goods and services. Governments have used trade policy to positively respond to the coronavirus crisis, which also exposed many fault lines and exacerbated pre-existing vulnerability and inequality.
A new global analysis of greenhouse-gas emissions from food systems says that such emissions have been systematically underestimated – and points to major opportunities to cut them. The authors estimate that activities connected to food production and consumption produced the equivalent of 16 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2018 – one third of the human-produced total, and an 8 percent increase since 1990. A companion policy paper highlights the need to integrate research with efforts to reduce emissions. The papers, developed jointly by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, NASA, New York University and experts at Columbia University, are part of a special issue of Environmental Research Letters on sustainable food systems.
“Two decades is too long for ending subsidies that finance the relentless overexploitation of our ocean. Governments need to deliver a WTO fisheries subsidies agreement now,” DG Okonjo-Iweala said. “Members have made real progress but we’re not there yet. Next month, trade ministers from around the world will meet virtually to look at these negotiations. We must seize this opportunity to narrow the remaining gaps,” she said. “WTO rules on fishing subsidies will help to prevent the collapse of global fish stocks. We need these rules for the sake of the environment, food security and livelihoods worldwide. It’s time to turn the tide in favour of ocean health and a globally sustainable blue economy,” she said.
Despite limitations imposed by the pandemic, 216 activities were carried out by the WTO Secretariat in 2020, benefiting 15,000 participants across the world. They included both e-learning activities that participants follow individually and group courses held virtually. Entitled “Adapting to Digital Learning – WTO Technical Assistance during the Pandemic”, the report looks at the evolution of technical assistance management and resources in 2020, developments in the training curriculum and countries’ participation in the WTO’s programmes. It also analyses the inclusiveness and effectiveness of such activities.
EU proposes a strong multilateral trade response to the COVID-19 pandemic (Modern Diplomacy)
The Commission welcomes today’s provisional political agreement between the European Parliament and the Council on the Regulation governing the EU Digital COVID Certificate. This means that the certificate (previously called the Digital Green Certificate) is well on track to be ready end of June, as planned. Today’s agreement has been reached in record time just two months after the Commission’s proposal. Work still remains. At EU level, the system will be ready in the next few days. It is now crucial that all Member States press ahead with the roll-out of their national systems to ensure that the system can be up and running as soon as possible. This is what EU citizens rightly expect. Today’s agreement has demonstrated that with the commitment and cooperation of all, the EU Digital COVID Certificate will be available on time.”
Emissions from emerging and developing economies (EMDEs) are projected to grow by 5 gigatons over the next two decades. In contrast, emissions are projected to fall by 2 Gt in advanced economies, and to plateau in China, the IEA said in a report, Financing Clean Energy Transitions in EMDEs. “By the end of the 2020s, annual capital spending on clean energy in these economies needs to expand by more than seven times, to above $1 trillion, in order to put the world on track to reach net-zero emissions by 2050,” the IEA said. Emerging economies in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East include the world’s least developed countries as well as many middle-income economies, emerging giants of global demand such as India and Indonesia, and some of the world’s major energy producers. These economies account for two-thirds of the world’s population but only one-fifth of investment in clean energy and one-tenth of global financial wealth.
Global supply chain squeeze, soaring costs threaten solar energy boom (Engineering News)
Global solar power developers are slowing down project installations because of a surge in costs for components, labor, and freight as the world economy bounces back from the coronavirus pandemic, according to industry executives and analysts interviewed by Reuters. The situation suggests slower growth for the zero-emissions solar energy industry at a time world governments are trying to ramp up their efforts to fight climate change, and marks a reversal for the sector after a decade of falling costs.