tralac Daily News
South Africa’s citrus industry, which looks set to export a record 160 million cartons this season, has its first shipment of produce heading to the Philippines. Commodity exports, grown or mined, are leading the economic recovery. The first fruit destined for the Philippines was inspected last week in Durban, Justin Chadwick, CEO of the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa, said in his weekly newsletter. “While export volumes will probably be modest as we test the market and develop the demand for South African citrus, the goal is to build up to 20,000 tonnes exports to the Philippines – this will secure much needed jobs in South Africa, and lead to additional foreign exchange earnings,” Chadwick said.
Informal sector boosts growth (New Era)
The trade ministry is working on a policy to develop the informal sector and transform it to contribute more to the mainstream economy. Through this, it is hoped that the informal sector can boost economic growth that has been double decimated by both a recession and a pandemic. Trade minister Lucia Iipumbu on Friday said her ministry is set to implement policies and programmes to enhance business growth, including a National Informal Economy and Entrepreneurship Development Policy, that is currently in the pipeline. “The policy’s objective is to develop the informal economy and its participants into the commercially viable and mainstream economy sector, which could contribute to the economic growth of our country and its inhabitant in a sustainable manner,” said Iipumbu at the inauguration of the Omaheke Innovation Village, also known as ‘O-Space’.
Dr. Muda Yusuf, Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries (LCCI) has disclosed that a lack of inter-agency regulatory framework is affecting the implementation of international trade in Nigeria. He disclosed this in Lagos at the Primetime Reporters 3rd Annual Lecture and Awards with the theme: “Assessing Nigeria’s Readiness to Maximize the Gains of AfCFTA.” He listed cost-effective power supply, cost of credit (interest rates), expanding trade finance/micro credits and finance for Small and Medium Enterprises Development (MSME) as some of the problems faced by stakeholders. He added that multiple taxations by government, high level of insecurity, quality of trade infrastructure, long-standing problem of transshipment, piracy, smuggling, and other injurious trade practices by non-African trading partners also contribute to international trade roadblocks in the country.
Kenya banking on Africa trade deal to boost Lamu port (The Star, Kenya)
Kenya hopes to ride on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to secure business for the Lamu Port. It targets to use the gazetted Special Economic Zone (SEZ) near the new port as a value addition centre for agricultural commodities among them tea and coffee, key exports for Kenya. The government is also targeting export of avocados and livestock with factories for value addition in canned fruits, vegetable and juices expected to be set up at the SEZ.
Potato imports by fast-food firms to attract 30pc duty (Business Daily)
Fast food franchises operating in Kenya have been slapped with a 30 percent duty on imports of potatoes used to make French fries, a move that will significantly raise the cost of the end product. Major fast food joints rely on imports from as far as Egypt and South Africa for the potatoes they use as most that are grown locally do not meet required standards. Last week, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani introduced the duty that will apply to crop coming outside the East African Community, arguing that it’s meant to safeguard farmers. Kenya has been relying on imports of certified tubers to meet the growing demand for clean seeds for potato farmers with the view to boosting production of the country’s second most popular staple food.
Tanzania Prepares To Adopt Digital Currency (Taarifa Rwanda)
Equity Bank Rwanda Launches Payment Card usage campaign with Visa. Equity Bank Rwanda has today launched an exciting Visa Card Promotion that seeks to promote usage and payments of goods and services. The campaign will see customers win exciting prizes ranging from Household Appliances, Brand New Laptops, Supermarket Vouchers, Travel Vouchers, and many more exciting monthly prizes. Launch the new Campaign, Hannington Namara, the Managing Director, said “We are excited to launch this promotion that has been designed to create awareness about the different types of cards as well as the different benefits that customers get when they choose Equity Bank Visa Cards. This promotion will go a step further and reward those who use their cards to make payments both Online and in the Store.”
Uganda’s imports from Tanzania surge (Daily Monitor)
Uganda’s imports from Tanzania almost doubled in April, signaling an increased reliance on East Africa’s second largest economy. According to the Bank of Uganda monthly performance report, Uganda, during April , imported goods worth $125m (Shs443b), representing an increase of 25 per cent. This was up from $92.9m worth of goods imported in March, which according to the United Nations (Comtrade) database on international trade, contributed to a cumulative import bill of $743.68m (Shs2.6 trillion) from Tanzania during 2020. Tanzania remains one of Uganda’s strategic trade partners. However, the two countries have had trade challenges in the last two years, with Tanzania blocking some of Uganda’s exports including sugar.
New Zambian rules to hit Tanzania transport firms (The Citizen)
New regulations in Zambia meant to empower locals could have a devastating impact on Tanzanian transporters, it has been revealed. The Citizens Economic Empowerment (Transportation of Heavy and Bulk Commodities by Road) (Reservation) Regulations, 2021 seek to operationalise the southern African country’s the Citizens Economic Empowerment Act, 2006. Currently, the Tunduma-Nakonde border post is Tanzania’s busiest crossing, being the gateway to Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and, to some extent, Zimbabwe. It is estimated that over 70 per cent of transit goods imported through Dar es Salaam Port pass through the border post.
The World Bank Group today approved $150 million from the International Development Association (IDA) to help the Government of Rwanda increase access to finance and to support recovery and resilience of businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Access to Finance for Recovery and Resilience (AFIRR) Project also benefits from $25 million in IDA grants, as well as an additional $7.5 million grant from the Global Risk Financing Facility (GRiF), to help enhance business’ access to finance. “This project is an important contribution to the government’s post-COVID Economic Recovery Plan, promoting investment in priority growth sectors, supporting jobs and reinforcing Rwanda’s financial system’s crisis preparedness.” said Rolande Pryce, World Bank Country Manager. “The AFIRR project provides significant resources to help further capitalize the Economic Recovery Fund coupled with enhanced support programs to improve firms’ capacity and remove barriers to access to finance. It provides a suite of instruments that strengthen the existing recovery ecosystem ranging from financial instruments to adjustment mechanisms that include innovative risk mitigation solutions.”
Government is planning a crackdown on retailers found selling cheaper mealie meal brands threatening to choke the local milling industry and jobs within the troubled sector. Zimbabwe is sitting on a giant stock of maize grain and mealie meal which came about as a result of good rains experienced in the 2020-21 farming season. But the yield has been consigned to storerooms as retailers have opted for cheaper imported brands which are more affordable to customers. But in a leaked memo written to Zimbabwean millers, Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) national chairman Tafadzwa Musarara said the cereal processors have “been assured of government’s unequivocal support on clamping on smuggled maize meal”.
“Zimbabwe has shown resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and other exogenous shocks. The pandemic, on top of cyclone Idai in 2019, a protracted drought, and weak policy buffers, has taken a severe toll on the economic and humanitarian situation. Despite the authorities’ timely actions to support the most vulnerable groups and businesses during the pandemic, real GDP contracted by 4 percent in 2020, after a 6 percent decline in 2019. However, an economic recovery is underway in 2021, with real GDP expected to grow by about 6 percent, reflecting a bumper agricultural output, increased energy production, and the resumption of greater manufacturing and construction activities. Uncertainty remains high, however, and the outlook will depend on the pandemic’s evolution, the pace of vaccination and implementation of sustainable policies.”
“Digitalization of logistics will be critical to match the demand and supply of transport services, thereby reducing the time and cost of delivering goods,” said Robert Lisinge, Chief of the Energy, Infrastructure and Services Section at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). The study, titled “Gap Assessment of Logistics Digitalization in Ethiopia,” was supported by ECA through technical assistance and advisory services to the Ministry of Transport of Ethiopia. Describing the digitization initiative as “timely” given ongoing AfCFTA implementation, Mr Lisinge said the “free trade area will lead to significant increase in trade flows between African countries with implications for the demand of different modes of transport – road, rail, maritime and air transport.”
Covid, conflict and debt hinder Ethiopia’s economic reforms (The East African)
Shortly after taking office, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed promised a spectacular overhaul of the tightly-controlled economy: reforms to spur growth, unshackle the country’s potential, and lift millions out of poverty. But three years on, with elections on June 21, Abiy’s agenda remains largely unrealised, and the country burdened with debt, the economic pain of the coronavirus, and a costly war in Tigray. “Things are worse now... The country is broke and on the verge of defaulting,” said one European diplomat, who asked not to be named. One of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, Ethiopia took massive loans to fund some of its flashiest infrastructure projects, including a modern railway from Addis Ababa to Djibouti. But paying back its external debt – some $30 billion (25 billion euros), mostly to China – has proven difficult.
Egyptian launches trade missions to Central, West Africa (Daily News Egypt)
Egypt’s Minister of Trade and Industry Nevine Gamea has announced the launch of trade missions to Central and West Africa. The missions aim to explore trade and investment opportunities available in these promising markets, and strengthen cooperation with business communities across the continent. The minister said that this trend comes as part of the Egyptian Government’s keenness to provide all aspects of support and assistance to African countries. This is with the aim to raise their capabilities in all areas related to trade liberalisation and investment promotion. They also aim to share the Egyptian experience in supporting industrial sector, and supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). During the Africa Business Bridge Forum, which was held on Tuesday, Gamea noted that the Egyptian Government has taken a number of measures and mechanisms to enhance trade relations between Egypt and Africa.
Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) today launched the construction of a 223km road network designed to boost bilateral trade and improve security for oil companies operating in the Lake Albert basin. The road network will run from Uganda’s border deep into the DRC’s eastern region, where a number of rebel groups operate.
The Republic of Malawi has signed the Charter establishing the SADC Regional Fisheries Monitoring Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre (MCSCC). The country has also launched the SADC-aligned National Aquaculture Strategy and a report on “Working Together to Protect our Fisheries”. In her keynote address, Hon. Tembo said that by signing the Charter establishing the MCSCC, Malawi demonstrated the need for regional cooperation and recognised the important role that the Centre would play in advancing the SADC regional integration agenda. The objective of the Charter is to provide a legal framework for the establishment and operationalisation of an institution that will coordinate measures relating to fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance in the SADC Region.
Delivering regional public goods is key for successful African regional integration (Brookings Institution)
The “Africa Rising” narrative of strong economic growth over the past 20 years fueled by rising demand for primary commodities has failed to generate enough good jobs, in spite of the demographic dividend of a large working-age population. As recently put at the African Innovation summit, the development agenda has shifted from socioeconomic transformation to the lowest common denominator, managing poverty. This trend is exemplified in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement which, so far, still largely concentrates on a “negative” agenda; in other words, the focus is on removing policy-imposed barriers to trade. Now, though, regional integration agreements are moving toward a “positive” agenda requiring resources to provide goods not supplied by the market. In a recent paper, we revisit African regional integration through the lens of providing regional public goods (RPGs) rather than removing distortions to help markets function better.
The spread of COVID-19 is a global pandemic that has changed how humans live, produce, interact, and communicate. It has reached into all aspects of life and created great uncertainty, intensifying the vulnerability of struggling populations, and challenging the legitimacy of governments, creating a shared human experience that stretches around the world. The long-term effects of this pandemic will be felt for our lifetime. This report introduces a framework to aid decision-makers in thinking about the long-term effects of COVID-19 on development and pursuit of Agenda 2063. We do this by pursuing types of inter-related research.
High tech crime economic threat to SADC (Botswana Daily News)
Failure to address emerging high tech crimes comes with a huge risk of economic loss to the SADC region, Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Mr Kagiso Mmusi has warned. Officiating at a virtual SADC chiefs of police sub-committee of the Inter-state, Defense and Security Community (ISDSC) yesterday, he said police response tactics and strategies should be ahead of perpetrators of such crimes. Minister Mmusi said there was need to employ new strategies and configure training needs that recognised challenges in the fight against all forms of transnational crimes. Urging police chiefs to embrace information sharing and well-coordinated inter-agency operations, he pointed out that success of policing required new perspectives and measurements in areas of research, intelligence, crime mapping and analysis.
The African Union Development Agency-NEPAD and the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) signed a second Memorandum of Understanding on 15 June, in Windhoek, Namibia. The objective of the Memorandum of Understanding is to enhance cooperation between the organisations in identified areas of mutual interest, with a view to: Promote tourism as a tool for development in Africa in line with UNWTO’s Agenda for Africa – Tourism for Inclusive Growth, and Africa’s Agenda 2063 aspirations and goals on sustainable economic growth and inclusive development; Build strong partnerships to support the development of the tourism sector in Africa; and Support African countries in their recovery strategies from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic effects and accelerate the recovery of the tourism sector.
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council has approved a US$5.7 million project to boost the capacity of four member states of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to effectively track and report their progress in tackling climate change, in line with their commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement. The project includes a $4.2million grant from the GEF and a $1.54 million co-financing from partners. The five-year Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) project will enable The Comoros, Eritrea, Seychelles and Zambia to comply with the Paris Agreement’s enhanced transparency framework (Article 13). The framework specifies how Parties to the Agreement must report on progress in climate change mitigation and adaptation measures, and support provided or received in capacity building, climate finance, and technology.
The fifth Africa Climate Resilient Investment Summit (ACRIS-5), which started today will address the financing of climate resilience for Africa’s green recovery. It is slated to take place on 16-17 of June. The 2021 ACRIS-5 theme is “Embedding and financing climate resilience towards Africa’s green recovery”. Consolidating the public and private sector to identify opportunities for leveraging limited public resources and investments needed to develop Africa’s infrastructure is one of the two main objectives of ACRIS-5. The second objective of this critical continental summit revolves around discussions on the integration of climate resilience in investments in critical sectors of agriculture, energy, water, transport, ecosystems, and cities as a response to the twin crises of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Advance with Africa AmCham Summit (US Chamber of Commerce)
The U.S. - Africa Business Center invites you to join us for a two day virtual Advance with Africa AmCham Summit on June 16-17, 2021, highlighting our partnership with the continent. This two-day event will showcase the opportunities for increasing U.S.-Africa business engagement and the work of our valued AmChams as partners in championing economic growth conditions for current and potential investors.
There is no doubt that 2020 was the year that put the China-Africa relationship in the spotlight following the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. Early last year, African leaders worried how its citizens living in China would fare following the pandemic. Still, the attention of African leaders quickly turned to controlling the pandemic within their respective borders. Africa carefully watched as China and other Asian countries strive to contain the global pandemic, and they realized they also had to take action. However, Africa-China trade waned, leading to numerous inflationary effects, and Chinese workers left projects in Africa. The Africa-China relationship took another turn as the Chinese government and private organizations such as Jack Ma Foundation offered medical help to African countries. China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) released some updated figures early this year on trade with Africa that tell a more positive story than many would have believed.
China’s relationship with Africa goes deeper than just resource extraction (The Africa Report)
When it comes to trade, African demographics and rising middle-class consumption, coupled with China’s increasing need for raw materials for industry and markets for its products, has made China one of Africa’s most important trading partners. Exports from Africa to China compared to total worldwide exports to China over the last 20 years have fluctuated between just two to four per cent since 2006. The bigger issue trade wise is that Africa’s trade balance with China has shown a general downward trend since 2000. This is largely attributable to the fact that African countries are increasingly importing finished products from China while exporting raw products to China, falling into similar trade patterns as with former colonial powers.
India’s maritime engagement with Africa set to grow (The Financial Express)
The Indian External Affairs Minister, Dr S Jaishankar’s recent visit to Kenya at the invitation of the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Rauychelle Omamo, SC EGH from June 12-14, 2021 not only underlined the deep historical and civilizational links between the two countries but also brought into focus the priority India attaches to its engagement with the African continent. From a maritime perspective, working together for ensuring the freedom of the oceans with an inclusive and cooperative approach underpinned by India’s SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) is included in the guiding principles. The East coast of Africa is an integral part of the Indian Ocean littoral with its waters washing the shores of 10 nations in that continent, all of which are heavily dependent on the Indian Ocean for their sustenance and economic well-being. More than 90% of their trade travels over its waters and their resource-rich EEZ also lies in the Indian Ocean. They also provide access to the sea for many of the landlocked nations in the African continent which is also a significant source of revenue.
Emerging from the coronavirus crisis is going to take deliberate political will, policy and more sustainable production that prioritizes both people and the planet, top trade leaders said at the second edition of the UN Trade Forum on 14 June. The forum discussed pathways towards a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, while tackling the climate emergency. “Climate change is increasingly defining us. We cannot afford to deal with it later,” said UNCTAD Acting Secretary-General, Isabelle Durant. “Climate change and environmental protection cannot be left out of any discussion on trade and development.” “How to address the immense problem in front of us is, however, divisive and contested. What we need is to adapt our rules to the new realities. We need to upgrade rules to foster trade and protect the planet,” she said opening the forum’s high-level segment.
The World Bank has published a report that explores the role of trade in lowering poverty, and provides recommendations on how to enable global trade to deliver benefits for the poor. In light of rising protectionism, it highlights the importance of promoting an effective multilateral trading system (MTS) to strengthen a global trade agenda that delivers benefits to the poor. Titled, ‘The Distributional Impacts of Trade: Empirical Innovations, Analytical Tools, and Policy Responses,’ the report notes that “the rise of international trade has transformed the global economy,” overlapping with a “dramatic” reduction in global poverty.
According to the publication, many developing countries, particularly in East Asia, have built the infrastructure to support trade, reformed their economic policies to promote it, and directed their youth towards jobs in industries that depend on trade, which brought new jobs and helped those countries integrate into global and regional value chains, and reduce poverty. Yet some countries have struggled to mitigate the losses and make the gains from trade inclusive. While most countries have reduced tariffs, nontariff barriers and poor infrastructure, among other impediments, continue to raise trade costs and make it difficult to spread the benefits of trade across the developing world.
Middle-income countries (MICs) are home to 62% of the world’s poor, but the challenges they face are often overlooked or seen as less urgent than those of poorer nations. Yet many MICs – a group of 106 countries that includes small islands like Kiribati, landlocked nations like Uzbekistan and emerging economies like Brazil – face some of the same vulnerabilities as low-income countries, such as crippling debt and a lack of economic competitiveness. Despite being potential economic powerhouses, they’re at risk of stagnating in their development trajectories, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The international community must urgently address the structural obstacles holding back progress on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in middle-income countries,” said UN General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir. A major challenge many MICs face as they try to establish an inclusive, sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 crisis is crippling debt.
“I think we are moving but we are far from doing the job. It has taken a long time and we still have large gaps. However, in spite of the difficulties before us, I do feel that we have the best chance to make a difference now. It really is within reach,” Director-General Okonjo-Iweala said at the hours long stocktaking meeting held after members undertook marathon discussions since 11 May when the draft chair’s text was circulated. “We are now looking at the text holistically to see what we can make possible before July 15,” she said referring to next month’s meeting of ministers.
The world’s huge infrastructure gap is widening with every passing year by about $350 billion, with the total gap projected to hit $5.3 trillion by 2030, according to the McKinsey Global Institute. The projected gap will triple to around $15.9 trillion if the needs of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are included. In 2020, the Global Infrastructure Hub, a G20 initiative, projected that the gap would be around $15 trillion by 2040 on the basis of data from 56 countries. Now the G7, the group of seven industrialized nations, proposed its own program, called Build Back Better World, or B3W. Investment is good in any form, especially if it helps to bridge the gaps and bring the world closer.
US Covid IP waiver U-turn alone will not solve vaccine crisis (Financial Times)
Following support by the US for the temporary suspension of intellectual property for Covid-19 vaccines, there has been intense debate about how to best scale up manufacturing and boost global supply. The US shift marked a U-turn from last October when a proposal by India and South Africa for a temporary waiver of the World Trade Organization provisions on IP rights in the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement (Trips) was opposed by high-income countries. The European Commission and the G7 have now become involved. In the words of Katherine Tai, US trade representative, extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, and against this backdrop, it is unsurprising that calls to set aside IP are gaining momentum. Yet whether IP is a barrier to access to Covid vaccines is a matter of debate, and IP can be both part of the problem and part of the solution.
US to donate 500m Pfizer doses to poor nations ‘no strings attached’ (The East African)
The United States has committed to buy and donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to 92 low- and lower-middle-income countries, including those in the African Union. This comes as the World Health Organisation last week on Thursday sounded the alarm on low vaccination numbers in the continent, saying that only seven African countries are likely to meet its goal to vaccinate 10 percent of its population against the coronavirus by September. Speaking at the sideline of the G7 summit in the United Kingdom, US President Joe Biden said that America’s donation to poor nations would “supercharge the battle against the virus and comes with no strings attached.”
In the face of two crises – COVID-19 and climate change – the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund launched a High-Level Advisory Group (HLAG) on Sustainable and Inclusive Recovery and Growth today to help secure a strong recovery and set a path for green, resilient, and inclusive development over the coming decade. Comprised of experts from research institutions, private sector, and governments, in addition to senior staff of the World Bank Group and IMF, the HLAG will propose ideas and frameworks for strategic and practical national and global action. These would contribute towards a sustainable and inclusive recovery, as well as setting the agenda for a sustained transformation based on new perspectives and models of growth and development.
ICC – along with their partners Boston Consulting Group and Global Credit Data – has published interim findings from its Trade Register on the performance of short-term trade and supply chain finance assets from 2019 and 2020. Preliminary analysis of the data for these assets has identified an increase in defaults across most trade finance products in 2020, which is likely at least in part attributable to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on economic activity – and related shifts in demand and supply. The factors behind the performance of trade assets in 2020 will be explored in detail by this year’s ICC Trade Register report, including an analysis of the likely “cushioning” impact of government economic support – such as, emergency state-backed lending.