tralac Daily News
There is a great need to get more young people participating in the agriculture and agroprocessing economy. The sentiment came out during of the “Youth In Manufacturing Webinar hosted by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) in partnership with Proudly South Africa. The dialogue was part of the “Youth In Industries” series and forms part of the dtic’s youth month activities. It brings together private and government institutions current and potential entrepreneurs to accelerate and advance youth industrialists in the specified sectors.
Emerging Black Importers and Exporters of South Africa (EBieSA) last week appealed to the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition to halt further reviews of the import tariffs for poultry because the increases last year distorted the market. This follows an ongoing review of the tariff structure, which was last upgraded in March last year, which resulted in increases from 37 percent to 62 percent on frozen bone-in chicken portions and increases on frozen boneless portions from 12 percent to 42 percent.
The Deputy Minister of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina reminded students from the University of Cape Town-Faculty of Law that they need to take interest in consumer rights. Speaking at a virtual consumer education webinar hosted by the National Consumer Commission (NCC) in partnership with the University of Cape Town and the National Credit Regulator (NCR), Gina said consumer protection is a specific challenge in South Africa, where many local consumers are vulnerable due to lack of financial literacy. Gina said pyramid and related schemes are giving consumer protection bodies’ sleepless nights as they mushroom on a daily basis masquerading as investment opportunities. “It is imperative for every consumer to understand the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and be able to distinguish between a pyramid scheme and an investment opportunity,” she said.
Building a digital economy (SAnews)
The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies has embarked on a process to develop Data and Cloud Policy as one of the enablers of the digital economy. Addressing the virtual colloquium on the Draft Data and Cloud Policy on Friday, Minister of Communication and Digital Technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, emphasised the importance of building a digital economy, as it presents opportunities to create jobs. “The digital economy is driven by digitalisation, which is the use of digital technologies and digitised data to impact how work gets done, transform how customers and companies engage and interact, and create new (digital) revenue streams.”
Uganda’s export earnings increase to Shs1.5 trillion (Daily Monitor)
The performance of the economy report May 2021 by the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development released on June 18 2021, shows Uganda’s Merchandise export receipts more than doubled on an annual basis to $426.56 million (Shs1.5 trillion). Increased earnings from commodity exports always shield the local currency from severe depreciation against the US dollars and other currencies as well. The report reveals that export receipts rose by 106 percent representing $219.51million (Shs776.079 billion) from $207.05 million (Shs732.009 billion) in April 2020 to $426.56 million (Shs1.507 trillion) in April 2021. The value of merchandise imports registered a third consecutive monthly increase in April 2021. The Ministry of Finance, said merchandise worth $695.81 million (Shs2.461trillion) were imported in April 2021, registering an increment of 5.3 percent from the previous month.
Hope for private sector as government takes measures (The Citizen)
The sixth-phase government of President Samia Suluhu Hassan has assured the private sector that the state will not be competing in doing business. Instead, it expressed its commitment to working with private sector operators in promoting the development of industries to widen its tax base. Prof Mkumbo outlined the six priorities of the government - which he called “the position of the sixth-phase government” under the direction of President Hassan in promoting the private sector - and the issue of differentiating trade with the government was among them.
Tanzania market ripe for Zimbabwean products (Chronicle)
Zimbabwean producers should tap into the Tanzania market as part of their regional export growth strategy to enhance the country’s gains under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Following the operationalisation of the AfCFTA early this year, the country through the trade development and promotion agency, ZimTrade, is increasing its engagement with regional markets by exploring opportunities for local products. Trading under the historic trade regime began on January 1, this year and is seen as a significant stride towards continental economic integration. Last Thursday, ZimTrade hosted a market intelligence information dissemination seminar focusing on Tanzania market to prepare and equip local producers with knowledge regarding the vast export opportunities in that country.
Grab market opportunities in Egypt, traders advised (The Citizen)
Tanzanian businesses have been urged to strategically engage and fully exploit the relatively huge potential in the Egyptian market in an effort to fill the trade gap between the two countries that currently stands at $31 million in favour of the north African nation. Speaking on this yesterday, the Tanzania Trade Development Authority (TanTrade) director general, Edwin Rutageruka, said that, although the value of exports from Tanzania to Egypt has increased from $1 million in 2016 to $3 million in 2020, fluctuations continue to exist, affecting the volume of trade between the two countries.
The federal government has enjoined shippers nationwide to unite and take part in policy formulation and trade negotiation in Nigeria as well as globally as key players in the nation’s economy. The Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Hassan Bello, stated this at the Election and Inauguration of the National Shippers Association of Nigeria (NASAN) in Lagos. He said: “There are many shippers, who are exporting now, and one of the problems is access to the port, we have cargoes that spend 20-days and 24 days before they gain access into the port, we have struggled so much to ensure that this is not done. We need exporters who are shippers to also have free access to the port, they should have access to information about the market, and they should also have access to finance. The same situation is with importers, there are issues at the port, cargoes have 21-days dwell time, meanwhile it is 7-days at our competing neighboring ports.”
The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) has set a target to attract three billion dollars this year in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country. The FDI is expected to boost investments in agribusiness, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and industry as well as other sectors of the economy to create jobs and spur socio-economic development. Mr Reginald Yofi Grant, the CEO of GIPC, who announced this at a press briefing in Accra on Sunday, said the Centre had so far raised US$780 million.
Morocco Commits to Development of Least Developed Countries in Africa (Morocco World News)
Morocco’s Foreign Minister Bourita released on Friday a statement that emphasized the country’s commitment to helping Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in Africa as the central tenet to its African foreign policy plans. Bourita gave the statement during a meeting of the UN’s General Assembly of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The Moroccan minister stated that Morocco’s commitments had “a new concrete translation in the context of the health crisis.” Africa has struggled during the midst of COVID, and many countries on the continent still remain among the lowest in the world in terms of vaccine distribution.
The World Bank Board today approved the second in a series of three single-tranche Inclusive Growth Development Policy Operations (IGDPO) to support key reforms for enabling inclusive growth in Liberia. The financing, amounting to $40 million, comes in the form of an International Development Association (IDA) concessional credit of $20 million and an IDA grant of $20 million to be disbursed as budget support. The underlying reforms being supported seek to remove distortions in selected sectors, strengthen public sector transparency, and promote economic and social inclusion. “The continued implementation of critical policy reforms in sectors such as energy and agriculture helps create a conducive environment for transformative investments being made in these sectors by the Government, with support from development partners,” said Dr. Khwima Nthara, World Bank Liberia Country Manager.
Virtual Meeting of AU’s Ministers Responsible for Trade and the WTO (Republic of Mauritius)
A Virtual Meeting of the African Union’s (AU) Ministers Responsible for Trade and the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Director General, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was held, yesterday, under the chair of the Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Alan Ganoo, in his capacity as Coordinator of the African Group. The meeting aimed at reaching an agreement and adopting decisions on a few select issues that are faced regularly in sectors such as the fisheries sector, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and women empowerment, and bring forth solutions.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat is developing a Pan-African Payments and Settlement (PAPSS) platform, in collaboration with the Afreximbank to enhance cross border payments. Mr Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General, Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), said the PAPSS would allow African businesses to make cross border payments for intra-Africa trade in national currencies, thereby saving the continent an estimated five billion dollars in transfer charges that flow out of the continent annually. Mr Mene made the disclosure at an honorific lecture in honour of Daniel M.C. Korley at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) in Accra on the theme, “Creating the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs Through AfCFTA”. Mr Mene, who spoke on the topic, “The AfCFTA and the New Age of African Enterprise,” said as provided for by the AfCFTA Agreement, the Secretariat had also developed a platform for reporting non-tariff barriers, which disproportionately impacted SMEs due to their limited resources and access to information.
“We have a very unique opportunity in Africa to, for the first time since the end of colonialism, accelerate industrial development, leveraging on the legal framework that the AfCFTA has provided,” Wamkele Mene, secretary-general of the AfCFTA secretariat said during a webinar on the agreement and the auto sector. Alec Erwin, former South African deputy minister of finance and minister of trade and industry and public enterprises, who is now a policy expert to the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM), said the free trade agreement is a fundamental breakthrough and a unique opportunity for the automotive sector in Africa. “The finalisation of the AfCFTA agreement and the rules of origin with respect to automotive are vital to the realisation of the AAAM’s vision of building a successful automotive ecosystem that will lead to a sustainable industry of scale that creates significant jobs, while assisting in the industrialisation of the automotive sector in Africa.”
WISTA to Sensitise Women on AfCFTA (THISDAY Newspapers)
The Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria over the weekend announced that it has concluded arrangements to organise its 2021 business luncheon aimed at encouraging women’s participation in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) through the maritime sector. The one-day conference, WISTA said, would be part of the group’s efforts geared at increasing and developing shipping policy that would deepen women’s participation in the maritime sector with the view of empowering them with adequate manpower, policy framework and connections. Highlighting the significance of the forthcoming conference at a media briefing in Lagos, the President, WISTA Nigeria, Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke, said the organisation seeks to encourage women to participate in trade opportunities within the sector.
Stemming the flow of money-laundering linked to terrorism, organized crime, corruption and other crimes would make a significant contribution to economic growth, the FACTI report says. It further acknowledges that African countries are increasing their ability to trace and recover laundered assets from human trafficking, corruption and wildlife crime, as well as other types of crime, with the forfeited assets being used to support development, including COVID-19 relief efforts. However, the report notes that Africa still faces a multitude of challenges in repatriating stolen assets, with a wide gap between the levels of frozen or confiscated assets and those returned. The FACTI report adds that many practitioners lack the recovery expertise to enforce, prosecute and confiscate assets. In line with the AU Common African Position on Asset Recovery, effective, accountable and transparent institutions are required to effectively address corruption and accelerate the repatriation of assets stolen from Africa.
The extent and speed at which trading partners exchange goods is determined by the efficiency of their cross-border transport systems, a transport expert says. Therefore, if Africa wants to boost intra-African trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, corridors and railways have to function optimally. This is according to Etiyel Chibira, a corridor and cross-border transport expert, in the May 2021 trade brief prepared by the Trade Law Centre. Chibira said cross-border road transport in Africa carries over 80% of intra-regional and inter-regional trade.
How the region scored in Common Market Protocols (The East African)
Tanzania attracted more citizens of other partner states to live and work within its borders in the past years, a new scorecard on the Common Market shows. The country issued 19,629 residents permits compared with Kenya’s 2,378, Uganda’s eight and Burundi’s 459. The report shows that Kenya and Tanzania issued the highest number of work permits to other EAC citizens between January 2019 and December 2020. Kenya issued 2,378 work permits to mostly Tanzanian and Ugandan nationals, while Tanzania issued 1,664 work permits mostly to Kenyans and Ugandans. Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi attracted the highest number of students from other partner states between 2019 and 2020. “Intra-EAC trade has increased among the EAC partner states in the past 10 years. And we have no choice. That is why we are widening to include the DR Congo to become the seventh member to the EAC,” he added.
EAC operations could grind to a halt over budget cuts (The East African)
The East African Community risks paralysis if it does not get additional funding on its budget day, June 22. The secretariat says that the $90 million proposed in the bloc’s 2021/2022 budget by the Council of Ministers can’t finance its development agenda. Among the priorities to be achieved within this financial year are consolidation of the Single Customs Territory; infrastructure development; enhancement of free movement of factors of production across the Partner States; regional industrial development; improvement of agricultural productivity and value addition; promotion of regional peace, security and good governance; and institutional transformation at the regional and partner state levels. The admission of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is being fast-tracked, also faces headwinds, as there are no funds for the drive.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly hosted a two-day workshop in Accra, with a focus on the preparation of a COVID-19 economic recovery and resilience plan for the city to withstand shocks. Held on 16 and 17 June, the hybrid workshop centered around the economic and financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Accra, as part of a wider UN project covering 16 cities around the world. Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Finance, Hon. John Kumah, emphasized the need to boost local productivity in food production, digital economy and construction. He pointed out: “To accelerate the resilience of Accra, productivity needs to be enhanced. Significant challenges exist, however, related to the high prevalence of informality.”
‘Rising shipping costs will hurt Africa’ (The Southern Times)
The skyrocketing prices of shipping goods across the globe will result in higher cost of goods for net importers of finished products, like Africa, economists say. A conflux of factors – including soaring demand, a shortage of containers, saturated ports and too few ships and dock workers – have contributed to the squeeze on transportation capacity on every freight path. Economist Duduzane Ngezi told The Southern Times Business that Africa was likely to be hit hardest by the price increases, and retailers faced three tough choices: halting trade, raising prices, or absorbing the cost to pass it on later. “The more than 100 percent increase in shipping costs is already being felt in Africa. The continent imports plenty of goods from Asia, Europe USA and other countries ranging from furniture, food, drinks, clothing and other goods. Consumer demand is likely to shift to services from goods, but the risk of course is that if higher shipping costs persist especially given ongoing shipping disruptions producers become more willing to pass these higher costs on to consumers.”
The President of Zanzibar, Dr. Hussein Ali Mwinyi, has called for increased trade among East African Community Partner States and by extension African countries. President Mwinyi said that EAC Partner States and African countries trade more with nations in other continents while trade amongst them was way too low, adding that intra-EAC and intra-continental trade was the best way to promote economic prosperity in East Africa and on the African continent. President Mwinyi urged the EAC Secretariat to continue working closely with Partner States to address Non-tariff Barriers (NTBs) that were impeding intra-regional trade and singled out the tiff between national standards bodies that certify goods for export across the region. The President noted that certification standards should be harmonised across the region with national standards authorities not insisting on retesting import goods that had already been tested certified in other Partner States, cautioning that this was a major impediment to the free movement of goods.
Tanzania owes NOT a single cent to EAC, Mulamula reveals (The Citizen)
Tanzania is not owed any monies by the East African Community (EAC) as budget contribution. And the country would no longer allow accumulation of debts owed to the regional organization. “It is true there have been some delays (in remittances). But as of now, we have settled all our mandatory contributions,” affirmed Foreign Affairs minister Liberata Mulamula. Tanzania is not owed any monies by the East African Community (EAC) as budget contribution. And the country would no longer allow accumulation of debts owed to the regional organization. “It is true there have been some delays (in remittances). But as of now, we have settled all our mandatory contributions,” affirmed Foreign Affairs minister Liberata Mulamula. The minister said she was aware of how the cash crisis had seriously impacted on the activities of the Arusha-based EAC in the past few years. However, she said some countries, she could not mention, remained behind in settling their bills due to political turmoils.
Lawyer seeks to block DR Congo admission to EAC bloc (Daily Monitor)
A Ugandan lawyer has filed a suit with the East African Court of Justice seeking to block the admission of DR Congo into the East African Community (EAC) bloc. Mr Adam Kyomuhendo, an advocate of the High Court of Uganda, filed the suit before the First Instance Division of the regional court against the EAC secretary general and attorney generals of all the partner states. Mr Kyomuhendo works with Byaruhanga and Company Advocates in Kampala. His application seeks court orders to restrain the admission of DR Congo into the six-nation bloc by the EAC heads of state. Mr Kyomuhendo wants the admission of the vast country as the seventh member of EAC stayed until hearing and determination of the case. The court will fix the matter for hearing in the next session. The main case is seeking court orders to permanently stop the Summit, a supreme organ of the EAC, from admitting the country into the bloc.
Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) will today host medical experts, researchers and policymakers from the Africa continent to unveil its Independent Task Team (ITT) on equitable and universal access to vaccines and vaccination on the continent. The meeting is expected to end the long wait for health solutions across Africa with regards to vaccine development, production and distribution. Speaking with journalists in Benin City, Executive Director of CoDA), Ms. Souad Aden Osman said the initiative was aimed at generating demand for vaccine development, production and distribution in Africa.
The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Saturday announced 2027 as the new date to launch its single currency, the “eco.” The bloc had planned to launch a common currency this year but postponed the plan due to challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. “Due to the shock of the pandemic, the heads of state had decided to suspend the implementation of the convergence pact in 2020-2021,” Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, president of the ECOWAS Commission, told a news conference after a summit of the leaders in Ghana on Saturday. “We have a new road map and a new convergence pact that will cover the period between 2022-2026, and 2027 being the launch of the eco,” he said.
President of the African Development Bank Group, (AfDBG) Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, says insecurity on the African Continent and for that matter in the ECOWAS sub-region, is seriously affecting the investable space of the continent and as a result, urgent steps need to be taken to arrest the situation. Addressing Heads of State of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at their 59th ordinary session today the 19th of June 2021 at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, says the rapidly deteriorating security situation on the continent needs their immediate attention. “When we resolve Africa’s debt challenges, I can rest if just only to, but one thing will still keep me awake at night, Africa’s rising insecurity. As you well know, the situation is most precarious in the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin. I am sure your Excellencies, it keeps you also awake at night. The trend is disturbing as expenditures on defence are rising fast,” Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said.
In March 2020, Africa had its back to the wall, helpless in the face of the magnitude of a virus that appeared in Asia and quickly spread to the entire planet. Only two African countries were then able to test for the novel coronavirus: Senegal, with its Pasteur Institute, and South Africa, the most industrialized country on the continent. But Africa is recovering. Countries have begun to develop testing laboratories. Strongly supported by the African Development Bank, they have achieved a logistical and scientific feat. As soon as the pandemic began, the Bank provided $2 million in emergency assistance to help the World Health Organization strengthen its capacity to support African countries. Since March last year, the Bank has been helping countries cope with the health emergency and the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic, notably through its Covid-19 Response Facility of up to $10 billion.
The fifth African Climate Resilience Infrastructure Summit (ACRIS5), which was held virtually highlighted that integration of climate resilience in the design and implementation of key areas such as agribusiness, hydropower plants, transport corridors, urban sprawls and ecosystems such as protected areas, which are vulnerable to climate change, is critical if Africa is to recover and building forward better to attain sustainable development and shared prosperity. “Investments in these sectors are critical for Africa trade agenda through the African Continental Free Trade Area, for regional integration and for a smart and climate neutral industrialisation agenda.” Adam said. “Africa presents unique challenges, but also unique opportunities for climate resilience. The challenge lies in ensuring that investments needed for growth and development gaps can happen and do so fast enough to leave no one behind. We need the resources upfront. The opportunity lies in building a resilient Africa starting from a very low base in ways that are climate resilient and inclusive.”
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier set the tone in his opening remarks for the “Africa Roundtable” held on Wednesday when he called for greater cooperation between Europe and Africa. “We, Africa and Europe, need each other to tackle the big challenges, and we can learn a lot from each other in the process,” he said at the start of the online debate organized by the Global Perspectives Initiative (GPI). Steinmeier said that it was crucial to cooperate closely in fighting the pandemic, on climate change, migration, digitization, terrorism, and globalization. All panelists agreed that one thing the pandemic had taught the world was, as Nigerian economist Oby Ezekwesili put it: “Health is economy and economy is health.” Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had already warned in February, when she took over as director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), that there would be no “business as usual” after the pandemic. At the online debate, she specified that she intended to dismantle existing trade barriers for basic medical products, vaccines, and active ingredients.
The UK’s Trade Commissioner to Africa said the UK will forge closer links with African countries in the years ahead following a landmark agreement that was signed with Kenya. The UK signed a trade deal with Kenya in December 2020 to ensure that all companies operating in Kenya can continue to benefit from duty-free access to the UK market. But Emma Wade Smith said this agreement could be expanded out in the near future to the whole of the East African Community (EAC) states. The trade chief also reaffirmed Britain’s commitment to investing in Africa claiming the UK wants to be “Africa’s investment partner of choice.” Department for International trade sources said a potential deal with the EAC could be worth at least £1billion and links some of the continents “fast-developing” economies.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa as flows to the continent declined by 16% in 2020 to $40 billion, from $47 billion in 2019. Cascading economic and health challenges due to the pandemic combined with low prices of energy commodities weighed heavily on foreign investment to the continent, according to UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2021, published on 21 June. FDI inflows to sub-Saharan Africa decreased by 12% to $30 billion, with investment growing in only a few countries. FDI to Southern Africa decreased by 16% to $4.3 billion even as repatriation of capital by multinational enterprises (MNEs) in Angola slowed down. Mozambique and South Africa
Participating members heard the reports from the facilitators of the discussion groups on “scope” and “facilitation of the entry and temporary stay of businesspersons for investment purposes” who highlighted progress since the last intersessional meeting on 31 May-1 June. The facilitator of the group on scope presented the group’s text contribution, which addresses some key aspects of the overall scope of application of the future agreement. The group will continue working on other important related issues, such as definitions. Participants also heard about ongoing work by the group on facilitation of the entry and temporary stay of businesspersons for investment purposes, which met on 3 June.
President Cyril Ramaphosa left the G7 Cornwall summit last weekend pleased with the progress he has made in persuading most of the world’s richest countries to step up their support to Africa in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. As the only representative from Africa, Ramaphosa shouldered the burden of the entire continent in lobbying the US, Germany, Japan, the UK, France, Italy and Canada for more help. The summit host, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, invited Ramaphosa mainly because of his success in mobilising global support for Africa’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic last year when he was the AU chairperson. Ramaphosa said that “tremendous progress” had been made at the G7 summit in convincing the leaders of these major economies to open a debate at the World Trade Organization (WTO) about introducing a broad waiver on the patents of international pharmaceutical companies to allow developing countries to produce their Covid-19 vaccines.
The owners of a giant container ship that blocked the Suez Canal in March have made a new offer in a compensation dispute with the canal authority, a lawyer for the authority said on Sunday. The Ever Given container ship has been anchored in a lake between two stretches of the canal since it was dislodged on March 29. It had been grounded across the canal for six days, blocking hundreds of ships and disrupting global trade. The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) demanded $916 million in compensation to cover salvage efforts, reputational damage and lost revenue, before publicly lowering the request to $550 million. The Ever Given’s Japanese owners Shoei Kisen and its insurers have disputed the claim and the ship’s detention under an Egyptian court order.