tralac Daily News
Government is implementing necessary reforms to transform and revive the poultry and automotive sector a delegation of senior management from the Department of Trade, industry and Competition (the dtic) told the Select Committee on the dtic, Small Business, Tourism and Labour. The Department was briefing the committee on Poultry Industry Master Plan and South Africa Automotive Master Plan: Progress on Implementation. In their presentation to the selected committee, the department said since the implementation of the Poultry Master Plan, a new tariff was put on imported poultry which provides greater protection for local producers, and an increase in production capacity was realized at one million additional chickens produced locally every week since the new duty structure
Quarter of SME staff work for free, says CBK (Business Ghana)
More than a quarter of employees in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are working without pay amid the recovery of business from the Covid-19 economic fallout. Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data shows that 27 percent of employees in the SME sector were working without pay in March, from nine percent a year earlier when the country reported the first case of the virus, leading to restrictions that hurt businesses. The increase in those on unpaid employment highlights the fall in the quality of jobs as businesses struggle to recover from the fallout, occasioned by depressed sales.
President Samia Suluhu Hassan said on Saturday that Tanzania will look to revive a $10 billion stalled port project on the eastern coast of the country. Tanzania inked a framework agreement in 2013 with China Merchants Holdings International to construct the port and a special economic zone that aimed to transform the east African country into a trade and transport hub to rival its neighbours. China Merchants, China’s largest port operator, said in 2019 that years of negotiations with Tanzania had failed to produce an agreement. The port, was to be located in Bagamoyo, about 75 km (47 miles) north of Dar es Salaam.
The government of Tanzania is improving the manufacturing sector and trade to address emerging challenges and to boost the economy and make the country develop. German International Development Cooperation (GIZ) has supported a desk study to identify what the manufacturing sector needs to grow and uplift the livelihoods of Tanzanians. A paper was presented early this month, which highlights and proposes to the government to have a special budget for research, big data and artificial intelligence (AI) innovations. The paper entitled “The current state of play of the manufacturing sector in Tanzania” also proposes incentives to attract multinational companies to set up manufacturing industries and supply networks in the country. This, according to the report, will facilitate access to inputs for Tanzanian manufacturers and pave the way for localization.
Middle East, COMESA dominate Uganda’s exports (New Vision)
The regional and Middle East market remain key destinations for Uganda’s exports. According to preliminary figures from Bank of Uganda (BOU), the country’s total formal merchandise exports for last year stood at $4.1b (about sh14.5 trillion). However, for informal cross border trade, the figures declined by 42% from $532m (2019) to $305m (2020). This is linked to limited movement of small-scale traders due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. This is unlike long-haul truck drivers who were guaranteed passage dependent on negative test results. Uganda’s exports to the Middle East reached $1.9b last year compared to $1.27b for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) region. Uganda’s major market destinations in the trade bloc are Kenya ($465m), South Sudan ($357m), DR Congo ($267m), Sudan ($95m), Burundi ($59m) and Ethiopia ($15m).
Businesses in Seychelles will be able to access a market of 1.2 billion people after the National Assembly approved the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a top government official said on Friday. This agreement aims to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business people and investments, while paving the way for accelerating the establishment of the customs union. The Principal Secretary for Trade, Cillia Mangroo, told reporters that it would be in the Seychelles’ best interest to ratify and join this trade block as Africa has a very large middle-class population with an expendable budget at its disposal. “It will benefit Seychelles in terms of getting products at a cheaper price and our products being sold in the region at a preferential rate,” she said.
The minister who is also the Chairman of the Committee of Energy Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said there is the need for collaborative efforts and drawing of useful lessons Nigeria has accumulated over the years. With Ghana recently joining the comity of oil producing nations, he said, “there is the need to take lessons from Nigeria and learn from all the mistakes they made regarding the signing of petroleum agreements and maximizing their quota of local content and local participation, something Ghana is still getting a grasp on.”
The Government of Côte d’Ivoire, through the Ministry of Planning and Development and the Sub-Regional Office for West Africa of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), launched on Friday the restitution of the 2020 report on structural transformation, employment and production and society for sustainable development in Côte d’Ivoire (STEPS4SD) as part of the monitoring and evaluation of the National Development Plan (NDP 2016-2020) and the formulation of the NDP 2021-2025. For the Director of Cabinet of the Ministry of Planning and Development of Côte d’Ivoire, Dr Yeo Nahoua, “This study is part of the logic of consolidating the achievements and strengthening strategic planning placed at the heart of the development process of Côte d’Ivoire since 2011,” he said.
While Africa, led by Côte d’Ivoire, currently produces 90 per cent of the world’s raw cashew nuts, less than 15 per cent are processed on the continent. In Côte d’Ivoire, the number is only 6 per cent. The majority of production is exported to Asia, where processing plants run at full capacity, roasting, salting and incorporating the nuts into snacks destined for the European and American markets. Relocating cashew nut processing to African countries would mean an important new source of income for the continent.
Malawi’s low levels of electricity access, high internet prices, unpredictable connectivity, high cost of smart devices, and lack of digital skills hinder a potential of $189 million in additional GDP and $33 million in tax revenues per year, says the latest World Bank Malawi Economic Monitor (MEM). “Developing Malawi’s digital economy will diversify and strengthen economic growth, job creation, and innovation. Digital technologies can help lower the cost of economic and social transactions for firms, individuals, and the public sector. They can also help improve safety nets, delivery of public services, and transparency for better fiscal management and management of future crises,” said Hugh Riddell, World Bank Country Manager for Malawi.
The online launch of the 2nd phase of the project “Promotion of Export Activities to New Markets in Sub-Saharan Africa” (PEMA II), is scheduled for June 29, the Export Promotion Centre (CEPEX) said Sunday. The PEMA project is implemented by GIZ, under the mandate of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), in cooperation with the Ministry of Trade and Export Development and the Export Promotion Center (CEPEX). The goal is to enable more Tunisian SMEs tap into the commercial potential of the new markets in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Notwithstanding the challenging circumstances, exacerbated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the results achieved in the implementation of the Agreement and execution of work programme of the AfCFTA Secretariat are a source of satisfaction.” Mr Mene said currently, 37 countries (almost 69 per cent of Member States) had deposited their instruments of ratification at the African Union Commission. “However, negotiations on some issues of Phase I are ongoing, namely, rules of origin, schedules of tariff concessions, and schedules of specific commitments on the five priority service sectors (business services; communications; finance; tourism and transport).” He said these outstanding issues were expected to be concluded by June 2021. Phase II negotiations will cover IPRs, investment and competition policy, while Phase III covers E-Commerce.
Deputy Minister of International Relations Alvin Botes said on Sunday that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement was regarded as an important repository in an effort to negate poverty in South Africa and the African continent. The International Relations Subcommittee, chaired by Botes, hosted a virtual Umrabulo session on Sunday. Lindiwe Zulu said Africa “with 3% of the world’s trade and claims only 2% of the world’s manufacturing output compared with Intra-Asia Trade, which is 52%; Intra-North America Trade, at 50%; and Intra-EU Trade, which is at 70%. Intra-Africa Trade is small, covering only 16 to 18% of traded goods. Among other factors, the low level of Intra-Africa Trade results from the continuity of colonialism into present Africa and the exclusion of the informal sector by the market research methodologies.”
There is a heightened risk of defaults on the African continent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to heavier debt burdens while worsening poverty and widening inequality, the African Development Bank has warned. “The deep scars of the pandemic are really there and will take time to heal,” bank President Akinwumi Adesina said. Speaking Wednesday at the opening public event of the bank’s annual meetings, he grimly cautioned that the continent must avoid another “lost decade” for growth and development. “If there is no debt relief and restructuring, many more countries will slide into debt distress,” he said. “We don’t expect that by the end of this year African countries will be back to booming again,” he said.
SADC-PF key to AfCFTA implementation (Botswana Daily News)
Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Mr Mmusi Kgafela has pleaded with the SADC-Parliamentary Forum to advocate for inclusion of African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA) in national laws, national development plans and all other pieces of legislation existing in the member states.. Minister Kgafela said such a move would assist in building the requisite capacity for parliaments and relevant parliamentary committees to utilise their law-making and oversight mandate in ensuring effective implementation of the AfCFTA and build a more inclusive and equitable SADC region, post COVID-19. He said as the apex parliamentary body in the SADC region, SADC-PF had a critical role to play in ensuring a coordinated and collaborative approach by African Parliaments, emphasising the need for the parliamentary forum to strive for awareness creation and amplifying of citizens’ voices in the AfCFTA processes.
Region in dry ports revolution (The Southern Times)
Regional trade is set for a major overhaul with the imminent establishment of four dry ports to improve trade in and with landlocked SADC members. The Southern Times Business can report that bilateral and multilateral talks involving Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe are at an advanced stage for establishment of dry ports. The customs dry ports are appointed inland facilities whereby commercial cargo may be consigned to pending final clearance and are mainly established to help land locked countries to facilitate and handle their cargo. “(Establishment of dry ports) increases the volumes that are carried on the corridors. It’s also a way of promoting trade relations within the Southern African Development Community through preferred gateways. The long term goal is to establish a cargo clearing one-stop facility at the dry ports for efficient customs clearance and border crossing.”
EAC ripe for reforms to serve effectively – President Samia (The East African)
President Samia has suggested a review of the East African Community Treaty to reflect the current regional situation. The president made the suggestion during a recent meeting with EAC Secretary General Dr Peter Mathuki who had paid her courtesy call at Ikulu, in Dar es Salaam. While referring to the EAC’s institutional framework, President Samia stressed the need for a comprehensive review of the Treaty and other legal instruments. “The Treaty establishing the EAC was signed 20 years ago when we were only three members. We have now grown to six and hopefully we shall continue growing,” said President Samia. “We therefore need to not only review the Treaty, but other instruments as well, to align them with what we have already done, and what we aspire to do.”
By 2030, Africa’s health market is estimated to be worth hundreds of billions of dollars, making a strong case for building local production capacity in the continent – an agenda that has taken hold as countries realize the deadly consequences of relying on imports for health products like COVID-19 vaccines. But Emmanuel Mujuru, chairperson at the Federation of African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations, cautioned that it requires political commitment from the highest levels of government; the right regulations and policy coherence across government agencies; long-term financing that should come in the form of development finance with affordable interest rates; and market access to ensure there is sufficient demand for locally produced medicines, vaccines, and other health products. Mujuru said sub-Saharan Africa imports most of its medicines, effectively leaving a small market of 30% to local producers. “This is not just about money and infrastructure. It is about regulation, capacity and skills, supply chain management, trade integration, scientific cooperation, and demand-side considerations.”
Museveni: Vaccine inequality Africa’s wake-up call (The Star, Kenya)
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has called out “vaccine selfishness” in the world but said it will “wake up” Africans to be self-sufficient. President Museveni said what Africa needs is raw materials to produce its own Covid vaccines and not donations from the developed nations. “Africans are a disgrace to ourselves. Why do we have to depend on the outside for everything? This is a big shame for Africa,” he told delegates attending the World Health Summit on Sunday. President Museveni said countries across the continent need to stop waiting for vaccine donations and manufacture them locally.
New deal pushes regional trade (The Southern Times)
The Eastern and Southern African Trade & Development Bank (TDB) and TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) on Wednesday signed an MoU that establishes a framework for collaboration that will boost regional trade. The TDB said leveraging the two institutions’ expertise in project development and finance could improve investments in trade logistics and production systems, including roads, ports and industrial parks. “Moreover, institutions will work to collaborate in carrying-out analytical and advisory services aiming, among other things, to support the digitisation of trade and investment processes as well as information technology innovations in trade, logistics and transportation,” said the TDB in a statement after the signing.
Why DRC is keen to join the EAC bloc (The Citizen)
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will benefit enormously by joining the East African Community (EAC). The benefits include free movement of people to the rest of the bloc and goods to the Dar es Salaam and Mombasa ports. “It would ease free movement of goods, especially the country’s eastern region,” said Peter Mathuki, EAC’s secretary general. He made this argument on Friday evening during the official launching of the EAC verification mission to DRC on the latter’s bid to join the bloc. The launching by President Felix Tshisekedi was held at the eastern border city of Goma.
Dangers of Ditching the Dalasi for the ECO (Freedom Newspaper)
ECOWAS has decided to introduce the Single Currency for all member countries in 2027, so that the ECO will become for West Africa what the EURO is for the European Union (EU). The primary reason for introducing the ECO across ECOWAS is to facilitate easier trade between the countries of West Africa. That it will undoubtedly do, just as the EURO has done for EU countries. But it has also to be pointed out that UK’s biggest trading partner (some 40% of all trade I think) is the EU… and UK refused to adopt the EURO and kept the POUND.
Boost for digital transformation in Africa as Huawei Pens Deal with ATU (Kenya Broadcasting Corporation)
The African Telecommunications Union (ATU) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with tech giant Huawei that will see African countries and organizations build capacity for ICT transformation. Under the agreement, Huawei will provide training on skills development, including reskilling and upskilling for ATU members. The MoU will also see the two organizations collaborate to support local innovation, share information on latest trends, challenges and solutions in Africa and globally, and expand the digital economy as well as rural connectivity, in the continent, through furthering research.
The 14th Meeting of the Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security (SCAFS) came to a close in Arusha, Tanzania on 25th June, 2021. Chairing the Ministerial Session, Chief Administrative Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives, Republic of Kenya, Mr. Lawrence Angolo Omuhaka, noted the urgent need for the region to implement harmonized policies and to operationalize regional instruments in order to guarantee sustainable agricultural production, trade in commodities and to attain sustainable regional food and nutrition security.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in partnership with the COMESA Secretariat will offer a two-day virtual training to technical officers from Member States on the preparation and submission process of new/updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). NDCs are national climate plans highlighting climate actions, including climate related targets, policies and measures governments aims to implement in response to climate change and as a contribution to global climate action. Central to the NDCs is the concept of national determination. The training will be conducted on 28-29 June 2021 and will also cover the Katowice guidance on NDCs, which are also at the heart of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
Give Africa clean energy funds – IEA (Mail & Gaurdian)
Wealthy countries have a “moral responsibility” to support clean energy transitions in Africa, said Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA). The world has two major challenges: to provide energy to 800-million people on the planet – 600-million of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa – and to reach its climate goals, he said. Some countries, with their vast economies, have begun this race ahead of others. “But one thing that is important to note is that unless everybody crosses the finish line, nobody wins this race, because it’s a global issue.” A new report from the IEA – Financing Clean Energy Transitions in Emerging and Developing Economies – shows how investment in clean energy in emerging and developing economies fell by 8% to less than $150-billion in 2020, with only a slight rebound expected this year.
The inaugural cohort of some 21 African post-doctoral researchers under the aegis of Climate Research for Development (CR4D) presented their pioneering findings, last week in Nairobi, Kenya, signaling a bold path for the new decade and dawn. The researchers who were selected from 11 countries namely Benin, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Namibia, Uganda, Kenya, Senegal and Zimbabwe unveiled their 18-month long findings in a three-day workshop (21-23 June). “By investing in research for development we are trying to find African solutions. Not only for the problems which are plaguing our continent but for those which are global.” Jean-Paul Adam, the director of the Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) technology, climate change and natural resources division says.
The EU’s role and political influence in North Africa has been hampered by economic and security policy priorities being trumped by the bloc’s desire to control migration flows, a leading analyst of the region told EURACTIV. Despite the political fragility in much of North Africa, and particularly in several of the countries which saw governments ousted during the Arab Spring ten years ago, the EU’s policy engagement with the region has tended to be through the prism of controlling migration flows from the African continent. “Where there has been tension is when efforts to support regional trade run up against something like the migration agenda, where the EU has taken a much harder line on prevention and blocking migration, and less focused on other ostensibly EU priorities like the promotion of free movement and trade in Africa,” Andrew Lebovich, policy fellow at the European Council for Foreign Relations, told EURACTIV in an interview.
US Set To Expand Businesses In Africa (Leadership)
As part of its support for growth of the continent, the government of the United States of America has said it would engage African governments on policies and regulatory practices to support digital economy, trade and engagement on the continental free trade area. Speaking at a recent event on the new US/Africa relations, Scott Eistner of the US-Africa Business Council highlighted the Biden government’s plan for Africa to include; make Africa great and continued negotiations with Kenya on free trade agreement. He said the expectation of the US is to support Africa on the post-pandemic recovery with the needed investments and create jobs for youths across the continent. “We need to deepen the expansion of our businesses in the whole area, including a focus on trade facilitation and enhance the role of the US in capacity building across sections of the whole continent. We need to engage African governments on policies and regulatory practices to support the digital economy and digital trade,” he said.
BRICS could be the world’s economic beacon (Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide)
The BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – could recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and its induced recession more quickly if India and Brazil work with China instead of fight it. In doing so, the BRICS could pull the world economy on an upward trajectory for a number of reasons. One, the five countries” economies are highly complementary. For example, Brazil, Russia and to some extent South Africa and India could guarantee the natural resources China needs to sustain its manufacturing prowess. China, for its part, has the capital, know-how and technology to invest in its fellow members” infrastructures and help their industrialization, taking them to the next stages of development. Two, being major developing nations, the BRICS have considerable room for expanding the size and scope of their economies.
Heads of Delegation of some 130 World Customs Organization (WCO) Member Customs administrations took part in the virtual meeting of the 138th Session of the WCO Council, held from 24 to 26 June 2021. As the world is bracing for recovery with a glimmer of optimism emerging from the global effort regarding vaccinations, this session focused on Capacity Building, Rules of Origin, Valuation, Nomenclature and Classification, Compliance and Trade Facilitation as well as budgetary and financial matters. “The ongoing pandemic has accentuated the relevance of Customs in ensuring connectivity at borders and maintaining the integrity of global supply chains to facilitate the cross-border movement of medicines, vaccines and other essential goods,” stated WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya.
The report highlights the vulnerability of LDC economies during the COVID-19 crisis and the trade opportunities they were able to leverage despite the pandemic. It describes how the projects led by the EIF have helped LDCs to mitigate the negative impact of the crisis and build their trade capacities. The EIF’s Executive Director, Ratnakar Adhikari, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the economic vulnerability of LDCs and acts as a reminder of why continuous support is needed to help them leverage trade as an engine for growth and poverty reduction. I am pleased that the EIF was able to help LDCs swiftly respond to the crisis, from helping with the assessment of the impact on tourism in Zambia to supporting the analysis of the potential effects of the crisis on countries graduating from LDC status.”
In May, India and South Africa called on the World Trade Organization (WTO) to temporarily waive intellectual property (IP) rules related to COVID-19 vaccines, medicines, diagnostics and other technologies. The reasoning was that waiving parts of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) would allow drugmakers in poor countries to produce effective vaccines without worrying about being sued for patent infringements and speed up the end of the pandemic, which if allowed to linger could see the emergence of vaccine-resistant COVID variants. The countries backing the revised proposal ranged from Eswatini to Indonesia and Pakistan to Vanuatu, adequately representing regions with some of the lowest vaccination rates globally. However, Latin America, the region worst hit by the pandemic and desperately in need of vaccines, only saw Venezuela and Bolivia proposing the IP waiver, leaving many experts confounded.