tralac Daily News
Trade, Industry and Competition hosts pricing regulations dialogue, 7 Jul (South African Government)
The pricing regulations and other related matters on prices will come under the spotlight during the online stakeholders’ dialogue on pricing regulations and other related matters on prices webinar that will be hosted by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) in conjunction with its agencies, the Competition Commission, the National Consumer Commission, Consumer Goods and Services Ombud and Proudly South African. The webinar will take place on Wednesday, 7 July 2021 at 14:00.
“The anti-competitive behavior by businesses might be one of the causes driving price hikes. The Covid-19 pandemic may have also contributed to how businesses are behaving in response to the pandemic, which in turn is affecting consumers in a negative way. It is therefore important for consumers to know their rights and understand steps to take where they suspect unfair practices by businesses,” says Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry, and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina.
The debt-to-GDP ratio for Namibia continued to rise further above the central government debt ceiling of 35% of gross domestic product as of March 2021. Total debt as a percentage of GDP stood at 62% at the end of March 2021, representing yearly and quarterly increases of 6.3 percentage points and 2.0 percentage points, respectively. ”SACU receipts and company taxes are expected to decline by 36% and 0.6%, respectively, to N$14.7 billion and N$7.6 billion during the FY2021/22. Over the MTEF period, government revenue is expected to remain sluggish in 2022/23 mainly due to anticipated lower SACU receipts and lustreless economic activity, but it is then expected to recover to N$57.1 billion in FY2023/24,” the central bank added.
Zimbabwe’s new biggest banknote is worth just $0.60 (The East African)
Zimbabwe’s central bank on Tuesday announced the introduction of a new 50-dollar note, the country’s highest denomination, worth only around $0.60 in US currency. Insufficient to pay even for a loaf of bread, the bill’s entry into circulation has revived memories of hyperinflation seen more than a decade ago in the southern African nation. As price growth spiralled out of control, denominations at the time mounted as high as a 100-trillion-dollar note. The new note is the latest and most valuable in a series introduced from February 2019 as Zimbabwe moved back to using local currency.
Trade, tech firms account for majority of MSMEs (Business Daily)
A majority of medium, small and micro enterprises in the country are now concentrated in the trade and information and communication technology (ICT) sectors, a new report by the banking industry lobby has shown. The two sectors account for 58.9 percent of the MSME sector, which now leads in job creation, especially for the youth, ahead of agriculture, which was previously the dominant hub for enterprises. The growth of trade and ICT enterprises, however, show the shifting preferences by the youth who have migrated to urban areas seeking white-collar opportunities.
Kenya seeks $31m from Global Fund for Covid war (The East African)
Kenya has returned to the Global Fund for $31.1 million to boost its Covid-19 response amid an ambitious vaccination plan targeting the entire adult population by the end of 2022. The financing will help Kenya buy vaccines through an African Union facility and that of Covax – the global scheme for sharing jabs. The Global Fund has so far approved Ksh7.44 billion ($68.9 million) in grants to support Kenya in mitigating the effects of the pandemic under its Covid-19 Response Mechanism (C19RM) programme.
NEPZA Partners Shippers’ Council to Boost Non-oil Revenue (THISDAY Newspapers)
The Managing Director/Chief Executive, Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, has expressed the organisation’s readiness to open multiple partnerships with the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) to significantly scale-up the federal government’s non-oil sector deliverables to Nigerians. Executive-Secretary of the council, Mr. Emmanuel Jimea dded that, as the head of the council, Jime has returned to manage another critical sub-sector of national economy whose importance is now amplified due to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). He said: “As your agency also regulates dry port operations in Nigeria, we have unique opportunities to collaborate and work together for the development of the various value chains of the economy and bridge economic infrastructural deficit facing the nation”.
Nigeria introduces new ship registration regime (The Guardian Nigeria)
The Federal Government has commenced restructuring of the Nigerian Ship Registration Office in a bid to prevent the entry of unseaworthy and sub-standard ships into the Nigerian flag. Assistant Director, Public Relations, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Edward Osagie, in a statement, said the agency has commenced issuance of new certificates of ship registration while simultaneously phasing out the old permits. He quoted the Director-General, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, as saying: “We are restructuring the Nigerian Ship Registration Office to serve you more efficiently and effectively. We are determined to grow our national fleet and tonnage to an enviable height.”
NACC reaffirms commitment to boost Nigeria, US trade export (The Guardian Nigeria)
The Nigerian American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) has restated its commitment to leveraging its platform to boost the volume of export between Nigeria and the United States. Earlier, former NACC president, Otunba Oluwatoyin Akomolafe, said the year under review, despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the attendant restrictions and limitations placed on physical interactions, the Chamber still managed to initiate and successfully organise a total of 11 programmes, with two physical breakfasts meetings while others were conducted virtually. “These programmes cut across various sectors inclusive of Investment Stimulation, Logistics, Financial Services, Real Estate, Oil & Gas, as well as the African Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA)/Export. These programmes drew a commendable level of participation with very positive feedback from participants,” he said.
US companies in Ghana to leverage AfCFTA (BusinessGhana)
To commemorate the independence anniversary of the United States of America (USA) on July 4, the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Ghana has organised a special supplement to commemorate the day on the theme: “Shared Prosperity: Progress beyond COVID-19 pandemic.” President of AMCHAM, Ms Ayesha Bedwei, said in an interview:
“U.S companies in Ghana fully support AfCFTA. It is an opportunity for them to expand their operations on a continental level. The elimination of the non-tariff barriers will make the continent more attractive for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
“It is exciting that Twitter has chosen Ghana as the hub of its African operations. This will create employment for many of our tech professionals and will position Ghana as the tech hub of the West African sub-region. The local tech industry also stands to benefit from the numerous collaboration and skills development programmes that Twitter will offer.
“Government, private sector stakeholders and regulatory bodies must invest in capacity building for local companies. The focus should be on producing goods that meet international standards and creating robust corporate governance structures to meet partnership requirements.”
The computers and the accessories were handed over to the beneficiaries during a high powered delegation nationwide visit to all the 7 border posts headed by the ECOWAS representative to The Gambia Vabah K. Gayflor. The 7 official border posts that benefited from the head of ECOWAS Commission’s goodwill gesture include: Amdalai, Kerr Ali both in the North Bank Region. Sabi Border Post in the Upper River Region. Misira in the Lower River Region and Jiboro, Darsilameh and Kartong in the West Coast Region. The donation came after border visits conducted by the ECOWAS Mission in The Gambia and the ECOWAS Ambassadors Solidarity Forum in the Gambia (EASOFIG) in 2018 and 2019 when border officials lamented their challenges, especially insufficient computers for data collection and management.
Egypt to release megaship impounded over Suez blockage (The East African)
Egypt is set to release the MV Ever Given on Wednesday, over 100 days since the megaship was refloated after blocking the Suez Canal for six days, crippling global supply lines and costing billions. The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) announced Sunday that a final deal had been reached, without disclosing the amount of compensation to be paid. In a statement, it said a ceremony would be held on Wednesday to mark the deal, after which the ship would leave. Cairo had initially demanded $916 million in compensation before slashing that to around $550 million, but the final amount has been the subject of tough negotiations.
In Morocco, in-bound remittance flows increased strongly during the pandemic, reaching an estimated 6.5% of GDP or US$7.4 billion at the end of 2020. A large share of these remittances stem from France, Spain, and Italy (70% of in-bound remittances). Remittances within Morocco are also frequent, with 1 out of 5 Moroccan adults having received or sent remittances within Morocco in 2017. The Central Bank of Morocco, as part of its efforts to enhance the population’s financial inclusion, recently launched the Greenback Initiative in Morocco. The Greenback Initiative is a World Bank initiative that aims to increase efficiency in remittance markets and through this lower the cost of money transfers. It promotes change by using an innovative, client-centric approach and bringing stakeholders together.
While the non-mining sector was severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, overall growth in Guinea remains strong, reaching 7 percent in 2020, driven by booming mining production. Inflation exceeded 12 percent as a result of COVID-related supply disruptions and the ongoing monetary and fiscal response. The already weak social indicators have deteriorated further.
Fundamental lessons from regional economic communities for the African Continental Free Trade Area: A Case study of EAC (Institute of Economic Affairs)
Fundamental lessons from regional economic communities for the African Continental Free Trade Area: A Case study of EAC The establishment of AfCFTA and the creation of various Regional Economic Communities (RECs) is part of the wider effort by African governments to pursue integration through free trade, and developing customs union and common market (AU2014). Therefore, understanding how to overcome the various constraints to regional integration at the regional level can help enhance implementation and management of a free trade area at the continental level.
Regional red tape blamed for slow licensing of importers (Business Daily)
Tedious application processes have been cited as the major obstacle in approval of importers in East Africa. A new report reveals that implementation of the Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) programme under the Customs Authorities in East Africa faces a number of obstacles, slowing down approval of importers and other logistics players in the region. According to a report by the Federation of the East African Freight Forwarders Association (FEAFFA), lack of awareness among industry stakeholders and tedious application processes stand in the way of faster implementation of AEO where only 155 importers have been accredited in East Africa since 2006. Small and Medium Micro Enterprises (SMME) are cost-disadvantaged and are not able to keep the high standards and stringent measures used by customs in vetting the AEOs, the study reveals.
EAC region’s growth projected at 3.6 percent this year (The Citizen)
The East African Community (EAC) economic bloc is projected to grow at 3.6 percent this year. The fast growth will likely give the six nation bloc a leeway in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The facility, which became operational in January this year, has a consumer market of 1.3 billion people. This was announced here yesterday by the newly appointed chief executive officer of the East African Business Council (EABC) John Bosco Kalisa. “With the deep political commitment and goodwill from our regional leaders, there is hope and optimism on growth of trade and investments,” he said.
Is Kenya becoming East Africa’s ‘cry baby’? (The Standard)
When it comes to trade relations with its neighbours, Kenya appears like it is always crying foul over unfair trade practices. The country is perennially banning the importation of products from the rest of the East Africa region, which has played a part in slowing down regional integration. It has always had bitter-sweet relations with its East African Community (EAC) neighbours, particularly Uganda and Tanzania, the two countries that have over time emerged as Kenya’s largest trading partners.
The most recent ban was in March when the government prohibited the importation of maize from Tanzania and Uganda on claims that it had aflatoxin. In a statement on Parliament’s website that captures debate in the house following the March last year ban on maize imports from Uganda, Busia Municipality MP Geoffrey Macho said Kenya’s action will not only hurt trade in the region but the spirit of EAC integration “In the recent months, countries in the EAC (notably Kenya) have continued to issue trade restrictions on various food and agricultural commodities from neighbouring countries, for example, the recent import restrictions by Kenya for imports of maize from Uganda and Tanzania,” said TMEA Director for Standards and SPS (sanitary and phytosanitary) Measures Dr Andrew Edewa.
SADC ministers in key infrastructure meeting (The Southern Times)
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will on July 9 hold the meeting of the Joint Committee of Ministers of Transport, ICT, Information and Meteorology to discuss sectoral issues of infrastructure development in support of regional integration and development of the region. For the transport sector, ministers will, among other things, consider and discuss the reports of the SADC Civil Aviation Committee, SADC Roads, Road Transport and Traffic Committee and SADC Railways Committee. The discussions are aimed at accelerating development of transport infrastructure in all modes and regional corridors, harmonisation of transport laws, regulations and standards and liberalisation of the sector for better performance. In addition, they will review progress in implementation of regional guidelines and measures to respond to COVID19, which has disrupted integration and economic development programmes, especially trade facilitation.
SADC has made significant progress in strengthening its efforts to integrate its economies and promote peace and security, SADC Chairperson and President of the Republic of Mozambique, His Excellency Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, has said. The frontloading of industrialisation in the economic integration agenda through the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063 adopted in 2015 in Harare, Zimbabwe, is yet another example of the Region’s determination to integrate its economies and to claim its rightful place within the global economy. Although endowed with some of the richest reserves of minerals in the world and other natural resources, SADC has until recently, ironically, been a net importer of processed goods because the bulk of its our resources have been exported in raw form. “It was, therefore, a momentous occasion when we took the decision in 2015 to ensure that we extract maximum benefits from our natural resources by making sure that there is value addition and beneficiation that takes place before they are exported. This would ensure that the Region has a greater portion of the socio-economic benefits that accrue from the resources,” said H.E Nyusi.
Agriculture, more especially smallholder farming, presents a substantial socio-economic contribution towards Africa’s livelihood, as well as jobs and wealth creation. Notably, 60% of Africa’s population directly or indirectly depend on smallholder farming as a means of economic activity. Fundamentally, agriculture contributes approximately 23% of Sub-Sahara’s GDP. Africa has several continental frameworks formulated and established to enable sustainable agriculture and food security across the continent. As such, African countries are encouraged to enhance rural infrastructure through relevant agricultural innovation and technological development that can assist smallholder farmers within Member States. The African Union High Level Panel on Innovation and Emerging Technologies (APET) believes that smallholder farming supported by innovation and emerging technologies can enhance Africa’s job creation and ensure adequate food security. Therefore, APET is encouraging African countries to enable the adoption of innovation and technologies essential for that smallholder farming to increase quality food production and supply and subsequently ensure food security. In this way, African countries can support agriculture-inclined technologies such as artificial intelligence, drone technologies, the internet of things, and blockchain technology to enhance precision agriculture.
Launched in 2001, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is a socioeconomic development flagship programme of the African Union (AU). NEPAD is a vision and framework that facilitates and coordinates the development of continent-wide programmes and projects, mobilising resources and engaging the global community, regional economic communities, and AU Member States. NEPAD’s mission is to address the critical challenges of development and Africa’s international marginalisation by eradicating poverty, promoting sustainable growth and development, fostering Africa’s integration into the global economy, and empowering women.
The latest scandal involving leaked documents expressing the South African government’s intent to oppose a proposed global treaty of plastic bans is just the most recent example of how the plastic and petrochemical industry is coercing African governments to push their profit-making agenda. Across Africa, plastic pollution remains a serious problem, devastating communities’ health, their environment and the ecosystem that millions depend on for livelihood. Its effects are harmful, blocking riverways and provoking flooding among other huge environmental discomforts. The most vulnerable of societies bear the brunt of plastic pollution issues, according to the United Nations, and recent developments in the news expose who stands to benefit from it.
Renewable Energy in Africa: What’s in it for investors? (Nairametrics)
A new report by Africa Oil Week and Wood Mackenzie has highlighted that the global energy transition will drive divestment of oil and gas assets in Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan countries. It went ahead to state, “Carbon emission is increasingly key when screening assets for divestment. Low-value, high-emissions assets will be prioritised for sale.” When reporting on how the market will respond to the increased divestment, the report stated that above-ground risks, oil price risks and access to finance on reasonable terms would continue to shrink the pool of buyers for these oil and gas assets. Energy projects rise and fall on finance. While access to finance for fossil fuel assets will continue to be a challenge, financing for clean energy projects in Africa is on the rise.
New Covid variant dampens efforts to revive global aviation (Business Daily)
Airlines continue to stare at a bleak future with another round of the Covid-19 variant that has seen carriers suspend flights or reduce frequencies to some of their destinations. Just last week, Kenya Airways announced it has cut its frequencies to Uganda because of high cases of Covid-19 reported there, leading to a total lockdown by the authorities. Rwanda Air too suspended flights to and from Entebbe International Airport. Uganda is one of the key routes for Kenya Airways, having the most frequencies in the region. Thus, low demand on the route is set to impact on the carrier’s earnings.
Why Africa’s push to make vaccines should look further than COVID-19 (The Conversation Africa)
It’s unlikely that vaccine manufacturing will offer Africa a quick fix for COVID-19. Countries on the continent are grappling with a diverse array of challenges. These include vaccine hesitancy, supply bottlenecks and a lack of operational funding and human resources to administer jabs. Still, the political will to boost local manufacturing of vaccines is rising across the globe, including in Africa – and has never been this high. It will take several more years before countries are fully prepared to manufacture new vaccines to the scale of contributing significantly to global output. Therefore, governments should adopt a longer-term view that prioritises the most urgent health challenges in the region. This vision must be about manufacturing vaccine generally, rather than COVID-19 vaccines specifically.
Africa will continue to benefit from vaccine support by China, which is keeping its promise to aid the continent get through its difficulties, Chinese observers said on Tuesday, after two major Chinese vaccine companies localized production lines in Morocco and Egypt. More Chinese vaccine manufacturing lines are expected to be built in Africa – potentially in South Africa and Zambia – observers said. The move comes at a time when the African continent is in the grip of a third wave of COVID-19 infections and African countries are disappointed at empty promises from European nations. China has signed a deal with Morocco to start using the established facilities of a Moroccan pharmaceutical firm to make 5 million doses a month of Sinopharm vaccines, according to a notice released by Sinopharm on Tuesday. This is China’s second vaccine production line in Africa after one in Egypt.
The board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) has approved $170.9 million in financing for the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Leveraging Energy Access Finance Framework (LEAF) programme. This is part of an overall allocation of $501.1 million in GCF resources for new climate projects. The new climate projects approved will mobilise a total of $2,949 million for climate action in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, with three of the four new projects targeting support to the most vulnerable countries including least developed countries, small islands, developing states and African states.
ECA staff kicked off the second quarter Accountability and Programme Performance Review meeting with a minute of silence, led by Executive Secretary Vera Songwe in honour of the late Sizo Mhlanga who passed away on Saturday, 3rd July 2021. Until his separation in May, Mr Mhlanga served as the acting Director of the ECA Southern Africa Office. Ms. Songwe recognized his commitment and dedication to the ECA and expressed condolences to his family, friends and colleagues. She also paid tribute to other UN staff who have passed on due to the pandemic.
The 1 July meeting of the Council on Trade in Services addressed the WTO work programme on e-commerce and the operationalization of a waiver from WTO rules that allows members to offer more favourable market access for service providers from least developed countries (LDCs). Members also reviewed services-related notifications submitted by a number of WTO members and addressed several services-related trade concerns. They also discussed issues related to services domestic regulation and implementation of services commitments at separate meetings of the Council’s subsidiary bodies.
Developing countries whose economies depend on commodities must enhance their technological capacities to escape the trap that leaves most of their populations poor and vulnerable, says UNCTAD’s Commodities and Development Report 2021, published on 7 July. About two thirds of developing countries were commodity dependent in 2019, meaning at least 60% of their merchandise export revenues came from primary goods, such as cacao, coffee, cotton, copper, lithium and oil. The report, “Escaping from the commodity dependence trap through technology and innovation”, highlights the correlation between low technology capacities and high commodity dependence. It warns that most of the 85 commodity-dependent developing countries (CDDCs) will remain trapped for the foreseeable future unless they go through “a process of technology-enabled structural transformation”.
The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2021, launched on Tuesday at UN Headquarters in New York, shows the toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on the 2030 Agenda, as the landmark annual High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) officially got underway. “The pandemic has halted, or reversed, years, or even decades of development progress. Global extreme poverty rose for the first time since 1998”, said UN Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin, during the launch. “This report paints a worrying picture regarding the state of the SDGs. Yet, it also highlights stories of resilience, adaptability and innovation during the crisis, which indicate a brighter future is possible”, underscored Mr. Liu.