tralac Daily News
South Africa has lost its status as gateway to Africa as trucks burn – RFA (Engineering News)
President Cyril Ramaphosa must ensure that the violent scenes currently playing out on South African highways end, says Road Freight Association (RFA) CEO Gavin Kelly. He urges Ramaphosa to see to it “that those that are responsible are held accountable, that the rule of law is shown to be firmly in place and that the safety and security of South Africa and its people is ensured”. Civil unrest broke out in parts of South Africa last week following the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma after he was found guilty of contempt of court.
“There are cargo owners – people who pay transporters to move their goods – who are now looking at alternative routes through Namibia, Angola, Mozambique and even further north,” he adds. “We have lost the Gateway to Africa status we once held. We are losing more and more transit freight through the country… and this affects many small economies along the route – from fuel to refreshments, support and security.”
US retains spot as top global buyer of Kenyan coffee (Business Daily)
The US has extended its hold as the top buyer of Kenya’s coffee, beating Belgium and Germany for the second year in a row with purchases worth Sh4.4 billion in the 2019/20 period. Statistics from the Coffee Directorate put America at the top having bought 9.1 million kilogrammes in the crop year which ended in October 2020, up from 6.6 million kilogrammes previously. Until 2017, Germany was the largest buyer of Kenyan coffee, a position that it had held for nearly a decade. However, the US took the top spot in 2018 after Kenya aggressively marketed its specialty coffee during the 2018 Specialty Coffee Association of America symposium in Seattle, US.
Manufacturers’ uproar over new taxes and rising cost of power (The East African)
Kenyan manufacturers facing liquidity challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic are up in arms against the government over new tax increments and the high cost of power. They argue that new taxes, high cost of electricity, high import declaration fees among other levies only add to their woes by reducing profitability and slowing down recovery of business hit hard by Covid-19 measures. The measures plus an influx of new taxes has led to the collapse of a number of industries including slowing down the value chain in hotel and hospitality industry among others.
“The pandemic has had adverse effects on manufacturers on business operations with many manufacturers experiencing: reduced demand, depressed production capacity, cash flow constraints, logistics challenges and in some cases, downsized workforce.” The survey titled, Impact of Covid-19 on the manufacturing sector in Kenya: One year on, reveals that on liquidity, company responses to relieve cash flow challenges has been lesser compared to 2020. This follows a report on the impact Covid-19 on the manufacturing sector conducted by Kenya Association of Manufacturers and KPMG between May 2020 and June 2021.
Kenya passport holders banned in 54 countries (The East African)
Holders of Kenya’s passport cannot access 54 countries in the wake of Covid-19 ban in the global race to protect nations against new variants of coronavirus. The Henley Passport Index, which has been regularly monitoring the world’s most travel-friendly passports since 2006, made the revelations that show how the pandemic has affected travel. The government imposed restrictions on movement in the region to try and stem it from spreading nationwide. “Borders remain firmly closed in several countries, including Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, while many others continue to ban travelers from high-risk regions,” says the Henley & Partners report.
“For our country to attain several development goals including the industrialization drive as envisaged, having a robust and sustainable tax system is inevitable. A sustainable system that we need in our country is the one that reflects predictability and inspires confidence for the future by allowing growth of businesses as opposed to strangling them taking into account that businesses are sources of taxes,” TRA commissioner general Alphayo Kidata said.
Nigeria must tap diversity as pathway to greatness, economic prosperity – AfDB President (International Centre for Investigative Research)
President of the African Development Bank Akinwumi Adesina said there was a need for Nigeria to tap its diversity to achieve greatness and economic development. Adesina said that positive exploits into the nation’s diversity would impact the human capital development of the country while expanding opportunities for everyone, irrespective of whom they were or part of the country they came from. Delivering a keynote address at the convocation ceremony of the American University of Nigeria in Yola on Saturday, Adesina said Nigeria’s diversity was not its problem, but the main issue was how the diversity was managed for economic growth and development.
In what appears like a payback time over Nigeria’s closure of its borders in 2019, the government of the Republic of Benin has stopped Nigeria-bound trucks laden with transit goods from Cote d’ivoire, Ghana and Togo from passing through its border to Nigeria. This development has left over 3,700 Nigeria-bound trucks laden with transit goods worth several billions of naira trapped between Ilakoji, a border between Ghana, Togo and Benin. However, stakeholders were worried that some of the goods, which have been under both rain and sun, might have gone bad, particularly the perishable ones, which will bring huge financial losses to the affected companies.
NACCIMA: AfCFTA Provides Opportunity for Nigeria to Dominate Africa (THISDAY Newspapers)
The leadership of the Nigerian Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has challenged Nigerian businesses to shed the toga of fear of Nigerian becoming a dumping ground and step out boldly to compete and dominate African economy with the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. President of the NACCIMA, Mr. John C, Udeagbala, stated that competition under the AfCFTA would strengthen Nigerian businesses rather than and drowning them. Udeagbala also said NACCIMA under his leadership would focus on strengthening the collaboration between the private sector and the National Assembly, federal and state governments and pursue the effective implementation of the AfCFTA agreement.
New taxes/levies coming to tackle plastic waste – MESTI (The Business & Financial Times)
The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, (MESTI), Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, has hinted government is considering a plastic waste management policy that will impose certain levies on consumers who use plastic products. The policy, which is at a consideration stage, according to him will capture the inputs of all stakeholders involved in the manufacturing, management and recycling of plastic products.
Nigerian Ambassador to Russia, Prof. Abdullahi Yibaikwal, has said enhanced trade and economic cooperation between Nigeria and Russia holds tremendous opportunity for international market penetration and economic growth. According to him, Nigeria was an emerging economy and the prospects for trade and economic cooperation between both countries through inflow and outflow of trade and investment were very bright. The ambassador who noted that Nigeria had the largest market in Africa, with a population of over 200 million, projected to grow to over 400 million by 2050, said president Muhammadu Buhari’s administration intends to establish strong economic ties with all countries to harness Nigeria’s human and natural resources. Yibaikwal listed the priority areas of investment in Nigeria as agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals, services, construction, real estate, oil and gas.
Trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) finally kicked off on January 1, 2021. Countries now have to harmonize customs and tariff regimes. But Wamkele Mene, the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA secretariat admits that restrictions prompted by Covid-19 have slowed down progress.
“The protocol on the movement of persons is a separate instrument, it is not part of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), it is an instrument that was negotiated separately, it has not yet entered into force, so it is not moving as quickly as we would like to see, that is because countries have to make their own considerations about ratifying it. The single currency is something that is a long-term objective, I am not in a position to say when it will happen, what I can say is that, in the interim, along with Afreximbank, we are taking the step of establishing a pan-African payments and settlements platform, which will be a digital platform for facilitating trade, and we believe that it is a step in the direction of eventually Africa having a single currency.”
Africa-wide adoption of digitisation crucial to AfCFTA’s success – Expert (The Business & Financial Times)
For the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to achieve its main objectives of creating a single market for goods and services, promote industrial development and sustainable and inclusive socio-economic growth, African governments have been advised to embrace digitisation heavily. “Digital breaks barriers, digital solves corruption, digital creates enablement, and digital creates effectiveness and efficiency. So, there are so many benefits that if governments put their heads to – and begin to drive their economies toward – digitisation, it is going to create a strong, enabling environment that drives a lot of the entrepreneurship needed; which will create a lot of incentives entrepreneurs need to lead the solutions that will push the economies forward,” Eric Osiakwan, the Managing Partner of Chanzo Capital, stated.
A better normal for Africa (Jordan Times)
Despite incurring high costs in terms of lost and foregone social and economic progress during the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa has so far avoided the kind of health and economic calamity that some anticipated when the crisis began. Like any crisis, the pandemic could represent an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a better future. But it won’t be easy. First and foremost, the continent must get COVID-19 under control, which requires ensuring equitable access to vaccines. As it stands, some advanced economies are on track to achieve widespread vaccination within months. Yet Africa is struggling to secure the 90 million doses it needs to inoculate the highest-priority 3% of its population, including health-care workers and the most vulnerable groups.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministers of responsible for Transport, Information Communication Technologies (ICT), Information and Meteorology met on 9th July 2021 to discuss various sectoral issues of infrastructure development in support of SADC regional integration and development.
Hon. Abdulai noted that this year 2021 has witnessed the completion of regional projects such as construction of the Kazungula Bridge linking Botswana and Zambia; the launch, by His Excellency Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of Mozambique and Chairperson of SADC, of the SADC Centre for Humanitarian and Emergency Operations, in Nacala; and the installation of meteorological equipment in SADC Member States to improve the early warning system and the field of information and communication technologies in meteorology.
A SADC Corridor Management Strategy was approved in 2008, and has served as the basic framework for cooperation and coordination in transport integration. The corridors strategy focuses on developing legal instruments for joint governance of corridors; institutional frameworks for joint and coordinated management of transport corridors; and prioritisation and implementation of critical corridor transport and logistics infrastructure.
Nigeria accounts for over 20% of funds laundered from Africa – FG (Punch Newspapers)
The Federal Government says over 20 per cent of funds illegally taken from Africa come from Nigeria. Spokesperson for the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, Azuka Ogugua, stated this on Monday in Abuja while speaking on the occasion of the 2021 African Union Anti-Corruption Day marked every July 11. “In In 2017, 2018 and 2019, there was a call to have a common African position on asset recovery. African countries were serious undergoing stress, a lot of funds have been moved out of the countries illegally and we were all struggling to find ways of recovering the funds. So, a lot of discussions were around how African countries can go about these.”
West Africa is poised to be the next largest exporter of cashew kernels to the U.S. market through a $3 million co-investment partnership between the USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (Trade Hub) and Red River Foods (RRF), a leading global supplier of plant-based food. This partnership builds on the U.S. Government’s Prosper Africa initiative to increase two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa, as nearly $32 million in exports are anticipated from activities to boost the production and processing of this valuable commodity.
The African Refiners and Distributors Association (ARDA) has said it will cost the continent about $7.5 billion to exit the use of outdated fuel sources like firewood and charcoal and embrace modern, cleaner energy. Between now and 2030, the group noted that the $7.5 billion investment, inclusive of debt, equity and grants, would be required to build clean cooking stoves and downstream infrastructure that would support the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Executive Secretary of ARDA, Anibor Kragha, who spoke during the event, noted that with the growing pressure against fossil fuels, African countries must deploy measures to secure the needed financing to develop and add value to its hydrocarbon resources.
African Farmers Need to be at the Forefront of Climate Change Initiatives (International Policy Digest)
There is another gap in climate change intervention that is separate from the government and certainly worth considering. Individual farmer-led climate change actions can play a huge part in addressing climate change and other environmental issues, more so in Africa, but it has to be done right with firm regard to the climate change context of individual African countries. Scott Fields observes: “Africa can easily be said to contribute the least of any continent to global warming. Each year Africa produces an average of just over 1 metric ton of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide per person, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s International Energy Annual 2002. The most industrialized African countries, such as South Africa, generate 8.44 metric tons per person, and the least developed countries, such as Mali, generate less than a tenth of a metric ton per person. By comparison, each American generates almost 16 metric tons per year.”
Tapping smart tech to raise smallholder farmers’ yields (Business Daily)
Earth Observing System Data Analytics (EOSDA) – a global provider of AI-powered satellite imagery – is using technology to help farmers monitor their crop throughout the farming season by offering services such as detecting water stress on plantation, diseases and other emerging issues within the field to enhance yields. Low levels of technology uptake for monitoring by smallholder farmers, little capacity to interpret data, cost of technology and integration of technology with extension services are some of the challenges facing producers in the continent. Africa has 65 percent of the world’s remaining uncultivated arable land and presence of sunshine nearly the whole year.
“Trade played an important role in the historic development achievements and poverty reduction we saw during the thirty years before COVID-19. And trade will be at the centre of our efforts to end the pandemic,” DG Okonjo-Iweala said. “Trade is a necessary ingredient in building back a stronger and more inclusive global economy, and reviving progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.” She noted that the pandemic had dealt a severe blow to the pursuit of the SDGs, citing projections from international institutions for increased poverty, hunger and joblessness.
UNCTAD Examines Effects of IMO Decarbonization Plan on Small Economies (The Maritime Executive)
The maritime industry is at the forefront of cutting its carbon footprint and building resilience to climate change impacts. It is in this regard that IMO has set guidelines for shipping industry to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This contains short-term mandatory provisions on the technical energy efficiency of ships’ propulsion systems and their operational carbon intensity. To achieve this feat will require new investments in fleet renewal, innovative ship design and clean fuel technology. Although the resulting costs of the shipping’s decarbonization will be borne by all stakeholders, from carriers to consumers, a recent report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) sought to assess the impact of IMO’s short-term GHG reduction measures on states.
“On average, developing coastal countries will be affected more by the proposed IMO short-term measures, compared to coastal countries in developed regions. Results show an average small increase in maritime logistics costs which translates into a slight decline in global trade flows and GDP. These changes will lead to potential shift in logistics and trade patterns, including potentially trading more with less-distant markets and some regionalization,” the report noted.
To keep global warming between 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius, we must cut global emissions by one quarter to one half over the next decade. Based on our historic experience, this may seem an impossible target – but it is one we ought to and can achieve, with public support, technological breakthroughs, and the right policies. But our miserable performance so far has given ground to an interesting a joke: how can we achieve sustainability and protect our climate? It is in this context that staff from several international organizations (AFD, IEA, IMF, OECD, UNDP, WTO) worked to set out key global policy priorities to cut emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, to be published in a report after the Conference. Applying them at a country level would require specificity of making climate mitigation compatible with continued social development and national preferences toward policy approaches.