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SA logistics sector bleeding R100m-plus a day, supply chains must be restored (Engineering News)

South Africa’s logistics sector will “undoubtedly” see the closure of some logistics businesses owing to the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng, says South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF) chairperson and Savino Del Bene South Africa director Dr Juanita Maree. “Some businesses, especially small businesses working from load to load, might have already closed their doors.”

Unrest in South Africa disrupts agricultural logistics, raises food security concerns (S&P Global)

Reports of planted crops being set on fire in affected region Major port faces force majeure, road transport impacted Long-term impact unlikely on grains production, trade Unrest in South Africa’s eastern provinces is posing a threat to the country’s already precarious food security situation by disrupting agricultural trade and transportation, and damaging infrastructure and planted crops in the region, various sources said.

South Africa is a major producer of grains, particularly corn, and last year most of its grain exports headed to Zimbabwe, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s attache. In 2020-21, corn exports from the country were forecast to rise 40% year on year to 3.5 million mt. KwaZulu-Natal, the epicenter of the rioting and looting, is a major producer of sugar, milk and poultry, and also serves as an entry point for imported food products including wheat, rice and palm oils, said Wandile Sihlobo, Chief Economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa. “The biggest risk in the short term is the free movement of goods, including food and agricultural produce on the roads, specifically to and from the Durban port,” Sihlobo said. Durban port is the country’s entry and exit point for agricultural products, he added.

SA continue to deliver goods to Namibia without interruption: Dr Pandor (Devdiscourse)

International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, has assured Namibia that transport corridors will continue operating without interruption to deliver goods and services, particularly essential ones needed to fight COVID-19. This comes after Namibia expressed concern at the incidents of looting and criminality prevailing in pockets of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

She said the government is working around the clock to restore law and order and to ensure economic activity resumes in South Africa. In the meantime, Pandor said the government is keeping the borders open and working closely with businesses to ensure that goods continue to move during the worst effects of the pandemic. “It’s South Africa’s duty to ensure the free flow of goods between countries in the region and South Africa. In fact, the biggest trading partners of South Africa are on the African continent, so we have a duty to restore order for economic activity to continue.” The Minister expressed concern at the nature of violence that has played out for days in the country. “We should be worried because sometimes, these things sometimes spillover.”

The rise of eCommerce – is Namibia ready? (Namibia Economist)

According to the United Nations’ report on eCommerce global view, global eCommerce as a share of global GDP was estimated at 30% in 2020, while its share of global retail sales has increased from 14% in 2019 to 17% in 2020. 

Although the relatively small size of the African economy should be considered in this context, the low adoption rate of eCommerce amongst African countries is further mirrored by low intra-Africa trade of 17%. This points to the fact that, despite considerable progress achieved on the continent with respect to economic integration, cross-border barriers, poor transport infrastructure and non-harmonization of critical services for trade facilitation have partially hampered the growth of an eCommerce ecosystem in Africa.

However, Namibia’s intention to grow as a global and regional economic player raises the question around institutional readiness to effectively reap the benefits of the African market. The extent to which Namibia can reap the benefits of the wider regional market through eCommerce platforms as an evolving method of conducting transactions, would depend on the country’s digital readiness and enabling environment. This readiness, in turn, relies on two critical enablers: the quality of internet infrastructure, connectivity, and availability to rural areas; and secondly the quality of postal services, reachability, and awareness.

Zimbabwe to feel heat from SA riots (Chronicle)

Zimbabwe’s industries will likely feel the pinch of the violent demonstrations and looting unfolding in South Africa, its largest trading partner, as trade channels get clogged and supply chains disrupted. Other than the impact on Africa’s biggest economy, the insurrection has negatively impacted regional trade due to disruptions of operations at the Durban Port, Richards Bay Port, logistics and freight companies. Importantly, Durban Port is one of the major delivery terminals used by Zimbabwean importers and exporters as an international gateway.

An analysis of available data shows that local primary producers, as well as food and beverages manufacturers will perhaps be hit hardest by ongoing developments in the South Africa. According to a CZI report titled ‘Raw Material Import Exposure for Zimbabwean Industries’, 80 percent of Zimbabwean companies in the agriculture and horticulture sectors source their raw materials from or through South Africa. “In the case of trade, the current disruptions weigh even more heavily on businesses in the agriculture sector and farmers. On average, 75 percent of the country’s grains are transported by road annually,” wrote Wandile Sihlobo from the University of Witwatersrand.

Ugandan economy suffers as second lockdown bites (The East African)

Last January, 28-year-old Andrew Lutaaya, after a few years of unsuccessful job searching ventured into small business, selling second-hand jeans in downtown Kampala, in a shop he co-rented with a friend.

By the time the restrictions were relaxed to allow Lutaaya and other non-essential workers resume work, he was choking under four months’ rent arrears and the landlord threatened to confiscate his wares. He resorted to taking a loan from his community Sacco to save his business. But before his business took off a few months later, the country was hit by a second wave and a lockdown ensued. He now has a loan, rent to pay but no longer trades. Even getting food, he said, is a struggle. “The government announced that it will be giving us a relief package but we haven’t received it. It went to a few big businesses and with the new lockdown, I am sure many of us will be forced to close shop,” Lutaaya said.

Tanzania gets 13bn/- for design of southern corridor railway (IPPMedia)

Speaking during the opening of the SADC virtual meeting of the committee of ministers of finance and investment and peer review panel, held in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Minister of State in the Zanzibar President’s Office (Finance and Planning) Jamal Kassim Ali said the plan was part of a strategy meant to boost trade within the regional economic bloc. Key issues to be discussed at the meeting include the establishment of the SADC member states’ development fund which will be spent on financing projects within the bloc and a debt service suspension programme on countries affected by Covid-19. “We want to use one of our member states, South Africa, which is a member of the BRICS, to deliver our concern on the debt service programme – which is beset with some challenges,” he said.

Nigeria needs $100bn annually for 30yrs to close infrastructure deficit ― AfDB (Nigerian Tribune)

The President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina has disclosed that Nigeria is in need of over $100 billion annually for the next 30 years to close the infrastructure deficit in the country. Speaking as a panellist at a one day investors webinar to showcase the investment opportunities from Federal government reform and privatization, Dr Akinwumi Adesina stated that the Nigerian infrastructure deficit gap was wide. Given the huge amounts needed which is about $100bn annually for the next 30 years, he said the time has come to create an enabling environment for Public-Private Partnerships to close Nigeria’s infrastructure gap.

Senate approves Buhari’s $8.3 billion, €490 million external loan request (Premium Times Nigeria)

The Senate has approved the $8.3 billion (N8,325,536,537) loan request by President Muhammadu Buhari. They lawmakers also approved a separate €490 million loan request by the president. The total amount is part of the 2018 – 2020 external borrowing (rolling) plan of the federal government. The fund was approved on Thursday after the Senate considered the report of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts.

VP Bawumia Unveils One-stop Portal Ghana.gov (The Presidency, Republic of Ghana)

A one-stop platform to enable citizens easily access government services, simplify payments for public services, ensure prompt payments for the services and promote transparency and visibility of internally generated funds has been launched in Accra by the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia. Known as Ghana.gov, and accessible via the website www.ghana.gov.gh or shortcode *222# on any mobile phone whether smart or ‘yam’, Ghana.GOV is a payments and revenue collection platform that provides a single point of access to all services of ministries, departments and agencies of government. Built from scratch, and two years in the making, the platform consists of 4 main components: a web portal, mobile app and USSD interface; a payment processing component; a notification component; and a complaint submission medium.

Chief of Staff, Ministers in charge of Finance, Digitalization and the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Vice President Bawumia expressed delight that once again, Ghanaian expertise had been utilized to solve a Ghanaian problem. “The Ghana Card, the Digital Address System, the Mobile Money Interoperability, Ghana.Gov and the Universal Q Code are the foundational enablers in our effort to maximize the potential of digital technologies in Ghana’s transformation.

Formal trade lines will improve French-speaking in Ghana – Akufo-Addo (BusinessGhana)

President Nana Akufo-Addo expects more Ghanaians to pick up the French language as trade between African countries deepens. Speaking on Touch of France, a show about French culture, President Akufo-Addo said the trade factor in encouraging French-speaking in Ghana is especially relevant amid the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area. “As a necessary consequence, the language will have to be a determinant of that [trade] and it will be a very important incident of our capacity to trade effectively,” President Akufo-Addo said on the show.

“As the trade becomes more and more formalised, I think the necessity for both sides; both the French people and the English-speaking people to be able to exchange information in the languages that they speak is going to be almost irresistible.”

Businesses in informal sector ignore fight against COVID-19 (The Business & Financial Times)

Despite government’s directives for businesses of all sizes to observe outlined COVID-19 protocols – such as wearing face masks, washing hands, the use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers, among others – some workers in the informal sector have disregarded such measures, as they think the disease is no longer spreading as fast as before.

Observations made by the B&FT have revealed that compared to most businesses in the formal sector that are complying with the safety protocols by displaying ‘no mask no entry’ posts on their walls – providing water-filled Veronica-buckets and soap at their entrances for hand washing, or making available hand sanitisers – those in the informal sector such as provision shops, fruit-stalls, food vendors, used-clothes sellers and other petty-trading shops do not have such facilities at their places of operation any more.

Second edition of Mozambique SADC Success Stories publication launched

The second edition of the publication, Mozambique SADC Success Stories, was launched by His Excellency Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, the President of the Republic of Mozambique and Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), at the SADC Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government on 23rd June 2021 in Maputo, Mozambique.

Mozambique continues to play a significant role and has been recognised for the importance of its transport corridors which radiate out from the main ports of Maputo, Beira and Nacala, providing access to international markets for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Afreximbank Supports Ground-Breaking Trade Collaboration Agreement Between Malawi and South Sudan - African Export-Import Bank

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has announced its support for the first ever memorandum of understanding (MoU) on trade collaboration between the Governments of Malawi and South Sudan. The Bank will provide financial backing and payment instruments to facilitate trade of agricultural commodities and essential consumer goods between the two nations. The MoU was signed on 10 June 2021 in Juba by the Minister of Trade of Malawi, the Honourable Sosten Gwengwe, and the Minister of Trade and Industry of South Sudan, the Honourable Kuol Athian Mawien, as part of the programme of activities that marked the state visit of the President of Afreximbank, Professor Benedict Oramah, to Juba. The five-year agreement will allow Malawi to export grain and other agricultural products to South Sudan. The country currently has a surplus of grain totalling 1.2 million metric tonnes, which if exported will generate additional jobs for Malawian workers and benefit consumers in South Sudan. South Sudan will, meanwhile, be able to supply commodities such as petroleum products and bitumen to Malawi, supporting development and wealth creation in the South Sudanese economy.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said: “This is a historic moment for Malawi and South Sudan that showcases the promise of the AfCFTA in action. By taking their first ever steps into trade collaboration, both countries will unlock new channels for inclusive wealth creation and secure high-quality jobs for their people.


Africa

Piecing the puzzle of African integration: the successes and exponential potential. | African Union

Achieving African integration is not an end in itself. The purpose must be to offer the African citizenry prosperity and security. The objective of both regional and continental integration must enable African countries benefit from economies of scale, trade amongst themselves, move freely across the continent and most importantly, benefit from the common goals of Africa’s Agenda 2063, aimed at shared prosperity, unity and integration. The commemorative activities of the African Integration Day that kicked off on the 7th of July, will examine into details, the status of the continental integration and with particular focus on the role of continental integration in accelerating African economic recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic.

For the continent to advance positively on the post recovery efforts to build back better, stronger and reinforce Africa’s resilience in this and future pandemics, H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda and Champion of Regional Integration in Africa, notes that Africa can only be prosperous through production of goods and services and most importantly, by ensuring its continental market is integrated from the 55 micro markets to trade under the common market of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA). “How will the 1.4 billion Africans be prosperous? You can only be prosperous through production of goods of services but this prosperity can only be guaranteed by integrating the market. Integration should not only be a slogan but should be able to enable us overcome poverty and underdevelopment through production where people are assured of markets for their goods and services. Strategic security is also another key factor.”

African Integration Forum events highlight the African Trade Observatory for accelerating continental integration and economic recovery (ITC)

In commemoration of African Integration Day, the African Union (AU), the European Union, and the International Trade Centre engaged in a series of sessions between 7 and 8 July that highlighted how the African Trade Observatory Dashboard can support the effective implementation of the AfCFTA and strengthen continental integration. The sessions brought together an audience from across AU members, including policymakers and entrepreneurs, to shed light on how the digital dashboard can empower firms to take advantage of the continent’s emerging opportunities. As AfCFTA implementation moves forward, companies will be better equipped to take data-driven business decisions, while policymakers keep abreast of trade impacts on their economies. The new online version (https://ato.africa/en) offers updated statistics, is available in Arabic and Portuguese in addition to English and French, and unveils a new analytical module to meet the needs of policymakers. The newly released Monitor module grants authorised policymakers access to detailed and timely information on trade performance, trade opportunities, level of processing of traded products and the utilization of trade agreements.

AU urges push on continental integration to drive Africa’s economic recovery (The East African)

As Covid-19 has plunged Africa into its first recession in 25 years, the African Union (AU) Thursday underlined the need to address challenges of African integration to accelerate the economic recovery of the continent. The 55-member pan-African bloc, since July 7, has been commemorating Africa Integration Day under the theme, “The Role of Continental Integration in Accelerating African Economic Recovery from the Covid-19 Pandemic”, according to an AU statement on Thursday.

According to the statement, the cumulative loss of Africa’s GDP is estimated at between 145 and 190 billion U.S. dollars with worrying projections that 39 million more people could be pushed into extreme poverty if urgent and purposed measures are not taken to address the socio-economic difficulties caused by the pandemic. “Making AfCFTA a Production Community will ultimately enable us to accelerate economic growth and ensure our food, industrial and medical sovereignty to meet the emerging challenges on the horizon,” he said. “With economic integration, we (Africa) will be better placed to overcome the negative effects of the pandemic,” said Albert Muchanga, AU Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Industry and Mining.

Pan African SMEs Network conducts survey on readiness of businesses for AfCFTA (The Business & Financial Times)

The Pan African SMEs Network is conducting a survey on the readiness of Small and Medium Enterprises to benefit from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA). According to the Network, its preliminary checks revealed that despite the commencement of trading activities since January 2021 many SMEs are oblivious of the existence of the AfCFTA. Speaking to the B&FT at the African SMEs Dialogue to commemorate African Integration Day 2021, the Executive Director of Pan African SMEs Network said: “Many SMEs on the continent do not know about AfCFTA; how will they prepare for it. It tells that there is a huge task for sensitisation”.

ECA’s sensitization workshop on opportunities in AfCFTA for women in business ends in Abuja (UNECA)

A two-day sensitization workshop for women in business in West Africa on the opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has ended in Abuja with more than 100 women’s groups and businesswomen from across the country and neighbouring countries in attendance.

Speaking at the opening, ECA’s Senior Adviser Adeyinka Adeyemi, urged participants to take advantage of the huge integrated market of over 1.2 billion people to grow their businesses, expand their export potentials, create jobs and increase their profit. To take advantage of the opportunities, he said Nigerian women should access funding through schemes promoted by the Central Bank of Nigeria such as the Anchor Borrowers Programme, Real Sector support Facility, Export Stimulation Scheme, and Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme.

Energy will play a critical role in the success of Africa’s free trade area (Africa Renewal)

One of the first important things, which countries have started doing, is identifying where the people who need electrification and clean cooking are. This will enable countries to identify the best way to provide these using a range of energy mixes, knowing that cleaner is better. The second thing is for countries to make sure they have solid policies and laws to help attract investment and to help their own renewable, clean energy market. And then finally— and this is more of a global issue as well as an African countries’ issue—the financing must be there. So, public financing, private financing, commercial financing, non-commercial concession financing, philanthropy money-- all need to come together for us to end energy poverty.

SADC convened seventh meeting of Macroeconomic Peer Review Panel to review progress towards achievement of agreed Macroeconomic Convergence

The Peer Review Panel (The Panel) comprising the SADC Ministers responsible for Finance and Investment and the SADC Central Bank Governors, met via Virtual Conferencing on 15 July 2021. The purpose of the Panel’s Virtual Meeting was to review progress made by individual Member States towards the achievement of agreed SADC Macroeconomic Convergence (MEC) targets as well as to identify risks to the Region’s economic outlook and devise policy measures to mitigate the risks. The Panel also considered a report on the outcomes of policy measures implemented in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Member States’ economic performance and against MEC targets. The Panel also considered reports of the peer reviews of the Republic of Angola, the Republic of Namibia and the Republic of Zimbabwe which were undertaken virtually. This is the second time that the three Member States have been peer reviewed since the SADC Macroeconomic Peer Review Mechanism was launched in May 2013 in Maputo, Mozambique.

ECOWAS TPO to deepen intra-Africa exports beyond 16 per cent (Guardian)

The Economic and Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Promotion (TPO) Network, has said it would work towards facilitating the ease of business by increasing the volume of trade within the region, adding that it will build an army of exporters that will boost intra-Africa trade. The Network, while noting that intra-Africa exports only account for about 16 per cent of Africa’s global export, said the region’s trade only accounts for a 10th of member-states global trade. President of ECOWAS TPO Network, Olusegun Awolowo, made this known yesterday, at the launch and first yearly general meeting of the Network in Abuja. Awolowo reiterated the need to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA), adding that the establishment of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) was a step in the right direction to increase trade in the region.

He added that the low utilisation of the scheme, especially among Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), which account for a large proportion of economic activities within the region, highlights the need for more efforts.

ECOWAS Administrators Seek to Curb Tax Evasion, Illicit Financial Flows (THISDAY Newspapers)

Tax administrators of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member states yesterday intensified efforts to make it difficult for individuals and business entities, especially multinational institutions, to evade tax compliance as well as limit illicit financial flows and corruption at regional level. At the first major stakeholders’ meeting of the Support Programme for Tax Transition in West Africa (PATF), the regional heads of public tax institutions agreed to fast track the formulation and adoption of policy and framework to strengthen the fight against tax fraud as well as improve domestic tax management and ensure better coordination of taxation in the programme’s coverage area. The Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Muhammad Nami, while declaring open the regional seminar on the problems of tax transition in West Africa, in Abuja, said at a time when the various governments were facing health and security difficulties, results were of great essence to boost revenue mobilisation and improve fiscal positions.

New EABC boss outlines top 12 priorities (The New Times)

Rwandan economist John Bosco Kalisa, who was last month appointed as CEO of the East African Business Council (EABC), has hit the ground running; traversing the region and meeting stakeholders as he is determined to enhance the business environment in the region. Kalisa recently stressed that the private sector is a key player in job creation and development and should therefore take centre stage in the regional integration agenda. Speaking to The New Times from Kampala, Uganda, on Thursday, July 15, Kalisa listed the top 12 priority areas he is working on to improve business in the region.

CEMAC seeks to add value to wood exports [Business Africa] | Africanews

The wood industry in Central Africa lacks dynamism. As a result, countries do not benefit enough from its resources. To change this situation, the Central African Economic and Monetary Community is focusing on the local processing of wood. Hence the ban on the export of logs. The measure is due to come into force in January 2022.

Digital tools can transform Africa, tackle food insecurity (Africa Renewal)

Mr. Laku’s sunny optimism derives from the fact that digital tools are currently accessible to Africans in a way that technologies weren’t in the previous industrial revolutions.  “The first industrial revolution was about steam engines being used for transportation—ships. The second industrial revolution was when electricity was discovered. The third revolution was the invention of the computer,” he says, in an interview with Africa Renewal. “It took about 50 years for Africa to adopt the technologies in the first and second industrial revolutions, and it took 10 years for computers to gain ground on the continent.”

But now, maintains the half-Ugandan and half-Kenyan digital expert, “It’s the first time in history that Africa is on par with the rest of the world. “If it's the internet, Africa also has internet; If it’s technology that’s being piloted in Japan, countries in Africa are also piloting it. For example, about six or seven countries are already testing the 5G in Africa,” he says.

Is B2B is the key to unlocking Africa’s e-commerce potential (Quartz Africa)

While Africa has a vast e-commerce potential, experts consider this opportunity largely untapped. A report released last year by the International Trade Centre (ITC), a development agency that supports small- and medium-sized enterprises, found that 10 countries were responsible for 94% of all online business in Africa in 2019. E-commerce businesses in the continent mainly engage in the business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) models. B2B involves transactions between businesses, for example between a manufacturer and wholesaler, or a wholesaler and a retailer. In B2C, on the other hand, a business sells a service or product directly to a consumer. If you actually look at what it takes to operate a B2C model effectively, the infrastructure and actually the consumer spending power is not there.

Globally, B2B e-commerce is up to five times the size of B2C e-commerce, according to the ITC. In African e-commerce, recent developments have been making the case for B2B being the key to unlocking Africa’s e-commerce potential. Businesses using this model are increasingly emerging and thriving, and some B2C businesses are changing their approach to B2B.

ECA and GSMA call on central Africa to leverage mobile connectivity for e-commerce (UNECA)

The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the GSMA today called on Central Africa’s 11 governments to adopt policies to accelerate e-commerce, including better access to digital services and public-private collaboration. Mobile internet use in Central Africa more than doubled in the past decade to 42% at the end of 2019. Women and entrepreneurs increasingly use e-commerce platforms to grow their businesses, according to the joint GSMA-ECA report titled “Enabling e-commerce in Central Africa: the role of mobile services and policy implications”. The report makes the potential for economic development and social inclusion clear. E-commerce is growing quickly in Central Africa and mobile connectivity and payments are key to gaining momentum. By the end of 2020, there were 16 live mobile money services in ECCAS[1], serving nearly 50 million registered accounts. The report shows that while the retail e-commerce landscape is dominated by global players, such as Amazon, eBay and Alibaba, domestic and regional players are leveraging local knowledge to compete. Jumia, is an example of this and is Africa’s largest e-commerce company with operations in 11 countries across the continent.

Trade ties between India, Nigeria, others below potential, says Adebayo (Guardian)

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, yesterday, lamented that African countries have not realised their true potential in bilateral trade with India. In his address at the 16th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India and Africa Project Partnership with the theme: “Harnessing the Africa-India Opportunity: Connect, Create, Collaborate”, the Minister said despite the fact that India is Africa’s third-largest trading partner, African countries predominantly export raw crude oil and other extractive resources to the Asian country. He said: “As you may be aware, India is now Africa’s third-largest trading partner. Yet the bilateral trade data and patterns suggest the true potentials have not yet been realised as African countries predominantly export raw crude oil and other extractive resources to India. “In the light of Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, and as African countries aim to reduce their economic dependence on resource trade, India could play a catalytic role in Africa’s collective efforts to boost the region’s manufacturing and service exports.” He listed the main export destinations for India in Africa to include South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria, Tanzania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Algeria, Ghana, and Ethiopia.

Sub-Saharan African countries not yet coming to grips with pandemic (Engineering News)

Fitch Solutions Country Risks & Industry Research maintains that the vaccination rollout is still of huge concern in sub-Saharan Africa, considering that few vaccines get administered owing to lack of infrastructure for distribution, particularly into rural regions. Sub-Saharan Africa remains lagging behind on vaccination rates, compared with the rest of the world, it said on July 15.

African Heads of State Call for an Ambitious Replenishment of the IDA20 to Support Their Recovery Agenda (World Bank)

Thirteen African Heads of State and governments concluded their one-day meeting in Abidjan today with a strong resolution to accelerate economic recovery from the shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, scale-up investments in human capital, and increase their job creation efforts. They called for a robust twentieth replenishment of the World Bank Group’s International Development Association (IDA20) to support these efforts.

In a joint declaration endorsed at the meeting, the Heads of State emphasized that economic recovery, job creation, and investments in human capital – including expanding access to vaccines – are critical to help people recover from the shocks of the pandemic, get out of extreme poverty, and build a more resilient and inclusive future. “The funding process that begins in Abidjan this week, will conclude at the end of this year with a policy and financial package to support specific projects in the 74 IDA countries over the next three years. The objective of an IDA20 replenishment envelope of at least $100 billion, for three years, would be the largest in IDA’s history. This is a good opportunity to demonstrate that solidarity is effectively essential for the good of all and that we can act together to return to the path of income convergence that we were on prior to the pandemic and build a safer and prosperous world,” said President Alassane Ouattara of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire.​ ”We know that when the World Bank has the backing of all its stakeholders, it has the capacity and oversight to make a difference.”


Global

UN hints at progress in streamlining trade procedures despite Covid crisis (Dhaka Tribune)

Countries across the globe are continuing to move towards a seamless and efficient trading environment, within and beyond national borders. By simplifying and digitizing formalities in international trading, the countries are helping to sustain international trade despite the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a survey released by the UN regional commissions on Wednesday. The United Nations Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation covers not only the trade facilitation measures in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, but digital trade facilitation measures associated with the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific, a UN treaty which entered into force earlier this year. The survey also pays closer attention to sectors and groups with special needs, such as the agricultural sector, small and medium enterprises and women traders.

The Important Role Air Cargo Plays in the Global Supply Chain (Global Trade Magazine)

The world’s first cargo flight was in 1910. Since then, air cargo and private cargo shipping have played a crucial role in transporting time-sensitive and high-value goods internationally and domestically. Over the years, air transport has also proven to be a key “connector” between the manufacturers and the consumers. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, shipments that took too long to get from one point to another were quickly transported via air. Air cargo has also kept the global supply chains functioning for time-sensitive materials. This was carried out by utilizing cargo capacity in passenger aircraft, dedicated cargo freighter operations, and relief flights to affected areas.

Global trade and shipping chaos faces a new problem. Slow vaccines for seafarers (The Economic Times)

Global vaccinations of seafarers are going too slowly to prevent outbreaks on ships from causing more trade disruptions, endangering maritime workers and potentially slowing economies trying to pull out of pandemic slowdowns.

Infections on vessels could further harm already strained global supply chains, just as the U.S. and Europe recover and companies start stocking up for Christmas. The shipping industry is sounding the alarm as infections increase and some ports continue to restrict access to seafarers from developing countries that supply the majority of maritime workers but can’t vaccinate them.

“It’s a perfect storm,” says Esben Poulsson, chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping that represents ship owners. “With this new delta strain, there’s no doubt it’s setting us back and the situation is getting worse. Demand for products isn’t letting up, crew changes aren’t happening fast enough and governments continue to stick their heads in the sand.”

Technology holds the key to driving greater sustainability in global trade (Finextra)

Whether environmental, social or economic, the sustainability challenges at the heart of trade often seem insurmountable in this global, sprawling industry. Recent research suggests 92% of CEOs believe the integration of sustainability will be important to the future success of businesses – but only 48% say they are actually implementing sustainability into operations. Against this backdrop, what role can technology play in bridging the gap between belief and action when it comes to making trade more sustainable?

WTO members edge closer to fisheries subsidies agreement (WTO)

During an all-day meeting with 104 ministers and heads of delegation, WTO members pledged to conclude the negotiations soon and certainly before the WTO’s Ministerial Conference in early December, and to empower their Geneva-based delegations to do so. Members also confirmed that the negotiating text currently before them can be used as the basis for the talks to strike the final deal.

Nigeria wants small scale fishers out of WTO subsidies discipline (Daily Trust)

The Federal Government has called for the exemption of small-scale and artisanal fishers from the scope of fisheries subsidies discipline under negotiation at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by member nations. Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, made the call in his submission at a virtual meeting of WTO Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) at the ministerial level on fisheries subsidies on Thursday. Adebayo affirmed Nigeria’s commitment and support to the agreement to prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies that had resulted in rapid depletion of global marine fish stocks.

He said it would ensure recognition “that appropriate treatment for developing countries and least developed countries should be an integral part of the WTO fisheries subsidies negotiation”.

ICC calls on trade ministers to reach fisheries deal at WTO (ICC)