tralac Daily News
Cost of containers, freight have increased on the back of Covid-19 (Engineering News)
The cost of freight containers, rental costs and shipping freight rates have increased as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, says container freight company Container Intermodal Trading (CIT) CEO and co-founder Kashief Schroeder. The price of shipping containers, however, needs to be adjusted as they are significantly undervalued as a trading commodity and it is positive that container factories are realising their worth in the global logistics market. It is an opportunity for South Africa to rethink its position, become more technically orientated, pour more resources into again becoming more manufacturing orientated and building a more diverse local economy that is not so reliant on imports for its survival.
“As our economy struggles under the strain from the pandemic, we should work together to consider longer-term strategies to help protect us from increased consumer debt and decreased consumer savings in the future. Invest in our local economy and become more conscious of what and how we consume to mitigate the price increases that are out of our control.”
South African violence leaves trade in tatters and claims piling up (Global Trade Review)
South African supply chains have been thrown into chaos after violence engulfed the country, with warehouses, distribution centres and trucks destroyed, and major trade routes disrupted. The state insurer, Sasria, must brace itself for an onslaught of claims from businesses. Transnet, the state rail and port company, said on July 16 that for Durban port and Richards Bay the situation had “improved slightly” compared with earlier in the week. However, it added that “fuel and food shortages, as well as remaining road closures in the Durban port vicinity, continue to constrain the rest of the supply chain as trucks cannot get into and out of the port, resulting in backlogs. In Richards Bay, where trucks handle dry bulk commodities, truck movements are underway.”
The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition said on Monday that supply chains for food and other products “are largely back on track” after last week’s riotous destruction and looting. And while the department has a penchant for making rules, it has actually relaxed some to allow the links in the supply chain to join up. The department said in a statement that: “Large retail chains have reported that supply of food and other products to South African stores and neighbouring states, affected by disruptions in supply-chains in KwaZulu-Natal, are largely back on track.
“The Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, had also issued an exemption from certain provisions of the Competition Act, to enable firms to collaborate and ensure availability of basic food and consumer items, emergency products, medical and hygiene supplies (including pharmaceutical products), refined petroleum products and emergency clean-up products,” the statement said, without elaboration.
Meat importers call for expedited flow of product through Durban port (Engineering News)
The Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (Amie) has called for urgent intervention to fast-track imports through the Durban port. The association says the import food industry has lost 40 000 t of cold storage capacity and that significant volumes of raw material has been lost as a result of the past weeks’ unrest in KwaZulu-Natal.
South Africa’s textile and garment sector is being undermined by illegal imports from China, unions have said, which are threatening the revival of the industry. The Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU). The union said the country used to manufacture yarn for fabrics that were sold locally and in Sub Saharan Africa but not anymore. In addition to Chinese imports, others threats include a lack of clarity on how the African Continental Free Trade Area will benefit smaller economies, and how regional economic integration will be implemented. “The unbridled influx of cheap, inferior, Chinese textiles onto the Ghanaian textile market due to the so-called globalisation, trade liberalisation, trade agreements and protocols, dealt a devastating blow to the textile industry,” said Solomon Kotei, general secretary of ICU.
The Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina has welcomed the assessment report on the Empowerment of Women in the Green Industry Policy. Gina addressed the virtual launch of the report today. The report is the result of the collaboration between the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), and United Nations Women, and the German government. The report is part of the global joint programme called, “Economic Empowerment of Women in Green Industry” (EEWiGI), whose purpose is to advise policymakers and practitioners on the establishment and implementation of a policy framework to integrate gender and green industry policies. The aim of the programme is to effect change and empower more women to take leadership roles and participate in green industry as entrepreneurs or industry professionals.
Booming Chinese economy sucks in South African exports (Independent Online)
The booming Chinese economy is sucking in massive amounts of South African exports as it needs our mineral exports such as coal and iron ore to fuel its economy. According to the latest data from the General Administration of Customs of China, South African exports to China showed an 83.2% year-on-year (y/y) surge in the first of 2021 to $15.89 billion (about R230bn), while South African imports from China grew by 52.4% y/y to $9.43bn, resulting in a trade surplus in South Africa’s favour of $6.46bn. China’s economy sustained a steady recovery in the first half of the year, with the production and demand booming, while employment and prices remained stable, the National Bureau of Statistics said. It added, however, there were concerns about the global spread of the pandemic and unbalanced recovery domestically. In the first half, the economy grew by 12.7% y/y, due in part to base effects as it was measured against last year’s coronavirus-triggered slump.
South Africa is not the only beneficiary of a booming Chinese economy, as the total trade value between China and Africa grew by 41.9% y/y to reach $116.89bn in the first half of the year. Similar to South Africa’s growth rates, China’s imports from Africa grew faster than its exports to Africa, but unlike South Africa, the balance was a surplus in China’s favour. China’s exports to Africa grew by 38.2% y/y to $66.79bn, while China’s imports from Africa increased at a faster pace of 47.1% y/y to US$50.1 billion, resulting in a trade surplus in China’s favour of $16.78bn.
For many countries the inverse effects of the pandemic have highlighted the critical role the private sector must play in supporting economic advancement. Within the last year alone, the pandemic caused a decline of about 87% in international tourism, translating to a massive loss of thousands of jobs. Indeed when it comes to youth empowerment the private sector can deliver much more impact to reduce the pool of unemployed young people and increase the success rate of youth start-ups.
In 2019, European exports to Namibia were worth over 425 million euro (N$7,2 billion). Additionally, the recent Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) concluded between the European Union (EU) and the Southern African Development Community’s EPA states, of which Namibia is one, will also accommodate duty-free, quota-free market access for Namibia to the EU, strengthening a plethora of market opportunities that will generate economic prosperity – especially in the manufacturing sector. On the horizon, the future looks promising.
Zim exports rise 9,5 pc (The Herald)
The value of Zimbabwe’s total exports clocked US$486,8 million in May this year, signifying a marked increase of 9,5 percent from $444,7 million earnings realised in April, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) has revealed. The increase in total export earnings has been attributed to a spike in tobacco earnings since the commencement of the selling season for the golden leaf in April. Growing exports is at the heart of Zimbabwe’s economic transformation towards an upper middle-income status by 2030. The drive has seen the Government, guided by the National Development Strategy (NDS1-2021-2025) blue-print and working closely with the private sector, pushing for increased domestic production anchored on high value exportation.
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a loan of $4.25 million to the Lesotho Revenue Authority to provide digital tax services, including e-taxation and e-payment, that will broaden the country’s tax base and boost government revenue. The funds, to be sourced from the African Development Fund, the Group’s concessional lending window, will go to support the Supplemental Financing of the Lesotho Tax Modernization Project. The project follows the Lesotho Tax Modernization Project (LTMP) approved in November 2017, and for which the African Development Bank Group provided $7.09 million, in financing. Specifically, financing will be used to procure and install e-taxation, e-payment, and e-invoicing software and hardware and to integrate financial institutions and mobile money providers into e-payment systems.
Locally assembled vehicles rise 80pc on demand surge (Business Daily)
The number of motor vehicles assembled locally rose 80 percent in the first half of the year in what players attributed to pent-up demand arising from the reopening of the economy. Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMI) data shows that formal dealers led by Isuzu East Africa, Toyota Kenya and Simba Corp produced 4,357 vehicles in the period, up from 2,425 the year before. This means that the assemblers produced nearly 70 percent of all the 6,246 new vehicles sold in the period, with the balance mostly comprising imports of fully-built cars.
Agents, importers want stability at KPA (The East African)
Clearing agents and importers have raised concerns over a leadership vacuum at Kenya Ports Authority (KPA). This comes in the wake of the Kenya government failing to appoint a substantive managing director and three other board members including the chairman. Clearing agents and importers said replacement of Rashid Salim, who has been an acting managing director since March last year, without a full board will likely affect the process of making key decisions at the port. “The business community prefers working with a stable institution and some might opt to other ports such as that of Dar es Salaam,” said Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association chairman Roy Mwanthi.
The Commissioner General for Uganda Revenue Authority, John Rujoki Musinguzi, has an uphill task of collecting taxes from businesses and individuals that continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic hit. His supervisors at the Ministry of Finance have set targets for him and appears not to bother much about the environment under which he operates. In the just concluded FY 2020/21, Musinguzi and his technical staff only managed to collect net revenue of Shs19.2tn, a 14.99% growth in comparison to the previous year. However, this is below the Shs21.6trillion target.
Tanzania opts for natural gas to reduce import fuel costs (The East African)
Tanzania is pushing forward with the development of and use of natural gas in various sectors of the economies and has set aside Tsh30 billion ($12.89 million) for compressed natural gas (CNG) projects only. This will assist the government in reducing import fuel costs while going green to preserve the environment. Data from the Energy Ministry shows that the country spent nearly Tsh2.9 trillion ($1.246 billion) last year importing fuel. Tanzanian already uses and supplies natural gas for electricity generation by major industries, manufacturers and households for domestic use. About 3,000 households are already connected to CNG supplies in Dar es Salaam, Mtwara and Lindi.
Tanzania and Rwanda have agreed to work together to promote the telecommunications sector, especially Information and Communication Technology, in order to increase productivity in the sector’s contribution to the development of the two countries. “As you know, our countries have long-term relations but also both countries are making great strides in the telecommunications and ICT sector; but at the same time are countries that are interdependent in matters of communication, “said Minister Ndugulile.
Following the official launch of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Promotion Organisations (TPO) Network last Friday, towards increasing the volume of trade within the region, Nigeria is poised to boost its non-oil exports leveraging the platform. The Executive director / chief executive officer of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Mr. Segun Awolowo, who is also the inaugural president of the ECOWAS TPOs and the NEPC, is now repositioning the nation’s export through the implementation of its N50 billion Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP), a part of the economic sustainability plan which development and implementation is being led by the Vice President. The export expansion facility programme (EEFP) is expected to significantly raise the volume of non-oil exports in Nigeria, and it’s a spin-off of the zero oil plan developed by Mr. Awolowo and approved by the president.
Protecting small scale fisheries (The Nation Newspaper)
Fish is an important source of food. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has pointed out that the small scale fisheries sector is vital to the success and sustainability of the blue economy. Fifty per cent of seafood globally, analysts said, is supplied by small scale fisheries. Also, they said the supply chain in the small scale fisheries provides livelihood for millions of women. But growth in industrial scale fishing deployed by advanced countries in the West African waters is nosediving and putting the livelihoods of local fishermen at risk.
As Africa’s most populous and largest economy, Nigeria’s economic prosperity has implications for the continent and the rest of the world. The labor market in Nigeria has not kept pace with the rising working-age population and has significantly worsened following the 2016 recession and COVID-19. Large numbers of educated youths are unable to realize higher economic returns from investing in their human capital.
The Government of Nigeria (GoN) has developed institutional and policy frameworks that recognize international labor mobility as a tool to address unemployment, increase remittances, and facilitate the transfer of knowledge and investments from its diaspora, and has simultaneously worked on initiatives that curtail irregular migration. At GoN’s request, the World Bank supported through the Employment, Skills Partnership and Labor Migration Advisory Services and Analytics (ASA). The ASA, which commenced in 2019, broadly assessed Nigeria’s policy and institutional framework for international labor mobility and explored the feasibility of expanding new and innovative labor migration partnerships with countries of destination in Europe, culminating in two recently published reports.
Multimillion-dollar local apparel industry lays dormant (Business & Financial Times)
Though the Ghanaian apparel industry is regarded as a major pathway to industrialisation, the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) has said low-cost high-volume competing apparel exports from China and other Asian countries in the global market continuously overwhelm Ghana’s exports. Despite the numerous opportunities available to the industry in Ghana – including unexplored niches in the global market such as original woven Kente, diaspora market potentials; proximity to global apparel markets – Europe and America; and the existence of bilateral and regional trade agreements such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), inadequate promotion of Ghanaian textiles and Afrocentric fashion in mainstream apparel channels abroad remains a bane of the sector.
Currently, the industry employs more than 6,000 Ghanaians and exports more than US$30million on average annually. Export revenues from the sector in 2020, according to GEPA, stood at US$43million compared to the US$137.4billion worth of apparel and accessories that China alone exported last year to the US market.
Ghana was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The government response helped contain the pandemic and support the economy, but at the cost of a record fiscal deficit. The economic outlook is improving, even though risks remain, including from the evolution of the pandemic and rising debt vulnerabilities. An economic recovery is underway. Growth is expected to rebound to 4.7 percent in 2021, supported by a strong cocoa season and mining and services activity, and inflation remaining within the Bank of Ghana target. The current account deficit is projected to improve to 2.2 percent of GDP, supported by a pickup in oil prices, and gross international reserves are expected to remain stable. However, this outlook is subject to significant uncertainty, including from new pandemic waves and risks associated with large financing needs and increasing public debt.
Informal banking lifeline for Malawi SMEs (The Southern Times)
High interest rates and other prohibitive costs of doing business with commercial banks in Malawi have pushed SMEs to seek informal financial services. This has driven the rise of community-based banking, called Banki M’khonde (veranda or village bank). A FinScope survey says over half of Malawi’s population is unbanked. While access to business and agricultural credit for Malawi’s rural population, who largely depend on subsistence agriculture, is limited and requires collateral, it is also expensive requiring high-interest rates and comes with specific conditions for borrowers. Economists say Malawi needs a stable, liquid, competitive and efficient inclusive financial system in order to expand agricultural production, micro and small enterprises, employment and to increase household income in a sustainable way.
Tunisia’s foreign trade edged up in June 2021 reaching levels surpassing those reported before the pandemic (February 2020), after declining for two consecutive months. Exports rose by 17.1% while imports only edged up 10% compared to May 2021, data on foreign trade at constant prices published Monday by the National Institute of Statistics (INS) show. As such, the balance sheet for the first half (H1) of 2021 has reported a significant 27% rise for exports and 23.3% for imports, compared to the same period in 2020. However, these levels are still similar to those logged in 2019. The monthly trade deficit for June 2021 has narrowed by 102.4 million dinars (MD), standing at 1451.7MD.
Sudan railway network to get US$ 643M revamp (Construction Review)
As part of current governments’ efforts to revive an economy ravaged by decades of dictatorship and global isolation, the Sudan railway network, half of which is abandoned, is set for a US$ 643M make-over. According to the state-owned Sudan Railways Corporation (SRC), the African Development Bank, China State Construction Engineering Corp. Ltd., and undisclosed Gulf firms have already expressed interest in helping the North African country restore the approximately 2,400 kilometers of idle rail lines.
The standard expectation would be that AfCFTA trading – taking place on a continent of few islands and many landlocked states – would happen mostly by rail, road or plane. In fact, the first goods traded under the AfCFTA regime were carried by ship from a Ghanaian cosmetics company to Guinea on 4 January. African decision makers must prioritise the expansion and improvement of the continent’s maritime transport infrastructure, which struggles to deal with the current level of import and export. The development of port infrastructure in most African countries lags behind the rest of the world – only three African ports are featured on the 2020 list of top 100 global container ports. High freight rates, poor turnaround time in cargo clearance, and inadequate storage capacities are just some of the many problems that strain African ports’ competitiveness.
Report: AfCFTA Success Depends on Regional Integration of Public Good (THISDAY Newspapers)
The African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) has stated in its African Transformation Report 2021 that countries in the continent should look beyond trade and markets and collaborate in delivering regional public good. This, it noted was to ensure the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and achieve growth in their respective economies. The report titled, Integrating to Transform, stated: “But while past regional integration efforts have often struggled, Africa’s transformation requires much more progress on regional integration. “To achieve growth with depth and for the AfCFTA to succeed, countries have to look beyond trade and markets and collaborate in delivering regional public goods such as transport corridors, free movement of people, well-managed river basins, cross-border digital connectivity, and systems to control future outbreaks of pests and disease.
To provide a platform for women to voice their needs and interests regarding trade in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Namibia last week held a national consultation for the AfCFTA protocol on women in trade. In a virtual event, the economic advisor at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Wilmot Reeves said the aim of the consultation was to understand the export profile (sectors) in which women are engaged in cross border trade and to identify broader value chains linked to the export profile. To identify key challenges and issues and required policy interventions to maximise women engagement, an entrepreneur Hilya Herman, who owns PH Niche Investments CC gave her testimony, emphasising the need to direct entrepreneur education and training skills for the youth and women.
Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat Wamkele Mene has called on African leaders to re-double their resolve to forge ahead with economic integration of the continent. According to the Secretary-General much work remains ahead in the implementation of the AfCFTA. “There will be challenges that may seem unsurmountable, it is at that point that we should re-double our resolve to forge ahead with economic integration of our continent.”
The AfCFTA holds the ace for African countries to improve intra-African trade and replace activities that were hitherto dominated by third-party countries to Africans. Despite this potential, there are challenges about the ability of African countries to remove red tapes and encourage trade. Indeed, the recent African Trade Report by Afreximbank showed that despite ranking the third contributor to intra-African trade, Nigeria’s share of trade remains low considering its status as the biggest economy on the continent. This is even as raw commodities dominate items exported from the continent. The report showed that though the outlook for 2021 is positive and Africa’s trade is expected to rebound strongly as global economic activity picks up and demand for African exports increases, informal cross-border trade (ICBT) remains dominant.
For e-Commerce giant, Jumia, headquartered in Nigeria with a presence in about 11 countries within the region, COVID-19 had an overall net negative effect on business in 2020. According to the brand’s 2020 financial report, “As a result of only limited recourse to nationwide lockdowns across its footprint, the pandemic did not lead to a drastic change in consumer behaviour nor meaningful acceleration in consumer adoption of e-Commerce at a Pan-African level”.
Africa’s 2021 Growth Prospects: A puzzle of many pieces (Afreximbank)
The global demand and supply shocks triggered by the outbreak of Covid-19 plunged the world into economic recession. In a marked reversal from pre-pandemic forecasts, global growth contracted by 3.5% in 2020. Africa suffered its first recession in 25 years amid contracting global trade and a sharp fall in commodity prices and tourism revenues. Aside from rising infections and negative commodity terms of trade, African economies were equally affected by a third shock, mainly through financial channels. In the immediate aftermath of the Covid-19 outbreak, the sharp tightening of financial conditions triggered massive capital outflows and hampered countries’ ability to finance rising health expenditures and public investment to support growth. Heightened uncertainty affected investment, with foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to Africa falling by 28% in the H1 2020 compared to the same period the year prior. Sharp declines in tourism revenues and remittances further exacerbated liquidity constraints and undermined economic growth.
What building back better looks like (The Southern Times)
“Building back better” has become the catchphrase of the recovery after covid. It suggests that the pre-covid normal was inadequate, even problematic, and the crisis has created an opportunity to rebuild better. Everywhere else, building back better means a full embrace of a carbon-neutral future. Governments are introducing policies and passing laws to get the transition underway, and activist investors have rebelled against large multinationals whose transition plans were seen as not sufficiently ambitious. All these policies are unfolding outside Africa, but their impact will be felt here. How does Africa build back better? What does better look like?
Why Africa needs to manufacture its own vaccines (Logistics Update Africa)
Currently, there are at least five African countries that manufacture vaccines at different levels. Some are more focused on fill and finish, while others manufacture vaccines from end-to-end. Dr John Nkengasong is a Cameroonian virologist and director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), which is working to strengthen the ability of Africa’s public health institutions to detect and respond to disease threats and outbreaks. He explains why Africa should manufacture more of its own vaccines, and how to achieve this.
EAC end-year meet to review monetary union roadmap (The East African)
The East African Community Council of ministers is set to meet before the end of this year to review the roadmap towards the implementation of a single currency regime after agreeing that the initial 2024 deadline was not attainable after all. The delay in implementation is set to subject regional traders and travellers to prolonged exposure to costly currency conversion transactions and exchange rate risks, which are adversely impacting the volume of intra-regional trade.
AN extraordinary meeting of the East African Community (EAC) Sectoral Council on Tourism and Wildlife was convened mid this month to consider, among others, the bloc’s COVID-19 tourism recovery plan, regional guidelines for resumption of services in the tourism sector and hospitality establishments.
Ministers of Finance and Investment and the SADC Peer Review Panel convene meeting to review progress on implementation of financial mechanisms and harmonising and strengthening of the financial sector in the Region (SADC)
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) convened a virtual Committee of Ministers of Finance and Investment and the SADC Peer Review Panel meetings on 15th July, 2021. For her part, SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr. Steromena Lawrence Tax underscored that the challenges facing the Region, including those posed by the COVID-19 pandemic call for effective national and regional policy measures to keep regional supply chains safe and stable, maintain regional financial stability, spur quick recovery of the regional economy and minimise the economic and social damage. She indicated that the challenges facing the Region call for the need to speed-up the implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Agenda by, among others, utilising comparative advantages, national and regional potentials, and natural resources to the fullest.
Dr. Tax noted that the research paper by the Bank of Botswana on Global Trade Tensions, titled Opportunities and Risks to the SADC Region, recommended implementing the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap that emphasises development of value chains in three priority areas, namely the agro-processing, pharmaceutical, and mineral sectors, especially mineral beneficiation.
Stakeholders in the agro-industry in collaboration with the COMESA Business Council (CBC) have developed a road map to be implemented from this year aimed at promoting the industry. Among the activities identified is the development of a regional anti-illicit policy and implementation framework, which will include sensitization of industry players on the need to establish a track and trace system at national and/or regional level. Besides, CBC will seek funds or technical assistance to undertake a study on the development of a mutual recognition framework for pre-packaged food in the COMESA region.
Regional integration in West Africa: Is there a role for a single currency? (Brookings Institution)
In early 2019, leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) set a goal of achieving a monetary and currency union by January 2020. While the COVID-19 pandemic and a lack of macroeconomic convergence among member countries precipitated the postponement of this goal, ECOWAS leaders have continued to move forward with the project, with the new goal of launching the new currency – “the eco” – in the coming years. Proponents of the currency union argue that it would free businesses and visitors from the burdens of exchanging currencies and encourage intra-area trade, leading to a more deeply integrated and prosperous region overall. However, the effort comes with significant costs along with operational challenges and transitional risks. In Africa, it is uncertain whether the benefits of the eco will be spread evenly across the community given the disparate levels of development and various sizes of the national economies involved. Skeptics of the eco project also note that many of the hoped-for benefits of the shared currency will require an accompanying set of fundamental reforms, including stronger domestic institutional and macroeconomic frameworks.
Following the Continental Consultative Meeting on Harmonization of ICT Policy and Regulatory frameworks held in September 2019 where Experts and Senior Government Officials from fifty (50) African Union Member States and Regional Organisations identified a number of areas of common interest that require continental harmonization. The AU Commission, within the framework of implementation of the Policy and Regulation Initiative for Digital Africa (PRIDA) project, started working on two topics namely “Conditions of Entry into the Market (Authorization/Licensing Regime)” and “Data Protection & Location” and established an Expert Working Group for each topic with the aim to enhance the Pan-African harmonization status of each topic and assess the impact on Africa economy and society.
African Union Launches a Continental Green Recovery Action Plan (African Union)
The African Union Commission launched a new five-year continental Green Recovery Action Plan 2021-2027. In his opening statement H.E President Felix Tshisekedi highlighted that a clean and resilient recovery in Africa will not only create jobs in the industries of the future but also overcome challenges related to public health, prosperity and climate change. He also emphasized that the challenges confronting us today are a reminder of the need to think of a recovery that is both inclusive and respectful of the environment and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
COVID-19 has triggered the deepest economic recession in nearly a century and the impacts on Africa have been particularly stark. Food insecurity and debt has been rising, and hard-won development gains are being lost. As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds in Africa, the situation remains fluid and rapidly evolving, with measures needed to ensure the trajectory of the recovery remains in line with the Paris agreement and the ambition of COP26.
This note on sea cucumber farming is part of a series to analyze the different forms of green aquaculture, assessing potential environmental, economic, and social benefits. Aquaculture offers advantages on several levels closely aligned to the Bank’s strategy. Not only helping to feed Africa, green aquaculture can also contribute to Africa’s industrialization, enhance local added value and improve the living conditions of African people by providing livelihoods and the long-term skills to provide resilience.
Trade and Investment subjects of mutual interest
In the challenging context of COVID-19, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to use all avenues possible to strengthen and diversify their economic and trade relations, and to stimulate regional integration, with the aim to achieve sustainable growth and decent job creation, as well as promoting transformative, competitive, clean, circular and resilient economies. This cooperation would take place at a crucial moment for Africa’s integration, with the start of trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and the progress of the sub-regional economic integration processes through the implementation and widening and deepening of existing Economic Partnership Agreements – EPAs (with six SADC and five ESA states). The importance of COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA), in which SADC is a member, was also noted, as significance stepping stone towards the operationalisation of AfCFTA.
Both sides showed interest in cooperating to improve governance and sustainable production and creating value addition in key economic sectors, as a means of driving economic and social development through legal and sustainable exports. They agreed to step up exchanges on transforming linear production models towards greater circularity, reducing waste and creating new business models and job opportunities.
The EU has a 40% tariff on food from Africa. Our verdict False. There isn’t just one flat tariff on food. Regardless, the EU doesn’t apply tariffs on the vast majority of African countries, due to trade agreements and efforts to support developing nations. “On tariffs, [we’re] reducing the European Union’s 40% tariffs on food from Africa”. Following the government’s decision to reduce its commitment to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income on foreign aid to 0.5%, Conservative MP George Freeman appeared on Newsnight to talk about the other ways in which the government supported poorer nations. One thing he claimed was that the UK had reduced the EU’s 40% tariff on food imports from Africa. It was something he previously said in Parliament in April. But the EU doesn’t have a 40% tariff on food from Africa.
The UK can help African countries move away from their reliance on selling raw materials to expand their manufacturing and industrial capacities. This will help to boost African economies and stem the tide of economic migrants from the continent, he suggests. He points out how the EU secures cheap raw materials, while slapping punitive tariffs on imports of processed goods from African countries. the UK should ditch such exploitative practices and use its technological and financial expertise in pursuit of an enlightened trade policy that would be mutually beneficial to the UK and Africa. “The EU has been a poor friend to Africa, all the while talking up its progressive ideals.” By contrast, post-Brexit Britain has a unique opportunity to build a new type of partnership to develop African industry, starting with English-speaking Commonwealth countries, utilising diaspora networks, and demonstrating that sound ethics and economics need not be incompatible in the world of international trade. Currently, Africa accounts for just 2.5 percent of the UK’s trade.
How LDCs can reset policy to attract more FDI (Trade for Development News)
As foreign direct investment (FDI) in developing countries tumbles to 25-year lows, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) have an opportunity to buck this trend by dismantling trade barriers and developing stable policies that incentivize and de-risk value-add investment into strategic sectors. Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are missing out on the foreign direct investment (FDI) they need to transform their economies and benefit from meaningful progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But it doesn’t have to be this way. According to the 27th Global Trade Alert Report, Advancing Sustainable Development with FDI: why policy must be reset, an annual average of only two new greenfield FDI projects in SDG-intensive sectors were announced in each LDC between 2015 and 2019. This comes amid broader declines in the real value of FDI into developing countries that started with the 2008 financial crisis and have accelerated during the pandemic.
Global trade has rebounded, but stresses remain (The Strategist)
Globalisation is back with such a vengeance that the shipping lines are struggling to keep up, sending freight rates to astronomic levels. The onset of the pandemic early last year slashed trade volumes and highlighted the vulnerability of the extended supply chains that are the hallmark of globalisation, with different elements of production located in various countries. At one stage, 70% of the world’s ports were affected by Covid-19, leaving ships unable to dock and more than a million crew members stranded at sea. Political leaders around the world started talking about strengthening the resilience of supply chains and repatriating production. The backlash against globalisation was itself global.
By May last year, world trade volumes had dived 17%, but then the fall stopped and by October, global trade volumes were back to pre-pandemic levels. The World Trade Organization, which had expected trade across the year to be down by 13%, instead recorded only a 5% fall. However, imbalances in the recovery are bringing stresses. Comparing the three months to April with the last three months of 2019 before the pandemic struck, the volume of US imports is up by 8.6% while the volume of exports is still 4% lower.
At a meeting of the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures on 15-16 July, WTO members discussed how to further enhance the implementation of the SPS Agreement in light of the opportunities and pressures created by the evolution of the global agricultural landscape. Some members suggested launching this work on sustainable agriculture and related issues through a proposed SPS Declaration for the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12), while others preferred to undertake this work in the SPS and other WTO committees.
The intention of the Declaration, co-proponents said, is to recognize and examine the SPS impact on global issues, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, sustainability of food systems, food security and the need for innovation, and how the SPS Committee could contribute to these discussions. Co-sponsors observed considerable common ground and urged members to remain optimistic that it will be possible to achieve consensus on this important forward-looking initiative as a vital contribution to the success of the upcoming 12th Ministerial Conference.
The indicative list is based on issues identified and suggestions made by speakers at the WTO webinar Regulatory Cooperation during the COVID-19 Pandemic, on 2 June 2021, and the WTO symposium COVID-19 Vaccine Supply Chain and Regulatory Transparency, on 29 June 2021. On trade-related bottlenecks, the list identifies a series of issues raised by speakers at those events in relation to: vaccine manufacturing and its inputs; vaccine regulatory approval; vaccine distribution; therapeutics and pharmaceuticals; and diagnostics and medical devices. Regarding possible trade-facilitating measures, the list includes suggestions by speakers in connection with: general import, export and transit procedures; vaccine manufacturing and its inputs; vaccine regulatory approval; therapeutics (pharmaceuticals); diagnostics and medical devices; and general regulatory aspects.
Global poultry sector set to improve post-Covid (Poultry World)
In its latest quarterly report (Q3 2021), Rabobank says improved vaccination rates will help the recovery of global, regional and especially foodservice demand, which makes up one third of global poultry demand. Nan-Dirk Mulder, senior analyst animal protein, said as supply usually responds slowly to such increases, significant price inflation in the second half of the year could take place, particularly because feed prices remain high and avian influenza continues to disrupt global trade of breeding stock. Mr Mulder said global trade flows were shifting, with less focus on China, due to local supply growth, and the Middle East, because of food security ambitions, and more focus on northeast Asia and Europe. Demand for poultry products is slowly recovering, but high feed prices will lead to more expensive production and eventually to price inflation at retail level.