tralac Daily News
A devastating cyber attack at South Africa’s state-owned ports and freight-rail operator that hobbled trade at key container terminals led the company to declare its second force majeure this month. Transnet took the measure after a July 22 security breach that forced the company to manually process container shipments at affected ports. It covered the Port of Durban, sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest container hub, as well as the Ngqura, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town harbors. Transnet said Tuesday it’s made “significant progress” in restoring its computer systems, though companies including manganese producer Assmang maintained force majeures of their own that were first declared after deadly riots erupted on July 10 and temporarily shut key logistics arteries. The port disruptions are hurting citrus farmers in the country, which is the world’s biggest shipper of the fruits after Spain, in the middle of their export season. They’re also weighing on shipments from the auto industry, which accounts for about 14% of South Africa’s total export value.
Four of South Africa’s largest ports are starting to reopen after having been closed by a cyberattack, the country’s state-owned rail and ports operator Transnet said Tuesday. The ports of Durban, Cape Town, Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) and Ngqura were forced to shut as the result of a cyberattack that started on July 22. The ports have begun functioning manually instead of through computer operations, Transnet said. “The terminals are berthing vessels as planned and facilitating loading and discharge operations with the shipping lines,” said the statement. “It is expected that some applications may continue to run slowly over the next few days, while monitoring continues,” the company said. “All operating systems will be brought back in a staggered manner, to minimize further risks and interruptions.”
Shipping liners reset network to serve Lamu (The East African)
Maersk Line and CMA CGM, two of the world’s largest container shipping liners, are redesigning their network to serve both the new Lamu port of Kenya and the traditional port of Mombasa. Maersk is targeting the Mombasa to Felixstowe and Rotterdam ports, by providing a single transshipment product via Salalah, in Yemen. Managing director Carl Lorenz said, “We welcome the redesign of our ocean network from Salalah which will connect our Kenyan customers’ cargo to Europe through a single transshipment. This enhancement ensures peace of mind to Kenya exporters by injecting more resilience, predictability, and reliability into our customers’ supply chains, particularly essential for perishable cargo from Kenya.” CMA CGM this month signed a memorandum of partnership with the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Bandari Maritime Academy and will increase its fleet to serve Mombasa and Lamu Port and also offer sea time training to BMA learners.
The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab today (27 July) welcomed Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to Mansion House in London to announce £132 million of new UK investment in Kenya. He also launched the Nairobi International Financial Centre, and its formal partnership with the City of London. At the start of a three-day visit to the UK to co-host the Global Education Summit with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, President Kenyatta witnessed the signing of a new memorandum of understanding between TheCityUK and the Nairobi International Financial Centre Authority, establishing a formal partnership, including closer collaboration with the London Stock Exchange. This will help to channel international investment into Kenya and the wider region, making sure firms and investors are able to make the most of trade and investment opportunities.
Kenya, UK to digitise trade after signing the EPA agreement (The East African)
The Kenya-UK EPA allows Kenyan products unfettered access to the British market, free of duty and quota restrictions. On Monday, July 26, Kenyan-based non-profit making organisation TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), and the UK-based Institute of Export and International Trade ((IOE&IT), signed a memorandum of understanding providing a framework for collaboration in the implementation of a digital trade corridor between the UK and Kenya. The Agreement, which was signed in London, provides for the implementation of the UK-Kenya Trade Logistics Information Pipeline (TLIP), which aims to eliminate paperwork and introduce much better visibility up and down supply chains that flow between the two countries.
UK opens up Market for Malawi’s Agro-Business Sector (Malawi Nyasa Times)
Malawi’s largest development partner, the UK Government, has announced that they are geared to opening up the Agro-business trade and investment for its former protectorate, Malawi as a way to get more Malawian products on the British retail shelves. British High Commissioner to Lilongwe, David Beer, said: “We would like to make Malawi’s Agro-business sector more competitive than the neighbours and we need to get more Malawian agro-products on the UK market.” Beer said the UK is looking at developing countries like Malawi to access the UK agro-business market as a way to boost the sector.
Tanzania strategises to up trade through Agoa (The Citizen)
Tanzania has expressed its commitment to pulling up its socks in undertaking a number of measures in an effort to boost export to the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa). As envisioned in the National Agoa Strategy 2016, the measures according to the Industry and Trade Ministry, include: cutting operational costs to spar production, building a Tanzania-US traders network and improving business environment through the blueprint which sets a stage for a raft of amendments to policy and regulatory reforms.
Nigeria received a sum of $2.78 billion as foreign inflows in the first half of 2021, representing a 61.1% decline compared to the $7.15 billion received in the corresponding period of 2020. This is contained in the capital importation report, recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for Q1 and Q2 2021. According to the report, foreign direct investments stood at $232.74 million as against $362.84 million recorded in the corresponding period of the previous year.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday lamented that small business owners in the country are yet to know the benefits they derive from the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. Osinbajo, who spoke in Abuja while declaring open a two-day programme on Organised Private Sector in Nigeria Roundtable Dialogue on Potential Impact of AfCFTA agreement called for more sensitisation of the Medium, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The vice president, who was represented by Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, noted that the sensitisation was imperative to ensure that the MSMEs in the country benefited from the continental market. While presenting his report titled: “Continental Integration and the Nigerian Economy”, he said it focused on the effect of AfCFTA on MSMEs in the country adding that the report was to fill the knowledge gap on the possible effects of AfCFTA on the economy.
The U.S.’s trade chief plans to convene a meeting with African ministers before the end of the year to strengthen partnerships and discuss a law that provides duty-free access to the U.S. for thousands of goods from sub-Saharan nations. “It is important that we meet despite the pandemic to discuss how we can build on the successes of the African Growth and Opportunity Act,” U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in remarks prepared for delivery at the Corporate Council on Africa’s U.S.-Africa Business Summit Tuesday. She added the U.S. wants to collaborate on labor and environment standards, anti-corruption, and good regulatory practices, and helping small businesses succeed and find new markets for their products.
The Biden administration on Tuesday announced a new push to expand business ties between U.S. companies and Africa, with a focus on clean energy, health, agribusiness and transportation infrastructure on the continent. U.S. industry executives welcomed the interest, but said dollar flows will lag until the administration wraps up its lengthy review of Trump administration trade measures and sets a clear policy on investments in liquefied natural gas. Dana Banks, senior director for Africa at the White House National Security Council, told a conference the administration planned to “re-imagine” and revive Prosper Africa, an initiative launched by former-President Donald Trump in 2018, as the “centerpiece of U.S. economic and commercial engagement with Africa.”
The broad objective of this study is to undertake research on development perspectives of an integrated agro-industrial ecosystem in Africa that the African Development Bank (AfDB) has developed and termed Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs). The SAPZ model is conceptualised by the Bank as its brand for a spatial development solution in the rural landscape aimed at the achievement of agricultural transformation across the continent. The study is conceived as a ‘knowledge product’ which is intended to provide relevant information and policy guidance that can be useful to the Bank for the design and programming of the SAPZ model. As a knowledge product relevant to the planning and implementation of SAPZs, the study: (i) defines and explains important conceptual and strategic questions; analyses key policy issues and institutional factors; and (ii) presents and interprets empirical evidence from a selection of abridged case studies drawn from existing agro- industrial experiences covering farming, intermediate agriculture, fisheries and forestry activities.
Allow National Switches to Integrate Into Pan African Payments And Settlement System – VP Bawumia (The Presidency, Republic of Ghana)
Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has called on the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) to re-examine the strategy it is currently using to implement a centralized payment and settlement system for intra-African trade and commerce payments. The Pan African Payments and Settlement System (PAPSS), developed by the Afreximbank is the first centralized payment market infrastructure for processing, clearing and settling of intra-African trade and commerce payments. It is expected to facilitate payments as well as formalise some of the unrecorded trade due to prevalence of informal cross-border trade in Africa.
Kagame calls for sustainable food systems to halt overreliance on imports (The East African)
Rwandan President Paul Kagame Monday called for more inclusive, sustainable and holistic approaches to the world's food systems, as Africa strives to stop its overreliance on food imports. “For Africa our central goal is to halt our continent’s overreliance on food imports and malnutrition and create millions of new jobs in the food economy,” he said. “In doing so we’ll strike the right balance between people and the planet. The political commitment generated today is essential for solidifying the global partnerships needed to sustain the success of this historic process.”
Containerized shipping underpins the transport and delivery of global manufactured goods, including inputs, parts, components and consumer goods. A set of COVID-19 pandemic-induced factors have combined to cause the strain on the maritime supply chain currently underway in the liner shipping industry. First among them is the unexpected and unprecedented swift rebound in containerized trade enabled by an early and rapid recovery in China. Second, the turnaround time for containers, trailers, and ships in ports and intermodal transport links is slower than normal, as ports, transport providers and shippers have to comply with health regulations and social distancing. Third, supply capacity is not growing fast enough to catch up with demand and the ability of ports to adjust is more constrained than that of shipping lines.
World Trade Organization countries failed anew on Tuesday to agree a proposal to suspend intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines in order to boost production and fill a void in poor nations. SA and India have been pushing for a temporary waiver of some IP rights on vaccines and other treatments, which could allow local manufacturers to produce the shots. The two countries have argued that this is essential to address inequitable supply.
WTO states held talks at the global body’s headquarters in Geneva but could not reach a consensus, WTO spokesperson Keith Rockwell told reporters following nine months of discussions on what he called a “very emotional issue.”
Economic prospects have diverged further across countries since the April 2021 World Economic Outlook (WEO) forecast. Vaccine access has emerged as the principal fault line along which the global recovery splits into two blocs: those that can look forward to further normalization of activity later this year (almost all advanced economies) and those that will still face resurgent infections and rising COVID death tolls. The recovery, however, is not assured even in countries where infections are currently very low so long as the virus circulates elsewhere.
A holistic and coordinated approach is urgently needed to transform agri-food systems and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. This was the call made by the QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to world leaders participating in the opening today of the Pre-Summit of the UN Food Systems Summit. “Our agri-food systems are not delivering properly, and in many parts of the world these systems were not efficient, inclusive and sustainable,” Qu said, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the situation. “We need to change policies, mind-sets, and business models,” he told participants at the Pre-Summit opening ceremony that saw the participation of dozens of heads of state and government, ministers and other high-level representatives, some present in person while others connected by video.
Group members discussed the draft declaration for MC12, focusing on reaching consensus on a few bracketed areas of the text where an issue is still under consideration. They resolved differences on most parts of the text while agreeing to further consultation on a few remaining issues. The draft declaration states the Group’s commitment to address challenges facing MSMEs seeking to trade internationally. It recognizes the negative impact of COVID-19 on small business and the need for a global coordinated response to help MSMEs recover from the pandemic. It also takes stock of the Group’s work since it was established at the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires in December 2017, including the adoption of a package of six recommendations and declarations in December 2020.