tralac Daily News
The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) has announced that the economic recovery support interventions announced by Minister Ebrahim Patel, a fortnight ago is open for affected businesses to apply. The R3.75 billion package is for the restoration of businesses adversely affected during the violent looting and unrests that took place in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng last month.
Manufacturing output up 12.5% y/y in June – Stats SA (Engineering News)
Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) reports that, in June, overall South African manufacturing production increased by 12.5% year-on-year as a primary result of positive contributions from the sectors of motor vehicles, metal products, wood products, food and beverage, as well as furniture and other manufacturing. The contributions made by the automotive sector, comprising the manufacturing of motor vehicles, parts and accessories and other transport equipment, increased by 84.1%, contributing 4.9 percentage points.
Consumer trends such as interest in sustainable products, the demand for multicultural skincare and haircare products (designed for different skin and hair types), the opening up of new export markets in Africa and the rise of new categories (e.g. greener products) will help to drive growth in South Africa’s cosmetics industry beyond the Covid-19 pandemic. “Even before the pandemic, the local cosmetics industry faced difficult market conditions due to Eskom’s load shedding and weak economic growth,” says Vinny Perumal, CEO of KAS Africa. “The hard lockdown last year was a severe blow, and the market has yet to recover entirely. However, many manufacturers are now looking at the market with renewed optimism. Trends such as more open trade between African countries, higher levels of government support for local production, and a new sense of urgency about addressing the power crisis bode well for the future.”
Ramaphosa: A Women’s Economic Assembly to be launched this month (The South African)
President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a number of measures and interventions in support of advancing women in the country, including the start of a Women’s Economic Assembly, which is scheduled for later in August. While he didn’t give much detail about this Assembly, the president said it would be aimed at identifying the supply chain opportunities for women-owned businesses in key industries such as steel, automotive and energy sectors. “Work is underway to develop a financial inclusion policy to address the barriers experienced by women-owned businesses and low-income earners to access credit, to also access grants and other financial transactions,” Ramaphosa said.
Walvis Bay sees increase in salt exports (The Namibian)
Salt exported from the Port of Walvis Bay has increased by about 14,5%, or just over 20 000 tonnes in the last four months compared to the same period last year, the Namibian Ports Authority (Namport) announced over the weekend. Since April, Namport recorded a combined total of 160 186 tonnes of (bagged and bulk) salt exported via the Port of Walvis Bay to various destinations. The consignment consisted of 130 901 tonnes of bulk salt and 29 285 tonnes of bagged salt. “Such volumes are testament to Namport’s unending efforts to provide the best quality port services to all sea-borne trade through excellent customer service, sustainable growth and social responsibility, to contribute to the transformation of Namibia as a logistics hub,” said acting commercial services executive Elisa Hasheela.
The massive investment the Government is putting into developing key infrastructure provides the bedrock needed by the economy to sustain accelerated growth and development, economists say. This comes after President Mnangagwa, while delivering his Heroes Day speech at the National Heroes Acre on Monday, said Government’s economic reform programme, guided by National Development Strategy-1(NDS1) was bearing fruit. The President said the economy was projected to grow by 7,8 percent this year while the resultant healthy public finances had allowed more resources to be channelled towards infrastructure development and rehabilitation, as well as health, education and a raft of social programmes.
The priority areas under Kenya’s Vision 2030 and its Big 4 Agenda – food security, universal health care, affordable housing and industrialization – provide a solid foundation for trade and investment for South Korean companies, according to Mwende Mwinzi, Kenyan ambassador to Korea. “There is a need to cooperate on mechanizing the agricultural sector to secure food, enhance the supply chain, enter the market space of food processing and value addition and develop the biopharma industry to produce medical equipment and adopt new technology for constructing decent and affordable housing,” Betty Maina, Kenya’s Cabinet secretary for industrialization said.
Only 13pc of Kenyans buy, sell products on e-commerce platforms (Business Daily)
Only 13 percent of Kenyans are using e-commerce platforms such as Jumia and Kilimall to sell and buy products, underpinning the use of social media networks by marketers and shoppers. A report on Kenya’s Digital Economy by a global advisory firm, Dalberg has shown retailers and shoppers prefer the social sites that support direct marketing, engagement between businesses and buyers, and goods are paid upon delivery. The rate of adoption of online market places in Kenya remains slow due to high delivery costs, highly fragmented markets and lack of clear named streets and buildings leading to supply chain barriers. High delivery costs, importing charges, lack of a national addressing system and concerns over arrangements for returns by customers associated with the e-commerce platforms remain a hindrance to adoption, according to a report by Communication Authority of Kenya.
TZ imports overtake exports from Kenya for first time (Business Daily)
Kenya’s imports from Tanzania have exceeded its exports to the East African Community (EAC) partner state for the first time in decades, signalling improved trade flows under President Samia Suluhu’s administration. Fresh data by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows that Kenya’s imports from Tanzania grew nearly three-quarters in the six months to June 2021 compared with a year earlier – coinciding with the thawing of trade ties between the two nations. The value of goods ordered from Tanzania – including cereals, wood, and edible vegetables – hit a high of Sh18.29 billion in the review period, according to data from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) published by the CBK. The 70.06 percent surge in goods bought from Tanzania outpaced that of exports, which grew at a five-year high, resulting in a rare trade deficit of Sh1.02 billion. The CBK data shows exports to Tanzania – including pharmaceutical products, plastics, iron, and steel – bumped 21.39 percent to Sh17.27 billion, the highest since the first half of 2016.
Samia steers Tanzania, Kenya maize business (Dailynews)
The maiden visit by President Samia Suluhu Hassan to Kenya has paid handsomely to traders in Tanzania and consumers in Kenya. President Samia met with her counterpart, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta and discussed different issues including addressing challenges in business between the two countries after a stint of controversy. The visit that was in early May has cleared the way for maize exports from Tanzania that was banned for a while by Kenyan authorities, with reports saying that volume of exports has surged to more than sixfold. Authorities in Kenya have unveiled figures jumping from 16,137 bags in April to a monthly record of 118,329 in May after the bilateral deal eradicated the restraints that Nairobi had imposed on Tanzania’s maize export.
Tanzanian avocado exports poised to grace SA tables (The East African)
The South Africa Avocado Growers Association (Saaga) has been pushing to have the regulations to resolve a sanitary issue that has seen Tanzania’s Hass and Fuerte avocado exports to South Africa confiscated at the Beit Bridge border crossing because of a pest infestation scare. South African avocado importers say they seek hard, green, and undamaged fruits that pass sanitary classification and expect Tanzanian produce to be available in the market by December. Saaga’s Derek Donkin said: “South Africa and Tanzania being members of the World Trade Organisation and International Plant Protection Convention are engaged in the phytosanitary issues as trade partners according to the rights and obligations of the international trade organisations. Tanzania is also a member of the SADC regional trading bloc.”
Question: Zanzibar offers a wide range of investment opportunities ranging from blue economy, agribusiness to tourism, as the investment authority what major strategies do you put in place to ensure all these opportunities are utilised?
Answer: One of the leading approaches that have earned us a great number of investors on the island is physically meeting investors around the world and share with them opportunities of investing on our land because a few of them are willing to make investment decisions on the island without meeting physically, which usually acts as an introductory convention. We also use digital means such as websites and social media to show the world all corners of the island as well as reveal what it has to offer through the blue economy policy. Another strategy used is highlighting free economic spots through the creation of master plans that detail the areas of concern on different plots of land that are for investment.
Rwanda and Tanzania have moved to reshape East Africa’s trade and logistics, with Rwanda being the latest landlocked country to divert its cargo traffic from the port of Mombasa to Dar es Salaam. This week Rwandan President Paul Kagame hosted Tanzania’s Samia Suhulu Hassan for two days, and their discussions largely focused on improving trade relations. Well-placed sources in Kigali told The EastAfrican that improving trade logistics was a priority on the agenda. The agreements add fresh impetus to economic diplomacy between the two East African Community partner states as they embark on key infrastructure and investment projects. “With the signing of these agreements, we are committed to ensuring that this visit leads to tangible results and gives renewed momentum to our bilateral relationship,” said President Kagame. “The challenges that our region face can only be addressed through unwavering solidarity and seizing the opportunities for mutually beneficial partnerships.”
Kenya, Uganda should improve trade relations (Business Daily)
Kenya’s dwindling fortunes in the Ugandan export market is a worrying issue that deserves urgent action. Official data shows that Kenya’s exports to Uganda have been declining gradually since April in the wake of relentless trade feuds between the two nations.
The value of Kenya’s exports to Uganda stood at Sh9.05 billion ($83.25 million) in April before sliding to Sh7.8 billion ($71.78 million) and Sh7.2 billion ($66.85 million) in May and June respectively – a streak that saw Kenya toppled by Tanzania as Uganda’s main import market in the East African Community (EAC). This trend should be a major concern because Uganda has traditionally been Kenya’s single largest export market.
The Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment has obtained a $1 billion syndicated term loan for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in agribusiness through the Bank of Industry (BOI). The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo disclosed this yesterday at the launch of a digital agribusiness hub, I-Produce, in Abuja noting that the syndicated term loan would provide affordable loans alongside moratorium benefit to MSMEs. He said that a platform like I-Produce goes a long way in ensuring that farmers are able to derive maximum income from their businesses.
Egypt’s agricultural exports rise to 4.3 million tons (State Information Service)
Egyptian agricultural exports have passed 4.2 million tons so far, the Ministry of Agriculture said Sunday. Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation El Sayed El Quseir received a report presented by head of the Central Administration of Plant Quarantine (CAPQ) Ahmed el Attar pointing out the total export volume from January to August 4. The report highlighted 750,000-ton increase in the agricultural exports, compared to the same period last year. The list of exported agriculture products during this period included citrus, potatoes, onions, strawberry, pomegranate, sweet potatoes, beans, beet, guava, pepper, mango, garlic, grapes, peach, and watermelon, according to the CAPQ report.
Tunisia’s fruit export saw an increase in value by nearly 50% to 73.1 million dinars (MD) until August 4, 2021, from 49 million dinars, during the same period of the previous year according to data provided by the Inter-Professional Fruit Grouping (GIFruits). Quantities exported grew 75% to 30,617 tonnes from 17,535 tonnes, the same source added. Tunisia aims to export 80,000 tonnes of fruits throughout the year.
Sierra Leone’s economy is projected to recover from the COVID-19 contraction with real GDP expected to rebound by 3.0 percent in 2021, an upward revision of 0.8 percentage point relative to the 2020 forecast, according to the new World Bank Sierra Leone Economic Update launched today in Freetown. The report devoted a special section to examine the “Welfare and Poverty Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic” in Sierra Leone. The report found that restrictions put in place to contain the spread of the COVID-19, as well as the downturn in the global economy have led to a small increase in poverty, reversing the previous trend of poverty reduction. Urban areas, particularly the capital city, Freetown, have seen the largest increase in poverty. “Sustaining the economic recovery will involve structural reforms to accelerate inclusive economic growth, as well as resuming fiscal consolidation through robust revenue reforms and expenditure rationalization and a prudent monetary policy to support the recovery and stabilize the exchange rate,” said Kemoh Mansaray, World Bank Senior Country Economist and a lead author of the report.
The maiden African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) - Angola Business Investment Forum, has been organised in Accra to expand bilateral businesses. The event forms part of activities marking the three-day official visit of President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço of Angola to Ghana. The aim of the Forum was to further expand bilateral business relations through the promotion of two-way investment and mutually complementary partnerships in the relations between the two countries. The forum was expected to drive networking for investment opportunities to boost trade and to discuss concrete solutions to attract investment, improve value addition and increase exports between Angola and Ghana. Mr Wamkele Mene, the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, said the AfCFTA marks a new trade and investment era for Africa and offers a wide range of possibilities for businesses across various sectors in the member states.
Strategising to Optimize Trading with AfCFTA: What SMEs Must Know (Proshare Nigeria)
The Africa International Trade & Commerce Research, GIGI, and NOIPolls (2018) conducted a survey on Potential Benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in Nigeria. The survey made the following findings: 94% of the businesses in Nigeria are aware of AfCFTA and the signing of the agreement. The sampled businesses believe the top three advantages of AfCFTA are a better business environment, promotion of local business, and business expansion. The top three disadvantages of AfCFTA are the influx of sub-standard goods, discouragement of local businesses, and loss of revenue for Nigeria. The top three sources of uncertainty are possibilities that AfCFTA will boost the economy, the need for time to understand its impacts, and the chances of the collapse of local industry. Overall, 78% of the businesses believe that AfCFTA will make a positive impact on local businesses; 10% believe that the impact will be negative while 12% believe it will have no impact. Over 50% of the businesses believe the country does not have the infrastructure necessary to reap the benefits and gains of AfCFTA. The consensus among researchers and analysts is that the benefits of AfCFTA for businesses and the economy depend on what and how each party handles the unique opportunities.
AfCFTA: ITC, NEPC train export workers on export (Daily Trust)
The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) are training export workers on international trade to prepare them for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) regime. The Executive Director of NEPC, Mr Olusegun Awolowo, made this known in Abuja during the Launch of Export Training Programme in collaboration with the ITC and the Institute of Export and International Trade. He was hopeful that the expertise, knowledge and skills gained by the staff would be used to develop innovative solutions and competitiveness in internationalization by Nigerian exporting firms in traditional and emerging markets including the AfCFTA.
Nigeria’s revenue-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio, which fell to between five and six per cent last year, is the lowest in the world, the World Bank said on Monday. The Country Director for Nigeria, World Bank, Dr Shubham Chaudhuri, said this during a panel session at a virtual public sector seminar with the theme ‘Nigeria in challenging times: imperatives for a cohesive national development agenda’ organised by the Lagos Business School. Chaudhuri, who stressed the need for private investment for the country to realise its potential, said the private sector in the country ‘is struggling to breathe’. “In Nigeria, I think the basic economic agenda is about diversification away from oil because oil has really been like resource curse for Nigeria on multiple dimensions,” he said.
AfCFTA: NICArb organises roundtable on trade, dispute resolution (Nigerian Tribune)
The Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators (NICArb) has held a roundtable event to discuss dispute resolution mechanisms involving non-state parties with a focus on the implications of the current dispute resolution arrangement in Nigeria and how it will affect non-state parties. Jonathan Aremu, a Professor of International Economic Relations at Covenant University, emphasised that Africa was on the cusp of what could be a break in a previous decades-long cycle of poverty and economic shortcomings. He, however, noted that breaking this cycle would depend on the ability of African nations to put in place policies and regulatory mechanisms that would create more trade among themselves as well as attract and protect foreign intra-Africa investment. He went further to say the enactment of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement was a huge step in the right direction.
Businesses told to produce top quality goods (The Herald)
Businesses should produce goods of high quality and take advantage of alternative markets to boost their operations for the benefit of communities, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza told a recent Women’s Business Leadership Roundtable. She noted the importance of the recently-agreed African Continental Free Trade Area, which seeks to boost intra-Africa trade. Dr Nzenza said Zimbabwe also continued to actively participate in the Common Market for East and South Africa (Comesa) and in SADC, a development that ensures huge markets for local businesspeople. “The provision of alternative markets should be fully exploited as it benefits the business community and the nation at large,” she said. “In order to fully harness and explore the opportunities that come with such noble interventions, I call upon you to produce high quality products that meet the continent’s expectations.
Africa is facing a surging third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination remains a challenge. As a partner in the continents’ response to the pandemic, The African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) has provided financial support of USD250,000 to the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). The contribution will assist the efforts of the public health agency to bridge the gap in vaccination against COVID-19 across Africa. As Africa’s multilateral trade & investment insurer, ATI has made significant contributions in response to the global pandemic and to the economic development in sub-Saharan Africa, through the provision of unique insurance solutions that impact various sectors of the economy. Additionally, ATI has assisted African sovereigns to reprofile their financial obligations, helping reduce their debt burden and strengthening their debt management framework.
This paper explores the dynamic effects of trade liberalization on tax revenue using a worldwide panel dataset. Results point to statistically significant negative effect of liberalization on (non- resource) tax revenues in the short term and no significant effect in the medium term. Liberalization also alter the tax structure tilting revenues toward indirect taxes away from direct ones. Economies which have implemented value added taxes prior to liberalization have mitigated its negative effects on tax revenues. The evidence is supportive of the complementarity role of state capacity to reap the benefits of liberalization.
Back to drawing board for EA domestic tax harmonisation (The East African)
East African member states have retreated to the drawing board on domestic tax harmonisation plan after failing to agree on the uniform tax rules and rates for the six-member economic bloc, casting doubts on the feasibility of several regional integration programmes. The EAC Secretariat said regional Finance ministers are set to meet next month to review the challenges so far met in the process of trying to harmonise value added tax (VAT), excise tax and income tax and set a new roadmap for implementation.
Kenyan private sector players have expressed optimism in making steps towards recovery of Covid-19, following a commitment by the East African Community Secretariat to prioritise strengthening public-private sector partnerships between the private sector in the region and EAC Partner States governments, to jointly invest in vaccine manufacturing in the region. The EAC Secretary General, Hon. Dr. Peter Mathuki, said that there was need for a coordinated approach in handling COVID-19 in the region and emphasized on the need for local production of vaccines. “Truck drivers transporting goods across the region should also be included among the priority groups who need to be vaccinated,” Dr. Mathuki said.
Kenya to host EAC centre for aviation medicine (The Star, Kenya)
Kenya will host the East African Community Centre for Aviation Medicine. The centre is located next to the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority headquarters, in Nairobi and is nearing completion. The project stands at a completion rate of 93 per cent, according to KCAA. Aviation medicine is a preventive or occupational medicine in which the patients/subjects are pilots, aircrews, or astronauts. Speaking during a visit to the facility, said the centre was a significant boost to the aviation industry in the region, adding that EAC will spare no effort to ensure the centre attained global aviation medicine status. “This is a huge boost to aviation in the region, and we are proud of the Kenya Government for supporting such a facility,” Mathuki said. Director General of the KCAA Captain Gilbert Kibe, disclosed that construction of the centre is fully funded by the government of Kenya.
The involvement of opinion leaders in enhancing the understanding of Covid-19 vaccines holds the greatest promise in removing barriers to vaccine uptake in the African region, according to regional health experts that attended a two-day webinar on strategies to improve Covid-19 vaccines roll-out and uptake in COMESA Member States. Rwanda Minister of Health Dr. Daniel Ngamije, said strong leadership from the highest level, efficient coordination mechanism, effective partnerships and community engagement, using opinion leaders as success factors to vaccine rollout and uptake. “There is a cost to pay in containing the Covid 19. Not doing what is required will cost more,” he said. As a way forward, Member States were called upon to support the implementation of the African CDC programme on Saving Lives, Economies and Livelihood Trusted Vaccines, which focuses on vaccines procurement, strengthened in-country vaccines logistics and roll-out, establishing vaccination centres, community engagements, monitoring side effects, genomics surveillance, digital support, and technical assistance.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will hold the 41st Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government in Lilongwe, Republic of Malawi on 17-18 August 2021 with a limited number so as to observe COVID-19 protocols. The Summit will be held under the theme “Bolstering Productive Capacities in the Face of COVID-19 Pandemic for Inclusive, Sustainable, Economic and Industrial Transformation”. The Theme seeks to accelerate the implementation of the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020–2030, in particular, the Industrialisation and Market Integration pillar. The Summit will take stock of progress made in promoting and deepening Regional Integration in line with SADC’s aspirations as espoused in the RISDP 2020–2030 and Vision 2050, which envisage a peaceful, inclusive, competitive, middle- to high-income industrialised Region where all citizens enjoy sustainable economic well-being, justice, and freedom.
COMESA Business Council (CBC) in partnership with Africa Nenda convened a High-Level Public-Private Dialogue, on 27 July 2021, under the theme, ‘Towards the COMESA Digital Integrated Common Payment Policy for Micro Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs)’. A raft of recommendations were made on the Draft Model Policy for The Digital Payments Platform for MSMEs in COMESA, and the Draft Guidelines/Rulebook on the Operation of the Digital Payments’ Platform. They included the adoption of the proposed policy measures in the draft policy framework and the Rulebook to guide operation of the digital payment subject to the proposed changes.
Africa has the youngest population in the world, with an estimated 420 million young people aged between 15 and 35 years old, and this is projected to rise considerably in the future. Conversations happening around the world right now, in the lead up to the United Nations Food Systems Summit, focus on the need to transform food systems to meet the Sustainable Development Goals including targets on ending poverty and hunger, ensuring sustainable agriculture, and creating gender equality, decent work and climate action. FAO’s Regional Office for Africa is working with partners from all quarters to remove barriers and make agri-business an attractive career choice so that young people can help build sustainable and resilient agri-food systems. When young people have access to quality education and training, decent jobs, digital technologies and internet connectivity, land, finance and markets, and have a voice in policy and decision making they can tap into their full potential.
Military expenditure shares significantly affect the relationship between the risk of civil conflict outbreak and natural resources. We show that a significant positive correlation between the risk of civil conflict outbreak and resource rents is limited to countries with low military expenditure shares. In countries with high military expenditure shares there is no significant relationship between the risk of civil conflict outbreak and rents from natural resources. An important message is thus that a conflict resource curse is absent in countries with sufficiently large military expenditure shares. However, there is a trade-off: the larger military expenditure shares, the smaller is the effect that resource rents have on economic growth and democracy.
The Board of the African Development Bank Group has approved grants of $2.5 million to advance intra-regional harmonization of electricity regulations and drive cross-border power trading in the COMESA and SADC regional blocs, which cover 28 African countries. The grants, $1,500,000 for COMESA and $1,000,000 for SADC, will be sourced from the African Development Fund, the Bank Group’s concessional financing window. The projects will be implemented through the Regional Association of Energy Regulators for Eastern and Southern Africa (RAERESA) and the Regional Energy Regulators Association of Southern Africa (RERA) respectively. “These Projects will contribute to ensuring that soft infrastructure requirements for the development of a regional power market are addressed to complement investments in hard infrastructure that the Bank and other development partners are making in the region,” said Dr. Mohamedain Seif Elnasr, Chief Executive Officer, RAERESA,
Dubai Chamber member companies’ exports and re-exports to West Africa surged 42 per cent in first five months of 2021 to reach a record $387 million, fuelled by a recovery in trade activity, recent analysis shows. The analysis was released by Dubai Chamber as it prepares to host the 6th Global Business Forum Africa in Dubai this October in cooperation with Expo 2020 Dubai. The data revealed that 3,201 Certificates of Origin for West Africa-bound shipments were issued between January and May 2021, marking a year-over-year increase of 20 percent. Nigeria was the largest West African export market for member companies, accounting for a 32 per cent share of the value of exports and re-exports to the region, followed by Ghana (17 per cent), Ivory Coast and Guinea with 12 per cent each, Senegal (8 per cent), and Mali (4 per cent). The commodities with the highest untapped potential for export and re-export companies in West Africa.
Accra becomes global headquarters of cocoa (Graphic Online)
In pre-independent Africa, Ghana was a torchbearer of political freedom. It spearheaded the continent’s emancipation agenda, fueled a reawakening for self-governance across the continent and went on to become the first in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to break free from the shackles of colonialism. Now, the country wants to do more for the continent. It is leading efforts to achieve economic freedom for the more than 1.2 billion people in Africa. In recent times, Ghana has played, and sometimes led, significant roles in the establishment and operationalisation of critical continental and regional bodies to pool resources and ideas to boost economic growth, empower Africans economically and reduce reliance on Western countries. The most recent one is the national effort that crystallised with similar ones to make the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) possible, leading to Accra becoming the trading headquarters of Africa. In the cocoa sector too, something monumental has been taking shape and Accra is now set to become the cocoa headquarters of the continent and by extension, the world.
Responding to concerns by a section of importers that the duties on hybrid vehicles are expensive compared to normal vehicles, despite the environmental benefits, he said that could be attributed to the ECOWAS Common External Tariff which applies to vehicles and goods from non-member states. Speaking on Eye on Port’s live interactive programme on the importation and clearance of vehicles at the Ports of Ghana, he said the duty for hybrid vehicles is currently pegged at 20% of CET. “ECOWAS established a Common External Tariffs of 20% for all vehicles like saloon cars, SUVs and wagons. So you realize that these are the categories the hybrid cars fall within,” he said. However, he said ECOWAS in 2015 when the CET was to be implemented put in a flexibility measure which is called supplementary tariffs measures for all member countries to avoid the harsh effect of the increment of taxes on the citizenry.
Africa’s international trade
NACC seeks stronger ties between Nigeria (The Guardian Nigeria)
The Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) is seeking stronger relationships and empowerment from the commercial section of the United States Embassy through its consulate in Lagos, Nigeria. “We are seeking partnership and empowerment for our members who are into Small and Medium scale businesses and are desirous to take advantage of various U.S. programmes targeted at empowering SMEs including Prosper Africa,” said National president of NACC, Dame Adebola Williams. “We are looking at how best to work with the Commercial Section to encourage them to succeed within the remaining four years in the life of African Growth and Opportunity Act, (AGOA) which was signed by the U.S Congress on May 18th, 2000 and ending in 2025.
From July 27 – 29, 2021, the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) hosted the 13th U.S.-Africa Business Summit. The Summit is CCA’s flagship event viewed as essential by those doing business in Africa. The 2021 Summit featured a stellar line up of African and U.S. government and private sector leaders as part of the program. CCA was delighted to provide more than 1200 participants with the access, connections, and insights on critical issues and policies impacting the U.S.-Africa economic partnership - the Summit theme. The Summit - held virtually - included 5 plenaries and 12 panel sessions highlighting key economic recovery strategies and focused on a range of sectors and issues, including health and vaccine access, trade, digital transformation, infrastructure, financing, SMEs, tourism, women’s leadership, and investment opportunities in various African countries.
At the Summit closing plenary session, CCA Board of Director Vice Chairs Diane Wilkens, Founder and CEO of Development Finance International, Inc. and General William Ward, Inaugural Commander Africa Command, noted the critical issues discussed during the Summit included equitable vaccine access, improving energy and transportation infrastructure, addressing climate change and food security, digitizing trade and maximizing U.S.-Africa trade and investment relying on initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the Prosper Africa Build Together campaign. Their message: “now is not the time to retreat from Africa, now is the time to invest and find new partners on the continent.”
In Africa, Biden finds a free trade zone he can embrace (Nikkei Asia)
Eager to tap into a promising market while burnishing his administration’s credentials on free trade now that rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership looks as distant as ever, U.S. President Joe Biden appears ready to engage a new free trade zone in Africa. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which took effect in January, is the largest such zone by number of countries since the creation of the World Trade Organization. Fifty-four of the African Union’s 55 members – Eritrea excluded – have signed on to the idea of creating a single market on the continent. At a recent hearing on Capitol Hill, experts urged the White House not to miss out on the opportunity, and to back and engage with the new trade bloc. “The future of African markets, it will be shaped by the cellphone,” Aubrey Hruby, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, told members of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Africa and global health policy. “This is the mirror of the world of hundreds of millions of young Africans,” she said, waving her smartphone. “And the question is, who is going to shape how this is used, what’s on it, the content of the future? And for me, that is what we should be thinking about.”
The COMESA Business Council has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Corporate Council of Africa (CCA) towards forging new pathways for stronger US-Africa engagements which will include developing a joint implementation plan to facilitate joint programmes for knowledge sharing. The signing ceremony took place on 27 July 2021 on the margins of the 13th US-Africa Business Summit. CBC Chairperson Mr Marday Venkatasamy described the occasion as a major milestone in the US-Africa business collaboration and partnership. “Through this MOU we strengthen the relationship to facilitate closer collaboration, joint advancement of the private sector business agenda, and provide a platform for consolidating the voice of the Private Sector,” said Mr Venkatasamy.
Kenya-UK trade deals open funding taps for green projects in EA (The East African)
When it comes to the big debates about climate change, Africa is the forgotten continent. It receives less than three percent of global climate finance and yet 30 out of the 40 most climate vulnerable countries in the world are in Africa. It contributes the least to global warming and yet extreme weather events are growing in both frequency and severity with a shocking knock-on impact on biodiversity loss.
The recent visit to London by the Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta saw further progress with the announcement of UK investments in off-grid solar energy and a new fund to develop green, affordable housing. But it is in the area of green finance that the partnership between Kenya and the UK could prove to be even more significant. Although progress has been too slow and fragmentary, African countries have been getting themselves ready to receive a much bigger share of global climate finance.
Notwithstanding the need to ensure that markets remain open and predictable, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has warned that failure to ensure wider access to COVID-19 vaccines could undermine the global economic and trade recovery. The WTO in its mid-year report on trade-related developments presented to members noted that despite strong monetary and fiscal policy support from governments, and the arrival of effective vaccines against COVID-19, which have been important factors in the rebound, COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to the global economy and to public health, as vaccine production remains insufficient, contributing to significant disparities in access across countries. The trade organisation noted that the situation is especially true for low-income developing economies, which are struggling to obtain enough doses to inoculate more than a small fraction of their populations. “This report clearly suggests that trade policy restraint by WTO members has helped limit harm to the world economy. However, some pandemic-related trade restrictions do remain in place and the challenge is to ensure that they are indeed transparent and temporary.” said Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who presented the report to WTO members.
Citing trade’s role in fostering women’s empowerment and advancing gender equality, DDG González said that gender responsive trade policies are important for lifting obstacles to trade for women, creating new jobs and reducing wage gaps. Noting the WTO’s work in this regard, she said the 2017 Buenos Aires Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment was a milestone leading to the WTO’s broader engagement on gender equality and a catalyst for the establishment of the Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender in the WTO last September. In addition, the WTO is developing a number of gender and trade policy tools to help members empower women, including establishing a training programme to build WTO members’ capacity on trade and gender.
COVID-19 has exerted immense pressure on the world’s emerging markets, yet some of the pandemic’s most painful economic episodes may be yet to come. In sub-Saharan Africa – where a third wave is gripping many countries, and a fourth wave is gripping others – it has become increasingly difficult for governments to get ahead of these challenges. The first challenge comes from beyond Africa’s borders, as central bankers in advanced economies deliberate an end to the monetary relief that has kept the global economy tenuously afloat for the past year. When the pandemic struck, investors fled from “riskier” emerging markets to the safe assets of advanced economies. Within the first four months of 2020, capital outflows from emerging markets reached $243 billion, producing a sharp depreciation in many currencies and a sudden spike in borrowing costs.
Developing countries whose economies depend on commodities must enhance their technological capacities to escape the trap that leaves most of their populations poor and vulnerable, says UNCTAD’s Commodities and Development Report 2021, published on 7 July. About two thirds of developing countries were commodity dependent in 2019, meaning at least 60% of their merchandise export revenues came from primary goods, such as cacao, coffee, cotton, copper, lithium and oil. The report, “Escaping from the commodity dependence trap through technology and innovation”, highlights the correlation between low technology capacities and high commodity dependence. It warns that most of the 85 commodity-dependent developing countries (CDDCs) will remain trapped for the foreseeable future unless they go through “a process of technology-enabled structural transformation”.
Qu Dongyu, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), today called for a closing of the digital divide and reiterated FAO’s commitment to promote the use of digital technologies, billing them essential for a much-needed transformation of the agri-food systems. Speaking at the G20 Digital Economy Ministers’ meeting, Qu made a strong case for expanding the use of digital technologies, especially in rural areas, where such technologies could be leveraged to address multiple market failures (for example, information asymmetry on prices of produce and inputs, lack of access to financial services, search costs for traceability) and help smallholder farmers access markets. Rural women, in particular, stressed Qu, were most disadvantaged by the lack of connectivity. “Connectivity has improved dramatically, but a digital divide remains between countries, between rural and urban areas,” said Qu.
Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe. Scientists are also observing changes across the whole of Earth’s climate system; in the atmosphere, in the oceans, ice floes, and on land. Many of these changes are unprecedented, and some of the shifts are in motion now, while some - such as continued sea level rise – are already ‘irreversible’ for centuries to millennia, ahead, the report warns. But there is still time to limit climate change, IPCC experts say. Strong and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases, could quickly make air quality better, and in 20 to 30 years global temperatures could stabilize.
Where’s the money in shea? (Trade for Development News)
In West Africa where most shea originates, it is traditionally women that collect shea nuts from nearby parklands, turning the oily kernels within into smooth shea butter. This requires many stages and processes, from the labor of collection and carrying to the work of boiling, drying, shelling, roasting and pounding. The effort is time-consuming and arduous, and is done by rural people living in some of the world’s poorest countries. Now that shea is big in beauty circles and pharmaceuticals due to its nutrient rich and anti-inflammatory properties, there is opportunity to try and guide the profits from sales of creams, salves and balms to the people who need it most, meaning women in countries like Benin and Burkina Faso and Togo.