Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News


SA needs to up its export game, if it’s going to grow - economist | Fin24

As SA focuses on localisation strategies, it should make sure protection measures do not hamper export competitiveness, say economists. In recent months, South Africa has recorded trade surpluses which have exceeded market expectations, mainly off the back of a commodities boom and an economist expects a bumper crop to also help exports this year surpass 2020 levels. However, for this good performance to be sustained over the long term, and for the country’s share of world exports to climb back to 0.6%, from 0.4%, there must be significant policy and structural changes, according to economist Matthew Stern of DNA Economics.

N3 closures may hold security risk for food transporters (Food For Mzansi)

Eskom’s decision to close parts of the N3 in KwaZulu-Natal in the coming weeks may create a logistical nightmare for trucks that will transporting agricultural products along the highway. This may also affect the perishable goods being transported in the trucks and generate a security risk for those truck drivers as well. This is the view of Agbiz chief executive Dr John Purchase after Eskom announced that it will close parts of the N3, a key trade route between Durban and Johannesburg for two-hour intervals from Monday, 16 August until Wednesday, 1 September 2020 to install conductors.

Nigeria Imports N3.32trn Goods From Asia In 2021 – NBS (The Tide)

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says Nigeria imported goods worth N3.32 trillion from Asian countries in the first quarter of this year. NBS said the import placed the region at the top of the list of Nigerian trade partners.

NBS also said Nigeria earned only N1.32 billion from exports to Asian countries, creating a trade deficit of over N3.3 trillion. The Bureau breakdown shows Nigerians imported motorcycles worth N117.65 billion from India and China in the first quarter of this year.

The NBS foreign trade statistics showed that trade with Asia countries constituted 48.45 per cent of Nigeria’s total import trade of N6.85 trillion. According to the NBS, Asia was followed by Europe with N2.47 trillion or 36.08 per cent, America with N827.8 billion or 12.08 per cent and Africa with N183.4 billion or 2.68 per cent.

Nigeria’s high-debt risk exposure – The Sun Nigeria

The World Bank’s damning report has listed Nigeria among top 10 countries in the world with high-debt risk exposure. This is contained in the bank’s International Development Association (IDA), which was among its audited Financial Year, 2021. Undoubtedly, the financial report has far-reaching implications for Nigeria. It is a timely warning to the government to be extremely cautious about borrowing. The immediate implication of the World Bank’s report is that Nigeria’s credit is at great risk due to the fear that it might not meet its contractual obligations. 

Nigeria is rated fifth on the list with $11.7billion, while India is top on the log with $22billion. Six African countries are on the list, with a combined debt exposure of $51.4 billion. As at June 30, 2021, the 10 countries’ total debt exposures accounted for 66 per cent of IDA exposure. Bangladesh occupies second position in the inglorious list with $18.1billion, followed by Pakistan with $16.4billion IDA debt stock and Vietnam with $14.1billion. Other countries on the list in order of appearance included: Ethiopia with $11.2billion, Kenya, $10.2billion IDA debt stock; Tanzania, $8.3billion; Ghana, $5.6 billion and Uganda with $4.4billion IDA debt stock.

In all, Nigeria was elaborately mentioned in the World Bank IDA debt risk exposure report. According to the report, Nigeria’s undisbursed balance with the global financial institution was about $8.656billion as at June 30, 2021. The financial statement for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), a subsidiary of the World Bank, showed Nigeria having a total of $589 million undisbursed balance, comprising $500million loans approved but not yet signed and $80million signed loan commitment. Besides, the financial statement for IDA revealed that Nigeria has a total undisbursed balance of $8.07 billion, consisting of $1.462 ban loans approved but not yet signed and $6.61billion signed loan commitment.

India’s volume of bilateral trade with Nigeria has reach $14 billion in the first quarter – High Commissioner (Vanguard)

Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Abhay on Sunday disclosed that India’s volume of bilateral trade with Nigeria has reached $14 billion in the first quarter of this year, representing about a 17 per cent increase from the same period in 2020.  He said, though the bilateral trade witnessed disruptions in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which ravaged the global economy, the trade is back on track and even witnessing steady progress. “The current trade volume is nearly $14 billion. I’m very happy to report that in the first quarter of this year, our trade has increased by nearly 17 per cent, compared to the first quarter of 2020.

Namibia: Local exporters urged to take continental market route as companies shine at exporter awards - Agoa.info - African Growth and Opportunity Act

Minister of Industrialisation and Trade Lucia Iipumbu said a number of export markets have been secured for Namibian exporters, including in Africa, and encouraged all local producers to seize opportunities of continental access. Iipumbu made these remarks when she officiated at the first Namibia Annual Exporter Awards last week. The awards were held in collaboration between the USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub (USAID TradeHub) and Namibia Manufacturers Association (NMA). “Hence, the call is now upon you, entrepreneurs, to work hard and utilise the opportunity made available for you to thrive globally and contribute to the country’s foreign exchange reserves through export earnings,” said Iipumbu.

Multinationals push for minimum Sh200 price for a kilo of tea (BUsinss Daily)

The multinational tea firms want to set the minimum price of tea at more than Sh200 for a kilo to break even, which will be Sh20 above the reserve price the government set on purchases of the smallholders’ produce. The plantation owners argue that the cost of production for a kilo of the beverage is between Sh190 and Sh200, way above the selling price at the auction. Kenya Tea Growers Association chief executive Apollo Kiarii said the multinationals produce has been fetching Sh150 a kilo on average in the last couple of months, implying that they have been operating at a loss. The companies announced last week that they would set a minimum price for their tea at the Mombasa auction to cut on losses occasioned by the low cost of the commodity in the market.

“Our cost of production is around Sh190-200 per kilo of made tea. The average price in the last few months of 2021 has been about Sh150,” he said. “The current prices offered at the auction, which are frequently below the cost of production, are not sustainable and unless something is done, the entire sector and the livelihoods it supports is at risk.”

Agriculture Cabinet secretary Peter Munya introduced the minimum price at the auction for Kenya Tea Development Tea Agency (KTDA) farmers produce last month at Sh183, citing low value for the beverage amid high cost of production.

Can Kenya defeat poverty by 2030? What the global clock indicates (Business Daily)

Like other African countries emerging from colonial rule, Kenya’s independence leadership proclaimed a development focus on the elimination of three ills: poverty, ignorance and disease. The last two have been addressed, with mixed success, through program or project-specific education and health initiatives over time. But poverty is more complex; its reduction, or eradication, is a higher-order task.

Kenya’s most recent official poverty data was published in the 2015/16 Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey, which updated the earlier 2005/06 one. The overall poverty headcount fell from a CPI-adjusted 46.8 percent in 2005/06 to 36.1 percent in 2015/16.

Currently, only Kenya and Rwanda have positive poverty escape rates, while Burundi stands out as the only place where the absolute poverty headcount will be higher in 2030 than it is today.

Kenya to increase cash threshold for foreign investors (Business Daily)

Kenya has lined up drastic changes to its investment promotion law in a bid to seal loopholes exploited by foreigners to compete with local small traders and commit crimes such as money laundering. Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i says the ministry will be seeking parliamentary approval of amendments to the law, including raising the minimum investment threshold for foreigners. The Kenya Investment Promotion Act requires foreigners to have a minimum of $100,000 (Sh10.92 million) to obtain an investment certificate that qualifies them for incentives such as investment deductions and tax rebates.

The Kenya Investment Authority (KenIvest) has proposed a flexible minimum foreign investment threshold, depending on the capital requirement of different sectors based on feedback from stakeholders during engagements that led to the development of the country’s first investment policy, launched in November 2019.

Tanzania Exports To Kenya Dwarf Its Imports (Taarifa Rwanda)

As Rwanda’s Commercial Court awaits to arbitrate a dispute between shareholders in an energy company REFAD Rwanda Limited, Taarifa has learned that one party (Omnicane- a Mauritian sugar company) is allegedly carrying out activities that can be described as prejudicial to the court process. Early this year, REFAD Rwanda Limited, a firm investing in energy production was dragged to court by one of its shareholders after noticing that his shares had been mysteriously trimmed to an insignificant value.

Cairo-New Delhi trade exchange grows to $1.10bn in Q1 2021, despite COVID-19 impact: Indian Ambassador (Daily News Egypt)

Trade exchange between India and Egypt increased to $1.10bn in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021, compared to $ 968.6m in Q4 of 2020, which shows a steady improvement, and promises optimistic trade figures in the future, according to India’s Ambassador to Egypt Ajit Gupte. India’s exports to Egypt increased to $628.2m in Q1 of 2021, compared to $575m in Q4 of 2020, while Egyptian exports to India increased from $393.6m to $474.2m in the same comparison period.

Tunisian exports of manufacturing industries rise 28.2 in H1 2021 (TAP)

 Exports of manufacturing industries have increased by 28.2% to 20.6 billion dinars in the first half of 2021, from 16 billion dinars during the same period last year, according to data released by the Agency for the Promotion of Industry and Innovation (APII). Most manufacturing industries saw growth ranging from 14 to 81%, according to APII.  The value of the reported industrial investments (investment intentions) amounted to 1310 MD until the end of June of this year, against 1648,2 MD during the same period of the previous year.

Côte d’Ivoire: 2021 Article IV Consultation reports (IMF)

Press Release; Staff Report; Informational Annex; Debt Sustainability Analysis; Selected Issues; and Statement by the Executive Director for Côte d’Ivoire

Côte d’Ivoire has demonstrated strong resilience to the pandemic. While economic growth is expected to have dropped by some 4½ percent compared to the pre-COVID-19 forecast, it is still estimated at 2 percent in 2020, ranking among sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA) best performing frontier market economies. Economic performance and resilience were underpinned by strong pre-crisis fundamentals, a rapid policy response, a relatively lower dependency on sectors that have been typically hit the hardest elsewhere, as well as the support of the international community including the IMF.

ECA supports Mali efforts to strengthen migration policy(UNECA)

The Subregional Office for North Africa of the Economic Commission for Africa held on Wednesday August 12, 2021, a workshop on the issues of migration statistics and migrant skills recognition in Mali. The meeting aimed to present the work plan and methodology of studies on both topics, consult with the working group’s and with national and international partners for a better understanding of national migration policies.

In her opening speech, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Malians Abroad and African integration Ms. Tangara Néma Guindo stressed the importance of improving the global management of migratory movements: “the highest authorities in our country have made this a top priority. This is why Mali has participated in all phases of negotiations of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,” she said.

About 80% of African migration takes place within the continent presently. Unfortunately, most African countries do not have sufficiently robust migration policies, nor data collection systems that can provide them with the information needed for the design of fact based and therefore more effective policies. Likewise, while migrant integration has always happened naturally due to Africa’s well-known tradition of hospitality, there is a need now for it to become better structured, especially through better skill recognition, so migrants can actively contribute to their host countries’ development, said Sarah Boukri, migration Program Manager at the ECA Office for North Africa.


Three Reasons to Be Worried About Africa’s Progress (Bloomberg)

One of the saddest stories of the year has gone largely unreported: the slowdown of political and economic progress in sub-Saharan Africa. There is no longer a clear path to be seen, or a simple story to be told, about how the world’s poorest continent might claw its way up to middle-income status. Africa has amazing human talent and brilliant cultural heritages, but its major political centers are, to put it bluntly, falling apart. Three countries are more geopolitically central than the others. Ethiopia, with a population of 118 million, is sub-Saharan Africa’s second-most populous nation and the most significant node in East Africa. Nigeria has the most people (212 million) and the largest GDP on the continent. South Africa, population 60 million, is the region’s wealthiest nation, and it is the central economic and political presence in the southern part of the continent. Within the last two years, all three of these nations have fallen into very serious trouble.

Good Practices in International Trade in Services Negotiations : Techniques to Enable Gradual Liberalization – Differentiating between Roll-Back, Standstill and Ratchet Mechanisms and Relevance for the AfCFTA Negotiations (World Bank)

This study focuses on: analyzing the different international agreements regulating trade in services in Africa ( covering at least one mode of supply); determining whether and to what extent, in addition to commitments liberalizing barriers to trade in services, African countries have already used standstill and ratchet mechanisms in their negotiations on trade in services; and if that is the case, determining whether and how much mechanisms could be adapted to facilitate the objectives of the AfCFTA protocol on trade in services.

Devise Strategies to finance businesses to grow towards AfCFTA - AGI (BUsinessGhana)

Mr Tsonam Cleanse Akpeloo, Accra Regional Chairman, Association of Ghana Industries, has called for strategies to help find pathways to grow businesses towards the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA). He said the Association believed that the challenge of industry currently was access and cost of capital to businesses. Mr Akpeloo in an interview with the Ghana News Agency said, “We are also aware that the government is coming up with the establishment with a Developing Bank to support industries and I think it is a great intervention for industrial growth.”

Next Parliament sitting set to ratify Africa’s trade treaty (The Citizen)

Tanzania is waiting for the September House to ratify the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which is touted as a game changer in the continent’s trade, The Citizen can report. Industry and Trade deputy minister Exaud Kigahe told The Citizen yesterday that the cabinet had in last week approved the document, ready for taking the same to Parliament slated to kick off on August 31 this year. The question of the AfCFTA, the agreement which focuses on removing non-tariff trade barriers in the continent, he expounded, would be on top of the list of agenda in the august House.

Auto policy, key to Nigeria’s gain from AFCFTA – Whitfield, Nissan boss (Daily Sun)

Mike Whitfield, managing director of Nissan’s regional business unit in Africa, has urged Nigeria and other African nations to put in place automotive industrial development plans towards unlocking the economic benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

Whitfield, president of the Association of African Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM), made the plea in a recent interview on the state of the automotive industry in Nigeria and Africa generally. Though he affirmed AfCFTA as the world’s last automotive frontier, Whitfield lamented that fewer vehicles are owned in Africa than anywhere else in the world. According to him, while Africa accounts for only 1.3 per cent of the world’s vehicles, the continent comprises 17 per cent of the globe’s people with motorisation rate is 42 per 1,000 individuals, compared to the global average of 182.

He said: “The biggest problem is that 80 per cent of the African vehicle fleet is second-hand, imported from the UK, the US and Japan.

“Quite frankly, the vehicles that are brought into the continent are not made for either our road severity or the quality of fuel that is available. As a result, the people who sell them have to alter the engines by disabling the sensors and removing the catalytic converters, creating vehicles that become the worst polluters on the road.

Afreximbank partners with YALDA to enhance youth involvement in the implementation of the AfCFTA (Afreximbank)

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has announced funding and technical support to the Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa (YALDA), an international nonprofit organisation that aims to contribute to the development of Africa’s young leaders and enhance youth participation in the implementation and achievement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The support will cover YALDA’s activities and events, which aim to provide a platform for African youth both within Africa and in the diaspora. These activities encourage them to participate in the implementation of the AfCFTA under a campaign named the ‘Umoja Africa Campaign – Youth Contributing to the Implementation of the AfCFTA’.

SADC truckers threaten Moza blockade (The Southern Times)

Truck drivers from across Southern Africa are threatening to blockade Mozambican border posts, in protest at corrupt behaviour by the Mozambican traffic police, according to a report in the Maputo daily Noticiasa. The Association of Truck Drivers of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) made the threat in a letter to the Sofala Provincial Office for the Fight Against Corruption. The association claims that the behaviour of the traffic police on the roads from Beira to Zimbabwe and to Tete “is intolerable, and, if it continues, the truck drivers will have no choice but to station their vehicles at the border”.

“Regardless of whether the transporters are Mozambicans or foreigners, illicit charges constitute deplorable behaviour, which should be fought against through denunciations to the anti-corruption offices,” he said.Matsinhe called on the police and other sectors of the public services to draw up strategies for intervening to halt traffic police corruption.

SADC Council Chair says Malawi attaches greater importance to the principles, ideals, goals and aspirations of SADC

The Republic of Malawi attaches greater importance to the principles, ideals, values, goals and aspirations of Forefathers of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as encapsulated in the SADC Treaty, Honourable Eisenhower Nduwa Mkaka, Chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Malawi, has said. In his acceptance speech at the opening of the SADC Council of Ministers in Lilongwe, on 13 August 2021, Hon. Mkaka said his country is committed to continue spearheading the implementation of programmes and projects derived from the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030 as guided by the SADC Vision 2050. “We are also resolved to sustaining the implementation of programmes drawn from the theme of the Republic of Mozambique for the 40th SADC Summit titled ‘SADC: 40 Years Building Peace and Security, and Promoting Development and Resilience in the Face of Global Challenges’,” he said.

“We will need to muster as a Region and have coordinated efforts to respond to external shocks that have caused devastating reversals on economic gains achieved by SADC. This meeting provides us with a rare opportunity to discuss the socio-economic hurdles in the Region and thrash out workable solutions to rebound our economies on the sustainable path for inclusive and economic growth,” he said.

‘As SADC, we can overcome anything’ (The Southern Times)

The emergency of COVID-19 pandemic will not only require us to redouble our efforts in industrialization but also embrace digital technological and knowledge transfer, in order to attain these ambitious goals so as to maximise new market opportunities brought forth by the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

EAC, India ink deal to ease business (The Star, Kenya)

Traders from the East African Community (EAC) would benefit from faster clearance of their goods and lower costs of running their business following the signing of a Joint Action Plan between the EAC and the Government of India. The Joint Action Plan will pave the way for a full Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) between the two parties. The MRA once realised, will benefit companies under the Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) Programme run by the EAC partner states under the coordination of the EAC Secretariat since 2008.

Speaking on behalf of the Government of India, the Chairman of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), Ajit Kumar, emphasized the crucial role of having in place a robust, safe and largely digitized system, on one hand, and a pool of trusted and validated trading entities on the other hand. Kumar said that a fully digitized system and valid trading entities would guarantee security in the entire supply chain in trading across borders, adding that an AEO-MRA agreement was one such endeavour.

This timely MRA will enable trade facilitation in the region under the AEO programme while in India and vice versa, enabling fast clearance of their goods and as a result saving in costs and time.

Safaricom tops EA’s list of most valuable firms (The East African)

Kenyan companies dominated East African and Mauritius most valuable brands in the three months to June 30, with Safaricom being the highest prized brand in the region. According to the latest quarterly market report by analysts at African Financials Group titled The East Africa & Mauritius Top 30 Companies, Kenya leads with 14 companies followed by Mauritius with eight, Tanzania with six, Uganda and Rwanda with one each.

According to the report, Safaricom is the most valuable brand in East Africa and Mauritius with a market capitalisation of $15.39 billion followed by the Mauritius Commercial Bank ($1.59 billion ), Equity Bank ($1.53 billion), Tanzania Breweries ($1.38 billion ), East African Breweries Ltd ($1.32 billion), KCB Bank ($1.26 billion), Co-operative Bank ($750 million), Tanzanian Vodacom ($744 million), Tanzania Cigarette ($733 million) and Mauritian Ireland Blyth ($633 million). Other valuable brands in the region include Tanzania’s National Microfinance Bank ($505 million), Absa Kenya ($499 million), BAT Kenya ($417 million), Stanchart Kenya ($413 million) and Stanbic Uganda ($379 million).

Africa’s rapidly urbanising cities a money-making opportunity for food producers (How We Made it in Africa)

Africa’s export-oriented farmers and food producers may want to look at markets closer to home as Africa’s rapidly urbanising cities fuel a voracious appetite for food. Would-be young farmers might also want to take note. Farmers in Africa can expect better days as the continent’s fast-growing cities guarantees and expands the market for their agricultural produce, according to a report that digs deep into Africa’s food chains.

Africa needs more funds to fight COVID-19 (Africa Renewal)

The AU COVID-19 Response Fund was created by the Africa Union as an emergency response to the pandemic. It was created essentially for the continent to have a whole-of-Africa approach to the pandemic. We have 55 fragmented economies. And if you take your mind back to April last year, the big issues were personal protective equipment (PPE) and test kits, and the big economies were buying them all up. The manufacturers were not going to listen to small economies placing orders of a few million or thousands of dollars. So, the response fund was intended to help us deal with such issues.

As soon as we were created, we set up the structures to make it possible for us to operate in an effective way. We were asked to intervene in two areas: to help mobilise funds and to help in the utilisation of the funds. So we quickly created two key subcommittees for these. Of course, we are serving essentially the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

We don’t have sufficient funds because as we get the money, we use it. On mobilisation, I think we have a healthy pipeline of pledges that we should collect. We organised a fundraising event with the private sector participating. And many of them have made pledges. What we’re doing now is making sure that we convert the pledges to cash—pledges from governments, from development partners, from the private sector.

Africa-China trade slowed by container shortage as Covid-19 hits shipping (South China Morning Post)

China is Africa‘s largest trading partner, exporting products such as garments, electronics and construction equipment to many countries on the continent, but traders are facing cargo delays and steep import costs during the Covid-19 pandemic. Observers blame this on an acute shortage of shipping containers, with more vessels prioritising China-Europe and trans-Pacific trade routes before serving other markets including Africa. Importers from East Africa say their orders are subject to delays of weeks or months.

Analysts: China Expanding Influence in Africa Via Telecom Network Deals (Voice of America)

Telecommunications networks funded and built by China are taking over Africa’s cyberspace, a dependence that analysts suggest puts Beijing in a position to exert political influence in some of the continent’s countries.

Huawei, the world’s leading seller of 5G technology and smartphones, is seen by the U.S. and other countries as “beholden to the Chinese government, which could use the company” for spying, an accusation Huawei denies, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a think tank in Washington, reported in May that worldwide, “the majority of [Huawei’s] deals (57%) are in countries that are middle-income and partly free or not free.” The CSIS report added that Huawei’s cloud infrastructure and e-government services are handling sensitive data, services that “could provide Chinese authorities with intelligence and even coercive leverage.”

The African Union has set the goal of connecting every individual, business and government on the continent by 2030, an expansion that is supported by the World Bank Group.

The scale of need for data centers to meet population growth “is astoundingly significant,” Guy Zibi, principal analyst at Xalam Analytics, who is tracking the African data center boom, told the website DataCenterKnowledge.

Corporate Council On Africa Hosts 13th US-Africa Business Summit – OpEd (Eurasia Review)

Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), the leading reputable U.S. business association with a strategic focus on connecting business interests between the United States and Africa, has held the 13th U.S.-Africa Business Summit. The U.S. government and private sector leaders together African political and corporate business leaders have been working consistently over these years to share insights on critical issues and policies influencing the U.S.-Africa economic partnership.

The three-day 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, small and medium scale enterprises, tourism, women’s leadership and investment opportunities in various African countries.


South China Sea, Xinjiang muddy the waters of WTO fishing subsidies debate (South China Morning Post)

Targeted import bans by the United States on seafood caught by Chinese owned vessels over forced labour claims, while reflecting Washington’s increasing pressure on Beijing over the hot button issue, show that US-China tensions have spread into an area that is crucial for the World Trade Organization (WTO) to restore its prestige.

Under growing scepticism and setbacks, the global trade body was hoping to strike a multilateral pact over fishing subsidies by the end of 2021 to bring at end to a two-decade deadlock.

However, the discord between the world’s two largest economies could now become a “flashpoint” that threatens the talks as they enter the final stretch, analysts have warned.

“The remaining effective time for negotiations is not enough, differences among major members are apparent, it is still very difficult to conclude the fisheries subsidies [talks] at an early date, many experts in Geneva are not optimistic,” said Lu Xiankun, a former senior Chinese trade negotiator at the WTO, at the end of July.

BRICS for partnership in strengthening agro-biodiversity for food security (Business Standard)

BRICS nations have pitched for closer ties in strengthening agro-biodiversity to ensure food and nutrition security, the government said on Saturday.

The issue was discussed in the working group of agriculture represented by top agriculture officials from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) virtually on August 12-13. The group stressed on having closer ties in strengthening cooperation and research in the field of agriculture, an official statement said. In the meeting, the group shared that the United Nation has noted BRICS countries are well positioned to take a leading role in helping to achieve the objectives of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals to eradicate hunger and poverty. The strong agricultural research base in BRICS countries and the need to harness and share knowledge, facilitate transfer of technologies from lab to land to provide improved solutions for enhanced productivity, especially in the face of climate change, maintaining agro biodiversity and ensuring sustainable use of natural resources was acknowledged, it added.

The world is making billions of Covid vaccine doses, so why is Africa not getting them? | Gordon Brown (The Guardian)

In a shocking symbol of the west’s failure to honour its promise of equitable vaccine distribution, millions of Covid vaccines manufactured in Africa that should have saved the lives of Africans have been shipped to Europe in recent weeks. Indeed, this month and next, I have learned from African leaders that about 10m single-shot Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines filled and finished at the Aspen factory in South Africa will be exported to Europe, at the very time that Africa is grappling with its deadliest wave of Covid-19 infections yet.

But vaccines are not yet available to meet Africa’s vaccination target, set at 60% of adults, or to cover that other 30% people who were promised vaccines provided by the west. As a result, I am told the African Union has had no choice but to open negotiations with China to buy at least 200m Chinese-made vaccines. The hold-ups are now so serious that a vaccine “war room” has been created by the IMF, World Bank, WHO and World Trade Organization (WTO) to help track, coordinate and advance the delivery of vaccines. Despite this, only political leadership from the G7 countries, which have negotiated vaccines far in excess of their population numbers, will ensure that all continents receive an adequate supply. The world will manufacture around 6bn more vaccine doses by December and ramp up production by many billions more next year. This supply could be sufficient for every country to meet the 60% vaccination target by next summer. Problems that will perpetuate the inequalities in vaccine distribution can only be resolved with a level of global coordination that has so far been absent among G7 and G20 leaders.

As migration is rising, so are border barriers | DW | 13.08.2021

Although thousands of miles apart, Lithuania and the Dominican Republic have something very specific in common: Due to increasing migration from their respective neighboring countries, both recently decided to tightened their borders. Both countries are showcases of an ongoing trend: The world today is seeing ever more refugees and asylum-seekers than two decades ago. Political conflicts and the effects of climate change are among factors forcibly displacing people around the world. And the situation looks set to continue along this path.

The effectiveness of border barriers against irregular migration, illegal trade or terrorism attacks is not always easy to assess, since there are often multiple interlinked factors at play.

Governments mostly cited illegal immigration as the main reason for building border walls, followed by illegal trade (i.e. the smuggling of goods, and trafficking of people or drugs) and terrorism concerns, according to a study headed by the Delàs Center for Peace Studies that analyzed border walls built between 1968 and 2018.


Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel +27 21 880 2010