Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News
Photo credit: John Hogg | World Bank


Sugar industry reiterates commitment to transformation (SAnews)

South African Sugar Association (SASA) Vice Chairperson, Joanmariae Fubbs, has commended the organisation for recognising the need to promote diversity by availing more land for black farmers in the industry. “SASA has been able to transform more than 21% of free owned land on the sugarcane from white farmers to black farmers without a shot being fired,” Fubbs said. Fubbs was speaking at the Women in Leadership webinar, hosted by Proudly South African on Wednesday.

The master plans have targeted specific action points relating to the respective industries, but there are also generic objectives, including a change in ownership and production patterns within each sector. The master plans aim to increase localisation, which will lead to re-industrialisation and growth, as well as to reclaim domestic markets lost to imports.

The clothing and textile sector, automotive industry, sugar, and creative arts sectors have been identified by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) as worthy of particular attention for their job creation potential.

Imports of goods, services decline (Tanzania Dailynews)

THE imports of goods and services declined to 9,869.7 million US dollars from 10,043.7 million US dollars in the corresponding period last year with a significant decrease in travel payments, transport equipment, building and construction materials. According to the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) monthly economic review, oil imports which constituted 18.4 per cent of all goods imports, increased marginally by 1.3 per cent to 1,576.7 million US dollars mostly on account of the volume effect. The recent increase of oil prices in the world market is projected to revert to the pre-pandemic level, which could adversely affect the balance of payments. Goods import bill increased to 795.3 million US dollars from 575.4 million US dollars recorded in June last year due to a rise in oil imports as well as capital and consumer goods. Services payments amounted to 1,282.7 million US dollars in the year ending June lower than 1,608.3 million US dollars recorded in the corresponding period last year bolstered by lower travel payments, arising from containment measures by other countries in an attempt to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Local businesses should be bold enough to venture beyond Rwanda (The New Times)

In April, a group of Rwandan investors went on a business mission to the Central African Republic, with a view to exploring investment opportunities there. The team was received by high-profile personalities, including the president himself, and were encouraged to venture into the CAR market with a promise of a few incentives and other offers. Rwandan businesses would also benefit from the fact that RwandAir operates flights between Kigali and Bangui, meaning movement of both people and merchandise between the two countries has never been easier.

Court stops building of second grains terminal at Mombasa port (Business Daily)

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has been stopped from awarding a licence to Portside Freight Terminals Limited for the development of a second grain bulk handling facility at the Port of Mombasa. High Court judge Reuben Nyakundi suspended the plans pending the determination of a case filed by activist Okiya Omtatah, who argues that KPA has failed to undertake the procurement as required by the Constitution and provisions of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act.

n June 28, the board approved the use of the procurement procedure and awarded the contract to the Portside Freight Terminals Limited. Mr Omtatah argued that KPA and Treasury employed the use of the procedure to avoid the competition of bidders and is being employed in favour of the firm associated with a prominent Mombasa politician.

Nigeria must pursue import-substitution policies, protectionism for local (Naija247news)

The First Abuja Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) Conference and Exhibition participants have called for deliberate import-substitution policies and protectionism for local industries, especially Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). The participants made the call in a communiqué signed by Mr Olawale Rasheed, Executive Director, National Chamber Policy Centre (NCPC), Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), on Wednesday in Abuja.

The communiqué seen by Naija247news the end of the maiden conference, organised by ACCI on Aug. 16, which focused on “Solution Strategies for resolving tax, regulatory, packaging and logistics challenges facing SMEs in Nigeria”. In view of challenges identified by participants, the communiqué recommended that MSMEs as economy drivers, making up 90 per cent of economic activities, government must support their growth as obtainable in India, China and emerging markets.

Buhari tells FEC that Nigeria lost $50b on delayed petroleum law (Businessday Nigeria)

Nigeria lost an estimated $50b worth of investment in the petroleum sector. This is was due to uncertainty over the 20 years’ non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), lack of progress, and stagnation in the petroleum industry. President Muhammadu Buhari stated this on Wednesday at a ceremony on passage of the PIA, which preceded the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja The stagnation, he said affected the growth of the economy, citing a lack of political will on the part of past administrations to actualize the needed transformation.

A Digitized Ghana - New Technologies and Innovation (Lexology)

The past year has been a year of exciting initiatives for Ghana’s digital infrastructure. The Government has adopted digitization as a key policy objective and has recently introduced a number of programs designed to develop a more digitally accessible public sector and encourage transparency and efficiency, in order to drive growth in all aspects of the country’s economy. The private sector is also playing its part. In his recent mid-year fiscal policy review of the 2021 budget statement and economic policy, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, observed that the use of mobile money, door to door delivery via courier services and internet usage for business operations has increased significantly with about 77 percent of businesses increasing the use of the internet in marketing, compared to 19 percent during the lockdown period. As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to make digital innovation a priority in Ghana and internationally, this article looks at some of the recent initiatives that are putting Ghana at the cutting-edge of developments in this space.

Coffee Export Generates $115.4 million in July (Ethiopian Monitor)

Coffee export generated 115.4 million dollars in the first month of the new 2021/22 fiscal year, surpassing the value and volume of the corresponding month of previous year. Ethiopian Coffee & Tea Authority, in its performance report, says the country had a plan to export 21,339.80 tons of coffee to the international market in the 30-day period of the FY, beginning July 8. But it has managed to export a total of 31,145 tons of coffee, generating 115.46 million dollars, says the Authority. The volume of export increased by 146 percent while the revenue jumped by 161 percent, according to the Authority.

Ethiopia Attracts $3.9 billion FDI in 2020/21 Fiscal Year (Ethiopian Monitor)

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow into Ethiopia reached 3.9 billion US dollars in the recently concluded 2020/21 fiscal year, says country’s investment commission. The amount, recorded in the FY which ended on July 7, has shown nearly a billion jump as compared to the figure the East African nation attracted in the previous year. The Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) said the encouraging performance in attracting the FDI, amid the security and Covid-19 pandemic induced challenges, could be attributed to several reasons. “The sale of the first private telecom license, however, has been the main factor,” said Henok Solomon, Communication Director of the EIC.


How continental treaty can foster sustainable trade in biodiversity in Africa | UNCTAD

Africa is one of the most biodiverse regions on earth. Yet commitments negotiated so far under the landmark African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement barely mention the environment. This represents a missed opportunity to achieve sustainable development through trade integration in Africa, as stipulated under the Africa 2063 Agenda, says a new UNCTAD study entitled “Implications of the African Continental Free Trade Area for Trade and Biodiversity: Policy and Regulatory Recommendations.” The study developed in partnership with the ABS Initiative investigates the link between trade and biodiversity and the existing parties’ commitments under the AfCFTA. It recommends ways of transforming the agreement into an enabler of sustainable trade in biodiversity and a key driver of post-COVID-19 recovery and development in Africa.

State parties under AfCFTA urged to formulate policies to regulate digital currency regime (Ghana News Agency)

The Ghana International Trade and Finance Conference (GITFiC) has called on State parties under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement to formulate policies for the regulation of the digital currency regime. This, it said, would present a viable means to improve financial inclusion on the African continent,

Ms Bridget Agbenya, a Research Intern from Ashesi University at GITFiC, presenting the August 2021 Research Report, said the Conference wished to re-echo the recommendation given by the Vice President, Dr Mahamadu Bawumia on the need for the Pan-African Payment and Settlement Systems (PAPSS) architecture to allow national banks of State Parties to connect to ensure seamless operationalization and financial integration. The Report was on the Impact of Digital Payment Systems in Facilitating Cross Border Trade under AfCFTA. GITFiC’s August 2021 paper will consider an overview of digital payment and discuss the structure of digital payment systems with a focus on adopting a continental single digital currency, which is expected to facilitate the operationalization of the AfCFTA.

Businesses should concentrate on production to remain competitive- Osafo-Maafo (BusinessGhana)

Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Presidential Advisor, has called on businesses to concentrate on production to remain competitive in the global market as they take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement. He said if businesses produced but could not be competitive, then they have a problem, because other African countries are also producing onto the same market. Mr Osafo-Maafo, speaking at the fourth Ghana Industrial Summit and Exhibition 2021, said “competitive production is key.”

The Summit will hold discussions on technological advancements in industry, energy requirements, infrastructure, financing and many other thought-provoking topics needed by local businesses seeking to trade within the African single market.

Centre for Greater Impact Africa urges industries to take advantage of AfCFTA (GhanaWeb)

The Reverend Dr. Worlanyo Mensah, Executive Director of Centre for Greater Impact Africa, a policy think tank, has called on industries to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to expand. He said there was the need to empower the private companies to take advantage of the AfCFTA to expand and create more jobs for the youth. Rev. Mensah said this when he led a five-member delegation from the Centre for Greater Impact Africa to pay a working visit to ‘B5 Plus’ the largest steel manufacturer in West African and the third in Africa.

Businesses must improve internal processes to benefit from AfCFTA (Ghana News Agency)

Businesses need to focus and improve internal processes to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Mr Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, Chief Executive Volta River Authority (VRA), has said. He said to unlock the potential for economic transformation, it was imperative that local businesses fully comprehend the agreement to leverage its opportunities for growth and expansion.

ECA Director seeks ways to boost AfCFTA’s implementation as MSMEs consultation opens (UNECA)

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and communication consultancy AUNIQUEI, with funding from the European Union (EU) today in Dakar opened a consultation with African micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Business leaders and trade experts from across Africa are participating in the three-day event to gain insight into the challenges the agreement poses to small and medium businesses.

In her speech to open the meeting, the Director of the African Institute for Development and Economic Planning (IDEP), Karima Bounemra Ben Soltane, said the gathering was intended to see how participants could together boost the agreement’s implementation, adding that, the MSMEs should play their part alongside the public sector if the AfCFTA was to succeed.

President Akufo-Addo Accepts Role of Champion of the 3rd Industrial Development Decade for Africa (Africanews)

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has accepted an invitation from the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization to play the role of a Champion of the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa.

It may be recalled that on 25th July 2016, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/70/293 in which it proclaimed the period 2016–2025 as the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa (IDDA III), calling upon the African Union Commission, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, the Economic Commission for Africa and, specifically, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), to develop, operationalize and lead the implementation of the programme for the IDDA III. Consequently, UNIDO developed a Roadmap for implementing the IDDA III anchored on six interlinked pillars namely, global forums, strategic support to develop and manage industrial policy instruments, technical cooperation, cooperation at the level of the African Union, regional economic communities and countries, partnerships and resource mobilization, and communication and advocacy.

Malawi Vice President delivers SADC Public Lecture on Industrial Digitalisation (SADC)

The Vice President of Malawi, Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima on 12th August delivered the keynote address on promoting digitalisation in support of industrialization in the Southern African region at the 2021 SADC Public Lecture which Malawi hosted as part of the 41st Ordinary SADC Summit taking place in the country. The Public Lecture was organized by the Malawi National Planning Commission in collaboration with SADC Secretariat. In his lecture delivered under the theme: "Promoting Digitalisation for the Revival of the SADC Industrialisation Agenda in the COVID 19 Era", Dr. Chilima, formerly CEO of Airtel Malawi, said SADC countries needed to promote digitalisation to minimize disturbances to the development of industry as a result of COVID 19.

"COVID 19 has provided impetus for innovation and development of technologies for continuation of business amidst the pandemic. SADC countries should tap opportunities for the challenge," he said.

EAC Secretary General urges private sector to take advantage of bilateral engagements between Partner States to unlock trade barriers (EAC)

The East African Community Secretary General, Hon. (Dr.) Peter Mathuki, is urging the private sector to take advantage of the ongoing bilateral engagements between Partner States, to promptly resolve trade disputes so as to increase trade among EAC Partner States.  Hon. (Dr.) Mathuki further called upon the private sector to promptly harmonise their positions on trade agreements at the national level before engaging their counterparts in other Partner States to fast track trade deliberations.  “Regular consultations and dialogues within the national private sector bodies, is critical in building consensus within a Partner State. Divergent positions within a country will only delay in concluding trade deliberations at the regional level, further delaying implementation of regional trade policies,” said Dr. Mathuki. 

EAC Secretary-General tips private sector on infrastructure development (The New Times)

The East African Community Secretary-General, Peter Mathuki, on Wednesday, August 18, urged the private sector to drive the trade and investment agenda by establishing partnerships with their governments to fast track infrastructure development.

He was speaking during a CEOs engagement roundtable with business leaders in Arusha, Tanzania, convened by the East African Business Council (EABC). Mathuki said: “Private sector needs to move beyond advocacy and liaise with the Government in providing solutions to some of the trade issues being faced across EAC Partner States.”

EAC single currency set for use next year (IPPmedia)

EAC Secretary General Dr Peter Mathuki said here yesterday that the technical process to that effect will be fast-tracked in order to be completed before the end of this year. “We are late and need to run,” he said. He was addressing a CEOs Roundtable breakfast engagement on East African regional integration organized by the East African Business Council (EABC) in conjunction with KCB Bank here, A single EA trading and investment area will only have meaning if the biggest barrier to trade, that is different currencies, is removed into one currency, acceptable across all borders, he said, referring to Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania as well as Rwanda, Burundi and South-Sudan.

ECA’s chief and Cameroon’s Finance Minister review pertinence of financing, vaccines, broadband, energy, jobs, industrial clustering in COVID times (UNECA)

UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) – Vera Songwe, and Cameroon’s Minister of Finance – Louis Paul Motaze, discussed, yesterday, the country’s need to move fast with innovative financing, industrial clustering and digital transformation while keeping up the fight against COVID-19 especially through massive vaccination. This, against the backdrop of an extraordinary summit of CEMAC Heads of State, chaired on the same day by Cameroon’s President Paul Biya on the theme “Review of the Economic, Monetary and Financial Situation in the CEMAC Zone and Analysis of its Prospects.”

But more needs to be done, especially on the financial front in order to cushion the calamitous impact of the pandemic on African economies, she maintained.

Debt Service Suspension Initiatives (DSSI) and other innovative means of financing Africa’s way through this pandemic period needed follow up, she intimated, as she pointed to the Liquidity and Sustainability Facility (LSF) launched by ECA and the investment management firm PIMCO last March.

The LSF aims to reduce governments’ borrowing costs by increasing demand for their sovereign bonds. This, Ms Songwe said, could save Africa US$11 billion of interest on loans in just five years.

Remarks by World Bank Group President David Malpass to the Summit of the Heads of State of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (World Bank)

COVID-19 is aggravating long-standing challenges of the region. Growth turned negative, and there has been a widespread loss of jobs and economic opportunities. Fiscal and external imbalances have grown wider, reducing the room for governments to respond. In addition, the sharp reduction in oil prices during the pandemic exposed again CEMAC’s vulnerability to the volatility in the demand and price for commodities. Deep structural reforms are needed now more than ever to secure social cohesion and put the region on a sustainable and more inclusive development path.

The pandemic has left many CEMAC member countries with elevated debt levels. Debt transparency and sustainability will be vital to a sustained recovery and attracting new investment. At the outset of the pandemic, I proposed with Kristalina a broad moratorium on debt service. The G20’s DSSI – which benefitted Cameroon, the CAR, Chad, and Congo – provided liquidity support and additional fiscal space to help respond to the health emergency.

Lasting debt relief will be needed to encourage investment and growth, and we are working toward a strong G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatment. Chad was the first country to request participation in the Common Framework. To succeed will require the full participation of commercial creditors in the workout for debt and debt-equivalent instruments, including comparable treatment using consistent discount rates.

Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva’s Statement on the Summit of the Heads of State of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC)

Does West Africa Need a Single Currency? (Foreign Affairs)

Over a decade ago, the leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a regional trade bloc of 15 countries with a total population of roughly 400 million, committed to establishing a monetary and currency union by the end of 2020. In other words, they agreed to renounce monetary sovereignty and adopt a common currency managed by a single central bank. Eliminating multiple currencies, they believed, would dismantle barriers to the flow of goods, money, and people and lay the foundations for greater prosperity. Ultimately, they hoped their regional monetary organization might blaze a trail to an Africa-wide currency union that could unite the continent and expand its influence on the world stage.

But 2020 has come and gone, and the ECOWAS currency union has yet to break ground. Despite the initial rush of enthusiasm around the project, the goal of a currency union has slipped further and further out of reach in recent years. Prior to the 2020 deadline, virtually no ECOWAS country had attained the economic benchmarks the group had established as preconditions for the union. And then came the COVID-19 pandemic, which wreaked economic carnage in West Africa, as it did in much of the world, and sent member states into economic survival mode.

The ECOWAS currency union faced considerable challenges from the get-go, not least being the very different stages of development of the bloc’s member states. Six of its 15 members are middle-income states, with estimated annual incomes of at least $1,000 per capita. The other nine are low-income states, with per capita incomes falling below $600 in Liberia, Niger, and Sierra Leone. Countries at such divergent economic stages are unlikely to reach a consensus on short-term economic priorities even in the best of times, making it difficult to develop a uniform monetary policy for all of them.

One alternative to a monetary union—or a steppingstone to one—that could spur growth and accelerate regional integration without the added political complications of a common currency can be found in Asia. The ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have established an extensive network of financial and trade arrangements but retained monetary policy autonomy. This has allowed them to foster economic integration and to speak with a more unified voice on important economic and geopolitical issues while avoiding any tensions that might arise from trying to coordinate their monetary and fiscal policies. Should they continue to pursue a currency zone, ECOWAS leaders might consider starting with similar small steps toward trade and financial integration as precursors to a more durable monetary union.

How to put women at the centre of Africa’s food systems (The Conversation Africa)

The number of hungry people in the world grew by a staggering 161 million people in 2020 to 811 million. More than one third of these people live in Africa. One of the main reasons for this increase is the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the cost of healthy diets and high levels of income inequality. More concerted efforts are needed to address the problem of food security. Empowering women is often said to be the key. In the past, researchers have looked to their specific disciplines to suggest how women could be empowered to improve food security. Some have focused on increasing women’s income because women spend more of their income on household nutrition. Others have focused on providing women with nutrition education because women carry the primary responsibility for preparing food. While these studies are valuable for improving food security and nutrition, we also need to consider what shapes women’s participation in different aspects of the food system. Globally, experts are beginning to recognise that focusing on one aspect of food overlooks the trade-offs or sacrifices people make. For example, women’s economic empowerment may mean that they spend more time on economic activities, and less time preparing food.

IEA holds symposium on China-Africa Cooperation (News Ghana)

Participants at the close of a symposium on the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) initiative, in Accra, have called for strengthened collaboration among African countries for the sustainable development of the continent. The participants identified poor cohesion among African countries as a contributory factor to the underdevelopment of the continent and urged governments to draw lessons from China’s value addition through infrastructural initiatives to boost their development.

They argued that although Africa was endowed with numerous resources, the financing of major national infrastructural projects was often left in the hands of foreign nations, leading to high indebtedness to those countries, with very limited involvement of the local people in those developments. They proposed among other things, that African leaders lead a unified crusade for domestic mobilisation of funding for the development of quality infrastructure, both within countries and across the continent, while ensuring a high level of accountability as a key pre-requisite for achieving success and maintaining the required standards of development.


China’s Shipping Delays Are Costing African Economies (The Diplomat)

It is almost 18 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and with increasing vaccination rates globally, on land, a return to “normal life” seems to be plausible in the coming months. However, on the sea, it is a different story. Global logistics is and looks like it will remain a snarled mess, with significant consequences in particular for African economies. While Africa accounts for only 3 percent of global trade, it is the region that depends most on external trade – 85 percent of its total trade is extra-regional, even though 30 percent of African countries are landlocked. Ship and air freight delays and supply chain disruptions have been endemic since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Factory closures, worker restrictions, and varying degrees of lockdown all contributed to reduced production and distribution of many goods, while logistics requirements for health and medical equipment rose. Overall, global shipping activity overall reduced by around 10 percent in 2020. Logjams on trade lines originating in China, responsible for 16 percent of global trade, have been particularly challenged. In early 2020, China initially reduced external trade, then, as the country gained control over COVID-19, it experienced an export boom – for medical equipment as well as other goods. This export boom has continued, but with lockdowns elsewhere and thus fewer imports returning, containers to sustain outflows have proved difficult to source.

What do people think about globalization and trade? (World Economic Forum)

Most people think that expanding trade is a good thing, according to a recent Ipsos-World Economic Forum survey of adults in 25 countries around the world. But support for globalization has declined - with half of people unsure of its benefits and a third advocating for trade barriers.

“International trade and investment can grow economies, reduce poverty, improve healthcare and empower people worldwide,” says Sean Doherty, Head of International Trade and Investment at the World Economic Forum. “However, changes caused by trade can be disruptive and painful, and can sometimes undermine local reforms. The seeming contradiction in survey results is understandable: people want more of the good and less of the bad of globalization.

Despite this widespread support for increased trade, more people agreed there should be more trade barriers to limit the import of foreign goods and services into their country than disagreed.

China Is the Biggest Winner From Africa’s New Free Trade Bloc (Foreign Policy)

When the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was initially proposed at the African Union summit in 2012, it had two goals: First, build a pan-African agenda in trade and cooperation. Second, lift a large percentage of people out of poverty by instituting structural economic changes and cooperative legislation. The bloc’s establishment signified a monumental shift in African trade and development. For years, African trade has been mostly limited to colonial trade routes, a practice that has resulted in the continent’s countries trading more internationally than among themselves.

But now, as the trade bloc enters its first few months, African nations are not the ones who will be reaping the deal’s greatest benefits—Beijing is.

China is now sub-Saharan Africa’s most visible—and perhaps even biggest—trading partner, a role that has even positioned it to shape policy across the continent. Through its spending sprees, Beijing is shifting African policy in its favor.

Rich countries want to strike trade deals in Africa (The Economist)

“WE WILL BE the guinea pig,” said Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s president, before trade talks with America opened last year. A deal would make Kenya only the second African country after Morocco to sign a free-trade agreement with the United States. Officials in the Trump administration called the proposed deal “a model” for future ones. But such bilateral talks jar with Africa’s push for regional integration and with President Joe Biden’s emphasis on multilateralism. Negotiations are now on hold while America works out what to do next.

The pause reflects a sense of drift in Africa’s trade relations with the West, as both America and Europe rethink how they do business with the continent. In the past they granted concessions, such as lower tariffs on African exports, without requiring African countries to reciprocate. Now they are increasingly looking to negotiate two-way agreements which will open up African markets, too. The old approach was paternalistic and gave Africans little say. But the new one, handled badly, could put Africa’s own integration at risk.

BRICS reiterates commitment to foster open, fair and non-discriminatory trade environment (Hindustan Times)

The industry ministers of Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa (BRICS) reiterated their commitment to foster an open, fair, and non-discriminatory trade environment to ensure greater participation in global value chains by promoting digital inclusion and encouraging the sustainable use of disruptive technologies for advancing growth. India, chairing the 5th meeting of BRICS industry ministers, expressed its desire to expand the horizon of the New Development Bank (NDB) in strengthening social infrastructure besides promoting the industrial sector. The ministers agreed to collaborate with the NDB. The multilateral financial institution became fully operational in 2016 with an aim to mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies. BRICS ministers recognised the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 pandemic particularly on the trade and industry, an official statement said. The virtual meeting was chaired by India’s minister of commerce and industry Piyush Goyal on Wednesday. It was attended by Chinese minister of industry Xiao Yaqing, South African trade minister Ebrahim Patel, Brazil’s deputy minister for economy Carlos Da Costa and Russian industry minister Denis Manturov.

Europe receiving 10M COVID-19 vaccine doses produced in South Africa (Devex)

Ten million COVID-19 vaccines partially produced in South Africa are being exported to Europe in August and September, according to an op-ed published in the Guardian by former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown. This comes as many African nations have waited for access to adequate numbers of doses all year, with high-income countries hoarding vaccines rather than working to immunize the most vulnerable portions of society around the world. Many African nations have gone through third and fourth waves of the coronavirus pandemic and seen their health systems overwhelmed, as less than 2% of the continent’s population has been fully vaccinated.

Achieving inclusive growth through skills development (The Star, Kenya)

With a combined population of 1.4 billion, it is arguable that Africa’s greatest asset and potential lies in its people. However, for the continent to harness this potential and translate the same into productivity and economic growth, investments ought to be targeted at education and skills development. It is through these investments that Africa’s human capital potential – the stock of economically productive human capabilities – will be unlocked.

Human capital encompasses knowledge, health, skills, entrepreneurial talent, determination and other human traits that lead to success in endeavours. It comprises a crucial component of sustainable economic growth, as it is through human capital that ideas are generated and thereafter translated into goods and services that create value.

Per the 2018 Human Capital Index spearheaded by the World Bank, it is unfortunate to note that the region has only attained 40% of its human capital potential. While this may be viewed as a dire picture in part, a positive aspect would be to note that vast potential is yet to be tapped into. This presents opportunities to African governments, policy makers, educators and investors that can not be overlooked.

This opportunity is even more pressing in the present day - a world ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic and a rising political class pushing against the globalisation movement toward more nationalistic policies and ideals.

Developing Country Blocs Issue Position Paper ahead of COP 26 (IISD)

A paper on the perspective of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) calls for stronger emissions cuts and financial compensation for the impacts they are expected to suffer from climate change. The paper was released in July 2021 ahead of the Glasgow Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 26). The paper published by Power Shift Africa is supported by developing country negotiating blocs, including the Africa Group, the Climate Vulnerable Forum, Least Developed Countries, and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). According to Climate Action Network International, the five-point plan contained in the paper “has been developed and endorsed by Government leaders representing countries and UN negotiating blocs which make up more than half the nations of the world.”

Titled ‘COP 26: Delivering the Paris Agreement: A five-point plan for solidarity, fairness and prosperity,’ the position paper calls COP 26 a moment of “both maximum need and maximum opportunity.” At this Conference, governments that signed the Paris Agreement in 2015 “are due to deliver on promises made.” The paper cites the needs of nations most acutely threatened by climate change, and says COP 26 cannot succeed without delivering for the most vulnerable.

The paper indicates five areas in which governments must deliver on their promises – and particularly the governments whose countries “became prosperous through the untrammeled burning of fossil fuels.”

IATA survey reports global air cargo demand to increase next year

Airline chief financial officers and cargo chiefs were positive on cargo demand for the rest of the current financial year and the next year, according to an International Air Transport Association (IATA) survey done last month. As many as 73 percent of respondents reported that cargo volumes were higher than last year in Q2 as the rising number of passenger flights eased the pressure on belly cargo capacity.


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