tralac Daily News
The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) has unpacked the R3.75 billion Economic Rebuilding Package for the restoration of businesses adversely affected by the violent looting and unrest that took place in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng recently. “Government has set aside funds to ensure that businesses are able to rebuild as quick as possible… It will be distributed through the department, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the National Empowerment Fund (NEF),” the department’s Deputy Director-General (DDG) Susan Mangole said on Friday. Addressing a webinar on the economic recovery support interventions, Mangole said the Economic Rebuilding Package is part of the broader R38 billion relief package that was announced by the Minister of Finance.
South Africa’s economic growth prospects waned for the first time this year after deadly riots and a cyber attack on the nation’s ports operator weighed on activity. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg predict gross domestic product will expand 4.2% in 2021, compared with a previous estimate of 4.5%. While that matches the central bank’s forecast, Governor Lesetja Kganyago has warned that the economic damage caused by last month’s unrest could “fully negate” the better-than-expected first-quarter expansion and have a lasting impact on investor confidence and job creation.
The Department of Tourism and South African Tourism will host Afrca’s first ever Travel and Tourism Summit. The hybrid summit, which coincides with Tourism Month in South Africa, is set to take place from 19 to 21 September 2021. The summit aims to be a catalyst for engagement on the current state of tourism on the African continent.
Acting SA Tourism CEO, Sthembiso Dlamini said that some of the major topics to be discussed at the summit include aviation, innovation, technology, the health and safety protocols currently in place, as well as the continent’s positioning post the COVID-19 pandemic. “The African continent is resilient and this summit is important, as it will contribute towards picking up the momentum within the sector, as it works towards an inclusive recovery.
“The COVID-19 pandemic may have dealt both business and leisure tourism a heavy blow, but we are now in the recovery phase, and a summit of this nature is critical in ensuring that we are aligned as a continent, whilst reigniting the tourism industry,” Dlamini said.
Of Senegal’s overall exports over the first half of 2021, 38.21% went to African countries. This share is, according to official data, less than the 44.2% achieved in H1 2020. However, compared to an average of 16% on the continent, the African Development Bank believes that Macky Sall’s country is a model in terms of intra-African trade. Senegal sells most of its products on the West African Economic Monetary Union. Mali came first with 17% of Senegalese exports over the period reviewed, ahead of Switzerland (13.8%) and China (11.3%). The seller cashed out CFA533.2 billion from sales on the continent, including CFA486.4 billion in WAEMU alone. When analyzed in an African context, this strategy aligns with the desire to build a common market. But Senegal loses a lot on a macroeconomic level. The large volume of trade with the WAEMU has little impact on its forex buffers, as transactions are in local currency. At the same time, its economic players who operate on international markets have to settle bills in U.S. dollars. Asia and Europe account for 79.5% of the country’s imports.
Another challenge lies in the fact that in its trade with partners outside WAEMU and CEMAC, Senegal has lost CFA1,337 billion (in foreign currency). This gap was not closed by the CFA310.3 billion trade surplus with partners in the CFA zone. Commodities such as oil and gold generate export revenues, but not enough to boost exports and meet external purchasing needs.
Kigali hails Dar Port’s contribution to its economy (Tanzania dailynews)
RWANDA has hailed the contribution of the Port of Dar es Salaam to its growing economy. The land linked East African nation has over the years seen more than 80 per cent of its exports and imports passing through the seaport which handles over 90 per cent of Tanzania’s cargo traffic.
Rwanda’s Ambassador to Tanzania, Major General Charles Karamba said Rwanda continues to depend on the seaport for its imports and exports. “It is a very important point for Rwanda and I’ve been routinely meeting senior port officials with a view of scaling up the use of the port,” asserted the envoy after he paid the East African Business Council (EABC) a courtesy call.
Inspired by discussions at the International Trade Centre’s SheTrades Global event in Liverpool in 2018, Naffie Barry and Beatrice Mboge from the Gambia began brainstorming about creating a dedicated chamber of commerce for women. While many national organizations exist to champion women’s empowerment, none were dedicated to creating a network to guide women on their business journey, which is the mission of the now established Gambia Women’s Chamber of Commerce.
“We are proud that our women are so motivated. People do not ask us anymore what the benefits of the Chamber are. People are calling us and wanting to join,” says Beatrice Mboge, CEO of the Gambia Women’s Chamber of Commerce.
Intra-Africa Trade Fair sees offers to help boost Ghana, SA’s trade (Eyewitness News)
The Intra-Africa Trade Fair in Accra, Ghana, has seen a number of offers in line with the Inter-Continental Free Trade Agreement to boost trade with countries including South Africa. Ghanian officials have on Thursday told the fair that the deal can be used to boost certain industries including infrastructure. President Cyril Ramaphosa recently highlighted infrastructure as one of the main pillars of future job creation in the country. William Obeng, the general manager for corporate banking at the Ghana Export Import Bank said: “In getting our share of the export trade throughout the world and in doing this, we are mainly supporting around 120 companies to build infrastructure.” The trade show moves to Durban in November.
ACFTA: Singapore looks to invest more in Africa’s manufacturing (The New Times)
With the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACTFA) coming into force, Singaporean companies hope to invest more in Africa’s manufacturing industry, according to Linn Neo, the Regional Director – East Africa Enterprise Singapore. Neo made the remarks during a press briefing that her office organised ahead of the biennial Africa Singapore Business Forum (ASBF), a platform for business exchange and fostering trade between Africa and Asia scheduled for August 23 to 24. “We do see a lot of potential. I think with the Africa continental free trade agreement coming into force,” she said.
“This presents an entire continent to Singaporean manufacturers. We are not new to doing manufacturing from the ground. We do have a number of investors who have been doing manufacturing in Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, and we think that with the ACFTA coming into force, this will assist our
COMESA, with financial support from the European Union has been implementing the Small-Scale Cross Border Trade Initiative (SSCBTI) which aims at increasing small scale cross-border trade flows in the COMESA Tripartite region. This is being done by facilitating small-scale cross border trade between targeted countries through effective policy and governance reforms, institutional capacity building, improved border infrastructure and better gender disaggregated data collection and monitoring.
“The goal is to remove gender-related constraints that women face in participating in trade and understand the obstacles to cross border commerce that happens within the region,” according to a report by the COMESA Statistics Unit that coordinated the data collection.
Leaders of the Southern African Development Community have approved the much-awaited SADC Regional Parliament, bringing on board what has long been seen as the missing piece in the regional integration jigsaw puzzle.
“Summit approved the transformation of the SADC Parliamentary Forum into a SADC Parliament as a consultative and a deliberative body,” said outgoing SADC Executive Secretary, Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, delivering the final communiqué at the closing session of the two-day 41st SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Lilongwe, Malawi on 17-18 August 2021.
That means that this is something to be done within the current financial year – that is, 2021/2022 – in a situation where no such indication or inkling of preparations to that effect was evident in the government budget a couple of months ago. Such a move would also have elicited a detailed statement of monetary policy movement and even a presidential address to the National Assembly. This is what happened in 2014 at the time of forming the ‘coalition of the willing’.
It is undeniable that there has been a sea change in attitudes concerning major bloc-level projects like the common market, the free movement of goods, people and capital, as well as auxiliary ones like the envisaged common currency and – ultimately – the political federation.
Most of these are however still in the drawing stages or the key issues are being ironed out, and it was a bit surprising to hear EAC Secretary General Dr Peter Mathuki making the declaration as to start using an EAC single currency this soon.
Titled ‘Protecting East Africa’s Natural Capital: The Cost of Inaction,’ the new report indicates that the Great East African Plains, the Northern Savannas, the Albertine Rift Forests, and the Ruweru-Mugesera-Akagera Wetlands, together contribute over US $10.9 billion annually to East African Community economies and $608 billion to the global economy.
The term natural capital means stocks of natural assets which include its geology, soil, air, water and all living things., says the study, commissioned by the EAC in partnership with the USAID-funded Economics of Natural Capital in East Africa (NatCap) program. It shows that these ecosystems contribute US $5.92 billion, US $1.1 billion and US $2.6 billion to climate regulating capacities, carbon storage and harvestable resources in the region, respectively.
Rich countries want to strike trade deals in Africa (The Economist)
“WE is Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said before trade negotiations with the United States began last year. The agreement will sign Kenya’s second free trade agreement with the United States in Africa after Morocco. Trump administration officials called the proposed transaction a “model” of future transactions. However, such bilateral talks are incompatible with promoting regional integration in Africa and President Joe Biden’s emphasis on multilateralism. Negotiations are currently pending while the United States is thinking about what to do next.
Since 2000, American policy has been the African Growth and Opportunity Law (AGOA), Allows tax-exempt access to thousands of products exported from about 40 countries. African countries have no control over eligibility standards because this is a law passed by Parliament and not a treaty negotiated between governments. It creates friction. For example, Rwanda was partially suspended in 2018 as a ban on second-hand clothing imports aimed at promoting local production frustrated American companies exporting them.
Now African countries have to wait worried about whether parliament will be extended AGOA It has exceeded the current expiration date of 2025. Uncertainty makes businesses “unpredictable” and Ugandan technicians sigh. Kenya’s promotion of a full-scale trade agreement with the United States is an attempt to take the lead.It also takes advantage of promises AGOA As such, it was always envisioned as a stepping stone to the negotiated agreement. But there is a problem. Kenya is part of the East African Community, a customs union on paper. If Kenya lowers barriers to American products, the other five countries in the block will need to either leak their products to their markets or tighten border checks to keep them out. Negotiating with countries as a group rather than individually would not be a more disruptive way to move forward.
Whoever is at the table, many American companies are now AGOA-Towards a mutual agreement, like a trade concession. They don’t want to “lose” while other countries trade, says Whitney Schneidman, former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.
How Dubai firms are focusing in on West Africa with $387m trade (Arabian Business
Dubai Chamber member companies’ exports and re-exports to West Africa surged 42 percent in first five months of 2021 to reach a record $387 million, fuelled by a recovery in trade activity. According to analysis by Dubai Chamber as it prepares to host the 6th Global Business Forum Africa in Dubai in October, 3,201 Certificates of Origin for West Africa-bound shipments were issued between January and May, marking a year-on-year increase of 20 percent
The latest estimates by the International Trade Centre (ITC), indicate that there is potential for UAE traders to double their exports and re-exports to the Western Africa markets, currently valued at $2.1 billion.
What does the IPCC climate change report mean for trade? (World Economic Forum)
The recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that temperatures are very likely to reach or exceed 1.5°C of warming versus pre-industrial levels, by 2050. But what could this mean for global trade, trade finance and supply chains? Aside from sending a pretty strong warning to G7 ministers as they prepare for both Glasgow’s COP26 gathering in just three months and then the World Trade Organization’s twelfth ministerial conference (MC12), we will likely see many commitments for policymakers step-change how the world deals with climate change and cross-border trade.
Trade and climate change discussions have long been siloed by policymakers. Yet it is clear that trade impacts the climate, and vice versa, and the links between the two remain relatively unexplored. International trade did not receive much coverage in this recent IPCC assessment by Working Group I, appearing in limited ways, often in relation to keywords such as ‘infrastructure’ or ‘transport’. This is a notable absence, given that trade-induced economic growth due to trade liberalization increases carbon dioxide emissions, the main contributor to greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change. Here are 4 areas that we could see being explored more intensely over the coming months, which supports initiatives to limit global warming to 1.5°C and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.
US moves to secure critical minerals for EV supply chain (Engineering News)
Various oil majors continue to produce huge volumes of oil and natural gas, owing to fossil fuels still being used to meet the bulk of the world’s energy requirements. Although energy demand is expected to continue to increase, the share of fossil fuels in the global energy mix is set to decline. This shift is particularly profound when considering the current technological revolution in the transportation industry. Increasing concern over the environmental degradation caused by excessive fossil fuel extraction and burning has led to the development of alternative technologies, disrupting the monopoly once held by petroleum-powered vehicles.
The global initiative to save the planet’s biodiversity on land and water must not be allowed to threaten the world’s most vulnerable people, a top human rights expert said on Thursday. Under a UN-backed global biodiversity framework draft agreement, countries have agreed to protect 30 per cent of the planet and restore at least 20 per cent by 2030.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Africa has described richer countries hoarding COVID-19 jabs as “making a mockery of vaccine equity”. The health body was highlighting efforts made to roll out coronavirus shots on the continent during its weekly press briefing on Thursday. Regional director, Doctor Matshidiso Moeti, said that through WHO’s COVAX facility, almost 10 million vaccine doses have so far been delivered to the continent during the month of August.
“The move by some countries, globally, to introduce booster shots threatens the promise of a brighter tomorrow for Africa. As some richer countries hoard vaccines, they make a mockery of vaccine equity.”