tralac Daily News
The South African Revenue Service (SARS) is piloting a new Number Plate Recognition (NPR) system, which aims to speed up trade across the country’s land borders significantly.
The new system will eliminate the need for manifests and CN2 gate pass documents to be presented at the border for arrival and exit control measures, the revenue authority said. “The NPR solution is an initiative under the customs modernisation programme and is informed by the SARS strategic objectives of making it easy for taxpayers and traders to comply with their obligations, as well as to detect taxpayers and traders who do not comply, and to make non-compliance hard and costly,” it said. SARS said that the system also aligns with international standards and the World Customs Organisation (WCO) ‘smart borders’ concept that requires customs administrations to utilise automation, technology, and risk management to facilitate and secure cross-border trade and improve customs processes, services and overall performance.
Kenya cereal producers see red over Dar imports (The East African)
Tanzanian exports to Kenya, which include maize, have exceeded imports for the first time in decades and now cereal producers in Kenya are worried that these imports could spell doom for food production in the long run. “This country should not import what it can produce locally. Because we must not forget that for every metric tonne of grain or some other produce we import, we have in essence exported a few jobs,” said Anthony Kioko, the chief executive of the Cereals Growers Association (CGA). The association is now calling for a review of bilateral and EAC protocols on food commodities.
Kenya strengthens partnership with U.S. Trade and Development Agency (Today News Africa)
The government of Kenya has strengthened its partnership with the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, as the East African nation recovers from the global impact from the coronavirus economic turmoil.
Launched in 2013, USTDA’s Global Procurement Initiative: Understanding Best Value is dedicated to assisting public officials in emerging economies to better understand the total cost of ownership of goods and services for infrastructure projects. The Initiative now includes 14 partner countries. Last week, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency welcomed Kenya as its 14th partner under the Global Procurement Initiative (GPI): Understanding Best Value.
“USTDA has a long history of engagement with Kenya. Our GPI partnership builds on this foundation to support the country’s efforts to ensure fair, transparent procurements and increased international competition for its public tenders,” said Enoh T. Ebong, USTDA’s Acting Director. “This will lead to higher-quality and more resilient infrastructure for the people of Kenya. We are excited about the positive transformations that the GPI will facilitate.”
Under the partnership, USTDA will lead trainings in the United States, Kenya and virtually on international best practices and the integration of best value methodologies in public procurement.
Cotton production rises 16 percent (Business Daily)
“Yield per acre increased due to use of superior seed provided to the farmers by the government during the period under review as farm input support,” AFA said. Kenya’s cotton production increased 16 percent last year on better quality seed, a new report showed. Data by the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) shows that cotton production increased from 3,015 tonnes in 2019 to 3,495 tonnes last year despite a 45 percent drop in the area under crop.
Tea price hits highest this year on reserve price, rising demand (Business Daily)
The price of tea at the Mombasa auction has this week climbed to the highest level seen this year on the back of good demand and a government backed reserve price. The average price of a kilogramme of the beverage rose past the key two-dollar mark to hit $2.04 (220) from $1.97 (Sh212) in last week’s trading, maintaining a seven week of rally at the auction. “There was better absorption and much-improved demand for the 129,475 packages (8.41 million kilogrammes) available for sale with 87,895 packages (5.68 million kilogrammes) being sold,” said the East African Tea Traders Association (Eatta). The higher price was also helped by declining volumes of the beverage at the auction, which recorded 132,495 fewer kilos compared with the previous sale. The lower volumes have seen the auction cut the trading days to two from three.
Dar ports bring more fortune (Dailynews)
TANZANIA’s ports have attracted more revenues in the past six months, garnering 531.1bn/- between February and July, this year up from 525.4bn/- earned during corresponding period last year. The increased revenues came in the wake of improved infrastructures and performance which enhanced cargo handling capacity. Statistics indicate that the cargo handled at the country’s ports increased from 7.83 million tonnes between February and July last year to 8.87 million tonnes in corresponding period this year, despite the Covid-19 pandemic that disrupted business globally.
The Chief Government Spokesperson, Mr Gerson Msigwa, revealed this over the weekend during a press briefing held in Dodoma, noting that the surge was driven by an increasing number of ships docking at the ports from 1,388 to 2,206 ships. “We cannot underestimate the increase in revenue taking into account that some countries are experiencing a significant drop due to the effects of Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
THE huge import bill decline has enabled the country to save US$38,1 million, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s (RBZ) has said in its latest economic review report. The document, which covers the period ended April 30 2021, says the import bill was relatively lower when compared to the previous month. “Merchandise imports eased by 7,2%, from US$528 million in March 2021 to US$489,9 million in April 2021. The decline in imports in April 2021 was largely driven by slowdowns in imports of maize, crude soya bean oil and electricity. Maize imports slumped largely on account of the current year’s bumper harvest estimated at 2.7 million metric tonnes,” the bank said, adding the general improvement in hydroelectricity generation, following rising dam levels, accounted for the fall in the country’s energy import bill.
Zim Farmers Urged To Tap Into US$1,7 Million Bambara Nuts Export Market (New Zimbabwe.com)
TRADE promotion agency, Zimtrade has urged local farmers to tap into the US$1,7 million Bambara nuts (nyimo/indlubu) export market covering countries like the USA, UK and the Netherlands among others. In a recent update, the agency said the global import bill of the product was just US$1.7 million in 2020, up from US$1.23 million in 2019. “What this figure shows is that countries that are quick to increase exports right now will likely command the largest share when the market grows bigger. “Although Zimbabwe’s exports of the product are still low, the current market share indicates potential for the country to command a much bigger market,” said Zimtrade.
Currently, the major importing countries for the product are Saudi Arabia, South Africa, USA, Chile, Uganda, UK, and Netherlands. Local farmers intending to export Bambara beans to Europe are encouraged to adhere to the strict rules and obligations on food safety.
Trade Ministry Seeks Amendment to PIA, Eyes N1bn Revenue (THISDAYLIVE)
There are indications that the the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has put machinery in motion to push for the amendment of the newly passed Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to address certain conflict with the mandate of the Weights and Measures Department particularly in the area of pre-shipment inspection activities at the crude oil terminals.
Director, Weights and Measures Department, Mr. Hassan Ejibunu said that the federal government had issued a marching order to the department to improve on it revenue generation efforts to achieve the over N1 billion target before the end of the year. He said as at July, the department had generated over N357 million to the federal government, working with limited tools
Stanbic IBTC Tasks Investors To Maximise AfCFTA Opportunities (Leadership Nigeria)
Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, has urged Nigerian investors and business owners to harness and maximise the business opportunities that are inherent in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. According to the bank, this will boost intra-Africa trade beyond the current level of 17 per cent as well as promote industrialisation and the economic growth of the continent. The chief executive, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Wole Adeniyi, made the call at the African Continental Free Trade Area webinar organised by Stanbic IBTC themed: ‘AfCFTA State of Play: Understanding Potential and Maximising Opportunities for the Customer’. Adeniyi stated that multiple studies have shown that the increase in trade has a direct impact on reducing unemployment and poverty in societies, noting that the AfCFTA agreement presents numerous trade opportunities that are both exciting and promising not just for the continent but specifically for the Nigerian market.
Congo reviews $6b mining deal with Chinese investors: minister (The East African)
Democratic Republic of Congo’s government is reviewing its $6 billion “infrastructure-for-minerals” deal with Chinese investors as part of a broader examination of mining contracts, Finance Minister Nicolas Kazadi told Reuters. President Felix Tshisekedi said in May that some mining contracts could be reviewed because of concerns they are not sufficiently benefiting Congo, which is the world’s largest producer of cobalt and Africa’s leading miner of copper. His government announced this month it had formed a commission to reassess the reserves and resources at China Molybdenum’s massive Tenke Fungurume copper and cobalt mine in order to “fairly lay claim to (its) rights”.
Africa can become a maritime hub for global trade (Africa Renewal)
It’s difficult to gain a breakdown of the data at this stage, but I think the conversation about what free trade means is vital. It is important to explain the various non-tariff barriers that are in place currently and try to persuade nations that removing some of those barriers will be economically advantageous.
What does efficient shipping look like for Africa? It’s having ships being able to trade freely in the ports; it’s having services that facilitate the import and export of goods without too many administrative barriers. The entire supply chain becomes more efficient when you’re not stopping things from being loaded onto ships or being discharged from the ships. It’s about proportionate regulation. How do you see the future of trade in Africa? Africa has a huge global potential. The continent has an increasingly well-educated workforce. It can take advantage of all these opportunities and become a maritime hub for the world. I genuinely believe that Africa is strategically well placed to do just that.
The wind of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) is currently blowing across the globe with major Central Banks in the process of developing systems that will support digital money. China is testing a digital renminbi version, whereby customers can transact payments over their mobile phones. Europe announced the launch of a digital Euro as part of their five-year plan. The USA Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) is planning to release a discussion paper regarding digital payment system. Africa is not left behind as two very significant countries within the African Continental Free Trade Area (“AfCFTA”) have been in the news recently in their race to launch the first CBDC on the continent. Nigeria, the continent’s biggest economy, through the Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, announced on July 27, 2021, the launch of the pilot phase of the Nigerian CBDC (e-Naira) in October this year (less than two months from now).
There are other African countries in the race, but Nigeria and Ghana appear to be leading in this regard. Beyond the less important issue of who becomes the first to launch a State-backed digital currency on the continent, there are questions around what benefits the digital currency would add to the African economy.
Experts demand digital solutions “designed by Africa, for Africa” to drive AfCFTA (The Business & Financial Times)
For the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to see true prosperity, there is a need for stakeholders on the continent to devise digital solutions “designed by Africa and used by Africa”.
This was the principal takeaway from the array of experts who shared thoughts at the maiden edition of the Africa Digital Conference, which had as its theme ‘The Digital Challenge: Africa’s Opportunity Under AfCFTA’.
Multiple charges, poor government policies, others pose setback to AfCFTA (The Guardian Nigeria)
To facilitate the much-anticipated progressive continental trade, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will need to scale several hurdles.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in a new report titled: “Implications of the African Continental Free Trade Area for Trade and Biodiversity: Policy and Regulatory Recommendations,” stated that the new regime is facing some critical challenges, which need to be eliminated urgently. It noted that unharmonised or burdensome non-tariff measures (NTMs) can dramatically restrict market entry, limiting the ability of countries to reap economic, social and environmental gains from trade in sustainably produced biodiversity-based goods and services.
UNCTAD therefore stressed the need for an identification exercise on key NTMs affecting biodiversity-based products and services, and BioTrade in particular so that these may be addressed by novel mechanisms within the framework of the AfCFTA Agreement.
AfCFTA: FG Targets to Control 10% of Africa’s Imports (THISDAY Newspapers)
The federal government has stated that the strategic objectives of Nigeria’s participation in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is to capture 10 per cent of Africa’s imports as well as to double the country’s export revenue by 2035. In addition, the government said it aims to become “the preferred supplier of value-added products and services to Africa.” These were disclosed by the Secretary of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA, Mr. Francis Anatogu, during a seminar organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) with the theme: “AfCFTA: The Roadmap for Exporters Successful Participation.” He said the strategic objective would be achieved by growing export capacity of every state in the country to $1.2 billion as well as by focusing on specific product/service chains.
Equatorial Guinea is well on its way to become a regional natural gas producer and exporter, having recently delivered the country’s first shipment of methanol to neighboring Gabon. Carried by the Jipro Isis Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) carrier, the 2,000MT methanol shipment arrived at the new international port of Owendo in Gabon from Equatorial Guinea’s state of the art Punta-Europa petrochemical complex.
The shipment marks an important step in the move to create a viable regional natural gas trade network, whereby reserves can be effectively monetized – through the conversion into LNG, power and petrochemicals – and used to drive regional economic growth and industrialization. Enabled by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), implemented in January 2021, the methanol delivery is expected to spark a significant increase in regional petrochemical and LNG trade. Accordingly, as Africa’s premier energy event, African Energy Week (AEW) 2021 in Cape Town will not only promote the value of regional trade and cooperation in driving energy sector growth, but will both emphasize and showcase post-AfCFTA opportunities.
East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 30th August, 2021: The East African Community (EAC) Secretary General, Hon. Dr. Peter Mathuki, is urging EAC Partner States’ governments to invest in industrial parks and infrastructure to improve the competitiveness of the region and increase Intra-EAC trade.
Speaking during the opening session of the East Africa Trade and Industrialization Week (EATIW 2021), held at the Julius Nyerere Convention Centre, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Dr. Mathuki urged EAC Partner States’ governments to enhance industrial productivity and strengthen institutional frameworks and policies to accelerate economic growth in the region. “Currently, manufacturing contributes to GDP a meagre 8.9%. To achieve the set target of 25% in 2032, there is a need for diversification of the manufacturing base and raising local value-added content resource-based exports,” he said. The Secretary General called for promotion of rural industrialization through an agricultural development led industrialization strategy and strengthening of research, technology and innovation capabilities of all EAC Partner States, to foster structural transformation of the manufacturing sector and industrial upgrading. As a strategy towards economic recovery amid Covid-19 in the region, Dr. Mathuki called upon EAC Partner States Governments to offer long-term stimulus packages for private sector development and sector-specific incentives for the established regional value chains such as cotton, textile and apparel, leather livestock and Agro-processing.
“Instead of competing, EAC Partner States need to complement each other. Harnessing our comparative advantage by collectively improving infrastructure connectivity will fast-track regional development,” Dr. Mathuki added.
EAC CS on Ease of Doing Business and attracting investors (Capital FM Kenya)
Globally, the growth of investments and private capital has been critical to stimulating economic growth and job creation. The Ministry of EAC and Regional Development notes that many governments have prioritized boosting their standing incredible international investment reports to help attract investments. One such important tool is the World Bank’s Global Ease of Doing Business report, which measures the competitiveness of 190 global economies according to set parameters. Given its robust methodology, wide acceptance, and practical approach to addressing the business climate issues facing small and medium businesses (SMEs), investors refer to this report to guide investment decisions. In 2014, Kenya was at the bottom quarter globally as an investment destination, primarily because of its difficult business environment: Kenya was ranked 136th on the ease of doing business, while foreign direct investment (FDI) for some of our neighboring countries was triple that of Kenya then at US$ 300 million.
The Ministry notes that investors complained of a lack of clear information on investment procedures, even from key government agencies. To address the situation, the Government of Kenya under the Leadership of President Uhuru Kenyatta set an ambitious target to be among the top 50 countries globally by 2022.
Kenya has since risen 80 places, ranking 56th globally in 2019, and achieved several important milestones through ten reforms areas to date – including starting a business; dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit; protecting investors; paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency and procurement, with remarkable benefits that have accrued to the private sector, especially to small and medium businesses, and to the Government through realizing new efficiencies. The CS for Ministry of EAC and Regional Development Adan Mohamed, who has been in charge of the reforms since 2014, is keen to articulate how the legal and regulatory reforms have impacted the registration, growth, and sustainability of small businesses and Foreign Domestic Investment (FDI) in Kenya, under President Uhuru Kenyatta’s tenure.
Participants of a G20 Compact with Africa meeting this week assessed Africa’s progress in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. “We are meeting at a pivotal time in the relationship between Africa and the rest of the world,” said Italian prime minister Mario Draghi. The Compact with Africa is a G20 initiative that promotes macroeconomic, business and financing reforms to attract more private investment in Africa, including in infrastructure. The conference brought together heads of state of the 12 Compact members and institutional partners, including the African Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It involved strategy discussions around attracting higher inflows of foreign direct investment to Africa and the urgent imperative to develop vaccine manufacture capability on the African continent. Securing the continent’s recovery from the impacts of Covid-19 is one of the Compact’s near-term objectives.
President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa emphasized that “Africa will not be able to recover until Africans are vaccinated.” President Emmanuel Macron said France had committed to providing $10 million vaccine doses for Africa. African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said the African Development Bank had committed to investing $5 billion to support vaccine manufacturing across Africa, while World Bank President David Malpass highlighted vaccine financing programs set up in 54 countries, noting that more than half of these are in Africa.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday talked with leaders of 12 African nations that are part of the Compact with Africa initiative, some of whom tuned in virtually to the Berlin summit. At the meeting, Merkel promoted economic cooperation with Africa and stressed the importance of containing the spread of COVID on the continent. She appealed for more German investment in Africa, particularly in the renewable energy sector. “Africa has so much market potential, but we need to make better use of it,” Merkel said at the conference. Expansion of renewable energy investment “is of enormous importance for us to achieve our global climate goals,” the German chancellor added.
Stakeholders involved in the migration sector have met today to share their perspectives on a cohesive implementation of the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular Migration (GCM) in Africa. The purpose of the meeting was to review the GCM’s implementation, discuss pressing challenges, share good practices and make recommendations to the first Africa Regional Review of the Global Compact for Migration taking place on 31 August and 1 September.
In her opening remarks, Ms. Thokozile Ruzvidzo, Director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) Gender, Poverty and Social Policy Division, said: “The GCM offers us opportunities to boost migration benefits for migrants as well as for origin, transit and destination societies. While its adoption is a milestone, the GCM’s implementation remains key.” She added: “This meeting allows us to reflect on the status of the GCM’s implementation by African member States since its adoption in 2018 from stakeholders’ perspectives. I urge all of you to continue your active engagement in ensuring the GCM’s vision of safe, orderly and regular migration is achieved in Africa.”
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministers responsible for Gender and Women’s Affairs convened a virtual meeting to review progress made in the implementation of the SADC Gender Programme on 26th August 2021.
Honourable Dr Patricia Annie Kaliati, Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare of Malawi, delivered the official remarks and highlighted that it is important to realise that the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) does not only identify gender as an important cross cutting issue but also recognises gender equality and women’s empowerment as important enablers of regional integration.
The Ministers approved the Draft Regional Guidelines on Developing and Implementing National Gender Action Plans and their recommendations and encouraged the use of these Guidelines by Member States to strengthen development, implementation, monitoring, and coordination of national gender policies, strategies and action plans, including allocation of the necessary resources. They urged the SADC Secretariat to expedite the processes of implementation of the SADC-GIZ Project on Industrialisation and Women’s Economic Empowerment (IWEE) and disseminate information to Member States about the Project to guide the participation of relevant sectors from Member States in this Project and also urged Member States to fully participate in the implementation of this Project upon engagement by the SADC Secretariat and other project stakeholders.
The growing world population and changing climatic patterns have resulted in a major boost towards increased agricultural production across countries. The fast-changing diets of developing countries have also changed the structure of the global agricultural systems and this has seen an increase in agricultural production in most parts of the world. In fact, the need to be food sufficient has become a key strategy for growth in most third world countries, especially in Africa where economies that had not previously relied on agriculture are increasing investments into the sector.
In southern Africa for example, countries such as Botswana and Angola have introduced some measures to diversify their economies from dependency on the volatile mining sector to developing the agriculture sector, which is considered to be more sustainable.
From all these developments in countries in the region, there is a realisation that appropriate and affordable agricultural inputs and implements made available to farmers will go a long way in increasing output in a short period of time.
As the world’s food production system has become more interdependent, trade in agricultural inputs and implements has grown tremendously. The expansion of the global food market has resulted in a reshuffling of resources over the entire globe, providing food and export opportunities where they may have been previously limited, unavailable, or untenable.
Trade expansion in agricultural commodities and food products has been accompanied by significant increases in demand for agricultural inputs, such as fertilisers, pesticides, farm machinery, feedstuffs, and genetic material.
Why is used clothing popular across Africa? (IPPmedia)
Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda could all ban second-hand clothes and leather, among the countries which make up the East Africa Community (EAC). The EAC directed member countries to buy their textiles and shoes from within the region with a view to phasing out imports. In 2019 the EAC also proposed a reduction in imports of used cars. The EAC suggested phasing out imports. However, that it depends on the heads of state all agreeing to a common industrialisation policy. The proposal suggests a ban would only come in after an increase in local textile production. The idea is to give a boost to local manufacturing, and help the economy. One argument is that the imported clothes are so cheap that the local textiles factories and self-employed tailors can’t compete, so they either close down or don’t do as well as they could. A release from a previous EAC manufacturing and business summit says the leather and textile industries are “crucial for employment creation, poverty reduction and advancement in technological capability” in the region.
Across the African continent second-hand clothes from developed countries are a mainstay of many informal traders, dominating local market stalls. East African Community (EAC) proposed ban aims is to encourage local production and development within member countries: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda alone imported $151m of second-hand clothing in 2018, most of which was collected by charities and recyclers in Europe and North America. In the 1970s, East Africa’s clothing manufacturing sector employed hundreds of thousands of people, but when the debt crisis hit local economies in the 1980s and 1990s, local manufacturing struggled to compete with international competition and factories were forced to close. Today, the small sector remaining is geared towards production for exports.
Windfall for African SMEs (The Southern Times)
During the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) consultation on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area in Dakar, Senegal last week, the European Union pledged 74 million euros to support the businesses. The pledge was announced by the Secretary-General of the All-Africa Association for Small and Medium Enterprises (AAASME), Mr Ebiekure Eradiri. “I hope this information can help ignite your commitment towards ensuring that the AfCFTA does not fail,” said Mr Eradiri. “Let us build Africa, grow Africa, and buy Africa.” According to the World Bank, SMEs play a major role in the economies of developing countries. SMEs account for the majority of businesses worldwide and are important contributors to job creation and global economic development, representing about 90 percent of businesses and more than 50 percent of employment. Formal SMEs contribute up to 40 percent of national income in emerging economies. These numbers are significantly higher when informal SMEs are included.
The goal of the Dakar forum was to give an insight into the challenges AfCFTA poses to MSMEs, find solutions to them, and encourage them to build networks across the continent.
“MSMEs employ the most people, occupy the biggest position in making contribution to countries’ gross domestic product, and are a force for social, economic, and political stability. The AfCFTA is one big opportunity for SME growth. The AfCFTA which commenced operation on 1 January is set to create the biggest free trade area in the world with a market of more than 1.2 billion people and a gross domestic product (GDP) of more than US$2.5 trillion,” said Mr Eradiri.
Investment dealings help reinforce ties (Chinadaily)
Chinese private companies are becoming a driving force in promoting industrialization and economic growth in Africa, with the level of China’s investment in the continent rising steadily in recent decades, a report says. “Market Power and Role of the Private Sector: Report on Chinese Investment in Africa”, published by the China-Africa Business Council on Thursday, said Chinese private companies have advanced industrialization, developed infrastructure, promoted employment and improved people’s lives in Africa with growing investment in the continent over recent decades. The report comes as China and Africa prepare for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, or FOCAC, in Senegal later this year. Since 2000, when the first FOCAC meeting was held, China’s direct investment in Africa has risen more than 25 percent a year, the report said.
Financed by TradeMark East Africa and implemented by Tanzania Women Traders’ Association, the project has so far witnessed more than 200 women entrepreneurs given knowledge and skills to produce quality products. TradeMark East Africa’s Country Director for Tanzania, Monica Hangi said in Dar es Salaam on Friday during TWCC’s exhibition which was also meant to congratulate women entrepreneurs who took part in the 45th Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair, at which TWCC won an award that their products are not competing in the market.
She said TradeMark East Africa’s project had the goal of helping Tanzanian women traders to do business not only locally, but cross borders by securing permanent reliable markets. “Sometimes you can find a market but you no longer have enough products to continue producing but for most their production is sustainable,” she added.
Singapore doubles Africa-focused investments (The Southern Times)
The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on FDI into Africa as flows to the continent declined by 16 percent in 2020 to US$40 billion from US$47 billion in 2019. Cascading economic and health challenges due to the pandemic combined with low prices of energy commodities weighed heavily on foreign investment to the continent, according to UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2021. However, last week’s Africa Singapore Business Forum revealed a positive side of investment activity. According to Enterprise Singapore (ESG), over the last five years the number of projects by Singapore companies in Africa doubled. Many of these projects were in the information communication media (ICM), urban infrastructure and food sectors. In 2020, despite the pandemic, Enterprise Singapore facilitated 20 percent more projects by Singapore companies in Africa compared to 2019.
The lingering economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting sub-Saharan Africa’s traditional financial inflows, revealing the heightened need to strengthen domestic resource mobilization and improve tax administration in the region. This unprecedented shock to the world economy has revealed the volatility of financial inflows that African nations are dependent on: Indeed, foreign direct investment (FDI)—an increasingly important source of development financing traditionally rooted in oil, gas, and infrastructure projects—has declined approximately 12 percent and 25 percent in sub-Saharan and North Africa, respectively, between 2019 and 2020. Remittance inflows, which millions of African households rely on to support their families, declined by 12.5 percent throughout sub-Saharan Africa over the same period. In addition, discontent with globalization, inconsistent political environments, and competing humanitarian issues are transforming official development assistance (ODA) into an increasingly uncertain source of development financing.
The G20's COVID Agenda by Jeffrey Frankel (Project Syndicate)
Finance ministers, central bank governors, and political leaders are hard at work preparing for the 2021 G20 Heads of State and Government Summit in Rome on October 30-31. With the COVID-19 pandemic stretching well into its second year, the meeting will come at a time of heightened uncertainty about public health and the global economy. And though the mechanisms of international cooperation have been weakened by the pandemic and remain bruised by former US President Donald Trump’s legacy, they are more important than ever. “Cooperation” need not refer to international coordination of national monetary or fiscal policies. For the most part, countries on their own can move those levers in whatever direction is best for them. Instead, the G20 should focus on financial stability, trade, and vaccination. This is in addition to other important areas, especially the existential issue of global climate change, which should and will receive a lot of attention.
the G20 can help to reduce the likelihood and severity of a potential emerging-market debt crisis. The Debt Service Suspension Initiative that it created during the pandemic was a good first step, but it only postponed repayment, and only one class of international creditors: governments. It is widely recognized that provisions for possible debt restructuring should be extended to cases where the international creditors are private financial institutions (or where Chinese state-backed lenders are claiming to be private). A second positive step is the new allocation of Special Drawing Rights agreed to by International Monetary Fund members this month.
The frequent complaints raised by importers because of the delays they are experiencing in obtaining a license for goods trying to enter the country do not respond only to the delicate balance that the government is trying to achieve in the balance of exchange and the availability of dollars, in the elections. general. There is also a correlation in the high cost of importing, which exposes local industries to out of competition, with no chance of including themselves in global value chains. On a global scale, a recent technical report showed that Argentina is among the 20 countries that put the most obstacles in the way of imports, by collecting import duties or tariffs at the border that make goods more expensive and impede their access to domestic manufacturers and consumers. According to global tariff files periodically prepared by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), Argentina imposes an average tariff of 13.4% on goods, with a peak of 35% in some cases. The global average is about 8.7 percent.
WTO members are resuming negotiations on fisheries subsidies after the August break under an intensified programme of meetings beginning on 1 September. The chair of the negotiations, Ambassador Santiago Wills of Colombia, said the objective, as affirmed by ministers at the 15 July virtual meeting, will be to produce a clean text of fisheries subsidy rules ahead of the 12th Ministerial Conference.