tralac Daily News
South Africa backs GDP data despite missing mine statistics (Engineering News)
South Africa’s statistics agency maintains that its gross domestic product estimates for the second quarter will be credible amid plans to use an estimated value for missing mining data. “Although concerned about the delayed mining data, we are not concerned about the integrity of the GDP,” Statistics South Africa said Wednesday in an emailed response to questions. “We always indicate that the first estimate of each quarterly GDP is preliminary and may be revised when new/revised source data is available.”
The Acting Deputy Director-General of Spatial Industrial Development and Economic Transformation at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), Mr Maoto Molefane says Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are key instruments to industrialise the country and create jobs. Molefane was addressing the Limpopo Investment Conference. The objectives of the conference included attracting local and international investments; creating a network of investors, industry experts and key stakeholders in pursuit of industrialisation; and receiving investment pledges. According to Molefane, the SEZs have attracted more than R56 billion worth of private investors in the ten operational zones. 222 companies have been attracted into the zones. “We recently undertook a SEZ programme review to look at what works and what is not working. We introduced a new approach aimed at solidifying a number of instruments, including a strong involvement of national government in terms of assisting provinces to ensure that all the SEZs are accelerated, attract investment and that they are operational,” said Molefane.
How SA has shot itself in the foot with trade precedent (Business LIVE)
President Cyril Ramaphosa may, through neglect or design, be stifling the birth of the huge continental African market he needs to create for his ambitious manufacturing localisation policies at home to take root. While SA does not have an internal market big enough to support manufacturing growth on the scale of China, Russia or the US, the rest of Africa represents a real opportunity. But despite the importance of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), there is a real possibility the agreement will never function. It may be signed off and “implemented”, but there is not much hope of it actually working, and a big part of the problem lies with SA. It may have lost its leadership of the project.
The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Ghana in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are organizing the 2021 U.S.-Ghana Business Forum – a high-level conference between U.S. and Ghanaian Government Officials, and Private Sector Leaders aimed at deepening commercial partnerships between Ghana and the United States as well as the U.S- Africa commercial relations in the context of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).The 2021 U.S.-Ghana Business Forum is on the theme: Promoting U.S.- Ghana Partnership through Trade and Investment, comes on the back of Ghana’s hosting of the Africa Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat and also after several months of trading through the AfCFTA- the world’s largest free trade area in terms of number of countries encompassing 1.3 billion people and about $3.4 trillion in GDP.
The forum schedule for September 8th and 9th, 2021 will be virtual. It will have plenary sessions with high-level government officials as speakers; and panel discussions on pertinent topics including Technology and Digitization, Energy and Mining, Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Services and Franchising.
The 2021 forum aims to strengthen trade and investment, promote business partnerships, and opportunities between U.S. and Ghanaian and also review trading under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and assess how U.S. and Ghanaian companies can take advantage of this opportunity.
Nigeria’s Federal and State governments have expressed overwhelming support for an initiative to create Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) - public-private partnerships aimed at developing priority value chains through developing infrastructure in rural areas, focused on finishing and transforming raw materials and commodities. At a high-level briefing session held on Monday, Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning Dr. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, who hosted the meeting, reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to put in place enabling policies and incentives to attract private sector investment in the Zones, to ensure successful implementation.
The Nigeria Special Agro-industrial Processing Zone programme consists of four mutually reinforcing components - infrastructure development and agro-industrial hubs management; agriculture productivity and production; policy and institutional development; and programme coordination and management. “The Bank and its development partners are mobilizing $520 million to co-finance the first phase of the program in Nigeria, be implemented in phases across six geo-political zones,” Barrow said.
In recent times, many people are getting to know that if nothing was done to protect the atmosphere, businesses and the human race may pay dearly for this. This has amplified the need to adopt a sustainable lifestyle and business practices and for the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, Mr Temi Popoola, there is a shift in the global financial industry in favour of sustainable business practices. He commended this development, noting that this trend is most likely to continue at an accelerating pace.
Speaking at the Facts Behind the Sustainability Report presentation by Lafarge Africa Plc on the NGX platform last Thursday, he stated that, “With the recent advancements in climate change and the global charge to achieve sustainable development, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors are increasingly becoming a critical part of the investment decision-making process. “This clearly highlights the big shift in the global financial industry in favour of sustainable business practices and this trend is most likely to continue at an accelerating pace.
A giant oil refinery complex being built in Nigeria by a company owned by Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest person, will cost more than double the amount originally projected.”Our capex will almost go to $19 billion by the time we finish,” Devakumar Edwin, group executive director of Dangote Industries Ltd., said in an interview broadcast on Arise News on Aug. 31. The facility near Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub, was expected to cost $9 billion eight years ago, a price tag that had climbed to $15 billion by 2019. The 650,000 barrel-a-day refinery is part of a vast petrochemical project that will also house the world’s biggest ammonia plant. Once operational, the facility is intended to curb, or even end, the nation’s dependence on fuel imports -- a source of embarrassment for the government of Africa’s largest crude producer.
The refinery will be able to supply all the gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel used in the West African country, and a third of its output will still be available for export, Dangote told the Lagos-based television station. Originally set for completion in 2016, the project is now expected to be commissioned next year.
‘Suez Canal on rails’ - Egypt signs $4.5 billion high-speed rail deal (Engineering News)
Egypt has signed a $4.45-billion deal for a high-speed electric rail line to link its Red Sea and Mediterranean coasts that contractor Siemens dubbed a “Suez Canal on rails”. The contract between Egypt’s National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) and a consortium including Siemens Mobility, Orascom Construction and Arab Contractors will cover design, installation and maintenance of the rail link over 15 years, a cabinet statement said on Wednesday.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA, Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa (SRO-SA) supported the launch of a new innovative, comprehensive and inclusive financing model to stimulate the sustainable growth for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Kingdom of Eswatini. The Financing model was officially launched by Manqoba Khumalo, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade who emphasized that Building back after the pandemic requires all stakeholders to participate in the implementation for recovery of local economy. He said that, “MSMEs in Eswatini have the potential to contribute considerably to employment, economic growth and poverty reduction and that Innovation-driven MSMEs can be a catalyst for structural transformation”.
Director, ECA Sub Regional Office for Southern Africa (ECA SRO-SA), Ms. Eunice Kamwendo commended the Government of Eswatini, particularly the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade, for initiating the development of the MSME financing model in her remarks delivered on her behalf by the Chief Sub-Regional Initiatives, Isatou Gaye. She said that, MSMEs are widely recognised as cornerstones for inclusive and sustainable development with the potential to significantly accelerate industrialisation and support high value addition activities. She emphasizes that MSMEs have potential to promote domestic-led growth in new and existing industries, and to strengthen the resilience of the economy in a competitive and challenging environment. “The MSME sector forms the foundation for private sector led growth and expansion, and constitutes an important source of job creation and innovation”.
Business leaders and experts have cast doubt on whether the East African Community will benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, that took effect January 1 this year.
In the East African Community, Tanzania is yet to ratify the deal, while other countries have not yet put in place local or national measures to ensure that the citizens benefit. The Secretary-General of the SADC Youth Council, Mansouza Kingu blamed his country, Tanzania for being an example of the countries lacking the political will towards the continental treaty, despite recently showing interest in integration affairs.
EAC Deputy Secretary-General for Productive and Social Sectors, Christophe Bazivamo, said that the goal of the EAC was to ensure that women in the region were fully equipped and capable of accessing and exploiting the numerous opportunities and benefits that accrue from the AfCFTA initiative, adding that the continental free trade area provides significant business opportunities for the region.
“We have now almost finalized the submission of our tariff offers which conform to the agreed modalities in addition to the schedules of liberalization of trade in services. We have also prepared a draft strategy for the implementation of the agreement, which takes into account the need for capacity building. It is presently under consideration by the partner states,” said Bazivamo.
It was noted that women dominate the cross-border trade between many African countries, but that not much has been done to prepare them to take advantage of the intended opportunities from the treaty. Unfortunately, these women are mostly small-scale traders and informal too. This means there is a risk that when the AfCFTA takes full effect, traders from other countries will easily invade these countries and disrupt the trade with imports into the region.
The East African Community (EAC) partner states have been implored to invest in industrial parks. The move would not only improve the competitiveness of the bloc in international trade but raise the contribution of manufacturing to the economies. The appeal was made in Dar es Salaam yesterday earlier this week by EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki when he opened the EA Trade and Industrialization Week 2021. “Currently, manufacturing contributes to gross domestic product (GDP) a meagre 8.9 percent,” he said. He added in a dispatch to The Citizen: “To achieve the set target of 25 percent in 2032, there is a need for diversification of the manufacturing base and raising local value-added content resource-based exports”.
EABC signs MoU with Afreximbank on rolling out the Africa Customer Due Diligence Platform (MANSA digital platform) (East African Business Council)
The East African Business Council (EABC) has today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Afrieximbank on rolling out the African Customer Due Diligence Platform (Mansa digital platform). This partnership is set to boost East African companies and Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to take advantage of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) through accessing a centralized source of due diligence information. The MANSA digital platform provides a single primary source of Know-Your-Customer (KYC) data required to conduct customer due diligence checks on counterparties in Africa with a special focus on African Corporates, SMEs and financial institutions.
Speaking at the virtual launch ceremony of the Africa Customer Due Diligence Platform, Mr. John Bosco Kalisa said” the MANSA digital platform will enable African financial institutions and corporate entities to meet customer and business partners’ expectations while ensuring regulatory compliance.”
“The MANSA digital platform is set to facilitate smooth onboarding of customers and business relationships as well as ensure availability of due diligence information plus mitigate perceived risk of trading with African counterparties,” said Mr. Kalisa.
Nigeria, still basking in the euphoria of a Q2 GDP growth of 5.01 percent year-on-year, is perhaps unaware that it can seize the opportunity of this positive to further notch up its economy, direly in need of growth, by boosting its export trade sector using the yet un-accessed Fund for Export
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and Aliko Dangote to speak at a “high-level” roundtable discussion on economic transformation in Africa and post-African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) hosted by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN). With the theme, “Positioning African industries for economic transformation and continental free trade”, the event will hold in Lagos on Thursday sequel to MAN’s 50th anniversary.
Africa has made significant progress to implement the Global Compact for Migration but more action is needed to sustain the momentum amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the reports presented at a high-level meeting.
The statement builds on the findings of a Continental Migration Report produced by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), four sub-regional reports complied by the African Union Commission (AUC) and a summary from stakeholder consultations held since December 2020. These documents attempted to unpack migration patterns, progress, practices and pathways in Africa for the GCM’s implementation, involving all stakeholders. Speaking about the continental report, Ms. Thokozile Ruzvidzo, the ECA’s Director for the Gender, Poverty and Social Policy Division, said: “The report reveals that while Africa has made significant progress on GCM, the pandemic threatens to flatten the positive trajectory against several indicators, especially decent jobs and migrants’ safety. In parallel, we see a rise in xenophobia and restrictive policies that only increase irregular migration.”
She continued: “Such disruptive developments require concerted efforts to make migration work for all. Our report offers policymakers with good practices to build on and a timely evidence base for migration policy development and resource allocation to ensure we bring the GCM commitment to action.”
Across the African continent an increasing number of countries are introducing local content regulations that include requirements for investing extractive industry companies (EICs) to procure goods and services from local suppliers. These local content laws have typically also included requirements for local hiring and skills training for those directly employed by the EICs. For EIC procurement, the last decade has seen increasing regulations ranging from requirements for companies to submit local procurement plans, to percentage targets and lists of products that must be purchased from national suppliers. However, generally such demand-side measures have not been accompanied by an equally weighted level of supply-side interventions to support local businesses and build their capacity. This gap, as well as continued challenges across many host countries to meaningfully increase local procurement, has created a realisation that more proactive efforts are needed for enhanced supplier development programmes (SDPs).
It is time to reimagine and reawaken Africa’s Tourism Industry of the future (botswanaunplugged.com)
The last time there was a travel trade show on African soil – Meetings Africa 2020 – there was talk of the tourism sector being the economy’s last great hope as it boosted GDPs and created jobs with the trajectory of an Airbus A380. Fast-forward 19 months, and Africa’s tourism sector is reflecting, reimagining a different future and reigniting itself after it was upended by the world-engulfing Coronavirus. And there seems to be no better place to start than with a fresh event – Africa’s Travel and Tourism Summit (ATTS). The ATTS Media Launch, held on 31st August 2021 at the Maslow Hotel in Sandton, gave tourism and media stakeholders a chance to learn more about the Summit as a platform whereby travel trade across the continent would come together to share ideas on how to revive the industry.
Mahlalela also spoke of the Coronavirus’ impact on the Southern African Development Community’s member states, saying that it could cost the region up to 4.5-million jobs and up to US$40-billion in GDP.
“The Costed Action Plan for the SADC Tourism Programme has found that countries that significantly rely on tourism and services sectors will experience a downturn in their GDP due to Covid-19 and the resultant restrictions on travel. Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises will be most vulnerable to the impact,” he said.
‘Mauritius can be a bridge between countries and continents’ (African Business)
Mauritius indeed has built a solid reputation as a recognised international player in several sectors as the country continuously engaged in an economic diversification agenda to avoid the risks we faced as a mono-crop economy at the whims of climate changes and other shocks. The Mauritian economic landscape is a much more diversified one than we had in the late 1960s with tourism, financial services and export-oriented manufacturing, especially with regards to textile and apparels and the seafood industry having become major contributors to national output. The strategy today is two-fold. First, we are looking at consolidation and diversification within the established sectors of activity, and second, we aim at furthering the development of new economic pillars. Within the traditional sectors, building on the know-how we have developed over several decades, we aim at attracting investments in high-tech manufacturing, medical devices, pharmaceutical products and technical textiles among others. Several incentives have been put in place to this effect.
We have recently signed a series of trade agreements with India, China and Africa which will increase our market size. Moreover, we have developed an Africa Strategy that relies on three legs, which are to position Mauritius as a gateway for investments into the continent, attracting manufacturers to operate and export from Mauritius to Africa and finally, we are setting up Special Economic Zones in several African countries to allow operators to engage in larger scale production and be closer to both raw materials and markets.
Chinese firms play key role as Africa aims for economic rebooting (Chinadaily USA)
A new report by the China-Africa Business Council indicates that foreign direct investment in Africa by Chinese companies was valued at $56 billion at the end of 2020, with private enterprises accounting for 70 percent of that. Driven by market expansion, return on investments, industrial transfers and a search for resources, Chinese companies have made huge contributions to infrastructure modernization through the Belt and Road Initiative, jobs creation and industrialization.
The report builds on earlier surveys and studies that pointed to the role of Chinese companies in Africa’s socioeconomic transformation. According to the Brookings Institution, for example, between 2014 and 2018, China’s total FDI in Africa was $72.2 billion, compared with $30.9 billion from the US and $34.2 billion from France. During the same period, Beijing helped create 137,028 jobs in Africa, compared with Washington’s 62,004.
Acknowledging China’s strong role in Africa’s trade, investment, infrastructure financing and aid portfolios, a 2017 report by McKinsey, which surveyed more than 1,000 Chinese enterprises, said that China’s FDI in Africa increased by 25 percent between 2010 and 2014. The survey also found that 89 percent of employees in Chinese companies on the continent were African.
The China-Africa Business Council report comes amid unprecedented economic challenges for the continent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Government revenues in Africa have dropped 25 percent, while more than 100 million jobs have been lost to the pandemic. There is therefore greater need for progressive economic partnerships with Africa’s development partners to recover from the global health crisis.
Biden eyes up Africa as new trade market, reboots Trump-era initiative (Global Trade Review)
The Joe Biden administration has announced plans to revamp the Trump-era Prosper Africa initiative, as it works to “substantially increase” two-way trade and investment between the US and Africa. With a focus on infrastructure, clean energy and healthcare, the White House said in recent weeks that it would kickstart a new Prosper Africa Build Together Campaign, having also requested US$80mn from Congress in additional funding resources. “Our goal is to substantially increase two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa by connecting US and African businesses and investors with tangible deal opportunities,” Dana Banks, senior director for Africa at the White House National Security Council, said in a digital press briefing.
despite the commission’s release of a comprehensive strategy for Africa early last year, that partnership has yet to flourish. A high-level AU-EU summit scheduled for October 2020 has repeatedly been stalled, even as African leaders have strengthened ties with other global powers, particularly China. The COVID-19 pandemic contributed to derailing the European Commission’s efforts, but experts said there may also be a disconnect between the priorities of the two continents, with Europe focused on climate change and migration and Africa determined to end the COVID-19 pandemic and jump-start its economies.
EU commits to fund African vaccine hubs (EURACTIV)
The European Union will provide financial support for vaccine manufacture on the African continent with the specific aim of supplying Africa, as it seeks to fight back against accusations of ‘vaccine nationalism’. Following last Friday’s (27 August) ‘Compact with Africa’ summit, hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel as part of the G20 presidency, German pharmaceutical giant BioNTech SE has agreed in principle to manufacture vaccines at two sites proposed by the African Center for Disease Control: the Rwanda Biomedical Centre and the Institut Pasteur de Dakar.
The summit was attended by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Macky Sall of Senegal, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Council chief Charles Michel, as well as a host of African leaders. It focused primarily on how best to use the $650 billion of Special Drawing Rights issued last week by the International Monetary Fund to help mitigate the economic damage caused by the COVID pandemic. “This initiative is a very good step toward self-reliance in vaccines, including in COVID vaccine launched with the MADIBA – Institut Pasteur de Dakar project,” said Senegal’s President Macky Sall. “Supporting such initiatives to materialize quickly in Africa, would contribute to boosting COVID vaccine access and to building a sustainable health security for a stronger and more equitable economic recovery globally,” he added. The European Commission has said it will provide financial support as part of its ‘Team Europe’ plans to fund three vaccine hubs in Africa.
Asia recorded the highest growth in exports of intermediate goods in the first quarter (28 per cent) due to a 41 per cent increase in Chinese exports of industrial intermediate goods, mainly parts for information communication technology equipment and photovoltaic cells. The most resilient supply chains in the first quarter were for ores, precious stones and rare earths, with exports increasing by 43 per cent in the first quarter, and for food and beverages (up 22 per cent). In contrast, exports of transport parts and accessories posted the weakest recovery at 6 per cent following steep declines in 2020 as the pandemic affected both demand for and production of automotives.
“There is a growing recognition that the way we produce, consume, and dispose of plastics causes significant damage to our environment and to our health,” DDG Paugam said. “Back in November last year a group of WTO members launched an Informal Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade (IDP). Since this launch, discussions on the topic have more than quadrupled at the WTO, seeking to identify key opportunities for enhanced trade cooperation to support domestic, regional, and global efforts against plastic pollution,” he said.
“The role that trade policy may have in fighting plastic pollution is becoming better understood. There are specific tools that trade policymakers may want to leverage to contribute to achieving global goals on plastics,” DDG Paugam said, noting for instance lowering trade barriers to environmental goods and services for plastics circularity, establishing standards and regulations needed to ensure recyclability and compostability of plastics, facilitating and building capacity for environmentally sustainable reverse supply chains, as well as exploring economic drivers of environmentally sustainable plastics and alternatives.
Many Caribbean countries mark Emancipation in the month of August. Indeed, the CARICOM Community celebrates this historical milestone on 1st August annually. During this time, we reflect on the end of slavery which will forever remain a stain etched on the collective conscience of humanity. We use the remembrance of Emancipation to celebrate the deep and inextricable bonds we as Caribbean people have with Africa
Thus far, these connections have largely remained in the historical, cultural and people spheres. This must change to also include translating our excellent ties into trade and investment relationships that will redound to the benefit of people here in our Region and in Africa.
Africa’s rise is also eloquently illustrated by the data. Whilst the entire world is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and most countries and Regions like ours showing negative growth, the African Economic Outlook done by the African Development Bank noted that real GDP is expected to grow by 3.4 percent despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Countries such as Mozambique have been receiving record levels of foreign direct investment. Yet, whilst Asian countries led by China have been rushing to Africa, we have largely lagged behind in terms of pursuing an aggressive trade and investment relationship with Africa. The opportunities to partner with Africa and a market of an estimated 1.4 billion people are immense. As we seek to advance an agenda for a resilient Caribbean, it is not only important to shore up existing trade partnerships but to also look to new relationships on the trade and investment front.
Africa countries, UN, IOM review migration aims (Africanews)
The exploitation of migrants in Africa and the protection of their human rights were among the topics discussed by officials on Wednesday at a conference looking at the impact of migration across the African continent.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia, and Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, expressed deep concern over the slow pace of vaccine redistribution from high-income to low-income countries. The two former leaders served as co-chairs of the Independent Panel on Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR), launched by WHO in July 2020. Its final report was published in May.
“The Independent Panel report recommended that high-income countries ensure that at least one billion doses of vaccines available to them were redistributed to 92 low and middle-income countries by 1 September, and a further one billion doses by mid-2022”, they declared. “Ensuring that all those around the world most vulnerable to the impact of the virus, including healthcare workers, older people and those with significant comorbidities, can be vaccinated quickly is a critical step towards curbing the pandemic.”
ICAO’s Africa-Middle East Air Transport Symposium concluded yesterday with renewed regional commitments on addressing pandemic recovery efforts, the harmonization of regional air transport regulatory frameworks, cross-border investments in airlines, the impact of levies and charges on air transport sustainability, and financing approaches for the modernization of aviation infrastructure. Focused around the theme of Promoting and harnessing the benefits of liberalization, the virtual event brought together high-level policy makers, air transport regulators, industry representatives, aviation professionals, and other stakeholders to drive important progress on regional air transport coordination and recovery.
After appreciating how aviation pre-pandemic had generated over ten million jobs in the AFI and MID Regions, and close to $700 billion in combined GDP, Mr. Salazar recalled that full air transport recovery for the respective regions would help to assure the successful implementation of the African Continental Free trade area, Single African Air Transport Market, the freedom of mobility goals of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and to reopening economically critical tourism markets for affected oceanic and landlocked countries.
A report from the UN Secretary-General sets the stage for an upcoming high-level event on sustainable energy. It notes the need for more momentum towards universal energy access and a decarbonized, climate-resilient energy system in order to deliver on SDG 7 and many other aspects of the 2030 Agenda. The report titled, ‘Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all’ (A/76/206), is issued annually to review progress towards SDG 7 and efforts to accelerate progress. The 2021 report explains what is needed in five areas: access to electricity, access to clean cooking solutions, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and means of implementation. It also reviews the state of SDG 7 progress in each region of the world and in the least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS).
According to the Secretary-General’s report, a global stocktaking should be convened by the end of 2023 to review the global plan of action for the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (2014-2024), in light of the outcomes of the September 2021 energy summit.