tralac Daily News
SA’s economy grew by 1.2% in second quarter of 2021 (Eyewitness News)
Statistics SA revealed on Tuesday the country’s economy increased by 1.2% in the second quarter of 2021 – a fourth consecutive positive quarterly growth. Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke released the latest gross domestic product (GDP) data in Pretoria on Tuesday morning. The increase followed a revised 1% rise during the first quarter of this year. Six industries recorded positive growth between the first and second quarter.
Finding ways to improve productivity and sustainability in the clothing manufacturing industry will come under the spotlight this week. The entity tasked with promoting productivity and employment growth in South Africa, Productivity SA, the National Bargaining Council for the Clothing Manufacturing Industry (NBCCMI)’s Productivity and Training Institute (PTI) will host a knowledge sharing session that will bring union members and business owners together on Wednesday.
SA Remains Zim’s Major Trading Partner As Imports Hit 47,1% (NewZimbabwe.com)
NEIGHBORING South Africa has remained Zimbabwe’s major trading partner after imports from the regional powerhouse reached a record 47,1 % last year, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) has reported. Speaking during an annual general meeting Thursday, ZIMRA acting commissioner general, Rameck Masaire said statistics at hand shows that neighboring South Africa is still the country’s largest trading partner both in terms of imports and exports. “The major trading partner remained South Africa from where 47,1% of Imports were sourced from as well as 45,2% of exports. During the period under review, the total Imports for the year 2020 were $324,6 billion. Total exports reached $257 billion with a trade deficit of $67,6 billion,” he said.
Extractives sector moves to turn the tide on corruption (Engineering News)
Governments, business and civil society are uniting in the fight against corruption in the extractives sector, demonstrating support and commitment for beneficial ownership transparency. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) reports that anonymous ownership of companies can be used to facilitate corruption across many sectors, including the extractive industries.
Govt bans export of raw materials (Daily Monitor)
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives has banned exportation of raw materials starting this financial year. During a press conference last week, the State Minister for Trade, Ms Harriet Ntabazi, said 69 per cent of raw materials in the country are exported hence causing revenue loss, adding that the move will improve the manufacturing sector. She said the ministry has negotiated a Shs100b loan from development partners and sourced another Shs100b given to Uganda Development Bank this financial year to give to traders. “Government has banned exports of unprocessed raw material starting this financial year to encourage adding of value on all raw materials before exporting them, so this money will help traders embrace value addition,” Ms Ntabazi said. She said the main plan of government is to turn all traders into industrialists to boost manufacturing.
Kenya seeks US market access for fresh oregano, parsley (Business Daily)
Kenya has asked the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (Aphis) to authorise the importation of fresh oregano and parsley to the US from Kenya. Aphis has drafted a pest risk assessment that describes potential pests associated with the commodities ahead of the possible approval process. The agency is making the assessment available for public comment before it finalises its draft assessment that identifies pest control measures in the import approval process.
“Based on the market access request submitted by the government of Kenya, the pathway was considered to include fresh shoots of oregano shipped by air in cartons,” it said.
The Northern Poultry Farmers Association has bemoaned the high cost of feed for poultry farming. Addressing a press conference in Tamale, Chairman of the Association, George Dassah said within a year the cost of maize has almost tripled. He noted that a year ago, 100kg of maize was sold at GH¢130 but currently, the prices range from GH¢320 to GH¢350.”Is it not curious that the Planting for Food and Jobs was successful, maize farmers had increased yield, yet poultry farmers find it difficult to get the commodity, that occasioned the issuing of permit by government through the Ministry of Agriculture to import 60,000mt of yellow maize,” he quizzed. He also questioned government’s decision to allow persons from neighbouring countries to come into the country and buy a significant amount of maize under the guise of ECOWAS protocol, trade liberalisation and the quest for foreign exchange when poultry farmers needed maize. He said poultry farmers have resulted in selling some of their birds to generate enough money to purchase feed to feed the remaining poultry.
Bottlenecks At Border Making Intra-Africa Trade Difficult, Says Dangote (BizWatchNigeria.Ng)
The President of the Dangote Group, Mr. Aliko Dangote, says barriers at the nation’s border are making movement of goods to other African countries for trade burdensome. According to him, most countries prefer to ship their goods from China than face the hassles at the borders. He made this known while speaking at the High-Level Roundtable Discussion on Industrialisation in Africa, organised by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) as part of the activities to mark its 50th anniversary.
“So, how can we be competitive? Government has to do quite a lot in terms of having the political will to remove all these bottlenecks at the borders. “So, I think that there are quite a lot of areas we have to look at to make this thing competitive. The border crossing is the most important one for us. We must make sure that crossing our borders does not take time. It will not make sense at all if it is going to take time. People would rather ship from China straight into their markets. So, we will never be competitive if we do not do that. We actually need to work with the government to remove these bottlenecks, which will need a lot of political will by governments,” Dangote said.
Governance requires strong institutions — NCCE (Graphic Online)
The Chairperson of the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE), Ms Josephine Nkrumah, has stated that democratic governance required strong, independent and well-resourced institutions to keep the wheel of democracy running. She said it was important for African countries to work together, learn from one another and help one another to achieve the common goal of promoting freedoms and bringing prosperity to their citizens. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement with its headquarters in Ghana, she said, was one of such initiatives which showed that the continent was willing to work together and forge ahead.
Nigerian economy comatose, open policy on AfCFTA needed ― ANLCA (Nigerian Tribune)
The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has urged the Federal Government to come up with an open policy on the government agency that will be handling the nation’s involvement in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. He said that the importance of the Association’s submission on the AfCFTA is to prevent the country from being turned into a dumping ground.
Alhaji Mohammed Habib Tijani, Ghana’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, has asked businesses in the oil-rich Kingdom to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to invest in Ghana.
He said Ghana was a safe and profitable destination for doing business in Africa and that taking up opportunities would ensure the mutual benefit of the investors and the host country. At a meeting with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), Sultan bin Abdul Rahman Al-Marshad, the Ambassador wooed investors of that country to make use of opportunities presented by AfCFTA.
Alhaji Tijani said the initiatives were introduced to ensure all-year-round access to water by farmers, tackle youth unemployment, achieves food security, and add value to Ghana’s export through agro-processing.
Nevine Gamea, Minister of Trade and Industry, and Executive Director of the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Development Agency, stressed that increasing cooperation and trade exchange with African countries is one of the top priorities for the Egyptian state at present. She indicated that MSMEDA is working in coordination with various concerned authorities to benefit from the promising African market to market the products of small business owners and open new outlets for them to export and develop their products, enabling them to meet the needs of these markets.
The marking of the 50th Anniversary of the Manufacturers association of Nigeria (MAN) provided the opportunity to bring together the movers and shakers of African economy, which included policy makers, industrialists, academicians, regulators and bankers to discuss the challenges and prospects of making African manufacturing a globally competitive industry, writes Dike Onwuamaeze The President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr. Mansur Ahmed, set the tone of discussion at the “High-Level Roundtable on Industrialisation in Africa,” that marked the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of MAN, with a brief remark.
Ahmed said: “It is our firm belief that our conversations at this event will help chart the course for sustainable Africa’s industrialisation and economic transformation.” Ahmed cleared the ground for the erudite Economist and Senior Lecturer, Lagos Business School, Dr. Doyin Salami noted that it would be important while emphasising the size of the market offered by the free trade area to take into cognizance issues around the payment system, the movement of people, the impact on SMEs, intellectual property and regional value chain.
He pointed out two dimensions that manufacturers and other stakeholders should bear in mind revolved critically around Africa building a globally competitive manufacturing capacity and how it would set the boundaries between collaboration and corporation, bearing in mind the already existing custom unions across Africa that have failed to succeed. “One characteristic of them is that for the most part they have not succeeded. It is going to be important to understand why they have not succeeded. “Also, the issue of funding industrialisation on the continent across the different countries is going to be very important.
US news TV group CNN has highlighted the importance of air cargo in underpinning the African commercial aviation industry during the Covid-19 pandemic. Air cargo formed a “lifeline” for African aviation, the network reported. The African airport which handled the largest amount of cargo last year was Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), in Kenya. And the continent’s number one dedicated air cargo operator, Astral Aviation, is also Kenyan and based at JKIA.
African skies empty amid SAATM rhetoric (New Telegraph)
When the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) was launched in January 2018, it was enthusiastically embraced as the key that would unlock air travel growth in the continent. Although 33 countries in the continent are signatories to the project, the agreement appears to be on paper rather than being implemented as nations are still not fully opening their airspace for a single air market in the continent. According to the International Civil Aviation (ICAO) Aviation Infrastructure for Africa Gap Analysis 2019, direct traffic from the SAATM States are mainly to Europe and intra-Africa, while traffic from SAATM to other regions are carried mainly through connecting flights.
Kenyatta’s EAC agenda: Admit more countries to regional bloc (The East African)
“Since Kenya took over the EAC chair in February 2021, there are a few things that President Kenyatta has given his strong views on. One of them expansion of our market so that goods and services across East Africa access bigger and wider markets. It is in that context that the admission of the Democratic Republic of Congo is being looked at,” said the CS, who chairs the EAC Council of Ministers.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta wants the East African Community to expand to include Central, Northern and Southern African states. The Kenyan leader, who is the current EAC chair, wants this expansion to form his legacy at the regional bloc. He is proposing some amendments to the Treaty establishing the Community to accommodate new members, said Adan Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of EAC and Regional Development.
Mr Mohamed told The EastAfrican this week that DR Congo is likely to be admitted before the end of this year, or during the first quarter of 2022, using recommendations of a report of the verification mission carried out by the EAC Secretariat.
Kenya blames ‘rogue traders’ for EAC trade rows (Business Daily)
Kenya has blamed persistent trade disputes among member states of the East African Community (EAC) on incidents of dishonest traders breaking the rules of cross-border commerce. Adan Mohamed, the Cabinet Secretary for East African Community and Regional Development, said disputes in recent months between Kenya and its neighbours have largely been a result of non-conformity with controls and standards governing trade. “Whilst the rules are very clear, there are some private business entities that abuse those rules. And the abuse of those rules is what normally leads to some of these disputes,” he told the Business Daily in an interview.
Kenya early March banned maize imports from Tanzania and Uganda after the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) and the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) raised concerns that some of the consignments had surpassed the maximum aflatoxin levels of 10 parts per billion.
The unending trade tiffs among EAC member states have slowed growth in intra-regional trade, currently estimated at about 15 percent of total volumes, despite the bloc being the most integrated in Africa. EAC secretary-general Peter Mathuki in May blamed the unending trade disputes within the bloc on failure to enforce the EAC Elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) Act, 2017, and establish the EAC Committee on Trade Remedies to amicably resolve persistent rows. “The EAC Elimination of NTBs Act 2017, shall facilitate the resolution of persistent NTB and force partner States to refrain from imposing new ones,” Dr Mathuki told the Business Daily in May.
“The mechanisms to report and resolve NTBs, as stipulated in the NTBs Act 2017, include compensation where the Council [of Ministers] finds that the imposing partner State caused unnecessary trade loss to the affected Partner States as shall be determined by the Committee on Trade Remedies.”
Removal of non-tariff trade barriers alone, the Arusha-based EAC secretariat estimated earlier in the year, will double intra-regional trade to 30 percent, rising to 50 percent in coming years.
DR Congo’s EAC admission report positive, says Nshuti (The New Times)
A report earlier prepared by an East African Community (EAC) verification mission on the DR Congo’s eligibility to join the six-member bloc is ready, as well as positive, and could be examined by the Council of Ministers sometime this month, an official has told The New Times. As he addressed the media on the occasion of his 100 days at the helm of the bloc’s Secretariat early last month, EAC Secretary General, Peter Mathuki, indicated that the process of admitting the DR Congo was in advanced stages, and a report on its eligibility was awaiting approval by the Council of Ministers.
The EAC Summit on February 27 considered the application by DR Congo to join the Community and directed the Council of Ministers to expeditiously undertake a verification mission in accordance with the EAC procedure for admission of new members into the bloc and report to the next Summit. The Sectoral Council had earlier directed the Secretariat to submit the report of the verification mission to the Council of Ministers by November.
African nations asked to digitalize revenue collection (Capital Business)
Tax experts have called on African countries to digitalize revenue administration and collection as businesses increasingly shift activities online amid the COVID-19 disruption. Githii Mburu, commissioner-general of the Kenya Revenue Authority, said COVID-19 challenges have now made it mandatory to digitalize tax collection. “The business environment has transformed faster due to modern technology. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to go online thus tax administrators must align to this change,” he said on Monday during the sixth African Tax Research Network conference held virtually.
A Nigeria-based research and development economist, Gospel Obele, has called “for a unified regulatory mechanism for cryptocurrency trading.” He adds that such regulation of cryptocurrencies can potentially “complement an African digital currency,” hence this needs to be considered.
In remarks published by Joy Online, Obele insists that cryptocurrencies have already shown how a single currency must function. The economist explained: Crypto has been able to build a level of singular markets when it comes to digital currency use and trade across borders, and this is a significant philosophy which the [African Continental Free Trade Area] originates. One of the significant issues that the AFCTA presents is an important opportunity for a singular currency in the African Market. We all know because of the different development stages of financial markets in respective member states.
As some African central banks contemplate launching their own digital currencies, privately issued cryptocurrencies are already being used as a medium of exchange in some cross-border trades.
However, the growing use of cryptocurrencies when making cross-border payments has seen some central banks impose measures that hinder this practice. Commenting on this, Obele reminded central banks that “cryptocurrency has come to stay.” Therefore, instead of restricting the use of such digital currencies, the economist wants central banks to understand the technology that underpins such digital currencies — the blockchain.
Actualisation of the ability to put on the market low-cost software products or systems to connect and exchange information with one another without restriction, which is also known as interoperability, remains the single largest challenge to financial inclusion in Uganda, according to financial technology experts. This, experts say, together with real-time payment solutions, remains one of Uganda’s silver bullets that will deliver the digital economy enhanced through financial inclusion. Speaking at the 2021 Fintech Landscape Exhibition in Kampala, industry experts drawn from financial technology companies such as banks, telecoms, Saccos and developers’ communities conceded that although a number of positives have been registered, Uganda will attain financial inclusion only if issues around the cost of interoperable services and real-time payment solutions are conclusively addressed. Financial interoperability allows customers of different service providers to transact across networks, ranging from mobile money to banking. Telecoms have already implemented interoperability but the cost involved continues to deter customers from using cross network services.
The African Development Bank returns as a top-tier partner of the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) – Africa’s largest agriculture conference – to be held in a hybrid format 6-10 September 2021. The Bank has earmarked $100,000 to support this year’s annual AGRF, which will be headlined by African Heads of State and Government, and will bring together delegates from governments, civil society, the private sector and research communities. The Government of Kenya and the AGRF Partners Group are hosting AGRF 2021, organized under the theme, Pathways to Recovery and Resilient Food System. “As Covid-19 continues to cause disruptions across Africa, we must prioritize policy and facility support that focuses on rebuilding infrastructures that foster the production, processing and availability of more – and more nutritious – food to feed Africa. AGRF is the platform to move these policy conversations forward, addressing every facet of the continent’s food system,” said Dr. Beth Dunford, Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, African Development Bank.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will collaborate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as a modelling partner for the development of the African Continental Power Systems Master Plan (CMP). The initiative is led by the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) with technical and financial support from the European Union. It is meant to establish a long-term continent-wide planning process. The two agencies’ modelling tools will be the official planning models used in the initiative. Energy ministers from around Africa have asked the AUDA-NEPAD to lead the development of the power systems master plan. After a two-year consultation process, coordinated by the EU Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) for Sustainable Energy, the five African power pools chose IRENA and the IAEA to support the continent’s modelling and capacity needs.
The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), in partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Africa Union Development Agency (AUDA), is spearheading the conversation that will ensure that African countries speak in one voice at the upcoming United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS)
Vera Songwe, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ECA Executive Secretary said the Summit will focus the discussions on game-changing solutions to transform food systems across the globe in order to achieve all the 17 SDGs of Agenda 2030. “In the African context, food systems transformation will help the continent to also achieve all the goals of Africa’s Agenda 2063,” said Songwe.
It is expected that the momentum to be created by the UNFSS will result in mobilizing and galvanizing support for the implementation of the identified priorities within the context of Agenda 2063, CAADP Malabo declaration, the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), and other continental frameworks that have the consensus of AU Member States.
Africa/Middle East Air Transport Virtual Symposium (African Union)
H.E. Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure & Energy delivered the keynote speech to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Africa/Middle East Air Transport Virtual Symposium, held on 30 August 2021 under the theme “Promoting and harnessing the benefits of liberalisation”. In her speech, Commissioner Abou-Zeid highlighted the African Union Commission’s efforts to support African air transport industry during the severe crisis due to COVID-19 pandemic, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to position the aviation sector on a path to restart and recover sustainability.
“The AU Taskforce on safe reopening of borders is also working on harmonizing the existing digital platforms for traveler health credentials and border requirements – the AU Trusted Traveler Platform and the IATA Travel Pass. It is also important to ensure that the adopted platforms are interoperable and are recognized by other regions to address the issue of restrictions to travel within or out of Africa. On this note, the AUC is urging Governments to continue to provide timely and accurate updates on their health protocols or requirements and to continue to provide digital COVID-19 test/vaccination certificates for citizens who get tested.” said Dr Abou-Zeid, while urging African Union Member States to join and use these platforms.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will keep the focus on closer bilateral trade and investment between nations of the BRICS grouping (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) when he hosts the 13th BRICS Summit on September 9.At the leaders’ meeting, Modi is expected to push for further reduction in barriers in trade and the development of multilateral trading rules and re-orient markets to increase trade turnover within BRICS, a senior official said.
India has recently made significant progress in convincing BRICS members to reaffirm the BRICS Strategy 2025, a seminal agreement on boosting trade and investments.
The Strategy includes a new framework for greater cooperation in services trade, promising easier movement of professionals across BRICS nations. This is expected to eventually lead to discussions on movement of natural persons, such as independent professionals (called Mode 4 services trade) and Mode 1, the cross- border supply of services, sources said.
Also included is a pledge to establish a common approach towards the multilateral trading system, keeping in mind the upcoming 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation to be held in Geneva in December 2021. This is expected to bring the BRICS countries on an unprecedented common platform on matters of global trade policy.
Marshaling collective action to combat climate change has been listed as a key agenda at the inaugural CARICOM-Africa Summit set to begin on Tuesday, September 7. The virtual meeting bringing together Heads of State and Government from the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) and the African Union (AU) will also deliberate trade and investment between the two regions.
The summit themed ‘Unity Across Continents and Oceans: Opportunities for Deepening Integration,’ will also seek to harness CARICOM-Africa partnership with the AU recently acceding to a request to onboard the Caribbean region on the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP) for the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines.
Kenya is among many countries in Africa that continue to enjoy strong e-commerce viability owing to its reliable internet network. Other countries that have strong e-commerce platforms include Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt. E-commerce platforms are among the companies participating in the 8th China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS), that started on September 2 and is scheduled to run until September 7.
CIFTIS is the first comprehensive platform specializing in the trade in services around the world. Defined as a state-level, international and comprehensive fair for trade in services, the CIFTIS currently figures as the only comprehensive trading platform in the world covering the 12 sectors of trade in services defined by the World Trade Organization. Trade in services involves the sale and delivery of intangible products such as transportation, tourism, telecommunications and computing. This year’s edition has given more focus on e-commerce, as the industry continues to make steady growth across the world.
E-commerce has experienced phenomenal growth rates around the world amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged the world for the better part of two years. According to VISA, e-commerce sales are projected to grow to $7 trillion across the globe by 2024. This growth has been well documented in Africa, where merchants have taken advantage of the budding internet-based platforms to sell goods and offer services. A recent report by VISA themed ‘E-trade advancements across Sub Saharan Africa (SSA)’, shows that despite being one of the smallest regions of ecommerce globally, Sub-Saharan Africa has shown steady growth potential.
Commonwealth Secretary-General The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC has called on G20 members to urgently work with the Commonwealth and other partners, particularly the World Health Organization and World Trade Organization, to urgently put in place a robust plan to vaccinate the world’s 42 smallest states and shield them from COVID-19. “As the pandemic unfolded, we were urged to act selflessly to protect the most vulnerable. As some of the more affluent countries of the world start to emerge from the crisis, we must work now to protect the smallest and most vulnerable nations from COVID-19.