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New Trade Idea for South Africa Is Debt Relief for Climate Goals (Bloomberg)

Politicians and academics are turning their attention to a new trade pitch for South Africa: debt relief in exchange for progress toward global climate goals.

Backers of the proposal hope creditors can be persuaded that climate change is a global problem so urgent that it’s worth forgiving debts in developing nations to help them pay for costly transitions to cleaner energy. While such initiatives have been tried before, they’ve never been realized on the scale that South Africa would be seeking.

The initiative would have multiple benefits for Africa’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. South Africa’s finances have been battered by its debt-ridden electricity company, Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., which has required repeated bailouts and cash injections. The government is also seeking financing to switch Eskom from mostly coal-fired power to cleaner renewable energy. The price tag for that transition would be astronomical though, costing as much as 400 billion rand ($28 billion), according to Masondo, the deputy finance minister. Under his proposal, 146 billion to 213 billion rand of sovereign debt would need to be forgiven or deferred, allowing the government to give Eskom an equity injection, help it secure green financing and close polluting power plants.

SA records largest current account surplus on record (Fin24)

South Africa’s current account balance widened to its largest surplus ever at R343 billion for the second quarter, according to data released by the SA Reserve Bank (Sarb) on Thursday. The current account balance is considered an indicator of an economy’s health. It is the difference between credits - incomes and receipts - and debits - imports and payments. The current account balance, in monetary terms, was R261 billion in the first quarter. As a ratio of GDP, the surplus widened from 4.3% in the first quarter to 5.6% in the second quarter.

According to the Reserve Bank, merchandise exports increased to a “new all-time high” during the second quarter. Merchandise includes agriculture, mining and manufacturing exports. Imports increased by 3.4%, its second highest level since the second quarter of 2019.

Stats SA reported this week that on a quarter-on-quarter basis, exports lifted 4%, linked to the increase in trade of mineral products, precious metals and stones - as well as vehicles and transport equipment. The commodities boom has been helping bolster the trade account, Fin24 previously reported.

“The widening to a record high of the trade surplus in the second quarter was due to the increase in value of merchandise exports, especially mining exports,” the Sarb said. These commodities include pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, and precious metals - particularly platinum group metals, driven by higher rand prices for rhodium. The Sarb also noted increased export prices of coal, and to a certain extent, iron ore. Increases in imports is also linked to the increase in prices, the Sarb said.

Digitalisation offers opportunity to improve supply chains, manufacturing (Engineering News)

Digitalisation provides an opportunity to improve manufacturing and supply chain processes. Companies in these sectors have, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, had to quickly adapt to using new technologies, which has driven increased digitalisation efforts, speakers noted during a webinar hosted by SAP and OneConnect on September 8.

Kenya appeals to Uganda to sign EU trade pact (Independent)

Kenya has again appealed to Uganda for a joint strategy on accessing the European market through the stalled EU/EAC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Kenya also wants to partner with Uganda in negotiating a trade deal with the US as the the AGOA, the American Growth Opportunities Act nears expiry in 2025. Betty Maina, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for trade says a joint approach would not only help Kenya and Uganda’s trade with the EU, but will also be a basis for a stronger East African Community. Maina also thinks that if a deal was struck by the two nations with the EU, it would also encourage the other EAC member states to join in and make the agreement a fully EAC deal. She was speaking at the ongoing Uganda-Kenya Agri Business Exhibition in Mombasa.

Maina said they committed and did resolve all the issues notified to us by the business membership groups from both countries, we signed a joint communique on the issues that were there then including elimination of non compliant taxes and charges. “Unless we have new issues, my concern today would be the mechanisms both countries are putting together to address the common market access challenges facing EAC products in European Union through EAC-EU-EPA and United States through the AGOA framework,” she said.

She says poorer countries will only overcome challenges of accessing international markets if they make joint approaches. “To overcome these market access challenges, it is important for both Kenya and Uganda to present these issues jointly or under the EAC framework,” she said, adding that the two countries produce similar products, which would be an advantage.

Kenya to improve business environment to woo foreign investors (China.org.cn)

Kenya plans to improve its business environment in order to attract foreign investors into the country, a senior government official said on Wednesday. Adan Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for East African Community and Regional Development told journalists in Nairobi that the investment climate will be enhanced through redesigning service delivery processes to eliminate compliance burden for foreign firms relocating to Kenya. “By improving the business regulatory environment, Kenya will become the preferred investment destination in Africa,” Mohamed said. Mohamed said that some of the measures to be undertaken will reduce the cost associated with a wide array of critical business processes such as commercial litigation, company registration and paying taxes.

Government unhappy with Kenya’s ‘unfair’ trade restrictions (Daily Monitor)

Agriculture Minister Frank Tumwebaze has said Uganda can no longer afford to be diplomatic as East African states treat it unfairly, taking its liberal approach towards partners for granted. In response to questions regarding the new quota in which Kenya cut Uganda’s sugar imports under the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa), Mr Tumwebaze wondered why Kenya would be instituting quotes on Uganda’s sugar exports yet the country has a large consumption deficit. ”We are not demanding anything unimaginable but only seeking an honest and fair discussion with our long time trading ally - Kenya - so as to achieve a mutually rewarding position for our people. Talking of quotas of anything of a Ugandan product is even bad enough. Why quotas in the supposedly free East Africa Common Market?” he wondered, noting that even if Kenya allowed Uganda to export all its sugar to its market, its demand would remain unmet.

However, in a statement last week Trade Ministry Permanent Secretary Geraldine Ssali disputed the alleged quota reduction, noting that media reports had only considered allocations under the Comesa regime, which had given Uganda an allocation of about 18,923 tonnes for 2021. In a notice last week the Sugar Directorate of Kenya notified traders that it would only allow 18,923 tonnes of sugar imports from Uganda, a reduction from 90,000 tonnes, which had been agreed earlier on in April.

Firm taps gig economy to expand across borders (Business Daily)

The Kenyan gig economy is gathering momentum on the back of expanding start-ups and enterprises, pushing up demand for technology skills. Kenyans are also increasingly signing up for online gig work with local, regional and global companies that require high digital skills. “The need for technology skills is exploding. There is no new start-up that will go online without technology skills,” said Leul Girma, chief operating officer at Gebeyam, an African online talent marketplace. “Kenya is booming in terms of the number of start-ups coming up and for all of them the common denominator is the need for technology talent.”

The Kenyan digital economy has tremendously grown in the last few years. A report by Mercy Corps released in August 2019, showed online gig economy was concentrated in ride-hailing industry and online rental such as Airbnb, while the online uptake of professional services offered by gig workers was very slow.

AmCham Ghana US-Ghana Business Forum - Remarks by Ambassador Sullivan (US Embassy in Ghana)

The U.S. and Ghana share a longstanding, strong, and dynamic relationship. We work together on a broad spectrum of issues, including public health, education, entrepreneurship, security, and perhaps most important for this audience, building business relationships. American businesses and investors deepen the ties between our two countries. We greatly appreciate the leadership of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ghana in advancing this aspect of our long-term partnership. There are well over a hundred U.S. firms operating in Ghana. From the development and exploration of major oil fields by Kosmos Energy to the transformation of healthcare delivery by Zipline, which transports lifesaving medical products and vaccines to remote areas by drone, companies are finding success in Ghana and contributing to prosperity in both our countries. American innovators are eager to partner with Ghanaian businesses across a wide range of industries that support their work, from logistics to raw materials, and much, much more.

I am very pleased that despite the pandemic, this year several well-known American companies and brands have chosen Ghana as a market for growth: Twitter announced in April that it will open its West African headquarters here; the Fareast Mercantile Company recently opened a new Estee Lauder cosmetics store as well as two Domino’s pizza franchise stores in Accra; and in May, United Airlines reopened its direct non-stop route between Washington, DC and Accra.

As Africa’s economy, and economies around the globe, dust themselves off from the effects of the pandemic, the opportunity is ripe for the African Continental Free Trade Area to deliver on its objective to expand intra-regional trade and capture new foreign direct investment – with Ghana in the lead as host of the Secretariat. The AfCFTA is a game changer not only for doing business across the continent, but also for how the world thinks of Africa. And Ghana is well positioned to capitalize on the new economic synergies and opportunities for growth that AfCFTA can bring to the continent.

Ghana Remains Favourite Destination For Investment - Foreign Minister Assures EU Envoy (Peace FM Online)

Ghana remains a favourite destination for investment in Africa, Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has assured Mr Irchad Razaaly, Ambassador-Designate of the European Union (EU) to Ghana. In this regard, the Minister highlighted the political stability, open democratic values, free media and vibrant civil society which Ghana enjoys. Madam Ayorkor Botchwey stated this when she received the Open Letters of the EU Ambassador-Designate in Accra.

The Minister alluded to the fact that the EU was Ghana’s largest multinational development trade partner. She reiterated Ghana’s ready business climate, indicating that Ghana remained an important Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) destination on the African continent as in 2017, it ranked 7 out of 54 countries

Ministry suspends more than 80,000, revokes 520 licenses & sues 2,230 businesses; issues warning against price hiking (Addis Standard)

The Ministry of Trade and Industry said it has taken actions against more than 80,641 businesses that have made improper price hikes and participated in illegal activities. The Ethiopian Press Agency (EPA) quoted Communications Adviser to the Minister of Trade and Industry of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Wondatir Mekonnen, as saying, “Action is being taken against businesses involved in illegal activities to reverse the success of the law enforcement campaign.” According to Wondatir: “Action is being taken against those who support the ‘terrorist group’ by concealing dollars and products, and engaging in improper and unreasonable price increases.”

Nigeria’s Exports to Africa drops by 25% in H1 2021, Despite AfCFTA Aspirations (Proshare Nigeria)

Nigeria’s exports to Africa fell by 25% in H1 2021 Y-o-Y; this is according to foreign trade data released recently by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The fall in African exports was despite the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which started in January 2021.

Analysts had expressed optimism about the country’s trade prospects under the free trade agreement, expected to increase intra-African trade by 50% in 2022. Meanwhile, total merchandise trade, which steadied at N12.03tr in Q2 2021, saw an increase of 88.71% Y-o-Y. The rise in trade merchandise came about because of sharp growth in exports, which soared by 26% Y-o-Y. Compared to the first three months of the year, Total trade increased by 23% from N9.75tr in Q12021 to N12.03tr in Q22021. Meanwhile, the country’s import bill rose by 1.45% from N6.85tr in Q1 2020 to N6.95tr in Q2 2020. The rise occurred as exports rose by 74.7% from 2.9tr in Q12021 to 5.07tr in Q22021.

Analysis of the trade data showed that while exports accounted for N6.95trn (57.78% of total trade), the complementary 42.22% valued at N6.95trn was contributed by imports bringing trade deficit for the period to N1.87trn. Nigeria had recorded a trade deficit of N3.94trn in Q1 2021, indicating a -52.5% reduction in trade deficit Q-o-Q. Together, imports rose year-on-year (Y-o-Y) by 60% from N8.59trn in H1 2020 (during the pandemic) to N13.8trn in H1 2021. Exports rose in the same period but by only 26%. Expectedly, the trade deficit rose year on year by 157% from N2.25trn in H12020 to N5.81trn in H1 2021

Ethiopia makes plans to become Africa’s clean energy hub (The Africa Report)

Of those projects, 16 are hydro-power, 24 wind, 17 steam, and 14 are solar, making the model arguably one of the world’s biggest policy shifts towards clean energy and potentially building Ethiopia into a leader in clean energy in Africa. At the same time, Ethiopia will bolster its electricity generating capacity from the current 4,200 MW to around 35,000 MW by 2037. The East African state is inching closer to commissioning its controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which at 6,000 MW, will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa, as well as the 8th largest in the world. Upon completion, the dam will double Ethiopia’s electricity generation. However, it is also expected to reduce the flow of the Nile flow to Sudan and Egypt during reservoir filling – a source of friction with its downstream neighbours.

UK-Liberia Chamber of Commerce holds Trade & Investment Dialogue (The New Dawn Nigeria)

The UK-Liberia Chamber of Commerce in London is pleased with the outcome of its Round-table on UK-Liberia Trade & Investment Opportunities which was held on Thursday, September 2nd.

The Executive Director of Stronghold Global Finance UK – Matthew Goddard, stated that “investment inflows come from supply chains being in-place, Liberia needs to do more of exports than imports, whether in Agriculture, Fisheries or Scrap shipping, to facilitate more interests, and that is what Stronghold Global Finance is looking to follow, serving as a bridge for funding of infrastructure projects across the continent.

The Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industry of Liberia, John D. Wolo, Stated that “post COVID-19, the Government of Liberia is actively seeking a range of investments in various sectors, including Agriculture, manufacturing, energy, and water. The ministry of commerce and industry is currently working to increase trade, and Liberia has a lot of advantages for investors seeking inward entry.

The Director of Global Business Network, British Chambers of Commerce, Anne-Marie Martin, stated that “Liberia remains one of Africa’s most attractive and emerging markets for British Investments”.

Towards attracting foreign direct investment, promoting and accelerating economic growth, the ministry of commerce along with its economic management team is working to utilize the free zone enacted in 2017 by President Geroge Weah.

Trade and investment incentives are anchored on the accessibility of loans in Liberia, as there are no real protectionist measures, whether, on the basis of regional or geopolitical consideration, banks are open to providing finance.


Africa

AfCFTA widens e-commerce opportunity for regional businesses (Chronicle)

THE African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) presents a window of opportunity for regional businesses and public entities to harness widening digital or electronic trading gains. Electronic (e) commerce has recently become a huge part of the global economy with businesses riding on digital resources to sell their products or services online. The outbreak of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown measures has given e-commerce higher impetus, as businesses were able to remain operational, taking advantage of the ability to reach more customers through contactless means than traditional retail. With so many people migrating to online and projected to make their purchases remotely, experts view e-commerce as the fastest-growing retail market. The operationalisation of the AfCFTA in January this year has come in handy for those businesses with a keen focus on digital trading.

Zimbabwe is already seized with the idea with the Government exploring the possibility of introducing mobile addresses and using drones for courier deliveries, among other electronic substitutes for the country’s post offices in line with global trends.

Inter-regional payments system crucial for AfCFTA success – Osinbajo (Vanguard)

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said that the development of an efficient inter-regional payments system aimed at facilitating ease of cross-border payments is essential to the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. This is even as business mogul, Aliko Dangote, counselled that the best approach to achieving Ease of Doing Business is for the government to prioritise removal of barriers to competitiveness. Osinbajo noted that foreign currencies have been mostly used for payments for intra-Africa trade which constrains the amount of trade that takes place because most African economies face foreign exchange constraints.

EAC ombudsman to iron out trade rows (Business Daily)

A new regulator or ombudsman for regional trade disputes with powers to investigate and address unfair trade practices and subsidies will begin operating at the end of this year. East Africa Community (EAC) Secretary- General Peter Mathuki said the Trade Remedies Committee (TRC) will assist businesses in the bloc’s five-member States when they have concerns over unfair trade deals from foreign rivals. Spats among member States have in recent times almost paralysed trade and led to huge losses incurred by traders. “We are in the process of setting up the Trade Remedies Committee to deal with matters including rules of origin, anti-dumping measures and subsidies. It is our hope that it will be in place before the end of the year,” Mr Mathuki said.

Experts had warned the delay of the EAC to effect the TRC was negatively affecting the business community, prolonging resolution of trade disputes and impacting on intra EAC trade.

Data Centre Operators Restate Commitment to Grow Africa’s Digital Infrastructure (THISDAY Newspapers)

Leading data centre operators across Africa are investing massively in expanding their footprint to power the explosive growth in data consumption and digital services fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic. The investments will ensure that large enterprises delivering services across Africa, and global Content Delivery Networks will be able to provide seamless and uninterrupted services to their subscribers without incurring the costs of building their own data centres. This was revealed at the recently concluded plenary session at the International Telecoms Week 2021, themed: “Explore the growing Data Center ecosystem in West Africa,” sponsored by MainOne.

S. Sudan joins Kenya and 47 other countries as a member of ATU (Kenya Broadcasting Nigeria)

The African Telecommunications Union (ATU) has welcomed its 49th member state after the Republic of South Sudan was officially admitted into the Union through an announcement made in Nairobi Kenya at the ATU Headquarters. South Sudan will be joining 48 other African countries and 54 ICT companies under the ATU umbrella. As a specialized agency of the African Union in the field of telecommunications/ICT, ATU represents its members’ interests at global decision-making ICT conferences and provides a forum for stakeholders involved in ICTs to formulate effective strategies to improve access to information infrastructure and services in the continent.

Cybercrime, A barrier to Africa’s thriving digital economy (UNECA)

Cybercrime is one of the top risk factors likely to jeopardize Africa’s economy especially at this time when the continent is transitioning to E-commerce under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). That’s according to panelists at a Book Talk hosted by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on 2 September 2021 The “Book Talk” was jointly organised by ECA’s Knowledge Management Section and the Information and Communications Technology Services Section (ICTSS) in collaboration with the Communications Section under the theme “Dangers/Risks of Cybercrime to E-Commerce in Africa”.

“Many domestic regulations on the internet are being enforced without paying due consideration to the global and universal nature of cyberspace, cyber security and its relevance for e-commerce,” said Almoustapha Cisse, ICTSS Chief, adding that cybercrime has become a big issue in the world because of emerging technology and high internet penetration on the continent.

Redirecting Attention to Domestic Gas (BusinessGhana)

Intra-African gas trade models such as the West African Gas Pipeline should be adopted in other emerging natural gas regions such as SADC and CEMAC, as they represent fundamental opportunities for enhanced domestic gas utilization and monetization. As a widely available resource in Africa and comprising the ideal transitionary resource in the transition to cleaner energy sources, natural gas has seen an influx of investment and development in recent years, with many stakeholders hoping to use the resource as a catalyst for enhanced energy sector and economic growth. With emerging natural gas markets in Nigeria, Mozambique, Senegal and Tanzania offering new energy sources for regional actors, and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) ensuring lucrative trade opportunities across the continent, attention is turning to regional distribution, with models such as the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) taking the lead.

Comprising a 681km natural gas pipeline, the WAGP is the first regional natural gas transmission system in sub-Saharan Africa, linking Nigeria’s gas-rich region of the Niger Delta to neighboring countries Benin, Togo and Ghana. With over 200 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas reserves in Nigeria, and growing demand across the entire West African region, the WAGP enables the transportation and distribution of critical gas reserves from gas-rich countries to high demand markets, establishing a viable gas network that will accelerate regional energy access.

Kagame rallies African leaders on sustainable food systems (The New Times)

President Paul Kagame has challenged African leaders to commit to the implementation of the long discussed ideas for the transformation of food systems and livelihoods that depend on them. He was addressing the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Presidential Summit hosted by President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, on September 8. Some 35 per cent of the world’s hungry people are in Africa, and yet 70 per cent of the continent’s adults work in agriculture and agribusiness. “If they aren’t doing well then Africa isn’t doing well,” Kagame said, as he made the case for equitable and affordable access to food for all.

He also touched on the daunting challenges of climate change, which continue to undermine food production on the continent. With stakes very high when it comes to climate change, Kagame has advocated for a common African voice on the global stage.

Put adaptation atop the climate change agenda, global leaders urge ahead of COP26. “We are in the eye of the storm.” (AfDB)

Global leaders stressed the critical urgency of climate adaptation when they came together in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on Monday at a meeting of the Friends of the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA). The agenda was the acceleration of adaptation solutions ahead of November’s United Nations global climate summit, COP26. The leaders underlined the imperative for all countries to step up climate adaptation initiatives while mitigating carbon emissions in the global effort to combat climate change.

More than fifty leaders from the international climate and development community impressed the need to forge a clear “adaptation acceleration imperative for COP26”. The meeting concluded with a communiqué adopted in the presence of the Dialogue’s co-conveners

In August, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published its most comprehensive assessment report ever, issuing a somber warning that planetary heating could reach 1.5°C in the next decade, as climate impacts worsen.

Verkooijen stressed that adapting the world to the climate emergency was essential for world safety. “We are now living in the eye of the storm…From now on we are fighting a battle on two fronts: we have to fight to slash emissions while investing the same level of energy to adapt to a global climate emergency,” Verkooijen said. While Africa is responsible for a mere 5% of global emissions, the continent bears a disproportionate negative impact of climate change. This includes changing rainfall patterns, droughts, floods, and other natural disasters. They affect agriculture and reduce food security. The leaders agreed that action on climate adaptation was even more urgent in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. “We need the world to come together and be very specific... We should see this as a combination of opportunities that should mobilize us,” Timmermans said. “Adaptation and mitigation are two sides of the same coin.” Addressing the financing aspects of climate adaptation, Adesina told participants that African countries had to make climate adaptation a key element of their recovery plans if they are to build back better from the Covid-19 pandemic.

COMESA To Hold 8th Annual Research Forum (COMESA)

The COMESA Secretariat will hold the Eighth Annual Research Forum virtually on 13-16 September 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. The theme for this year’s Forum is “Rethinking Trade and Doing Business in the Wake of COVID-19 Pandemic”. The theme has been motivated by the shock triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic which has plunged the global economy into a deep recession comparable only to the 2008 financial crisis and the Great depression of the 1930’s. According to trade experts, economic disruptions caused by COVID-19 resulted in an unprecedented decline of international trade in 2020. The subdued trade volumes reflect in part, possible shifts in supply chains as firms restore production to reduce vulnerabilities from reliance on foreign producers. For the COMESA region, disruptions in services supply have a broad economic and trade impact due to the sector’s role in providing inputs for other economic activities, including facilitating supply chains and trade in goods.

What is China’s role in Africa’s environmental degradation? (Quartz Africa)

China became the largest source of construction financing for infrastructural development at the turn of the 21st century. While legal systems vary in content or interpretation, a company theoretically is bound by both laws of its home country and the host country and the growing body of international law. In other words, a national firm must legally only be concerned by host country regulations but organizations operating in different countries must understand and comply with laws of both domestic and foreign countries where they operate. An unintended consequence of more stringent regulations on pollution globally is how firms relocate production to places with looser environmental regulations – a phenomenon known as the pollution haven hypothesis. There is evidence that host countries with “more relaxed” environmental regulations attract FDI from polluting industries.

Are African countries incentivized to have lax environmental regulations to attract FDI from China – a major funder of the region’s large scale infrastructure projects? According to China Africa Research Institute—a Johns Hopkins University research body—in 2019, the gross annual revenues of Chinese companies’ engineering and construction projects in Africa totaled $46 billion accounting for ~27% of global revenues for these companies. The top five countries for investment in such projects in Africa were Algeria, Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, and Angola.

Dubai’s Food And Beverage Trade With Africa Reaches $13.9 Billion Over 2015-2020 Period (Al-Bawaba)

Dubai’s food and beverage trade, excluding tobacco, reached $13.9 billion during the 2015-2020 period, while the sector has been identified as a key factor expected to drive bilateral trade in the short-term, new Dubai Chamber analysis has revealed. In 2020, the value of food and beverage trade (excluding tobacco) between Dubai and Africa amounted to $2.4 billion in food and beverage trade, marking a growth rate of 18 percent compared to the previous year and the highest level since 2017.

The analysis was released in the lead up to the 6th Global Business Forum Africa, organised by Dubai Chamber in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai. The study highlighted Dubai-Africa F&B bilateral trade trends by region, as well as the potential avenues for future cooperation. In 2020, North Africa accounted for the largest share of Dubai-Africa F&B trade, reaching a value of $971.2 million, followed by East Africa ($828.3 million). Southern Africa ranked third among Dubai’s largest food and beverage trading partners, with a total value of $362.9 million.


International

Economic recovery and growth beyond COVID (UNDP)

These are extraordinary times. We face at the same time a pandemic, a climate emergency, political polarization, continued conflicts, natural disasters and widespread humanitarian needs. The pandemic not only disrupted the global supply chains and slowed down the world economy, but it has also caused a severe reversal in well-being. The socio-economic impact of COVID-19 has been felt in every corner of the world, by people from all walks of life. Various data and analyses show that economies that could afford to provide universal social assistance, generous social insurance, and adequate labor market and SME support (in the form of tax deferrals, subsidies and liquidity support) have done so, with remarkable mitigating effects, largely neutralizing income losses, job losses and poverty increases. However, most developing economies have not been able to afford full mitigation.

While we cannot sum-up women in numbers, gender data are important (UNCTAD)

Gender gaps and biases continue in all spheres of life – wages, access to the internet, access to medicines, and medical research, just to name a few. Yet, data are not systematically collected and produced to understand these many gender gaps, especially those that persist in economy and trade. Lack of data can lead to misguided policy measures or unintended impacts. It may also reinforce gender bias and stereotyping. Sometimes lack of data can be a useful way of keeping a debate closed and preventing new perspectives. Assessing gender dimensions has not been part of the traditional toolbox. In many spheres, this has been neglected, including in global public health and international trade. Yet, this is changing, and we simply cannot afford not to invest in gender data if we are committed to fostering a more equal world through inclusive policies.

President Ramaphosa to participate in BRICS Summit (SAnews)

President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the South African delegation during his participation in the virtual 13th BRICS Summit scheduled for Thursday, 9 September 2021. The summit will be chaired by India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, as Chair of BRICS for 2021, under the theme, ‘[email protected]: lntra-BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation and Consensus’.

“Leaders will be focused on strengthening intra-BRICS relations and mutually beneficial cooperation across the BRICS pillars of cooperation, namely, political and security, economic and finance, social, and people-to-people cooperation,” the Presidency said ahead of Thursday’s summit.

The conference will also adopt the BRICS 2021 New Delhi Declaration, which emphasises the priorities of the Indian Chairship in 2021, namely reform of the multilateral system, counter-terrorism cooperation, the application of digital and technological solutions for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and enhancing people-to-people exchanges.

For this year’s summit, the Presidency said some of the cooperation outcomes include a revised Action Plan for Agricultural Cooperation of BRICS Countries, Counter-Terrorism Strategy Action Plan, Action Plan for implementing the Strategy on BRICS Economic Partnership, and revised BRICS Action Plan for Innovation Cooperation.

“South Africa’s membership of BRICS enables the country to employ additional and powerful tools in its fight to address its domestic triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality through increased trade, investment, tourism, capacity building, skills and technology transfers, particularly to address its post-pandemic economic recovery,” said the Presidency.

Regional countries reaffirm commitment to closer Africa-Caribbean unity (Jamaica Observer)

Guyana Tuesday called on African and Caribbean countries to collectively advocate for greater financial flows so as to allow them to adapt to the impact of climate change. “Climate change is a serious threat which is exacerbating and further weakening us. Developing countries like Guyana and our sister states in the Caribbean and Africa are facing great difficulties. We have not been historically responsible, but we suffer the greatest and are least equipped to respond,” President Irfaan Ali told the first ever Africa-Caribbean Community (Caricom) summit.

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