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A port that runs efficiently “can bring prosperity all around”, says Grindrod Freight Services CEO Xolani Mbambo. South Africa’s major ports are, however, currently ranked close to the bottom of the list in terms of global competitiveness. “Current rankings show that South Africa has been overtaken by some of Africa’s other ports in terms of port capacity and investment, and that some work needs to be done to put South Africa back on the map,” says Mbambo.
“If a port does not run efficiently, it means that we as South Africa lose volumes and vessel traffic to other countries in Africa, as well as any transshipment opportunities that may exist.
There was a rare double whammy of mining data in one go on Tuesday after the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) failed to deliver the June numbers on time for their scheduled August release because of ‘technical challenges’. Those challenges also mean that the June numbers estimated in last week’s GDP data may have been overstated. The delayed June data show that mining production for the month rose 19.1% on a year-on-year basis. Annual growth has been slowing since it soared over 117% in April owing to the fact that most mines stopped producing in April last year, the hardest full lockdown month of the pandemic. The ebb in annual growth since is partly explained by the sector rebooting ahead of most industries last year, so the base effects for comparison have not been rock bottom.
The GDP numbers showed an estimated 1.2% increase in the size of the economy in Q2, with mining output rising 1.9%. Stats SA said the sector contributed 0.1 percentage point to GDP growth. But Tuesday’s figures showed that for the three months to the end of June, mining output had grown only 0.6%. “There was a delay in releasing the June numbers ahead of the preliminary Q2 GDP print, but today’s figures show that seasonally adjusted mining production was up 0.6% q/q, reflecting that mining indeed contributed positively to GDP, but there is downside risk to the 1.9% q/q currently estimated,” FNB economist Koketso Mano said in a note on the data.
The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development recently sent a letter to all processors, packers, importers, exporters and retailers of animal and processed plant products, which products are regulated by the Agricultural Product Standards Act, 1990 (“the Agricultural Act”), confirming a change in approach in applying Section 6 of the Agricultural Act. The position previously had been that the various inspectors and agencies tasked with, inter alia, enforcing Section 6 of the Agricultural Act, were instructed to ignore any trade marks used in respect of the regulated products (either registered or in the process of being registered) that were regarded as misleading.
Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Kenya contracted by 0.3 per cent in 2020, mainly due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to the annual Economic Survey 2021 released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).
The Kenyan government ordered a temporary closure of international boundaries, imposed curfews and restricted movements in 2020. These policy measures affected both international and domestic trade, tourism and international travel. As a result, the year registered reduced international trade with the sharpest drop occurring in the second quarter of 2020. The total volume of trade declined to Kenya Shillings (KSh) 2,287.2 billion in 2020, from KSh 2,403.0 billion in 2019. The Kenyan government suspended international passenger flights from March 25-July 31, 2020 to contain the spread of COVID-19.
According to the survey, the economy was somewhat supported by accelerated growth in agricultural production (4.8 per cent), construction activities (11.8 per cent), financial and insurance activities (5.6 per cent) and health services activities (6.7 per cent). The government has recognised the Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) sector as a key contributor to the country’s GDP.
Big relief as Kenya maritime waters off global high risk list (Business Daily)
Cargo ships destined for Mombasa port will no longer have to use long routes after the Kenya maritime waters within the Indian Ocean was re-designated from the High-Risk Area (HRA) by the global shipping industry. The re-designation will see sea freight and maritime insurance premium for cargo going down. This will given Mombasa port a competitive edge against regional facilities such as Dar es Salaam port due to reduced importation and labour cost for seafarers aboard. The announcement last week to the London-based 174-member International Maritime Organisation (IMO) by the Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy and Enhance Maritime Security (BMP-5), is a relief for shippers who have been suffering for the past eight years.
Shippers Council of Eastern Africa (SCEA) said the move by global shipping industry would not only save Kenya and other East African traders millions of dollars in insurance and security expenses, but will encourage more ships to call at Mombasa port. “The move to remove the Kenyan maritime waters from a red list as a result of improved surveillance will lower cost of importation and also encourage those shipping companies which suspended its operations along such route to resume,” said SCEA chief executive officer Gilbert Lagat.
Mango exports to Pakistan expected to start in two weeks (Business Daily)
Kenya could make its maiden mango exports to Pakistan in about a fortnight as Nairobi races to endorse a long-delayed trade deal between the two countries. Mr Theophilus Mutui, the managing director of Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service(Kephis), said a memorandum of understanding (MoU) agreed upon by the two countries on mango trade is ready for approval—opening gates for shipments. “The draft is ready and we are just finalising on it, once we are done, it will be signed by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary then we shall be ready to start exports of our mango to Pakistan,” he said. Shipments to Pakistan would offer a reprieve to mango farmers who have been grappling with limited market access for the fruit, especially after exports to UK were stopped nearly a decade ago.
Metre Gauge rail revenue increases 6pc (Business Daily)
Revenue generated from cargo and passenger services on the metre gauge rail (MGR) trains increased by 6 percent in 2020 defying the economic knocks of the Covid-19 pandemic, official statistics show. The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data released last week shows that the passenger and cargo trains generated Sh1.196 billion last year, up from Sh1.130 billion in 2019. Revenue earned from MGR cargo stream however rose by 15.7 percent from Sh963 million in 2019 to Sh 1.114 billion in 2020. The pandemic hit hard the logistics sector including public transport and the long-haul transits following the imposed night curfew and restrictions of movement in and out of Nairobi metropolitan area, Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale and Mandera. The restrictions were lifted in May. The cargo service remained in operation as the passenger trains were halted in line with government’s directives, to support flow of goods through the Mombasa port. “Increase in cargo revenue is partly attributed to increase in the volume of high value cargo transported in the review period,” says the KNBS report.
Kenya to manufacture Covid vaccines starting next year (The East African)
Kenya will next year start manufacturing Covid-19 vaccines locally in collaboration with unnamed pharmaceutical firms in a move aimed at easing supply hitches that have derailed mass inoculation. Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe revealed in an internal vaccination blue print that the country has started the process of building a filling plant for the Covid-19 vaccines. A full-fledged vaccine manufacturing plant will be built by 2024, said Mr Kagwe. A fill and finish facility helps third parties put the vaccine from the main manufacturers into vials or syringes, sealing them and packaging them up for distribution.
“To improve our vaccine supply security, the government has embarked on the local manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines starting with the establishment of a fill-and finish facility through strategic partnerships and technological transfer,” said Mr Kagwe in the National Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Plan, 2021.
Private millers boost Kenya’s sugar production – survey (The Star, Kenya)
Kenya’s 2020 sugar production increased but was mainly driven by private millers as state-owned millers continued to struggle. Total cane production increased by 47.8 per cent from 4.6 million tonnes in 2019 to 6.8 million tonnes, the Economic Survey 2021 shows, as farmers developed confidence in private millers. This resulted in higher industrial production of 603,800 tonnes up from 440,900 tonnes in 2019, on increased harvest and delivery of mature canes for crushing. The high local production came as imports declined by 3.1 per cent from 458,600 metric tonnes to 444,500 tonnes in 2020, mostly duty-free imports from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa).The decrease was mainly attributed to lower shipment of white refined sugar in 2020 as a result of low consumption by the hotels, restaurants and cafes due to the Covid-19 pandemic effects.
Mr Bonaventure Adjavor, Director Economic Trade and Investment Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration says Ghana need to expedite action on the implementation of an internal indirect tax reform measures. He said these reform measures would facilitate the creation of the Free Trade Area and the Common External Tariff.
He said “while we need to take urgent steps to ensure free movement of goods and services, we also have to initiate other measures to develop the region’s production capacity, remove all constraints and obstacles to intra-regional trade.”
Enhancing Nigeria’s Maritime Security for Improved National Prosperity (THISDAY Newspapers)
The maritime domain is a resource provider and critical contributor to growth and prosperity of the countries lining its coasts as well as those inwards due to the access its grants them. Therefore, to enhance national prosperity, as well as address the myriad threats of piracy, crude oil theft and illegal fishing, the Nigerian Navy recently held the 2021 Chief of Naval Staff Conference,
The quote by the CNS was quite expedient given the rich resources the nation has been blessed with. According to the 2020 report from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigeria’s maritime environment is rich in hydrocarbon deposits with proven oil reserves of about 28.2 billion barrels representing 1.63 per cent of total global oil reserves and 165 trillion standard cubic feet (scf) natural gas reserves.
Essentially, the oil and gas sector accounts for about 10 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and petroleum exports revenue represents about 86 per cent of total exports revenue of the country as postulated by Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) this year.
‘Dala inland dry port vital for AfCFTA, trans-sahara trade development’ (The Guardian Nigeria)
Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shipper’s Council (NSC), Emmanuel Jime, has affirmed that the Dala Inland Dry Port (IDP) in Kano State would boost trans-sahara trade and the implementation of Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement.
The NSC boss, in a statement by the Head, Public Relations of the council, Rakiya Dhikru-Yagboyaju, said Dala IDP, when completed, would further decongest the seaports, reduce the cost of doing business and provide an avenue for shippers in the hinterland and neighboring countries like Niger, Chad, and Benin to have their cargoes transported to their doorsteps.
E-commerce Spending In Nigeria Estimated At $13b Per Annum– Trade Ministry (LEADERSHIP Newspapers)
The ministry of industry, trade and investment said current e-commerce spending in Nigeria is estimated at about $13 billion per annum and projected to rise to $75 billion in revenues by 2025. “E-commerce in Post COVID-19 Economy, Potential Change in Business Process Outlook and Shifting Domestic and Global Policies on Commodity Trade,” was the theme of the roundtable.
According to her, the ministry was passionate about the growing investment opportunities in the e-commerce value chain, which are capable of contributing significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). “Interestingly, e-commerce provides an alternative to sustain businesses and preserve millions of jobs in the face of COVID-19 challenge,” she added. “For instance, in China, e-commerce companies played a key role in the supply of food and other essential commodities to residents of Wuhan during the knockdown period in 2020.
She expressed displeasure on the shutting down of many industrial facilities, restriction of goods and movement and disruption of global supply chain due to the economic effect of the global pandemic. This, she said no doubt brought about a rise in unemployment rate, decline in revenue and increase in food security crisis.
The Government of Egypt will next month implement a new trade facilitation technology which will improve processing time and reduce costs for all exporters to the country. The new process – the Advance Cargo Information (ACI) system – is a block-chain based technology that will help fully automate the customs process for all goods entering Egypt. Using electronic data, the new system will identify goods before they are shipped, enabling goods to be checked and cleared before they reach Egyptian ports. The ACI system, which has been undergoing pilot tests since 1 April 2019, will be implemented at all Egypt’s ports on 1 October 2021. Already, 16,000 companies importing goods into Egypt have registered on the new ACI system.
Egypt has embarked on ambitious plans to transform its trade infrastructure, including the modernisation of its entire customs management system. In April 2019, the Government launched the National Single Window for Foreign Trade Facilitation (Nafeza), a single digital trade portal for all import, export and transit operations, linking up all Egypt’s ports.
Cameroon-Equatorial Guinea: Fostering Trade For Regional Growth (Cameroon Tirbune)
Economic ties especially trade between Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea are positive with importation and exportation taking place within well stipulated legal terms. Collaborating for the growth of these trade relations and the subsequent progress of the Central Africansub-region is a fundamental concern for the two brotherly countries whose bilateral relations operate on mutually beneficial agreements. To further deepen cooperation ties, the President of the Republic, Paul Biya, on September 13,2021, granted an audience to the Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea, Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima. He was also the bearer of a sealed message from President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo to the President of the Republic. In the course of the audience, President Paul Biya and the Minister talked on exploiting natural resources in the mines sector for the development of the two countries and the sub region affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Fostering trade within the African free trade continental zone equally came under discussion at the Unity Palace audience.
As concerns bilateral trade, importation and exportation between Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea according to information from the customs department is smooth. Goods and services are transported by land, sea and air. Cameroon imports mainly crude petroleum, car parts and petroleum gas, and in return exports refined petroleum, broths and chocolate to Equatorial Guinea.
Somalia’s Economy Rebounding from ‘Triple Shock’ (World Bank)
Somalia’s economy is rebounding from the “triple shock” that ravaged the country in 2020: the COVID-19 pandemic, extreme flooding, and the locust infestation. Real GDP growth is projected at 2.4 percent in 2021. This growth momentum is expected to continue in the medium term and reach pre-COVID-19 levels of 3.2 percent in 2023. The latest World Bank Somalia Economic Update reports that the economy contracted by 0.4 percent in 2020, less severe than the 1.5 percent contraction projected at the onset of the global pandemic. Higher-than-anticipated aid flows, fiscal policy measures put in place by the Federal Government of Somalia to aid businesses, social protection measures to cushion vulnerable households, and higher-than-expected remittance inflows mitigated the adverse effects of the triple shock.
Central Bank of Sudan: Trade deficit down by 25% (Radio Dabanga)
The Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS) has announced the annual deficit in Sudan’s Balance of Trade (BOT) (the difference between exports and imports) has been reduced by 25 per cent to $1.6 billion. Sudan’s BOT deficit was $2.50 billion in the corresponding period of last year. In a statement, Monday, the CBoS said that that the value of Sudanese exports rose 25.1 per cent on an annual basis to $2.53 billion, While imports rose 3.9 per cent to $4.16 billion during the period.
The trade deficit narrowed to 1275.4 million dinars (MD) in August 2021, from 1409.3 MD in July 2021, according to a note on Foreign Trade at current prices (CVS-CEC), August 2021, published by the National Institute of Statistics (INS) Tuesday. The coverage rate gained 3.5 points in August 2021 compared to July 2021 to stand at 75.7%.
“After a sharp decline in July 2021, trade is picking up pace in August. Indeed, imports increased by 3.7% and exports rose by 8.7%, thus returning to their pre-pandemic levels (+3.8% compared to February 2020),” said the INS. Excluding energy products, exports went up 11.6%, while imports dropped 4.6%.
The UK formally commits to the AfCFTA’s success (Quartz Africa)
On Sept. 13 in Ghana, James Duddridge, the UK’s minister for Africa, signed a memorandum of understanding with Wamkele Mene, the secretary-general of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) secretariat. It makes Britain’s commitment to the success of the trade bloc, which includes several former colonies, official. Duddridge said the UK was “the first non-African nation to recognize the opportunities for trade and investment” proposed by the AfCFTA. Ranil Jayawardena, the UK’s minister for international trade said the MOU “shows our commitment to boosting bilateral trade and investment, leading to sustainable economic growth across the continent.”
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a $50 million Trade Finance Unfunded Risk Participation Agreement (RPA) facility between the African Development Bank and Standard Chartered Bank. The agreement is expected to boost intra-Africa trade, promote regional integration, and contribute to the reduction of the trade finance gap in Africa, in line with implementation aspirations of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Speaking soon after the Board approval, the Bank’s Director for Financial Sector Development, Stefan Nalletamby, stated: “We are excited about finalizing this facility with Standard Chartered Bank as it offers us the flexibility to use our strong AAA-rated risk-bearing capacity to increase access to trade finance and boost intra/extra- African trade on the continent, in support of the AfCFTA. This partnership is expected to catalyze more than $600 million in value of trade finance transactions across multi-sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and energy over the next three years.”
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UN 2015) Goal 9 aims to increase the manufacturing sector’s output and share to GDP by 100% by 2030. The UN advocates that this can be achieved through the building of infrastructure which promotes inclusive and sustainable industries to encourage innovation. Despite infrastructure investments being made in Africa, the goal to double productivity in the industries seems a far target to reach. Scientific research together with innovation remains below global average. The World Bank Enterprise Survey in 2017 showed that less than 50% of the enterprises in African states are non-innovative especially when the 2030 Agenda seeks to ensure the sustainable development of Africa through innovation.
Eighty percent of the world’s worst performers in innovation performance, governance and infrastructure quality are low-income countries, especially in sub-Saharan African countries, and the remaining 20% are low-income countries from other regions. Burundi, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Togo, Guinea and Nigeria have the worst innovation, infrastructure and governance quality.
Cryptocurrency flows in Africa (Brookings)
The use of cryptocurrencies in Africa is on the rise, as digital currencies offer a swift, convenient, and direct peer-to-peer channel for remittance payments, international commerce, and savings. To better understand the global landscape around cryptocurrency use, Chainalysis, a leading cryptocurrency market research firm, recently released a report examining key geographic trends around the financial tool, including in the nascent African crypto market. Although Africa captures only 2 percent of the global value of all cryptocurrencies received and sent (Figure 1), making it the world’s smallest cryptocurrency economy, the rising prominence of this innovative form of money is altering traditional financial flows to and from the continent.
Southern and Eastern Africa face the twin challenges of growing agricultural production to meet food demand while adapting to extreme weather. And climate change makes addressing these challenges extremely urgent. Southern Africa is a climate change hotspot. Eastern Africa is projected to still have good average rainfall, although temperatures will increase and floodings become more frequent. There is huge potential for meeting these twin challenges across Eastern and Southern Africa, where there are in fact good soils and water availability in many countries. However, markets are not working well, especially for small and medium-scale farmers and agri-businesses which are at the heart of inclusive food value chains. These participants are often not receiving fair prices for their produce due to the way markets have been working, including powerful interests, high transport costs and poor facilities such as those for storage.
Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan on Tuesday addressed the First India-Africa Agriculture and Food Processing Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). “On the trade and economic front, India is the fourth largest trading partner for Africa registering USD 69.7 billion trade with Africa during 2018-19 and has become the fifth largest investor in Africa with its cumulative investment at USD 70.7 billion. The Duty-Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme announced by India has benefited African nations by extending duty-free access to 98.2 per cent of India’s total tariff lines. With a collective GDP of over USD 2.4 trillion and a population of more than 1.3 billion, Africa offers a great market to rising economies like India, “Muraleedharan said.
“African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which has come into force from January 01 is expected to play a greater role on pan African agriculture development. It will help Africa realize its full potential, as per their priorities in agri-business to attain self-sufficiency in food security. We may explore the possibility of increasing our economic & commercial ties with Africa making use of the available opportunities under the AfCFTA, “he added. Ethiopia’s Minister of Agriculture Oumar Hussien, Ghana’s Minister of Food and Agriculture Owusu Afriyie Akoto, South Africa’s Minister of Agriculture Angela Thoko Didiza, Rajiv Wahi, Chairman, CII India Africa Agriculture Core Group, Dawood Bin Ozair, CEO, Blue Star International and S Kuppuswamy, Co-Chair, CII Africa Committee were present during the summit.
Global trade volumes rebound but UK “lagging”, report finds (Global Trade Review)
Global trade is recovering strongly after a pandemic-induced downturn in 2020, but progress is uneven, with the UK, Africa and the Middle East among those lagging behind, a major UN report finds. In its annual trade and development report, published today, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says the global economy is expected to bounce back in 2021 after a 5.6% drop in international goods and services trade last year. UNCTAD estimates that real growth in goods and services will total 9.5% in 2021, with overall global economic growth hitting 5.3% – the highest figure in almost half a century.
In the case of Africa and the Middle East, UNCTAD says both regions’ export volumes are largely dependent on oil. An agreement reached by OPEC+ in April last year has sharply reduced extraction, resulting in export volumes remaining low – despite positive price effects boosting revenues for major oil exporters. “Meanwhile, imports of this group have remained extremely flat, mirroring the subdued rebound in economic activities in these countries,” the report adds.
Forum cooperation on SDGs (Ahram Online)
Green recovery, securing development finance, and mobilising international efforts to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while recovering from the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic were the main topics at the two-day International Cooperation Forum (ICF) organised by Egypt this week. The ICF aimed to help lay the foundations for sustainable recovery and push the international development agenda forward amid the ongoing pandemic, while discussing ways to achieve Egypt’s 2030 Vision, closely linked to the SDGs and the Africa We Want Agenda 2063.
“Members themselves must want to achieve progress. Members themselves must want to negotiate. And members themselves need to be in the driving seat on the road to MC12,” said the chair, Ambassador Gloria Abraham Peralta of Costa Rica. In her opening remarks, the chair reminded members that, by improving the functioning of food and agricultural markets, an outcome at the upcoming ministerial conference could make a meaningful contribution to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic — and also help address other challenges members face, such as food insecurity and poverty. “We all have a role to play,” she said.
The World Bank’s updated Groundswell report released today finds that climate change, an increasingly potent driver of migration, could force 216 million people across six world regions to move within their countries by 2050. Hotspots of internal climate migration could emerge as early as 2030 and continue to spread and intensify by 2050. The report also finds that immediate and concerted action to reduce global emissions, and support green, inclusive, and resilient development, could reduce the scale of climate migration by as much as 80 percent.
“The Groundswell report is a stark reminder of the human toll of climate change, particularly on the world’s poorest—those who are contributing the least to its causes. It also clearly lays out a path for countries to address some of the key factors that are causing climate-driven migration,” said Juergen Voegele, Vice President of Sustainable Development, World Bank. “All these issues are fundamentally connected which is why our support to countries is positioned to deliver on climate and development objectives together while building a more sustainable, safe and resilient future.”