tralac Daily News
THE Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement 2021 appreciates building a prosperous society requires much higher levels of economic growth, supported by structural reforms, improved state capacity, and sustainable public finances. The aim of structural reforms is to boost an economy’s competitiveness, growth potential and ability to adjust. This is consistent with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s emphasis “We are determined not merely to return our economy to where it was before the coronavirus, but to forge a new economy in a new global reality.” Accordingly, the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan identified eight key areas of priority including infrastructure roll-out and localisation through industrialisation.
Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has acknowledged that its port charges needed to be reviewed following concerns from port users and stakeholders including the automotive sector that the cost was becoming prohibitive.
At the launch of TNPA’s operational model on 18 November, officials said several studies, some involving the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) and another by the utility in collaboration with the University of Stellenbosch, were being engaged to help it understand means of reducing the cost structure.
Kenya, S. Africa to discuss post-Covid revival as Ramaphosa hosts Kenyatta (The East African)
The revival of tourism post Covid-19 is set to dominate talks when South African President Cyril Ramaphosa hosts his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta for a three-day official visit. The two countries’ economies contracted after being pummelled by the impact of the coronavirus crisis that hit key sectors like tourism.
“Memoranda of Agreement on cooperation in International Cooperation and Relations, Home Affairs and Tourism are expected to be signed,” the Presidency in South Africa said in a statement. The two heads of state will also address the South Africa-Kenya Business Forum to further explore new areas of economic, trade and investment cooperation.
Dar es Salaam. The government yesterday explained why the decision by South Africa to give market access to avocados produced by Tanzanian farmers was an important step in boosting the economy. It also said that it would continue to take measures to ensure that more international markets are accessed on a sustainable basis in the best interest of Tanzanian farmers and the nation.
A letter from the South African Plant Health’s acting director Jan Hendrik Venter dated November 16, 2021 says the decision was reached after a virtual bilateral engagement. “On November 9, 2021, the National Plant Protection Organization of Tanzania (NPPOT) provided a pre-recorded video presentation to the NPPOZA to verify and pre-test pest risk management practices in order to allow authorisation of avocados from Tanzania to South Africa,” reads the letter to Tanzanian authorities in part.
“The moment we supply the product, South Africa faces a huge demand for the product to the extent of importing from Spain. But, because of the proximity, Tanzania stands at a better position to benefit,” he said.
Manufacturers have called on Kenyans to support the local economy by purchasing locally produced goods and products. The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) Chairperson, Mucai Kunyiha made the remarks at the official launch of the Changamka Kenya Shopping Festival. He stated that the event will build producers’ confidence in the quality of their products.
On her part, KAM CEO Phyllis Wakiaga pointed out that local producers have ramped up their efforts to build their capacity to serve both the local, regional and international markets. “We intend to boost our members’ technical ability and knowledge about the nature and quality of in order to build Kenyan businesses to access more markets,” she said, adding that the association is keen to support emerging firms to penetrate the rest of the African region. This will increase intra-African trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the Middle East and Europe. This will expand the Kenyan economy by at least Ksh. 300 billion if done successfully.
Betty Maina, the Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development noted that the Changamka Festival lends itself to the broader national Buy Kenya, Build Kenya strategy designed to position Kenya as an export-oriented growth economy while at the same time maintaining a level of domestic consumption sufficient to support the local value chains.
Manufacturers say not yet out of Covid woods despite growth (Business Daily)
The second quarter growth numbers attributed to the manufacturing sector was inflationary driven and not increased productivity, players in the sector have said, arguing that the industry is still hurting from the Covid-19 pandemic. The sector lobby, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), says the strong growth in the three months to June was mainly due to increases in prices, triggered by supply restraints. Data published by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) show the sector’s real GDP – that does not factor in inflation - grew by 9.6 percent in the quarter to June compared to a contraction of 4.7 percent in the same period of 2020.
“The sector has been growing because of the value and because things are getting more expensive. It is not necessarily the volume that is going up. It is just the price of things going higher and higher,” KAM chairman Mr Mucai Kuhinya said.
The socio-economic success of Africa depends on the commitment of African countries to invest significantly in the development of their infrastructure. South Africa is one of the like-minded countries on the continent that has embarked on infrastructure projects as a catalyst for economic growth.
In the next few days, the Minister in The Presidency, Mr Mondli Gungubele, is expected to visit one of the near-completed road infrastructure projects in Musina, Limpopo.
The R640-million Musina Ring Road project is scheduled to be opened early in 2022. It will divert the Nl road around the town of Musina in Limpopo to facilitate a free flow of traffic to the Beitbridge border with neighbouring Zimbabwe. The national road upgrade is led by the Department of Transport and the South African National Road Agency (SANRAL).
ECA Sub-Region Office for Southern Africa supported a two-day workshop to work with Zimbabwean experts to develop an Action Plan on alignment and harmonization of regional and national frameworks on industrialization in Zimbabwe. The action plan is being developed as part of support under the United Nations 12th Tranche project which aims to accelerate industrial development and economic integration in Southern Africa by enhancing the capacity of regional member States to develop and implement harmonized natural-resource based industrialization policies, frameworks and strategies. To anchor the development of action plans and the support to member States, SRO-SA commissioned an analytical study on Alignment and harmonization of regional and national frameworks on Industrialization, and National Domestication of Regional Strategies and Policies to support Industrial Development in Southern Africa, focusing on Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Cape Verde on Saturday pledged better cooperation and increased trade relations with Nigeria. The Minister of Cape Verde, Jose Silva, who made the pledge in Abuja on Saturday at the official opening of the first ever Cape Verdean Embassy in Nigeria, stressed that tourism and transportation would top the areas of cooperation. Speaking to newsmen after the official opening of the Embassy, Silva said the inauguration of the embassy was a great step toward better cooperation and regional integration. “The opening of this embassy means to strengthen the relationship between Cape Verde and Nigeria both politically and culturally. “Also, we will strengthen our relationship with Cape Verde as well as its integration within the ECOWAS region.
AfCFTA: Ghana must accept biotech products (BusinessGhana)
Dr Ahmed Alhassan Yakubu, a former Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture has asked Government to, as a matter of urgency, operationalise the legal framework for biotechnology products in the country to boost commercial production. This is because, Government would not have any excuse not to accept the introduction of biotech products in to the Ghanaian market if the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) became fully operationalised. Dr Yakuku, who was talking to the media on the sidelines of a three-day training for Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) coordinators in Accra on Monday, said the framework for sub regional and regional trade made the movement of biotech products legal, adding that with the coming on board of AfCFTA, more biotech products would influx the Ghanaian market.
Trade exchange between Egypt, COMESA countries records $3bn in 2020: Cabinet (Daily News Egypt)
The Information and Decision Support Center of the Egyptian Cabinet has released a study on the trade relations between Egypt and the COMESA community, whose membership comprises 21 African countries. The centre said that COMESA is among the most important trading partner for Egypt within the African continent. The volume of trade exchange between Egypt and COMESA countries recorded about $3bn in 2020, accounting for about 60% of the total trade exchange between Egypt and the African continent last year. The centre also said that Egypt had a trade surplus of $1.4bn from its business relations with the COMESA countries during 2020.
PM: Govt following up on procedures to facilitate movement of goods with African states (Egypt State Information Service)
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli said that the government is constantly following up on the procedures adopted to facilitate the movement of goods between Egypt and fellow African countries, pointing out to the paramount importance attached to boosting Egyptian exports in light of the quality and price competitiveness of national products and commodities. All possible means of support are provided for Egyptian exports to open up new markets for them, Madbouli added.
Malawi’s first solar power plant goes into operation (Pumps Africa)
Malawi’s first solar power plant is now operational. President of the Republic of Malawi Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera announced that the project was successfully completed under a public-private partnership (PPP). Dubbed ‘Salima solar power plant’ the facility, which has a capacity of 60 MWp, is the first solar power plant to be connected to Malawi’s national electricity grid. “This is a model for future projects in several ways, in particular, it demonstrates that Malawi is an attractive destination for private sector investment in energy,” said President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera.
Intra-African Trade Fair 2021 highlights
IATF 2021 closes with $36bn recorded deals (National Accord)
The Intra-African Trade Fair 2021 (IATF 2021) came to an end on Sunday in Durban, South Africa, recording $36 billion deals during the week long event. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event held physically in Durban, South Africa, while some other participants joined virtually from different parts of the world. Speaking during the closing ceremony, Mrs Kanayo Awani, the Managing Director, Intra-African Trade Initiative in Afreximbank, said: “Let me just announce that as of now, we have $36 billion in deals concluded at IATF 2021.
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) on 18 November 2021 in Durban, South Africa, further consolidated its position as a leader in funding the development of trade infrastructure across Africa with the signing of four major business transactions on Day Four of the Intra-African Trade Fair 2021 (IATF2021). In a transaction with Fidelity Bank, Afreximbank agreed to a US$10 million facility to Fidelity Bank to enable it finance trade and trade-related transactions across the continent. Proposed as a one-year revolving facility, with funds being utilised for short-term trade transactions on a case-by-case basis, the facility will be applied to projects, such as eligible exports, value-adding exports and eligible imports, in critical sectors, such as manufacturing, agriculture, power and energy.
Afreximbank also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Bestaf Exploration and Production Ltd, for US$1 billion to be used for the development of assets and requisite facilities to monetise the gas in OML 86 and 88 through a financial and technical service agreement with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
In a third signing, Afreximbank agreed to issue a line of credit to Senegal’s Banque National de Developpement Economique as part of efforts to promote factoring across Africa. The facility supports Afreximbank’s factoring strategy which is structured around supporting financial intervention, legal and regulatory frameworks, awareness and capacity building, services and the development and maintenance of strategic partnerships.
Africa’s share of global trade remains low at two per cent, Secretary General, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Wamkele Mene, has said. Besides, a total of $36 billion transactions were sealed at the end of the 2021 Intra African Trade Fair (IATF). Speaking at the closing ceremony of the event in Durban, South Africa, Mene said the continent might not record meaningful growth if it remains overly dependent on export of raw commodities. He also expressed worry on Africa’s infrastructural deficit, currently at $100 billion, stating that this has continued to impede the continent’s trade growth. He insisted that Africans must shift from raw materials export to manufactured or finished products to accelerate industrial base and diversify exports.
Regional Farmers Risk Losses Over KQ, Ethiopia Airlines Fight (Taarifa Rwanda)
Tshifhiwa Modiba, managing director of Anwa Laboratoria which manufacture health products, said his company signed numerous deals in the fair. ”We have had fruitful meetings with businesspeople from Algeria, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, and Rwanda who want us to set up plants in their countries and manufacture there,” she said.
The chairperson of the IATF21 Advisory Council Olusegun Obasanjo said his “heart is full of joy” over the achievements made at the trade fair. He stated that despite the challenges of COVID-19 the show was very successful. ”We are celebrating the incredibly exciting event … with so many deals being concluded. Many businesses did take advantage of the collaboration and networking opportunities,” he said. Wamkele Mene, secretary general of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, said the continent has huge infrastructure deficit which could be opportunities. He urged Africans to take up the opportunities to make AfCFTA a success. ”We now have opportunities to reduce and eliminate barriers to trade and investment in the continent. There is a high level of political and legal commitment Africa has never seen,” he added.
African leaders have been urged to dismantle trade barriers stifling their individual countries, in a bid to ensure smooth flow of goods and services, with a corresponding impact on economic growth and development across the continent. The call was made by the Group Chief Commercial Officer of Dangote Industries Limited, Mr Rabiu Umar, during an interview aired on The Morning Show, a breakfast programme of the Arise News Channel, on the sidelines of the just-concluded Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) held in Durban, South Africa. Rabiu, who represented the Dangote Group, a platinum sponsor of the trade fair, also called for reforms at the various ports across Africa. He noted that “bringing down these barriers will mean that goods and services can move much more freely on the continent from one country to another.”
EMBRACING digital technology skills must be a top priority for African women and youth start-up businesses as they navigate the widening export market opportunities within the continent and beyond, says the International Trade Centre (ITC). ITC executive director, Pamela Coke-Hamilton, said more needs to be done to capacitate women and youth entrepreneurs with export development skills and market intelligence aspects. “There are several skills needed, but one of the most important is digital. Going digital is now critical for small firms,” she said in an interview.
Africa cannot continue to be the receptacle for dumped used vehicles from Europe, the US and Japan. That’s the warning from former South African finance and trade and industry minister Alec Erwin. “If we do that, it’s actually unsustainable because it is causing increasingly big balance of payments problems. Secondly, it’s causing significant environmental damage and thirdly it’s restricting our industrialisation. “So we need to move forward on this,” he said.
Taking recent World Bank World Development Indicators (WDI) data for the subset for sub-Saharan African countries, the share of manufacturing in GDP in 2020 was 12%, the same as it was in 2002, but up from as low as 9.2% in 2010. Despite the downturn in 2020, annual growth in real manufacturing value added was 3.3% over the decade to 2020 (up from 3% in the previous decade), significantly better than the 2.8% (and 1.9% respectively) annual growth for the world as a whole. Some countries have really transformed their industrial sector in recent years. Unfortunately, though, conflict may now halt Ethiopia’s substantial garment manufacturing based on industrial parks and duty-free access to the US, which has now been withdrawn.
The AfCFTA entered into force in May 2019. Intra-African trading under AfCFTA officially began in January 2021. To benefit from AfCFTA liberalisation, many countries such as Nigeria and Ghana are developing much needed complementary industrialisation policies to develop regional value chains in automotives, garments, etc. In addition, countries need to raise their game on standards, customs procedures and other trade facilitation measures, as vital complements to make use of market access opportunities.
Full implementation of deep integration provisions will benefit African economies, although adjustment support is required for specific segments such as small countries, import competing sectors, small and medium sized enterprises or women producers. A more integrated Africa that is more open for business will also attract investment from outside the continent.
The African Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has the potential to lift millions of people out of poverty and end food insecurity on the Continent, but Nigeria has not been positioned as the ‘real’ stakeholder for agro-export under this agreement, MD/CEO, Abx World Limited, Captain John Okakpu has said. Okakpu who dropped the hint over the weekend, stressed that the country participation and gain from AfCFTA, in the agricultural value chain, depends on the effectiveness and implementation of government policies, especially in the agricultural sector.
“If you look at the trend, Africa exports agricultural products such as tomatoes, onions, vegetables, cocoa, coffee, cotton, yam tobacco and spices to the nations of the world to earn significant foreign exchange. But the continent imports important foods such as cereals, vegetable oils, dairy products and meat in large quantities. Now, our neighbouring countries have positioned themselves to benefit from AfCFTA by building robust logistics and cost-effective export systems. So, looking at it critically, our logistics cost cemented our losses on AfCFTA unless we address it now,” Okakpu said.
Connecting people and markets within and between African countries and regions is a longstanding aspiration and a core part of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). In this line, the AfCFTA aims to (1) address the challenge of multiple and overlapping regional economic community memberships and speed up regional and continental integration processes, and (2) contribute to the movement of people, which aligns with the African Union Free Movement Protocol (AU-FMP). This paper discusses these two objectives and looks at how the AfCFTA and the FMP alter state relations on trade and movement of people, and how AfCFTA implementation will interact with existing regional agendas and initiatives. It looks at policy statements and the political economy dynamics likely to shape integration and cooperation efforts, and helps identify policy priorities for African stakeholders at the national, regional and continental levels, as well as their external partners.
Africa’s economic transformation is a critical component to improve Africa’s living standards and an increase in intra-Africa trade through the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area supports transformation on the continent. The event, organised under the programme Supporting Investment and Trade in Africa (SITA), aims to create a space to present and discuss how the negotiations and implementation of the AfCFTA can contribute to Africa’s economic transformation and better outcomes in key sectors, such as trade, green recovery and digital transformation. During the event, the speakers will consider the practical implications for state governments and development partners, highlighting the support available to those involved in its implementation at national level and the key opportunities ahead.
EAC registers trade surplus with UK despite Covid-19 (The Citizen)
Despite the devastating impact of Covid-19 pandemic last year, the East African Community (EAC) bloc recorded a rare trade surplus with the United Kingdom (UK). While the EAC imported goods worth $503.5million in 2020, it exported goods valued at $523.9 million to the UK, one of Europe’s largest economies. Exports from the six nation EAC bloc increased by 14 percent last year from $458million in 2019, according to the East African Business Council (EABC).
UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Tanzania Mr. John Lord Walney said at the EABC offices that the UK was committed to revitalize aid for trade relationships with the EAC bloc “as the region has vast endowments and opportunities”. He commended the business captains in their relentless efforts to break the notorious trade barriers that could minimize the cost of doing business.
About 100 decision-makers and economic experts attended the 25th session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts (ICSOE) organised by UN Economic Commission for Africa in Eastern Africa to discuss how countries should strengthen resilience for a strong recovery and how to attract investments to foster economic diversification and long-term growth in Eastern Africa”.
Speaking at the meeting, Ms Vera Songwe, the Executive Secretary of the UNECA, stressed how in 2020, the economy of Eastern Africa shrunk for the first time in decades. She said that the agricultural sector was not spared, facing weather-related shocks and the biggest desert locust invasion in 70 years. Yet she emphasised her optimism, saying that early projections suggest that the region’s economy will expand by 3% this year, with certain economies such as Djibouti, Eritrea, Rwanda and Uganda rebounding by over 4%. She also noted the progress that had been made towards ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and affirmed ECA’s continued support to the implementation of national strategies.
UNECA and AUDA–NEPAD renew partnership to enhance sustainable growth in Africa (Sierra Leone Telegraph)
The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance their partnership and collaboration to accelerate the achievement of Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It will be a living document that provides deeper cooperation between ECA and AUDA-NEPAD teams to work together, especially as the six areas of cooperation identified in the MoU are in line with what the two organizations have been doing together.
UN Under-Secretary-General and ECA’s Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, said the MoU was a demonstration of how much the two organizations can pool together and raise their ambitions to achieve Africa’s transformation Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. The objectives of the MoU are to implement the joint work programme for 2021-2023 in six broad priority areas of the organizations’ respective mandates and function; build resilience for sustainable development in Africa as per Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030; and explore any strategic initiatives that might not be part of ongoing mandate but justified by the importance of unexpected events in line with the six broad priority areas.
Sky wars: Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda carriers expand as Ethiopian, KQ falter (The East African)
As East Africa’s leading carriers Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways grapple with financial and politically instigated crises, regional carriers Air Tanzania, Uganda Airlines and RwandAir have laid out plans to eat the big boys’ lunch. This came to light at the just-concluded 2021 Dubai Air Show, where Uganda Airlines and Air Tanzania signed deals that prepare them for the battle for the skies with ET and KQ. They signed aircraft and spare parts supply deals with leading manufacturers Airbus and Boeing to ensure seamless services in the region and beyond. In the meantime, RwandAir has signed a codeshare agreement with Qatar Airways that allows the Kigali-based airline to use the Qatari carrier’s huge network to bring competition right to the doorsteps of ET and KQ.
The SADC Secretariat, the Republic of Malawi and the SADC Business Council, will be hosting the 5th annual SADC industrialisation Week (SIW) from 22-26 November 2021 at Bingu Wa Mutharika International Convention Centre in Lilongwe, Malawi. The theme for this year is ‘Bolstering Productive Capacities in the Face of COVID 19 Pandemic for Inclusive, Sustainable Economic and Industrial Transformation’. This event’s recommendations and outputs will be included in the SIW declaration statement and presented to the SADC Council of Ministers.
A joint press conference with Secretary General of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Chileshe Kapwepwe, Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Nevine Gamea has announced that Egypt’s New Administrative Capital will host the 21st COMESA Heads of State and Government Summit next Tuesday, Nov 23, with in-person and virtual participation of member countries and heads of African economic blocs. Held under the theme: “Building Resilience Through Strategic Digital Economic Integration,” the summit aims to rally the 21 member states on how to safeguard and advance the COMESA regional integration agenda using digital platforms to facilitate doing business and enhance their resilience to face the economic repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Accra to host 65th Council Meeting of ARSO (Myjoyonline)
The Government of Ghana through the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) will host the 65th Council Meeting of the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO) in Accra, slated for November 24 and 26, 2021. The meeting comes amidst calls to accelerate the harmonisation of standards in the region which is seen as crucial to achieving the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).Council members from across ARSO member states will gather at the three-day event as they seek to facilitate seamless intra-trading through harmonized quality infrastructure.
The Council meeting has been themed: The Beginning of Trade among African countries under the AfCFTA Agreement: Boosting Intra-African trade within the African Single Market through “One Standard – One Test – One Certificate – Accepted Everywhere.”
PIDA Week 2021 (Virtual PIDA Information Centre)
The 7th PIDA Week takes place amidst the backdrop of continued global economic and social uncertainty occasioned by COVID 19 pandemic. The prolonged COVID 19 pandemic has had devastating multifaceted economic and social consequences that have disproportionately affected Africa on human development indicators, economic interdependence, growth and resilience patterns. In response, African Governments have prioritized their spending commitment mainly focusing on vaccinating their population and building resilience considering the pandemic, therefore increasing their recurrent expenditure. This could impact the annual gap in infrastructure investment in the short to medium term. The pandemic has also had a negative impact on cross-border trade. African Union has also been affected with member states were forced to shutting down borders and, in some cases, applying trade restrictions that have affected supply chains inbound and outbound within the regions and as a result recording trade deficit in volumes, exposing Africa’s over-dependence on external supply chains.
The event will focus on how Africa can lead the way in the delivery of infrastructure in a post-COVID era, supporting the economic and social imperatives of the continent in the digital age. It is expected that once the pandemic is successfully contained, the focus will need to shift from crisis management to assisting to adequately invest in infrastructure for development, as well as preventing and mitigating the impact of future outbreaks.
To sustain the statistical development momentum Africa has generated over the recent years, there is need for enhanced data governance, transformational leadership, acquisition of new knowledge, capabilities as well as strategic skills including in data science, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), for the continent to actualize the new “data ecosystems” and to unlock the full data potential in Africa. This should be implemented in recognition of the increased demand for data in terms of quantity, scope, quality and disaggregation. This increase in data demand goes beyond what the traditional National Statistical Systems are able to provide thus the urgency to modernize and transform National Statistical Systems into broad data ecosystems that span the entire data value chain, driven by national priorities and underpinned by the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics as stipulated in the African Charter on Statistics, the Strategy for the Harmonization of Statistics in Africa (SHaSA) among other existing policy frameworks such as the African Data Consensus.
In November, the United States announced that Ethiopia, Guinea and Mali would be terminated from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade preference program, unless they took urgent action to meet eligibility criteria by 1 January 2022. The three countries listed were Guinea, Mali and Ethiopia. The US administration cited unconstitutional changes in governments in Guinea and Mali and human rights violations in Ethiopia, due to conflict in the country, as reasons for the termination. The statement announced the intention to provide all three countries with a clear benchmark and pathway towards reinstatement so that valued trading partnerships could be resumed.
The United States of America’s Secretary of State, Anthony J. Blinken, intimated the Nigerian youths, young entrepreneurs and Media on the strategy of the US-Africa policy, today, 19th November, 2021 at the main Hall of the ECOWAS Commission. Mr. Blinken, in his speech, thanked, Vice President Koroma for the very kind introduction and for the leadership roles ECOWAS plays not just today, but every single day across the sub region. He praised ECOWAS, for the vital contributions across the region to economic integration, security, democracy, climate, health, and much more.
The US knows that, on most of the urgent challenges and opportunities we face, Africa will make the difference. We can’t achieve our goals around the world – whether that’s ending the COVID-19 pandemic, building a strong and inclusive global economy, combating the climate crisis, or revitalizing democracy and defending human rights – without the leadership of African governments, institutions, and citizens, he added.
China-Africa trade up by 38.2% YoY to $185.2 bn in Jan-Sep 2021 (Fibre2Fashion)
China-Africa trade rose by 38.2 per cent year on year (YoY) to $185.2 billion between January and September this year, reaching the highest level in history for the same period, according to Chinese vice commerce minister Qian Keming, who recently said China’s direct investment in Africa hit $2.59 billion in the period, up by 9.9 per cent YoY. The growth rate is 3 percentage points higher than China’s overall outbound investment, Qian said, adding that the growth rate outperformed the pre-pandemic level in the same period of 2019.
China has lent African countries hundreds of billions of dollars as part of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which envisaged Chinese institutions financing the bulk of the infrastructure in mainly developing nations. Yet the credit has dried up in recent years. On top of the damage wrought to both China and its creditors by COVID-19, analysts and academics attribute the slowdown to factors such as a waning appetite in Beijing for large foreign investments, a commodity price crash that has complicated African debt servicing, plus some borrowers’ reluctance to enter lending deals backed by their natural resources.
Why Africa must be at the heart of EU policies (BusinessAMLive)
GLOBALISATION IS A CENTRAL ISSUE of current and continual relevance to every country, region or continent because of its various contexts. Trade, tourism, technology transfer, pandemic, insecurity and migration are some of the key issues in these contexts with far-reaching, immediate and long-term impacts on livelihoods, economies, safety, and social security. These are also bedrocks for tensions within and between countries and regions, especially when not well managed.
Europe and Africa have long historical ties which still subsist till now. The proximity of Africa to the EU is of practical essence and would warrant a close-up view of unfolding events in the two proximate regions. Europe’s regional integration and economic cooperation have evolved rapidly over the past three decades, but Africa’s regional integration and economic cooperation have remained rather elusive.
It is important to work with countries of Africa to embark on social and economic activities that would discourage risky migrations. Efforts should therefore be directed towards helping to keep Africans on productive economic activities back home. Although the EU has been investing in some critical areas of African economy, much more will need to be done now and in the future for the mutual benefit of the two regions. It is hoped that leaders from Europe and Africa will give renewed attention to this inter-regional cooperation for shared prosperity.
ICC, in collaboration with Fung Business Intelligence and supported by McKinsey & Company, has today launched a report outlining a new vision for the global trade finance ecosystem. The report is based on a year-long effort by the ICC Advisory Group on Trade Finance to raise awareness and address the challenges facing micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSME), particularly in the emerging markets, in accessing the trade finance needed to support their growth and the global recovery. According to the Asian Development Bank, the trade financing gap reached US$1.7 trillion in 2020, an increase to 10% of global goods traded, from 8% in 2018. MSMEs account for 40% of trade finance application rejections by banks.
ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO said: “The difficulties faced by small businesses in accessing trade finance have almost become an accepted facet of international commerce since the global financial crisis. Today’s report is a direct challenge to this status quo — setting out a roadmap for systemic change to address the root causes of the estimated US$1.7 trillion trade finance gap. If we want to enable trade as a real vector of peace and prosperity in the wake of COVID-19, it’s time to stop applying sticking plasters and tackle the need for wholesale reform and effective digitalisation of a market which is currently unable to serve the needs of the real economy.”
The recovery of the global economy is threatened by high freight rates, which are likely to continue in the coming months, according to UNCTAD’s Review of Maritime Transport 2021 published on 18 November. UNCTAD’s analysis shows that the current surge in container freight rates, if sustained, could increase global import price levels by 11% and consumer price levels by 1.5% between now and 2023. “The current surge in freight rates will have a profound impact on trade and undermine socioeconomic recovery, especially in developing countries, until maritime shipping operations return to normal,” said UNCTAD Secretary General Rebeca Grynspan. “Returning to normal would entail investing in new solutions, including infrastructure, freight technology and digitalization, and trade facilitation measures,” she said.
Tax rich to help promote social inclusion, says Jeffrey Sachs (Thomson Reuters Foundation)
The challenge of combatting inequality will increase as workers compete with advances in technology, economist Jeffrey Sachs warned on Wednesday, calling for robust government intervention. Private enterprise alone cannot be counted on to fix glaring disparities in wealth, said Sachs, who advocated levying taxes on wealth and private companies to ensure “social inclusion for all.” “The challenges will get worse in the future because technology will continue to replace jobs, will continue to limit opportunities for those who do not have a college education,” he said.
“If the rich act with impunity and can amass even fortunes of tens or hundreds of billions of dollars and not pay taxes along the way, well then, you can’t have social inclusion,” said Sachs, who has advised three United Nations secretaries-general. “These divisions are going to widen unless we get a grip on public policy to ensure that there is inclusion.”
This policy brief is one in a series entitled ‘Aligning climate and trade policy: a new agenda for LDC negotiators’. The publication series was complemented by three closed roundtables and two public events with LDC negotiators in advance of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) and the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12).
Sustainability impact assessments of free trade agreements (OECD Trade Policy Paper)
Trade negotiations are frequently accompanied by sustainability impact assessment (SIA) to evaluate the potential economic, environmental, social and human rights effects of a possible agreement. SIAs can help promote environmental protection, and support the better integration of women, vulnerable populations, and small businesses into the global economy, as well as address growing concerns from civil society. They provide a critical opportunity for dialogue among stakeholders and trade policy makers, and thereby help to rebuild confidence in the trading system. However, SIA approaches ‒ including economic modelling, qualitative causal chain analysis and stakeholder consultations ‒ each have their strengths, challenges and limitations. Those need to be understood by policy makers if reliable and policy relevant conclusions are to be provided.
Plastic pollution, alongside climate change and biodiversity loss, is a key environmental challenge today. Approximately 76% of all plastic produced between 1950 and 2017 has become waste. Of this plastic waste, three quarters were discarded, placed in landfills, or abandoned in terrestrial and marine environment. Additionally, greenhouse gas emissions from plastics in 2015 were estimated at 1.7 gigatonnes of carbon equivalent and are projected to increase fourfold by 2050. As governments grapple with how to tackle plastic pollution, its environmental and health impacts are rising across the life cycle of plastics, harming humans, polluting land, air and the sea, including our climate.
The United Nations International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022 (IYAFA 2022) was launched today at a ceremony that highlighted how small-scale artisanal fishers, fish farmers and fish workers contribute to human well-being, healthy agri-food systems and poverty eradication through the responsible and sustainable use of fisheries and aquaculture resources.
The Year will also contribute, he said, towards reaching several of the objectives under the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Looking forward to celebrating the Year “hand-in-hand with small-scale fisheries and aquaculture actors,” the FAO Director-General said: “Small-scale artisanal fisheries and aquaculture are small in scale, but big in value!”