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Most of the more than 80 government-supported South African companies which showcased their products and services at the week-long Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF), which ended Durban on Sunday expressed great satisfaction with the event. They held fruitful engagements and reported sales of over R3 million at the stand, as well as projected sales to the value of about R86 million expected over the next six months as deals continue to be sealed and delivered . This is according to the Chief Director of Trade Invest Africa at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), Mr John Rocha. “The trade fair was a vehicle for us to execute our mandate as a department to increase, expand and diversify markets for the export of South African goods and services into Africa, and position South Africa as the partner of choice,” says Rocha.
KQ and South African Airways sign strategic partnership framework (Capital FM Kenya)
Kenya’s national carrier, Kenya Airways PLC (KQ), has signed a Strategic Partnership Framework today with South African Airways (SAA), a key milestone towards co-starting a Pan African Airline Group by 2023. The partnership framework follows the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) that the two airlines signed two months ago to foster the exchange of knowledge, expertise, innovation, digital technologies, and best practice between the two airlines. The signing of the Strategic Partnership Framework by the two African airlines will see both airlines work together to increase passenger traffic, cargo opportunities, and general trade by taking advantage of strengths in South Africa, Kenya, and Africa. It is expected that the partnership will improve the financial viability of the two airlines. Customers will also benefit from more competitive price offerings for both passenger and cargo segments.
Mombasa port sees marginal cargo growth (Business Daily)
Mombasa port continues to reel from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, recording minimal cargo growth in the first nine months of 2021. The port handled 26.17 million tonnes of cargo this year up to September compared to 25.05 million tonnes in the corresponding period in 2020. In the period under review, the Mombasa port witnessed increased volumes in container traffic registering 1.1 million containers against 1 million last year. Acting Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) managing director John Mwangemi said notable resilience has been observed this year and expressed optimism the port will record significant growth in the coming few months. “We remain optimistic that as the year comes to a close, the port will continue handling more cargo to further increase the positive performance,” said Mr Mwangemi.
Flower firms jostle for limited cargo space in Kenya Airways (Business Daily)
Flower firms are competing for forward booking to get space guarantee for their produce on Kenya Airways as demand for roses in Europe soars in the wake of limited freight capacity. There has been a high demand for flowers in Europe amid low capacity at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as flights are yet to resume full operations after the disruptions occasioned by Covid-19 last year. The national carrier says it will be increasing passenger flights to Europe ahead of Christmas, a move that will help in evacuating more cargo to Kenya’s leading export destination for horticulture. The belly cargo in passenger flights accounts for up to 40 percent of the total freight that is transported by air.
Traders on the Kenya-Tanzania border in Lungalunga, Kwale County, have decried long clearance processes, prompting them to use alternative routes to ferry their goods and denying the government revenue. Speaking during a sensitisation campaign organised by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) at Horohoro on Monday, they said certifications needed for cross-border trade make them avoid using one-stop border posts. Such border posts were envisioned to help deepen policy integration and reduce barriers to trade between Kenya and its neighbours. Cross Border Traders Association secretary Zipporah Kamau said lack of information had also made it difficult for traders to conduct business in legal ways.
Uganda and Seychelles will cooperate in the sectors of agriculture, tourism and education, said the first-ever accredited Ugandan High Commissioner to the island nation. Hassan Wasswa Galiwango presented his credentials to President Wavel Ramkalawan on Tuesday morning at State House. He is the first High Commissioner accredited to Seychelles, although the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1992. “We are furthering the relationship between the Republic of Uganda and Seychelles. We want to enhance our cooperation in the sectors of agriculture, tourism, education and the judiciary so to promote trade, especially in agriculture,” said Galiwango. Uganda a land-locked country in eastern Africa has an estimated population of 47.7 million people. Agriculture accounts for about 23.7 percent of its Gross Domestic Product and 31 percent of its export earnings.
FG Targets 2025 to Implement WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (Business Post Nigeria)
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it has pegged the auctioning price of 3.5GHz spectrum to facilitate deployment of fifth-generation technology (5G) in the county at N75 billion. This was revealed by the Executive Vice-Chairman of the commission, Mr Umar Danbatta, at the Prize Presentation Ceremony of the 3rd NCC National Essay Competition on 5G technology in Abuja, explaining that 100MHz of the 3.5GHz will cost N75 billion.
“The NCC is at the verge of auctioning Spectrum for the provision of 5G technology, and we decided to take advantage of the moment by motivating challenging our youth to be innovative and as resourceful as their counterparts in advanced countries. “The controversies surrounding COVID-19 and 5G technology is now in the past.
Angola set aside $445million to construct 21 Logistics Hubs (Construction Review)
By 2038, the Angolan government wants to invest more than US$445.5 million (392.3 million euros) in the construction of 21 logistics hubs in Angola to reduce the problems of goods transportation, which is still primarily reliant on-road transit. The details were revealed at the initiation of an international public tender in Zaire for the concession, building, operation, and commercial management of the Soyo and Luvo Logistics Platforms.
Ricardo de Abreu, the Minister of Transport, stated that each of the platforms created by 2038 would have unique qualities that will complement one another. According to him, the logistics platform network will be an important part of the plan to diversify the national economy, and depending on the province where they are installed, they will make storage, conservation, and flow of production from productive, rural, and fishing areas, as well as from agri-industrial hubs, easier.
According to the minister, Angola is placed 162 out of 163 nations in the World Bank’s Logistics Index. The organization estimates that transportation and logistics expenditures in Angola were 16.7% of GDP in 2017. This is more than double what the most developed economies have. Six logistics hubs in Angola are expected by 2022, which will help the country’s regions realize their full economic potential and meet residents’ and businesses’ rising demand for products and services.
Inter-trade Organisations : Government Seeks Proper Organisation (Cameroon Tribune)
This is contained in the bill governing inter-trade organisations in Cameroon that is under discussion in the National Assembly. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Gabriel Mbairobe on November 17, 2021 in the Committee on Constitutional Laws of the National Assembly defended the bill governing inter-trade organisations in Cameroon.
The Minister explained that the bill seeks to address a number of problems identified in Cameroon’s production sectors, notable inequalities, lack of synergy in stakeholder interventions and the near absence of a structured organisation meeting international standards. This state of affairs calls for the pressing need for a legal framework to organise the economic sectors into complementary and interdependent value chains, while protecting the interests of all the links.
The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has reiterated its commitment to support the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) initiatives aimed at promoting intra-African trade. Deputy Chief Executive Officer, responsible for Technical Operations at the FDA, Mrs AkuaAmartey indicated that the recent introduction of FDA’s flagship programme – the Progressive Licensing Scheme, was targeted at developing cottage, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs), for them to increase their export base and help to realise an ultimate boost in intra-Africa trade transactions by volume and value.
We use disaggregated trade data for the years 2014–2018 to identify the areas of revealed and latent comparative advantage of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We find that the DRC’s export basket is highly concentrated and dominated by products with low value-added and potential income that are derived from copper, cobalt, tin, diamonds, and oils. We identify a number of products that the DRC could easily develop given its areas of revealed comparative advantage, including machinery for filtering or purifying water, traffic control equipment, electrical apparatus, photographic laboratory equipment, and printing machinery. The development of such products can help the DRC achieve the dual goals of diversifying its exports and accelerating the structural transformation of its economy. Policymakers can use these products as a starting point to conceive adequate industrial and trade policies that pursue this dual goal.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) can leverage its abundant cobalt resources and hydroelectric power to become a low-cost and low-emissions producer of lithium-ion battery cathode precursor materials. At the behest of UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Afreximbank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF), and the UN Global Compact, a new study by BloombergNEF (BNEF) on a unified African supply chain estimates that it would cost $39 million to build a 10,000 metric-ton cathode precursor plant in the DRC. This is three times cheaper than what a similar plant in the U.S. would cost. A similar plant in China and Poland would cost an estimated $112 million and $65 million, respectively. Precursor material produced at plants in the DRC could be cost competitive with material produced in China and Poland but with a lower environmental footprint.
“The DRC’s cost competitiveness comes from its relatively cheap access to land and low engineering, procurement and construction, or EPC, cost compared to the U.S., Poland and China,” said Kwasi Ampofo, lead author of the report and BNEF’s head of metals and mining. “European cell manufacturers currently rely heavily on China for battery precursors. However, the raw materials for batteries are, in most cases, imported into China from Africa and refined before being exported to Europe. Automakers in Europe can lower their emissions by shortening the transport distance and capitalizing on the DRC’s hydroelectric powered grid and proximity to raw materials.”
Electric vehicles represent a $7 trillion market opportunity between today and 2030, and $46 trillion between today and 2050, according to the new report, “The Cost of Producing Battery Precursors in the DRC”, launched at the DRC-Africa Business Forum 2021 taking place today and Thursday. While there are notable leading electric-vehicle and cell manufacturers today, the sheer scale of growth expected in the coming decades means that there is inherent uncertainty over which companies and countries may come to dominate this new value chain. African countries could play a major role in the lithium-ion battery supply chain by taking advantage of their abundant natural resources and onshoring more of the value chain.
Why obstacles still hinder implementation of AfCTA 11 months after take-off (International Center for Investigative Reporting)
NIGERIA and other African countries may have to wait a little longer for the full take-off of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, (AfCFTA) as grey areas are still exist, THE ICIR has learnt. The African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement came into full force in January 1 2021, but yet to take off fully. The director-general of the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations, Ambassador Yonov Agah pointed out several obstacles to the swift take off of the pact. Agar while speaking at the the National Action Committee on African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement sub-national strategy workshop in Abuja said lots of issues are still under negotiation by various continental regional blocs, stressing that rules of origin is still being discussed.
“Rules of origin, tarrif schedule trade protocols, technical barriers to trade, protocols on dispute settlement are key areas still being looked into.” Agah said. “Overall, we are at the initial stages of the implementation. We are also still negotiating outstanding areas of phase one in trade in goods, and trade in services. Phase two which we will start in July to August is intellectual property rights, competition policy women in trade, digital trade. We want to get it right so that our people can enjoy maximum benefits of the trade pact.”
US Firms Find New Opportunities in Healthcare, Manufacturing, Digitalization Under AfCFTA (Energy Capital & Power)
Following its implementation at the start of this year, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has transformed Africa’s small, fragmented and often landlocked markets into the largest free trade area globally, comprising 1.2 billion people and valued at approximately $3.4 trillion. By removing trade barriers and fortifying regional value chains, the agreement aims to boost Africa’s trading position in the global market and enable the free movement of goods, services and people across the continent. In addition to accelerating intra-African trade, which is estimated by the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa to increase by 15-25% by 2040, the AfCFTA is set to facilitate Africa’s trade with global trading partners.
For U.S. companies, the African continent is one of the youngest and fastest-growing consumer markets globally and represents a vast export market for American goods and services. The AfCFTA harmonizes policy and regulatory regimes across African markets – not to mention abolishes tariffs on 90% of goods produced on the continent – thereby reducing the cost of transactions for foreign and domestic players alike. Key sectors open to U.S. participation include healthcare, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, agro-processing and financial technology, with African health systems already receiving an influx of essential products, vaccines and medical equipment manufactured in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Historically, structural change has been the force behind sustained economic growth, driving large-scale job creation and productivity growth. Industrialization — defined as rapid transformation of the significance of manufacturing vis-à-vis other sectors — has been the mainstay of structural transformation and the resulting economic growth and development. Industrialization has long been a reliable path to fast-track countries into middle- and high-income economies. Therefore, industrialization-driven structural transformation must be at the forefront of policy strategies for Sub-Saharan African countries. Recently, emerging trends such as functional and geographic fragmentation of production, adoption of advanced production technologies in manufacturing, and shifting globalization patterns, climate change, and global pandemics have characterized the global economy. These developments have generated a lot of debate and speculation about the prospects of manufacturing as a potential driver of job creation, income growth and structural change in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Kagame tips lawmakers on building Africa’s resilience (The New Times)
President Paul Kagame has urged parliamentarians to remain at the forefront of building the continent’s resilience against threats like health, among others. The Head of State made the call while officially opening the 17th Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (CSPOC) - Africa Region underway in Kigali. The meeting, which convened over 12 branches of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), was held under the theme ”African Parliaments in the 21st Century”. “Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic many African countries took the lead on response and with support of parliaments,” President Kagame said.
“However as we continue on the path to recovery, parliaments still need to be at the forefront of building Africa’s resilience against mainly health but also other threats,” Kagame pointed out.
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday said there is urgency in the need for Africa to industrialise and cease being a dumping site for industrial, commercial and consumer products from other countries. Sanwo-Olu spoke at the 2021 Africa Industrialisation Day, held in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, saying that industrialization of Africa would serve a dual purpose of socio-economic empowerment through job creation and wealth generation opportunities for the people and enhance revenue generation for government for sustainable development of the economy and provision of infrastructure and social services.
African trade reliant on secure maritime links, Seychelles’ President tells COMESA (Seychelles News Agency)
Trade can only be realised if the maritime links that connect eastern and southern Africa and beyond are reliable and have been properly secured, the President of Seychelles, Wavel Ramkalawan, told leaders from the region. Ramkalawan made his first address as the President to heads of state and government in the 21st summit of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Authority which took place in Cairo, Egypt on Tuesday.
“There is no doubt that regional and international trade are drivers of development, with over 80 percent of the world’s trade transported by sea. In light of this, maritime security is of paramount importance,” he said over video link.
Eastern Africa’s economy projected to rebound by 3 percent in 2021 (Journalducameroun)
Optimism abounds as the economy, which shrunk for the first time in a decade last year, is projected to rebound by 3 percent in 2021. This was revealed during the 25th session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa. The meeting, attended by 100 decision-makers and experts, discussed how countries in the sub-region should strengthen resilience for a strong recovery and how to attract investments to foster economic diversification and long-term growth. Speaking at the meeting, Vera Songwe, the Executive Secretary of the UNECA, stressed how in 2020, the economy of Eastern Africa shrunk for the first time in decades.
EAC in new campaign to revive Covid-19-hit tourism industry (The New Times)
The East African Community (EAC) on Wednesday, November 24, launched a new regional tourism media campaign as part of the plans to implement the six-member bloc’s tourism recovery plan. Speaking at the launch at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania, EAC Secretary General, Peter Mathuki, noted that the new campaign is supported by GIZ following a request by the Secretariat to support Covid-19 recovery initiatives. The new tourism media campaign is harmonised with a similar campaign recently initiated by the East African Tourism Platform (EATP) to ensure synergies and avoid duplication.
COMESA Heads of State have today urged Member States to scale up investment in research and innovation in the health sector and to prioritize all programmes that would enhance socio-economic recovery and generate more resilient societies that are ready to respond to disasters that may come. In their communique issued at the end of their 21st COMESA Summit, the leaders noted the devastating socio-economic and cultural effects of the COVID-19 pandemic across various sectors of the economy and the low vaccine production and access in the region. The leaders urged Member States to invest in digital infrastructure to enhance universal access to internet to address the challenges arising from the digital divide and support the digitalisation of the economies.
“Embrace E-Commerce” – Chilima tells Comesa (Nyasa Times)
Malawi’s Vice President Saulos Chilima has urged the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) member states to adopt commerce platforms so as to explore new market opportunities. “I am delighted that Comesa has already started embracing ICT in its work programme. These include the automation of customs procedures, establishment of on-line reporting and monitoring system for non-tariff barriers,” he told the high level indaba. Recently, Comesa Secretariat launched a 50 Million Women Speak digital platform supporting women to do business online, an initiative which Chilima said is a step in the right direction. “It can reduce the cost of doing business and facilitate more flow of goods and services. It can reduce unemployment,” said Chilima, who is also scheduled to hold one on one meetings with Egypt government officials on Thursday, November 25,2021. Added Chilima: “Digitalization can also reduce illiteracy in our respective countries. Imagine a student in remote village accessing the same educational content as the one in the Capital City and that is where Comesa and other African countries ought to be.”
The COVID‐19 pandemic has been contained relatively successfully in Central Africa, which comprises the six member countries of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC)—Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon—and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Partly due to government lockdowns, mask requirements, and mobility restrictions and partly to the region’s younger populations and distance from highly infected areas.
Still, the pandemic has affected all Central African countries by damaging economic growth. The region’s economies, which were struggling before COVID-19 due to security challenges and oil price volatility, have experienced significant shocks due to their heavy dependence on oil exports. The curtailment in economic activity, coupled with decreased international demand for oil amid plummeting prices, caused the region’s average growth rate to fall to –2.6 percent in 2020, down from 2.8 percent in 2019. The worst-affected countries were the Republic of Congo (–6.8 percent), Equatorial Guinea (–6.1 percent), and Gabon (–2.7 percent). Country with positive growth rates in 2020 were the Central African Republic (0.4 percent) To foster recovery, it will be crucial to strengthen fiscal buffers through aid or domestic revenue mobilization. In addition, better governance can help ensure that fiscal measures target vulnerable populations. Finally, CEMAC should examine exchange rate reform to find a system that promotes growth and adjustment to shocks.
Mega infrastructure project delays hurt intra-Africa trading (Business Daily)
Delays in cross-boundary infrastructure projects have been caused by a lack of cooperation among countries, slowing down intra-Africa trade. Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga says derailed investment of infrastructure projects in transport, energy and ICT in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region has interrupted the completion of planned priority projects among member states.
“LAPSSET is a good example of a regional project whose implementation has been paralysed by the lack of national ownership and failure by regional economic communities (RECs) to prioritise it,” Mr Odinga, who is also the AU representative for infrastructure development in Africa, said. “Continental free trade will only be realised if the RECs are effective in their role of facilitating regional economic integration between members of the region.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed an urgent need for multilateral partnerships to tackle development inequalities and vulnerabilities. Sustainable development has been put on the backburner whilst many come to terms with the destabilising nature of the pandemic. However, the disruption of social and economic norms has also created an opportunity for profound change. Global collaboration can provide an opportunity for the world to systemically shift to a more sustainable approach.
At this event, panellists will identify the roles, responsibilities, and expectations of different stakeholders in working towards sustainable development, and the impediments to achieving Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Bringing together chambers from over 100 countries the Congress is enabling chambers, including those from Francophone Africa, to develop tailored action plans under the theme, “Generation Next: Chambers 4.0” At a dedicated side meeting for French-speaking chambers, ICC and CPCCAF set out the terms of a cooperation agreement, signed last month at ICC Global Headquarters in Paris, to promote open trade and investment, and facilitate the integration of businesses in Francophone Africa to the global economy. The agreement will be relating to international trade, access to finance, dispute resolution and entrepreneurship.
The natural heat of the underground can be exploited to produce electricity. The African Development Bank (AfDB) estimates the geothermal potential in the Rift Valley at 20,000 MWe, where this clean energy is already partially exploited. Less intermittent than other renewable energies, geothermal energy can diversify the electricity mix of a country like Kenya.
While it seeks to take into consideration the positions expressed by all WTO members on all topics in the negotiations to date, it does not seek to reflect these positions exhaustively,” the chair highlights in her introduction to the new text, noting the revised document is without prejudice to any member’s position. The revised text was presented as part of the chair’s report to the General Council on 23 November. The chair praised members for using the first draft text as a tool to advance their work since July. “I am extremely grateful to members for their tireless efforts and constructive attitude in the talks thus far. To the extent that the revised draft negotiating text represents a useful contribution to the preparations for the Ministerial Conference, credit is due to the hard work, determination, and good faith of members,” she noted.
Countries need to make their agrifood systems more resilient to sudden shocks of the kind witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has emerged as a major driver of the latest rise in global hunger estimates. According to a new report published today by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), without proper preparation unpredictable shocks will continue to undermine agrifood systems. This year’s The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) report by FAO is entitled “Making agrifood systems more resilient to shocks and stresses.” It provides an assessment of the ability of national agrifood systems to respond to or recover readily from shocks and stressors. It also offers guidance to governments on how they can improve resilience.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on governments to adopt simple, predictable and practical measures to safely and efficiently facilitate the ramping-up of international travel as borders re-open. Specifically, IATA urged governments to focus on three key areas: 1. Simplified health protocols 2. Digital solutions to process health credentials 3 .COVID-19 measures proportionate to risk levels with a continuous review process The industry’s vision to address the complexity is outlined in the newly released policy paper: From Restart to Recovery: A Blueprint for Simplifying Travel. “As governments are establishing processes to re-open borders, in line with what they agreed in the Ministerial Declaration of the ICAO High Level Conference of COVID-19, the Blueprint will help them with good practices and practical considerations. Over the next months we need to move from individual border openings to the restoration of a global air transport network that can reconnect communities and facilitate economic recovery,” said Conrad Clifford, IATA’s Deputy Director General.
A briefing by the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) stated that even if all current climate pledges are made, the world is still headed to 2.4°C warming if not more. As excessive floods, severe drought and famine continue to be experienced in different parts of the world, global leaders remain largely unfazed with regards to making ambitious climate targets. Their decisions for making firm commitments and implementing climate action are set far too late for any chance of slowing down or reversing the harsh climate impacts. As activists fought and raised their voices during the recently concluded climate talks at COP26, literally the world’s best last chance to save the planet from a climate emergency, little tangible gains were made.