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Omicron’s sudden emergence last month prompted the imposition of international travel curbs on southern Africa, hotspot of Omicron, that have “given us quite a setback again,” Harper, the company’s managing director, told Reuters. “Fifty percent of our bookings were cancelled for December alone,” he said, and 40% for January, he said at the Cape Town waterfront, with a view of its legendary Table Mountain behind him. “As a small business like ours, that’s probably about a million rand ($63,274.72)...lost in a very short space of time.” A succession of tough lockdown restrictions imposed in South Africa in 2020 hammered a tourism sector reliant on foreigners, with businesses closing and shedding thousands of hospitality jobs, before the curbs were eased earlier this year.
Survey finds travel restrictions imposed on Southern Africa ‘too strict’ (Engineering News)
A 48-hour flash survey by the Southern African German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AHK Southern Africa) shows that 75% of the respondents, which are members of the chamber, indicated that staff or project personnel are required to travel to the European Union (EU), Germany or South Africa within the next three months and may be unable to do so at the current point in time. The ‘Travel Restrictions between South Africa and Germany/the EU’ survey also showed that 87% of respondents are worried that the current travel restrictions will have a negative impact on their business outlook for 2022.
An ongoing study funded by the World Bank under the guiding leadership of mineral research organisation Mintek has found that there are considerable opportunities for South Africa in the battery storage value chain. The country, however, needs to move quickly to capitalise on these opportunities to ensure that valuable resources and financial benefits do not leave the region, it was revealed during the World Bank’s Battery Storage Value Chain Creation in Southern Africa Online stakeholder engagement workshop, held on December 9.
UN seeks to unlock food security for Namibia (Namibian)
The United Nations (UN) Namibia resident coordinator Sen Pang, in a statement released on Monday, said all efforts through various modalities of cooperation, including joint analysis, joint advocacy, capacity building, procurement and delivery of service as well as dialogue, are critical. He was speaking at the third UN Namibia Sustainable Development Dialogue Series (SDDS) on financing food security with international financial institutions.
Harare is embarking on a new economic and financial resilience plan, with the support of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), to tackle the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and build its resilience against future shocks. The local government of Harare introduced the plan at a multi-stakeholder meeting in Harare on 8 December. When fully financed and operationalized, it will play a crucial role in building the city’s capacity to shield its economy and financial stability from future crises. Developed after extensive multi-sectoral consultations and an in-depth diagnostic study, the plan seeks to improve Harare’s labour market, financial system, infrastructure and connectivity, economic governance and business environment.
COMESA has supported the Zimbabwe National Trade Development and Promotion Organization (ZimTrade) with over Euro 98,000 worth of equipment, trainings and technical interventions. The equipment which includes laptops, Tablets, servers and other accessories were handed over to ZimTrade Director of Operations Similo Nkala by the project Manager Mr. Fambaoga Myambo at the COMESA Clearing House offices in Harare on 17th November 2021. The support will enable ZimTrade, to improve statistics that assist the Zimbabwean business community, to develop, promote and facilitate export of their goods and services to the world. The support comes under the Regional Integration Implementation Programme (RIIP II) under COMESA Adjustment Facility through Regional Integration Support Mechanism funded by the European Union.
More companies flee formal sector (Zimbabwe Independent)
ADVERSE shocks suffered by several Zimbabwean companies between 2018 and 2021 have seen most of them sliding into the informal sector as a coping measure, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) has said. In its report titled Inaugural State of Industry and Commerce Survey 2021, released this week, the ZNCC said the effects of the Covid-19 lockdowns were also quite apparent in the first quarters of 2020 and 2021. It, however, noted that lockdown measures were a “blessing in disguise” for the Information Communication and Technology sector as most economic activities moved online.
Kenya paid China $256m to ease debt repayment standoff: reports (The East African)
Kenya wired $256.9 million to China in the quarter to September 2021 to ease a standoff over debt repayments that delayed disbursements to projects funded by Chinese loans. Treasury documents reveal that Kenya paid the millions in a period when Chinese lenders, especially Exim Bank, had opposed Kenya’s application for a debt repayment holiday. Kenya asked for an extension of the debt repayment moratorium from bilateral lenders, including China, by another six months to December 2021, saving it from committing billions to Beijing lenders.
The East African Community (EAC) hails the United Republic of Tanzania for her extensive contribution towards deepening regional integration and in turn increasing intra-EAC trade and development opportunities, as the country marks 60 years since independence.
EAC Secretary General, Hon. (Dr.) Peter Mathuki, underscored Tanzania’s critical role in the region, as she serves as the host of the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
Tanzania continues to benefit from regional integration of the EAC. In 2020, Tanzania’s total trade with EAC Partner States amounted to US$1,136.9 million, higher than US$1,003.6 million in 2019. Tanzania has been recording trade balance surpluses since 2016, reflecting Tanzania’s increase in exports to other Partner States.
Paul Makanza, the CTI chairman, made this appeal during the CTI annual symposium and general meeting in Dar es Salaam yesterday, focused on the theme “Implementation of CTI Strategic Plan 2021-2025 for Effective Advocacy in Improving the Business Environment.” He said the blueprint, prepared after thorough consultations with various private sector associations and World Bank officials, demands amendments of various laws including on Value Added Tax (VAT), regulatory bodies, immigration and labour issues, as well as social security and environmental management, among others.
“It is now more urgent than ever before, if we are to compete effectively in the domestic, regional and world markets. We commend the government for ratifying the AfCFTA and we hope that it will take all the needed reforms to enable the country to have active and competitive players as set out in the pact,” he said.
Ghana Non-Traditional Export earnings remain strong despite COVID-19 challenges in 2020 (Ghana Business News)
Revenue from Non-Traditional Export earnings remained strong in 2020, amounting to $2.846 billion, despite the disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the supply chain, the Ghana Export Promotions Authority (GEPA) has said. The amount shows a slight dip of 1.84 per cent over the 2019 earnings of $2.899 billion due to the impact of COVID-19 on global trade and a downward trend in the processed and semi-processed product sector’s performance, particularly cocoa-butter and canned tuna.
In 2020, non-traditional export products were exported to 152 countries in European Union (EU) & the United Kingdom, the ECOWAS sub-region, other Developed Countries, the Rest of Africa and Emerging Countries. Export of Non-Traditional goods into ECOWAS was $783.83 million, a fall from $836.51 million, representing a 6.30 decline from the previous year. ECOWAS represented a 27.54 per cent share of the total export market.
Increasing refinery capacities and deepening intra-Africa trade for oil and petrochemical products are two key measures for creating wealth for now and the future of the continent, Deputy Minister of Energy, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, has said.
He said, in efforts to boost economic growth in the oil and gas industry in Ghana and the continent, it is necessary to maximize refinery capacities through diversification and utilization to create wealth especially as the future of the space is uncertain.
“We should mobilise resources to trade among ourselves as Africans. We need to build our refinery capacities. This will enable us to create wealth together for now and in the future. We can transform our oil into petrochemicals that are needed everywhere in the world. Currently, the International Energy Agency estimated that in 2030, petrochemicals will account for a third of global demand for oil and by 2050 it will account for half,” he said.
A key element of inclusive growth is to increase participation in economic activity and trade across income levels by increasing entrepreneurship and the employment of marginalized groups. Tackling recent intra-regional trade barriers, such as trade frictions from non-tariff measures (NTMs), regional infrastructure gaps and inadequate market information, can unlock an additional $21.9 billion in the short-term: $8.6 billion of untapped trade potential can be realized through tackling current market frictions (such as NTMs), regional infrastructure gaps and inadequate market information. $13.3 billion in untapped export potential is driven by GDP and population growth, which are expected to translate into increased supply and demand within the next five years. However, the 33 African least developed countries account for only 16% of the untapped potential - the major African exporters hold the largest share: South Africa (36%), Egypt (15%) and Morocco (6%).
The implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) would spur Africa’s industrialisation and long-term supply chain resilience, Mr. Amr Kamel, Afreximbank’s Executive Vice President in charge of Business Development and Corporate Banking, said Tuesday as the Bank opened its annual Trade Finance Seminar (ATFS) and workshop.
He noted that the export sector inherited from Africa’s former colonial powers effectively forced the demise of African industry and created a reliance on imported manufactured goods and said that the establishment of the AfCFTA marked a strategic shift from small and fragmented markets across Africa towards regional markets that offered greater opportunities for economies of scale and for the deployment of regional integration to drive trade and development.
Africa relies heavily on imported pharmaceutical goods to support the region’s health care needs: As of 2019, as much as 70 to 90 percent of the drugs consumed in sub-Saharan Africa’s estimated $14 billion pharmaceutical market were imported. Moreover, Africa represents nearly 25 percent of global demand for vaccines but produces only 0.1 percent of the world’s vaccines. Within Africa, 99 percent of vaccine doses are imported, and, of the 1 percent (12 million doses) produced domestically, most are relegated to the final fill-and-finish steps
As of 2019, the continent possessed roughly 375 pharmaceutical manufacturers, as compared to about 5,000 and 10,500, respectively, in China and India. Africa sources more than 75 percent of its pharmaceutical imports from the European Union, India, and China (Figure 1). Although the United States is the world’s third-largest exporter of pharmaceuticals by value, the U.S. represents only 4.4 percent of drug imports to Africa. When it comes to exports, Africa’s pharmaceuticals tend to stay within the region. As shown in Figure 1, more than half of exported pharmaceutical goods are destined for East and southern Africa. A small share of African pharmaceuticals is exported outside the region, mostly to the European Union, Yemen, and the United States.
‘The future of Africa is in our hands’ (Chronicle)
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has implored African countries to capitalise on the dawn of the 4th industrial revolution to create an enabling intellectual environment that helps bridge the gap between the continent and the developed world. He was addressing delegates while officially opening the 18th session of the African Regional Intellectual Property (ARIPO) Council of Ministers conference in Victoria Falls yesterday. Experts have stressed the need to formulate and review IP policies in an endeavour to nurture and anchor innovation, competition and value addition.
‘Smart Multilateralism’ Needed in these Omicron Times (The Africa Report)
No sooner had word gone out that a new coronavirus variant has been detected in a traveller of South African descent than a torrent of decrees followed from Global Capitals shutting the door on South Africa. Before long, other African countries were falling like dominoes to this seemingly coordinated Global North Health Embargo. What message was being sent? That each country by unilaterally bolting its gates will be able to hold back the tide of a pandemic, alone? That contributing to our global understanding of the evolution of a world plague, by sharing the fruits of years of genomic capabilities development, should lead to a country being ostracised?
We in Africa have learnt the hard way that we are in an age where the old models of multilateralism have run their full course. Marked by slow bureaucracy and symbolisms of comity rather than pragmatic trust and modern instruments, this old multilateralism has frozen attempts to reform global trade to serve the people rather than corporations.
When COVID-19 threatened to disrupt Africa’s biggest multilateral endeavour in half a century – the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) – “radical agility” became our only path forward. Through a combination of skillful compromises and modern technologies, we pressed on and ensured that the timeline for start of trading would be maintained. It was as clear as noonday to those of us championing African multilateralism that retreating behind the walls of nationalist survival would be continental suicide. It would also be generational suicide because COVID and AfCFTA are both once in a lifetime opportunities.
Senior EALA member Abdikadir Aden, standing in for Speaker Martin Ngoga, said at an Inter-Parliamentary Forum on EAC Affairs high level dinner organized by East African Business Council (EABC) on Wednesday in Arusha. EALA members and other legislators across the sub-region should work to remove barriers and sort out disputes in trade and investments in the EAC bloc, he stated, noting that this is essential for increased economic growth and prosperity in the region. The EAC trading bloc was the fastest growing trade zone in Africa, he observed, asking that MPs work to ensure that national interests do not supersede EAC ambitions and aspirations.
EABC CEO John Bosco Kalisa said economic potential in the EAC bloc is hindered by the high cost of doing business arising from double taxation, persistent non-tariff barriers (NTBs), non-harmonized product standards and dissimilar policies on work permit, aside from telecommunication impediments.
Mainstreaming Gender in COMESA (COMESA)
Twenty-eight staff from COMESA Secretariat and its institutions have been trained on gender mainstreaming techniques to enhance application in the implementation of regional integration programmes. The training is also expected to strengthen institutionalisation and accountability mechanism for gender mainstreaming practice in COMESA. Director of Gender and Social Affairs at COMESA, Mrs Beatrice Hamusonde, who organized the four-day hybrid training forum, said mainstreaming of gender is an obligation of all COMESA staff in line with the COMESA Treaty, which provides for the twin track approach to the achievement of gender equality and empowerment of women. “The full inclusion of women in all parts of society including the economy, is of utmost importance. Without the active participation of half of the population of our region, we will not reach the regional, continental and global goals on gender equality and empowerment of women,” she said.
Call to fund COVID-19 initiative (SAnews)
President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged global leaders to come together to fully fund the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator’s new Strategic Plan to continue saving lives and end the pandemic.
Many communities within sub-Saharan Africa rely on sugar not only as a source of calorific energy, but for the employment, industrialisation, and trade opportunities its value chain provides. The sugar industry continues to evolve and investment in supporting infrastructure as well as establishing supportive ecosystems and regulatory frameworks can help improve its global competitiveness and boost yield
“Sugar is one of the sub-sectors of agriculture with linkages throughout the economy and as Standard Bank, we are supporting the entire value chain with the aim of driving sustainable growth of this industry and that of the wider agriculture ecosystem on the African continent,” says Yinka Sanni, Chief Executive of Standard Bank Africa Regions. “Our strategy remains as follows: Africa is our home, we drive her growth, and the agriculture sector, with its massive social and economic footprint, is key to unlocking this growth.”
The Cocoa Initiative aims to achieve decent incomes for cocoa farmers in the two countries. The two countries account for nearly 65 per cent of global supply of cocoa. Speaking after the presentation of his credentials, Mr Alex Assanvo, Executive Secretary, Ghana-Cote d’Ivoire Cocoa Initiative, said the Initiative’s vision was based on the ambition of the two countries to move the share of the value back to the countries and to help farmers to get more. “The vision is increasing farmer revenue and that’s the top ambition,” he said.
The “Mining in Southern Africa 2021” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering. Southern Africa has produced a large number of minerals, including over 25% of the world’s diamonds, over 13% of its graphite and 10% of its uranium. The region contains deposits of a range of minerals, many of which are not exploited. Dozens of companies are actively exploring in the region, but challenges include a lack of skilled workers and inadequate infrastructure. While a large number of companies are involved in mining in Southern Africa, artisanal mining forms a large part of the industry
Unlocking Africa’s automotive aftermarket (CNBCAfrica)
Africa has one of the world’s fastest-growing populations. Early 2021 the United Nations estimates that the continent has 1.38 billion inhabitants, which will grow to 2.5 billion by 2050. It’s also the world’s youngest continent, with almost 60% of the population under the age of 25.
In addition to the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, economic growth across African has faced many challenges over the years, from lack of investment to insufficient manufacturing capabilities, skills shortages, infrastructure demands and unstable energy supply. The African Union noted that only 16% of goods manufactured in Africa are traded on the continent. With the introduction of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the face of Africa is transforming, providing opportunities for free movement of goods and people. AfCFTA holds the capacity to reshape markets and economies and accelerate growth across more than 50 African countries. It can also play a major role in unlocking the continent’s automotive aftermarket potential.
The automotive aftermarket industry is the market for replacement motor vehicle parts, accessories, components and tools, after a vehicle has been sold to a consumer. It includes the repair services and maintenance that dealerships sell to consumers.
Day One of US-Africa Energy Forum answers ‘Why Africa & Why Now’ question (Energy Power & Capital)
After a strong opening to the US-Africa Energy Forum, ministers and executives dove into the age-old investment proposition, ‘Why Africa and why now?’ If one thing became clear from today’s keynotes and panel discussions, it is that ‘Africa is open for business!’ Recent changes in regulation and the restructuring of the industry across the continent is accelerating African energy for the better.
H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, the Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons for Equatorial Guinea, emphasized the work that the nation has been doing to emerge as an energy leader in Africa. Equatorial Guinea is perhaps one of the best examples of US cooperation in African energy development. His Excellency stressed the importance of US-Africa energy collaboration as he announced that the country has signed a deal with Chevron and will soon be signing another deal with Marathon Oil.
From January to October this year, China-Africa trade and the Asian giant’s direct investment in Africa both bucked the trend, reaching over $207 billion and $2.6 billion respectively, up 37.5% and 10% year-on-year, according to China’s ambassador to South Africa, Chen Xiaodong. Addressing a webinar in South Africa entitled: “FOCAC (China-Africa Cooperation Forum): Mapping China-Africa Relations Post-Covid”, Chen said China-South Africa trade delivered “a more robust performance”. “Our total trade reached around $45 billion from January to October this year, up nearly 57% year-on-year.
In presenting the report to members, Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala noted that since the outbreak of the pandemic, the number of COVID-19 related trade facilitating measures had outnumbered trade-restrictive ones by nearly two to one. She noted that of the 117 export restrictions WTO members and observers introduced, 45 export restrictions remained in place, covering products such as medicines, other medical supplies and personal protective equipment. “I urge members to roll back these restrictions as soon as possible as they may be hampering the COVID-19 response, including vaccine production and deployment,” she said.
“The monitoring report makes clear that the multilateral trading system has been, and continues to be, an important factor in our response to the pandemic,” the Director-General said. “But we also know that trade and the WTO can and must do more to foster production of, and equitable access to, sufficient quantities of COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics.
Hopes, fears as uptake of telemedicine spreads (Business Daily)
According to the new research by Kaspersky, nearly nine out of ten healthcare organiSations in META provide telehealth services but 99 percent of patients have mistrust issues regarding their personal data privacy and security. Out of the 86 percent of the healthcares that use telehealth, 63 percent of respondents have experienced cases where patients refused telehealth services due to security concerns. With the effect of Covid-19 across the globe, most healthcare organisations invested more in telehealth and virtual care solutions. Just like a coin with two sides, the invention of mhealth apps has been received with mixed reactions.
“According to our research, 67 percent of META respondents believe telehealth services will add the most value to the healthcare sector within the next five years,” says the report, adding that professionals note that remote medicine is practical and attractive in many ways, with advantages such as immediate reach, less disease transmission between patients and staff, and the ability to help more people in a smaller time frame.
Africa’s embrace of smart multilateralism is manifest in being the first continent to agree on a common digital platform for biosurveillance and biosecurity. Absolutely convinced that the each-for-herself idea embodied in border closures has serious limits, we set out to work with the private and civil society sectors to create both institutional and technological innovations to keep the borders open but the virus out.