tralac Daily News
President Cyril Ramaphosa says the newly launched vaccine manufacturing facility campus at Brackengate in Cape Town will usher in a new era in healthcare, medicines and vaccines for the African continent. The President was speaking at the new facility - dubbed NantSA - which was launched in collaboration with world renowned technology healthcare scientist, Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong and his company NantWorks LLC.
The facility is aimed mainly at building vaccine manufacturing and pharmaceutical capacity for the African continent – including developing a new COVID-19 vaccine.
Business Unity South Africa (Busa) is requesting Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to urgently review applicable regulations that make it illegal to transport high-cube shipping containers on South African roads. High-cube containers are the same length (12.19 m) and width (2.44 m) as a standard shipping container, but are 30 cm taller (at 2.89 m), adding 9.7 m3 of internal space when compared to a 66.5 m3 standard container.
5G, integration key to unlocking South African technology value (Engineering News)
Most South African companies, 80%, are adopting digital technologies and 78% plan to invest in fifth generation- (5G-) enabled campus networks. However, 65% of executives perceive tremendous challenges in navigating the network and digital technology integration complexity, extracting return on investment and choosing the right partner ecosystem and platform to provide solutions, the ‘Unfolding the next growth chapter in South Africa’ study shows.
Govt pays off outstanding GC22 bond (The Namibian)
ACCORDING to a report by Simonis Storm Securities (SSS), the Bank of Namibia (BoN) has a local and foreign sinking fund which is used to repay the capital portion of domestic (local and Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed bonds) and foreign currency-denominated debt, respectively. The local sinking fund has a balance of N$1,88 billion. The sinking fund is mainly funded by incoming Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) receipts.
Zimbabwe: Nickel exports jump 157pc (The Herald)
NICKEL ores and concentrates exports from Zimbabwe grew 157 percent to US$90,7 million in November 2021, as global demand for the mineral surges driven by electric vehicle production. The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) said in its latest report, the US$90,7 million constituted 14 percent of Zimbabwe’s exports, which was 65,2 percent better than the US$54,9 million in the prior comparable in 2020. Zimbabwe has previously exported more in a single month after shipments of the commodity totalled US$122 million in February 2021, US$117 million in May and US$113 million in August. Nickel mattes earned the Southern African country US$83 million in November last year, which was however, lower than the US$95,7 million the mineral realised in October.
The country’s exports are usually dominated by gold, tobacco and platinum, which account for vastly more than three quarters of Zimbabwe’s total annual shipments.
Probe illegal duty-free sugar imports, CS Matiang’i urged (The Star, Kenya)
Farmers have urged Interior CS Fred Matiang’i to probe how 28,000 metric tonnes of duty-free sugar was illegally imported in November last year. They said the import caused a Sh1.3 billion loss in the sugar industry because it was over and above the yearly quota and violated a court order. The farmers on Wednesday said the sugar did not come from Uganda as it was initially thought. “While Kenyan farmers lost, neither Ugandan farmers benefited,” sugar campaign for change coordinator Michael Arum said. They said the issue of the Bilateral Trade Agreement on sugar with Uganda is being abused by government officials who pretend to be passionate about it. However, they are the ones facilitating illegal, and substandard sugar from other origins to get into the country.
Drought hits maize supply, prices in Dar (The East African)
Drought and poor harvest have disrupted Tanzania’s supply of maize, pushing up the price of the commodity. According to December 2021 reports by the Ministry of Agriculture, prices for maize grains are fluctuating and are fetching different prices at local markets across the country. The National Bureau of Statistics shows that a 100-kg bag of maize now costs between $23.9 and $39.1, with the northern regions of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Tanga and Manyara affected.
Tanzania is the largest producer of maize in East Africa. Maize trade is part of bilateral deals between Tanzania and other EAC states, notably Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda, as it is a common staple food for African community members.
FG to spend 0.5% of GDP on tech, innovation – Minister (Daily Trust)
The federal government will spend 0.5 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on science, technology and innovation in order to promote creativity among the youths and create jobs, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, has said. Onu said this at the Consultative Meeting on the provision of a minimum of 0.5% of GDP for Funding Science, Technology and Innovation Sectors in the country in Abuja, on Wednesday.
Ghana has been removed from the list of European Union’s high risk third countries with strategic deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regimes, a statement from the Finance Ministry has revealed. This was after the country had strengthened the effectiveness of its AML/CFT regime by addressing related technical deficiencies including strengthening the legal and regulatory framework to meet the commitments in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) action plan, with a view of removing strategic deficiencies identified under the Article 9 of 4th Anti-money Laundering Directives. The nation also established legal and regulatory frameworks to meet the commitments in our action plans regarding the strategic deficiencies the FATF had identified.
Ethiopia, Eurasian Economic Union Discuss Plans For Development of Cooperation In 2022 (Walta Information Centre)
Ethiopia and Eurasian Economic Union discuss plans for the development of cooperation in 2022. Ethiopian Ambassador to Russia, Alemayehu Tegenu and Director of the Department of Integration Development of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), Gohar Barseghyan said: “Ethiopia is our traditional trade partner in Africa. The trade turnover between EEU member states and Ethiopia in January – October 2021 increased by 4.7 times compared to the same period in 2020. This is of particular importance in connection with the plans to double the trade turnover with the countries of the continent, which were announced during the Russia-Africa summit in 2019,”
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Angolan economy has begun to abate amid higher oil prices and less disruptive containment measures. Non-oil growth has started to recover and is expected to contribute to a broad stabilization of overall output in 2021. Inflation has reached over 25 percent, driven by supply-side factors. Continued fiscal restraint should deliver a substantial overall surplus in 2021, while higher oil prices are supporting a high current account surplus. Angola’s overall growth is projected to turn positive in 2022 and reach around 4 percent in the medium term, bolstered by the implementation of planned growth-enhancing structural reforms.
“Diversifying the economy through continued deep structural reforms is essential for achieving inclusive growth and consolidating economic sustainability. Rapid expansion of non-oil output requires the implementation of ongoing reforms to strengthen governance, improve the business environment, and to promote private investment and trade openness, as well as the development of human capital and infrastructure. The authorities should also promote the conditions for faster development of key economic sectors, such as agriculture, telecommunications, and finance.”
A strong economic recovery is underway since mid-2020, driven by industrial production and the services sector, and 2021 growth has been revised upwards from 3 ½ to about 5 percent. The recovery is expected to continue in 2021–22, and growth will receive a temporary boost from oil and gas production starting in 2023.
Staff’s baseline scenario assumes that further COVID-19 waves are likely to occur and that vaccinating a significant share of the eligible population will take at a minimum well into 2022. However, absent new lockdowns, the impact on economic activity is expected to be limited. Furthermore, projections factor in a gradual recovery in global merchandise trade that would support goods’ exports while services, notably travel and tourism, continue to be affected by the pandemic. The onset of oil and gas production in 2023 will boost growth, exports and revenue (MEFP 11-15).
Commerce Holds Cassava Transformation Inception Meeting (The New Dawn Liberia)
The National Standards Laboratory of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has recently held a one-day inception meeting and workshop of the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) activities under the Cassava Transformation Project (CASTRAP) in Monrovia. CASTRAP is aimed at enhancing the competitiveness and regional integration of Liberia’s cassava sector through a value chain approach focusing on sustained production, value addition, entrepreneurship, and sustainable markets. The EU-funded project is Liberia’s (national) component of the West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP) launched on the 28th of October 2021.
African trade news
EAC loses $3.4b to Covid-19 measures as trade declines (The Citizen)
Uganda was the only country in the region to record a trade increase of 4.6 percent in 2020, a year when the average economic growth for the entire East African region declined to as low as 2.3 percent from 5.4 percent in 2019. In general, EAC member states lost $3.36 billion worth of trade in the year when the Covid-19 pandemic spread like bushfire, cutting global trade links and pushing regional and global economies into total lockdowns, according to the latest draft report on EAC Trade and Investment for 2020. The report shows that the total investment in the region declined by almost 46.29 percent in 2020. Overall trade for the six member states — Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya and South Sudan — dropped by 6.08 percent to $51.91 billion in the period, from $55.27 billion in 2019.
WOMEN in business should take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to identify and penetrate international markets to grow their businesses. The AfCFTA is a free trade area founded in 2018 and created by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 African Union nations. The free trade area is the largest in the world in terms of the number of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organisation on January 1, 1995. Speaking during a meeting with women in production from Matabeleland South Province in Gwanda yesterday, Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Dr Sithembiso Nyoni said women in business should move away from regional markets such as South Africa and seek international ones.
The World Economic Forum’s latest report, “Attracting Investment and Accelerating Adoption for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Africa” analyses the challenges Africa faces in joining the global knowledge-based digital economy and presents a set of tangible strategies for the region’s governments to accelerate the transition. The Forum’s report, written in collaboration with Deloitte, comes just weeks after the announcement by Google of a $1 billion investment to support digital transformation across Africa, which centres on laying a new subsea cable between Europe and Africa that will multiply the continent’s digital network capacity by 20, leading to an estimated 1.7 million new jobs by 2025. Africa’s digital economy could contribute nearly $180 billion to the region’s growth by the by mid-decade. Yet with only 39% of the population using the internet, Africa is currently the world’s least connected continent.
‘Dangote Refinery to reduce Africa’s petroleum product imports by 36%’ (The Guardian Nigeria)
The African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO) has said that Dangote Oil Refinery would reduce importation of petroleum products production into the continent by as much as 36 per cent. Besides, the organisation expressed confidence that the success of the project could incentivise the rise of similar projects across Africa despite the current focus on energy transition. The Secretary-General, African Petroleum Producers Organisation, Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, said in an interview that the refinery would be supplying over 12 per cent of Africa’s demand when it becomes operational. Ibrahim stated, “To appreciate the impact that the Dangote refinery is going to have on African economies and especially on the supply of petroleum products, and to some extent the conservation of scarce foreign exchange, a look at some statistics on the continent’s petroleum products demand and supply is in order.
Africa will be able to count on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for its electrification in the coming years. Abu Dhabi has announced the launch of an initiative to this effect. Called “Etihad 7”, the program aims to finance renewable energy projects on the continent, with two objectives. The aim is to support electrification efforts and, above all, to accompany Africa’s transition to a low-carbon electricity sector. The program, which will run until 2035, is expected to provide access to electricity for 100 million Africans. The United Arab Emirates is thus making a commitment one year ahead of COP 28, which it will host in Dubai in 2023. “With Etihad 7, the UAE is consolidating its efforts in support of Africa in the context of Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7). In line with the UAE’s foreign policy and development goals, the program facilitates sustainable development by addressing key challenges that hinder access to clean and affordable energy in emerging markets,” said Sheikh Shakhbout bin Nahyan Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of State, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Buffeted by a historic recession in 2020, Sub-Saharan Africa’s energy sector and the economy experienced a challenging 2021, exacerbated by COVID-19-related complications. Now the region’s economies are rebounding. And spurred by the global energy transition, governments are decarbonizing across the energy value chain. But the size and scale of these economic and energy transitions, both of which are occurring simultaneously, is unprecedented. Moreover, Omicron - and, perhaps later, other COVID-19 variants - is disrupting progress and clouding the future trajectory of initiatives taken today. With the region beset by a multitude of uncertainties, the only thing clear about what these transitions mean for SSA in 2022 is that there is no clear line of sight ahead. This blog reviews the progress that was made over the course of the past year, and provides an outlook identifying the complexities and questions the region will face in the coming year.
The UK is holding the second Africa Investment Conference today (20 January 2022) to boost economic cooperation with African nations and enhance its role as the continent’s investment partner of choice for greener, climate-friendly projects. Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan is hosting the one-day virtual event which aims to unlock millions of pounds of new investment, especially in clean energy industries in both the UK and across Africa. In a ‘virtual fireside talk’ with WTO Director General Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Trade Secretary will say sustainable trade and investment are crucial for reducing global inequality, improving economies, raising incomes and creating jobs.
International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: Two years on from the inaugural UK-Africa Investment Summit, the UK’s ambition to be Africa’s investment partner of choice has never been stronger.
“Boosting trade opportunities for least-developed countries” reviews the progress made over the past decade to help LDCs further integrate into the global trading system. The volatility of commodity prices over the past ten years and the onset of the COVID-19 crisis caused LDCs’ share of global exports to shrink to 0.91 per cent in 2020, compared with 0.95 per cent in 2011. The global goal of the United Nations aimed at doubling the LDC export share by 2020 is yet to be met. “Increasing LDC participation in global trade is a shared objective of the international community. The WTO offers LDCs a unique opportunity to help shape global trade rules that respond to their trade interests. This report has illustrated the tangible benefits that LDCs working closely with WTO members have achieved over the past ten years. It is important to build on what we have achieved so far and make sure that trade continues to boost economic growth in LDCs and worldwide in the next decade and beyond,” said Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
India to push for TRIPS waiver on Covid drugs at WTO (Economic Times)
India will push for a waiver of certain provisions of the global intellectual property rights agreement for Covid-19 medicines and products at a mini ministerial meeting called by the World Trade Organization to firm up its pandemic response. “The meeting is being held to discuss the WTO response both to the current pandemic and future ones to ensure that multilateral trade rules, including the intellectual property system, support international efforts to combat health crises,” said an official.
Global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows showed a strong rebound in 2021, up 77% to an estimated $1.65 trillion, from $929 billion in 2020, surpassing their pre-COVID-19 level, according to UNCTAD’s Investment Trends Monitor published on 19 January. “Recovery of investment flows to developing countries is encouraging, but stagnation of new investment in least developed countries in industries important for productive capacities, and key Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) sectors – such as electricity, food or health – is a major cause for concern,” said UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan.
World Bank chief contrasts Microsoft deal with poor countries’ debt (Digital Journal)
After Microsoft announced it would spend tens of billions of dollars to buy a video game company, World Bank President David Malpass on Wednesday drew a contrast between the deal and the amount of money rich nations have pledged to help poor countries facing higher debt loads.
A G20 debt service suspension initiative expired at the end of 2021, and this year alone, those countries must pay $35 billion in debt service. “The debt payments are staggering,” and it has become a “compounding” problem, Malpass said.
Of the $35 billion that the world’s 74 lowest-income nations will owe in debt service payments this year, about 37% — or $13.1 billion — is owed to Chinese entities, according to the World Bank. A similar amount, $13.4 billion, is owed to the private sector.
Official bilateral debt to countries other than China accounts for only $8.6 billion, World Bank President David Malpass said Wednesday during an event hosted by the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
The OECD today launched a new digital hub to improve transparency around the taxation of development aid by presenting approaches taken by participating donor countries to claiming tax exemptions on goods and services funded by official development assistance (ODA). The Tax Treatment of Aid: Digital Transparency Hub compares policies for how ODA is taxed from 12 members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), who voluntarily provided details on their tax approaches of foreign aid.