tralac Daily News
South Africa will this year continue with concerted efforts to attract new investments into the country to help revive the economy and boost socio-economic development. One of the major events is the fourth South Africa Investment Conference (SAIC) to be hosted in Joburg on March 24, 2022, which forms part of our investment drive to attract R1.2 trillion over five years.
This ambitious investment initiative began in 2018 and has already attracted R770 billion in commitments across a wide range of economic sectors. The government has placed investments at the heart of its efforts to achieve its national goal of economic reconstruction and recovery.
RMB expects 3% domestic growth for 2022 (New Era)
According to Rand Merchant Bank’s (RMB) Markets Research team, Africa’s outlook for the year-ahead includes optimism for growth in Namibia over the medium-term, which will be determined by efforts of both the private and public sectors to increase renewable energy across the country. Said Daniel Kavishe, Africa Economist at RMB: “Prospective investments towards projects like the Southern Corridor Development Initiative will boost Namibia’s growth and development trajectory. In the short-term, mining and agriculture are expected to remain growth-positive and are key anchors for our 2022 forecasts. To a lesser extent, investments in renewable energy infrastructure projects will also support growth in the short to medium-term.”
A Zimbabwean business delegation recently visited Namibia to enhance business linkages and explore opportunities in imports and exports between the two countries. They are also looking at the storage of products at the Zimbabwe dry port. The main objective of the visit was to explore the Port of Walvis Bay and the Walvis Bay Corridors as an alternative trade route. The delegation, which consisted of executives from BAK Logistics, conducted business to business (B2B) meetings, toured the Zimbabwe dry port as well as the Port of Walvis Bay and its facilities. BAK Logistics is one of the largest logistics service providers in Zimbabwe, and has various partnerships that enable it to have an international reach. The delegation was hosted by the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG), who with key industry stakeholders, conducted a trade mission to Zimbabwe last year in October 2021.
Trade PS calls on Kenyans to supply their produce to the UK (Capital Business)
Trade PS Johnson Weru has called on Kenyans to start supplying their produce to the United Kingdom and to ensure that their products comply with all the requirements of the UK market. Weru who was speaking yesterday during the launch of the Kenya – UK Economic Partnership Agreement Council said that all kinds of products can be exported to the UK, from fresh produce, green vegetables, honey, manufactured goods. Kenya – UK Economic Partnership Agreement ratified last year, allows all companies operating in Kenya to benefit from duty-free access to the UK market. The council is expected to oversee the operationalization and implementation of the agreement in securing Kenya’s exports duty-free quota-free access into the UK post-Brexit. Speaking during the event, UK High Commissioner to Kenya, Jane Marriott said that she expects the council to ensure enhanced trade between Kenya and the UK.
Kenya plans more big projects amid surging cost fears (Business Daily)
Kenya will continue spending massively on infrastructure projects in the five years to 2027, in what will keep the country as a big construction site for the next decade. In its new medium-term plan, the Treasury says it will prioritise spending to upgrade the nation’s rail system, road network and building of new power plants despite mounting concerns of the high costs of the projects that in the past fuelled a controversial debt binge by the government.
“The fourth medium-term plan will prioritise increased investments in improving infrastructure so as to lower the cost of doing business which in turn improves national competitiveness and productivity,” says a concept note presented yesterday by Treasury teams at the start of the budget-making process.
The U.S. government is engaging in robust talks with Kenya as part of its drive to expand equitable and inclusive U.S. trade investment on the African continent, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi said on Tuesday. Bianchi told a trade conference that USTR would have more to say on Kenya in coming weeks, but gave no details. “We have been doing a lot of robust engagement with Kenya. We’re exploring ways to deepen our trade and investment relationship there,” she said. “We’ll have more to say on Kenya in the coming weeks, but we do want to keep a really deep engagement going.”
Rwanda has achieved a strong economic recovery in 2021, according to the 18th edition of the Rwanda Economic Update (REU18) released today. Gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 11.1% in the first nine months of the year, reflecting a broad-based recovery from the 2020 recession. Industrial production expanded by 16.5% and agricultural output rose to 6.8% in the same year, while traditional exports (coffee, tea, cassiterite, wolfram, and coltan) increased by about 35% in the first nine months of 2021.
In its special focus on Boosting Regional Trade Integration in the Post-COVID Era, the report underscores the importance of sustained growth in trade as a key driver for Rwanda to achieve its goal of becoming an upper-middle-income country by 2035. “Despite important progress, Rwanda has yet to fully achieve its trade potential with regional partners, notably, due to a relatively narrow export product base, discriminatory non-tariff barriers within the region, and persistent regional trade infrastructure gaps,” said Calvin Djiofack, World Bank’s Senior Economist for Rwanda.
New financial facility to boost Ugandan businesses launches (The East African)
A Ugandan company is seeking to increase investment in medium and large enterprises in Uganda by offering business development support and matching others with potential investors for long term growth. The Deal Flow Facility incubated by the Financial Sector Deepening Uganda (FSD-Uganda), a Kampala based company promoting greater access to financial services in the country, is being funded by the European Union in collaboration with the country’s Capital Markets Authority. According to FSD, the new facility seeks to help Ugandan companies become investment ready through providing business development support and exposure to potential investors, which will increase their competitiveness and place them on an accelerated growth path.
DP World, one of the world’s largest port operators, signed a preliminary agreement with the Angolan government to develop the country’s trade and logistics sector.
The parties will explore co-operation in the areas of ports and terminals, special economic zones, cross-border trade and finance and marine services, according to a statement from the Dubai Media office on Wednesday. DP World is already active in Angola and is developing the multi-purpose terminal at Port of Luanda with a total investment of $190 million to turn it into a maritime hub along the western coast of southern Africa. “Alongside the multi-purpose terminal, there is still tremendous opportunity to further develop and integrate the country’s logistics and trade infrastructure and unlock more economic benefits,” Sultan bin Sulayem, group chairman and chief executive of DP World, said.
In comparison to previous years, Togo has significantly improved its ranking under the “Trading across borders” indicator by adopting multiple reforms that focus mainly on the digitization and reduction in delays, for import and export procedures related to import and export. In comparison to previous years, Togo has significantly improved its ranking on the “Trading across borders” index by adopting multiple reforms that focus mainly on the digitalization and reduction in delays, for import and export procedures related to import and export.
The marginal progress made by the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) since its commencement in January 2021 is down to poor value addition practices among other loopholes. This was discussed during a panel session focused on how Africa can leverage trade, manufacturing and economic integration to make a significant economic rebound at the ongoing Africa Business Convention 2022 organised by BusinessDay. Kunle Elebute, chairman, KPMG Africa, said African countries have not fully adopted value addition practices, which is detrimental to their trade activities seeing that most countries in the continent are largely based on commodities. “AfCFTA is a great initiative but what can we describe as the underlining economic activity that can be exchanged under trade, Africa is simply the domain for the global economy to take out commodities and process,” Elebute said.
Success towards resource mobilisation and infrastructural improvements aimed at establishing in-country vaccine production is steadily moving on an upward trajectory in some countries in Africa. New Covid-19 infections have been on the rise, accelerated by low vaccination rates and the emergence of new variants. However, some countries have made concerted efforts to renew their emergency preparedness and response to better address challenges and embrace the opportunities presented by the pandemic. The surge in recent new infections has been predominantly fuelled by subsequent mutations of the coronavirus including the emerging Delta and Omicron variants, which have increased the need for urgent and timeous action.
The African Medicines Agency (AMA) is an initiative that will enable a continental harmonisation of regulations relating to the manufacturing of vaccines and other medical products. The Agency is a collective effort aimed at spurring local pharmaceutical production by establishing a supportive structure in which all member states can work together to respond to current and future emergency health crises such as Covid-19.
The continent experienced notable challenges regarding the timely and equitable procurement of vaccines as compared to high income countries (HICs). During the initial and on-peak stages of the pandemic it relied more on the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) facility, but since 2020 it has since started getting vaccines through the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT). As at 19 January 2022, only 10.09% of the continent’s eligible population had been fully vaccinated owing to the impact of delayed vaccine acquisition. The delays have led to the continent scrambling for available vaccines and importing 99% of its supply from HICs, which have offered them at escalated prices and during times when new infections have already reached their peak. Although the AU has procured an estimated 400-million vaccines through the AVAT for the next year, this supply needs to increase sevenfold if Africa is to ensure the full vaccination of at least 70% of its eligible population by September 2022. Africa should not have to depend on the rest of the world for a timeous and equitable supply of critical vaccines and therapeutics, and that is why collective action by all African states is critical for the establishment and operationalisation of the Africa Medicines Agency through the fast-tracked signing and ratification of the AMA treaty.
The African Development Bank Group has taken a crucial step to further address the infrastructure gap in African countries, with the approval of its first strategic framework for the development of public-private partnerships. This follows approval by the Board of Directors of the Bank Group on 19 January 2022. Africa’s infrastructure investment gap is estimated at more than $100 billion per year, affecting the living conditions of Africans and the continent’s global competitiveness. Bank experts say public-private partnerships offer an additional approach to increase private sector investments and higher levels of efficiency in the development and operation of infrastructure assets in Africa. Bank Group President Akinwumi A. Adesina said the new framework would form the bedrock of the Bank’s engagements in the infrastructure sector. “This eagerly awaited strategic framework will go a long way to enabling the Bank to provide much required assistance for the development and implementation of public-private partnerships in our regional member countries, and we look forward to its success.” Public-private partnerships are already a key feature of infrastructure projects being supported by the Bank, among them several transport and energy sector projects in all the regions of the continent.
Africa: Faster trains to stimulate trade (The Africa Report)
Ever since Abbas the First opened Africa’s pioneering railway in Egypt in the 1850s, the primary mission behind the continent’s railways has been clear – to stimulate trade.
Railways are now being seen as key catalysts for intra-African regional trade and to more efficiently move large numbers of people between key cities. African governments at the national, state and city level are getting behind rail and even competing on the quality and speed of their networks. An ambitious multi-million-dollar AU project christened the “African Integrated High-Speed Railway Network” (AIHSRN) is adding impetus to the rollout of high-speed trains.
Leaders in Africa must focus on building resilience to a broad range of issues in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which proved that systems across the continent are inadequate, according to Vera Songwe, the executive secretary at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
The continent faces formidable challenges related to climate change, infectious diseases, conflict, and cybersecurity — exacerbated by depressed economic growth, widespread unemployment, and a shrinking civic space. The economic costs of managing the pandemic have been steep, according to Songwe. In African nations, the ratio of debt to gross domestic product has risen from 40% in 2014 to nearly 70%, she said. While four African nations were at high risk of debt distress in 2014, that number has now risen to 17, Songwe added, noting that four countries are already in debt distress at the moment.
A Chinese official in Nigeria says Beijing plans to invest over $300 billion in Africa to increase African exports and help close the large trade gap with China. China’s plans for more investment in Africa have been welcomed by some, but critics worry about Africa’s growing debt with Beijing. The recent signing of a multi-billion-dollar partnership between China and Africa marks a major step in China’s effort to spend more money in Africa in nine industrial sectors, including trade, digital innovation, medical, poverty reduction, culture and peace and security. A Chinese official, China Africa Business Council head Diana Chen, signed a memorandum of understanding with Lagos Chamber of Commerce officials last week in Lagos.
UK’s Secretary of State for International Trade, Anne-Marie Trevelyan has stated that the United Kingdom (UK) has always been the Africa’s investment partner of choice for green transition. She said this, while hosting a one-day virtual event, which aimed to unlock millions of pounds of new investment, especially in clean energy industries in both the UK and across Africa.
Her Majesty’s Acting Trade Commissioner (HMTC) for Africa, Alastair Long, said: “In 2020, at the UK-Africa Investment Summit, the Prime Minister set out the UK’s ambition to be Africa’s investment partner of choice. Two years on from the UK-AIS, we continue to bring life to this ambition. Last year, we launched an online Investment Deal Room to provide a platform for African projects to be showcased to UK investors. The Deal Room has already published over £350m of vetted and investable opportunities to date. “Clean growth is at the heart of the UK’s trade agenda, and with Egypt hosting COP27, the second Africa Investment Conference is an opportunity to explore inclusive, sustainable and resilient investment opportunities that can serve to help Africa transition to a cleaner and greener growth trajectory.”
A UK-Africa trade deal could be fair wind for African economic unity (Kenya Broadcasting Corporation)
ECOWAS Urges Cooperation to End Illegal Fishing (Africa Defense Forum)
West African officials are saying that the scourge of illegal fishing can only be addressed with a regionally united front. They are calling for greater cooperation on fisheries management, patrols and enforcement in the Gulf of Guinea. Amadou Tall, leader of an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) program to enhance fisheries governance in West Africa, made a plea for greater cooperation in December at the end of an annual conference of the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC). Cooperation in combating illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing would reduce maritime security costs if all countries put their resources together.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, agriculture division, in Nigeria says the ECOWAS administrative sector has in place strategies to enhance the visibility of organic agriculture in the West African region, as well as develop its market for better productivity. Ernest Aubee, head of the division in Nigeria made the disclosure in a presentation titled, “Benefits of Harmonised Organic Standard in West Africa’, at the recently held 5th West Africa Organic Conference (WAOC) in Ghana, said the general assembly of West Africa Organic Network (WAfrONet) had recommended the need for a harmonised organic standard for West Africa.
H.E Mr Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and Chairperson of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC), presided over the 39th session of the committee, which provides leadership to NEPAD. “We are on the right path as Africa continues to rise to its challenges. The challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic are still with us, but the pandemic has led Africa to take the opportunity to become self-reliant. I am confident that AUDA-NEPAD will continue to be on the forefront of Africa’s development path,” President Kagame declared in his opening statement.
H.E Mr Félix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Chairperson of the African Union, stated that, “We have to ensure that we have seamless implementation of Agenda 2063, together with the Regional Economic Communities and development partners for building the Africa We Want. We therefore need to mobilise resources and ensure we accelerate economic integration on the continent, keeping to the goals we set for ourselves, using technology, innovation and investment in human capacity. This 39th session of the HSGOC is key for economic integration of our continent.”
The Directors-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) today reaffirmed their commitment to working closely together to help overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating human, social, and economic impacts.
They welcomed the impending launch of a trilateral technical assistance platform, which will provide a one-stop shop making available the three organizations’ expertise to governments in a tailored and coordinated way so as best to respond to individual national needs for COVID-19 health technologies. This will include support for the full use of legal and policy options for access to health technologies, including through the implementation of any solution to the COVID-19-related intellectual property proposals currently before the WTO’s TRIPS Council.
The Directors-General welcomed the ongoing efforts by their three organizations to make up-to-date information available, including the series of joint COVID-19 information notes, supplementing and updating the 2020 joint publication “Promoting Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation”.
Speaking at a seminar organized by the World Bank and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on 2 February, WTO Deputy Director-General Anabel González welcomed the findings of a new report that calls for a fundamental change in agricultural support to make agriculture and food systems more productive and more sustainable.
“The report’s findings are a potential step change, not only in how we think about agricultural support policies, but also in how we think about opportunities for trade cooperation to enable the transformation of agri-food systems,” she said. DDG González noted that the WTO agriculture rulebook is itself structured to encourage a transition from production- or trade-distorting support to non-trade-distorting support. She added that some WTO members have taken steps in this direction by moving towards environmental programmes and other forms of non-trade-distorting agricultural support. Still, a lot of taxpayer money is invested in agriculture with limited returns for farmers, the environment and the economy, she said.
Countries across the globe have made progress on digitalizing international trade formalities during the COVID-19 pandemic, but stronger efforts are needed to facilitate trade for small and medium-sized enterprises and other groups and sectors with special needs, according to a report launched today by the United Nations regional commissions. The report is based on the Fourth United Nations Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation, jointly conducted by the Economic Commission for Africa, the Economic Commission for Europe, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. The Survey covers the trade facilitation measures in the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement as well as digital trade facilitation measures associated with the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific, a UN treaty that entered into force in February 2021. Based on the 2021 Survey covering 144 countries, the report shows that the global average implementation rate of general and digital trade facilitation measures stands at 65 per cent. Despite the severe impact of COVID-19 on international trade, trade facilitation has made significant progress over the past two years. The overall implementation rate of measures increased by more than five percentage points between 2019 and 2021.
Smart manufacturing spend to reach $950bn in 2030 - ABI Research (Engineering News)
Market intelligence company ABI Research’s ’Digital Factory Data’ report notes that spending on smart manufacturing by factories adopting Industry 4.0 solutions, such as autonomous mobile robots, asset tracking, simulation and digital twins, will grow from $345-billion in 2021 to more than $950-billion in 2030 as manufacturers advance their digital transformation initiatives. “While most of the revenue today is attributed to hardware, a greater reliance on analytics, collaborative industrial software and wireless connectivity will drive spending on value-added services, namely connectivity, data management and enabling platforms, to more than double over the forecast period,” explains ABI Research industrial and manufacturing research director Ryan Martin.
The Global SIDS Solutions Dialogue, focused on the “severe challenge” these often impoverished low-lying nations face in being able to reach the goals of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, said FAO Chief Economist, Máximo Torero Cullen. It also highlighted the pressing need to fortify their resilience to climate change, natural disasters and other external shocks, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
With around 65 million inhabitants, SIDS account for only one per cent of carbon dioxide emissions, and yet they are most vulnerable to the existential threat posed by the impacts of climate change. SIDS in the Caribbean, the Pacific, and many small islands in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean - together with the South China Sea - depend on food imports. Nearly all SIDS import 60 per cent of their food and 50 per cent of island States bring in more than 80 per cent.