tralac Daily News
The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) continues to prioritise access to economic opportunities for the development of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) while providing job creation and related opportunities. “The CDC recognises that a thriving SMME sector is vital to delivering on the country’s economic development objectives,” CDC SMME Programme Manager Unathi Maholwana said on Monday. The CDC’s vision to champion socio-economic development remains central to its standing, as a preferred investment destination and trusted infrastructure implementing agent of choice in South Africa. “Our entire business model is based on the ability to deliver sustainable long-term business development while being cognisant of the need to improve the lives of people through job creation and related opportunities. Therefore, the focus on sustainability strengthens the value proposition for investors and clients of the future,” Maholwana said. She said the CDC recognises that a thriving SMME sector is vital to delivering on the country’s economic development objectives.
The Deputy Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Makhotso Sotyu, says the loss of biodiversity and its knock-on effect on livelihoods poses a risk to African women, leaving them even more vulnerable to the negative effects of gender inequality.
Addressing a side event on ‘African Women Resilience in the Context of Climate Change’ during the Commission for the Status of Women (CSW66) in New York on Tuesday, Sotyu said climate change is causing massive livelihood losses and damages for African women, including through the loss of biodiversity, among others.
“South Africa agrees with many other African countries that advocate for a need to integrate gender perspectives into our design, funding, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes on climate change. We further agree on gender mainstreaming across sectors at all levels of government,” the Deputy Minister said.
People who make products by hand in Kenya, known as artisans, are concerned about competition from similar goods coming from China. Thousands of people are known for making items they sell at a large market in Nairobi. Data show Kenya imported nearly $4 billion of goods from China in 2021, but sent out only $1.5 billion to Asia.
Wohoro Ndhoho is an economics expert in Kenya. He said a lack of automation technology means most products made by Kenyans are handmade. That means for a product like a bread pan, it takes a Kenyan one hour to make the pan. In the same hour, a Chinese factory can make 1,000, he said.
The national organization that represents artisans who sell their goods at Kenya’s markets says the imports from China are hurting the country’s economy.
Tougher times for consumers as high transport costs kick in (Business Daily)
Kenyans are staring at tougher times as truckers announce a 5 percent increase in transport costs in the wake of a rise in fuel prices announced on Monday. The Kenya Transporters Association (KTA) announced immediate increase in transport charges starting Tuesday after the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) announced a 10-year high fuel price in its latest monthly review. KTA chairperson Newton Wang’oo said fuel contributes up to 35 percent of total direct transport costs and indirectly affects other costs such as for tyres and spare parts since they are all imported. Mr Wang’oo said transport charges have remained constant from the period when the diesel pump prices in Mombasa were between Sh75 and Sh80 per litre compared to the current Sh108-110 per litre.
“Transporters’ margins can no longer sustain any increase in costs and regrettably have to pass on the increase to the cargo owner for road transport sector to survive,” Mr Wang’oo said. “KTA wishes to advise transporters countrywide to increase their transport rates by a minimum of 5 percent to sustain their businesses under current circumstances and to circumvent a total collapse of their businesses.”
SGR cargo volume up 5pc in February (Business Daily)
The volume of cargo transported on the standard gauge railway (SGR) from Mombasa to Nairobi went up 5 percent in February 2022 compared to a similar period last year, mainly on improvement on the trains’ off take from the Port of Mombasa. The Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) said on Tuesday that 20,952 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) of cargo were carried on the SGR in February 2022 on the Mombasa-Nairobi route, up from 19, 911 TEUs moved in February 2021. The February performance translates into an average of 8.3 trains carrying over 698 TEUs per day (249 trains), against some 230 freight carrying trains that were reported to have made the trip in February 2021.
“This positive performance is also attributed to daily adequate supply of wagons for both containerised cargo and bulk units that averaged between 500 and 600 wagons,” said KRC managing director Philip Mainga in a statement.
THE government in collaboration with development partners has been encouraging the agronomy of modern palm trees, the use of quality and friendly processing technologies to obtain quality products. The Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (Investment), Dr Hashil Abdallah said accessing raw materials will enable productive, sustainable production to reduce imports of edible oil. Dr Abdallah was speaking at the opening of a palm oil chain entrepreneurship workshop in Kigoma on Monday to further efforts to increase the production and consumption of palm oil products in the Kigoma Region and Tanzania as a whole. He said the government has created a conducive environment for the creation of large, medium and small scale industries to increase employment and productivity for producers and quality products palm trees products such as palm oil, detergents and cosmetics and also is used to make soap, broom, carpet and alternative charcoal derived from tree and palm leaves.
GTA Ready For Africa Continental Free Trade Area (News Ghana)
The Ghana Tuna Association (GTA) has set-out modalities to take advantage of opportunities being offered through the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) platform to expand its production and market for Tuna consumption in Africa. Mr Richster Nii Amarh Amarfio, GTA Secretary said there was the need for players in the tuna industry to take advantage of the AfCFTA to increase demand for its consumption, stressing that in order to get the canneries to deal with the challenges, there is the need to open up an Africa Market for Tuna.
Speaking at a conference on the theme: “Challenges and New Perspective of the Tuna Canning Industries in Africa,” Mr Amarfio emphasizes the need for African Union Member States to develop taste for Tuna. He added that the government must initiate policies that would help to reduce the cost of production both at the canneries and the fishing vessels to make tuna products from the canneries available on the Africa market at relatively low cost.
With the COVID-19-induced recession subsiding as vaccination rates increase, there is great hope for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to show that it could live up to its hype. Some progress has been made in the area of trade in manufactured goods, but agricultural trade remains below 20 per cent, the lowest in any region, compared to more than 60 per cent for Europe and Asia.
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), has said that for Nigeria to be a major player in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement( AfCFTA), there is need for government to pay more attention on promoting the non oil sector and create targeted funding for export oriented sector like agriculture, manufacturing, creative arts and entertainment.
The Director General of LCCI, Chinyere Almona who made this statement in Lagos at the 2022 Symposium of the Issuers and Investors Alternative Dispute Resolution Initiative (IIADRI) said this would help the country to enhance its competitiveness and rev up Nigeria’s share of global and Africa trade currently put at just 0.26 and 19 percent.
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) says Nigeria’s non-oil export products have increased by 56 percent, amounting to $3.45 billion in 2021. The council had announced N50 billion export expansion facility programme (EEFP) as part of the economic sustainability plan last year.
Ezra Yakusak, executive director, NEPC said the 2021 record is nothing compared to the $2.21 billion generated in 2020, adding that the council was able to achieve the feat as a result of the implementation of its current mantra, “Export for Survival”.
The Nigerian-British Chambers of Commerce (NBCC) has stressed the need for Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) operators and other managers to leverage technology tools to digitise their structures. At a press briefing organised by the NBCC to unveil its forthcoming conferences and exhibitions slated for March 22 and 23, 2022 in Lagos, the vice president, NBCC and chairman, Trade and Investment Committee, Akin Osuntoki said, the chamber was inspired to host the conference following significant changes in the business environment and the economy on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially, with the use of technology, as well as the need to attract investors for economic recovery. Themed: ‘Fast-tracking Productivity; Leveraging Technology’, Osuntoki explained that, the conference and exhibition would be a platform for business leaders, investors, policymakers and other key stakeholders in the trade and investment ecosystem to network.
Last week, the management of the Nigeria Customs Service gave 30 days grace period for clearing of the backlogs of trapped imported vehicles due to the strike by agents. In this write-up, ANOZIE EGOLE examines what should be expected from the service at the expiration of the grace period For the past two decades, there have been constant pressures from clearing agents on the management of the Nigeria Customs Service, for a total overhaul of the duties payable on imported used vehicles.
The practitioners fingered discrepancies on duties payable on vehicles of the same make, year and model at different ports in the country as reason for the clamour for a total overhaul asking for uniform values on vehicles of the same year, model and make irrespective of the ports it came through to Nigeria. Customs officers were even accused of high handedness and manipulating the values by these agents because of their inability to come up with a uniform duty on imported vehicles.
The impact of climate change on Nigeria’s environmental and socioeconomic systems is compounding the country’s fragility risks. Extreme weather patterns—fiercer, longer dry seasons and shorter, more intense rainy seasons—are exacerbating challenges confronting local communities. Extensive cultivation and overgrazing have been compounded by desertification, rendering large swaths of land in northern Nigeria unproductive. Unpredictable and higher-intensity rainfall in southern Nigeria is resulting in a loss of crops and the displacement of communities. Depleting environmental resources in every part of the country pose a serious food security challenge in the face of a rapidly growing population. In fact, the 2021 Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index ranks Nigeria as the 53rd most-vulnerable country and the 6th least-ready country in the world to adapt to climate change. As a result, growing desperation over food supply is driving resource conflicts across Nigeria. In short, farmer/herder violence over the past decade has worsened and disrupted business operations across the country. Urgent action is needed to improve food and economic resilience to prevent deeper crises.
Supporting Egypt’s Inaugural Green Bond Issuance (World Bank)
On September 29, 2020, Egypt became the first country in the Middle East and North Africa to issue a sovereign green bond. Slightly more than a year later, with the publishing of its first impact report, Egypt’s example is inspiring other countries in the region—and emerging markets more broadly—to consider green bonds as a financial solution. The five-year green bond was initially announced for US$500 million, with an interest rate of 5.75 percent. The bond was more than seven times oversubscribed, which led the government to increase its size to US$750 million and to lower the interest rate to 5.25 percent (lower than Egypt’s benchmark conventional bonds). Moreover, the bond witnessed the participation of an unprecedented 16 new investors in bond issuances denominated in US dollars.
Egypt’s trade deficit retreated by 21.6% to $2.41 billion in December 2021 from $3.08 billion in the same month of 2020, according to the latest data released by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). The country’s exports hiked by 45.3% year-on-year (YoY) to $4.32 billion in December, compared to $2.97 billion. Egypt’s imports jumped by 11.3% YoY to $6.73 billion in December, compared to $6.05 billion.
On 9 March 2022, during the ongoing 28th Revised Kyoto Convention Management Committee’s Meeting, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), in his capacity as the depositary of the Convention, received the Instrument of Accession of the Union of Comoros to the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures (Revised Kyoto Convention - RKC) from H.E Mr. Mohamed Chatur BADAOUI, Ambassador of the Union of the Comoros to the Kingdom of Belgium, at WCO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
Facing a global challenge due the COVID-19 pandemic, the WCO welcomes the growing number of Contracting Parties to the RKC, especially as it provides core provisions for the management of relief consignments during emergency situations and is at the core of the WCO’s Economic Competitiveness Package (ECP). Having entered into force on 3 February 2006, and with the accession of the Union of Comoros, the Convention now has 130 Contracting Parties. Mr. Souef Kamalidini, Minister of Finance of Comoros, appointed in 2021 after serving as Director General of Customs for five years, sent a special thanks to the WCO for its technical support in acceding to the RKC
The African Development Bank has extended membership of a digital data supervision system known as the Remote Appraisal Supervision, Monitoring, and Evaluation (RASME) project to Mozambique, making it the sixth African country to benefit from the tool which enhances project-related data collection in remote areas. RASME is a partnership of the African Development Bank and the World Bank’s Geo-Enabling initiative for Monitoring and Supervision and KoBoToolbox teams. The digital data gathering suite of tools being used for the RASME project is based on the KoBoToolbox platform, an open-source ICT solution developed by researchers affiliated with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. The initiative uses mobile devices and personal computers to enable Bank staff to remotely collect digital project data directly from the field in real-time. The onset of the Covid-19 crisis has sharpened the need for remote data collection tools.
According to Mozambique’s Deputy Minister of Economy and Finance, Carla Alexandra Louveira, “the operationalization of RASME will strengthen the oversight and monitoring capacity of project implementation and support a more effective decision-making process.”
African trade news
Trade finance and the efforts to boost intra-African trade (The Africa Logistics)
As stated by President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi A. Adesina, “trade finance is an important instrument for influencing Africa’s long-term economic development and structural transformation”. According to a report by the AfBB and the African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim), Trade Finance in Africa: Trends Over the Past Decade and Opportunities Ahead, the region was one of the most integrated with the rest of the world in 2011. However, in the last decade, Africa’s trade growth has been one of the worst among the major regions of the world. This is as a result of a number of factors including falling commodity prices, competition, inadequate foreign exchange liquidity, regulatory challenges and access to trade finance, as banks have gradually been scaling back activities from riskier markets.
Despite the persistently large trade finance gap, trade remains a key driver of Africa’s social and economic development. As a result, banks such as the AfDB and Afrexim have sought to stay on top of market developments and provide solutions to boost intra-Africa trade.
According to Baker McKenzie’s research with Oxford Economics – AfCFTA’s US$ 3 trillion Opportunity – there are now unprecedented opportunities for Africa, and its trading partners, to reap economic benefits on the back of the possible improvements in transport infrastructure, reduction of red tape for cross-border dealings, renewed funding and improved liquidity.
Failing crops and flooding are among the climate impacts affecting lives and food security in Africa and forcing people to migrate. In the Sahel – a vast region below the Sahara Desert encompassing countries including Senegal, Mali, Niger, Chad, Nigeria and Mauritania – temperatures are rising 1.5 times faster than the global average, according to a report from the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Office. Mali’s agriculture capacity could fall by 30-40% because of climate change. In Senegal, fish stocks are already declining, dropping by 80% in 2017 alone. Clashes over land are growing, and people who migrate may face increased risks on the way and when they arrive, the UN says.
Held under the theme ‘Shaping Inclusive Growth and Shared Futures in the Fourth Industrial Revolution’ the 28th World Economic Forum on Africa will convene more than 1,000 regional and global leaders from government, business, civil society and academia. Regreening initiatives such as planting trees and recycling nutrients back into the soil are showing they can be a key part of the solution.
Limitations to the adoption of agri-tech solutions in Africa (Ventures Africa)
Agriculture is a cardinal driver of the African economy. About 60 percent of the sub-Saharan population are smallholder farmers, and 23 percent of the sub-Saharan GDP comes from just agriculture. With 60 percent of the world’s unused arable land and 54 percent of Africa’s population working in the sector, the continent has enormous agricultural promise. But there are challenges. Farmers lack access to quality seedlings, fertilizers, and best farming practices. Additionally, they are feeling the adverse effect of climate change. Thankfully, agritech startups are rising to solve some of these challenges.
Africa’s agritech space has shown impressive growth in the last few years. According to a report released by Disrupt-Africa, over US$19 million was invested in the Agritech sector in Africa between 2016- 2018. Last year, the space secured a total funding of US$95,101,000, an increase of 58.5 percent from US$59,990,000 in 2020. With a projected value of $1 trillion by 2030, the continent is poised to become the global centre of agri-tech solutions. But the market remains untapped. This is because, although agritech startups in Africa have been active in the market for about a decade, many agricultural sub-sectors are yet to experience technological transformation.
On another end, existing agritech startups face challenges in rolling out their products and services. Despite their efforts to promote the adoption of innovative technologies, many smallholder farmers are still alien to this new wave of development for several reasons. Farmers’ education is still an enormous barrier on the continent. Although times are changing, many smallholder farmers still have low levels of education. Some farmers never got above a middle school education, and many others are illiterate. These people often depend on traditional farming practices passed on by their predecessors. These methods of farming are unsustainable.
UN says West Africa’s food economy may hit $480 billion by 2030 (The Guardian Nigeria)
The United Nations in Nigeria has projected that the food economy in the West Africa and Sahel sub-region would hit $480 billion in 2030 with the non-agricultural sector accounting for 49 percent of the value added. The Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the United Nations in Nigeria, Matthias Schmale, stated this yesterday in Abuja at the 13th Multidisciplinary Team Meeting with the theme: “Joining Efforts to Build Resilient Agrifood Systems in West Africa and Sahel”. Schmale, who attributed the expected growth to the systemic approach undertaken by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in securing the development gains in the fight against hunger, tasked West African countries to seize the opportunities for building resilient agri-food systems in the region. These significant trends, he said, provide great prospects for the West African food system to increase production, value addition, job creation, and food security.
Climate change has cost Southern Africa R640bn since 1980 (Engineering News)
About 36% of the natural disasters that have occurred in Africa in the past four decades were in Southern Africa and they carried an estimated cumulative economic loss of R640-billion. Alize le Roux, a senior researcher for African Futures and Innovation at the Institute of Security Studies (ISS), revealed this in a presentation on Tuesday during a virtual discussion titled: “What is Southern Africa’s plan for the climate crisis?” In her presentation, she also said there were 606 water-related disasters in the same period that led to loss of life, displacement, and the destruction of infrastructure and economic activities.
The President of the ECOWAS Commission, H.E. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou will Co-Chair a Virtual Boardroom to attract investors to finance the construction of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway Project with H.E. Solomon Quaynor, Vice President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) for Private Sector, Infrastructure, and Industrialization at 10:30 am (GMT) on the 16th of March 2022. The Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway is a project that aims to construct a 6-lane supranational highway with components to transform it into economic development corridor that interconnects 5 ECOWAS Member States (Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria) thus, facilitating transport linkages, free movement, and improved cross border economic exchanges between the five (5) countries involved.
The Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway Project, which is being implemented fully in collaboration with the Corridor Countries, is key on the 2nd Priority Action Plan for the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA-PAP II). It is also a priority under the new ECOWAS Vision 2050 which among other objectives, seeks to “Make ECOWAS a fully Integrated and Interconnected Economic Region”. Once completed, the corridor will boost trade (catalyst for the AfCFTA), instigate investment in other economic sectors, create employment opportunities for the citizens of Member States.
Global economy news
The United States, European Union, India and South Africa have reached a tentative agreement on key elements of a long-sought limited intellectual property waiver for COVID-19 vaccines, sources familiar with the deal said on Tuesday.
The tentative agreement among the four World Trade Organization members still needs formal approvals from the parties before it can be considered official, the sources said. It would apply only to patents for COVID-19 vaccines, which would be much more limited in scope than a broad proposed WTO waiver that had won backing from the United States, they said.
First, we need to clarify the meaning of—and distinction between—commonly used terms. The 2017 Buenos Aires Declaration expresses the concepts of gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. They are closely related yet distinct. Gender equality refers to the equal rights, responsibilities, and opportunities of women, men, girls, and boys. It implies that the interests, needs, and priorities of both women and men are taken into consideration, recognizing the diversity of different groups of women and men. Empowerment refers to whether women have the ability to exercise control and have options and choices over the practical and strategic decisions that shape their lives and their futures. Women’s economic empowerment is one means of achieving gender equality.
The Buenos Aires Declaration also speaks to the need to remove barriers to women’s participation in international trade and increase the number of women in such trade. Removing these barriers is a step toward economic empowerment and gender equality. In sum, increasing the number of women in international trade is a narrower objective than women’s economic empowerment, which in turn is narrower than achieving gender equality.
More than 60 percent of the world’s adult labour force –or about 2 billion workers– work in the informal economy. “They are not recognised, registered, regulated or protected under labour legislation and social protection. The consequences can be severe, for individuals, families as well as economies.” The International Labour Organization (ILO) on 18 February 2022 on this issue reported that despite major efforts over the years, there are few signs of the informal economy shrinking in size. “In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed more workers into informal work to survive while highlighting the vital role access to social protection plays to support workers, especially when they are unable to work.”
The informal economy comprises more than half of the global labour force and more than 90% of Micro and Small Enterprises worldwide, the ILO informs in another report. “Informality is an important characteristic of labour markets in the world with millions of economic units operating and hundreds of millions of workers pursuing their livelihoods in conditions of informality.”
For the last two years, digital economic activities have become one of the pillars that support the world and Indonesia’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Communications and Informatics Minister Johnny Gerard Plate said that Indonesia’s G20 Presidency is a historic momentum for the country to set the course of global digital economy development.”[The moment] strengthens the strategic role in navigating the world’s digital economic landscape development,” he said in Digital Economy Working Group Kickoff Meeting in Central Jakarta, Tuesday, March 15. According to Minister Johnny, the discussions, which will take place throughout March-September 2022, are also important momentums for Indonesia to guide dialogues between countries on global digital ecosystem governance issues.
Under the theme “Recover Together, Recover Stronger”, Indonesia’s G20 Presidency raises three priority agendas, namely inclusive global health architecture, digital-based transformation, and sustainable energy transition.
Cambodia shows LDCs how to get into ecommerce (Trade for Development News)
The coronavirus pandemic shut many business doors across the world, but it also opened windows to new digital possibilities, including ecommerce. A study by UNCTAD found that ecommerce’s share of global retail trade rose from 14 percent in 2019 to about 17 percent in 2020. Emerging markets saw the biggest shifts. Latin America’s online marketplace, Mercado Libre, doubled sales in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the previous year, while Jumia, an ecommerce platform in Africa, saw a 50 percent rise in sales in the first half of the year. However, the report found that businesses and producers in many developing countries have not done enough to take advantage of this shift to ecommerce. They are held back by, among others, poor internet access, an overreliance on cash, a lack of consumer trust, low digital knowledge and skills, and failure by governments to prioritize ecommerce.