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South African Local Government Association applauds inaugural dialogue (South African Government)

The inaugural dialogue aimed at connecting Local Government and objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has been welcomed as a progressive platform to stimulate continent’s-wide inclusive and sustainable industrial development amounting to $450 billion of regional income.

Presenting on the progress on the AfCFTA negotiations and implications for Local Government, Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), Chief Director Niki Kruger says: “According to the World Bank, the AfCFTA will boost regional income by 7% or $450 billion, speed up wage growth for women, and lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty by 2035”.

“While some of the benefits of the AfCFTA would be derived from reduced tariffs, the biggest gains are expected from lowering trade costs by reducing non-tariff barriers and improving hard and soft infrastructure at the borders (trade facilitation measures). By 2035, the volume of total exports is expected to increase by $560 billion (29%) with intra-Africa exports increasing by 81% and exports outside of the continent by 19%,” she said.

MEC of Economic Development, Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Development, Parks Tau delivered a keynote address on Tuesday morning.

“It is logical that municipalities are adequately capacitated and resourced to leverage the attendant opportunities from the Free Trade Agreement. Since this Free Trade Agreement signifies a game-changer, its impact rests in the integration of Africa into a single continental market for trade and exchange of goods and services with an accompanying free movement of entrepreneurs and enterprises,” Tau says.

SA Investment Conference to focus on intra-Africa trade (SABC News)

The fourth South African Investment Conference will kick off on Thursday next week. This year’s conference will focus on South Africa remaining a key investment destination despite COVID-19. The conference which was postponed last year is expected to attract more than 1 000 delegates after COVID-19 regulations were eased. The Investment Conference was inaugurated by President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2018. The government has made a commitment to raise more than R1.2 trillion worth of investments over a five-year period. Special Envoy Jeff Radebe says this year’s investment conference will have a strong focus on intra-Africa trade and highlight the importance of the Africa Free Continental Trade Area. “An investment to South Africa without a corresponding investment to the great African continent will not assist us as Africans to attain our agenda 2063, the Africa we want. Africa Free Continental Trade Area must not just be a theory but it must be practical. We should look at other issues that stand in the way for Africa to trade as a bloc, how else are we going to be able to implement this free trade area if there are so many barriers.”

State to lift ban on scrap metal business (Business Daily)

The State now plans to lift a ban it imposed on export and dealings in scrap metal in a move set to offer a sigh of relief to traders whose businesses closed since the directive in January. Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i on Wednesday said the ban will however be lifted only if scrap metal dealers apply for fresh licences and join associations before being allowed to ply the trade. In the proposed regulations, Mr Matiang’i said that licensed dealers, millers, and smelters will be charged Sh250,000 in annual fees while agents and jua kali collectors will fork Sh150, 000 and Sh50, 000 respectively. “We are not going to allow the sector to continue operating in an unlicensed manner and no amount of political intimidation or pressure will make us abandon the resolve,’’ said Mr Matiang’i.”We are not building infrastructure for scrap metals vandals. We’d rather the scrap business died but we managed to protect our critical infrastructure.”

State unveils plan for control of gas prices (Business Daily)

The State will import 30 percent of cooking gas through the National Oil Corporation of Kenya in a move aimed at controlling the price of the commodity that has hit an all-time high. The National Oil’s quota is aimed at forcing cash-hungry private importers to lower the cost of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and ultimately retail prices. This follows the review of regulations that reserve 30 percent of cooking gas imports to the State corporation and carry out its role of influencing market prices. The corporation, formed to stabilise and influence fuel prices, has largely been forced to follow the dictates of the market controlled by private players.

Addis inks $29m deals with China firms for public transport upgrade (The East African)

Authorities in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa have inked a deal worth $29.17 million with two Chinese companies to modernise the transport sector, the state-run Ethiopia Press Agency (EPA) reported Tuesday. The first agreement valued at $15 million will enable the Addis Ababa city government to purchase 110 buses from China’s leading bus maker, Yutong, within eight months. The city will also integrate digital systems in its public bus transport system among other upgrades at a cost of $14.17 million, according to details in the second agreement. The pact was signed between the Addis Ababa city administration and Chinese Hisense TransTech Co., Ltd. “The government of Ethiopia has planned to increase the total length of the express highways in the country to 1,600 kilometres over the coming ten years with a view to expediting the economic and social development of the nation as well as encouraging regional integration,” she said.

KEPSA recruits first beneficiaries of Kenya-US trade initiative (Capital Business)

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), has announced the recruitment of the first cohort of twenty-five businesses in the Kenya-US Small and Medium Enterprises Trade Initiative. The twenty-five local SMEs, looking to either scale up globally or grow exports to the US market, will be provided with sector-specific information on business opportunities in the US markets. This is in addition to imports and exports business exchanges among other initiatives aimed at improving market access and linkages between SMEs in the two countries.

Signed in New York on November 2021 by Carole Kariuki, CEO, KEPSA, and Florie Liser, President and CEO, Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), in the presence of President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Kenya-US SME Trade Initiative aims to support greater US-Kenya trade under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Second is the promotion of US-Kenya SME-driven trade and investment by capitalizing on and creating business relationships between Kenyan and US entrepreneurs as envisioned by the U.S. Prosper Africa Build Together campaign and initiative. Lastly, the initiative aims to develop a database and online market of trade opportunities that will allow Kenyan and US SMEs to connect with potential buyers, suppliers, financiers, investors, and other business partners.

Kenya to host region’s first trade facilitation summit (Kenya Broadcasting Corporation)

Kenya is set to host the first trade facilitation summit in the East African region as the country seeks to increase international trade. The one-day summit themed “Re-imagining Trade Facilitation in an era of Technology” to be held on March 31, 2022, is organised by the Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade) as part of its 10 years of trade facilitation celebrations.

“Kenya is an important regional gateway to the landlocked East Africa and wider Great Lakes countries. The northern corridor links Kenya’s maritime port of Mombasa to Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda. This corridor mainly facilitates intra-regional trade and regional integration by ensuring the smooth movement of goods and persons across member states,” Wangora said.

Ensure High Packaging Standards - Small Enterprises Urged (News Ghana)

Mrs Delese Darko, the Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drugs Authority, has charged Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs), to ensure high standards in packaging their products to be competitive. She said packaging had been the major limitation for entrepreneurs in Ghana, adding that, if MSMEs wished to access the African continental free trade area then there was the need for them to pay attention to packaging. Mrs Darko said this at a two-day workshop on flexible food packaging for MSMEs organised by the FDA in collaboration with ePac-Ghana, Ghana Standards Authority, and Ecobank Ghana Limited in Accra. It was on the theme, “Building Capacity in Flexible Packaging to Enhance Food Safety & Quality for MSMEs in the Africa Free Trade Area”.

SME funding as panacea to Nigerian prosperity (The Guardian Nigeria)

According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Small and Medium Enterprises have contributed 48 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the past five years. They account for 50 per cent of Nigeria’s industries and 90 per cent of our manufacturing, in terms of number of enterprises. A 2020 World Bank report notes that most Nigerian SMEs do not grow, they remain stagnant or exit. However, a few exhibit rapid growth in productivity and scale. Indeed, some startups shape the Nigerian economy through new and more productive business models. The World Bank report also noted further that compared to large firms, SMEs are more likely to fold up permanently. But a strong SME dominated economy bolsters the economy’s resilience in diversifying the domestic economy, thereby reducing fluctuations in the global and private capital inflows. Sadly, poor SME funding, and overregulation threaten the sustainability of SMEs. In a 2020 survey, 57 per cent of SME chief executives cited multiple taxes and levies and the absence of technological aid as challenges of SME growth. Lack of access to credit and overregulation remain the bane of SME development in Nigeria. Without finance to facilitate transactions, the entire SME supply chain comes to a halt. Trade finance becomes highly relevant here, by introducing liquidity via a Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) special allocation.

Inward FDI stock in Côte d’Ivoire grew fivefold over the past two decades (Ecofin Agency)

Côte d’Ivoire’s inward FDI stock rose from $2,483 billion in 2000 to $12,237 billion in 2020, according to UNCTAD estimates. With nearly 30% of the total FDI stock of the WAEMU, the country is the largest in the West African franc zone and the third-largest in ECOWAS. From $2,483 billion in 2000, the stock almost tripled to $6,978 billion in 2010 before rising to $12,237 billion by 2020, despite the covid-19 which severely disrupted FDI flows that year. This increase matches with the country’s macroeconomic performance over the period under review, and more specifically since the post-election crisis of 2012. “Since 2012, Côte d’Ivoire has embarked on a robust growth trend, which has been sustained beyond the typical rebound effect of a post-conflict situation. During this period, foreign direct investment (FDI) has increased significantly,” UNCTAD notes.

Trade Ministry presents 83 investment opportunities for local production (Daily News Egypt)

Egypt’s Minister of Trade and Industry Nevine Gamea announced that the ministry has prepared a list of 83 investment opportunities for local production.

Gamea noted that the ministry, represented by the Industrial Modernization Center, conducted an analysis of the import structure, where it was identified 131 products can be manufactured locally, which contributes to reducing the import bill.

She said that the ministry and its affiliated agencies will provide all forms of support and assistance to investors who want to direct investments to manufacture products that are imported from abroad, whether through directing new investments or making expansions for existing projects.

Egypt, Cameroon discuss developing economic relations (Daily New Egypt)

Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation, Rania Al-Mashat, has met with Minister of Economy, Planning, and Regional Development for Cameroon, Alamine Ousmane Mey, as part of his visit to Egypt to participate in the 3rd Meeting of Governance Council of Arab Africa Trade Bridges Program.

Al-Mashat explained that the Ministry of International Cooperation is working to promote joint development between Egypt and the African continent by pushing for regional integration, and by enhancing expertise and knowledge-sharing while spotlighting Egypt’s own development experiences with other African countries. This is in light of the political leadership’s commitment to strengthening relations and supporting areas of development across the continent.

The Minister also discussed the first edition of the Egypt – International Cooperation Forum (Egypt – ICF), held under the patronage Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, which looked into strengthening multilateral cooperation post-pandemic.


Africa

No AfCFTA Without Exports - Krapa To Member States (News Ghana)

A Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Herbert Krapa has intimated that the objects of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) cannot be realized without a deliberate boost in the volume of exports by individual member states. He observed that the AfCFTA, touted as the new dawn of Africa’s integration agenda, holds a potential to advance equitable development for all with its ability to address the challenges of small fragmented markets and the promotion of economic diversification and industrialization. These benefits according to the Deputy Minister “cannot be achieved if the private sector is not empowered to export in significant volumes. Thus the case for constantly enhancing the productive capacity of our exporters could not be better made”.

Speaking at the Ghana Export-Import Bank Stakeholder Consultative Forum on Export Trade and Guarantee Facilities held in Accra on Tuesday, Hon. Krapa who is in charge of International Trade at Ministry of Trade and Industry said that global trade was facilitated by exports and consequently, exports was crucial to the success of AfCFTA.

Implementation of AfCFTA treaty would take place at local government (Devdiscourse)

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has been welcomed as a progressive platform to stimulate the continent’s wide inclusive and sustainable industrial development, amounting to $450 billion of regional income. The development was welcomed during a two-day hybrid inaugural dialogue of the AfCFTA in Sandton. The dialogue was hosted by the South African Local Government Association (SALGA).

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has been welcomed as a progressive platform to stimulate the continent’s wide inclusive and sustainable industrial development, amounting to $450 billion of regional income. The development was welcomed during a two-day hybrid inaugural dialogue of the AfCFTA in Sandton. The dialogue was hosted by the South African Local Government Association (SALGA).

Covid-19 has opened Africa’s eyes – and the world’s – to investment opportunities says Africa Investment Forum (AfDB)

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted Africa’s urgent need for better healthcare. Unequal access to vaccines , along with disruptions to supply chains caused by worldwide economic shutdowns have underscored the continent’s overreliance on medical and pharmaceutical imports. Investment opportunities in healthcare and pharmaceuticals sector are some of the areas being discussed at the Africa Investment Forum virtual boardroom sessions taking place this week. The Africa Investment Forum is a multi-stakeholder platform that advances private and public-private-partnership projects to bankability, raises capital, and accelerates deals to financial closure.

Under its Covid-19 response, the Africa Investment Forum is prioritizing sectors that can drive Africa’s resilience and accelerate the continent’s economic recovery from the impacts of the pandemic. “The Covid-19 pandemic has opened our eyes to both the necessity and the urgency with which we must create investment on the Africa Investment Forum platform,” says Chinelo Anohu, its Senior Director.

Lender Has $1 Billion Plan to Wean Africa Off Russian Wheat (Bloomberg)

A $1 billion plan to boost wheat production in Africa should be accelerated to avert potential food shortages arising from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the head of the continent’s biggest multilateral lender. The African Development Bank is raising the funds to help 40 million African farmers utilize climate-resilient technologies and increase their output of heat-tolerant wheat varieties and other crops, Akinwumi Adesina, the lender’s president, said in an interview. Wheat imports account for about 90% of Africa’s $4 billion trade with Russia and nearly half of the continent’s $4.5 billion trade with Ukraine, he said. “We are going to be really ramping up our efforts to mobilize that money,” Adesina said. “If there was ever a time that we needed to really drastically raise food production in Africa, for Africa’s food security and to mitigate the impact of this food crisis arising from this war, it is now.”

Industrial policy implementation key to driving structural transformation in Africa (Engineering News)

Achieving sustained growth in Africa, coupled with addressing some of its key challenges, requires a concerted focus on successfully implementing industrial policy, economists noted during a discussion at the launch of the African Programme on Rethinking Development Economics (APORDE) Alumni Network this week. Other key themes from the discussion included that the experience of South Africa, Ethiopia and Nigeria revealed the importance of industrial policy, which is dynamic and takes into account the context of different economies and sectors. Moreover, addressing constraints was noted as necessary across Africa to ensure countries are internationally competitive for realisation of export capacity. At the same time, a successful industrial policy should not be seen in a narrow way and should be aligned with other key policies such as macroeconomic policy, the discussion revealed.

Harmonisation of data protection laws: Smart Africa, NADPA sign MOU (Myjoyonline)

The Smart Africa Alliance (SA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NADPA/RAPDP (Network of African Data Protection Authorities) to provide institutional support and enhance the enforcement capacities of the African National Authorities.

Initial discussions between Smart Africa and NADPA/RAPDP began in November last year in Benguerir, Morocco on the need to join forces as a region to enforce the harmonization of the data protection laws as a matter of regional interest.

Both parties have now convened at Dakar in Senegal to append their signatures to an MOU, after successful deliberations.

Policy tweaks that can raise leather production in EAC (Buhsiness Dailoy)

Leather is one of the most traded agro-driven commodities in the world. At an estimated annual market value of Sh22.8 trillion (USD 200 billion), leather’s revenues are higher than those generated from coffee, tea, rice, rubber, cotton, and sugar combined.Yet East Africa’s share of this pie is a paltry 0.24 percent or Sh54.6 billion (USD 478 million) with its contribution to the East African Community (EAC) Gross Domestic Product a mere 0.28 percent, according to the regional bloc’s Leather Strategy Implementation Roadmap for 2020-2030.This miniscule contribution runs counter to another reality: that East Africa’s leather sector sits on a rich raw material base, playing host to three percent of the world’s total bovine herd, five percent of the goats and two percent of the sheep.The strategy, referred to above, identified several obstacles, key of which is the absence of defined production standards.

Regional Forum Highlights Africa’s Importance for Achieving 2030 Agenda (IISD)

The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) held its 2022 regional forum on sustainable development. The meeting resulted in adoption of the Kigali Declaration on ‘good practices and solutions to enhance implementation of the sustainable development goals in Africa,’ which will be presented at the July 2022 meeting of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The eighth session of the Forum convened from 3-5 March 2022, in Kigali, Rwanda. Participations reviewed progress towards the SDGs, shared their national and subnational action plans, and exchanged recommendations on advancing the 2030 Agenda and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said three frameworks are the best blueprint for facing current challenges: Agenda 2063, the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, and the Secretary-General’s report on ’Our Common Agenda.’ Mohammed said SDGs’ fate “will be decided in Africa,” and the region must have adequate financial resources to make needed investments in the future. She highlighted UNECA’s Liquidity and Sustainability Facility, a partnership with the private sector to facilitate sustainable investment. She also called for re-channeling special drawing rights to countries most in need and investing them in universal social protection and green aspects of the economy.

Digital Economy Could Reap Huge Benefits for Middle East and North Africa (World Bank)

The universal adoption of digital technologies in countries across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) would reap huge socio-economic benefits, amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars each year and a much-needed surge in new jobs, according to a new World Bank report. The report, “The Upside of Digital for the Middle East and North Africa: How Digital Technology Adoption Can Accelerate Growth and Create Jobs,” offers sound evidence of how the widespread use of digital services such as mobile money and digital payments would boost economic growth. A core reason for this boost is that digital technologies reduce informational costs that constrain economic transactions, and those costs are lower when many more people use the technologies. The report indicates that fully digitalizing the economy could lead to a rise in GDP per capita of at least 46% over 30 years, or in dollar terms a long-term gain of at least $1.6 trillion. During the first year, this GDP per capita gain for the region would be almost $300 billion, the report estimates. The increase would be more marked in lower-income MENA countries (an increase by at least 71% since gains are driven by closing the access gap to digital technologies. The access gap is wider for non-high-income countries.)

African governments are turning to cryptocurrencies but can they team up? (Brookings)

Since 2018, eight African countries have launched initiatives to create government-controlled cryptocurrencies, otherwise known as central bank digital currencies (CBDC). Coming in the midst of a fintech boom that has seen investments in African startups surge from $130 million to $2.3 billion, a mammoth 20-fold rise, the effects of greater government involvement in the digital payment space are of interest to everyone—investors, banks, and consumers alike.

African government forays into digital payments at the consumer level, though, have not historically fared well.

What they might lack in savvy consumer apps, African governments make up for in the more boring enterprise-scale platforms connecting central banks, commercial banks, and big corporations. The Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), for instance, saw Electronic Fund Transfer transaction values increase by 50 percent in 2020, while the number of transactions recorded an even more mindboggling growth of 77 percent

This is why it is a pity that the national crypto projects announced since 2018 seem to be following the historical script of making the government the digital banker to the masses.

The privatization of money does have one interesting angle: the nexus between monetary digitalization and financial globalization. The enterprise-level bank-to-bank and payment systems connectivity platforms that African governments seem on the whole to have managed well sometimes crisscross national borders and thus increase the area for private fintech innovation.

Africa Europe business forum focuses on waterway transport and short sea shipping for sustainable intra Africa trade (GhanaWeb)

The need to mainstream marine transportation across the African continent not only for improving connectivity and facilitating trade under the AfCFTA but also for pushing the green agenda, enhancing food security, and creating employment for the youth. Stakeholders from across the continent representing the various regional economic communities (RECs), national governments, development partners, and civil society organizations as well as the business community convened to discuss practical ways of boosting inland waterways transport and short sea shipping routes. Panelists unanimously called for greater investments in marine transport with the strong political will that ensures the effective mobilization of the right resources to boost that agenda. The one-day forum was on the theme: “Accelerating integrated and sustainable multimodal transport and logistics chains in Africa: the role of inland waterway transport and short-sea shipping”


Global economy

WTO DG Okonjo-Iweala Welcomes Breakthrough On Covid Vaccine Waiver (WTO)

“This is a major step forward and this compromise is the result of many long and difficult hours of negotiations. But we are not there yet. We have more work to do to ensure that we have the support of the entire WTO Membership,” the Director-General said. While the agreement between the European Union, India, South Africa and the United States is an essential element to any final deal, she cautioned that not all the details of the compromise have been ironed out and that internal domestic consultations within the four members are still ongoing. Moreover, she stressed that work must commence immediately to broaden the discussions to include all 164 members of the WTO. “In the WTO we decide by consensus, and this has not yet been achieved. My team and I have been working hard for the past three months and we are ready to roll up our sleeves again to work together with the TRIPS Council Chair Ambassador Lansana Gberie (Sierra Leone) to bring about a full agreement as quickly as possible. We are grateful to the four Members for the difficult work they have undertaken so far,” said Dr. Okonjo-Iweala.

South Africa hailed by WTO over compromise on COVID vaccine production waivers

Ukraine war’s impact on trade and development (UNCTAD)

An UNCTAD rapid assessment of the war in Ukraine’s impact on trade and development confirms a rapidly worsening outlook for the world economy, underpinned by rising food, fuel and fertilizer prices. The report published on 16 March also shows heightened financial volatility, sustainable development divestment, complex global supply chain reconfigurations and mounting trade costs. “The war in Ukraine has a huge cost in human suffering and is sending shocks through the world economy,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan said in a statement. “All these shocks threaten the gains made towards recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and block the path towards sustainable development.”

Standards committee advances transparency, discusses accreditation and digital issues (WTO)

The Committee held an in-depth exchange of experiences on conformity assessment procedures at a meeting on 8 March. A thematic session on accreditation featured case studies on how accreditation systems can reduce technical barriers to trade and facilitate trade through cooperation between accreditation systems in WTO members. Members underlined the importance of the International Accreditation Forum and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation frameworks while recognizing challenges with respect to accommodating diverse national or regional approaches. The session highlighted in particular how cooperation between accreditation systems has been crucial for accelerating trade in medical goods and personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Accreditation bodies worldwide turned to remote assessment to ensure continuity of their work while ensuring rigor and confidence in their assessments. More information can be found here.

New programme of action to assist countries graduate from LDCs (Malawi 24)

Acting High Representative for the Least Developed Countries (LCDs), Ms Heidi Schroderus – Fox, says implementation of Doha Programme of Action for LCDs will bring true change to people’s lives and livelihoods in the Least Developed Countries. Fox was speaking during a with President Lazarus Chakwera New York on Wednesday ahead of the Fifth UN Least Developed Countries (LDC) conference. She said a country that shows willingness to graduate from being ranked as least developed will do so with the assistance of the new programme of action. “Every country wants to move forward and this is what we are fighting for and as leaders we are working to bring all different partners to the table, to implement the new program of action that includes private sector all international financial organisations developing partners and all UN funds programmes agencies as well as women and youths,” she said.

Tapping digital tools in drive for sustainable blue economy driver (Business Daily)

Stakeholders are betting on technology in efforts to realise the potential of the blue economy, noting that the world should find ways to tap the tech-savvy youth to come up with solutions to spur the sector. Jacqueline Uku of the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) said that innovation in aquaculture could prove critical in saving marine life and boosting the livelihoods of communities living near oceans, seas, lakes and rivers. “We need to tap the talent of the youth who can create digital tools and software to make marine management easy,” she said. Speaking during a High-Level Side Event on blue economy at the culmination of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Gigiri, Nairobi, Dr Uku and other environmentalists asked countries to take the lead in pioneering innovative ways to ensure sustainable utilisation of the blue economy

Dr Jan Robinson, a government public sector representative from Seychelles narrated how his country laid out a blue economy strategy in 2014, banking on innovation. “Despite the challenges occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic and the global geopolitical squabbles, innovation remains very important in sustaining the blue economy,” he said.

‘SA will continue its work with BRICS’ (SABC News) 

South Africa says it will continue its work with BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) irrespective of who chairs it. The country will be taking BRICS chairmanship next year. Chief Director for InvestSA at the Department of Trade and Industry, Sadick Jaffer says there is focused work that needs to be done between the BRICS countries on a regular basis despite what is happening in Russia. Speaking at the official press launch of the South Africa Fourth Investment Conference, In Johannesburg, Jaffer says trade between BRICS countries has actually increased over the past few years. “BRICS has a subcommittee and comprises of various subcommittees that meet and work together, to work on trade and investments. Once we take the chairmanship we become the driver of those processes.” He adds, “ Work has not stopped on the BRICS and we work together to continue to identify opportunities both for trade and investment. And we do work also to ensure that there is the ease of doing business between the countries actually gets rebait and gets easier to do business and we keep the relations going because trade and investment flows are long term processes.”

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