Building capacity to help Africa trade better

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Covid-19 sets SA auto industry back three years in achieving masterplan targets (Moneyweb)

The Covid-19 pandemic has put South Africa’s automotive industry back by about three years in achieving the “aspirational and ambitious targets” set for the industry in the SA Automotive Masterplan 2021 to 2035. This has resulted in the industry considering approaching the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) for an early review of the masterplan despite the industry achieving some new export performance records in 2021. Mzwake Mbatha, policy analyst at the dtic, asked during a briefing on the export achievements in 2021 if the industry is still on track to fulfil the 2035 targets.

Vehicle and automotive component exports increased by 18.1% to a record R207.5 billion in 2021 from the R175.7 billion in 2020 to comprise 12.5% of total South African exports. Vehicle exports increased by almost 9.8% to 298 020 units in 2021 from the 271 287 vehicles exported in 2020 while the export value increased by 14.1% to R138.3 billion from R121.2 billion in 2020. Automotive component exports increased by a substantial R14.7 billion, or 27%, to a record R69.2 billion in 2021 from R54.5 billion in 2020.

Imports of original equipment components by the seven original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in South Africa increased by 33.8% R110.1 billion in 2021 from R82.3 billion in 2020. Lamprecht said this was in line with the 11.8% year-on-year increase in vehicle production in 2021 and to accommodate the introduction of new domestically manufactured models.

Minerals Council spells out members’ commitment to climate change mitigation (Engineering News)

Members of Minerals Council South Africa have agreed to commit to a climate change response strategy that will reduce Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions and achieve a net zero emission by 2050 or earlier. Minerals Council South Africa senior health and environment executive Nikisi Lesufi on Tuesday briefed the media on the Mineral Council’s dual approach to energy, explaining that it is a common but differentiated approach.

Removing mining growth impediments top of govt’s agenda (SAnews)

President Cyril Ramaphosa says government understands the need to move with urgency to remove the red tape that stands in the way of the mining industry’s growth and development. “It is a matter of grave concern that South Africa has fallen into the bottom 10 of the Fraser Institute’s Investment Attractiveness Index rankings. We are currently standing at 75th of 84, which is our worst-ever ranking. ”This ranking underlines the fundamental reality that South Africa needs to move with greater purpose and urgency to remove the various impediments to the growth and development of the industry,” he said.

New infrastructure vulnerable to climate change owing to mismanagement, corruption (Engineering News)

New infrastructure was just as vulnerable to climate change as ageing infrastructure, said South African Local Government Association (Salga) senior climate change adviser Slindile Maphumulo on May 10. She explained that, while ageing infrastructure was vulnerable to being damaged or destroyed during extreme weather events, new infrastructure was equally at risk as a result of being built poorly, slowly or not at all owing to poor tender systems, the appointment of incompetent service providers and contractors, black economic empowerment systems, inexperienced engineers and, most of all, rampant corruption.

Commodity prices buoy South Africa amid China’s slow growth blow (Mail & Guardian)

The world’s economy was dealt a heavy blow by Russia’s assault on Ukraine. The war prompted the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cut its global growth expectations, while inflation began to heat up well beyond what some central bankers are willing to endure. Meanwhile, another threat to the global economy is also raising eyebrows: China’s growth, which has been put on the line by its government’s uncompromising approach to containing Covid-19. South Africa’s economic fate is closely tied to China, which imports the highest percentage of the goods produced by Africa’s southernmost country. But still-elevated commodity prices could keep South Africa from being pulled down by China’s slowed growth.

UK extends support to bolster SA’s capacity to deliver infrastructure projects (News24)

State capacity to deliver infrastructure projects will be bolstered with the support of the UK government - this after the UK and South African governments extended a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support the latter’s National Infrastructure Programme 2050. Government has, in recent years, faced mounting pressure over public infrastructure delivery. UK Minister for Exports and Minister for Equalities, Mike Freer, and South Africa’s Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia de Lille, signed the MoU at the British High Commissioner’s residence in Bishopscourt, Cape Town, on Monday. The UK Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA), a body which conceptualises projects and then sees them through to execution, and Infrastructure South Africa (ISA) - a programme within the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) that supports the planning, management, and delivery of projects - are both involved in the partnership.

Supply Chain Latest: Namibian Port Expands as Alternative Trade Hub (Bloomberg)

Namibia’s Port of Walvis Bay has been expanding over the last few years and is set to get bigger with plans by the southern African country to develop its energy sector. The country, famous for its Skeleton Coast strewn with shipwrecks, built out its main port with a $300-million container terminal project that more than doubled capacity. That was completed in 2020 while Namibia was still struggling with the effects of the global pandemic. Other areas of the hub handle flows of salt, copper, coal, mining equipment and fuel.

Walvis Bay serves as an alternative to the ports of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Durban in South Africa for delivering the supplies and commodities from landlocked areas in the southern region.

The port will see another development following the award of a contract to build a liquid petroleum gas import, storage and distribution terminal, Namibian Ports Authority CEO Andrew Kanime said last month at an oil conference in Windhoek, the capital. The hub will need to be cost competitive to drive traffic, he said.

Positive pointers from Namibian trade stats (The Namibian)

NAMIBIA continues being a net importer of goods with the value of exports increasing by 27,9% year on year (y/y) in March 2022 to N$6 billion, while the value of imports increased with 18,3% y/y in March to N$8,9 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of N$2,9 billion.Simonis Storm Securities in an analysis says export products during the month were mainly from the manufacturing sector, which constituted 70,3%, mining (24,0%) and agriculture (4,8%), and were mainly destined for the rest of Africa (62,0%), Europe (21,7%), Asia (12,7%) and the United States (3,5%). “On average, exports increased by 24,4% in 1Q2022, compared to 1Q2021, where February 2022 recorded the highest annual growth in exports in the last two years,” Simonis says.

Simonis says 2021 recorded trade deficits for nine out of 12 months. According to the analysis, the biggest contributors to exports in March 2022 were diamonds, which rose 40,3% y/y, fish, which dropped 13,6% y/y, inorganic chemicals 355,6% y/y, gold, which rose 35,2% y/y, and copper blisters, which rose 1,178,2% y/y. However, Simonis says 99% of diamonds, and 20% of copper blister exports in March 2022 were re-exports.

Kenya’s mobile money transactions surge by 63% in 2021 — report (Business Insider Africa)

According to data provided by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the number of total mobile money transactions recorded a 16 per cent jump to 2,165 million, while the total transfers grew from 5.2 billion to 6.8 billion. Similarly, the number of money agents rose by 44 per cent from 3.231 billion to 4.666 billion, while the transfer from subscriber to subscriber rose by 30 per cent from 3.234 billion to 4.191 billion. The perceived growth in the volume of mobile money transactions in Kenya also spurred an increase in the country’s total active mobile money agents. According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the active mobile money agents increased from 264,390 to 292,301, and the mobile money transfer service subscribers rose from 32 million to 35 million.

Globally, Kenya and Ghana continue to dominate the mobile money market as the two countries rank second and third after China in the highest mobile payment usage, according to a 2020 report by American research firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Kenya breaches duty-free sugar imports cap by 102pc (Business Daily)

The Sugar Directorate exceeded the sugar import limits set by the National Treasury last year by 102 percent despite a significant increase in production of the commodity. Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that the directorate issued permits that allowed the importation of 426,000 tonnes against 210,000 tonnes –the limit that was put in place for duty-free sugar. The Treasury had in March last year slashed the amount of sugar that can be imported tax-free from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) countries by a third as the government moved to tame the influx of the cheap sweetener following an outcry from farmers. The Treasury said imports that exceeded the set limit would attract 100 percent duty, effectively protecting farmers and local sugar processors from rogue importers.

Samia visit: Tanzania makes U-turn on Uganda sugar (The East African)

Tanzania will resume buying sugar from Uganda, signalling a relaxation of one of the trade disputes that has lasted close to three years. President Samia Suluhu, during day one of her two-day state visit to Uganda, agreed with her host President Yoweri Museveni that Kampala would also supply her country with anti-retroviral (ARVs) drugs. According to a joint communiqué released after the Presidents’ meeting on Tuesday evening, Uganda will supply 10,000 tonnes of sugar to fill a production gap in Tanzania.

Uganda has, over the years, blamed Tanzania for instituting several non-tariff barriers that have thwarted seamless trade between the two countries. These include restrictions on sugar, milk and movement on Ugandan trucks.

Tanzania topples SA as Kenya’s top source of imports in Africa (Business Daily)

Tanzania has become the largest source market for Kenya on the continent after overtaking South Africa, partly on the back of increased orders of maize and rice by millers. Official trade statistics show expenditure on goods trucked from Tanzania nearly doubled last year to Sh54.47 billion from Sh27.88 billion the year before. The 95.38 percent, or Sh26.59 billion, bump in imports catapulted Tanzania to the top position in Africa after orders from South Africa fell 3.72 percent to Sh44.08 billion, according to data collated by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).”Imports from Tanzania nearly doubled from Sh27.9 billion in 2020 to Sh54.5 billion in 2021 partly attributable to increase in imports of maize and rice from this country,” KNBS analysts wrote in the Economic Survey 2022.

Tanzania: Multibillion dollar Chinese investment to increase job creation (The Exchange)

Investment in Tanzania is changing the labour market and industries in Tanzania for the better. The government of Tanzania is doubling down on expanding its industrial complex as the new industrial scheme stands to draw around 100,000 direct jobs and 300,000 by 2025 and change Tanzania economy for good. Tanzania’s industrial economy is slated to expand twelve-fold in the next three years, adding more support to the minor industrial landscape currently operating nationwide, while expanding the list of reasons to invest in Tanzania.

Tanzania’s investment landscape has captured a $3 billion industrial scheme executed by a Chinese company, Sino Tan Kibaha Industrial Park Limited. The Minister told the parliament on Saturday, May 06, tabling the ministry budget for 2022/23. The grand project, expected to complete development in 2024, will be monumental as it will transform Tanzania into an African industrial products hub.

Tanzania is one of the nations within sub-Saharan Africa that has experienced sustained growth due to its deliberate intent to maximize growth in industrial output. Tanzania has continued to showcase promising trends as in 2021, Tanzania exports to China rose by 14.31 percent, equivalent to $273.1 million, sending oily seeds, tobacco, and cotton to China markets.

Tanzania’s trade to the Indian market has also surged to 90 percent in 2021, which is more than $1 billion, shipping minerals, cashew nuts, soy and peas. While in Japan, Tanzania has progressed with more positive trends, increasing trade by 20.97 percent, which is $60.7 million in 2021. However, Tanzania’s trade with European Union got scarred, recording a 41.89 percent decline. At the same time, Tanzania traded with the Southern African Development Community. (SADC) reduced to 10.06 percent, which is around $1.3 billion in 2021. On the other side, Tanzania’s trade with the East African Community increased by 43.73 percent, equivalent to around $1.161 billion in 2021

Further, the Minister pointed out that the government is eyeing the introduction of the Trade Remedies Act of 2022 as a deliberate effort to enhance the business environment in Tanzania.

Tanzania’s exports to Kenya hit highest level recorded since independence (The Exchange)

The improved relationship between Kenya and Tanzania seems to be bearing fruits if the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data is anything to go by. In its Economic Survey 2022, the statistics office indicates that Tanzania’s exports to Kenya doubled in just ten months, the highest figure recorded since independence. According to the survey, Kenya’s imports from Tanzania nearly doubled from $242.6 million in 2020 to $473.9 million in 2021. The survey attributed the rise to increased imports of maize and rice from Tanzania.

Kenya imported more goods from Tanzania in 2021 than before, despite the COVID-19 pandemic affecting trade in the region and globally. The survey revealed that Kenya opened its market to receive agricultural products from Tanzania amid the pandemic that affected its stock.

The survey also found that Kenya’s exports to Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo showed a significant rise, jumping from $276.5 million and $124.3 million in 2020 to $396.5 million and $212.2 million. The bureau attributed the increase to the export of cut flowers, tea and coffee to DRC and soap to Tanzania. Overall, Uganda remained the highest export market for Kenyan goods in 2021, despite trade disputes between Nairobi and Kampala.

DRC State-owned shipping line to set base in Mombasa (Business Daily)

A shipping line from the Democratic Republic of Congo plans to start its operations from Mombasa beginning June this year. The state-owned shipping line, the Lignes Maritimes Congolaises (LMC) seeks to channel more DRC imports and exports cargo through the Port of Mombasa. A delegation from DRC led by the shipping line director LMC Dr Banze Nkulu Mulunda agreed to open an office at the Mombasa port to coordinate imports and exports from their country. “After a discussion on operational and logistics issues with KPA container terminal principal operations officer Michael Bokole and his team, we have agreed to start our operations from Mombasa starting next month. This will help in creating more jobs and business opportunities not only for DRC but to Kenya,” said Dr Mulunda.

Nigeria, 10 ECOWAS countries in debt distress – Report (Punch Newspapers)

A new report by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa has disclosed that Nigeria and 10 other Economic Community of West African States countries are currently in debt distress based on debt sustainability analysis. The 10 other countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. The report, titled ‘Debt Management, restricting and Sustainability in ECOWAS’, was recently launched at the Debt Management Office in Abuja.

According to the report, a financial crisis in Nigeria can threaten other countries in the ECOWAS region. “We also find that a financial catastrophe occasioned by a debt crisis in one country may spread throughout the region. The financial woes in Nigeria, in particular, portends a serious threat to other nations in the region.”

EU, Nigeria trade volume hits €28.7 billion (People’s Gazette)

Samuela Isopi, the ambassador to the EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, has put the trade volume between the bloc and Nigeria in 2021, at €28.7 billion. The envoy disclosed this at the Europe Day celebration, held at the EU Residence in Abuja.

According to Ms Isopi, the EU as a bloc remains Nigeria’s biggest trading partner accounting for more than 20 per cent of Nigeria’s trade with the world. “In 2021 the volume of EU-Nigeria trade stood at 28.7 billion euros, an increase of more than 25 per cent over 2020, with a trade balance of €6.4 billion in favour of Nigeria,” stated Ms Isopi. According to her, the bloc is Nigeria’s first partner in foreign direct investment, with EU companies contributing, together with their Nigerian business partner, to the country’s economic growth, job creation and wealth generation. She said the bloc was looking further in strengthening the relations and to help create the necessary conditions for the private sector to operate and contribute to developing the country.

Revenue target from partial import discount reversal revised to GH¢2.5bn (Graphic Online)

THE government has cut its revenue target from the partial reversal of the reduction in the benchmark values (discount policy) to GH¢2.5 billion from the initial estimated GH¢3 billion. The revised target followed delays in the review of the discount policy occasioned by some initial disagreements between the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) over the implementation of the policy. While the AGI has called for a total review of the policy because it is rendering its members (manufacturers) uncompetitive, the GUTA has said the discount serves as a lifeline to the survival of traders and needs to be maintained after two months of engagements. The Commissioner of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Col Kwadwo Damoah (retd), said to resolve the disagreement, the government decided to phase out the discount policy gradually after engaging with stakeholders in the trading and manufacturing industry.

IMF Staff Completes 2022 Article IV Mission to Mauritius (IMF)

“Mauritius is gradually recovering from the pandemic. The public health impact of the pandemic was well managed, including by a remarkable vaccination campaign covering over 90 percent of the eligible population by May 2022. Large and comprehensive support measures helped cushion the social and economic impact of the pandemic.

“While most sectors have returned to pre-pandemic levels of economic activity and the tourism sector is gradually recovering, inflation has picked up substantially. Real GDP growth bounced back to 4 percent in 2021, from a contraction of around 15 percent in 2020.

In face of increasing fuel and food prices, the mission recommends protecting the vulnerable population with targeted transfers through social safety net programs while avoiding broad-based subsidies benefiting all income levels.

Diversifying the economy will remain critical to support the recovery and Mauritius’ aspiration to become a high-income country. To achieve this, the authorities need to consider policy options to reduce the shortage of suitably skilled workers. Greater digitalization should help further promote diversification and move up the value chain. Addressing climate change is another priority to help the economy build resilience against shocks. Diversification and improving the resilience of the economy need to be supported by a comprehensive reform agenda to identify priorities, address obstacles, and increase efficiency, including by finding complementarities between the public and private sectors. This agenda could be formulated in consultation with the private sector and civil society.

IMF Executive Board Concludes 2022 Article IV Consultation with the Republic of Mozambique and Approves US$456 Million Extended Credit Facility Arrangement (IMF)

A moderate recovery is taking hold. After a real GDP contraction of -1.2 percent in 2020—the first in 30 years—growth resumed in 2021 and is now becoming more broad-based. While COVID cases and deaths have been below regional averages, three large waves of infections in 2021 and 2022 moderated the strength of the recovery. After initial supply constraints, vaccine rollout intensified in late 2021, with 46 percent of the population having received at least one shot (42 percent fully vaccinated by end-March 2022). Poverty has increased from a poverty headcount ratio of 61.9 percent in 2019 to an estimated 63.3 percent in 2020 as a result of the crisis, albeit mitigated by welfare and social protection measures undertaken with international support. The war in Ukraine is pushing up fuel and food prices. Inflation rose to 6.7 percent year-on-year in March 2022 mainly due to rising global prices but also the impact of tropical storms on local food prices. In response, the Bank of Mozambique raised its policy rate 200 basis points in March 2022.

“Mozambique has managed the COVID pandemic relatively well, maintaining macroeconomic stability and reform momentum even as the country has weathered a series of shocks, culminating with the effects of the war in Ukraine. With policy space now limited, sustaining the economic recovery underway and tackling debt vulnerabilities are priorities. The new three-year ECF arrangement of 150 percent of quota (SDR 340.8 million or about US$ 456 million) aims to buttress the economic recovery and policies to reduce public debt and financing vulnerabilities, along with creating fiscal space for priority investments in human capital, climate adaptation and infrastructure. It is also expected to catalyze additional financing by development partners.

IMF Staff Completes 2022 Article IV and Program Review Mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (IMF)

Real GDP growth, estimated at 6.2 percent, rebounded in 2021 supported by mining and services, while inflation stood at 5.3 percent at the end of 2021. The current account deficit narrowed to one percent of GDP, thanks to high mining exports. A rebound in the mining sector allowed for a significant increase in gross international reserves, reaching close to US$3 billion or 6.4 weeks of imports at end-2021. The overall fiscal deficit improved to 1 percent of GDP due to higher revenues and lower-than-projected investment.

Notwithstanding significant downside risks, including those related to the war in Ukraine, the outlook for 2022 remains relatively favorable and provides opportunities to consolidate macroeconomic stability. Growth has been revised to 6.1 percent from 6.4 percent. A small current account surplus, driven by higher grants and a relatively stable trade deficit, will support further reserve accumulation. Higher global food and energy prices are expected to weight on inflation and increase current spending due to untargeted fuel subsidies. However, the fiscal deterioration is expected to be contained thanks to strong revenue performance.

Advancing structural reforms remains critical for inclusive growth and social inclusion. Supporting economic activity will require addressing the large infrastructure needs, with strict prioritization and timely implementation of growth-enhancing investment projects. Simplifying the tax system and improving the business climate and governance remain crucial to support economic diversification, mobilize investment, and promote private sector-led growth. The global energy transition provides opportunities, including in mobilizing climate finance.

African trade news

African Members meet to discuss the HS 2022 Implications on the AfCFTA (WCO)

From 20 to 23 April 2022, Members of the African Union gathered for the AfCFTA 6th meeting of the Sub-Committee on Rules of Origin (RoO) to discuss outstanding issues and the draft AfCFTA RoO manual. The meeting was preceded by a one-day workshop on implications of HS 2022 amendments for RoO and schedules of tariff concessions, which was delivered on 19 April.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Mohamed Ali, Director of Trade in Goods and Competition of the AfCFTA Secretariat expressed his appreciation for the support provided by the EU and the WCO on the implementation of the HS under the HS-Africa Programme. He emphasized the importance of ensuring that continued support be provided to the AfCFTA to fully implement HS 2022, and welcomed the opportunity to have a thorough review of the remaining questions. He thanked the Member administrations that were making strides in migrating to the new version of the HS.

During the Sub-Committee meeting, the participants were briefed on the state of play with regard to the AfCFTA Appendix IV on Rules of Origin. The meeting participants had in-depth discussions on outstanding Rules of Origin taking into consideration the implications of the HS 2022. In conclusion of the meeting, it was agreed that the AfCFTA would continue their cooperation with the HS-Africa Programme and the recently established EU-WCO Programme for Rules of Origin in Africa to fully implement and manage Rules of Origin.

Women at the center of Africa’s post-pandemic recovery (Ventures Africa)

As we begin to focus on learnings from COVID-19, it is impossible to overlook the vital contributions of African women whose pioneering responses to the pandemic saved many lives. But as we recognize the women making history today, we must ask: Are we doing enough to ensure more can step forward as leaders and as Africa’s history makers of tomorrow? The answer is “not yet”, and we’d like to propose three for action: empower women in the economy, gather more and better data to see the full picture of women’s lives, and promote women in decision making, policy and governance.

Number of African planes projected to rise sharply (Business Daily)

The projected growth of African economy will push up the demand for aircraft with a new report saying the continent will require at least more than 1,000 new planes delivered by 2040 to meet the travel needs. The 2021 Airbus Global Market Forecast (GMF) report indicates that African airlines will require 1,100 new passenger and freight aircraft deliveries by 2040 in order to meet the growing demand. The new addition will bring the total fleet to 1,440 from a 2019 fleet baseline of 680 aircraft that have been in operation.

“Growth is driven by the forecast 2.8 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) increase in GDP between now and 2040. Tourism and intra-regional trade will continue to be key growth sectors for Africa and drive GDP growth,” says the report.

Globally, cargo is already operating today at nine percent above pre-crisis levels, and in Africa at 23 percent, according to IATA. Africa is seen as harbouring huge aviation potential due to limited ground transportation infrastructures, an abundance of natural resources facilitating trade and numerous touristic opportunities.

Over the past 10 years, significant improvements to the industry have been made across the continent, including the creation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) as well as the modernisation of fleets by national airlines. “Aviation not only gets people moving, but it also fosters regional integration, creates jobs and enables domestic, intra-African and global trade.”

AFRAA, Kenya Airways hold 10th Aviation Stakeholders Convention (Logistics Update Africa)

The 10th Aviation Stakeholders Convention, hosted by the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) and Kenya Airways, brings together over 500 delegates from 47 countries across the globe physically and virtually. The convention under the theme Beyond The Crisis is being held in Nairobi, Kenya. “A total of 34 African airlines are represented at the event with 12 airline CEOs in attendance,” according to an official statement.

Joseph K. Njoroge, CBS, Principal Secretary, State Department for Transport, Government of Kenya added: “Among the industry actions for recovery by airlines is the enhanced cooperation and collaboration. This will establish stronger and more efficient airlines with business models that will allow them to compete internationally and improve Africa’s air traffic market share which is currently very low. “The importance of exchanging knowledge and experiences to inspire a sustainable and resilient aviation was emphasised by Allan Kilavuka, CEO, Kenya Airways. “Covid-19 posed the greatest risk to the aviation sector but we remained resilient as an industry and carried on. Planes continued to fly, delivering tonnes of freight, bringing our people home from overseas, and keeping people connected with their families across the continent. As we fly towards a better future, sustainability will be a key priority for Africa’s aviation sector.”

Poverty and extreme inequality worsen in southern Africa as COVID-19 battered countries embark on a dangerous austerity path (Oxfam International)

The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the extreme inequality in Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries and pushed millions into poverty, reveals a new analysis from Oxfam, Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) and Development Finance International (DFI). The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index (CRI) report shows that the fifteen SADC member states lost about $80 billion in 2020 due to lower-than-expected growth. which is equivalent to around $220 for every SADC citizen. This analysis estimates that this economic crisis could take more than a decade to reverse, erasing all hope of countries meeting their national development plan targets to reduce poverty and inequality by 2030.

“The poorest in our societies are bearing the brunt of COVID-19 and are now facing the extra cost of austerity policies. Governments have a choice and must act now to reverse damage of the pandemic, increase social spending and tackle the inequality crisis”, says Felix Ngosa, senior programme officer in Norwegian Church Aid.

SADC to hold a joint meeting of ministers responsible for agriculture and food security, fisheries and aquaculture (SADC)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will on 13th May, 2022 hold a Joint Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Agriculture and Food Security, Fisheries and Aquaculture in Lilongwe, Republic of Malawi. The objective of the meeting is to follow up on the decisions of SADC Summit, Council of Ministers and the Sectoral Committee of Ministers responsible for Agriculture and Food Security, Fisheries and Aquaculture. The meeting will specifically review the food security situation following challenges experienced by the region with regards to excess rains that caused flooding in some parts, cyclones and drought in others; outbreaks of transboundary animal and plant pests and diseases; and developments in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. The meeting will review the implementation of the Regional Agricultural Policy (RAP) and its related programmes including food security, livestock, crops and fisheries and aquaculture; as well as review programmes of work of the SADC Plant Genetics Resources Centre (SPGRC) and Centre for Coordination of Agriculture Research and Development in Southern Africa (CCARDESA).

Ministers will also deliberate on programmes of regional dimension in support of the implementation of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030 and the SADC Vision 2050 particularly programmes for the development of Agriculture and Food Security, Fisheries and Aquaculture sectors.

Opportunities, Resources Available in Promoting Renewable Energy (COMESA)

Over 40 Energy Experts from COMESA Members States are attending a capacity building workshop on Off- Grid renewable energy conducted by the Regional Infrastructure Finance Facility (RIFF), a World Bank financed project implemented jointly by COMESA and the Trade and Development Bank (TDB).

The RIFF project has a total funding of US$ 425 million split in two: a grant facility of $10 million to COMESA and a credit facility of $415 million to TDB. The TDB component is primarily for provision of loans to viable infrastructure projects with private sector interest while the COMESA component is supporting the creation of a conducive environment for private sector investment in infrastructure.

The project’s component on infrastructure finance facility amounts to US$ 325million and is being administered by TDB. It will provide long-term finance to infrastructure sub-projects that meet the set development impact criteria.

EAC Secretary General hails strong diplomatic and trade relations with European Union (EAC)

The East African Community Secretary General, Hon (Dr) Peter Mathuki, has hailed cordial relations between the European Union (EU) and EAC Partner States coupled with strong trade relations since 1975 under the Lomé Convention and the Cotonou Partnership Agreements. The Secretary General said that the EU for a number of years has been supported the EAC regional integration agenda through the National Indicative Programmes (NIPs), the Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) and implementation of several East Africa Road Network/Transport Corridors, Energy projects, migration programmes and frameworks for democratic governance among other programmes.

 ”We are grateful for the sectoral specific support in agriculture, improvement of transport and energy infrastructures, improving access to water, education, health, strengthening good governance, institutional capacity building, trade facilitation and the fight against piracy, to mention but a few”

Support SMEs to enhance regional economic integration - EBID Prez. Urges (News Ghana)

The President of the ECOWAS Bank for Investment, Dr George Agyekum Donkor, has called for the implementation of measures to give companies, especially small and medium scale Enterprises (SMEs), a modicum of predictability and certainty when entering international transactions. He said regional economic integration would not be successful unless the legal challenges posed by doing business across countries, which were making it difficult for the sub-region to attract investments, were resolved. “The legal framework rests at the core of business risk calculations, making it a key factor in the success of business initiatives and in the long-term, economic growth, and it is imperative that we develop solutions to the issues that plague it,” Dr Donkor said.

Mining Indaba: Africa’s accelerated energy transition should leave no-one behind (Mining.com)

While it will take the formation of meaningful public-private partnerships to drive change, key industry leaders sketched a push-pull scenario in which the industry leads innovation and must train workers to fill high-tech jobs.

Anglo American Platinum CEO Natascha Viljoen said the company’s recent milestone achievement of unveiling a prototype of the world’s largest hydrogen-powered mine haul truck, designed to operate in everyday mining conditions at its Mogalakwena PGMs mine in South Africa was an apt demonstration of how the private sector was driving positive change. However, she was quick to note that this was but the start of a much larger initiative to decarbonize the company’s global mining operations and create a vertically integrated value chain.

AFRICA: UN plan to accelerate access to clean energy by 2025 (AFRIK 21)

The network brings together 200 governments, businesses and other civil society partners who have pledged to mobilize $600 billion to accelerate access to electricity worldwide. And on that basis, the UN wants to facilitate access to electricity for 500 million people, as well as the distribution of clean cooking kits to one billion people worldwide. “By creating opportunities for collaboration, the Network will turn the billions of dollars of funding and investment committed to the Energy Pacts into on-the-ground action for the sustainable energy future we urgently need,” says Damilola Ogunbiyi, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and Co-Chair of UN-Energy.

A new initiative is being launched globally to facilitate access to electricity through renewable solutions and clean cooking. It is the new Energy Compact Action Network recently launched by the United Nations (UN). This initiative aims to accelerate access to electricity from renewable sources and clean cooking by 2025. This short deadline reflects the delay in achieving the development goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 7, which calls for universal access to sustainable energy by 2030.

A new initiative is being launched globally to facilitate access to electricity through renewable solutions and clean cooking. It is the new Energy Compact Action Network recently launched by the United Nations (UN). This initiative aims to accelerate access to electricity from renewable sources and clean cooking by 2025. This short deadline reflects the delay in achieving the development goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 7, which calls for universal access to sustainable energy by 2030.

Global economy news

The Impact of the War in Ukraine on Global Trade and Investment (World Bank)

The war in Ukraine is a human tragedy for the people of Ukraine, but its economic implications are global. This instant report focuses on the direct impact of the war on world trade and investment. It identifies five trade and investment channels through which countries will be affected by the war in Ukraine. These encompass disruptions to: (i) commodity markets (especially food and energy), (ii) logistic networks, (iii) supply chains, (iv) foreign direct investment, (v) specific sectors. The report finds that world trade will drop by 1 percent, lowering global GDP by 0.7 percent and GDP of low-income countries by 1 percent. Beyond these direct effects, the war’s long-term implications for global trade and investment will largely depend on how governments respond to the changing geopolitical environment.

“This might well be our Bretton Woods moment. Let’s not waste it” — DDG Ellard (WTO)

In just over a month, the WTO will hold its 12th Ministerial Conference, or MC12. This conference will be like no other because the war has dimmed the global trade outlook: we estimate global merchandise trade volumes to expand by only 3% this year – down from the 4.7% we predicted last October, and this forecast may be downgraded further.

The war has also led to a spike in energy and food prices and is raising fears about food security far beyond Ukraine’s borders. Vulnerable communities in Asia, Africa, and Middle East face famine, riots, and mass migration. Together with other international organizations, we are working to reduce such risks by discouraging export restrictions, keeping supply chains open, and facilitating trade in agricultural products.

Negotiating and seeking consensus in this geopolitical climate is difficult. But it doesn’t mean we can’t do it, and it certainly doesn’t mean we should stop working. Several important issues need Members’ active engagement and flexibility to achieve results now and to set our path after MC12. Let me highlight a few.

First, we can’t forget that the war came hot on the heels of the pandemic, further exacerbating the existing economic crisis. And although in many parts of the world, the health situation has improved, we’re not completely out of the woods. Vaccine inequity remains acute in some countries, and we must think about future pandemic preparedness.

Second, Members have been deeply engaged as to the role of intellectual property rights with respect to COVID vaccines. The proposal our Members are now considering is the result of discussions among key players.

Another multilateral negotiation where we seek an agreement is on fisheries subsidies. Concluding these negotiations after 20 years is an environmental, economic, and humanitarian imperative.

And we must revamp the three functions of the WTO: negotiations, monitoring, and dispute settlement. Doing so will improve the ability of the WTO to meet the needs of our Members. It will send a message that working within rules and institutions is still possible and, in fact, far better than the alternative.

Confronting Fragmentation: How to Modernize the International Payment System (IMF)

As we look to a digital future, the system also needs to withstand the growing forces of fragmentation. These forces have become stronger as a consequence of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It has caused not only tremendous human suffering, but also a global economic shock and a sharp increase in the risk of a ‘new Cold War.’ A world that could fragment into ‘economic blocs’, creating obstacles to the cross-border flow of capital, goods, services, ideas, and technologies.

These are the very drivers of integration that have boosted productivity and living standards, tripling the world economy and lifting 1.3 billion people out of extreme poverty over the past three decades. So, the cost of disintegration would be enormous—and the most vulnerable people and countries would be most affected.

Faced with these risks, we can either surrender to trends that will make the world poorer and less stable. Or we can work even harder to seek pathways to prevent the fragmentation of the international monetary system—just as we must work together to confront global threats such as climate change.

We must design and build the infrastructure that facilitates further integration. That includes stepping up our work on cross-border payments.

Members welcome Quad document as basis for text-based negotiations on pandemic IP response (WTO)

At a General Council meeting on 10 May, WTO members agreed that the outcome document emerging from the informal process conducted with the Quad (European Union, India, South Africa and the United States) opens the prospect for text-based negotiations on an intellectual property response to COVID-19. Members welcomed the proposal as a positive development and thanked Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Deputy Director-General Anabel González, as well as the four members of the Quad, for their efforts in trying to find a way forward on this long-standing issue.

Business and regulators gather at global competition forum to prepare for new era in antitrust law enforcement (ICC)

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) hosted a global competition forum on the side-lines of the 21st International Competition Network (ICN) Annual Conference to help global business and antitrust enforcers gain a deeper understanding of the new trends and related challenges in antitrust law enforcement that have emerged during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ICC Pre-ICN Forum, organised in partnership with the International Bar Association, was conceived over a decade ago to facilitate an open dialogue between key actors in antitrust enforcement – using ICC’s flagship antitrust initiatives to draw attention to critical issues with the view to ignite potential new antitrust reforms. With the introduction of ICC Compendium of Antitrust Damages Actions during last year’s Forum, ICC shone a spotlight on the increasingly fragmented nature of national private antitrust enforcement regimes which continues to create vast new pressures on companies.

The heightened risks faced by companies of being sued for damages brought against them has had an important impact on a company’s decision to report a cartel – making leniency applications less attractive. In this worrying context, ICC was proud to release at the Forum the 3rd Edition of the ICC Leniency Manual providing companies with a step-by-step approach to understanding leniency applications worldwide – and, crucially, the confidence to take action in fighting cartels.

ICC’s latest publication on antitrust compliance developed jointly with Concurrences – Perspectives on Antitrust Compliance – was also launched during the event.

High-level UN conference debates precious commodity: Land (UN News)

Against the backdrop of a UNCCD warning that up to 40 per cent of all ice-free land has already degraded, threatening dire consequences for climate, biodiversity, and livelihoods, world leaders are meeting in Abidjan under the theme of “Land, Life. Legacy: From scarcity to prosperity”. “We are faced with a crucial choice,” Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told the participants. “We can either reap the benefits of land restoration now or continue on the disastrous path that has led us to the triple planetary crisis of climate, biodiversity and pollution”.

“The Global Land Outlook report just issued by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification shows that our current approach to land management is putting half the world’s economic output – $44 trillion USD - at risk”, said Ms. Mohammed. “We must ensure that funds are available for countries that need them, and that those funds are invested in areas that will have a decisive impact and create a more inclusive, sustainable future for all,” she continued, reminding that land restoration connects all of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


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