tralac Daily News
The NDP may not be perfect, but it continues to be a guide in our vision to tackle poverty, inequality and unemployment, writes Phumla Williams. Under the stewardship of President Cyril Ramaphosa, his R1.2 trillion investment drive announced four years ago has reached an impressive 95% of this ambitious target. Both domestic and foreign investors continue to see SA as an investment destination. Numbers do not lie.
From the first SA Investment Conference in 2018 to the fourth earlier in 2022, the country has attracted over R1.14 trillion in commitments across a wide range of economic sectors. These investments are deliberate and calculated decisions by investors. They continue to view SA as a potential investment destination. The incoming investors display a strong vote of confidence in our ability to overcome our most pressing challenges, some of which are linked to the legacy of apartheid.
When engaging with potential investors the government has never extenuated the existing socioeconomic and political problems affecting the country. It openly and unstintingly acknowledges that it is gradually emerging out of a very difficult period where policy missteps and the unfortunate ruinous effects of state capture have retarded its progress. The ambitious investment efforts are emboldened by the high-profile political mandate, led by President Ramaphosa and his executive, to unequivocally build investor confidence and create a business-friendly environment. The President continues to lead this drive with honesty and keeping to his word in navigating through these challenges towards growing the economy and creating the much-needed jobs. As an economic hub and gateway for potential investors and tourists SA has unveiled the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP) to mitigate the socioeconomic setbacks that were aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Mr Ebrahim Patel, says he wants to prioritise export promotion in all work streams of his department. He was addressing the virtual launch of the Black Industrialists Export Network. The network is aimed at strengthening efforts to boost the expansion of export markets for local businesses. This in turn is hoped will enable Black Industrialists to succeed in complex markets, and make it easier for them to access export finance, marketing avenues, and a flexible basket of advice and support suited to their unique needs. This initial meeting provided an opportunity to share ideas in respect of working together with black industrialists to facilitate entry of their products and services into export markets, highlight opportunities and challenges that they might be experiencing, as well as consider proposals on the workings and offerings of the export network.
He explained that exports provide the opportunity for industrialists to expand their markets beyond the South African market and there is therefore a need to expand the scope, through a focused export effort.
“The reality is that export markets are tougher than the South African market for business operators. That means that the effort that firms working with government put in should be quite considerable. It is important for us to succeed at this because export can help us achieve wider goals of economic growth and job creation. The Black Industrialists Export Network will combine efforts to break into new markets. This should give local black businesses scale,” he said.
Forum established to support informal economy (Engineering News)
The Informal Economy Development Forum (IEDF) is a new body that has been set up to drive growth within the sector, support informal economy workers and function as the conduit between government, corporate South Africa and the informal economy. The IEDF’s key objectives are to improve the business, labour and regulatory environment in which informal businesses operate, ensuring equitable access to skills development and training, finance and the removal and simplification of regulatory requirements that prohibit growth to benefit South Africa’s 5.2-million informal workers.
President Cyril Ramaphosa: Meeting with Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry (South African Government)
The economic reconstruction and recovery underway across the country in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot succeed without the swift, comprehensive and sustainable recovery of the economy of KwaZulu-Natal. Declaring the floods as a national state of disaster has enabled us to mobilise more resources, capabilities and technical expertise within the necessarily timeframes.
Damage to key economic infrastructure such as roads, energy transmission and distribution, water and sanitation facilities and the port of Durban has had – and continues to have – a dire impact on your operations. Sectors that power the provincial economy such as manufacturing, FMCG, retail and wholesale, distribution, warehousing and freight have been particularly hard hit by these floods. Given the importance of the Port of Durban to the national and continental economy, restoring operations and rehabilitating damaged port and associated infrastructure has been a priority.
Minister of Industrialisation and Trade Lucia Ipumbu on Friday officially launched the European Union (EU) funded twinning project, titled ’Providing support to the Namibia Standard Institution (NSI)’.The two-year twinning project aims to boost NSI’s capacity to carry out its mandate and extend Namibia’s involvement in international trade. The project is part of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Implementation Plan for Namibia, and it is supported to the tune of €1.6 million (N$27 million). This is the first EU twinning project in Sub-Saharan Africa, jointly implemented by a consortium of eight German and Swedish institutes with experience in trade policy, technical regulation, food safety, standardisation, accreditation, metrology and conformity assessment.
The NSI and the trade ministry are the project’s primary beneficiaries. Speaking at the occasion, the EU ambassador to Namibia Sinikka Antila narrated how “twinning” is a special concept by the EU to enhance institutional collaboration between public administrations, its member states, as well as beneficiary or partner nations. Through peer-to-peer operations, twinning programmes combine the public sector expertise of EU member states and recipient countries to provide concrete, mandatory operational outcomes.
Government acts to bring down prices (Chronicle)
Government has suspended with immediate effect and for the next six months, import duty on basic commodities in a move meant to counter escalating and unjustified price increases of locally manufactured products. There has been unjustified increases in the prices of goods and services in recent weeks, mostly being pegged using forex black market rates as the benchmark. The parallel market activities have fuelled the depreciation of the local currency and inflationary pressures. In June last year inflation was at 50,1 percent, a record low in two years, but climbed to 96,4 in April from 74,6 percent in March amid the exchange rate volatility. To cushion consumers, rice, flour, cooking oil, margarine, salt, sugar, maize meal, milk powder, infant milk formula, Tea (whether or not flavoured), petroleum jelly, tooth paste, bath soap, laundry bar, and washing powder will now be imported duty free.
Moi airport upgrade lifts exporters of fresh produce (Business Daily)
The Sh7.5 billion infrastructural upgrade at Moi International Airport, Kenya’s second-largest airport has led to increased export of fresh produce. The upgrade included the cargo terminal, cold room replacement of the airfield, ground lighting systems, and approaching lighting masts with fiberglass from the traditional steel. Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya (FPCK) Chief Executive Officer Okisegere Ojepat said the upgrading of the airport is a major boost to Kenya’s export of fresh produce to the international market. Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) Coast Regional Manager Thomas Kosiom said there has been a steady rise in exports of fresh produce ranging from chilies, French beans, flowers, avocados and pineapples through the international airport. Kephis is the government parastatal whose responsibility is to assure the quality of agricultural inputs and produce to prevent adverse impacts on the economy, the environment and human health.
Milk supply plunge sees prices rising steadily for weeks (Business Daily)
Formal milk intake has been on a steady decline between January and March, piling pressure on consumer prices at the shelf. Data from the Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) shows that the volume of the commodity supplied to processors declined to 61.7 million litres in March from a high of 69.3 million and 66.4 million litres in January and February respectively. The decline has led to a sharp shortage in the market, which has pushed the price of a half-litre packet to Sh60 and resulted in absence of long-life milk on the shelves as processors concentrate on first moving fresh brands. Processors have been operating at half of their installed capacity due to a shortage in supply from farmers across the country.
Major shipping companies and maritime sector’s key stakeholders are delighted with enhanced efficiency at Tanzania’s principal port of Dar es Salaam, which is a gateway for approximately 95 per cent of Tanzanian trade. The Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) has massively strengthened operations in the country’s major sea gateway, which is also the access route to six land-linked countries including Malawi, Zambia, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), resulting in increased cargo traffic and revenues for the government. Speaking on various occasions, officials from shipping agencies and traders commended improvement of the port’s operations, efficiency and competitiveness, noting that the TPA has sufficiently been meeting the logistical needs of its clients. Looking to turn the country’s ports into a hub for regional waterway transportation, the Government of Tanzania has and continues to commit huge investments in infrastructure, equipment, technology and expertise.
Amidst raging queues for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also called petrol in Abuja and some states, federal government agencies in the petroleum industry, as well as the product marketers, have traded blame on claims of payment and product loading volume. Daily Trust reports that the queues in Abuja resurfaced last weekend when it was observed that among over 30 retail outlets, less than five were selling as vehicles lined up to buy petrol. The scarcity became worse on Monday as black marketers had a field day selling a 10-litre volume for N2,500 within the city centre.
“We have been seeing this sign since last week but it was not that bad. However, since Friday, the retail outlets have started drying up in my area around Lugbe,” said Silas John, a commercial driver.
Technology, policy: Nigeria’s energy transition pathway – FG (The Guardian Nigeria)
The Federal Government says it is following an energy transition pathway that combines technology, investment, business strategies and policy. The government says this will enable Nigeria to transition from its current energy system to a low-carbon energy system with natural gas playing a pivotal role over the next generation, between now and 2060. Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, made the assertion on Tuesday at the virtual Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Lagos Annual Technical Symposium and Exhibition.
Sylva said natural gas was a key resource for energy transition and had all the credentials to support Nigeria and indeed Africa meet up with her commitment with the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He said as a major source of wealth and energy in Africa, the development of oil and gas resources proved critical for the continent’s economic growth and revenue expansion.
“First off, Africa and the world need oil (and gas for that matter). The world needs oil and gas because it is what the world relies on for its most basic needs. And that will not change overnight. “Therefore, African governments and leaders should continue to invest in oil and gas, even as we work to help speed progress to a lower-carbon future.
Why FG should expedite AfDB ‘s SAPZ takeoff (The Sun Nigeria)
The rapid rollout of the first phase of the Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) programme of African Development Bank(AfDB) to support inclusive and sustainable agro-industrial development in countries across Africa has been clogged in Nigeria. This was even as stakeholders are calling on the Federal Government to see reasons for its quick takeoff.
Last December, the AfDB’s board of directors approved a $160-million loan to get the programme off the ground in seven states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Additional co-financing for its first phase will come from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in the amount of $150 million. The Nigerian government is expected to provide about $18.05 million toward the program’s rollout and implementation.
The project is a mega cluster-based infrastructure venture to aggregate farmers, processors and retailers to connect agricultural production to the market.
How US supports trade, investment in Nigeria – Consulate (The Sun Nigeria)
The U.S. Consulate and the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) on Tuesday urged Nigerian businesses to take advantage of the U.S. mission’s trade initiatives for a greener economy. They made the call during the NACC May Breakfast Meeting with the theme: “U.S. Mission’s Current Commercial-focused Activities in Nigeria” held in Lagos.
According to him, some of the initiatives include Prosper Africa, African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), West Africa Trade and Investment Hub, Networking with USA (NUSA) and initiatives targeted at women-led businesses. Russell said the Biden administration was focused on two-way trade between Africa and the U.S., adding that he was committed to revitalising partnerships based on dialogue, respect and mutually shared values.
Study to assess turnaround time in goods clearance underway (Graphic Online)
The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has initiated a project to assess the average turnaround time in the goods clearance process at the country’s seaports. The project, Time Release Study (TRS), is an internationally accepted strategic tool of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) to measure the actual time taken for the release and/or clearance of goods - from the time of arrival until the physical release of cargo. To be completed in the next six months, the study seeks to further improve effectiveness and efficiency of border procedures relating to imports, exports and transit movements of goods.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic at the workshop, the Deputy Commissioner of Customs in-charge of Petroleum Operations, Yaw Baffour Asare, said the project sought to identify associated bottlenecks objectively and address them in an efficient and effective manner. He said the WCO TRS was specifically referenced in Article 7.6 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) as a tool for members to measure and publish the average release time of goods. He said in recent years, the tool had been capturing a lot of attention worldwide; the international donor community and the WCO development partners were recommending it as a key performance measure to assess, evaluate, and enhance the implementation of the WTO TFA.
The Nigerian ambassador to Greece, Opunimi Akinkugbe, has said that Nigeria holds a leading position in the African maritime sector. According to her, Mrs Folorunsho’s mission is to explore opportunities in the maritime sector for African shipowners to be able to move cargo across the continent under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) that will create wealth and jobs.
“Naturally, so much needs to be done to bring this to reality,” Akinkugbe said. She added that Nigeria holds a leading position in the African maritime sector; and that Greece, as a maritime nation by tradition, can offer experience and expertise in the sector across the African continent. “Shipping has been a key element of Greek economic activity since ancient times,” Akinkugbe said. “Today, shipping is the country’s most important industry and it remains one of the world’s largest shipowning nations.”
Poor patronage, high production costs shrink textile firms to below 20 (The Guardian Nigeria)
Poor implementation of the patronage policy, high cost of production, high level of importation, smuggling among other challenges have continued to undermine Nigeria’s textile sector, shrinking the number of viable textile firms to less than 20 from 175 firms in 1985. According to the Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association (NTMA), the textile sector, which used to be the highest employer of labour, lost at least 117,000 jobs within 26 years, with more losses underway without government’s intervention. The association noted that the industry’s declining export capacity, having led to the loss of preferential market access in the EU and US, was attributable to inconsistent implementation of Export Expansion Grant (EEG) policy, particularly, the perennial backlog of EEG claims, and the inconsistencies in the implementation of ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme.
The Federal Government (FG) of Nigeria has disclosed it was following an ‘energy transition pathway’ that combines technology, investment, business strategies and policy. Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said the aforementioned plan would enable Nigeria transition from its current energy system to a low-carbon energy system with natural gas playing a pivotal role over the next generation, between now and 2060.
Sylva opined that natural gas was a key resource for energy transition and had all the credentials to support Nigeria and indeed Africa meet up with her commitment with the United Nations (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He stated that as a major source of wealth and energy in Africa, the development of oil and gas resources proved critical for the continent’s economic growth and revenue expansion, saying fossil fuels would remain relevant in the energy mix despite ongoing campaigns and global energy transition.
Togo opens land border with Ghana (Graphic Online)
Togo on Monday night opened its land border with Ghana, coming more than 50 days after Ghana reopened its land borders to neighbouring countries. When Graphic Online’s Volta Regional correspondent Alberto Mario Noretti visited the border post in Lome at about 8:30 am Tuesday [May 17, 2022] the metal gates which were closed between the two countries for two years in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, were swung open. That, notwithstanding, both sides of the frontier remained desolate with little human movement and commercial activities across the border.
African trade news
The Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, Wamkele Mene, has asked African countries to leverage the platform provided by the trade pact to create regional trade networks and global affiliations. He said this would enable their markets to build resilience in the supply chains and reduce reliance on external markets.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has provided us a once in a lifetime opportunity to make bold decisions that will put us on a path to resilient, inclusive and sustainable economic recovery. “With the AfCFTA, Africa now has an important instrument to assist countries to look inward for solutions to their COVID-19 economic challenges,” he said during the opening of the 13th World Trade Promotion Organisations (WTPO) conference in Accra on May 17. “Indications are that the recovery will be an arduous and complex process as there are still many uncertain and changing factors, including Russia-Ukraine conflict, which has created new concerns. “Now is the time to rebuild our economies and secure Africa’s future,” he said.
Understanding the African Continental Free Trade Area and how the US can promote its success (Brookings Institution)
The significance of the AfCFTA cannot be overstated. It is the world’s largest new free trade area since the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1994. It promises to increase intra-African trade through deeper levels of trade liberalization and enhanced regulatory harmonization and coordination. Moreover, it is expected to improve the competitiveness of African industry and enterprises through increased market access, the exploitation of economies of scale, and more effective resource allocation.
My research has shown that the AfCFTA — and its accompanying increased market access — can significantly grow manufacturing and industrial development, tourism, intra-African cooperation, economic transformation, and the relationship between Africa and the rest of the world. In fact, under a successfully implemented AfCFTA, Africa will have a combined consumer and business spending of $6.7 trillion by 2030 and $16.12 trillion by 2050, creating a unique opportunity for people and businesses — and meaning the region can be the next big market for American goods and services.
Although there is a great momentum behind the agreement, its successful implementation is dependent on smart choices and thoughtful policy options. The United States can and should play an extraordinary role in promoting the AfCFTA’s success to increase intracontinental and global trade, as well as achieve mutual African and U.S. prosperity.
Landry Signé is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Africa Growth Initiative
African economy, finance and planning ministers, businesses and economists attending a conference in Dakar, Senegal, have made an impassioned case for a complete overhaul of the global financial architecture.
The Conference of Ministers (CoM2022) – organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and hosted by the government of Senegal – heard from economists and executives who argued that these global arrangements, ostensibly meant to maintain stability in the international financial system, were outdated and unfair to many developing countries.
In Africa, they are “not fit for purpose,” said Vera Songwe, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of UN Economic Commission for Africa. Giving the keynote speech at CoM2022, President Macky Sall of Senegal, said Africa was being dictated to although it had over a decade of good growth, only suffering a reversal, like the rest of the world, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Economic growth has been slow in Africa following varied growth rates in three of Africa’s largest economies – Angola, Nigeria, and South Africa, according to the World Bank latest report. Africa’s gross domestic product growth rate is estimated at 3.6 percent in 2022, representing a downward movement from 4 percent in 2021. One of the factors slowing down Africa’s economic growth rate is infrastructure deficiency. Adequate and quality infrastructure in all the African countries is critical for sustainable and inclusive growth in the continent. The African Development Bank (AfDB) estimated Africa’s infrastructure financing needs to be as much as $170 billion a year by 2025, with an estimated gap of about $100 billion a year. The infrastructure gap challenge has aggravated the problems of unemployment, low productivity, and poverty in Africa. According to the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa, the road access rate in Africa is only 34 percent, compared with 50 percent in other parts of the developing world and transport costs are 100 percent higher. Only 30 percent of Africa’s population has access to electricity, compared to 70-90 percent in other parts of the developing world. Water resources are underused with only 5 percent of agriculture under irrigation. The internet penetration rate is a mere 6 percent, compared to an average of 40 percent elsewhere in the developing world.
The insufficient stock of productive infrastructure in power, water, and transport services that allow firms to thrive in industries hinders industrialisation in Africa. Africa must industrialise to end poverty and generate employment for about 15 million young people who join its labour force every other year.
There is a need for increased investment towards the realization of infrastructural development, African Union’s high representative for infrastructure Raila Odinga has said. Raila expressed concerns over an infrastructure gap in Africa saying the trend had slowed down the development aspirations over the years.He noted that the region needed more investment in infrastructure to be able to tap available economic potentials through inter-trade opportunities as well as achieve full growth.
African ports eye increased trade as piracy threats drop (Business Daily)
African ports are expected to witness an increased number of ships and reduced cost of shipment as a result of a drop in piracy and armed robbery cases. This means cargo ships destined to the ports of Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, Jeddah, and Djiobuti will no longer have to use long routes in their bid to evade pirates. A new report, Safety and Shipping Review 2022, says reduced cases of piracy will see sea freight and maritime insurance premium for cargo going down thus reducing the cost of shipment. Shippers Council of Eastern Africa (SCEA) SCEA chief executive officer Gilbert Lagat said the reduced cost would not only save Kenya and other East African traders millions of dollars in insurance and security expenses, but it will encourage more ships to call at different ports. “Reduced risks as a result of improved surveillance will lower cost of importation and also encourage those shipping companies which suspended their operations along such route to resume,” said Mr Lagat.
Stakeholders draw roadmap for sector’s recovery (New Telegraph Newspaper)
The 10th Aviation Stakeholders Convention hosted by the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) and Kenya Airways kicked off today at the Emara Ole-Sereni hotel, Nairobi, Kenya. The two-day convention will provide a platform for showcasing new developments and innovations in aviation, discussing industry business trends, networking and forging new partnerships. The Convention, under the theme: “Beyond the crisis,” brings together over 500 delegates from 47 countries across the globe attending both physically and virtually.
The Convention is one of Africa’s major forums for air transport industry stakeholders to dialogue and exchange knowledge and experiences for the development of the travel ecosystem.
Mr Abdérahmane Berthé said: “I call upon stakeholders to join this noble initiative which will bring experts from various sectors to craft solutions to transform business in the region and ensure the efficient development of intra- Africa air transport,” he said.
Dr Joseph K. Njoroge, CBS, the Principal Secretary, State Department for Transport, Government of Kenya called for continued cooperation for resilient recovery and growth of the industry, noting that “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.”
Aid to Africa continues to be challenging (Africa Aviation News)
Aid relief in Africa faces a complex set of challenges; getting aid to the continent is one thing, moving it across various countries and the final ‘last-mile’ journeys can be incredibly difficult. “The challenges are amplified by natural disasters, conflicts, bureaucracy and often problematic transportation infrastructure,” according to a whitepaper by Danish carrier Maersk titled Delivering Relief: When it’s Needed, Where it’s Needed. The supply chain is thus a vital cog of all humanitarian responses, not least because over 70 percent of spending relates to it and cost-effective logistics is indispensable, the study said.
Africa is the world’s second largest, and second most populous continent in the world with an area covering 30.37 million km², across 54 countries that are home to almost 1.4 billion people. “With 20 of its countries currently considered fragile or conflict-affected, together with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa, poverty, displacement and disease, aid and development are still critical. Private sector investment is one part of the solution towards recovery and resilience, according to the analysis.
The African continent has not succeeded in the internal mobilization of resources leading to prosperity due to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Vera Songwe said Monday in Senegal. Even though finance ministers and central bank governors have done a good job in the fight against COVID-19, but “to survive is not to achieve growth and prosperity”, she said, emphasizing that Africa must manage to have funding to operate a real revival of its economy. She pleaded for a transformation of the continent’s economies, with a policy of regional integration, good governance of resources and digital development.
African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina has urged international development agencies in Africa to rally behind his institution’s efforts to mobilize more resources to help build resilience for sustainable development across Africa. Adesina told diplomats and international agency representatives at a breakfast meeting in Accra last Thursday that African countries need more resources to fight climate change, to deal with insecurity, debt, and the impact of war in Ukraine. He said funds are also needed to address the massive infrastructure deficit, growing urbanization, and youth unemployment. .
“We are making the case for a strong 16th replenishment of the African Development Fund. It is crucial for Africa, and I will very much appreciate your advocacy for a substantial replenishment,” Adesina stressed. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Fund’s establishment. Adesina said the Bank is committed to doing more to improve livelihoods on the continent. “We need to have a lot more to drive a just energy transition, climate adaptation, to invest in infrastructure, in food production and to build resilience for Africa.”
Africa’s borrowing appetite has reached a level where something may have to give in. In an interview with Prosper Magazine’s Ismail Musa Ladu during the course of the second AFRODAD Media Initiative (AFROMEDI) held in Nairobi, the executive director of African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD), Mr Jason Braganza whose Pan-African organisation is committed to finding solutions to Africa’s challenges in debt, resource management and financial development, explained why the continent needs to start assuming the role of rule maker rather than rule taker to deal with debt issues.
We need to look at the structure of our economies in the continent and make it work more efficiently for us in terms of generating optimum returns. We are still producing very low value agricultural commodities, thanks to the weak value chain that does not facilitate value addition. This has an impact on revenue mobilisation. Also, most of our economies are heavily relying on primary commodity exports which are very vulnerable to price shocks and related development. The continent also needs to decide how to deal with the issue of fiscal (revenue) leakages. We lose billions of dollars every year through illicit financial flows (IFFs) and I think the latest estimates the continent is losing as a result of this fraud and related scam is in the range of around $100 billion a year. Illicit financial flows come in many shapes and forms. It could be tax related, crime, corruption or even debt related. Then we must end the obsessions with economic growth rather than the actual development.
Given the exploitation of our natural resources, both beneath and above the ground, and looking at how much we lose in form of IFF and related fraud – we are compelled to believe that Africa is a net creditor to the rest of the world. This is because estimates show that for any dollar that comes to Africa – three dollars leave the continent. Because of that, we deserve to sit at the table setting the development agenda at all levels when it comes to commerce, trade, finance and economics.
Curbing Illicit Financial Flows Needs Global Framework—Owasanoye (Business Post Nigeria)
The Chairman of Nigeria’s Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Mr Bolaji Owasanoye, has rallied a global action against Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs), including a call for a global framework on IFFs similar to corruption. Mr Owasanoye made this call at a side event of the ongoing hybrid 54th Conference of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) taking place in Dakar, Senegal. According to a statement issued by the ICPC’s spokesperson, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, the conference would focus on regional efforts to track, recover and return stolen assets from Africa through the IFFs.
“The challenge we found ourselves today is that the rules have always been skewed in favour of those who export capital and against those who import capital. Corruption is a global issue and we have a global framework for corruption. “The IFFs is also a global issue but does not have a global framework. “A way out of the problem is to institute a global framework on IFFs which, among others, will address the huge financial losses suffered by African countries,” the ICPC chairman stated.
Mr Alan Kyerematen, the Minister for Trade and Industry has tasked Trade Promotion Organisations worldwide to effectively support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to address the challenges of the post-COVID economy.He said the assistance for MSMEs was now a development imperative because of their key role in employing majority of the world’s workforce. Mr Kyeremanten was addressing the opening session of the 13th World Trade Promotion Organisations conference and awards in Accra to discuss ways in which they could best support the private sector to enhance production and productivity levels.The conference is being held on the theme: “Bold solutions for Resilience and Recovery.”
“Trade must be mainstreamed in national development plans. Programmes and projects that enhance trade must be aggressively pursued by TPOs,” he said.
Mr Wamkele Mene, the Secretary-General, AfCFTA Secretariat, said Africa’s private sector, a key pillar of the economy, was severely affected by the pandemic as it took its toll on SMEs. “So, as we transition from the pandemic to a new normal marked by renewed efforts at continental integration, let us work together to strengthen our integration including through digitalization. This will enhance intra-African trade; build resilience to future crises; and ensure the continent emerges more connected and more inclusive.”
Sound institutions that guarantee integrity in the management of public affairs are critical on the path toward higher and more inclusive growth. Countries around the world that improved their governance systems, such as Botswana, Rwanda and the Seychelles in Sub Saharan Africa are reaping a “governance dividend.” Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Angola have demonstrated that reforms are possible, even in fragile environments. Countries with stronger institutions have also been able to mount more effective response to the pandemic. To discuss this issue and attempt to assess the importance of good governance and transparence in Sub Saharan Africa, the IMF published a book “Good Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa: Opportunities and Lessons“ on March 18.
Join us for the virtual launch of the book on Thursday, May 19 at 11:00 AM in Washington D.C (3:00 pm GMT) with African policy makers, civil society, and academics.
The African Union convened its first workshop to deliberate on the enhancement of food safety information and knowledge management systems that should facilitate the effective data generation, analysis and knowledge exchange to support risk assessment, decision making, inform food safety policy formulation and harmonisation at national, regional and continental level and conversely boost inter-African trade within the context African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), as well as to improve food security and ensure consumption of safe food for better health of the populace.
Cross-country push: How few firms dominate African seeds market (Down to Earth Magazine)
Africa is now witnessing a continent-wide polarised battle between two seed management systems: Farmer seed systems, which is the dominant informal and indigenous system managed by small farmers, and the industrial seed sector, the formal trade dominated by a handful of multinational corporations along with local subsidiaries.
The newly adopted seed laws cover the formal industrial seed sector. Malawi’s new seed law is the latest development in this push to formalise, or industrialise, the seed sector in Africa, which has seen some 20 countries roll out seed policies in the past five years. The countries now seek to implemen
Considering the current discussions by APPO and AFREXIMBANK to jointly establish an African Energy Transition Bank, Concerned about the challenge posed to the African oil and gas industry and Africa’s economic development, by coordinated withdrawal of international trade and project financing from Africa’s oil and gas industry, Acknowledging the impact of climate change on Africa and aware that poverty fosters accelerated environmental degradation,
The two African institutions have resolved to work together to find an Africa-led solution to the challenge posed to the African oil and gas industry and an orderly energy transition in Africa by the withdrawal of funding by its traditional financiers. The two institutions have committed to taking necessary actions to promote a sustainable and balanced solution to the challenge of financing the oil and gas industry in Africa during the energy transition, through, among others, the establishment of an African Energy Transition Bank dedicated to supporting an Africa-led Energy Transition strategy that is consistent with the goal of preserving the environment and livelihoods.
What Can Be Done To Achieve Climate Justice For Africa (Forbes Africa)
Of all continents, Africa is least responsible for climate change. It has contributed only a minute part of the greenhouse gas emissions that are responsible for the climate emergency the world faces today. Yet, Africa faces the same arduous battle as the rest of the world to tackle the impacts of climate change, and to make itself resilient to climate change. Today, Africa remains one of the most vulnerable and the least climate-resilient regions in the world. This is manifest across all corners of the continent. In the Horn of Africa, millions are threatened as a historic drought looms. In the Sahel, climate change is fueling insecurity because of increasingly scarce resources. And southern Africa is experiencing lethal rain and floods. Action has never been more urgent. These climate change-induced challenges cut across many countries and sub-regions of the continent. With improved regional integration and deeper regional cooperation, African countries could rally around collective climate adaptation solutions and accelerate a just energy transition. The regional approach would elevate the individual voices of countries and facilitate access to increased global climate finance.
‘Green growth’ can help African countries address socio-economic inequalities: Report (Down to Earth Magazine)
Green growth can address inequity through the creation of decent jobs, better provision of basic services, improvement of air quality and enhancement of climate resilience
African countries need ‘Green Growth’ to address education and health-related inequalities that hinder socio-economic development on the continent and are likely to exacerbate the negative impacts of climate change, according to a recently released report. Green growth has the potential to address these inequalities through the creation of decent jobs, better provision of basic services, improvement of air quality and enhancement of climate resilience, the report added. Climate action and inclusive green growth were particularly important at the current moment, as economies around the world had been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the report. Africa Green Growth Readiness Assessment was launched May 11, 2022, during a side-event at the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, underway in Abidjan from May 9-20.
India and Africa must respond to uncertain world: Jaishankar (The Times of India)
India and Africa must respond to the “volatile and uncertain” world and important lessons can be learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic and knock-on effects of the Ukraine conflict, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday. In an address at a book release event, Jaishankar said development partnership and capacity building is at the core of India’s relationship with the African continent and it speaks for New Delhi’s shared desire of developing together as “equals”. He said India was “very conscious” of the expanding threats of radicalism, fundamentalism and terrorism to African societies and both sides have been cooperating in dealing with the challenges. “Today, our ties too must respond to the volatile and uncertain world that we confront,” he said.
“There are important lessons to be learnt from the pandemic disruption. The stresses from the knock-on effects of the Ukraine conflict are also relevant,” Jaishankar said.
Referring to India-Africa trade cooperation, Jaishankar said the story on this front is also an encouraging one. “India is today the fourth largest partner for Africa registering trade of USD 69.7 billion during 2018-19. This has obviously been impacted during the Covid years but we are expecting a strong recovery,” he said. In terms of investment, India ranks fifth with a cumulative commitment of USD 70.7 billion in Africa, Jaishankar said.
Global economy news
The new portal allows users to navigate a wide range of WTO databases covering trade in goods, services, dispute settlement, environmental measures, trade-related intellectual property rights and more. One of the databases is the “WTO Stats portal”, which allows users to access and download time series statistics on trade in goods and services on an annual, quarterly and monthly basis. It also contains market access indicators providing information on governments’ bound, applied and preferential tariffs as well as non-tariff information and other indicators.
UN DESA’s World Economic Situation and Prospects as of mid-2022, set to be released on 18 May 2022 (today), will delve into the multitude of local, regional, and global economic consequences of the current war in Ukraine.
Ensuring the private sector can gain access to markets and compete equally with government-run businesses is vital for countries across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to create jobs in a region with the highest youth unemployment in the world, according to a new World Bank report. The report, titled “Jobs Undone: Reshaping the Role of Governments Toward Markets and Workers in the Middle East and North Africa,” offers policy recommendations for how MENA governments can overcome continuing labor market stagnation that undermines economic development and social progress a decade after the Arab Spring uprising. Crippling joblessness, especially among MENA youth and women, requires a more prominent and vibrant private sector as well as regulatory reforms for the labor and product markets, says the flagship report.
The Group of Twenty economies continue their recoveries from the pandemic, but the unprecedented shock could still leave long-lasting scars that reduce economic prospects compared with their pre-crisis trends.
Pandemic-induced losses for both economic output and employment will be significant in coming years, as discussed in our April World Economic Outlook. Emerging market economies are likely to endure greater losses because they had relatively less access to vaccines and their pandemic-support packages were smaller. For many economies, the outbreak of the war in Ukraine is adding to the challenges.
Our new analytical work finds that, among the key causes of scarring from the pandemic are the prospective weak labor market recoveries in emerging market economies and the severe disruptions to schooling over the past two years across both advanced and emerging economies. Policymakers must act promptly to repair the damage from the crisis and prevent decades of diminished economic output from lost human capital.
Aviation sees rebound to pre-Covid levels earlier than projected (Business Daily)
The aviation industry is projected to return to pre-Covid levels earlier than expected following a recovery in business and easing of Covid-19 restrictions across the world. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says the sector could return to pre-pandemic passenger traffic levels sooner than the 2024 date that had earlier been issued. IATA chief executive officer Willie Walsh told Reuters recently that the industry could reach 2019 traffic levels by next year. Mr Walsh said the ongoing war in Ukraine, prevailing restrictions in China, high oil prices, and travel delays from staff shortages are not denting the recovery. “I don’t think we should be distracted from the fact we are seeing a strong recovery and I think that recovery will gather momentum as we go through the rest of this year into 2023,” Mr Walsh said. Early this month, IATA said with barriers to travel coming down in most places, they were seeing the long-expected surge in demand across different regions.
Remittances to low and middle-income countries reached an all-time high of $589 billion in 2021 -- vastly exceeding Overseas Development Assistance. Yet, we are also seeing how migrants, especially women, are suffering from increased xenophobia and discrimination. In this context, I would like to highlight 3 Key Areas to set the stage for today’s roundtable.
First, the protection of migrants starts even before they move abroad. In this context, what are the economic, social and environmental factors that force people to leave their countries? Second, we know that minimizing the adverse drivers of migration should not be the central priority of migration policies. Third, to promote inclusive societies and enhance migrants’ contribution to sustainable development, advancing social cohesion is pivotal.
The government and business parties need to encourage further implementation of policies and practices as a form of support to women-owned MSMEs to handle existing challenge
The 2nd Plenary Meeting of G20 Empower scheduled a meeting between women leaders in the private and public sector to share their experiences to realize gender equality in the work environment. “G20 Empower is an important platform for advocates to share their experiences and practices,” Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry’s official, Eko Novi Ariyanti, stated through a press statement on Tuesday evening.
I welcome the report of the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) on IMF Engagement with Small Developing States (SDS), which finds a substantive and well-tailored Fund engagement with SDS across modalities over the last decade. I broadly agree that, going forward, the Fund’s continuous high-quality engagement—cognizant of the unique characteristics and challenges faced by SDS—should help enhance traction with this group of members. With the Fund’s agenda already well-oriented toward supporting SDS, including through new workstreams, I concur that a targeted recalibration of the Fund’s work on SDS would be the most effective at this juncture. However, the four recommendations and their detailed suggestions must be weighed against their budgetary implications, which are inconsistent with the just-approved Medium-Term Strategy and budget. The report and its recommendations should also be careful to not impinge upon areas that are still unfolding, such as the RST, crisis response, and CD provision, to avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts and ensure that a coherent and evenhanded framework is in place. I offer qualified and/or partial support to the recommendations, as discussed below, to serve better our SDS members.