tralac Daily News
Fitch maintains SA’s sub-investment rating, stable outlook (Engineering News)
Ratings agency Fitch has maintained its stable outlook for South Africa, and affirmed the country’s foreign and local currency debt ratings at a sub-investment grade BB- rating. Fitch said the key factors for the rating were high and rising government debt, low growth and high inequality. The ratings were however supported by "a favourable debt structure... as well a credible monetary policy framework."
In the rolling hills of South Africa’s Mpumalanga province, hundreds of builders, welders and engineers are putting the final touches to a gigantic new power station that’s set to burn as much as 15-million tons of coal a year until it is eventually shuttered in 2073.
The 4 800 MW dry-cooled Kusile plant and the almost identical Medupi facility, which was completed last year, will be key to meeting demand for energy in a country that’s been plagued by rolling blackouts since 2008. Environmentalists however caution that their continued operation will be a major impediment to South Africa meeting its commitment to eliminating greenhouse gas emissions on a net basis by 2050.
“It absolutely doesn’t make any sense to invest in mega coal-fired power stations in the face of a climate crisis when we should be focusing on a just transition to renewable energy,” said Melita Steele, interim program director for Greenpeace Africa, whose members chained themselves to Kusile’s entrance gates more than a decade ago to try and halt its construction.
Matawalle’s guns (Vanguard)
The 2020 SBM Intelligence Report on Nigeria said there were about six million illicit small arms in circulation in the country, up three-fold from the two million reported by Oxfam in 2016. The SBM report indicates that about 10 million small arms were on the loose in West Africa. Nigeria accounts for six out of every 10 illicit weapons in the region.
Given that many such weapons are military grade, their description as “small arms” is grossly misleading considering the amount of violence and destruction they can be used to unleash.
These weapons have “liberalised” and “democratised” conflicts. With them, every coward in the neighbourhood feels emboldened, invincible and hungry for a fight. The ISWAP and Boko Haram conflicts in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso; the ethnic wars of South Sudan, the unravelling of Libya; the banditry in North and Central Nigeria, and indeed all conflicts in diverse places, are the direct manifestations of ease of access to weapons by unauthorised persons.
Matawalle is not the first governor or prominent citizen to make a rallying cry for ordinary Nigerians to take up arms in self-defence. Deposed Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, made a similar call in November 2014 at the height of Boko Haram’s callous and brutal reign of terror.
The National Treasury has confirmed the allocation of R516 million in the first phase funding in response to the April flood disaster that caused significant damage to infrastructure in various provinces.
In the wake of the disaster, which largely affected KwaZulu-Natal, President Cyril Ramaphosa on 18 April declared a National State of Disaster. Over 400 people died in the floods, which also damaged 4000 homes and left about 9000 people displaced.
Six land-based borders prioritised for one-stop border management roll-out (Engineering News)
South Africa is creating a Border Management Authority (BMA) that will unify the border control functions and processes from various national departments, and BMA CEO and national commissioner Dr Mike Masiapato says the authority will also help to manage crucial transport and trade corridors.
Six land-based ports of entry have been identified to be the first forerunners of one-stop border posts, which will see the BMA deploy personnel, information technology systems and intelligence and information sharing systems to improve the efficiency of immigration and the movement of goods.
The model, called juxtaposed, that South Africa will pursue uses separate infrastructure on either side of the border, but with staff from each of the countries working in both facilities, enabling goods and people to be cleared for exit from a country and entrance into another through a single border post office, rather than on each side of the border.
Financial institutions in the country must collaborate and take advantage of the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) initiative to boost their businesses, Governor of Bank of Ghana, Dr Ernest Addison, has said.
To this end, he entreated financial institutions to strengthen their risk management systems and scale-up capacity in trade finance to support the private sector.
“Additionally, banks and non-bank financial institutions are encouraged to increase investments in digitisation platforms as well as cyber-security systems to facilitate safe and secure trade transactions through AfCFTA,” he said during the opening of the Africa Trade roadshow.
AfCFTA: Ghana's intra-Africa exports to increase by 132 per cent (BusinessGhana)
Regarding the continent, increased FDI is expected to increase Africa’s exports to the rest of the world by 32 per cent in 2035 as well as increase intra-Africa trade by 109 per cent. According to the World Bank’s new report, the AfCFTA had the potential to bring significant economic and social gains for the region, leading to higher incomes, lower poverty, and faster economic growth.
The projected increase in the country’s intra-Africa exports, the report noted, will be on the back of increased foreign direct investment (FDI) to Ghana and the continent at large.
ACR budgets US$100m for Zim agric insurance (The Herald)
AFRICAN Risk Capacity (ARC) Limited intends to invest US$100 million towards agriculture insurance in Zimbabwe, as it broadens its African footprint and interventions to improve the strategically key sector’s resilience in the face of climate change.
ARC is a specialised agency of the African Union (AU) established to help African Governments to enhance their capacities to better plan, prepare and respond to the extreme weather events and natural disasters.
The agency predominantly works with governments, humanitarian agencies and small to medium farmers across the continent, but intends to broaden its services in the country through collaborations with local insurance companies.
Solidarity calls on the private sector to apply for energy generation permits en masse (Creamer Media's Engineering New)
The only viable and sustainable solution to South Africa’s escalating electricity crisis is for small independent power producers (IPPs) to immediately flood the market on a large scale, trade union Solidarity’s Research Institute (SRI) has said.
Through a concerted effort by the private sector – including businesses and private citizens alike – to invest in IPP capability, the country’s energy crisis could be resolved within months, the trade union said during a media briefing on July 8.
South Africa: Nuclear energy is not off the table (ESI Africa)
Over the weekend, the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, was misquoted by an SABC News reporter as saying that “nuclear energy is off the table”.
The President was interviewed in Botswana at the 7th SACU Summit on the energy crisis, amongst other challenges the country is facing. He did, however, break ranks in the interview by expressing his concerns about renewable energy not being available at any given time, which does not provide solutions to South Africa’s energy crisis.
Making the most of the African Continental Free Trade Area in Zim (Zimbabwe Independent)
Zimbabwe is one of the 54 countries that have signed (and one of the 27 countries that have ratified) the AfCFTA agreement to date. The benefits of the AfCFTA agreement are unarguably huge, but implementation of this agreement also poses some challenges that needs to be tackled to ensure that countries can ultimately benefit from this arrangement. Some of the issues include the involvement of the private sector, the readiness of the country and the availability of adequate capacities to ensure a successful implementation of the AfCFTA.
Energy and financial experts are worried about sustainable financing for Africa, especially in the energy sector, stressing that Africa risks a yearly $415 billion economic loss due to climate change by 2030 if the infrastructure is not improved.
While the experts on one hand said Africa needs over $23 billion to upgrade existing refineries on the continent to produce cleaner fuels and displace charcoal with modern fuels, they insisted that without significant improvements in infrastructure resilience, yearly economic losses from natural disasters’ damage to urban infrastructure alone would increase from $300 billion currently to $415 billion by 2030.
At Dakar Summit, Buhari Joins Other African Leaders To Launch $93bn Investment Fund (Channels Television)
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday joined African leaders in Dakar, Senegal to launch “the largest financial package ever mobilised in the history of the International Development Association (IDA) – $93billion – geared towards a “robust and resilient economy for Africa.”
Seventy percent of the global fund will be spent on African countries between now and 2027, with Nigeria getting the biggest cut among the African States, said a statement signed by presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu.
ISO pledges support for Prof Dodoo's ARSO presidency (Graphic Online)
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has pledged to commit technical and financial resources to the development of standards in Africa.
The worlds most trusted standards organisation will also provide experts to help build a robust standards regime and ensure that African standards were aligned with that of the ISO.
With Ghana’s Professor Alex Dodoo leading the standards community as President of the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO), the ISO is confident that the time was ripe for standards to drive trade and help position African businesses on the apex of global trade.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is making steady progress on its programmes to facilitate industrial development, finance and investment and trade in goods and service among Member States. This emerged out of the Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (TIFI) Thematic Group hybrid meeting held on 16 June 2022 to discuss progress on the implementation of its programmes to deepen regional economic integration.
According to a joint update from the SADC directorates of Finance, Investment and Customs and of Industrial Development and Trade, 25 percent of the 64 outputs or deliverables from the TIFI Multi-Year Action Plan 2021-2023 have been completed with support from International Cooperating Partners (ICPs) such as the European Union, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (GIZ), World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is calling on developing nations to monitor the growth of cryptocurrencies which it warns risks replacing ‘domestic currencies.’
In its policy brief, UNCTAD warns that the use of cryptocurrencies may lead to financial instability risks.
Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) first step to mending fences will be through the "Luanda Mechanism" talks, which will get underway on 12 July.
During the 12 July meeting, Rwanda and the DRC are expected to establish a Joint Permanent Commission, which will share intelligence about rebel operations affecting both countries.
The major problem is instability in the eastern DRC, where M23 rebels have been fighting against government forces.
Speaking on the side-lines of a closed door meeting at the Rwandan High Commissioner in Kampala last week, Mr John Bosco Kalisa, the EABC chief executive officer, said whereas there were still some challenges, they were optimistic that trade relations between Rwanda and Uganda will be restored.
The East African Business Council (EABC) has offered to organise a bilateral business forum between Uganda and Rwanda as a way of restoring trade relations.
Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") has today confirmed the long-term foreign currency issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings of The West African Development Bank (BOAD) at Baa1 and changed the outlook to stable.
While Moody's continues to believe that the political situation in Mali and more broadly in the Sahel remains highly risky, the decision to confirm BOAD's rating at Baa1 reflects Moody's view that the risk of a severe deterioration in asset quality has been significantly reduced.
DAKAR, July 7, 2022 – African Heads of State and Government reaffirmed their commitment to seize key opportunities to respond to multiple crises and steer their economies to transformative paths, in partnership with the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA).
“We are convening this Summit in a context of deep crisis, marked by the double impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. While we have exponentially increased our spending to respond to the health crisis and foster the economic and social resilience of our people, our fiscal space has shrunk dramatically, and debt vulnerabilities were exacerbated,” said President Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal who hosted the event.
Eswatini’s King Mswati has finally agreed to attend the extraordinary summit of the security organ of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on 21 July, after keeping the organisers guessing for weeks about his presence, sources said.
SADC intervened in the crisis in the country last year after unprecedented violent protests in June which left scores of protesters dead and much infrastructure destroyed or damaged. After another flare-up of violence in October, Ramaphosa visited Eswatini in November to meet Mswati and announced afterwards that the king had agreed to launch a national political dialogue.
Experts advocate increased collaboration between Nigeria, South Africa (Guardian Nigeria)
Consistent business collaborations of private sector stakeholders across countries on the African continent would surely guarantee its economic growth, eradicate poverty and place Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) on a better platform for transacting business with European countries.
According to the Consular General, there is a need for Nigeria and South Africa, being the two biggest economies on the continent, to come together and bridge the gap so that both countries can get the right trajectory for economic growth.
The Managing Director, WESGRO, Michael Gamwo, on his part, identified continuous partnership between private sector stakeholders in Nigeria and South Africa as the only means of guaranteed African economic growth.
The Directorate of Political Affairs (DPA) of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), through the Conflict Prevention unit of the Mediation and Coordination of Regional Political Affairs Division, and the USAID Reacting to Early Warning and Response Data Program in West Africa II (USAID REWARD II), convened a three-day Collaborative Planning Exercise (CPX) at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center (KAIPTC) in Accra, Ghana.
“The complementary work of regional, national, and community-based organizations in Ghana will build viable relationships with the diverse stakeholders operating in the EW/ER space”, he added.
Blockchain can provide infrastructure for financial inclusion in Africa – Standard Bank (Creamer Media's Engineering News)
To address the unique challenge of providing the large portion of the African population that remains unbanked with more accessible tools for financial management and inclusion, Standard Bank and others have been researching and developing transformative fintech and blockchain products, says Standard Bank head of blockchain Ian Putter.
As demand for charcoal and other wood energy soars in Central Africa, with wide-ranging consequences for biodiversity and local communities, a new brief from the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF) calls for governments and others to develop strategies to ensure coordination of policies and enforcement. The lack of alignment between governments on official policies also leaves small-scale traders — particularly women — vulnerable to exploitation.
With charcoal and firewood comprising roughly 60 percent of the energy needs for cooking and heating in Sub-Saharan Africa, this trade is likely to increase. Africa’s population is expected to double by 2050.
DR Congo now has up to September 29, to undertake internal and constitutional processes to ratify the Treaty and deposit the instruments of ratification with the Secretary General. DRC’s admission excited most of us as it provides a wider market for our products and services under the removal of non-tariff barriers on free movement of people, goods and services across the region.
However, DRC has for long been facing a security crisis and the consequences have been devastating for the Congolese people with over five million displaced.
The G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting has officially begun in Bali, Indonesia, where the top diplomats of the world's leading economies are going to discuss a range of global issues from climate change to the food crisis and the war in Ukraine.
Opening the summit on Friday, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi stressed that it's the G20's responsibility to end the war at the negotiating table, not on the battlefield.
According to a report by Swiss-African Business Circle, over the past 10 years China has maintained its position as the largest investor in Africa, a continent that is in dire need of direct foreign investment and job creation.
Among several examples of China’s economic stimulation of the continent was in Zimbabwe, where the government of President Xi Jinping aided the Harare regime to develop its infrastructure, including telecommunications, energy as well as agriculture.
China-Africa cooperation is also credited with pushing back frontiers of unemployment in the continent. On average, it created some 18 562 jobs per annum. This led to a reduction unemployment and improvement in poverty alleviation efforts, and a drastic promotion in investment was also realized. This has led to tangible evidence in Africa’s industrialization as well as gross economic development across various sectors.
Still, until recently, BRICS has remained an acronym in search of a purpose and struggled to become a substantive institution representing important developments in international relations. That might now be changing.
Prompted by larger geopolitical shifts, with the United States in relative decline and China challenging it as the would-be new global superpower and further propelled by the war in Ukraine, BRICS might finally be emerging as an organization that genuinely speaks for the Global South.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has turned out to be a critical wedge issue dividing the United States and its Western allies from almost all of the Global South, including the BRICS countries.
Next China: Biden's Bargaining Chips (Bloomberg)
The US is considering rolling back some of the tariffs imposed on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods under Donald Trump’s administration, according to people familiar with the deliberations.
Why now? The alarming speed at which prices of everything from food to gasoline are rising is threatening to push the US into recession. But economists are skeptical this will do much to tame inflation.
Meta Stock Sinks As Investors Ponder: Is The Sun Setting On The Glory Years For Facebook And Mark Zuckerberg? (Investor's Business Daily)
Meta stock has lost more than half its value since last September, as Facebook and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg have tethered the company's future to the metaverse, an entirely new method of communicating.
As Meta's latest quarter closed June 30, founder Zuckerberg reportedly told staffers on a conference call that the company faces one of the "worst downturns we've seen in recent history" when it comes to Facebook's current status amid a troubling economy, according to the New York Times.
India & Free Trade Agreements: Make haste slowly (The Financial Express)
After a hiatus of almost a decade, India has signed free trade agreements (FTAs) in quick succession in the past few months, with Mauritius and the UAE and an interim FTA with Australia.
The new FTAs mark a bold, reinvigorated India seeking to maximise its advantages from the economic and geopolitical upheavals worldwide. For most trading partners, seeking reduction in tariffs for access to the Indian market is a big ask. With skilful negotiations keeping sensitive products from key sectors outside of the purview of the FTAs, including dairy, agriculture, automobiles, medical devices and consumer electronics, the stumbling blocks that prevented India from being part of the Regional Cooperation for Economic Partnership (RCEP) in 2019 have so far been avoided.
As corporations increasingly make public commitments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, allegations of “greenwashing” have been elevated to the global stage. Consumers, investors and government bodies alike are seeking clear standards by which to measure concrete action on climate-related goals. A recent report published by Ceres1 —The Investor Guide to Climate Transition Plans in the U.S. Food Sector (May 2022)2 (the “Investor Guide”)—describes the evolution of these trends in the agricultural industry.
According to the Investor Guide, climate transition plans should outline clear and concrete short and medium-term actions to achieve a company’s long term commitment and address climate change throughout the company, from growth strategy to operations.
The growth, which represents a rise of about $250 million relative to Q4 2021, is fuelled by rising commodity prices, as trade volumes have increased to a much lower extent. Though expected to remain positive, trade growth has continued to slow during Q2 2022. “The war in Ukraine is starting to influence international trade, largely through increases in prices,” the report says.
UN Chief Warns G20 About Famine Risks - UrduPoint (UrduPoint News)
Guterres said that the Ukraine conflict is contributing to other crises and may cause social and economic devastation. The UN chief believes that the Ukraine crisis is behind the current spike in food prices and increase in the number of undernourished people.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned G20 nations on Friday about the risk of multiple famines this year.
'No more wasting time on GSP': FBCCI stresses FTA with USA (The Business Standard)
Bangladesh has no other option but to enter into comprehensive free trade agreements in goods, services and also investment with major regional trade and economic blocs along with bilateral and reciprocal FTAs with the US, Canada and the UK, covering over 95% of the global market in order to effectively deal with the predictable post-LDC graduation challenges, the FBCCI says.
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) has recommended that the government start talks on a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States – a key export destination for the country – immediately instead of wasting time negotiating for a restoration of generalised system of preferences (GSP) privileges there.
As the United Nations continued to support COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, a new report published by UNOPS on behalf of the UN system details how 41 UN organizations spent $29.6 billion on goods and services last year. The United States remained the largest supplier country in 2021, providing $2.3 billion of goods and services to UN organizations – increasing its supplies by almost $400 million compared to the previous year.
During Thailand's durian season every year, orders from China for the thorny "king of fruits" always surge, driving up shipments from the world's top fresh durian exporter.
This year, after the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world's largest free trade deal that entered into force in January, Thailand's durian sales to China have been further boosted.
Faster customs clearance and other trade facilitation measures provided by the RCEP agreement, as well as the launch of the "Durian Express" and special fruit train services to China, helped boost the trade of Thai durians and reduce exporters' costs, said Narongsak Putthapornmongkol, president of the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
Import explosion and trade deficit pushing Nepal into economic crisis (The Kathmandu Post)
According to a research report entitled "Remittances, Banking Credit to Private Sector, and Nepal’s Trade Deficits" unveiled by the Confederation of Banks and Financial Institutions, Nepal, on Thursday, 20 percent of the loans issued by banks have gone to fund trading, which particularly represents wholesale and retail services.
An import explosion in the past few months has drained foreign exchange reserves to dangerously low levels, threatening to precipitate an economic disaster with most indicators showing warning signs. Experts have described Nepal's current economic situation as the "Dutch disease" because feverish consumption has been a bonanza for the trading sector, but brought disaster to manufacturing and agriculture. They say that a huge amount of money is being invested in the unproductive sector, resulting in a trading boom and a gaping trade deficit.
Sanctions are worsening global economies (Monitor)
Economically devastating embargoes are perceived as viable alternatives to direct military confrontation with a nuclear armed Russia, accused of aggression. Russia, one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of crude oil, oil products and natural gas, joins Iran and Venezuela, two other major worlds’ largest oil producers whose capacities are apparently curtailed by Western sanctions.
Combined, Russia, Venezuela and Iran are reported to produce roughly 17.7 million (18 percent of total globe oil production) barrels daily – bpd in accordance to Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report 2020.
Imposing sanctions on major world supplier of not only oil but also other critical farm or industrial range of inputs and food, during times when the world is grappling with shortages stemming from adverse effects of the Covid lockdowns, refugees crisis, climate change, increased debt and looming economic recessions, migrations driven by poverty and inequalities, then insecurity and famine in East of Asia which occurred after 20 years of US occupation , was such undoing that only points to indifference Western countries harbor against the rest of the world.