tralac Daily News
South Africa’s coal sales to Europe rose eight-fold during the first half of 2022 compared with last year as demand for the fossil fuel surged ahead of a ban on Russian coal, Thungela Resources said on Monday.
In April, the European Union announced a ban on coal imports from Russia as part of sanctions for its invasion of Ukraine. The ban came into effect on August 10. Ahead of the ban, European countries, which previously imported 45% of their coal from Russia and have been switching away from expensive natural gas to coal, started to source the fossil fuel from other countries, including South Africa.
We refuse to be bullied by the West, South Africa declares (The East African)
In their talks, Ms Pandor and Mr Blinken touched on extending South Africa’s trading partnership with the United States. At a meeting with visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday, South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor said her country will only make independent decisions.
Exponential growth on imports from South Africa to the United Kingdom (Business Matters)
If the growth in imports is any indicator of quality, then grapes (both in their liquid and natural form) from the Western Cape are among the best in the world. Over the 2020/21 reporting period, the UK imported 16% more wine products and 15% more grapes than they did the year before. This is according to, South Africa’s official tourism, trade, and investment agency in the Western Cape, Wesgro.
Products profiled on the Cape Trade Portal, an online resource that connects exporters and importers, are not just grapes that have piqued British interest. Beverages, spirits and vinegar, tobacco, vegetable products, and fruits are among the other top performing exports from the province. Other exports such as yachts and paintings saw spike in demand of more than 100% from the British Isles.
The Cape Trade Portal provides overseas buyers access to locally produced premium products and services by Western Cape makers.
South Africa’s ‘tech hub’ draws billions in investment (BusinessTech)
The Western Cape has received R103 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in its technology sector, according to the Democratic Alliance, solidifying its place as the ‘tech hub’ of South Africa. Cayla Murray, a spokesperson for the opposition party, said that between 2011 and 2021, the Western Cape has seen billions of foreign investments flow in. According to the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT), total FDI has been split across the following sectors: Communications – R55 billion, making it one of the largest contributions to the Western Cape; Renewable energy – R18 billion, approximately 13.36% of total FDI, which is promising news for the country’s energy crisis; Business services – R16 billion, and; Software and ICT services – R13 billion, which has been funnelled into 61 projects across the province.
In a 2021 report from fDi Intelligence, a data division of the Financial Times group, Cape Town was revealed to be one of the world’s fastest-growing regions for foreign direct investment. On top of investment, the province has become a hotbed for startups, with the Cape Town – Stellenbosch corridor containing 450 tech firms employing more than 40,000 people, according to Wesgro.
Zimbabwe’s diaspora remittances hit US$800 million (Bulawayo24 News)
ZIMBABWE’S diaspora remittances reached US$797 million in the first six months of the year, representing a 23 percent increase in the corresponding period last year. An estimated three million Zimbabweans are believed to be in the diaspora and they regularly send money back home to sustain their families. In his mid-term monetary policy statement presented last Thursday, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mangudya said: “Of the total amount, diaspora remittances amounted to US$797 million, a 23 percent increase from US$650 million received during the same period in 2021.” Economic analysts have urged the Government to craft policies that attract Zimbabweans in the diaspora to channel their financial resources beyond domestic consumption as they have a key role in transforming the economy.
Horticulture earnings dropped by Sh32 billion in the first half of the year on the back of reduced returns from flowers, vegetables and fruits. The Horticulture Directorate says the value of export produce declined by 40 percent to Sh48.4 billion from Sh80.7 billion in the corresponding period a year earlier. The regulator says the value was pulled down by a decline in volume and lower quality avocado in the first quarter of the year as the exported products were not mature enough. This led to low value realised and more rejections of the produce in the world market.
“There was a huge decline in volumes in the review period that pulled down the overall earnings. We also had issues with our avocado,” said the directorate.
Flowers normally make the largest share of the total horticulture export earnings as they are high-value crops. Earnings from horticulture exports hit a historic high last year at Sh158 billion to remain the leading foreign exchange earner in the last two years by staying ahead of tea and tourism.
The good results were boosted by the high demand for Kenyan produce in the world market last year, according to the Directorate of Horticulture.
Prices of sugar up by 18pc on shortage (Business Daily)
A sugar shortage following the closure of some mills for maintenance has pushed prices up by 18 percent in one week. The price of a 50 kilogramme bag is now selling at a high of Sh6,400 from Sh5,400 last week, putting more pressure on the households at a time when they are grappling with high cost of other basic commodities. At the supermarkets, a two kilogramme packet of the commodity is selling at Sh270 in the last two days from a low of Sh239, a price that it has been retailing at for nearly a year.
Head of Sugar Directorate Willice Audi said the directorate is yet to get up-to-date figures in regard to the supply of the commodity in the market but said there was no problem with local supplies from the factories. Kenya cut sugar imports by nearly half in June when compared with the previous month as cane production jumped 11 percent in the review period. Kenya is allowed to import up to 350,000 tonnes of sugar from the Comesa countries to bridge the annual local deficit.
Cargo movement slows down as truck owners avoid roads (The Star Kenya)
Cargo movement between port facilities and final destinations has slowed as truck owners opt to park their vehicles, as they monitor the political environment in the country.
The situation has brought to a near stop of operations by haulers operating within Kenya and the neighbouring countries that use the Port of Mombasa and the Nairobi Inland Container Deport (ICD). This is despite a high number of vessels discharging imports at the Mombasa.
Kenya Transporters Association (KTA) yesterday reported few activities on the Kenya roads and the 1,700 kilometre long Northern Corridor that runs between Kenya, Uganda Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern D.R. Congo.
A stop in the movement also comes with losses where according to the association, a single truck incurs a loss of $200 (about Sh23,880) on average, per day. At least 1,200 trucks cross the Malaba border into Uganda daily with about 300 using the Busia border.
Kenya: Manufacturers, traders top gainers in bank credit (Business Daily)
Trade and manufacturing were the biggest gainers in loans to the private sector, according to data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).The latest financial stability report shows these sectors were most attractive to lenders with trade accounting for 17.1 percent and manufacturing accounting for 15.2 percent of the industry’s loan book in the year to June. Households took 14.9 percent of the loans while real estate accounted for 12.7 percent of the private sector credit in the period under review.
“The economic sectors most attractive to lenders included manufacturing, trade, households, transport and communications and real estate,” the report read in part.
Manufacturing has received more than Sh488 billion in loans cumulatively while trade and real estate got Sh549 billion and 407.7 billion respectively. Lending to households on the other hand was in excess of Sh478 billion.
Uganda scraps tax on imported rice from Tanzania (The East African)
The Ugandan government has scrapped the Value added Tax (VAT) on imported rice from Tanzania. The development comes two weeks after Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni appealed to all the seven East African Community (EAC) member states to remove all non-tariff barriers, saying they were hampering economic integration and development in the region.
“All rice originating from the Republic of Tanzania and with a certificate of origin according to preferential treatment will effective July 27 attract a 0 percent import duty in accordance with paragraph 1(L) of the third Schedule to the VAT Act and Article 15 of the Protocol establishing the East African Community Customs Union,” said. Assistant Commissioner for Trade at Uganda Revenue Authority, Mr Alexander Rubanda.
Zimbabwe and Zambia held an ad-hoc expert group meeting (AEGM) on the draft policy, legal, regulatory and institutional framework for a Common Agro-Industrial Park (CAIP) and on the assessment study report on maize and dairy value chains in the two countries at Rainbow Towers in Harare.
The objective of the AEGM on the CAIP was to review and validate the draft policy, legal, regulatory and institutional framework to specifically assess its appropriateness for the development and sustainability of the park.
The assessment of the report on maize and dairy value chains in Zambia and Zimbabwe sought to review the findings and recommendations from draft report and provide recommendations for the advancement of the development of the two value chains in and between the two countries.
The maize and dairy value chains are among the nine identified in the pre-feasibility study as anchors of the CAIP and are among the identified strategic value chains in both COMESA and SADC regions. The validated policy, legal, regulatory and institutional framework and the report on the assessment of the maize and dairy value chains will both be finalized taking into account the observations and recommendations of the AEGM.
Nigeria could be emerging as a key strategic partner to Europe’s energy transition, and the Franco-Nigerian relationship is at its heart. University research subsidies, funds for economic development, corporate partnerships, and new refinery contracts are only a few of the many increasing ties linking the European Union to Nigeria in a nascent strategic partnership that addresses the heart of both blocs’ economic and political issues.
Oil-rich, natural gas-rich, and equipped with many of the REM resources necessary for sustainable development, Nigeria boasts a large, increasingly urbanized population, as well as a stable financial hub in Lagos and a semi-democratic government with the highest levels of economic prosperity in the continent (with the exception of South Africa). Nigeria’s substantial resource wealth and geographic proximity to Europe make it a very attractive partner for meeting the continent’s energy needs.
Europe’s search for energy independence from Russia has the potential to make it a partner in Nigeria’s economic development. With a massive capital investment base and substantial expertise in the energy market through juggernauts such as Total (TTE) and Shell (SHEL), Europe has the necessary elements to build out the as-yet underdeveloped Nigerian energy sector. This would mean substantial economic benefits for Nigeria, building on its status as a major sub-Saharan trade hub. Due to these opportunities, opening up to trade with Europe has been more of a focus of the Nigerian government. Nowhere are these ties strengthening more quickly than between France and Nigeria.
Three Eastern Africa regional business councils have officially formed a continental business council, to spearhead the inclusion of private sector policy proposals into the negotiations of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement and the African Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA). Under the name African Tripartite Business Council, the council brings together the East African Business Council (EABC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Southern African Development Community (SADC). This formation is one of the resolutions from a Consultative Meeting of Regional Business Councils on the Implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement held in Kigali City on August 10-11. “The African Tripartite Business Council will put forward joint private sector policy positions to the AfCFTA Secretariat in Ghana and Tripartite Ministerial Council Meetings in order to accelerate the implementation of the Agreements,” said John Bosco Kalisa, EABC CEO.
Kalisa called upon the Member States from COMESA, EAC and the SADC to ratify the Tripartite Free Trade Area to achieve the threshold of 14 ratifications required to enable the agreement to enter into force. Dickson Poloji, CEO of COMESA Business Council said, “It is important for the private sector to be knowledgeable of the trade instruments of Rules of Origin, Standards and Dispute Settlement Mechanism under the AfCFTA.”
A survey conducted by the Ghana International Trade and Conference (GITFic) on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) initiative has revealed that increased sensitisation is crucial to ensure businesses reap the benefits of the programme. Ninety per cent of the respondents said the AfCFTA was relevant and more education was needed on the programme. Also, 65 per cent of the respondents indicated that the implementation of the AfCFTA would have beneficial effects on their business.
The survey was to assess the views of the business community in the country with regards to the framework of the AfCFTA and the designation of Accra as the “commercial capital of Africa “.
The Lead Researcher said, he was optimistic that the findings of the survey, which was also aimed at serving key stakeholders in trade and industry, would serve as veritable reference for policy makers and key players in the AfCFTA ecosystem.
42nd SADC Summit… addressing the impact of COVID-19 (sardc | Southern African News Features)
Southern Africa must remain vigilant and united in its fight against COVID-19 to ensure sustainable development in the region. The outgoing chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of Ministers, Nancy Tembo said this at the Council meeting held ahead of the 42nd SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government set for 17-18 August in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Tembo, who is the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malawi said the SADC region has made significant progress to contain and address the impact of COVID-19, but the pandemic is still a serious concern.
She said it is within this context that the region supported the implementation of its planned activities under the theme of “Bolstering Productive Capacities in the Face of COVID 19 Pandemic for Inclusive, Sustainable Economic and Industrial Transformation”, which was agreed at the previous Summit held in Malawi last year.
The 42nd SADC Summit is running under the theme “Promoting industrialization through, agro-processing, mineral beneficiation, and regional value chains for inclusive and resilient economic growth.” The theme continues with the industrialization trajectory, as SADC has since 2014 held its summits under the industrialization theme.
Trade is the main engine of development strategies because of the implicit benefits on job creation, expansion of markets, incomes, and facilitation of competition. According to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the main thrust of trade policy is the enhancement of the competitiveness of domestic industries to stimulate and promote diversified export trade.
Trade policy also seeks to create an environment conducive to increased capital inflows, transfers and adoption of appropriate technologies. But manufacturers, traders, importers, and clearing agents in Nigeria have continued to express worries over the hike in tariffs by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the scarcity of dollars and the lack of basic infrastructure facilities within the nation’s ports.
In April, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) migrated from the old version of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (2017- 2021) to the new version (2022- 2026). The development will see importers paying a 20 duty fee and another 15 percent levy for automotive policy. A statement signed by Timi Bomodi, public relations officer, in the office of the Comptroller-General of Customs, said that the migration was in-line with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) five-year review of the nomenclature, where the contracting parties are expected to adopt the review based on regional considerations and national economic policy.
How logistics can be a boon for African trade (TechCabal)
Logistics is the backbone of international trade; without a working system of moving goods around the world, trade would be hindered. In the African tech ecosystem, investment in tech-enabled transportation and logistics start-ups in Africa has increased since 2015. Last year, a total of $388 million was invested in the sector, and over 30 transport and logistics companies secured funding, making the sector part of the top 5 by funding on the continent.
There are, however, some major challenges that still linger in the ecosystem, such as complex custom processes, heavy import costs and intra-trade barriers, high shipment levels, and port handling charges, among others. At a webinar titled “ What’s the future of logistics in African markets?” on Friday, July 15, TechCabal sought to seek out solutions to this complicated conundrum from the perspective of industry experts.
Carlos Lopes: Africans must not develop new dependencies (African Business)
Carlos Lopes, professor at the University of Cape Town, former executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa and expert on African economies, policy and geopolitics, sees a future for the continent with new fault lines and new allegiances that are threatening the current consensus. In a wide-ranging interview shortly after the June meeting of the G7, he tells us what he thinks is at stake and what Africa’s position should be.
How can Africa reorganise priorities and shape its strategy when the continent is once again in a crisis and being pressured by all sides?
A: We have evidence of this difficulty in relation to the pressure being exerted to take a position on the Ukrainian issue. Most African countries are not interested in taking a position for obvious reasons. They are familiar with the logic of the Cold War and do not want to enter a game where you have to take a position. Each time this has happened, we have lost a set of partners and become even more dependent on the partner we choose to support. I don’t see the case for it. And I can’t imagine an African country wanting to depend on Russia or China. Similarly, I can’t see African countries wanting to depend only on the goodwill of Western countries either.
That’s why it makes sense to stay somewhat outside this obvious polarisation. This period in which African countries have to navigate in troubled waters will be extremely difficult. Depending on what is done with the AfCFTA, they may or may not be able to count on a much more active and energetic Africa. If we fail to implement the AfCFTA, we will lose a considerable amount in terms of our negotiating hand and we will remain under enormous pressure [given our dependence on external partners].
Many countries are capable of understanding the future of Africa. It is a demographic future and a future of strategic resources for the transitions I mentioned. But it is also a future important partner in terms of trade and a large consumer market of 2bn people.
Finally, what needs to be closely monitored in this period of serious crisis so that African countries do not worsen their predicament?
A: In the short term, we need to focus on three things. First, the negotiations on the debt issue in Africa have gone somewhat round in circles. The three mechanisms that were put in place during the pandemic have not produced much in the way of results. We also need to look at the way the current international institutions are structured. We saw that international bodies were not up to the task of dealing with the latest crises. They don’t have quick and consistent instruments to respond to this kind of crisis. Africans must not accept a new wave of pandemic-like measures. The crisis is getting worse, so we need to question the instruments. I think this discussion has already started.
These 10 Sub-Saharan African countries earn the lowest dollars from their exports (Business Insider Africa)
For most developing countries in Africa, foreign trade is imperative. For one, these countries need to import the many products and services they can’t produce. Also, exporting their products (mostly raw materials) gives them the opportunity to earn much-needed hard currency and bolster their foreign reserves.
For the rest of this article, we shall focus on fifteen African countries that earn the highest foreign exchange through exports of products and services. This is particularly important now that many African countries, from Nigeria to Kenya, are grappling with chronic dollar shortages. Perhaps the answer to the problem is for these countries to find ways to export more products and services so they can earn more forex.
Below are the ten African countries that earn the lowest forex through exports. The list is courtesy of available data obtained from The World. Comoros - $87.7 million; Burundi - $145.1 million; The Gambia - $199.8 million; Guinea Bissau - $205.9 million; Central African Republic - $357 million; Eritrea - $374.8 million; Cabo Verde - $476.6 million; Sierra Leone - $613.1 million; Sudan - $772.8 million; Lesotho - $911.3 million
Zambia can be Southern Africa’s “grain basket”: Experts (Farmers Review Africa)
African countries face great challenges in adapting to climate change to meet growing demand for food with the current drought in East Africa being the latest manifestation of changing weather patterns. But, according to experts, countries such as Zambia, where there is good land and water, have major opportunities to meet food demand by growing agriculture exports and processing their produce.
Zambian farmers can earn substantial returns from increased production. Their production can also alleviate the pressures in countries such as Kenya. “To realise these opportunities, Zambian products have to reach export markets at good prices. For this, Zambia needs competitive cross-border markets and efficient transport and logistics services,” Antony Chapoto, the research director at the Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI), Ntombifuthi Tshabalala, an economist at Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development, University of Johannesburg, and Simon Roberts, a Professor of Economics and Lead Researcher, Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development at the same university, noted.
“However, regional grain and oilseeds trade is not working for producers in Zambia or for buyers in East Africa, with huge variances in agricultural commodity prices in Kenya and in Zambia.” They said there “reality check” on the workings of cross-border markets points to regional integration being the key to unlocking massive potential for Zambia to anchor sustainable agricultural growth in Africa. But effective regional integration remains a dream, undermining Zambia’s potential.
Illegal Logging in Africa and Its Security Implications (Africa Center for Strategic Studies)
Illegal logging is a growing feature of transnational organized crime in Africa, often facilitated by the collusion of senior officials, with far-reaching security and environmental implications for the countries affected.
African countries are estimated to lose $17 billion to illegal logging each year. This is part of a global market with an economic value of $30 to $150 billion. The net profit from the illegal charcoal trade alone in Africa is estimated to be as much as $9 billion, “compared to the [$]2.65 billion worth of street value heroin and cocaine in the region.” High-value timber species are in immense global demand, with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reporting that Africa’s share of rosewood exports to China rose from 40 percent in 2008 to 90 percent in 2018.
Illegal logging is part of a vicious cycle of opaque governance, exploitation, and insecurity that privileges the profit-seeking of select state officials and foreign actors. These patterns reduce the legitimacy of the government overall, further contributing to instability and violence.
The UK is using its post-Brexit powers to launch one of the world’s most generous trading schemes with developing countries today. The International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has launched the new Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS), which will extend tariff cuts to hundreds of more products exported from developing countries, going further than the EU’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences. This is on top of the thousands of products which developing countries can already export to the UK duty-free [and will mean 99% of goods imported from Africa, for example will enter the UK duty free].
The scheme means that a wide variety of products – from clothes and shoes to foods that aren’t widely produced in the UK including olive oil and tomatoes – will benefit from lower or zero tariffs. The Developing Countries Trading Scheme ensures that British businesses can benefit from more than £750 million per year of reduced import costs, leading to more choice and lower costs for UK consumers to help with the cost of living.
The resumption of shipments from Ukraine is helping drive down the cost of grain, with wheat prices expected to stabilize should trade continue to flow smoothly from the country’s Black Sea ports, World Bank Senior Agriculture Economist John Baffes told The Japan Times in an interview. “We believe food prices reached their highest level in the second quarter of 2022,” Baffes said, noting that the World Bank does not expect food prices to increase for the rest of the year, given that most global food markets are adequately supplied.
The benchmark for world food commodity prices declined significantly in July, with major cereal and vegetable oil prices recording double-digit percentage declines, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported today. The closely-watched FAO Food Price Index averaged 140.9 points in July, down 8.6 percent from June, marking the fourth consecutive monthly decline since hitting all-time highs earlier in the year. The Index, which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of a basket of commonly-traded food commodities, nevertheless, remained 13.1 percent higher than in July 2021.
“The decline in food commodity prices from very high levels is welcome, especially when seen from a food access viewpoint; however, many uncertainties remain, including high fertilizer prices that can impact future production prospects and farmers’ livelihoods, a bleak global economic outlook, and currency movements, all of which pose serious strains for global food security,” said FAO Chief Economist Maximo Torero.
A United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)-led global effort supporting developing countries to move their markets to energy-efficient appliances and equipment. Energy efficiency can take many forms, with U4E focusing on lighting, refrigeration, air conditioning, distribution transformers and electric motors.
“Half of the near-term reductions in emissions in the energy sector can be achieved through energy efficiency, for example, by using more energy-efficient appliances and lighting and more efficient motors,” said Miriam Hinostroza, Head of the Global Climate Action Unit, at UNEP’s Energy and Climate Branch.
GSBN expands Cargo Release roll out to Latin America (Seatrade Maritime News)
Cargo Release is a blockchain-enabled application offering a paperless and transparent solution connecting everyone involved at the port of import including shipping lines, consignees, their agents, and terminals, cutting time for cargo to be document-ready for release from days to hours.
Due to their proximity with North and Latin American markets, Mexico and Panama are strategically important ports for global trade, with both Panama and Mexico amongst the top ten countries by number of port terminals.
“As global trade continues to face an evolving and increasingly dynamic environment, digitisation is playing a critical role in helping the shipping sector adapt. Mexico and Panama are strategically important locations for global supply chains, and we hope the rollout of Cargo Release will help further accelerate the digital leap the shipping sector is undergoing,” said Bertrand Chen, CEO at GSBN.
“The adoption of Cargo Release is essential to reducing the bottlenecks faced by the sector and its latest rollout in Latin America further ushers a modern era for global trade,” explained Zhang Chi, Latin America/Africa Trade Division General Manager at Cosco Shipping Lines
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for global air cargo markets showing healthy and stable performance. Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs*), was 6.4% below June 2021 levels (-6.6% for international operations). This was an improvement on the year-on-year decline of 8.3% seen in May. Global demand for the first half-year was 4.3% below 2021 levels (-4.2% for international operations). Compared to pre-COVID levels (2019) half-year demand was up 2.2%.
Air cargo performance is being impacted by several factors Trade activity ramped-up slightly in June as lockdowns in China due to Omicron were eased. Emerging regions (Latin America and Africa) also contributed to growth with stronger volumes. New export orders, a leading indicator of cargo demand and world trade, decreased in all markets, except China. The war in Ukraine continues to impair cargo capacity used to serve Europe as several airlines based in Russia and Ukraine were key cargo players.
African airlines saw cargo volumes increase by 5.7% in June 2022 compared to June 2021. As with carriers in Latin America, airlines in this region have shown optimism by introducing additional capacity. Capacity was 10.3% above June 2021 levels. Demand for the first half-year was 2.9% above 2021 levels and half-year capacity was 6.9% above 2021 levels.
Amidst calls for flexibility, openness and the spirit of compromise that prevailed in 1982, when the landmark “constitution for the oceans” was adopted, the new treaty will aim to address the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas of the ocean which are beyond the limits of States’ maritime zones. The session, which runs until 26 August, was convened following a decision taken by the General Assembly in May and is expected to be the final in a series set in motion since 2018 to draft an international legally binding instrument under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.
the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, spoke at the Management Development Institute (MDI) in New Delhi India, about the importance of closing the digital divide and utilizing strategies such as SMART governance. The Secretariat is exploring with MDI the possibility of setting up a Commonwealth Hub for the Business of Government to help promote SMART governance across Commonwealth countries. While delivering a speech on the theme “Smart Governance for SMART Commonwealth – From Vision to Implementation” at the MDI Gurgaon campus, Patricia Scotland, Commonwealth Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, said:
“In the Commonwealth, only 18 per cent of people living in low-income countries have internet access, compared to 85 per cent in high-income countries. This digital divide continues to limit the potential of countries. Better access to broadband internet through cheaper rates and public access and achieving 50 per cent penetration across the Commonwealth would raise members combined national income by $74 billion to $263 billion. SMART Governance is the process of utilizing modern technologies and ICT to ensure a collaborative, transparent, participatory, communication-based and sustainable environment for citizens and governments. We will work with MDI as a hub for good governance in Commonwealth countries.