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A mere 10% increase in manufacturing investment in South Africa would result in a gross domestic product (GDP) contribution increase of 13% in South Africa, along with a 9% increase in fiscal revenue and an 8% increase in employment creation, Pan African Investment and Research Services economist Dr Iran Abedian has said. “Manufacturing in South Africa, given the structure of our economy, has a positive multiplier effect to the tune of 1.3 times because if you inject 10% into manufacturing, the total economy is better off 13%.
Manufacturers must increase export potential – export council (Engineering News)
Igniting investor relations and export potential, as well as increased investment in projects, are paramount to gaining traction when trying to reignite the economy post Covid-19, stresses South African Capital Equipment Export Council (SACEEC) CEO Eric Bruggeman.
He highlights the opportunities that were available at this year’s Electra Mining Africa 2022 expo, which was held at the Johannesburg Expo Centre in Nasrec, Gauteng, from September 5 to 9.
Bruggeman stresses that the manufacturing and export sectors face several challenges that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency. He affirms that the power crisis is the primary element negatively affecting manufacturing, while the state of South Africa’s ports and transport infrastructure is affecting its export capabilities. “Local manufacturers need a constant supply of power to maintain machinery uptime yet we sit with between two and eight hours of downtime a day.”
It is “disheartening” that South Africa’s ports rank as some of the least efficient globally, owing to a lack of infrastructure, materials handling equipment and logistics capacity to and from the ports, he laments. “South Africa’s ports need to be adequately maintained and upgraded to offer prospective investors and international clients the assurance that products will arrive at their destination on time and intact.”
Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has warned that if not abated, illegal mining “will reach crisis proportions” and poses a “threat to national security, government authority and socio-economic development” in the country. Mantashe made these remarks during a National Plenary discussion on illegal mining in Parliament on Thursday afternoon.
“This criminal activity is in contravention of our laws and forms part of many other economic related crimes that are afflicting our society. Illegal mining is associated with very serious crimes such as illicit financial flows and high levels of violence, including gender-based violence and femicide. Furthermore, we have witnessed human trafficking, smuggling of weapons, and explosives linked to this crime.” A specialised cooperative unit is subsequently being formulated to deal with the scourge.
Tanzania dismisses claims of freezing maize export permits (The East African)
Tanzania has dismissed claims by Kenyan traders that it has frozen the issuance of new maize export permits, urging them to follow procedures. “Tanzania hasn’t barred issuance of permits for maize exports and it is not planning to do so. Traders should follow crop export procedures including securing crop export permits that are issued free of charge,” said Agriculture Minister Hussein Bashe told The Citizen on Wednesday. “Between August 27 and September 7, 2022, Tanzania issued maize export permits for 37,450 tonnes of the product,” added Mr Bashe. Agricultural produce exporters, he said, a required to secure an export permit and a phytosanitary certificate. Foreign exporters are required to register their companies in Tanzania.
Tanzania slaps new rules on Kenyan grain traders (The East African)
Kenyan grain traders seeking to import maize from Tanzania will now be required to register their companies in Dar es Salaam as the country imposes stricter rules to protect its commodities and jobs from shifting abroad. The new measure by Tanzania, which comes as a new trade barrier between the two countries, will have an impact on Kenya’s food security as the country relies heavily on cross-border stocks from this East African nation to bridge the annual deficit.
A notice issued by Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture wants foreign traders to register their companies in Tanzania to enjoy better terms and ensure a smoother flow of their commodities across the border. The measures include the mandatory requirement to secure export permits and the need for foreign exporters to register their entities domestically.
KEBS backs harmonized milk standards to promote dairy trade (Kenya Broadcasting Corporation)
The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) is on course to complete negotiations with Zambia in a move which will see Kenya resume milk exports to the southern Africa country. KEBS Director General Bernard Njiraini says though Kenya has sufficient standards for various industries, harmonization of the standards to include other countries will ensure Kenya’s dairy products are accessible in other markets through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Zambia banned Kenyan milk thirteen years ago due on safety concerns after processors in the southern Africa country claimed that milk imports exceeded the country’s total bacteria count. “Now we are moving to another level of having harmonized standards across Africa so that people from Zambia can access our milk because, sometimes we have disparities in terms of their thresholds in the counts and what we have,” said Njiraini on the sidelines of a food safety lecture held Thursday by professors from Washington State University at KEBS headquarters.
KEBS already commenced negotiations with Zambian authorities on harmonization of milk standards in an effort to open the market for local farmers. A Memorandum of Understanding between the two nations will be concluded in due course.
The World Bank, the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), and the African Development Bank (AfDB) were just a few of the organizations that were present during Nigeria’s virtual launch of its Energy Transition Plan in August 2022. The event presented a roadmap for Nigeria’s journey to net zero by 2060. Net Zero Climate defines net zero as a state in which the greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere are balanced by the removal of such gases out of the atmosphere.
In September 2022, Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo took a delegation to the United States to meet international bodies and the US government to seek financial support for the implementation of Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan. Finance is an important part of building resilient energy systems in Nigeria, and so are these other factors: Research and Development; Regional Integration; Local Awareness Campaigns; and Strengthening Individual Financial Capabilities.
Mozambique to Introduce Express Train to South Africa and Eswatini (Mozambique News Agency)
The Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Mozambique’s publicly-owned ports and rail company (CFM), Miguel Matabele, has announced the introduction of an express train to South Africa and Eswatini, to facilitate the mobility of people and goods. Matabele made this announcement on Saturday, when the Mozambican Prime Minister, Adriano Maleiane, was visiting the CFM stand at the Maputo International Trade Fair (FACIM).
This step comes after CFM signed on 1 July an agreement with South Africa’s Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) for the elimination of the rail border and with Eswatini Railways on 5 August an agreement for direct rail links for the transport of goods.
In light of the agreement, the trains operated by CFM and the South African company TFR will now cross the border at Ressano Garcia without restrictions or the need to change rolling stock. Thus, the Maputo Corridor will have, in an initial phase, 21 trains per week carrying chrome and ferrochrome to the port of Maputo, compared with the current 15 trains per week. With Eswatini, the Goba railway border is removed, thus allowing the free circulation of goods trains between the two countries.
Egypt and the African Development Bank group (AfBD) launched Thursday Egypt’s AfDB Country Strategy Paper (2022-2026) during the second day of Egypt International Forum (Egypt-ICF2022). Minister of International Cooperation, Rania Al-Mashat stated that the country strategy paper (CSP) defines the relationship between the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Egypt during the coming five years.
Al-Mashat elaborated during her speech that the CSP is prepared based on the national strategic plans such as Egypt Vision 2030, Climate 2050 Strategy, Human Right Document, Hayah Karima initiative and new and renewable energy strategy.
African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina on Wednesday inaugurated the upgraded Port of Maio in Cabo Verde, which will help reduce sea travel time to the capital Praia, and boost trade. The modernization of the Ports of Maio and Palmeira cost €36 million, with the African Development Bank providing €17.87 million. The Bank’s strategic partner, the European Union, provided €11 million in support, while the Cabo Verde government’s share of the funding was €7.8 million. “An investment like this brings rapid changes to livelihoods and transforms economies. It will connect Maio with the rest of the country and the world,” said Prime Minister José Ulisses de Pina Correia e Silva.
Adesina said the port inauguration marked another milestone for the resilient West African nation. “This beautiful port will transform the face of the economy of Maio. It will become better connected to the rest of the country, rapidly expanding business and economic opportunities and boosting tourism,” Adesina said. It used to take three hours to travel to Maio from Praia by sea. With the upgraded port of Maio, it will now take less than one hour. The project is also expected to make it a lot easier to sell salt, cheese, fish and other key commodities.
Somalia will open a deep-water port on its northern coast next month, with a road link forging a new trade route connecting Ethiopia’s south-eastern region with the city of Gara’ad. The development is part of a $531 million investment plan aimed at boosting the export of livestock, fish, minerals and agricultural commodities, according to Saed Faadi, the chief executive officer of Wadagsan LLC, the developer. The first two deep-water berths in the Puntland state’s city will be capable of docking 40,000-ton container ships and provide services such as modern loading equipment, refrigerated storage facilities and feeding grounds for animals. “The port will also provide easy access to food imports from the outside world,” Faadi said in an interview. “This will allow food to be less expensive and enhance food security in the region, which is plagued by droughts and famine.”
Why harmonised logistics will spur intra-Africa trade (The Africa Logistics)
Regional trade across the globe is a complex interaction between people, companies and organisations. Supply chains traverse countries and regions. Trade has become an everyday business, and its performance largely depends on connectivity by roads, rail and sea, telecommunications, financial markets and information processing. Despite such knowledge of what facilitates trade, Africa’s regional trade potential remains under-exploited. The World Bank notes that trade between countries on the continent represents 12 percent of the total economic activity compared to 40 percent in Asia and 60 per cent in Europe. To bridge this gap, African nations instituted the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement on January 1, 2021. This marked the dawn of a new era in intra-regional trade facilitation.
While the agreement focuses on facilitating trade and services and easing the regulatory measures and technical trade barriers, a lot needs to be done. For Africa to boost intra-regional trade from the 12% reported by the World Bank to the target of 20 percent, it needs to make significant changes in technology, infrastructure, and policy reforms. For one, boosting intra-African trade requires the continent to encourage more investment opportunities for product diversification. Currently, there exist narrow patterns of trade depending on primary products involved in low levels of inter-country trade.
Since most African countries mainly export raw materials to import finished products, there is little that the African countries are interested in importing from each other. There is a need for export diversification and product sophistication, which will allow for the inclusion of more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), encouraging innovation as markets expand.
Currently, trade between African countries comprises 61% of processed and semi-processed goods. This suggests significant potential benefits from greater regional trade ideal for transformative and inclusive economic growth.
AfCFTA implementation: GRA allays fears over revenue losses (Ghanaian Times)
The Ghana Revenue Authority is allaying fears over the projected loss of revenue from tax collection due to the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in the short term. According to the World Bank, there will be a decline in port tariffs for member countries, as a result of the trade agreement.
The decline in revenue is expected to be moderate in the early years due to progressive liberalisation, however, in the longer term, between 2025 and 2045, the decline will increase from three to nine per cent.
Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Rev. Dr Amishaddai Owusu Amoah: “You will agree with me that the intra-African trade is not huge and therefore the initial losses are not expected to be significant. But we can’t be idle with coming up with strategies so that as we integrate the systems, people may take advantage of the systems like what happened in the European Union with the introduction of VAT,” he said. “To this end, we are ensuring efficient systems and strategies that will ensure maximisation of trade and boost in revenue for the long term.” He was confident that the summit would come out with seamless policy recommendations that could help deal with revenue challenges by member states.
Malawi’s intra-Africa trade rises to 32%, boosted by AfCFTA – Brookings study (The North Africa Post)
Trade exchange between Malawi and other countries in the African region has improved over the years, with statistics showing that Malawi now accounts for 32% of intra-Africa trade A recent study published by Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative indicates that at 32%, Malawi ranks on position seven out of 13 countries that have improved performance, with Eswatini, formerly Swaziland, claiming 85% share of intra-Africa trade. This means that opportunities for Malawians to generate revenues through trade have improved over time, countering a previous narrative and data that the country’s intra-Africa trade is low.
The study, titled ‘Significance of Intra-Africa Trade: Getting the Narrative Right’, which analyses development and progress towards intra-Africa trade, demonstrates that trade between African countries has generally risen and provided a greater economic significance than previously thought. “Currently, sets of African countries, particularly the smaller, landlocked and more open economies like Malawi have significantly higher levels of dependence on intra-continental trade [imports plus exports] than others thus improving intra-Africa trade,” the study says. The African average of intra-regional trade is, however, dragged down by the continent’s larger economies, especially Egypt, Nigeria and to a lesser extent South Africa who claim the highest share of intra-Africa trade.
the country in southeastern Africa needs to diversify its export products and local production to build on the momentum in growing its trade in the process of generating foreign exchange, according Betchani Tchereni, an economist from Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences. “The trade treaties and policies in place should compel us to trade more with our regional peers and think of diversifying our product portfolio.”
The government has renewed efforts to expand trade across the continent through the five-year National Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) Implementation Strategy (2022-27). A Ministry of Trade policy brief released in August this year noted that the AfCFTA is a game changer and a key engine of economic growth and industrialisation for sustainable development. “The agreement enables country specialisation in sectors with comparative advantage, economies of scale, structural transformation and the creation of a continental single market of over 1.2 billion people and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of over Sh300 trillion ($2.5 trillion),” the ministry said. The State is confident that the set objectives are achievable given, among other factors, the expected rebound of domestic exports.
African countries have to work actively together to drive regional integration and minimize the adverse impact of external shocks like the Russia-Ukraine war, Peter Olowononi, head, of client relations, Anglophone West Africa at the African Export-Import bank has said. He explained that, “in all of these there must be free movement of people and goods. “With the barriers to movement we saw we needed to break the barriers of flow of goods and services. Infrastructure has to play a key role, we created an Africa Trade Export platform. Once the trade occur, through a payment platform we see the trade happen with externalities diminishing,” Olowononi stated.
The Secretary General of the African Free Continental Trade Area (AfCFTA), H.E. Wamkele Mene, will be holding a historic Conference in Tanzania from September 12 – 14, 2022 to demonstrate their commitment to the inclusion of Women and Youth in the AfCFTA. The conference, slated for the Julius Nyerere International Convention Center in Dar es Salaam will be under the theme “Women and Youth: The Engine of AfCFTA Trade in Africa”. It will provide a platform for women and youth in trade, policymakers, development partners, financiers, and other key stakeholders on the continent to discuss, in-depth, perspectives on women and youth in trade.
The thematic focus of the Conference will be on six (6) key pillars that constitute a part of the sectors in which women and youth are engaged including Leadership in Trade, Financial Inclusion, Creative Industries, Digital Solutions to Trade, Informal Cross Border Trade and Industrialization and creation of linkages.
Experts outline ways to unlock Africa’s platform economy (Businessday)
Nigeria and other African countries will unlock the billions of wealth hidden in their platform economy, if they can implement seamless continental and regional trade and seek funding from diverse sources, speakers at the 13th CEO Forum said.
Michael Cusumano, a distinguished professor of management and deputy dean at MIT Sloan School of Management, said an industry platform is a “foundation product or service that many people and organisations can use to exchange information and goods or to sell ‘complementary’ products and services”. According to him, platforms, which are still lacking in many African countries, have the potential to bring together two or more key market participants, generate value from “network effects”, create value and get network effects started.
Frank Aigbogun, publisher and CEO of BusinessDay, in his welcome address, said: “Nigeria’s fintech sector keeps attracting funding and global attention is a confirmation that the private sector has the potential to rescue the Nigerian economy... Trade between Nigeria and other African countries has grown tremendously. We are looking to get Chinese banks into Nigeria to facilitate transactions if the Central Bank of Nigeria is ready. We support the export of more products from Nigeria to China because the relations that the two
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has taken an important step towards enhancing seamless flow of intra-regional trade following the launch of the electronic Certificate of Origin (e-CoO) in Blantyre, Malawi, on 7th September 2022 under the theme ‘Enhancing trade facilitation through the SADC Electronic Certificate of Origin’.
The recently launched e-CoO is intended to address the challenges encountered with the use of manual Certificate of Origin by simplifying customs procedures, enhancing e-Commerce, eliminating fraud, improving record management and statistical data, reducing cross-border certificate verification time as well as reducing the cost of doing business.
Speaking at the launch of the SADC e-Certificate of Origin, Commissioner General of the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA), Mr. John Biziwick, said the e-Certificate of Origin will improve the way business is conducted in the Region because the challenges that were associated with the manual processing of the certificate will be eliminated. He said the electronic system will allow manufacturers, producers and exporters to electronically register their products for preferential treatment and apply for Certificates of Origin whenever there is an export shipment, adding that the introduction of the SADC e-Certificate of Origin will increase the seamless flow of intra-trade across the SADC Region by eliminating impediments caused by the manual process.
The SADC e-Certificate of Origin will go a long way in supporting the implementation of SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063) and is in line with the Regional Integration Agenda as outlined in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP 2020-2030) as well as the consolidation of the SADC Free Trade Area (FTA).
East African Private Sector have urged Governments to for fast-tracked harmonisation of East African Standards during the EABC-TMEA Regional Public Private Engagement on Standards held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Evidence shows harmonization of standards has increased in intra-trade by 10%, reduced inspection & clearance costs at the border from USD. 500 to USD. 400 and clearance days from 10 days to 0.5 days. Harmonisation of standards significantly contributes to growth of intra-regional trade, competitiveness, protection of consumers& environment and overall trade facilitation.
To date a total of 624 indigenous standards have been adopted by EAC Partner States and a total of 1880 standards have been earmarked for harmonisation at the EAC level. Other notable reforms include: the establishment of the Regional Standards Plan (RSP) and an Online catalogue of harmonised standards has been developed since 2021. The National Standards Bureaus in EAC Partner States are at different levels of harmonisation of standards ranging from 65% to 90%.
Voluntary standards that guide farmers to adopt more sustainable practices can help grow agricultural production and trade in East Africa, according to new research from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), published during the AGRF 2022 Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. “Agriculture is an economic pillar in the region, a fact echoed by leaders at the AGRF Summit this week. It’s the largest employer in many countries,” said Laura Turley, Associate with IISD’s State of Sustainability Initiatives project and the report’s lead author.
“Our analysis shows that by adopting sustainability standards, these farmers can boost productivity, improve intraregional trade, and build resilience to climate change,” said Turley. “Critically, they bring these benefits while protecting vital ecosystems, managing scarce resources efficiently, and supporting workers’ livelihoods and rights.”
“By adopting these standards, farmers in East Africa can address some of the persistent challenges they face, such as pest and disease control and crop contamination,” she said. The report includes several recommendations for standard-setting bodies, as well as the EAC and its Partner States.
EAC states told to tap potential of creative industry (The Citizen)
The East African Community (EAC) member states have been implored to tap the full potential of the creative industry. The creative economy is projected to represent 10 percent of the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by next year, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) projected in December last year. Creative industries are those based on individual creativity, skill and talent, or which have the potential to create wealth and jobs through the development or production of intellectual property. The sector will not only promote economic growth and create employment opportunities, it will also improve social inclusion and export earnings.
A Creative Economy report for 2018, indicates the global market of cultural goods and services had doubled from $208 billion in 2002 to $509 billion in 2015. “The creative industry is one of the sectors that the EAC region is looking at in creating more employment opportunities especially for the youth,” Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye pointed out.
Panelists at the recent Africa Climate Week underlined the power of partnerships to deliver Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) across the continent. Representatives from across Africa gathered to share their experiences of implementing NDCs. They noted that partnerships and effectiveness in measuring, reporting and verifying greenhouse gas emissions would be key to African countries hitting their various targets. Partners of the Africa Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) Hub hosted a session entitled Enabling faster and efficient NDC support through advocacy and partnerships. These included the African Development Bank, which also hosts the Africa NDC Hub, UNECA, the African Union Commission, UNDP and the Global Green Growth Institute.
UNECA’s director for technology, climate change and natural resources management, Jean-Paul Adams, said: “To be effective, NDCs needed to be integrated in national budgeting systems to receive funding from the national treasury.”
The deputy director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Africa Office, Dr Richard Munang, said there was no one size fits all model. African countries should rather consider their own individual contexts and prioritise sectors in which they enjoy a comparative advantage. He also stressed the importance of tapping Africa’s youth dividend.
The African Development Bank and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI have launched a report analysing the readiness of seven countries - Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Gabon and Mozambique - to drive green growth. The joint report was launched on the sidelines of Africa Climate Week, in Libreville, Gabon. It assessed the status and trends of green growth as well as countries’ preparedness for the green growth transition across a number of metrics. It also offered recommendations for the countries surveyed in the report.
Malle Fofana, GGGI’s Director and Head of Programs for Africa said: “Our joint study Green Growth in the Context of NDC, LTS and SDGs Implementation in Africa, which assesses the state and readiness of green growth implementation, highlights key valuable insights for our members states.”
The report found evidence that African countries are demonstrating growing political commitment to green growth. Governments actively champion the UN Sustainable Development Goals and nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement. Kenya, Morocco and Tunisia, in particular, have incorporated into their constitutions citizens’ right to a clean and safe environment and other related rights. Rwanda, Kenya, Morocco, Senegal and Mozambique have adopted national green growth and climate-resilient economic strategies.
African airlines saw cargo volumes dip by 3.5% in July 2022 compared to July 2021: IATA (Africa Aviation News)
African airlines saw cargo volumes decrease by 3.5% in July 2022 compared to July 2021. This was significantly slower than the growth recorded the previous month (5.7%) and the capacity was 2.2% below July 2021 levels as per IATA’s recently released July numbers. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently released data for July 2022 global air cargo markets showing that demand continued to track at near pre-pandemic levels in July (-3.5%), but below July 2021 performance (-9.7%).
Among several noteworthy factors in the operating environment are the new export orders, a leading indicator of cargo demand, decreased in all markets, except China which began a sharp upward trend in June.
“Air cargo is tracking at near 2019 levels although it has taken a step back compared to the extraordinary performance of 2020-2021. Volatility resulting from supply chain constraints and evolving economic conditions has seen cargo markets essentially move sideways since April. July data shows us that air cargo continues to hold its own, but as is the case for almost all industries, we’ll need to carefully watch both economic and political developments over the coming months,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. Many of the challenges and opportunities facing the air cargo industry will likely be discussed at the World Cargo Symposium which is slated to be held in London, from 27-29 September.
It’s full steam ahead for China-Africa trade flows (China Daily)
On Aug 23, a ceremony in Beijing commemorating the arrival of the first batch of avocados from Kenya also serves as a launchpad to welcome more African produce into the vast Chinese market. This follows the arrival of some 20 metric tons of fresh Hass avocados from smallholder Kenyan farmers in Shanghai on Aug 2. That same day, the China-Africa Business Council released a report on China’s investments in African countries and said the two sides have made great strides in all-around, multilevel and wide-ranging cooperation over the past 22 years. The report showed that Chinese companies are committed to investing in Africa’s supply chain. Humphrey Moshi, director of the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, said China’s rise as one of Africa’s leading trade partners is owed to the fact that China’s investment portfolio in Africa is very diversified, covering a broad range of sectors.
“In assessing the feasibility of China’s trade trajectory in Africa, we note that China does not apply the narrow Western assessment criterion of economic viability alone, but a much broader and more comprehensive criterion of socioeconomic development,” Moshi said. He added that the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation has been instrumental in driving the rise of trade between Africa and China and is a continuation of China-Africa friendship, which provides a guarantee for high-level China-Africa relations in the new century.
ICYMI: China scraps tariffs for 9 African countries (The Exchange)
It comes on the heels of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s declaration at the China-Africa summit held in 2021 that measures would be taken to increase agricultural imports from Africa. Xi stated at the time that the goal was to increase continental imports to US$300 billion (€302 billion) in the next three years, ultimately reaching US$300 billion per year by 2035. Africa, which continues to export raw materials to China, accounts for a small portion of China’s imports. Agriculture and food purchases to China from African countries managed to reach US$161 billion in 2020, accounting for 2.6% of total Chinese imports.
China has removed Tariffs on 98% of products imported from 9 of Africa’s poorest countries. Experts believe the measure will have a little economic impact. However, China’s image may improve. The new tariff policy, which took effect on September 1, is applicable to mineral and agricultural imports from Chad, Central African Republic (CAR), Eritrea, Djibouti, Mozambique, Guinea, Rwanda, Togo, and Sudan. A few Asian countries have joined the scheme.
WTO head Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: how trade can help beat inequality (The Conversation)
Trade tends to have a bad name, especially among young people. For them it’s synonymous with globalisation, which they don’t see as a good thing. But trade has been an instrument for lifting over a billion people out of poverty. It’s worth remembering that in 1980, over 40% of the world’s population lived on less than $1.90 a day, and that just before the pandemic this had gone down to 10%. And a lot of that was due to the effects of bringing into the global trading system countries that were outside of it. Admittedly, China is a shining example of a country that benefited the most from this trade. So trade has had its benefits.
That being said, it is undoubtedly true that poor countries were left behind. Now, the WTO charter is about creating employment, enhancing living standards, supporting sustainable development. It’s all about people.
The discussion now about the diversification of supply chains presents an opportunity to use trade as an instrument for inclusion. And I call it re-globalisation. We are talking to companies in developed countries to adopt a strategy of global diversification of value chains. That way they can look at Africa. Take South Africa. It is capable of attracting some of these supply chains. Other African countries that are capable are Ghana, Senegal, Rwanda and Nigeria.
Trips waiver outcome: domestic IP reform needed (Health-E News)
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for pandemic preparedness in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) with vulnerable populations. LMICs face a double burden during pandemics because they are often last in line to access available medicines and vaccines to reduce life-threatening diseases. This does not bode well for LMICs with overburdened public healthcare systems.
Domestic intellectual property reform is necessary for pandemic preparedness to enable local production and manufacturing. It will also aid the transfer of technology. Most importantly, it will increase access to affordable medicine and realise people’s right to healthcare services.
After months of negotiations, the WTO reached a disappointing ministerial decision that does not waive any intellectual property on COVID-19 medical tools. Instead, it clarifies existing public health flexibilities within TRIPS, particularly on the procedures of using compulsory licenses on patented products. It has narrowed the decision to vaccines and excludes therapeutics and diagnostics which are crucial in combatting COVID-19. The decision does not fit the current pandemic. It also creates a negative precedent for future pandemic responses.
The disappointing WTO outcome increases the urgency for domestic intellectual property law reform in the interests of public health and the realisation of people’s constitutional right to access healthcare services. In May 2018, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), in its Intellectual Property Policy I, recognised the need for domestic reform in the interests of public health. But limited progress in kickstarting law reforms.
The G20 Development Ministerial Meeting (DMM) has agreed on accelerating the realization of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by strengthening the resilience of developing countries in facing future potential crises. “The development ministers have agreed to strengthen the commitment of multilateral cooperation to accelerate the achievement of the sustainable development goals,” Minister of National Development Planning and head of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), Suharso Monoarfa, said in Belitung on Thursday.
The G20 DMM has completed and agreed on two documents: the G20 Road Map for Stronger Recovery and Resilience and the G20 Principles for Improving Blended Finance. Both are targeted at assisting developing countries, least developed countries, and small island developing countries.
Monoarfa explained that the acceleration of achieving SDG goals can be carried out through several forms of commitment, which include strengthening multilateral cooperation and supporting the increase in the scale of the blended financing scheme. Moreover, the competitiveness of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) must be increased by implementing adaptive social protection and supporting sustainable growth by encouraging transformation towards green and blue economies.
The 2021/22 Human Development Report (HDR) – which is entitled “Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a Transforming World” – paints a picture of a global society lurching from crisis to crisis, and which risks heading towards increasing deprivation and injustice. Heading the list of events causing major global disruption are the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which have come on top of sweeping social and economic shifts, dangerous planetary changes, and massive increases in polarization. Almost all countries saw reversals in human development in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the first time in the 32 years that the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has been calculating it, the Human Development Index, which measures a nation’s health, education, and standard of living, has declined globally for two years in a row. Human development has fallen back to its 2016 levels, reversing much of the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals which make up the 2030 Agenda, the UN’s blueprint for a fairer future for people and the planet.