tralac Daily News
Financial inclusion is severely skewed in South Africa, with higher income groups having more access to a range of financial services such as bank and savings accounts, loans, and insurance products. Those who are financially excluded have more difficulty accumulating wealth – further deepening this divide. But there are ways of overcoming this serious problem.
The perils of financial exclusion are not just fewer opportunities for personal and business growth but also increased risk. People who don’t have insurance, for example, expose themselves to both financial and physical risk. At its worst, then, it impacts health and longevity. Even at its best, it’s simply greatly inefficient – not having banking products means dealing with physical cash, which is cumbersome and tedious. How then, do we start bridging this divide? Integrate the informal economy; Reframe the ‘debt trap’; Make compliance less onerous.
Stakeholders and students attending a two-day Student Exposure Workshop that was hosted by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) in Potchefstroom agreed that agriculture and agro-processing are crucial economic sectors and drivers to transform the economy and create jobs in the country.
According to the Director of Agro-processing at the dtic, Ms Thembelihle Ndukwana the agro-processing sector has a potential to become an industrial impetus that can create jobs and address some of the country’s macro-economic challenges facing the country. “The sector was identified by the National Development Plan (NDP) as an important sector for its potential to spur growth and create jobs, due to its backward linkages with the primary agricultural sector. It is also among the sectors that have the highest employment multipliers in the economy and entry, as well as an active participation of Small and Medium Enterprises, in particular the youth, is limited,” said Ndukwana.
Industry to register 3,7% growth in 2023 (Chronicle)
INDUSTRY and Commerce Minister, Dr Sekai Nzenza, says the positive growth trajectory in the manufacturing sector will continue into 2023 riding on milestones achieved so far in response to Government support measures. She told delegates during the hybrid 2022 ZimTrade Annual Exporters Conference last week that economic reforms under the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa have brought significant transformation to the productive sector.
In line with the National Development (NDS1) and the drive to attain the aspirations of Vision 2030, Dr Nzenza said the Government has put in place various measures to stabilise the economy and create a conducive business environment.
Driven by the value addition focus, she said manufacturing industries have increased capacity utilisation resulting in the growth of exports and increased investment attraction.
As the country consolidates domestic growth strategies, Dr Nzenza also urged the productive sector to position itself for the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and other market access opportunities in the Sadc and Comesa region by increasing capacity across the local industries to enhance competitiveness in the export markets.
KPA keen to modernize marine infrastructure to boost trade (Capital Business)
The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has pledged to continue supporting the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) in upgrading port infrastructure to accelerate growth of the East Africa regional economies. JICA has been a close partner of KPA, having funded the construction of the Sh32 billion second container terminals at the Port of Mombasa.
The Port of Mombasa is the main gateway to the Eastern African region, serving a wide and rapidly growing hinterland consisting of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Northern Tanzania, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Somalia.
KPA acting Managing Director (MD) John Mwangemi says JICA has recently completed the construction of phase two of the terminal which has increased the port’s capacity by 450,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) to the current 2.1 million TEUs.
The KPA MD says the authority is keen on developing the existing port infrastructure in the country.
The Republic of Burundi is on verge of setting up a National Competition Agency to encourage competition and enhance consumer welfare in the country. Burundi’s Minister for Trade, Transport, Industry and Tourism, Madame Marie Chantal Nijimbere, made the announcement when she met the Registrar of the East African Community Competition Authority (EACA), Ms. Lilian Mukoronia, in Bujumbura, Burundi.
On her part, Ms. Mukoronia told the Minister that EACA was committed to assisting Burundi to establish the National Competition Agency, adding that the agency would play a critical role promoting the development of fairness in regional markets and ensure that intra-regional trade is not undermined by anti-competitive arrangements.
“The AfCFTA can help generate value addition on the continent with all the benefits that it would bring in terms of economic diversification, higher income and better jobs”, said Ambassador Eheth Salomon Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi of Finland, chair of the Sub-Committee of Cameroon, coordinator of the WTO African Group. “It is imperative that every step of AfCFTA implementation is supported with robust investments in productive capacity, especially in LDCs,” he said.
Sharing lessons learned, the CEO of TradeMark East Africa, David Beer, said: “AfCFTA has the ability to drive a major change in intra-African trading relationships.” He added: “Digitization is the next frontier for smoothing continent-wide trade, and that’s why tools such as a harmonized approach to rules of origin, integrated customs management systems, electronic single windows, trade portals and electronic cargo tracking systems are proving so successful.”
Shareholders under the aegis of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, ISAN, have called on the Federal Government to lift the ban on the importation of vital products to be able to benefit from African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. The shareholder group also move for the harmonisation of favourable monetary and fiscal policies to be able to address the lingering inflation in the country.
Addressing newsmen on its forthcoming 7th triennial delegates’ conference and gala night scheduled to hold Thursday 27 October this year in Lagos, ISAN National Co-ordinator, Prince Dr. Anthony Omojola, said: “There is obvious need for the CBN and Ministry of Finance to use the instrumentality of the favourable monetary and fiscal policies to stem the ravaging hunger and inflation in the country. There should be un-banning of certain vital food imports in order for the country to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. The Federal Government should be able to grant tariff reliefs to certain industries and reducing taxes for some sectors to reduce operating cost of businesses.’’
EABC-Afreximbank Webinar On Intra-Africa Trade And Investment (East African Business Council)
Speaking at the Webinar on Intra Africa Trade and Investment organized by Afreximbank and East African Business Council, Mr. John Bosco Kalisa, EABC Chief Executive Officer said the Africa We Want should be driven by the private sector.
Mr. Kalisa elaborated that the webinar will delve into innovative products from Afreximbak set to boost access to finance and cross-border payments under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). He explained that intra-Africa trade is set back as 80% of SMEs in Africa cannot access trade finance and over USD. 5 billion is lost due to currency convertibility during transactions in Africa.
Mr. Sebabu Bosco, Deputy Head of Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) said in partnership with the Central Banks Afreximbank piloted the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System in the West African Monetary Zone supporting settlement finality of USD.500 million. He stated successful implementation of AfCFTA requires an integrated continental-wide payment infrastructure as the current payment infrastructures result in trade diversion and over-dependence on foreign currencies to the detriment of African currencies. He stated that PAPSS supports the settlement finality of USD. 3 billion at the continental level.
A new study by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has made it clearer how trade impacts peace and propels countries towards sustainable development, arguing that trade integration in Africa could also promote humanitarian and security imperatives. The study, “Realizing the Triple Nexus and Trade: Towards A New Agenda For Africa,” which was presented to a panel of experts in Tangier, Morocco, states that a triple nexus approach involving the promotion of humanitarian, development and peace in Africa is more attainable when accompanied with increased trade amongst African countries.
Why EAC goods must meet global rules (The Citizen)
Poor quality and failure to meet international standards are some of the factors identified as causing almost a half of the products produced in East African states not to reach international markets, according to a trade expert. Mr Rashid Kibowa, the East African Community (EAC) business director, said the challenge makes most of the products to fail to cross the boundaries of the region, that is, failing to compete in the international markets. “We need to strengthen ourselves to compete with other people in the world,” said Mr Kibowa. He was speaking in Dar es Salaam during the granting of the “EAC Quality Awards 2022.”
“There is a big need for entrepreneurs to produce products and expand their businesses, but most of them do not have the skills and knowledge that enable them to comply with international quality standards,” he added. He said there was a need to build the capacity of businessmen and entrepreneurs in all their product manufacturing processes to ensure that quality standards are not left behind.
‘Zimbabwe can become financial hub of SADC region’ (The Herald)
MAURITIUS Finance chief operating officer Vinod Bussawah, who is also chairperson of Harare-based financial advisory firm Bard Santner Markets Inc., says Zimbabwe can become a regional financial hub, with Victoria Falls as a Financial Services Centre, if authorities maintain the policy thrust to create an enabling environment, while hard work is put to it.
Bussawah, speaking in a panel discussion moderated by ZTN presenter Andy Hodges, said Mauritius was initially doubted by some, including international financial institutions, when it embarked on its journey to be a financial services hub, but persisted against odds until its strategy started working. He says Zimbabwe must push hard until it succeeds in its quest to make Victoria Falls an International Financial Services Centre.
Minister Ncube said exports are key to Zimbabwe’s economic vision and progress. “This year’s conference is being held under the theme ‘Inclusive, Diversified, Connected’, which speaks to the need for us to be deliberately inclusive in developing and promoting trade, and to diversify our export basket as we build the economy and integrate through connecting with regional and global markets,” he said. “Exports are, indeed, one of the key drivers of economic development and a major contributor to the attainment of our Vision 2030.
“The role played by exporters in this endeavour cannot be over-emphasised as they toil to bring in the much needed foreign currency, create jobs for our citizenry and set the pace for technological advancements. This is key to pursue industrialisation aimed at achieving a structurally balanced economy by the end of NDS1.”
Representatives of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the leather industry from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region have commended the Support to the Industrialisation and Production Sectors (SIPS) programme for convening a regional capacity building training workshop on strengthening regional and national Intellectual Property Rights Policies and Regulations (IPRs) and Trade Related Intellectual Property Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) compliance.
SIPS, a programme aimed improving private sector participation in the regional leather, pharmaceutical and medical value chains in the SADC Region, convened the training workshop in partnership with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) in Harare, Zimbabwe, from 5th to 15th October 2022. The workshops were conducted in hybrid format with virtual and physical participants from SADC Member States comprising of policy makers, and SMEs in the leather and anti-retroviral value chains.
Infrastructure, open skies will help unlock intra-Africa trade (The East African)
On September 25, Kenya’s President William Ruto flagged off a consignment of tea export destined for Ghana. It was Kenya’s second export under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Guided Trade Initiative, which provides a platform for match-making of importers and exporters to accelerate the deepening of intra-African trade. The first export was on September 13, 2022, comprising $77,000 worth of exide batteries to Ghana’s Yesudem Company Ltd. These momentous steps notwithstanding, it was saddening to learn that the consignment of tea exports would take six weeks to arrive in Ghana. This is a reminder that unless Africa gets it right in infrastructural integration, it risks back-pedalling on the considerable gains realised in deepening integration.
Six weeks in transit presents worrisome unknowns, especially around the high freight costs and transit time. Irrespective of the sweeteners offered in tariff reduction based on preferential access, connectivity between source and destination market threatens to erode the allure of the trading bloc.
A group of experts met this week in Addis Ababa to review the African Gender Development Index, a flagship tool of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), which governments have been using since 2004 to measure their progress towards achieving their gender equality commitments.
Considering the presentations, experts explored how the 18-year-old index could adapt and remain relevant as a ‘fit for purpose’ tool in the current context, where progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment remains increasingly at risk in the face of crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. They recommended specific changes to the methodology, structure and composition of the index, which will guide its further development and finalization.
Sub-Saharan Africa faces one of the most challenging economic environments in years, marked by a slow recovery from the pandemic, rising food and energy prices, and high levels of public debt. One of the most urgent issues confronting the region is the need to tackle decade-high levels of inflation—which are devastating incomes and food security—while also supporting growth.
While there are big differences between countries, the median of inflation rates in the region increased to almost 9 percent in August. And even though the rise has been less dramatic than in other parts of the world, and the drivers are different, inflation is nearly double pre-pandemic levels, risking social and political instability and worsening food insecurity.
In sub-Saharan Africa, inflation has been driven less by domestic activity than in advanced economies. Instead, external developments have shaped the path of inflation since the start of the pandemic. They include the sharp spike in global commodity prices, swings in the exchange rate, global supply chain disruptions, and natural disasters.
Intra-Africa travel through intra-Africa trade is expected to top the agenda when the tourism industry’s thought leaders on the continent engage in roundtable discussions in Gaborone in Botswana. This as the fifth Africa Tourism Leadership Forum (ATLF) kicks off at the Gaborone International Convention Centre of the Grand Palm Hotel on Monday until Wednesday.
According to the data released by GlobalData in June, Morocco was named the most popular destination in Africa and was expected to welcome 8.7 million international arrivals in 2022, followed by Egypt with an expectation of 7.9 million visitors, South Africa with 6.8 million visitors and Tunisia and Zimbabwe with 6.1 million visitors and 1.6 million visitors respectively.
In advance of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) next month, public development banks meeting in Abidjan agreed on action points to tackle Africa’s climate finance gap. The third Finance in Common summit ended on Thursday amid calls on the delegates to turn their commitments to do more in development financing for Africa into actions. The African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank co-organized the summit under the theme; Green and Just Transition for a Sustainable Recovery. It highlighted the role of public development banks in Africa’s recovery as the continent faces impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, and Russia’s war in Ukraine.
In his closing speech, African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said as Africa looks towards COP27, development partners should collectively ensure that countries, especially the vulnerable ones in Africa, get the resources to adapt to climate change and support just energy transitions.
Adesina mentioned plans to launch the Alliance for Green Infrastructure in Africa, saying it would be a ‘game-changer’ in bridging the investment gap for green infrastructure.
Global science research serves the needs of the Global North, and is driven by the values and interests of a small number of companies, governments and funding bodies, finds a major new international study published today. As such, the authors find, science, technology and innovation research is not focused on the world`s most pressing problems including taking climate action, addressing complex underlying social issues, tackling hunger and promoting good health and wellbeing.
Changing directions: Steering science, technology and innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals found that research and innovation around the world is not focused on meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which are a framework set up to address and drive change across all areas of social justice and environmental issues.
Critically, the report finds that research in high-income and middle-income countries contributes disproportionally to a disconnect with the SDGs. Most published research (60%-80%) and innovation activity (95%-98%) is not related to the SDGs.
In both the Global North and Global South — and across areas such as health, food or energy — research and innovation funds tend to be spent on technologies that benefit private interests, rather than on those that more directly address social and environmental problems. The research shows that most high-income countries do not prioritise research on the major environmental challenges associated with unsustainable consumption and production patterns.
From brainstorming solutions for food security and mitigating climate change based on science and innovation to highlighting the links between healthy eating and a healthy planet - a youth-driven World Food Forum today wrapped up five days of intensive dialogue, networking and investment pitching aimed at addressing the world’s growing food crisis.
The forum brought together three concurrent streams, focusing on youth, science, technology and innovation and FAO’s flagship Hand-in-Hand Initiative pairing prospective investors with countries in greatest need of support. Among the key achievements:
President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed the decision by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries to focus on price stabilisation in their management of oil production.
In a statement on Sunday, The Presidency said rising oil prices contribute to higher fuel costs in South Africa, which exerts further pressure on small businesses, consumers and households. The burden is heavier for the working class and unbearable for the poor, the high office said.