tralac Daily News
ZIMBABWE’S bold stance to harness innovation and technology as a medium for industrialisation through value addition is transforming the country’s economy and creating more job opportunities for locals, Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr Sekai Nzenza, has said.
In a presentation on “The potential of modern technology, accelerating Africa’s development” during the Fourth German-Africa Business Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa yesterday Dr Nzenza said embracing technology has become more critical as the country and the continent seek to enhance economic resilience to prevailing global shocks.
Leveraging innovation and technology has come under focus in view of climate change complications, the need to create jobs for the growing youthful population, enhancing food production systems and generating adequate energy, among others, said the minister.
Kenya eyes duty-free deal with 3 countries (Business Daily)
The cabinet says negotiations with the US, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates on the Free Trade Area are ongoing as Kenya seeks to expand access to its products beyond the regional and traditional markets. The cabinet on Tuesday noted that negotiations with these countries have started with the view to enhancing duty-free and quota-free access of Kenyan goods to these lucrative markets. The government also revealed that trade talks between Europe and the US are back on track as the country ramps up market access for its goods with the expected coming to an end of duty-free access of Kenyan products to America under the African Growth and Opportunity Act which is set to expire in 2025.
Kenya’s economy continued to rebound from the pandemic in 2022 with real gross domestic product (GDP) increasing by 6% year-on-year in the first half of 2022, driven by broad-based increases in services and industry. This recovery was dampened by global commodity price shocks, the long regional drought, and uncertainty in the run up to the 2022 general elections.
The 26th edition of the Kenya Economic Update (KEU) notes that the ongoing drought and the cost-of-living increases have affected households throughout the country. The agriculture sector contracted by 1.5% in the first half of 2022 and, with the sector contributing almost one fifth of GDP, its poor performance slowed GDP growth by 0.3%
One-stop borders are trade boosters (Zambia Daily Mail)
WHILE Zambia has recorded increased trade volumes over the past years, commerce with other countries in southern Africa and beyond still needs to be improved for it to attain desired development levels.
Surveys have identified impediments to trade growth and competitiveness and established that while the movement of goods and people along highways is relatively fast, time is lost at borders and checkpoints.
Zambia has been collaborating with some of its neighbouring countries in establishing OSBPs. So far, Zambia has established OSBPs at Nakonde-Tunduma border in collaboration with Tanzania, Kazungula OSBP with Namibia, and the Chirundu facility, which serves Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Chirundu facility is the first fully functional OSBP in Africa.
As the impacts of climate change increasingly threaten people’s lives and livelihoods across the country, it will be critical for Angola to use the revenues from its remaining oil wealth to invest in climate resilience and intensify efforts to diversify its economy, says the new World Bank Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) for Angola.
To drive economic growth, create good jobs, and improve living conditions, Angola can tap into its renewable resources such as water, fertile land and solar and wind potential to boost productivity in agriculture and fisheries. At the same time, there are opportunities to significantly increase the production of renewable energy, while reducing gas flaring, venting, and fugitive methane emissions.
‘Nigeria loses 50% of crops produced yearly’ (The Nation Newspaper)
Director-General, Feed Nigeria Summit Secretariat, Richard Mbaram, says Nigeria loses about 50 per cent of crops yearly due to inadequate storage facilities which is impeding the growth of the agricultural sector.
Mbaram, who stated this yesterday in Abuja during a briefing with the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), said microbes and fungi bring about the challenges. He stated that the challenges had led to a shortfall in production as demands were not being met by the suppliers from the localities. This, he said, made it impossible for consumption or export.
The combined effects of adverse weather, acute foreign exchange shortages, disruptions to electricity, and the high rate of inflation, mean Malawi continues to face an economic slowdown, according to the latest World Bank’s Malawi Economic Monitor (MEM). It says power cuts are affecting the industrial and service sectors and high inflation the private sector and households.
The 16th Edition of the Malawi Economic Monitor, titled, Planning Beyond the Next Harvest: Advancing Economic Stability and Agricultural Commercialization shows the emerging impacts of the economic crisis where higher government spending continues to widen the fiscal deficit, exerting pressure on the government’s fiscal consolidation plans. Malawi’s public debt is currently assessed to be in distress, though ongoing debt restructuring negotiations will help ensure debt sustainability over the medium term.
Tunisia, Cote d’Ivoire ink deal to strengthen trade relations (The North Africa Post)
Tunisia and Cote d’Ivoire’s Chambers of Commerce and Industry signed last Tuesday a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to bolster trade relations between the two countries as the North African country seeks to conquer the West African country’s market.
The signing took place on the sideline of a business trip to the West African country by 70 Tunisian business people operating agri-food, health, information and communication technologies (ICT), insurance and building and construction sectors, Dec. 04-08, Faapa news agency reports.
Mr Ahmed Ali Bazi, Minister of Economy, Industry, and Investments of Comoros says that there is no doubt the country will soon ratify the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to facilitate greater trade opportunities to the rest of the continent as an important option for financing sustainable development. The Minister was speaking during a meeting organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) under the funding of the European Union.
The finalization of the Comoros AfCFTA Implementation Strategy follows a series of sensitization campaigns and technical review meetings that started early in 2022 and which rounded up various stakeholders from the public and private sectors.
COMESA develops regional policy on solar products (The Herald)
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has developed regional policy frameworks to assist member states curb the proliferation of low-quality solar energy products in the region. The low-quality products have eroded the confidence in the reliability of solar energy as a viable solution to electrification challenges in the COMESA region.
The frameworks will also address the issue of variances in customs duties across the region and the proliferation of low-quality solar energy products which have eroded the confidence in the reliability of solar energy as a viable solution to electrification challenges in the COMESA region.
As Africa continues to grapple with a myriad of challenges, several continental and broader international efforts have focused on not only helping countries get out of economic challenges, but to reach their aspirations for prosperous lives for their people.
The UN recognizes that “industrialization, with strong linkages to domestic economies, will help African countries achieve high growth rates, diversify their economies and reduce their exposure to external shocks. This will substantially contribute to poverty eradication through employment and wealth creation.” Against this backdrop, every UN Secretary-General has urged all parties to ramp up their efforts to increase the capacity of homegrown African companies to successfully bid on development projects in their own back yards.
AGOA and the US-Africa opportunity for accelerating shared prosperity (African Business)
The 2022 US-Africa Leaders Summit brings US-Africa economic relations into acute focus. The US aspires to become a premier economic partner to Africa and ranks as the top import market globally. Africa now represents the world’s largest free-trade area by population with over 1.3bn people and, based on the Africa Free Continental Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) of 2018, more African countries view increasing intra-Africa trade as the critical path to realising sustainable economic development.
How can these priorities of both regions be advanced? One step in the right direction is by increasing the utilisation of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) through the following approaches: i) AGOA support of intra-Africa trade through strengthening supply chains in Africa; ii) African Diaspora engagement as a first order approach and not an ancillary strategy; iii) and the integration of trade policy with investment and marketing for African businesses.
Industrial development and climate action are ‘mutually dependent’ – Habeck (Engineering News)
German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, who is also Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Action, argues that there can no longer be a trade-off between industrial development and climate action. Speaking at the fourth German-African Business Summit in Sandton on Wednesday, Habeck said that the approach being pursued by the German government was premised on creating new markets and industrial opportunities that included climate action. “My ministry is called the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action . . . and this is because we made a decision that climate action and industrial growth are not in opposition – they belong together.” The approach, he added, had been adopted on the basis that “environmental sustainability and economic prosperity will be mutually dependent”.
The current commodity price boom is affecting the region’s commodity exporters and importers differently. Commodity exporters are benefiting from a marked improvement in their terms of trade, while commodity importers are feeling the pain of higher imported energy and food prices. A key question is how countries are managing this boom relative to past experience, particularly as the current commodity price shock is occurring in a global and regional context that is distinct from previous episodes.
Our latest Regional Economic Outlook examines how MENA countries are responding to high commodity prices and protecting the vulnerable. This task is much harder for commodity importers, where fiscal space is limited. In contrast, the challenge for commodity exporters is to leverage the surplus from high energy prices to build buffers against future shocks and make progress with their transition and diversification plans.
Speaking in Geneva, Rebeca Grynspan said that between 70 and 85 per cent of the debt that emerging and low-income countries are responsible for, is in a foreign currency. This has left them highly vulnerable to the kind of large currency shocks that hit public spending – precisely at a time when populations need financial support from their governments. Ms. Grynspan – speaking at the 13th UNCTAD Debt Management Conference - explained that so far this year, at least 88 countries have seen their currencies depreciate against the powerful US dollar, which is still the reserve currency of choice for many in times of global economic stress. And in 31 of these countries, their currencies have dropped by more than 10 per cent.
The global economy continues to face multiple challenges: continuing impacts of the pandemic, the repercussions of the war in Ukraine, high inflation — particularly for food and energy prices, and several climate change-related events that disrupted economic activity. In October we downgraded our outlook for international trade: we now forecast merchandise trade volumes will grow by just 1.0% in 2023, well below the 3.4% we had estimated in April.
The Report shows that since 2020, Members have increasingly implemented new trade restrictions, in particular on the export side, first in the context of the pandemic and more recently in the context of the war in Ukraine and the food security crisis.
“Crises are not gender neutral. We need to act, and we need to act now,” DG Okonjo-Iweala said to kick off the first international research conference on trade and gender, which is taking place on 5-7 December at the WTO in Geneva, Switzerland.
Thirty researchers from around the world are set to present their latest findings on harnessing gender-responsive trade policies to help economies recover from the polycrisis of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, high energy and food prices, and climate change, which the Director-General noted has widened the economic and social divide between men and women.
The seminar seeks to explore ways of enabling LDCs to become more integrated into the multilateral trading system. Discussions are focusing on the outcomes of the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) from the perspective of LDCs, the evolving trading environment, trade capacity-building and ways of strengthening the multilateral trading system. A total of 35 government officials have travelled to Geneva from 24 LDCs across the world.
DDG Zhang highlighted that the MC12 Outcome Document refers to many topics of interest to LDCs, keeping them at the centre of WTO discussions.
“The LDCs face daunting challenges - be it accessing markets, producing goods, linking the small businesses to bigger platforms, tapping into the opportunities from digital trade and other emerging trends,” Finland’s Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi, chair of the Sub-Committee on LDCs said.
Food security became a central priority for many emerging markets in 2022, against the post-Covid-19 pandemic backdrop of supply chain shocks, natural disasters and high commodity prices. While the second UN Sustainable Development Goal, promulgated in 2015, aims to end hunger by 2030, The Economist’s Global Food Security Index (GFSI) has fallen consistently over the last three years from a peak its 2019.
the fifth day of the COP27 UN Conference on Climate Change in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, which took place in November 2022, focused on adaption and agriculture, aiming to boost the resilience of food systems in the face of increased climate-change-driven natural disasters, most notably flooding in Pakistan and West and Central Africa.
While the pandemic highlighted the importance of global supply chains and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine exacerbated these problems, climate change-driven disasters – especially drought and flooding – caused the most damage to global food security in 2022.
Significant funding will be needed to help emerging markets develop disaster-proof agriculture sectors. According to a 2021 report by the Global Centre on Adaptation, sub-Saharan Africa will require $15bn in annual investment to adopt climate-change resilient food and agriculture systems.