tralac Daily News
Construction Industry Plays Critical Role in Creating an Enabling Environment in South Africa (the dtic)
The construction industry plays a critical role in creating an enabling business environment. It is also a vital sector for the country’s economy, responsible for creating jobs, stimulating investment and improving infrastructure. This was said by the Investment Lead in the Private Office of the President, Dr Anthony Costa
According to Costa, the construction sector is a significant contributor to the Gross Domestic Product and plays an important role in the country’s development. “In addition to its economic contribution, the construction industry also plays a critical role in creating an enabling business environment. A well-functioning construction sector is essential for attracting investment, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, and promoting innovation. By making it easier for businesses to navigate the construction permit process, we are helping to create a more conducive environment for entrepreneurship and economic growth,” said Costa.
China-South Africa trade hits record high (CAJ News Africa)
THE trade volume between China and South Africa reached US$56,7 billion in 2022. This represents an increase of 5 percent from the previous year and a record high. Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, Chen Xiaodong disclosed the figures the Chinese Embassy in South Africa held the “2023 Happy Chinese New Year and Overseas Chinese New Year Reception.” He noted China had been South Africa’s largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years.
Chen said China will continue to maintain its status as the world’s second largest economy in 2023, and its economy will develop steadily. He projected that the annual gross domestic product (GDP) will be about US$18 trillion.
“The mutually beneficial and win-win friendly cooperative relationship between South Africa and China has brought benefits not only to the people of the two countries, but also to the people of the world,” Former South African president, Kgalema Motlanthe, said.
Economy to rebound next year – Ken Ofori-Atta (Graphic)
The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, says the economy will rebound in 2024. He projected a steady growth of 4.8 per cent in the medium-term, between 2024-2026. Ofori-Atta said growth was projected at 3.9 per cent, 4.9 per cent, and 5.6 per cent, in 2024, 2025, and 2026, respectively. Ghana’s economy has been facing severe challenges in the last few years, with debt rising to GH¢467 billion, and the local currency depreciating by over 50 per cent in 2022. This prompted the country to seek help from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who late last year gave a staff approval for a US$ 3 billion programme for the government. The programme is however dependent on the country’s ability to restructure its debts which has reached unsustainable levels.
Members commend Comoros’ efforts to clear final hurdles on path to WTO accession by MC13 (WTO)
Under the chairmanship of Ambassador Omar Zniber of Morocco, the Working Party welcomed a high-level delegation from Comoros led by Mr Ahmed Ali Bazi, Minister of Economy, Industry, Investment, and WTO chief negotiator.
Ambassador Zniber said: “My wish for the new year, which I hope is shared by all of you, is to help our Comorian friends conclude their accession. I am sure that this objective is within reach. It goes without saying that in the end the bulk of the effort will have to be made in Moroni where important legislative and technical work will have to be carried out in the coming months.”
“At the same time, we all recognize that the Secretariat, WTO members and the broader international community of bilateral and multilateral development partners must also intensify their support for Comoros’ efforts, including to prepare it to meet the challenges of the immediate post-accession period,” he added.
African blocs discuss challenges to realising single currency territories (The East African)
Africa’s main regional economic blocs say monetary unions will raise the value of trade and shield them from fluctuating exchange rates and are pushing to establish single currency territories. Gathering in Nairobi under the African Union, representatives from various member states of regional economic blocs (RECs) said exchange rates should be considered a barrier to trade and addressed with urgency. Some of the RECs such as the East African Community have identified a monetary union and a single currency as one way of boosting integration and eliminating the exchange shortfalls that routinely befall traders across the borders.
“We have debunked the myths about Africa being a continent of darkness, centre of disease, and it is now time to debunk the myth that there is no hurry in Africa,” CS Kuria said. “Other regions and continents have caught up and are interested in Africa, but Africa is still dragging its feet. The only way to do this is to establish linkages and bridges within Africa.”
US checkmates China in Africa by bolstering trade ties (Devdiscourse)
In order to counter China in Africa, which has made inroads with investments and trade, the US sought to expand its influence by bolstering trade ties in the continent, writes Arianna Skibell in Politico. Biden administration is planning investments in the supply chain for electric car batteries in Africa. The US want to wrest control of the supply chain for electric car batteries from China in Africa, where reports of child abuse and forced labour are rampant, writes Politico’s E&E News reporter David Iaconangelo. Notably, China is playing out in African mines. Zambia and Congo are major sources of cobalt and copper, key ingredients for lithium-ion batteries.
Once extracted, the bulk of those minerals are exported to China, where 75 per cent of the world’s lithium-ion batteries are made, writes Skibell. The US wants to disrupt that flow by helping Congo and Zambia not only extract minerals but also process, manufacture and assemble them into batteries.
Local startups seek funding to tap into AfCFTA (The New Times)
There is a need for funding and enhanced access to finance for young entrepreneurs with startups so as to increase both production and quality as a way of tapping into the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA). Local young entrepreneurs made the request recently during the closing of a private sector conference organized by the East African Business Council (EABC) aimed at furthering the engagement and bringing on board the primary implementers of the continental agreement. “There is still the issue of getting funds to be able to increase both quality and production to be able to tap into the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement. The private sector needs to first grow and increase exports.
SADC Secretariat fully complies with international best practices on Protection of Personal Data (SADC)
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat fully complies with appropriate systems, controls, rules and procedures for ensuring protection of personal data in line with the globally recognised General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union (EU).
This was validated by the recent audit report for the period of November 2021 - October 2022 produced by Deloitte Reviseurs d’Enterprises which found the SADC Secretariat to be fully compliant. The EU conducts Pillar Assessments in order to evaluate whether to fund or conclude specific agreements with organisations such as SADC. This particular audit sought to assess if the SADC Secretariat complied with Pillar 9 which is a criterion set by the European Union to protect personal data privacy and security.
The SADC Secretariat amongst other risk mitigation actions, developed a Policy on the Protection of Personal Data, which was approved by the Council of Ministers in March 2022. This Policy provides guidance on how the Secretariat, its staff members, consultants, and stakeholders obtain, process, restrict, dispose or store personal data.
20 African heads of state, private investors meet in Dakar for food security (The Guardian Nigeria)
About 20 African heads of state and private sector leaders are among around 1,500 delegates meeting in Dakar, Senegal, this week, for a high-level discussion on roadmaps for achieving food sovereignty in the continent. The three-day meeting, under the auspices of the second edition of the Feed Africa Summit (Dakar 2), lays out action-driven discourse on how heads of state would mobilise government resources and leverage development partners and private sector financing to harness Africa’s food and agriculture potential and turn advocacy efforts into concrete actions.
With the theme, ‘Feeding Africa: Food Security and Resilience’, the summit is organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group. It will be held from Wednesday to Friday at the Abdou Diouf International Conference Centre (CICAD) in Diamnadio.
World Economic Forum 2023: Key takeaways for Nigeria as new regime sets in the horizon (Vanguard)
As Nigeria prepares to see the back of the current political regime, the just ended 2023 World Economic Forum, WEF’23, held in Davos, Switzerland, appears to be setting agenda for a new leadership in the country expected to be in place in four months time. But the key takeaways from the WEF’23 also seems to show a world moving on a pathway to a better future while Nigeria looks like an onlooker going by the conclusions at the meeting against both present and possible future of the country especially in socioeconomic parameters.
Farmers from Kenya, Uganda & Mozambique to Get Fertilizers (East African Business Week)
The African Fertilizer Financing Mechanism (AFFM) has received a $10.15 million financing support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).The financing will target Agricultural projects for Small Scale Farmers in Uganda, Kenya and Mozambique.
NORAD’s contribution will enable the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism to provide credit guarantees for up to 36 months in Uganda, Kenya and Mozambique, with the expected leverage of at least ten times the credit guarantee amount, enabling access to at least 85,000 metrics tons of fertilizer for 850,000 smallholder farmers in the three countries.
The Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism received a first instalment of $8.73 million through the African Emergency Food Production Facility window, on 27 December 2022.The role of the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism is to strategize on innovative financial solutions to foster access
9th ARFSD to review implementation of 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063 (UNECA)
The Ninth Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD-9) will be convened in Niamey, Niger, from 28 February to 2 March 2023. The Forum is organized jointly by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Government of Niger, in collaboration with the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and other entities in the United Nations system. The theme of the ninth session of the Regional Forum is “Accelerating the inclusive and green recovery from multiple crises and the integrated and full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063.”
The Forum will review progress made in the implementation of five selected Sustainable Development Goals on clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; industry, innovation, and infrastructure; sustainable cities and communities; and partnerships for the Goals. This review is also situated within efforts to deliver climate action, and build resilience in a challenging era of ‘polycrises’.
WTO must bolster cooperation in a fragmented world: DG Okonjo-Iweala in Davos (WTO)
Topics for further work include the follow-up negotiations provided for in the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement; a decision on extending the TRIPS waiver compromise beyond COVID-19 vaccines to cover therapeutics and diagnostics; food security and agriculture reform; WTO and dispute settlement reform; development, in particular topics of interest for least developed countries; and e-commerce and a forward-looking agenda covering digital trade and climate change. DG Okonjo-Iweala suggested focusing on a few target areas for results at MC13.
Countries to meet in Abu Dhabi for UNCTAD’s World Investment Forum (UNCTAD)
UNCTAD will hold its 8th World Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), from 16 to 20 October 2023.
Taking place under the theme “Investing in sustainable development”, the forum will bring together government leaders, global CEOs and other investment stakeholders. They will tackle the key challenges brought about by multiple global crises, including the need to invest in food security, energy, health, supply-chain resilience, infrastructure and productive capacity growth in the least developed countries.
“At a time when much of the world is struggling with contracting markets and a post-Covid recovery that has yet to fully take hold, UNCTAD’s 8th World Investment Forum is an important opportunity to take a long-term perspective,” Dr. Al Zeyoudi said. He said the challenges the world faces, whether systemic issues such as climate change, inequality and food security or mitigating the pandemic’s impact on trade, investment and supply chain resilience, require unity of purpose and action on an unprecedented scale.
“Against the backdrop of a highly volatile global economic landscape, the international community shares a collective responsibility to address the challenges facing the multilateral trading and development system,” Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, underscored.
More investment needed to get global goals back on track, says UNCTAD chief (UNCTAD)
Mitigation strategies such as adopting renewable energy account for more than 90% of international climate investments, according to UNCTAD estimates. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can get back on track with more funding and targeted large-scale green investment in developing countries, also known as the global South. “True investments at scale are the only way to really get back in the race,” said UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grysnpan.
Ms. Grynspan spoke at an event entitled “Promoting investment for Sustainable Development Goals: Repurposing capital”, held on 17 January on the margins of the World Economic Forum’s 2023 annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Secretary-General Grynspan urged the global investment community to help rescue the SDGs by reversing current investment trends.
“A pandemic. A cost-of-living crisis. A war in Ukraine. A new geopolitical trade order. Basically, everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong,” Ms. Grynspan noted. According to a recent report by UNCTAD, the multitude of crises on the global stage inevitably affected global foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2022.
To better implement the SDGs, more money needs to flow more from developed to developing countries, Secretary-General Grynspan emphasized. Developing countries face a $4 trillion annual SDG investment gap, according to UNCTAD estimates. But with rising interest rates in advanced economies, money left developing countries at record speed in 2022. That loss could mount to a staggering over $500 billion in foregone income, cutting foreign reserves and global investment outflows – even by the most conservative estimates.
Switzerland is first WTO member to formally accept new Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies (WTO)
DG Okonjo-Iweala said: “I am very grateful to Switzerland for its leadership in being the first WTO member to submit its instrument of acceptance of the historic new Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. Switzerland’s action will create real momentum for more WTO members to formally accept the Agreement. Given that the landmark agreement was adopted during the 12th Ministerial Conference in 2022 held in Geneva, the location of the WTO, Switzerland is a fitting pioneer in the acceptance process, allowing the WTO to finally deliver our contribution to safeguarding global fish stocks and the livelihood and food security of millions of people worldwide.”