tralac Daily News
IMF Staff Completes 2023 Article IV Mission to Eswatini (IMF)
“Eswatini’s economy was comparatively resilient through the pandemic. Following a strong rebound of 7.9 percent in 2021, real GDP growth stagnated in 2022, at 0.4 percent. This reflects the continued dampening effect from civil unrest, government payment arrears, slowing growth in South Africa, and heavier than normal rainfall and industrial action on the sugar sector. Headline inflation rose to 5.6 percent at end-2022 due to higher food and transport prices. The government fiscal deficit is projected to widen to 5.4 percent of GDP by end-FY22-23 in the wake of lower SACU revenues and higher government spending. In the balance of payments, the current account balance has shifted to an estimated deficit of about 1.1 percent of GDP as the trade balance was negatively affected by higher import prices. Foreign reserves declined to $449 million, equivalent to about 2.3 months of import cover.
Mozambique Wants to Become Middle Income Country (allAfrica)
Mozambique intends to become a middle income country by 2030, leaving behind the indicators that characterize the least developed countries. Prime Minister Adriano Maleiane announced this intention at the end of the 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, which took place in Doha, capital of Qatar.
“The transition will not be fast. It is going to be gradual so that our new system can develop with security’, Maleiane said, explaining that the transition to another level carries consequences because international support to Mozambique, as a least developed country, will cease.
Manufacturers, private sector ask govt to engage Kenya over ban on powder milk (Monitor)
Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) and the Private Sector Foundation Uganda have appealed to government to engage its counterparts in Kenya over its decision to unilaterally ban importation of powdered milk products. The appeal follows a letter in which Kenya Dairy Board ordered for an indefinite suspension of milk powder imports. In a March 6 letter, Kenya Dairy Board said the expected rains this month will significantly boost milk production, thus reducing the need for imports.
“In anticipation of the long rains, government has stopped importation of milk powders to cushion the industry from surplus production and low producer prices,” Ms Margaret Kibogy, the Kenya Dairy Board managing director, wrote, noting that the board had temporarily suspended the issuance of milk import permits until further notice.
Mozambique Economic Update: Why Services Matter for Growth and Jobs (World Bank)
Mozambique’s economic recovery is picking up steam, with growth reaching 4.1% in 2022, despite global economic headwinds marked by rising fuel and food prices. The medium-term economic outlook is positive, with growth expected to accelerate to 6% over 2023-2025, driven by continued recovery in services, increased liquefied natural gas production, and high commodity prices. However, downside risks linked to climate shocks, security risks, and food and fuel price pressures could lower medium-term GDP growth to 4.5%.
The 9th edition of the World Bank’s Mozambique Economic Update (MEU) highlights the role of services in accelerating economic growth and job creation. The report calls for a shift from reliance on low-productivity agriculture and extractives to a development model based on diversified sources of growth, productivity, and jobs. It further outlines reform options to strengthen the role of the services sector as a backbone of the economy.
Uganda plans to start nuclear power generation by 2031 - minister (ZAWYA)
Uganda said on Thursday it expects to start generating at least 1000 megawatts (MW) from nuclear power by 2031 as it moves to diversify its sources of electricity and accelerate its energy transition, a key part of its climate change response.
Uganda has uranium deposits and President Yoweri Museveni has said his government was keen to exploit them for potential nuclear energy development. The east African country has signed a deal with China under which the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) would help Uganda build capacity in the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes.
Kenya and Egypt to establish Visa Free Entry from April (Capital News)
Kenya and Egypt have agreed to establish free visa entry for diplomatic and official passports holders from April 1. Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua stated that they are working together to finalize a 100 percent visa free regime between both countries for ordinary passports within six months by October 1, 2023.
“In line with the African vision of AfCFTA (African Continental Free Trade Area) we agreed on Free visa entry for diplomatic & official passports of both countries from April 1st of this year and to start and finalize discussions towards a free visa regime for ordinary passports by October 1,” he said.
“This will enhance tourism, grow trade and support economic free flow of people and goods as envisioned by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.”
Egypt backs out of UN grains treaty, sparking concern (I24NEWS)
Egypt’s withdrawal from the Grains Trade Convention follows a period of turmoil in grains markets linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Egypt recently gave notice that it will withdraw by the end of June 2023 from a decades-old UN grains treaty, causing angst among other signatories to the convention.
The departure of Egypt – one of the world’s largest wheat importers – from the multinational Grains Trade Convention (GTC) follows a period of turmoil in grains markets linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and concerns about global food security.
Egypt signed the GTC, the only international treaty covering trade in grains and which promotes market transparency to further trade cooperation, at its inception in 1995, and has been a member of the council that governs it since 1949.In February, it submitted a request to withdraw with effect from June 30, 2023.
Namibia, South Africa sign 90 trade deals (The Namibian)
NAMIBIA has signed more than 90 bilateral agreements with South Africa. This was announced at the opening of a meeting of senior officials during the third session of the Namibia/South Africa Binational Commission in Windhoek yesterday.
Penda Naanda, the executive director of international relations and cooperation, said the number of bilateral agreements signed between the two countries is remarkable, and that the implementation of these agreements should be key.
Naanda said there is a vital need to turn the vast resource potential between the two countries into bankable and practical actions that would positively change the living conditions of people from both countries.
Young people are innovators and change makers (SAnews)
Young people are change makers and agents of progress, President Cyril Ramaphosa says. “As young people, you demand to be part of decision-making and shaping a future that is yours,” said the President on Friday. He was speaking at the inaugural Nelson Mandela Youth Dialogue at the Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, a platform for young people within the African continent to engage in constructive discussions on pressing socio-economic issues such as leadership and governance, free trade, labour migration and a just energy transition.
The dialogue brought together young people from 20 African countries including, among others, South Africa, Algeria, South Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Kenya and leaders from government, business, labour and civil society.
Africa and Global Economic Trends – January 2023 (AfDB)
In January 2023, out of 36 African currencies reviewed, 29 currencies depreciated against the USD on annual basis, while 7 currencies recorded appreciations (see Table 19). The highest currency depreciation against USD was recorded for the Zimbabwean Dollar at 57.5 percent. Of the seven currencies that recorded appreciations against the USD, the highest appreciation at 5.0 percent was recorded for the Guinea Franc.
On a monthly basis, between January 2023 and December 2022, 19 currencies depreciated against the USD, one remained unchanged, while the rest appreciated. The highest monthly depreciation against the USD was recorded for the Egyptian pound at 22 percent, while the highest appreciation against USD was for Madagascar’s Ariary at 4.4 percent.
Is the U.S. falling behind China in Africa’s lithium industry? (CNBC)
The demand for lithium is rising as it has become a critical component needed in electric vehicle batteries. In 2021, the world produced 540 thousand metric tons of lithium and by 2030 the World Economic Forum projects the global demand will reach over 3 million metric tons.
Reserves of lithium have been discovered throughout the entire African continent with Zimbabwe, Namibia, Ghana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mali all having notable supplies. The price of lithium has skyrocketed. In May 2022, the price was seven times higher than it was at the start of 2021. Mineral-rich nations like Zimbabwe are taking note.
Zimbabwe has been mining lithium for 60 years and the government estimates that its Chinese-owned Bikita Minerals Mine, which is located 300 kilometers south of the capital Harare, has about 11 million metric tons of lithium resources. The country is the sixth largest producer of lithium, and the International Trade Administration projects that once it fully exploits its known resources it could potentially meet 20% of the world’s demand.
COMESA, partners hold high-level engagement on sidelines of CSW67 (COMESA)
COMESA, the East African Community (EAC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the three regional economic communities which are jointly implementing the 50 Million African Women Speak digital platform (50MAWSP), held a high-level partners engagement on Wednesday 8 March to mobilise support for the next phase of the initiative.
The dignitaries took turns to emphasize the importance of 50MAWSP as a viable tool for the empowerment of women and appealed to partners to support its transformation, citing its untapped potential to create economic opportunities for women and youth. The speakers at the event unanimously agreed that undertaking significant platform feature enhancements would be key to unlocking this potential.
“The recommendations that have consistently featured in the feedback from users include the integration of e-commerce to enable the women to trade with each other on the platform, enhancement of the platform to support live trainings to build the capacity of women to manage their businesses better, integration with financial services providers to allow users to seamlessly access credit, for example by requesting loans in-platform,” COMESA Secretary General HE Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe said.
air cargo Africa’s sixth edition concludes in Johannesburg, South Africa (Air Cargo News)
The sixth edition of air cargo Africa, the continent’s most popular exhibition and conference for the air freight industry, concluded on Thursday February 23 at the Emperors Palace Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa.
air cargo Africa 2023 curated a meaningful experience for all participants with various touch points to exchange knowledge and ideas, as well as an opportunity to unlock value through partnerships. Some of the key conference topics covered logistics for the pharma and automotive supply chains, flowers and perishables, e-commerce, among many others.
Considering the expanding commercial opportunities on the African continent due to rising economic activity, fast adoption of digital technologies, and growing trade ties with the world, international air cargo service providers expressed strong interest to do business with Africa at the sixth edition of this trade fair.
ECOWAS: Gender inequality becoming alarming with technology advancement (TheCable)
Frances Ibanga, president of the women’s forum of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), says gender inequality is becoming alarming with the advancement of technology. Ibanga spoke on Wednesday at the women’s forum of the ECOWAS community court of justice to mark International Women’s Day (IWD).
“Framework for the protection and promotion of the rights of women are provided for in the ECOWAS vice treaty and annex protocols and convention,” Ibanga said. “This day provides a useful opportunity to reinforce the fact that everyone has a role to play in forging a more gender-balanced world and the importance of treating women fairly and equally, without any bias or prejudice. “This theme – exploring the impact of the digital gender gap widening economic and social inequalities – aims to highlight the importance of protecting the rights of women in digital spaces and the need to address ICT gender-based violence.
The upcoming Cemac Head of States summit will address major challenges within the community (Business in Cameroon)
The next summit of Cemac Head of States will take place next March 17 in Yaoundé, we learned from a letter signed by Daniel Ona Ondo, the President of the CEMAC Commission. Cameroon’s President and current President of CEMAC Paul Biya also sent invitation letters to his counterparts through his collaborators.
A Council of Ministers of the Central African Monetary Union (Umac) is scheduled for March 15, ahead of the actual summit. The preliminary workshop will discuss topics to be addressed during the summit, including the implementation of the Economic and Financial Reform Program (Pref-Cemac), the evolution of the rationalization process of the Central African Regional Economic Communities (Economic Community of Central African States -CEEAC, Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa -Cemac, and the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries -CEPGL); the CFA reform; the Russia-Ukraine war, cryptocurrencies, and appointments within Cemac bodies and institutions, given that some have reached the end of their terms.
Africa losing out for failing to own patents for drugs it makes (The East African)
Health experts have advised that African governments would have to ensure that they own the intellectual property (IP) rights of vaccines and drugs manufactured in their countries if they are to accrue tangible gains from the drug making momentum building on the continent. Although, some African states have invested in research and development of vaccines and medicines, they have ended up relinquishing or selling IP rights to foreign firms, setting the vaccine manufacturing efforts back.
Because of this, the African Union is, for instance, pushing to get back the IP technologies from the firms that bought them, which has proved to be an uphill task.
Global food crisis may persist with prices still elevated after year of war (IMF)
One year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine upended agricultural commodity markets, food prices remain elevated even after retreating from their record highs in early 2022.
With two of the world’s largest exporters of wheat and other crucial crops entering a second year of war, many vulnerable countries still face heightened food insecurity. Fragile and conflict-affected states, home to 1 billion people, are at particular risk.
Eleven straight monthly declines have pushed food prices down 19 percent from a peak last March, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said Friday.
Leveraging South-South cooperation to finance the SDGs (Observer Research Foundation)
The achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—which lay the foundations for lasting peace, prosperity and environmental sustainability in a globally connected world—remains more relevant than ever. The achievement of SDG1 on poverty and extreme poverty, for example, together with SDG8 on employment and decent work, are crucial to maintaining political stability and containing social tensions in the developing world, preventing dangerous slides of poverty-stricken areas into radicalism that in turn have repercussions on regional and global security. In the oil-rich Niger Delta in Nigeria, the combination of shortages in basic services provision by the central and local governments, pervasive poverty, and high youth unemployment, has created a breeding ground for piracy and robbery attacks on the oil industry. The insecurity, in turn, deters development and reinforces a vicious circle of poverty. At the community level, fights erupt among the poor who compete for limited resources such as water and land, deterring productive economic activities. Indeed, poverty from unemployment can create conditions for insecurity and extremism, in turn leading to conflicts; conflicts fuel even more poverty.
Seychelles is first WTO member from Africa to formally accept fishing subsidies agreement (WTO)
Seychelles’ Minister for Fisheries, Mr Jean-François Ferrari, and the Minister for Finance, National Planning and Trade, Mr Naadir Hassan, said in a joint statement: The Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies presents a significant opportunity for Seychelles to promote sustainable fishing practices, protect its marine resources, and to aid in the conservation of fish stocks globally, especially within the African region. By depositing its Instrument of Acceptance, Seychelles reinforces its commitment to multilateralism and ensuring that concrete steps are taken towards limiting harmful subsidies that contribute to overfishing as set out in Target 14.6 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals whilst empowering and supporting coastal communities as they transition towards truly sustainable practices.”
Secretary-General calls for more engagement with Least Developed Countries to correct severe economic imbalance (The Commonwealth)
During the UN LDC conference, the Commonwealth Secretary-General spoke at the launch event for the LDC5 Monitor which is an independent partnership to monitor and assess the implementation of the Doha Programme of Action (DPoA) and provide suggestions on how international support measures should be adapted to better support LDCs. The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, has advocated for increased international support for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) at a UN conference in Doha, Qatar this week.
Competitiveness of Global Aluminum Supply Chains Under Carbon Pricing Scenarios for Solar PV (World Bank)
As technology now stands, there is—and will be—no solar power without aluminum, which accounts for over 85 percent of solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies.
While the aluminum industry counts many producers, production capacity has plummeted in many countries in the last decade because of low global prices and intense competition. At the same time, high capital, energy, and input costs have limited the development of new aluminum production.
A new report by the World Bank’s Climate-Smart Mining (CSM), Competitiveness of Global Aluminum Supply Chains Under Carbon Pricing Scenarios for Solar PV, examines aluminum competitiveness in the context of potential carbon prices.A key takeaway is that and ensuring that producers, including in low- and middle-income countries, can compete in an increasingly carbon-constrained world.
Least developed states’ summit ends in Doha with no massive aid pledge - UN (Africanews)
The 5th United Nations Conference of the least developed countries closed in Doha on Thursday (Mar. 9). It saw nations pledge to donated funds. Among them Germany, announced $200 million for the least developed countries, Saudi Arabia, who is donating $800 million, and Canada offering UNICEF $34 million.
Guterres started the summit by saying the 46 poorest states need a $500 billion a year stimulus to reach the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs), a blueprint to end poverty and boost health and education by 2030. That goal was not met.
Multilateral lenders need to step up to the global ‘polycrises’ (African Business)
The world is at a crossroads: one where the choice is between investing in a better, more secure and prosperous future for all of us or a continued cycle of crisis and breakdown. Overlapping issues facing countries today, including the war in Ukraine, natural disasters, climate-related catastrophes, soaring inflation and a deepening debt crisis, coupled with continued global economic challenges are pushing many lower income countries to the brink. Failing to deal with these converging crises is only deepening the struggle in both advanced and developing economies. But for developing economies who were already struggling to provide education, food, and health services, the struggle today is even greater.
In part, this highlights a failure by global financial institutions specifically designed to tackle crises and poverty.
African debt distress was already a growing concern before the current polycrisis, but it has no doubt exacerbated it. Increased borrowing to respond to growing needs, higher interest rates and a strong dollar have all accelerated the next debt crisis.