tralac Daily News
The use of technology commercialisation can contribute to economic transformation through the introduction of diverse new products and services in the market. This can ultimately result in the creation of new products, as well as the establishment of new businesses and industries which can serve as a base for a full-scale localisation and industrialisation.
This was said by the Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition at the Fourth Intellectual Property and Technology Commercialisation Colloquium
held at the North-West University, Mahikeng campus from 28-29 March 2023, under the theme Advancing Innovation through IP Commercialisation for Full-scale Industrialisation.
According to Deputy Minister Majola, a well-designed and well-performing intellectual property regime can improve the innovative capacity and competitiveness of the economy. Importantly, he said South Africa needs to embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution as part of the ongoing economic recovery plan and to advance the industrialisation agenda.
The Acting Deputy Director-General of Industrial Competitiveness and Growth at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), Dr Nimrod Zalk says the furniture industry master plan will go a long way in strengthening localisation and enhancing the competitiveness of the industry. Zalk was speaking at the prize-giving ceremony of the National Furniture Design Competition at the Buy Local Summit in Sandton.
“The furniture sector is amongst those that are prioritised by business, labour and government as being able to contribute significantly to employment growth, in particular. Collectively we have been working on a furniture industry master plan that will strengthen and deepen localisation of furniture production in the short term, and lead to greater international competitiveness in the medium term,” said Zalk.
Energy Action Plan makes progress (SAnews)
Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, Gwede Mantashe, says the Energy Action Plan (EAP) that government has implemented to address the electricity crisis is beginning to make progress. Mantashe was addressing the North West Mining and Energy Investment Conference on Thursday.
Mantashe said government is committed to resolving the country’s energy challenges guided by the optimal energy mix envisioned in the Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) 2019 and - as envisioned in the EAP - to improve the performance of existing Eskom power stations.
Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, Gwede Mantashe, says the Energy Action Plan (EAP) that government has implemented to address the electricity crisis is beginning to make progress.
Cabinet approves Bill to open power market (Engineering News)
Cabinet approved a Bill on electricity regulation designed to clear the path for private generation projects and power trading.
State-owned Eskom Holding has provided more than 90% of electricity used by the most industrialized nation on the continent for a century. The Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill outlines an entity to buy power as a step toward establishing a competitive market.
The bill will strengthen the role of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa and allow measures to create a transmission system operator that includes the “provision of an electricity trading platform on a multi-market basis, and provide access to the transmission network on a non-discriminatory basis,” Ntshavheni said in a statement.
Professor Anil Sooklal, Ambassador-at-Large for Asia and BRICS during an online engagement with business during the BRICS economic indaba on Thursday, said the purpose of the gathering was to solicit the support of, and galvanise, South African business behind the BRICS Programme of Work.
South Africa took over as chair of BRICS on January 1 under the theme “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism”, in what was described as a difficult national and global economic environment.
“It is crucial to inspire and cement the participation of all sectors of business behind our 2023 Agenda. SA BRICS chairship provides business with the unique and valuable opportunity to sustainably advance the economic and developmental needs of both our economy and that of the rest of the African continent,” Sooklal said.
Kenyan agricultural firms get $5m grants from US agencies (The East African)
Seven budding Kenyan companies operating in the agricultural sector have received a $5.1 million grant from the United States to expand their business activities while working towards addressing the country’s food insecurity challenges.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the US government’s trade promoter, Prosper Africa, and Feed the Future Initiative announced the grants on the side-lines of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) business summit in Nairobi Wednesday.
The agencies said the grants to the private companies will “support access to agricultural inputs and production technologies while expanding Kenyan value-added processing and the export of products like macadamia nuts and dried fruit”, as well as boost incomes for over 1 million Kenyan farmers.
“This comes at a time when many of these farmers are faced with recurrent drought and significant price increases especially in essential commodities that has been driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” said USAID’s mission director for Kenya David Gosney.
Kenya’s special economic zones get own power rate (Business Daily)
Investors domiciled in the 15 special economic zones will from this Saturday start paying a special tariff of Sh10 per kilowatt hour as the energy regulator moves to harmonise rates and entice more firms to set up in the tax-free regions. These are part of the new electricity tariffs that the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) approved last week.
Epra says apart from investors at Naivasha’s Kedong SEZ, which are currently enjoying Sh5 per unit tariff, all the other special economic zones will now have a uniform tariff from this weekend.
Parliament has passed the Local Content Bill 2022 into law, giving priority to goods and services produced in the East African Community (EAC) as opposed to only goods produced in Uganda.
The bill, which was first introduced in the 9th Parliament, has been returned to the House for reconsideration by President Yoweri Museveni over its contradiction with various EAC trade protocols, such as the Common Market Protocol, which provides for the elimination of trade barriers.
Museveni returned the bill to Parliament for a second time and raised concern over sections that he deemed to conflict with the spirit of the East African Community Protocol on the free movement of goods and services.
Chaired by Speaker Among, the House on Wednesday passed the Bill after adopting most of the recommendations as advised by the President.
TZ-US TRADE: Envoy touts mutual benefits (Daily News)
NEWLY appointed American Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Michael Battle, has listed his top priorities for promoting trade and investment between the two countries during his tenure in office.
According to him, all US ambassadors are responsible for maintaining close ties between Tanzania and the US government, including strengthening good relations that have existed since the era of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere in 1960s.
For a long time, the envoy said the US relationship with Africa has been a relationship of donor and giving aid. “We are still the largest private donor to Tanzania in terms of the amount of money we spend in healthcare and development and we think that is important,” he said.
Dr Battle said there was also a shift that began with President Barack Obama who said the US relationship with Africa must be one of strategic partnership where there is mutual growth and development. “So, then the notion of trade and investment began to be more prominent, ‘Prosper Africa’ was part of that notion that in order for Africa to take off with its own industrial revolution it has to have the electrical grid to make it possible,” he explained.
He says that the Biden administration has reverted to the idea that trade and investments are the defining characteristics.
Rwanda’s exports revenue grows, trade deficit widens (The New Times)
Rwanda’s export value increased by 33.2 percent in 2022, mainly driven by commodity prices and strong domestic manufacturing activities exported in the region.
The overall export receipt amounted to $1,555.6 million, up from $1,167.8 million in 2021.
This was announced on March 29, during the presentation of the Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Statement by the Central Bank that assessed the economic performance in 2022 and prospects for 2023.
John Rwangombwa, Central Bank Governor, said the growth is attributed to the increase in manufactured goods exported in the region and generally good commodity prices on international markets.
Traditional exports such as minerals, coffee and tea registered a 27.7 percent growth while non-traditional exports (manufactured products and horticulture) increased by 26.8 percent and re-exports by 39.3 percent.
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, Honourable Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, has called for the implementation of more joint projects to ease connectivity and enhance intra-regional trade among Member States of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The Prime Minister made the call when he received a courtesy from the Executive Secretary of SADC, His Excellency Mr. Elias M Magosi, at the New Treasury Building in Port Louis, Mauritius, on 27th March 2023.
Hon. Jugnauth said there was a huge potential and opportunities for economic growth and industrialisation in SADC, because the community has abundant natural resources and raw materials. He added that, what the region needed was more collaboration and joint projects to make connectivity easy, facilitate intra-regional trade, and reduce the cost of doing business.
H.E. Magosi sighted the SADC Regional Development Fund (RDF), which was proposed nearly a decade ago, as a self-financing and revolving mechanism intended to end reliance on external support, as well as leverage private sector funding to drive the region’s development agenda as a key instrument that needed signatures. The agreement to operationalise the fund has been signed by only nine Member States, and none of them, has deposited instruments of ratification with the SADC Secretariat. With the RDF in place, the region will be able to determine the type and scale of tangible projects and programmes to make positive impact on the lives of the citizens of the SADC region.
The President, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, CIBN, Mr. Ken Opara, said the banking industry is setting up a $20 million human capital fund to groom and nurture financial innovation in the industry.
Speaking yesterday at the CIBN 2023 annual lecture themed: ‘Unlocking the constraints to Africa’s economic transformation: Insights into the power of capital’ held in Lagos, Opara said: “The banking industry is setting up a $20 million human capital fund for the purpose of grooming and nurturing a pool of financial innovative market ready workforce for the Nigerian Banking Industry.
Indian delegation explores investment opportunities in S Africa, Botswana (Business Standard)
A multi-product Indian business delegation on a five-day visit to South Africa and neighbouring Botswana has been well-received by potential partners for trade and investment in both countries, the delegation leader said on Wednesday.
Under the theme Balancing and Nurturing Trade Relations and Developing Promising Bilateral Trade, day-long seminars including local speakers were co-hosted by FIEO and the Indian missions in Johannesburg and Gaborone, followed by Business-Business meetings and interactions with government ministers and officials.
The African region has always been a very attractive market due to the huge market potential, so the delegation was aimed at exploring the opportunities from this very lucrative continent, Khan said.
A fragmented internal market has long hampered trade among African nations. That has prevented the continent from fully sharing in the economic benefits of international trade, which has helped raised more than a billion people worldwide out of poverty in recent decades. But the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) promises to be a game changer. It would create a single market that unites 54 countries with a combined population of 1.3 billion and GDP of $3.4 trillion. It promises to boost intra-African trade and investment by reducing tariffs and other barriers and harmonizing regulations in areas such as e-commerce and intellectual property rights. African business leaders are scheduled to gather in Cape Town April 16-19 to discuss the benefits of the agreement for the private sector. In advance of that meeting, we are publishing this edited transcript of a conversation with Wamkele Mene, secretary general of the AfCFTA, who visited the World Bank late last year:
Q: What can be done to ensure that inequality among countries in Africa doesn’t widen as a consequence of the agreement? A: We have countries in the AfCFTA with GDP per capita of $110, and then at the other extreme, GDP per capital of $25,000. We have countries that are relatively industrialized, and we have countries that import everything, including basic agricultural products. There are countries who are going to benefit immediately, because they have the export capacity. So how do we get those countries who today may not have industrial capacity to believe that they will benefit, too, and to see the results? Otherwise politically it will become unsustainable for them to remain in a free trade area where only the largest economies are benefiting. That’s why we have gone to [the African Export Import] Bank, and we have said, “There is this problem that some countries are overly reliant on tariffs as revenue generation tools, how do we mitigate their condition? ” So, Afreximbank has made available a facility which will be up to $10 billion. Thus far, there is about $1.2 billion that has been mobilized to assist countries to mitigate the cost of adjusting to the AfCFTA.
African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi Adesina has told a high-level international conference in Berlin that urgent action is needed to reduce the world’s dependence on fossil fuels and harness Africa’s renewable energy sources.
Making his remarks at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue, hosted by the German federal government, Adesina called on Germany to invest in a cleaner, brighter, and more prosperous future for Africa. While underscoring Africa’s success enormous potential to become a global leader in sustainable development, Adesina highlighted the significant energy challenges millions of Africans still face. In 2022, at least 600 million people did not have access to electricity, and 970 million lacked access to clean energy for cooking.
Adesina said in order to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7 of affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, the continent must connect 90 million people annually to electricity by 2030 and shift 130 million people from dirty cooking fuels each year. He acknowledged the scale of the challenge, noting that Africa’s energy transition would require an estimated $100 billion annually between 2020 and 2040.
Adesina said Africa’s significant reserves of cobalt, manganese, and platinum could be utilised to build a robust manufacturing sector rather than being merely exported as raw materials.
The Republics of Kenya, Congo and Chad are the latest signatories to the Establishment Agreement of the Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA), the development impact-oriented subsidiary of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).
These successive accessions provide positive momentum for FEDA and demonstrate a shared commitment from Afreximbank Member Countries to support the organization’s impact investing objectives. It creates a powerful catalyst to increase equity and equity-like funding for African companies that promote industrialization, Intra-Africa trade and value-added export development.
Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank and FEDA, said: “The accession to the FEDA Establishment Agreement by the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Congo and the Republic of Chad are important steps that are expected to catalyse more investment by FEDA towards these countries’ industrialization and value-add export development. We are delighted to onboard these new Member Countries and we look forward to mobilizing other Afreximbank Member States in due time to support FEDA’s pan-African expansion.”
Over the last few years, the world has faced an unprecedented series of crises.
The COVID-19 pandemic cost millions of lives, caused massive job losses, and disrupted supply chains. It led to the loss of more than one full year of education for one billion children around the world, which underscores the urgency of a strong recovery in education. The pandemic also triggered extraordinary policy responses, with macroeconomic consequences still being felt. Inflation soared with governments providing massive fiscal and monetary support to counter the pandemic, especially in the advanced economies. The war in Ukraine triggered outright shortages of fuel, food, and fertilizer. Natural disasters struck hard too – from earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria to floods across South Asia and catastrophic drought in East Africa.
Developing countries have suffered the most from this onslaught of crises. The pandemic increased the global extreme poverty rate from 8.4 to 9.3 percent, the first recorded increase since we started keeping count. The true death toll remains unknown in many parts of the world. Now, a growing number of developing countries are facing the prospect of major domestic crises, with economic growth slowing, poverty and hunger on the rise, public debts reaching unsustainable levels amid rising interest rates, ineffective mechanisms for resolving external debt distress, underinvestment, and growing populations.
Confronted by these developments, we have the responsibility to forcefully reassert core economic principles for development in every country.
The implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is likely to increase the volume of intra-African trade to over 40% by 2045. This was revealed by Hermogene Nsegimana, the Secretary General of the African Regional Standards Organization (ARSO), during the training of African Experts Responsible for Standards Development and Harmonization Required to Facilitate Intra-Africa Trade Under the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.
David Livingstone Ebiru, the UNBS Executive Director said, the capacity building of experts is aimed at responding to the increasing demand for African Countries to increase the volume of trade among themselves, which is currently standing at 16%.
Odrek Rwabwogo, the Senior Presidential Advisor of Exports and Industrial Development urged the standards’ experts to preserve African heritage and culture by prioritizing indigenous standards for African Organic Products.
The post-Covid-19-pandemic recovery of the African airline industry is lagging behind that of other regions of the world, but it is recovering, International Air Transport Association (IATA) External Affairs & Sustainability: Africa & Middle East regional business development manager Sandile Chipunza pointed out at the recent Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa (BARSA) conference, in Cape Town.
African airlines’ annual traffic last year was up 89% on that for 2021, and reached 86% of the levels recorded before the pandemic, he reported. The continent’s airlines registered total losses of $638- million last year, which were forecast to decline by 66% this year, resulting in total losses of $213-million for 2023.
However, IATA forecasts that, globally, the airline industry will make a profit of $4.7-billion this year, from total revenues of $779-billion. Last year, worldwide, the sector recorded a loss of $6.9-billion. Over the period of the pandemic, airlines globally suffered total losses of $42-billion.
Returning to Africa, the continent’s airlines last year also registered a 51% increase in capacity, compared with 2021. Their average load factor rose to 71.7%, but this was the lowest figure for any of IATA’s regions. “[W]e know each [African] sub- region moves at its own pace, reflecting its unique advantages and obstacles,” he cautioned. “Some have seen demand return faster than others.”
South Africa will use its position as the 2023 chair of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) multilateral bloc to advance the interests of African States, under the theme of ‘Brics and Africa partnership for mutually accelerated growth, sustainable development and multilateralism’.
Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel, during a South Africa Brics Business Council working groups briefing on March 30, said South Africa exported a significant quantity of goods to other African countries and this was where its largest potential for growth lay.
The volumes and value of trade between South Africa and other Brics countries were significant. However, much of the exports were simply to supply raw materials, particularly minerals, to these economies, he highlighted.
In addition to precious metals, the primary products exported are coal, iron-ore, manganese and chromium, as well as some semi-manufactured goods. Mining products dominate the export basket to South Africa‘s Brics partners.
China’s Investment In Africa Has Cut Need For Loans From World Bank, IMF—Osinbajo (Business Post Nigeria)
The Vice President of Nigeria, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, has lauded China’s investment in Africa, saying it has reduced dependency on loans from Bretton Woods, which consists of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
In a statement seen by Business Post, the VP, at an event at King’s College London on March 27, 2023, stated that “China shows up where and when the West will not and or are reluctant.”
He said this was evident in the investment of the Asian giant in Africa, which he said stood at $254 billion in 2021, about four times the volume of US-Africa trade.
He also noted that, “China is the largest provider of foreign direct investment, supporting hundreds of thousands of African jobs. This is roughly double the level of U.S. foreign direct investment, adding that, “China remains by far the largest lender to African countries.”
One of the main takeaways of UNCTAD’s Technology and Innovation Report 2023 is that national governments and the international community must act now to avoid leaving developing countries out of the green technological revolution that is quickly unfolding. Green technologies are those related to the production of goods and services with lower carbon footprints.
The markets of green technologies have been expanding at unequal rates throughout the world, with disadvantages for developing countries. One example is the exports of green technologies related to renewables and electric vehicles. Between 2018 and 2021, developing countries’ exports grew by about 32% only, from $57 billion to $75 billion, while those of developed economies more than doubled, $60 billion to $156 billion.
Worryingly, developing countries lag in more than trade. They hardly feature in the list of top suppliers of frontier technologies and sources of patents and publications. Except China.
Gender equality and women’s empowerment in Botswana has progressed over the past 20 years with Botswana having made significant strides toward equal treatment of women under the law, reveals the latest edition of the 2023 Women, Business and the Law (WBL) report. These findings and the report were discussed in a workshop this week convened by the World Bank in collaboration with the Government of Botswana, through the Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sport and Culture to commemorate International Women’s Day.
“Since the early 2000s, the average Women, Business and the Law score for Botswana has improved by more than 25 points, rising from 38.1 to 63.8,” says Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for Eswatini, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and South Africa. “Despite this progress, the latest edition of the report shows that the pace of legal reforms toward gender equality has slowed down in recent years, constituting a potential impediment to economic growth. More needs to be done to increase legal equality of opportunity for women around the world and in Botswana.”
Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Myanmar, Niger, Togo and Zambia shared their practices and experiences on trade in COVID-19 related goods. Other speakers from developing and least-developed countries also took the floor. They noted that the pandemic severely impacted LDCs, particularly as a result of disruptions in global supply chains of essential goods and their heavy dependency on imports of food and health-related items.
The pandemic affected LDCs’ trade not only by slowing down trade across borders and changing patterns in trade in services but also by disrupting administrative processes and access to finance.
LDC representatives highlighted the need to enhance global dialogue and cooperation when it comes to emergencies and in areas of relevance to digitalization, development and access to finance. Regarding imposing trade restrictions at times of crisis, they reinforced the message that such measures should be targeted, proportionate and temporary, and that special consideration and flexibility should be extended to LDCs not only to help them deal with the crisis but also recover from the crisis.
The Committee also considered the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the ESA States and the UK, Goods. The Agreement entered into force on 1 January 2021 for the UK, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe. Madagascar and Comoros have also signed the Agreement but have not yet put it into force under their domestic legislation. In a joint statement, the four current parties to the Agreement said the EPA provides continuity and certainty for ESA and British businesses following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. Overall trade was worth GBP 1.1 billion pounds in 2022 and all parties are keen to see further growth.
The Agreement is development orientated with asymmetrical tariff liberalization commitments, providing duty-free, quota-free market access for goods originating in ESA States in the UK market. The Agreement also provides for generous rules of origin to allow more ESA products to qualify for preferential tariffs. On the other hand, ESA States will progressively and gradually liberalise their tariffs over a number of decades for goods originating from the UK.
The EPA also allows ESA States to maintain regional preferences to other African countries and regions without having them extended to the UK. The UK is also required to extend to ESA States any more favorable treatment resulting from a future trade agreement with a third party.
Food and energy prices surged to near historic highs in recent years amid the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, which prompted major supply disruptions. This was accompanied by a sharp rise in the volatility of commodity prices as well.
Worryingly, the up-and-down swings in commodity prices will likely pose economic challenges in coming years. We explore the effects of volatile commodity prices in a new report on food and energy insecurity that was prepared for the Group of Twenty.