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Africa Business in Brief


issue 493 | 23 Apr 2023


ACP and EU to sign Post-Cotonou Agreement in Samoa shortly, announces Minister Ganoo

The Post-Cotonou Agreement will soon be signed between the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and the European Union (EU) in Samoa. The partnership agreement between 27 EU member countries and 79 African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries is a legally bidding treaty covering trade and development cooperation to address global challenges together. The Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Alan Ganoo, in his capacity as the president of the OACPS Council of Ministers, recently made this statement following a working session with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, Mr Péter Szijjárto, at the seat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Port Louis. 

Source: Government of Mauritius


ESG and the AfCFTA

The forward momentum of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles, which permeate every aspect of global economic activity, is also evident in the first strides the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) has taken. The AfCFTA’s adoption of ESG principles, in a way that is relevant to Africa, will enable it to attract capital and achieve its ultimate objective of promoting trade and the free movement of goods, services and people across the continent. There is an entire ecosystem of national, regional, and international governmental and economic organisations rallying behind the AfCFTA’s success as it gains momentum. For the AfCFTA to be a true game changer, it needs to not only achieve its trade and investment objectives but also create a truly transformative impact in governance, climate change and in the social and community sphere. ESG is becoming increasingly important in global investment practices and trends. It requires the deployment of capital to projects and activities that achieve the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and by doing so it also attracts capital. As the AfCFTA charts its own path for Africa, it can also take leadership on ESG issues.

Source: Mining Review Africa


Managing SOE risks in sub-Saharan Africa

During the past three years, the global economy has been buffeted by numerous unanticipated shocks. These include the COVID-19 pandemic, various climate-related events, and more recently the war in Ukraine. In sub-Saharan Africa, these shocks have put economies under increasing stress resulting in larger budget deficits and elevated public debt levels. All of this is happening at a time when central banks are raising interest rates to combat inflation. The external global shocks have revealed underlying financial and fiscal vulnerabilities that were not visible during better economic times. This has been particularly dramatic in the state-owned enterprises (SOE) sector of many African countries. At a recent workshop hosted by the IMF’s AFRITAC West II Center in Accra, Ghana, 14 countries from across the continent came together to share experiences and lessons on how to better manage SOE risks. SOEs, also known as public corporations, account for a large share of economic activity in Africa. On average, countries reported that their SOEs accounted for between 30% – 50% of GDP. 

Source: IMF Public Finance Management Blog


IMF sub-Saharan Africa’s Regional Economic Outlook

Growth in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to slow to 3.6% in 2023, as a “big funding squeeze”, tied to the drying up of aid and access to private finance, hits the region, announced the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday, 14 April 2023 in a press briefing. If no measures are taken, this shortage of funding may force countries to reduce fiscal resources for critical development like health, education, and infrastructure, holding the region back from developing its true potential. “I wish I was bearing better news, but unfortunately, we're expecting growth to decelerate from 3.9% to 3.6% in 2023. And this to a large extent reflects the big funding squeeze countries are facing at the moment.” said Abebe Aemro Selassie, director of the IMF’s African Department. Sub-Saharan African countries lag significantly in revenue collections, with a median tax ratio of only 13% of GDP in 2022, compared with 18% in other emerging economies and developing countries and 27% in advanced economies. The IMF has provided the region with around USD50-billion in financing since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to work with the region to put in place the right type of policies that are tailor-made to each country’s needs.

Source: IMF


Untapped renewable resources in Africa should receive more attention – RES4Africa

As the majority of the world embraces a shift in electricity generation away from fossil fuels towards greener, renewable sources of energy, Africa faces several challenges in attracting investment capital to undertake a significant energy transition, renewable energy support foundation Renewable Energy Solutions for Africa (RES4Africa) secretary general Roberto Vigotti stated on Wednesday, 19 April. Speaking during the first of RES4Africa’s Online Lab series, he said Africa’s energy sector was faced with five main decisions about its green energy trajectory, including its ambitions to achieve universal access to energy, meeting energy demand growth and building a reliable power system. Vigotti explained that Africa needed to “step up” its efforts to attract finance for green energy solutions and bridge the investment gap in this regard. He also said Africa should keep a careful eye on its committed green commitments, such as pledges towards meeting the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Conference of the Parties commitments.

Source: Engineering News

East Africa

EAC to digitise tariffs for imported goods

The East African Community (EAC) Secretariat has commenced the process of digitising its Common External Tariffs (CET). The programme, being implemented with the support of the World Customs Organization (WCO), is geared to enhance the private sector’s participation in international trade. Through the digitisation of the CETs, the business community – exporters and importers – will have access to trade information from the private sector in international trade. The platform, which is currently under development in partnership with Global Trade Solution (GTS), will enable seamless migration of the EAC CET during the transposition of the Harmonized System (HS). It will provide information on the administration and management of the Duty Remission Scheme, the production of information, and publication of other measures affecting the implementation of CET. The platform will also include management of preferential tariff treatment on originating goods imported from Regional Economic Communities (RECs) where EAC partner states are members. In addition, it will provide pictorial illustrations of products per tariff line as well as a link to the WCO HS. 

Source: The Citizen

East / Southern Africa

New COMESA portal to ease trade

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) will launch its Electronic Single Window by the end of the year, a move that will centralise all services supporting inter-country trade and boost revenue collection. The one-stop platform will enable traders to provide information for various official agencies through a single point of entry to fulfil all import-export, and transit-related regulatory requirements online, saving time. COMESA director of Trade and Customs Dr Christopher Ochieng says the single window will facilitate faster processing of import and export procedures, coordination among customs and other agencies, and streamline workflows. The efficiency brought about by the single window will help in addressing cases of congestion at points of entry and exit, which have been blamed on physical interactions and excess paperwork. “The single window system generates several benefits to cross-border and international trade. For instance, governments are set to enhance revenue collections arising from higher compliance and improved efficiency in operations,” said Dr Ochieng.

Source: Business Daily Africa

West Africa

ECOWAS Regional Trade Facilitation Committee meets to discuss the elimination of NTBs in the region

The third Meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Regional Trade Facilitation Committee (RTFC) was held from 27 – 29 March in Accra, Ghana, to review the implementation of regional trade facilitation reforms and consider innovative approaches to improve free movement of goods in the region. The meeting also provided the regional experts with a platform to consider the ECOWAS Non-Tariff Barrier (NTB) Elimination Policy and the Regional Trade and Transport Facilitation Strategy, which are expected to significantly reduce the challenges faced by traders in the region and increase intra-ECOWAS trade. The Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Michael Okyere Baafi, noted that the third RTFC meeting provided a platform for relevant stakeholders to address trade barriers in the region. He stated that the advent of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement provides the West African region with an opportunity to work together to form common positions, and effectively benefit from the continental free trade area. He urged the commission and member states to take advantage of the AfCFTA to develop local economies and improve intra-regional trade in West Africa.

Source: ECOWAS


Ethiopia moves towards liberalisation of Trade in Services

Trade in Services plays a key role in the economic growth and development of a country. Services directly support production but also value chains and create jobs and other economic and non-economic opportunities. For Ethiopia, there exist numerous strategic services namely transport (air transport where Ethiopian Airlines remains a leader when it comes to air connectivity), arts, sports and recreational services. Others are financial, tourism and energy-related services. Over the years, Ethiopia has been undergoing crucial economic reforms in line with regional and international developments. The goal is to gradually yet effectively liberalise the economy and enhance competitiveness in the production and export of goods and services. Dr Chris Onyango, director of Trade and Customs in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), says it is in such context that COMESA undertakes to provide technical assistance and capacity building in services to member states to facilitate the negotiations. 

Source: COMESA

Ghana / Netherlands

Ghana, the Netherlands renegotiate 34-year BIT

Ghana and the Netherlands have started renegotiating their 34-year-old Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) in order for the agreement to conform to current global economic dynamics. A BIT is an international agreement establishing the terms and conditions for private investment by nationals and companies of countries which choose to partner for business. The current BIT was signed on 31 March 1989 and operationalised on 1 July 1991, for the trading of agricultural products like cocoa beans, fresh fruits, and vegetables from Ghana, and machinery, agricultural inputs, chemicals, and electronic equipment from the Netherlands. At a recent ceremony to begin exploratory talks in Accra, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr Kwaku Apratwum-Sarpong, announced new proposed areas for the BIT, expected to be ready in approximately two years. They include knowledge-sharing and supporting the professionalisation of the horticultural industry, the processing of cocoa in Ghana, and promotion of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility.

Source: BusinessGhana


Kenya to host first global consumer rights summit in Africa

Nairobi will, in December, host the Consumers International Global Congress, the first to be held in Africa, to develop practical solutions to consumer protection issues. The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK), which successfully bid to host the forum, said Kenya’s selection symbolises the milestones achieved in promoting consumers’ welfare in recent years. “We look forward to sharing our experience in promoting consumer protection both nationally and regionally as we work towards common solutions with leaders in attendance,” said CAK’s acting director-general Dr Adano Wario. The event is organised by the London-headquartered charity firm Consumers International, which brings together governments, international agencies, businesses and civil society to tackle pressing issues impacting consumers worldwide. It is held every four years. The agenda of the forum, taking place from 6 - 8 December, is to seek answers to crucial questions as the world battles a myriad of catastrophes ranging from rising consumer prices, climate change hazards and consumer vulnerability amid rapid digitisation.

Source: Business Daily Africa


Ensuring data privacy and security in the digital workplace: A Mauritian perspective

As the workplace becomes increasingly digitised, the need to protect personal data has become more critical than ever before. Employers and employees alike must navigate the complexities of data protection laws while balancing the legitimate needs of business operations. Processing certain personal information is critical for the performance of an employment contract. In Mauritius for instance, the employer would need an employee’s identity card and tax number. The Data Protection Act (DPA) provides for the employer to process such data without any express consent from the employee. The Act recognises that employers may need specific information to carry out their obligations, some of which may be required by law, and it serves as a framework for the legitimate processing of such information. Processing of data at the workplace goes much beyond what the DPA provides for without express consent. The main purpose of providing employees with tools such as mobile phones, tablets, messaging applications, and access to company networks is to support the employer's business activities and operations. 

Source: ENSafrica

Mauritius / United Kingdom

Signing of UK-Mauritius Strategic Trade Partnership to boost trade and investment

A Strategic Trade Partnership (STP), which will help boost trade and investment between the United Kingdom (UK) and Mauritius across a range of priority sectors including financial and professional services, waste management, green economy, education, cyber, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and agricultural technology, was signed, recently at the Caudan Arts Centre, in Port Louis. In his address, Acting Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Minister of Industrial Development, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Cooperatives, Mr Soomilduth Bholah pointed out that the STP bears testimony to the UK’s commitment to supporting Mauritius’ trade agenda and to deepening its trade partnership with Mauritius as we continue to face the consequences of the war in Ukraine. Minister Bholah also indicated that the UK is one of Mauritius’ largest trading partners, adding that their economic ties are built on a shared commitment to free and fair trade. He further recalled that to safeguard their trade preferences, Mauritius along with three other African countries namely Madagascar, Seychelles and Zimbabwe signed an agreement with the UK, known as the UK - Eastern and Southern African (ESA) - Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), in January 2019 which came into force on 1 January 2021.

Source: Government of Mauritius


NamPower, CERIM sign Wind Project Agreements

CERIM Lüderitz Energy – a joint venture between Energy China and Riminii Investments – and the Namibia Power Corporation (NamPower) have finalised a power purchase agreement (PPA) as well as a Transmission Connection Agreement (TCA) for the construction of a 50 megawatts (MW) wind power plant outside Lüderitz. The plant will be developed on a build-own-operate basis at a cost of NAD1.4-billion. NamPower has entered into a 25-year PPA term and will be the facility’s sole electricity off taker. The plant is expected to be fully operational by 2025 and will significantly reduce energy imports from the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP). Namibia presently imports between 60-70% of its electricity from the SAPP and intends to replace that supply with domestic sources as part of NamPower’s Integrated Strategy and Business Plan (ISBP) – a five-year strategic plan that prioritises renewable energy developments. The Lüderitz power plant is seen as a critical first step towards establishing Namibia’s energy independence. “The commissioning of this project, come July 2025, will displace 50 MW of imports which is a step in the right direction… This project will contribute significantly to our supply portfolio when combined with other generation projects that form part of the ISBP,” said NamPower managing director Kahenge Haulofu.

Source: Energy Capital & Power


Tanzania inks USD667-milliom minerals deal

The Tanzanian government has signed agreements with three Australian mineral companies for the development of rare earth and graphite mines in the country. Agreements totaling USD667-million were signed with mineral exploration companies Evolution Energy Minerals, EcoGraf, and Peak Rare Earths. Peak Rare Earths will mine minerals in Ngualla, the southwest region of the country; Evolution Energy Minerals will mine graphite in the southern region, while EcoGraf will mine graphite in the eastern region as well as minerals in the north. According to Palamagamba Kabudi, chairman of the Government of Tanzania’s negotiating team, the government will hold a 16% stake each of the jointly established companies that would operate the projects. The agreements fall under the government’s drive to accelerate negotiations regarding long-pending mining and energy projects.

Source: Energy Capital & Power

Tanzania / Kenya

Air Tanzania and Kenya Airways explore cargo partnership

Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) and Kenya Airways (KQ) top officials have met in an attempt to explore the possibility of a partnership on cargo transportation. This comes as ATCL expects to receive its first Boeing 767-300 freighter, with a capacity of 54 tonnes, by the end of this month. KQ Group managing director Allan Kilavuka, who visited Tanzania recently, said in a statement released by ATCL that the two airlines could cooperate in different areas. “Soon Tanzania will receive its first ever cargo plane, which we expect will help in addressing cargo transportation challenges, especially at large volumes,” he said. “From the available freight, equipment, and expertise, if used properly, we will increase the value and reduce the operating costs of both ATCL and KQ. The presence of the Boeing 787-8 (Dreamliner) and the arrival of the Boeing 767-300F cargo plane open up more commercial opportunities,” said Mr Kilavuka. According to ATCL’s managing director, Mr Ladislaus Matindi, during Mr Kilavuka’s visit, they held a meeting where they looked at the issues that will help the prosperity of the two airlines and their countries, considering the great needs of the world market.

Source: The Citizen


Zambia launches platform to enhance public-private partnerships in healthcare services

Zambia has launched a platform that will be used to foster cooperation between the public and the private sector to enhance healthcare services. Minister of Health Sylvia Masebo said that even if the government is committed to the attainment of universal health coverage, resource constraints are hindering the goal hence the importance of collaborating with the private sector to enhance healthcare delivery. "As we know, universal health coverage is only reached when we provide access for the whole population to good-quality health services without the risk of financial hardship," she said during the launch. The government has been devising ways to bridge the financing gap in the health sector, she said, adding that the private sector has emerged as an important source of resources necessary for attaining universal health coverage by complementing the public sector. The minister said the platform has so far attracted over 200 stakeholders key in the provision of healthcare services and will act as an area for business networking and sharing of best practices among private healthcare players.

Source: Xinhua


Top five minerals produced in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe boasts a highly diversified mineral resource base, featuring close to 40 exploitable minerals that include platinum group metals (PGMs), chromium, gold, coal, diamonds, lithium, manganese, iron ore, copper, nickel, cobalt, and rare earth metals, among others. Zimbabwe’s mining sector accounts for approximately 12% of its GDP, with the southern African country’s Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Winston Chitando, having stated that the sector has the potential to generate up to USD12-billion annually. Largely underexplored, the Government of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development have sought to prioritise the ease of doing business in the sector. As such, Zimbabwe has directed its interest towards capitalising on the global energy transition as global demand for minerals used for renewable technologies – such as lithium and PGMs – begins to rise exponentially.

Source: Energy Capital & Power