Enhancing the Trans-Saharan Road corridor to boost trade and economic development

Trade and transport corridors, the major routes that facilitate the movement of people and goods between regions and countries, have existed for millennia. The Trans-Saharan Road (TSR) corridor, one of the oldest in Africa, comprises a 4 500-kilometre (km) main road that links Algeria, Niger and Nigeria with an additional 4 600 km of highways connecting Chad, Mali, Niger and Tunisia. More than 80% of the corridor is paved or asphalted. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) launched on 25 October a report providing recommendations that countries along the corridor can implement with the TSR Liaison Committee and the support of development partners to transform the TSR from a road transport corridor to an economic one. The study entitled Towards an economic corridor: Commercializing and managing the Trans-Saharan Road Corridor is an outcome of a project aimed at promoting trade through a regional transport corridor management mechanism. "An economic corridor will enable TSR nations to move towards greater continental integration,” said Shamika N. Sirimanne, UNCTAD’s director of Technology and Logistics. “This joint study considers ways of achieving this through greater connectivity, transit and trade.”

Source: UNCTAD


Finance in Common summit closes as COP27 beckons, development bank heads call for action to close development finance gap in Africa

In advance of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) next month, public development banks meeting in Abidjan agreed on action points to tackle Africa’s climate finance gap. The third Finance in Common summit ended recently amid calls on the delegates to turn their commitments to do more in development financing for Africa into action. The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Investment Bank co-organised the summit under the theme Green and Just Transition for a Sustainable Recovery. It highlighted the role of public development banks in Africa’s recovery as the continent faces impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and Russia’s war in Ukraine. In his closing speech, AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina said as Africa looks towards COP27, development partners should collectively ensure that countries, especially the vulnerable ones in Africa, get the resources to adapt to climate change and support just energy transitions. “As we leave Abidjan, let us keep our determination strong. The world needs actions, not words. Let us turn our ideas into strong commitments, and let us turn those strong commitments into actions,” urged Adesina.

Source: AfDB

East Africa

EAC Monetary Union on agenda as regional parliament convenes in Kigali

Two Bills in line with the establishment of the East African Community (EAC) Monetary Union are among the key businesses that East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) intends to transact during its sessions being held in Kigali. Martin Ngoga, EALA speaker, said they are the EAC Surveillance, Compliance and Enforcement Commission Bill, 2022, which intends to establish the EAC Surveillance, Compliance and Enforcement Commission, and the EAC Financial Services Bill, 2022, which aims to establish the EAC Financial Services Commission as an institution of the community. He made the observation on Tuesday, 25 October, during a press conference opening the EAC legislative organ’s session, which is taking place at the Parliament of Rwanda’s premises from 23 October to 5 November 2022. “According to the protocols and stated roadmap, certain institutions and certain laws and legal framework need to be put in place. These Bills that I just told you about are in line with that: The roadmap towards the monetary union,” he told journalists. He said that various EALA committees have been conducting public hearings to seek the views of the public on these Bills.

Source: The New Times

East Africa

EAC to decide on sanctions against countries blocking trade

The minister for East African Community (EAC) Affairs has said EAC regional cooperation ministers will meet next month to agree on sanctions to be preferred against member states blocking intra-regional trade. While installing the new president of Uganda Association of Public Administrators and Managers in Kampala, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, also the First Deputy Prime Minister, said in a meeting in July they had discovered that Ugandan goods were trading more outside the EAC, prompting an agreement to take special measures on non-tariff barriers that prevent the country’s goods from trading in the EAC. “We discovered that Ugandan goods are trading more outside the EAC. In July we agreed to take special measures to identify non-tariff barriers preventing Ugandan goods from trading and make sanction against responsible countries,” she said, noting that Ugandan goods are trading more in Asia, Europe and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) yet a lot of goods are coming from within the region to Uganda. Ms Kadaga also said that Uganda has made major inroads in new trading destinations such as Malawi, where she flagged off medical supplies from Nile Abacus on 1 October, and Zambia, where Uganda is now exporting processed milk.

Source: Monitor

Southern Africa

SMEs in the SADC leather sector hail SIPS for training on intellectual property rights

Representatives of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the leather industry from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region have commended the Support to the Industrialisation and Production Sectors (SIPS) programme for convening a regional capacity-building training workshop on strengthening regional and national intellectual property rights (IPRs) policies and regulations and Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) compliance. SIPS, a programme aimed at improving private sector participation in the regional leather, pharmaceutical and medical value chains in the SADC region, convened the training workshop in partnership with the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) in Harare, Zimbabwe, from 5 to 15 October 2022. The workshops were conducted in hybrid format with virtual and physical participants from SADC member states comprising of policymakers, and SMEs in the leather and anti-retroviral value chains. SIPS is supported by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to facilitate expansion of regional value chains and promote dialogue between the private and public sectors.

Source: SADC

West Africa

ECOWAS: towards the construction of a 150 MWp solar park connected to the WAPP

The construction of a regional solar power plant is becoming clearer in West Africa. The facility will be built in The Gambia under the coordination of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The feasibility study of this regional project was recently validated at a meeting organised by the West African Power Pool (WAPP) in the Gambian capital, Banjul. The meeting was attended by officials from the national electricity companies of the member countries of the Organization for the Development of the Gambia River Basin (OMVG), the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) and the World Bank. The plant will be built in two phases on a 225-hectare site identified since 2019 by the Gambian authorities, in Soma, a town located in central Gambia, near the border with Senegal. This is a strategic site as it is located near an OMVG 225/30 kilovolts (kV) substation. With a capacity of 80 megawatts peak (MWp), the first phase of the solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant will serve the domestic needs of The Gambia. This West African country has one of the lowest installed capacities in the sub-region, at 167 megawatts (MW) according to the authorities, who are counting on a capacity of 250 MW by the end of 2025.

Source: AFRIK 21

West Africa

Experts agree to the harmonised ECOWAS visa regime ECOVISA to take off

Regional experts in charge of issuance and control of visas have agreed to the harmonised Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) visa regime, ECOVISA, to be implemented across the region. This recommendation comes on the backdrop of an intense three-day meeting which took place in Abuja, Nigeria from 11 - 13 October 2022. The meeting which was called by the ECOWAS Commission sought among other things to validate the recommendations of the previously held Task Force meeting, harmonise the cost and design of the visa sticker and deliberate on other associated modalities related to the implementation of the ECOVISA. At the end of the meeting, experts made a series of recommendations aimed at ensuring that the ECOVISA is effectively implemented. Notable among them are: the need to ensure that the necessary software should be developed by a start-up company in the ECOWAS sub-region and as such, a competition should be held to bring together the most talented programmers within the sub-region; the data centre should be domiciled in an ECOWAS member state; and the need for ECOWAS to continue to engage with the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) / Union Economique et Monétaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA) in the harmonisation of visa policies.


Angola's largest pink diamond set for international tender

Seven exceptional diamonds, including a rare 170-carat stone "Lulo Rose", will be set for international tender on 15 November in Angola's capital Luanda, according to a recent statement released on the Lucapa Diamond Company's website. The tender will be conducted by Angolan state-owned diamond trading firm Sodiam and will feature seven diamonds discovered by Sociedade Mineira Do Lulo in 2022, with four of them weighing more than 100 carats, said the statement. The 170-carat pink diamond from Lulo alluvial mining is believed to be the biggest pink diamond extracted in Angola in the last 300 years.

Source: Xinhua


Angola to "remain in line" with OPEC+ for production cut

Angola has announced support for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, to ensure the producing countries' fair revenues and continuous crude oil supply. Angola will remain in line with the decisions of OPEC+, said the country's Ministry of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas in a statement. On 5 October, OPEC+ announced a major production cut of 2 million barrels per day (bpd) starting November to bolster oil prices that have recently tumbled over recession fears. The group said the decision was based on the "uncertainty that surrounds the global economy and oil market outlooks." Angola's oil ministry emphasised that the actions of OPEC+ are important in a period of various uncertainties, as they aim to contribute to market stability by adjusting supply and demand. Angola, the world's 16th largest oil producer, currently produces about 1.1 million barrels of oil per day.

Source: Xinhua


Burundi to set up National Competition Agency to promote competition and consumer welfare

Burundi is on the verge of setting up a National Competition Agency to encourage competition and enhance consumer welfare in the country. Burundi’s Minister for Trade, Transport, Industry and Tourism, Ms Marie Chantal Nijimbere, made the announcement when she met the registrar of the East African Community Competition Authority (EACA), Ms Lilian Mukoronia, in Bujumbura, Burundi. Ms Nijimbere informed the EACA registrar that Burundi was currently looking forward to the operationalisation of the national Competition Law. On her part, Ms Mukoronia told the minister that EACA was committed to assisting Burundi to establish the National Competition Agency, adding that the agency would play a critical role in promoting the development of fairness in regional markets and ensure that intra-regional trade is not undermined by anti-competitive arrangements. The registrar further assured the minister of EACA’s commitment to mounting national sensitisation and awareness campaigns with the aim of promoting competition and enhancing consumer welfare.


PPA to add 27 MW of electricity to Liberia’s grid

The Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) have entered into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with CI Energies for an additional 27 megawatts (MW) of electricity for Liberia. The power will be transmitted through the Côte d’Ivoire-Liberia-Sierra Leone-Guinea (CLSG) transmission line. Power supply to Liberia will commence on 1 December this year. The 1 350-kilometre (km) power transmission line, which carries 225 kilovolts (kv), runs through the CLSG/Transco grid network connecting Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. “Today marks a major milestone in our effort to create a regional energy market and interconnect our electricity networks,” said Gesler Murray, Liberian Minister of Mines and Energy. “The supply of energy from Côte d’Ivoire will significantly help stabilise our energy supply during the dry season when we face major energy deficits.” The agreement offers a long-term electricity supply arrangement between the parties and will ensure the viability of trade on the transmission line between benefitting countries. It should also help improve education, health and security and improve livelihoods in urban and rural communities in Liberia.


Nigeria: Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone programme stokes investor interest

Local and international private sector businesses have expressed strong interest in the USD538-million Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone (SAPZ) programme launched in Nigeria on Monday, 24 October. Conceived by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the programme is expected to stimulate agriculture transformation in Nigeria. The programme launch was followed by a special forum on Tuesday, 25 October, during which participants discussed the benefits and implementation of the SAPZ. The forum brought together a wide range of attendees, including Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, several state governors, investors, representatives of logistics companies, and development partners. The AfDB and partners are funding the first phase of the programme, which covers seven states and the Abuja federal capital territory. The bank is providing USD210-million, while the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) are jointly contributing USD310-million. The Nigerian government is investing USD18.05-million in the programme. Strong support comes from state governments, the private sector and other development partners. Up to 19 more states have expressed interest in joining the second phase of the programme.


Electrification efforts in Rwanda to get USD473-million cash injection

The government of Rwanda has committed to channel RWF500-billion (USD473-million) to support its universal electrification efforts. Rwanda Minister of Infrastructure, Erneste Nsanzimana, has disclosed that the government will use the RWF500-billion to support its universal electrification efforts, focusing mainly on districts with low energy access levels. The Rwanda Minister of Infrastructure disclosed this as he appeared before the Chamber of Deputies to respond to issues related to water and electricity access and damaged bridges across the country. While the government of Rwanda seeks to achieve universal access to electricity by 2024, its current level is still deficient in some districts. This situation prompted lawmakers to question the attainment of such a target within the remaining two years. Mussa Fazil Harerimana, Deputy Speaker in charge of Finance and Administration, said there was an issue with energy infrastructure, including that some districts still have very low electricity access for their residents. This, he said, makes one wonder whether the universal electrification target by 2024, will be achieved. This target is set under the government’s first phase of national strategy for transformation which runs from 2017 through to 2024.


AfDB Group extends EUR63.6-million loan for agro-processing project in Senegal

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group on 26 October 2022 in Abidjan approved a loan of EUR63.6-million to Senegal to implement the Agropole-Centre agro-industrial processing zone project. The Ministry of Industrial Development and Small and Medium Industries will implement the project in four regions in central Senegal: Kaolack, Kaffrine, Fatick, and Diourbel. Its implementation will help increase agricultural exports and boost food security in rural areas. Marie-Laure Akin Olugbade, the bank's Director General for West Africa, said: "The bank is a key partner of Senegal in the implementation of five integrated competitive agropoles planned under the Senegal Emerging Plan, through a public-private partnership (PPP). After the approval of the Southern agropoles in 2019, we are now financing the one in the country's Centre region, which covers an important agricultural basin." The Agropole-Centre project entails the establishment of an agro-industrial value chain development fund (particularly for groundnuts, cereals, and salt) for producers and small businesses.

Source: AfDB


Speed up Somalia’s admission to EAC, says President Mohamud

Somalia President Hassan Sheik Mohamud wants the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat to speed up the consideration of his country’s application to join the regional bloc. The president said Somalia’s wait to join the community has been a delayed dream for the people and his government and urged the EAC secretary-general Peter Mathuki, during his visit to Mogadishu, to expedite the process of admission so that his country can be the eighth member of the EAC. “Somalia belongs to the EAC. There is no country among the EAC partner states that is not linked by business with Somalia and existing historical linkages include language and culture,” said President Mohamud. “We are counting on you secretary-general to send the verification team here in Mogadishu to start the process,” he added. President Mohamud said his country was working tirelessly to remove all security challenges with the support of some of the EAC member states. He said Somalia’s strategic position would benefit the regional bloc significantly through increased movement of goods, services and people across the bloc, in addition to expanding intra-regional trade with the already established Somali businesses in the region.

Tanzania / Democratic Republic of the Congo

Tanzania, DRC sign agreement to strengthen cooperation on ICT

Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have signed a memorandum of understating (MoU) to strengthen cooperation on the promotion of information and communications technology (ICT). A statement by the Directorate of Presidential Communications issued recently said the agreement was signed by responsible ministers from both countries at the start of a two-day state visit by DRC President Felix Tshisekedi to Tanzania. The statement said the signing of the agreement was witnessed by Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan and the visiting DRC President Tshisekedi at State House in Dar es Salaam. The statement said the two leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation in ICT because the sector was one of the leading sectors in the creation of employment for the youth. President Hassan added that through the East African Community (EAC), the two countries plan to construct road infrastructure through the central corridor that will connect the two countries. Tanzania and the DRC are members of the EAC together with Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Uganda. The statement added that the two leaders also agreed to revive the joint commission on bilateral cooperation with a view to boosting trade that has been on the decline for the past 10 years.

Source: Xinhua


Zambia to boost manufacturing of pharmaceutical products

Zambia has launched an initiative aimed at providing a conducive environment for boosting the manufacturing of pharmaceutical products. Launched under the theme Strengthening healthcare through local pharmaceutical manufacturing, the Zambia Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Initiative is meant to reduce the country's dependence on imported pharmaceutical products. Sylvia Masebo, the Minister of Health, said during the launch that the main objective of the initiative is to create an enabling environment aimed at revamping the local pharmaceutical manufacturing industry. According to her, it was unfortunate that despite bearing a disproportionate burden of disease, Africa imports between 70% and 90% of essential medical needs. She said local pharmaceutical production represents between 10% and 15% of the demand for pharmaceutical products, resulting in the country importing the bulk of products. "Virtually all active pharmaceutical ingredients and other inputs used in the local production of finished formulations are imported. Hence, many countries in the region have been particularly vulnerable to shocks in the global supply chain for medicines and medical supplies," she said.

Source: Xinhua


Zambia to receive USD275-million in support of macroeconomic stability, growth, and competitiveness

The World Bank has approved a USD275-million development policy operation for Zambia in support of the country’s reforms to restore fiscal and debt sustainability and promote private sector-led growth. The operation is an integral part of the International Development Association’s (IDA) substantial contribution to help Zambia recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and spillovers from the war in Ukraine, emerge from its debt crisis, and to shift to a more sustainable and inclusive growth. Zambia is in debt distress and needs a deep and comprehensive debt treatment to place public debt on a sustainable path. In January 2021, the government requested support under the Group of 20 (G20) Common Framework for Debt Treatments and launched fiscal and structural reforms to restore macroeconomic stability and reinvigorate growth. The government has prioritised commitment to fiscal discipline, improved public financial management, and greater transparency, including in debt management and reporting. Other structural reforms have focused on removing market distortions, improving transparency, and fighting corruption.

Source: World Bank