AU chair Macky Sall to push Russia, Ukraine to unblock grain exports
Senegal's President and African Union (AU) chairperson Macky Sall said recently that when he visits Russia and Ukraine in the coming weeks, he will push them to unblock exports of grains and fertiliser to avoid widespread famine. Africa is suffering from disruptions in food supply and soaring prices of basic goods and risks "disastrous consequences" if the situation endures, Sall said during a conversation with philanthropist Mo Ibrahim at the Ibrahim Governance Forum. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, nearly half of Africa's 54 countries rely on Russia and Ukraine for wheat imports. Russia is also a major supplier of fertiliser to at least 11 countries. "We have pleaded for a ceasefire, for an end to the war and the release of all food products … so that the world doesn't know a famine after two years of COVID-19 and almost three months of the war," said Sall.
Source: The EastAfrican
UN Global Compact launches new hub for Africa
The Africa Regional Hub will mobilise, accelerate and scale-up the impact of responsible business across Africa and drive forward the Africa Strategy 2021-2023 of the United Nations (UN) Global Compact. With 1.3-billion people and a combined GDP of USD3.5-trillion dollars, Africa is the world’s biggest growth market. African businesses are primed to play a pivotal role in the corporate sustainability movement. The UN Global Compact’s Africa Strategy 2021-2023 provides a roadmap to galvanise large and small businesses across Africa to uphold the Ten Principles. The UN Global Compact’s principles-based approach means that businesses operate in ways that, at a minimum, meet fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. During the launch event, the UN Global Compact also announced a call to action for 100 African companies who are current signatories of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) to partner with the UN Global Compact to advance gender equality.
IMF staff completes 2022 Article IV mission to Botswana
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team, led by Mr Papa N’Diaye, assistant director in the IMF African Department and mission chief for Botswana, visited Gaborone and held discussions on the 2022 Article IV consultation from 4 – 18 May 2022. At the conclusion of the discussions, Mr N’Diaye issued the following statement, in part: “The 2022 Article IV consultation discussions take place in a context of high volatility in global commodities, and COVID-19 outbreaks in Botswana’s key trading partners. Commodity prices have surged following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While higher demand for and prices of diamonds could result in some windfall for Botswana, higher food and energy prices will weigh on fiscal and external balances and threaten food security and energy affordability for the most vulnerable populations. At the same time, COVID-19 outbreaks in China, supply chain disruptions, and tighter financial conditions are projected to reduce global growth to 3.6% in 2022, from 6.1% in 2021. Growth is projected at 4.3% in the current year. Robust diamond production, favourable terms of trade, improvements in tourism, and smaller portfolio outflows should further strengthen Botswana’s external position.”
GhanaCares programme to spur growth – Africa Economic Outlook report
Ghana’s economic outlook for the year remains positive despite the challenges facing the country. The country’s projected GDP growth is 5.3% for the year and 5.1% in 2023, which are both higher than the Africa average of 4.1%. The growth is expected to be spurred by the Ghana COVID-19 Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises Support (GhanaCares) Programme. This was contained in the Africa Economic Outlook (AEO) report released in Accra at the close of the African Development Bank (AfDB) meetings held recently. Despite the positive projection which is also similar to the earlier ones made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank during the Spring Meetings, the report noted that potential inflationary pressure existed due to increased energy and food prices associated with the impact of the Russia–Ukraine conflict. Inflation is projected to surge to 15% in 2022 before falling to 9.1% in 2023. “The bank of Ghana is expected to adopt a tight monetary policy stance,” the report predicted. The fiscal deficit is also projected to narrow further to 12.8% of GDP in 2022 and to 10.3% in 2023, spurred by revenue-enhancing reforms.
Source: Graphic Online
Ghana / Uganda
Ghana and Uganda ban grain and food exports
Global food protectionism is now in full swing. After India, some major European Union food exporting nations like Hungary halted the export of certain crops. Many African countries are also banning the export of their produce. Ghana and Uganda are among a slew of African countries banning the export of grains and other farm produce with the latter imposing high taxes to prevent food exports to neighbouring countries. The Ghanaian government has extended a ban on grain exports. A temporary ban on exporting maize, rice, soybeans, and other grains – which took effect in September last year – will now run until September 2022. The original ban was put in place to ensure food security and increase local poultry and livestock production. The extension of the ban comes as grain prices soar, partly because of Russia's war on Ukraine. But some farmers are unhappy with the extended ban, saying they would get better prices if they could sell their crops outside of Ghana. So, they want the government to lift it.
AfDB financing for Kenya roadway boosts local economy and regional integration
Kenya is making rapid progress in the construction of its part of the Great Trans-African highway that runs from Cairo in Egypt to South Africa’s Cape Town. The 84 km Kenol-Sagana-Marua highway, which runs through central Kenya, is being upgraded from a single lane road to a dual carriageway. It is expected to be completed in six months, two years earlier than scheduled. The roadway connects Nairobi with major commercial and agriculturally important towns in central, upper eastern and northern Kenya. Plans for this section of the Great Trans-African highway began nearly 40 years ago. However, construction began only after the African Development Bank (AfDB) stepped in in 2019 to finance the project. AfDB Group president Dr Akinwumi Adesina toured the construction site. He praised the progress the Kenyan government has made. He said the project would be part of the legacy of the AfDB and the government of Kenya. “The bank has been instrumental in Kenya’s infrastructure development, increasing its investments in the country by USD4-billion since 2015,” Adesina said.
Kenya takes KES138-billion World Bank loan in months
Kenya took KES137.93-billion from the World Bank and rich countries in four months to April as it raced to plug the more than KES1-trillion budget deficit. The new borrowing is part of KES433.1-billion that the Treasury is targeting from external lenders this financial year ending June. Documents tabled in parliament by the Treasury show six of the nine loans were from the World Bank while the rest were from Germany, Italy and France. “The total value of the nine loans signed is equivalent to KES137.93-billion,” said Treasury cabinet secretary Ukur Yatani in the documents. The new loans were procured between January and April to help fill the KES1.4-trillion fiscal deficit in the KES3.3-trillion budget for the 2020/22 financial year. No commercial loans were procured during the review period when interest rates on the loans per annum ranged between 0.5% and 1.25%.
Source: Business Daily
As growth slows, Madagascar needs a new reform drive to steer clear of the economic storm
The latest economic update for Madagascar suggests that the economy is facing new headwinds following bouts of COVID-19, a series of extreme weather events and the fallout from the conflict in Ukraine at the start of 2022. An economic recovery had started in Madagascar in 2021 but was interrupted in 2022 by a sequence of domestic and international shocks which are expected to result in growth slowing to 2.6% in 2022 (from 4.4% in 2021), with the poverty rate now expected to remain close to 81%. According to the Madagascar Economic Update: Navigating Through the Storm, the crisis is Ukraine is expected to affect Madagascar mainly through slowing demand from key trading partners and rising oil prices, which are projected to lead to growing fiscal pressures due to a lack of adjustment of regulated fuel prices and growing losses of the national utilities company JIRAMA. Beyond conjunctural factors, the decline in private investment and job creation since the outset of the crisis are expected to constrain the growth potential of the economy moving forward. In this context, growth is expected to pick up to a slower than expected 4.2% in 2023 and 4.6% in 2024.
Source: World Bank
AfDB gives financial sector a boost with new tools to support local corporates, SMEs and domestic trade
Members of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group’s Financial Sector Development Department (trade finance division) have concluded a successful visit to Malawi aimed at strengthening engagement with the private sector and leading financial institutions. The team, led by the bank’s Country Manager for Malawi, Macmillan Anyanwu, engaged with senior executives of several local financial institutions in Lilongwe and Blantyre to establish points of entry for the AfDB to support Malawi’s financial sector. Bleming Nekati, chief trade finance officer; Jonathan Banda, investment officer; and Samson Kasuka, senior trade finance officer, made up the rest of the delegation. The team also conducted presentations with a selected group of private sector officials, to raise awareness of the bank’s major non-sovereign instruments and to introduce its newly launched trade finance transaction guarantee instrument to the Malawian market. The guarantee is specifically designed to provide up to 100% cover for non-payment risk to regional and international banks, for trade transactions initiated by local banks in various African countries.
Government secures power restoration funds
The Ministry of Finance has secured a USD60-million funding commitment from the World Bank which will be used for the restoration of power into the national grid by different players in the power sector. Minister of Finance Sosten Gwengwe confirmed the development in a recent interview, adding that there are other dollar resource funding commitments which the bank has made. One of the players in the energy sector, the Electricity Generation Company (EGENCO), also confirmed the development in a separate interview. EGENCO spokesperson Moses Gwaza said the firm has been in discussions with the Bretton Woods institution and they have reached a solution that it will provide the resources for the restoration of Kapichira Power Station. Gwaza added that part of the money will be a grant while part of it will be a loan. “It has to be further noted that the money is for the whole emergency power restoration project, meaning that part of it is going to other state institutions within the energy sector to support their restoration as well,” Gwaza said.
Source: The Times
Malawi unveils plan for eight secondary cities
Recently, Malawi launched the Secondary Cities Plan, which seeks to transform eight rural areas into secondary cities as one way of easing pressure on the current cities. The eight rural areas earmarked for development into secondary cities are Karonga, Nkhata Bay, Chipoka in Salima, Liwonde in Machinga, Monkey Bay in Mangochi, Kasungu, Luchenza in Mulanje and Bangula in Nsanje. Launching the plan in Lilongwe, Minister of Local Government, Blessings Chinsinga said urbanisation, if well managed facilitates sustained economic growth, thereby promoting broad social welfare gains as articulated in Sustainable Development Goal number 11 of making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. He observed that the world’s population is urbanising, and wealth creation is increasingly clustering in urban areas. According to Chinsinga, processes of democratisation and social welfare development often find most intense expression in urban areas. Chinsinga said, it is, therefore, imperative that Malawi faces the challenge of managing the urbanisation process now.
Source: The Times
Malawi / Zimbabwe
Malawi wants stronger trade ties with Zimbabwe
The Ministry of Transport says it is committed to establishing stronger trade ties with Zimbabwe in line with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to enhance socio-economic development. In a statement following the hosting of the Malawi-Zimbabwe Business Forum in Lilongwe, Minister of Transport Jacob Hara said for a long time, trade between the two countries has been relatively low. He said this is despite high proximity of major commercial and industrial hubs of the two countries, hovering around USD60-million (about MWK62-billion). “In Malawi, there are vast business opportunities. Being an agro-based economy, there are numerous and exciting opportunities in value addition and trade for our commodities,” said Hara. The minister said Zimbabwe can benefit from export commodities such as oilseeds, legumes, pigeon peas, macadamia nuts, tobacco, tea, coffee, rice and precious stones. Hara highlighted other investment opportunities in large-scale farming, food processing, fertiliser manufacturing, textiles manufacturing, power generation, mining, information and communications technology, tourism, housing and real estate and infrastructural development.
Source: The Nation
Mozambique / Rwanda
Mozambique Chamber of Commerce and Rwanda’s PSF sign MoU to boost trade, investment
Rwandan and Mozambican investors have agreed to promote and strengthen investment and trade cooperation in a new move that will ease doing business between the two countries. This was done by signing an agreement as a legal document that will guide the new collaboration in Maputo where over 50 Rwanda business operators are attending the Rwanda-Mozambique Business Forum. According to the signed memorandum of understating (MoU), the two parties will promote exchanges and cooperation through organising economic and trade delegations, project study tours, exhibitions, seminars, investment briefings and high-level forums. “This MoU that we are signing is a testimony and willingness of both private sectors to collaborate and facilitate business members to have a conducive business environment,” said Private Sector Federation (PSF) chairperson Robert Bafakulera after signing the agreement.
Source: Club of Mozambique
Namibia / Nigeria
Namibia pushes for improved bilateral relationship with Nigeria
Namibia has expressed its willingness to extend a bilateral relationship with Nigeria. According to the country, it would use the hosting of the 5th session of the Namibia-Nigeria Joint Commission of Cooperation taking place in Windhoek in August 2022, to push for an improved bilateral relationship between the two African countries. Addressing a press conference in Abuja, recently, the High Commissioner of Namibia to Nigeria, Mr Humphrey Geiseb, said the present volume of trade between the two countries needed to be improved. He noted that the establishment of the Namibia-Nigeria Joint Commission of Cooperation in 2000 provided a platform for assistance and to execute projects between the two countries. He said, “In 2000, Namibia and Nigeria established the Namibia-Nigeria Joint Commission of Cooperation. In August 2022, Namibia will host the 5th session of this joint commission to elaborate on mutually beneficial projects between Namibia and Nigeria… This joint commission has stood the test of time and has provided a platform to execute great projects between our two countries.”
Source: This Day
Government targets NGN207-billion revenue from specialised hospitals
The federal government hopes to generate about NGN207-billion from proposed five specialist hospitals and one intravenous fluid plant across the country. The project, which will be built under a design-build-finance-operate-maintain (DBFOM) model, is going to be located across the six geo-political zones. The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) said it has advanced in its discussions with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Medical Service Limited (NMSL) over the proposal. The projects have been proposed to run for a concession period of 20 years. Of the six pilot projects, two have been issued with outline business case (OBC) certificates while the OBCs for four are being finalised. The two projects that have received OBC certificates are multi-specialist hospitals in Abuja and Port Harcourt. While the Abuja project is estimated to accrue a total revenue of NGN91.7-billion in the 20-year concession period, the projected accruals from the Port Harcourt project within the same period are estimated at NGN115.5-billion.
Source: The Guardian
CHOGM: 40 heads of state confirm attendance
At least 40 heads of state have confirmed to attend the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), slated for late this month. Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Vincent Biruta announced the development in his address to journalists on Rwanda’s current preparedness. Biruta also briefed journalists on the latest impasse of Rwanda and her western neighbouring country the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He reiterated Rwanda’s commitment to the path of dialogue of peace between both countries. Despite the incident however, he said that ongoing preparations to host over 5 000 delegates for CHOGM are unhindered, citing that there were several signs of progress. “The country is in a good state, we are preparing for CHOGM later this coming month, at least 40 heads of state and government have already confirmed attendance,” he told the media. During her visit to Rwanda last month, the Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland QC said that over half of the association’s 54 member countries had confirmed attendance at the meeting from 20 – 25 June.
Source: The New Times
Tanzania opens new consulate in China's richest province
Businesses linked to Tanzania have been urged to make use of trade and investment opportunities available in China’s Guangdong Province, one of the richest, after the country opened a consulate there. The province’s GDP is approximately USD1.7-trillion, similar to that of some countries in the G20. Speaking virtually from Beijing, Tanzania Ambassador to China Mbelwa Kairuki said Guangdong’s economy is the largest among Chinese provinces and therefore, more business opportunities are available, adding: “More people, not only from Tanzania but from other parts of the world also are coming here for business.” Meanwhile, media reports indicate that inauguration of the Consulate General Office in Guangzhou would enable Tanzania to take more advantage of opportunities under the Belt and Road Initiative, Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development.
Source: The Citizen
Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources embarks on smart-centred land system
Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Elijah Muchima says his ministry has introduced a smart-centred Zambia Integrated Land Administration System (ZILAS) from the land administration system from the Zambia Integrated Land Management Information System (ZILMIS). Mr Muchima explains that this has been necessitated by challenges to administering and managing land affairs in a transparent and sustainable manner. The ministry has been working around the clock to find best ways of executing the strategic focus in its mandate to administer land efficiently. Speaking during an internal sensitisation and awareness meeting in Lusaka, Mr Muchima disclosed that the shift to ZILAS will be officially launched on 16 June 2022. The new system shall be integrated into the Government Service Bus (GSB) and payment gateway, aimed at modernising the delivery of public services through digital technology. It will thereby promote simplicity in the process of doing business as it allows for online payment transactions, unlike queuing up at the ministry to access services.