UK-Africa Investment Summit signed deals over £6.5 billion, More urge on investors to boost biz – The UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020 finished yesterday with signed deals worth more than £6.5 billion, tweeted UK Foreign Office's official Twitter handle. "We started the day with £6.5 billion of deals and have ended with billions more. That is thanks to people in this room. The UK Government has announced over £1.5 billion of new initiatives. We expect these to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. And mobilise over £2.4 billion of private investment for African countries, something that every speaker has said we need more of," said Alok Sharma, a British politician, serving as the Secretary of State for International Development since July 2019. "The City of London can play a significant role in bridging Africa's huge infrastructure gap… and LSE can be a pivot in the new relationship with the continent. Indeed, 1 in 4 consumers will live in Africa by 2030," Ghana's President, Nana Akufo-Addo said while responding to a question about the partnerships between the UK and Ghana.On the other hand, the African Development Bank's President, Akinwumi Adesina announced a new $80 million Bank-DFID infrastructure financing partnership. According to him, the continent's $68-$108 billion infrastructure investment gap per year is massive, but it depends on how you look at it. "Either the cup is half full or half empty. To us, that is a $68-$108 billion opportunity." (Devdiscourse)

Key Words: Africa, UK-Africa Summit, Investment

World Economic Situation and Prospects 2020 – Development. In response, I launched the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. As we enter the new decade, we face a complex set of development challenges. The global economy is suffering a significant and widespread slowdown amid prolonged trade disputes and wide-ranging policy uncertainties; poverty rates are increasing in numerous countries; climate risks are more pressing than ever; and inequalities remain broad within and among countries. This is the backdrop as policymakers strive to advance on the SDGs. The World Economic Situation and Prospects 2020 warns that economic risks remain strong, aggravated by deepening political polarization and increasing scepticism about the benefits of multilateralism. These risks could inflict severe and long-lasting damage on development prospects. They also threaten to encourage a further rise in inward-looking policies, at a point when global cooperation is paramount. Climate disruption also poses a serious and growing threat to short- and long-term economic prospects. That is why I will continue to push to keep the climate crisis at the top of the international agenda. The report stresses that investors underestimate the risks of climate change and are still making short-sighted decisions to expand investment into carbon-intensive assets.  (UNCTAD)

Key Words: UNCTAD, World Economic Growth, Trade

PM Africa Investment Summit speech: 20 January 2020 - Good morning. Heads of state, heads of government. Business leaders. Friends. Good morning to you all and a very warm welcome to London, to the UK, and to a new start in our business partnership between my country and your countries and indeed the whole continent of Africa. I am reliably informed that this is the very first time that the UK and quite so many African nations have come together for an event of this kind. And when we celebrate all sorts of exciting new beginnings, the start of a new year, a new decade, a new government here in Britain, it is an event whose time has come. And indeed an event that is long overdue. An event that I regard as the climax of considerable personal exertion because during my two years as foreign secretary I visited more African nations than any other senior British politician in living memory Ghana, the Gambia, Libya, Liberia, Uganda, Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Somalia, Kenya, Egypt, Ethiopia - where in a fit of brilliance our excellent ambassador decided that I should challenge Haile Gebrselaissie to a running race in Addis Abba at an altitude of 2355 m, and in fierce sunshine, over a distance of about a mile. And I had to pretend to have a heart attack in order to get him to slow down and what everybody said was that it was a very convincing impersonation of a man having a heart attack. And wherever I was I am proud to say I found a lot of interest and lot of affection for the UK and even a lot of love. (Gov.UK)

Key Words: Africa, UK-Africa Summit, Investment

Stronger UK-Africa trade and investment ties can turbocharge growth for both regions – With Brexit fast approaching, the UK government and British companies are looking to bolster their ties with non-European states. This ambition is demonstrated strikingly by the UK government’s hosting on 20 January of the inaugural UK-Africa Investment Summit, which aims to bring together UK and African leaders, businesses and entrepreneurs to help drive investment, jobs and growth. They are right to focus on this region as a major potential prize of their newly found independent trading capability. There are a huge variety of complementary opportunities for UK business and investors to build operations or invest in sub-Saharan Africa, which has attractive economic growth potential and a fast-growing emerging middle class. According to the World Bank, sub-Sahara’s GDP has more than quadrupled in the past 20 years to $1.71trn, aided by a boom in population and life expectancy which has seen the region pass the population milestone of a billion people.  Telecommunications, infrastructure, renewable energy, agriculture and fast-moving consumer goods are sectors with the most potential for greater involvement from UK firms. East Africa, in particular, is a region undergoing rapid expansion. (The Africa Report)

Key Words: UK, Africa, Trade

Britain must open a new chapter in its relationship with Africa – Africa is the coming continent. Its population is predicted to double to 2 billion people over the next three decades. That growth will mean enormous opportunities for business and investment, but will also create huge challenges around sustainability and the environment. An Africa focus is therefore essential, particularly for a post-Brexit Britain. The 2020 UK-Africa Investment summit, which takes place in London on Monday, should be the occasion to open a new chapter in Britain’s relationship with Africa. Up to now, despite the significant amounts of aid Britain spends and the strong political and diplomatic footprint it has in Africa, investment lags. Between 2014 and 2018, UK direct investment into Africa was $17bn (£13bn), well below China’s $72bn, France’s $34bn, the US’s $31bn, and the United Arab Emirates’ $25bn. This needs to change. Africa provides a huge opportunity for the UK to maintain its global economic standing: one in every four consumers worldwide will be African by 2050, while eight of the 15 fastest growing economies are in Africa. There is a fresh competition for influence in Africa. Beyond China and its ever-strengthening and well-documented presence, Germany is proactive in encouraging investment by its large manufacturers – such as Siemens and Volkswagen – in countries like Rwanda and Ghana. (The Guardian)

Key Words: UK, Africa, Trade

The time is ripe to fully unlock the UK and Africa's trade potential – The road to Brexit has been both long and winding, and over the past three and a half years we have heard arguments from both sides as to what this historic change will mean for Britain, and the wider international community. The UK-Africa Investment summit taking place today is a clear indication that despite concerns, the UK will fall behind with international trade, the Government is taking seriously the very real opportunity Brexit provides to expand and improve its trade relationships with one of the most culturally diverse, innovative and fastest developing continents in the world – Africa.  For too long, Africa has been overlooked and undervalued as a trading partner. Previous administrations have focused their attentions on developing strategic economic partnerships with countries likes of China, Japan, Germany and India, at the expense of both regional and a continent-wide economic framework in Africa. Bilateral trade between the UK and Africa totalled £28.7 billion in 2016. The UK imported £12.7 billion in goods and services from Africa in 2016. In fact, the value of UK-Africa trade in 2018 remained largely unchanged from a decade before. (The Telegraph)

Key Words: UK, Africa, Trade



Ride the wave of the African Continental Free Trade Area, African Development Bank president Adesina Urges UK investors – Africa is on the cusp of unmatched economic transformation, and the UK must engage in a “partnership of change,” African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said Tuesday in a keynote address at a UK Parliamentary Symposium. “The Africa of the 21st century is very different. The Africa of the 21st century is new and more confident,” he said. The Symposium was co-organized by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Africa with the Royal African Society, Oxford Brookes University, and the Trade Justice Network under the theme UK-Africa Trade and Brexit.  The Bank’s chief argued that Africa and the UK should be significant trading partners. “The reality, however, is that UK’s trade with Africa is trending downwards. From a $49 billion peak in 2012, trade decreased to $30.6 billion in 2018,” he noted.  The decline in UK trade and investment in Africa is against a backdrop of projected business-to-business and consumer-to-consumer expenditures of $5.6 trillion by 2020, and a food and agriculture market worth $1 trillion by 2030. “The fact that we are having this conversation in the UK Parliament is a great start. The convening of this Summit by Prime Minister Boris Johnson is an even greater start,” he acknowledged. President Adesina used his engagement at the House of Commons to share Africa’s investment opportunities, “which speak for themselves.” Trading under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which represents a market of more than 1.3 billion people and a gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion, and is the world’s largest free trade area since establishment of the World Trade Organization, starts in July.  (AfDB)

Key Words: AfDB, AfCFTA, UK

Cross-border runners a far cry from Africa’s free-trade deal ideals  - Farai Mapondera sits at a Shell filling station about 500m from the Beitbridge border post that separates SA and Zimbabwe. It’s 3pm and 40°C so he’s slouched against his battered Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van, waiting for the sun to set before he tackles a crossing plagued by delays, corruption and chaos. Beitbridge is one of Africa’s busiest land border crossings. About 25,000 people and 500 heavy trucks cross every 24 hours and, in summer, the temperatures are searing. Mapondera is a runner, or malaicha, a slang term meaning “deliverer of goods”. Twice a week he transports items between Johannesburg and Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. But delays at the border and breakdowns can reduce his trips to as few as three a month. If it’ll fit in his van or on the overloaded trailer he tows, he’ll take it. The trailer towers over the Sprinter and it looks precariously balanced, tied down with bits of rope and netting. The 1,200km journey takes him about 24 hours — if he’s lucky. “If there are delays you can spend a whole 24 hours trying to cross” the border, Mapondera said. “The roads in Zimbabwe are terrible, so punctures are common, also breakdowns, so sometimes it can take much longer.” While it’s impossible to put a value on the goods runners move across Africa because they avoid duties and taxes, they are organised and efficient. They even have a website and an app. They’re used by rich and poor to bring in goods at the lowest possible price and will deliver to your door anything from a freezer to a mobile phone — and even an envelope stuffed with cash. (Business Day)

Key Words: Africa, AfCFTA, Regional Integration

'Let us in!' African women entrepreneurs implore investors at UK business event – From job creation to clean energy, female African entrepreneurs can add millions of dollars to their economies and deliver positive social change if they are taken more seriously, experts said at British trade event on Monday. Entrepreneurs from 21 African countries - many of them women - showcased businesses from smart street lighting in Nigeria to environmentally friendly breweries in Kenya aimed at making profit and doing good at the inaugural UK-Africa Investment Summit in London. Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a pitch for Britain to be "investment partner of choice for Africa" at the conference, days before his country leaves the European Union. But female entrepreneurs from African countries including Uganda and Zambia said they needed to benefit from the same opportunities as men for their continent's ambitious development goals to be realised. "It is not just about men-run and owned businesses... the whole team has to play," said Monica Musonda, founder of Java Foods, a Zambia-based food manufacturer that aims to tackle malnutrition. "We have to scale and make women-run businesses profitable because they create impact, create jobs and they also contribute to development," she said. Africa has the highest concentration of female entrepreneurs, accounting for almost a third of all businesses on the continent, said a British government statement. (Thomas Reuters Foundation)

Key Words: Africa, UK, Business Agreement

The 33rd AU Summit kicks off with the 39th Session of the Permanent Representatives Committee – Under the theme 'Silencing the guns: creating conducive conditions for Africa's development', the 33rd African Union (AU) Summit opened on Tuesday 21 January 2020, at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the conference of the Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC) who were meeting at their Thirty Ninth (39th) Ordinary Session. The opening ceremony took place in the presence of the Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission, H.E Amb. Kwesi Quartey, AUC Commissioners, all the Ambassadors of the 55 African Union Member States based in Addis Ababa, representatives from the diplomatic corps, the international community, civil society, media, private sector and invited guests among others. On behalf of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Deputy Chairperson of the AUC, H.E Amb. Quartey delivered a speech to officially open the PRC meeting. Amb. Kwesi Quartey underlined the importance of the Institutional Reform of the African Union (AU), in which the Assembly decided to mandate the Chairperson of the Commission to develop a new departmental structure that is lean and performance-oriented, taking into account the division of labour between the African Union, RECs and Regional Mechanisms, Member States and continental organisations. “The Sub-committees of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) reviewed the proposed new structure along with the proposed financing strategy in October and November 2019. The revised proposal was considered and adopted by the PRC from 4-5 December 2019. It will now be considered by Policy Organs in February 2020. (AU)

Key Words: AU, Regional Integration, SDGs



Morocco’s Automotive Sector to Compete with China, India – Industry Minister Moulay Hafid Elalamy believes that Morocco’s automotive sector has the potential to be more competitive than China and India. Speaking at the 11th Automobile Trophies ceremony, Elalamy said: “From now on, Morocco will be, and I weigh my words, among the most competitive automotive countries in the world,” said Elalamy. “We are today the leader in Africa. And it’s behind us. We have to challenge much more advanced countries.” Autonews organized the event where the all-new made in Morocco Peugeot 208, manufactured in PSA’s Group factory in Kenitra, won car of the year 2020. In addition to excelling in the automotive sector, Elalamy announced plans to embark on new challenges to begin the production of connected vehicles and develop automotive ecosystems accordingly. “We are also anticipating the technologies of tomorrow. In the future, we will work more on connected vehicles and we will continue to build ecosystems in this direction,” declared the Minister. Morocco’s automotive sector has successfully provided job opportunities to 116,000 people and is projected to generate an export turnover of MAD 100 billion by 2021. Elalamy recalled that the automotive sector has been Morocco’s leading export sector since 2016, with an annual production capacity of 700,000 units.   (Morocco World News)

Key Words: North Africa, Business, Manufacturing Industry

Trade exchange bet. Egypt, UK hikes 9.4% in 9 months – Trade exchange between Egypt and the United Kingdom marked an annual increase of 9.4 percent during the first nine months of 2019, recording£1763.8 million, according to the Egyptian Commercial Office in London.  The commercial office said in its latest report on the development of economic relations between the two countries that Egyptian exports to the United Kingdom amounted to about £720.8 million during the period from January to September 2019, compared to £680.8 million during the same period of 2018, with an increase of 5.8 percent. It added that the most important Egyptian exports during the past 3years were represented by electric cables, Mineral oils, petroleum products, fertilizers, vegetables and fruits, garments, inorganic chemicals, plastics and products thereof, textiles, carpets, floor coverings, iron and steel products, ceramics and its products, paper products, and furniture.  Egypt’s imports from UK reached £1043 million, up from £931 million during the same period of the prior year, according to the report. The most important imports from UK during the last 3years included Iron and steel products, pharmaceutical products, equipment and machinery, potato seeds, machinery, appliances and electrical equipment, mineral and petroleum fuels, vegetables, plastics and products thereof, oils and aromatic plants. (Egypt Today)

Key Words: North Africa, Business, UK



Rwanda to scrap visa fees for over 90 countries – Rwanda is considering scrapping visa fees for citizens of the Commonwealth, as well as the African Union and La Francophonie member countries, President Paul Kagame has announced. President Paul Kagame made the announcement yesterday at the International School for Government at King’s College in London, while speaking about Rwanda’s transformation journey. The conversation was moderated by Alexander Downer, the Executive Chair of the institution. The President emphasised Rwanda’s commitment to trade with the rest of the world.   “…We are soon considering exempting citizens of the Commonwealth, as well as the African Union and the Francophonie, from paying visa fees when entering Rwanda,” he said. The move is expected to ease access to Rwanda for a significant section of the international community. Commonwealth has 53 members while Francophonie has 54 member states across the world. To date, only 17 African countries were exempt from paying visa fees.  The tally of African countries, Commonwealth member states and La Francophonie comes to about 95 countries set to benefit from the move. This, development experts say, will among other things increase chances of Rwanda hosting global summits due to ease of access, among other benefits. The development could also see Rwandans easily access countries from across the in the event of reciprocity by beneficiary countries.  (The New Times)

Key Words: East Africa, Business, Regional Integration

Palm oil: Golden Africa thinks big in East Africa – Golden Africa, the Yemeni company founded by Fouad Hayel Saeed, and a pioneer in industrial activity in Djibouti, has ambitions in the Horn of Africa, especially Ethiopia. One year after its inauguration in December 2018, overlooking the multimodal port of Doraleh, Golden Africa’s palm oil refining and packaging plant has already picked up speed. And trucks, destined for Ethiopia, will soon be on their way, fully loaded. More than $30m was invested in the refinery, the largest in Djibouti. With 500 employees, it will be able to process between 8,000 and 9,000tn of vegetable oil each month. The company, headed by the Yemeni Fouad Hayel Saeed, Djibouti’s honorary consul in Malaysia, has a 3.4 km pipeline to its own terminal, where ships from Malaysia and Indonesia (producing 85% of the world’s palm oil) dock. Within a year of opening, the company had captured almost a fifth of the palm oil market share in Ethiopia. Undoubtedly, the consul’s links with the influential Yemeni community facilitated the establishment of Golden Africa in Djibouti. A subsidiary of the Malaysian trader Pacific Inter-Link, it is investing $5m in new machinery to raise production to 13,500tn of oil per month. It also has plans to build a soap factory.  (The African Report)

Key Words: East Africa, Business, Regional Integration

Shot in the arm as Lapsset becomes AU project – The Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (Lapsset) corridor project got its biggest boost yet after it was adopted as an African Union project. It will be redesigned to link the Sh32 billion Lamu port on the shores of the Indian Ocean to the Douala port in Cameroon, on the Atlantic Ocean. The project will be implemented in two phases — starting with the Lamu-Isiolo-Addis Ababa-Djibouti route before embarking on connecting Lamu to Kribi/Douala via Juba and Bangui. The announcement has given Nairobi the much needed boost for its flagship multi-billion-dollar infrastructure project that has dragged on for years. Speaking during the signing of a memorandum of understating between Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan in Mombasa, AU High Representative for Infrastructure Development Raila Odinga said the organisation had adopted Lapsset as a continental project and this would now see it get implemented under the AU.  “This project will now not only connect Kenya with Ethiopia and South Sudan, but with other West Africa countries once it is completed. As an AU project, it will link with other continental corridors such as East Africa Northern Corridor, East Africa Central Corridor and provide a land bridge through the African Great Lakes region,” Mr Odinga said.  (Daily Nation)

Key Words: East Africa, Business, Regional Integration



Ghanaian products will feature strongly in the global market place – Addressing attendees of the Ghana Investment and Opportunity Summit 2020 in London, the capital of the United Kingdom, under the theme, “Accessing the African Common Market through Ghana: Technology, Digitisation & Industrialisation,’ President Akufo-Addo said, “Ghana is endowed with great potential and is a country where security is assured, where the rule of law is upheld by an independent Judiciary and where investments are protected in law and in fact, Ghana stands tall amongst its peers.” To this end, the President indicated that Ghana is ready to engage the rest of the world with her products in order to develop the nation’s economy. “We want to participate in global market place at the high end of the value chain for Ghanaian products. We want to bring greater dignity to the lives of millions of people in Ghana and we want to build a “Ghana Beyond Aid,'” President Akufo Addo said. President Akufo-Addo in his keynote address observed that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement secretariat will be fully operational by March 2020 ahead of the full take-off of continental trading in June 2020. He reiterated Ghana’s commitment to the agreement to ensure its success. “Ghana is fully committed to the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). With the collective desire for shared prosperity, we are confident that AfCFTA will succeed and offer a new impetus of dynamism for rapid growth of Africa’s economies and deepen the process of integration in Africa. (Ghana Web)

Key Words: AfCFTA, Ghana, Business

IMF affirms 2.5% growth forecast for Nigeria’s economy in 2020 – The International Monetary Fund, IMF, yesterday reiterated its forecast that Nigeria’s economy, as measured by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), will grow by 2.5 percent in 2020. The IMF stated this in its January World Economic Outlook (WEO) released yesterday, titled, “Tentative Stabilization, Sluggish Recovery”. The IMF had earlier projected in its October 2019 WEO that Nigeria’s economy will grow by 2.5 percent in 2020. But, the IMF in the January 2020 WEO downgraded its growth forecast for Sub Saharan African region to 3.5 percent citing constrains and deteriorating public finance in South Africa. “In sub-Saharan Africa, growth is expected to strengthen to 3.5 percent in 2020–21 (from 3.3 percent in 2019). The projection is 0.1 percentage point lower than in the October WEO for 2020 and 0.2 percentage point weaker for 2021. This reflects downward revisions for South Africa (where structural constraints and deteriorating public finances are holding back business confidence and private investment) and for Ethiopia (where public sector consolidation, needed to contain debt vulnerabilities, is expected to weigh on growth)”, the IMF said. Similarly, the IMF however downgraded its growth forecast for the global economy to 3.3 percent in 2020, representing a one percentage point decline from 3.4 percent forecast made in October last year. (Vanguard)

Key Words: West Africa, Economy, IMF



 SADC Harmonised Consumer Price Indices (HCPI) – This is the ninety-ninth issue in series since the launch of news releases on SADC HCPI initiative. It provides updates up to November 2019 on HCPI for SADC Member States. Annual Inflation rates for SADC Member States The reported annual inflation rates for November 2019 of SADC Member States indicate that four Member States have recorded highest double-digit inflation rates, as follows: Angola (16.0%), Malawi (10.5%), Zambia (10.4%) and Zimbabwe (581.3%) whilst Mauritius registered lowest inflation rate of 1.3%. The annual inflation rates for the rest of the other Member States were as follows: Botswana (2.7%), DRC (4.5%), Eswatini (2.1%), Lesotho (2.7%), Madagascar (4.6%), Mozambique (2.6%), Namibia (4.1%), South Africa (4.7%) and Tanzania (3.8%), as reflected in table 2 below. Compared to the SADC regional annual average inflation rate of 16.8% for November 2019, fourteen SADC Member States recorded annual rates below the regional average whilst one Member States namely Zimbabwe registered rate higher than the regional average. See figure 3 below for more details. Month on Month Inflation rates for SADC Member States All SADC Member States registered increases in the month on month inflation rate in November 2019. The highest increase was registered by Zimbabwe (17.2%) followed by Angola (1.6%). (UNECA)

Key Words: SA, Trade, UNECA

Malawi leads Africa closer to full use of drones - The opening of the first such academy in Africa – it has started operating in Malawi – is a major step towards the use of drones in programmes and services that will impact the lives of children and young people. The historic African Drone and Data Academy (ADDA) opened in the capital, Lilongwe, this week. It builds on the work of Africa’s first humanitarian corridor launched in the Southern African country in 2017. The academy will develop expertise in the use of drones for humanitarian, development and commercial purposes across the continent through a 12-week course. It plans to train some 150 students to build and pilot drones by 2021. Funding from UNICEF’s partners will provide free tuition to the first cohort of 26 students from across Africa. Henrietta Fore, the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF’s) Executive Director, said ADDA would be instrumental in equipping young people with the skills they needed to use the technology to benefit children and their communities. “Humanitarian and development programme delivery in Africa and beyond can benefit significantly from the application of drone technology,” she added. ADDA’s curriculum has been developed in partnership with the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). (CajNews)

Key Words: Malawi, ADDA, SDGs

Zimbabwe ready to host & showcase itself at sustainable development forum – Zimbabwe is ready to host the Sixth Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) that will be held in Victoria Falls from 24 to 27 February under the theme ‘2020-2030: A Decade to Deliver a Transformed and Prosperous Africa through the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.” This was said Monday by the country’s acting Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare Minister, Sekai Nzenza, at a Press Conference on the forthcoming Forum. “The Forum gives Zimbabwe an opportunity to showcase itself, especially that the country is really open for business and also what the country can offer in terms of tourism. It is also a great opportunity for the country to establish strategic alliances on SDGs as we continue to reengage with the rest of the world,” said Ms. Nzenza. She said Zimbabwe is fully committed to the sustainable development goals agenda and the African Union’s Agenda 2063. “In addition to economic benefits such as revenue inflows which accrue from hosting more than 1,200 delegates, the Forum presents various opportunities for the country such as sharing success stories in the implementation of SDGs in other countries on the continent; leadership at the High Level Political Forum; and marketing our tourism industry,” the Minister said. (UNECA)

Key Words: Zimbabwe, Trade, UNECA