Today’s Topics 

Key WTO members to hold virtual meet to discuss reform measures, response to pandemic (Economic Times)

Governments, businesses to converge in Abidjan for Intra-African Trade Fair (Ghana Business News)

Morocco, Mauritius Agree to Initiate New Dynamic of Sectoral Cooperation (EIN News)

Supply chain hiccups tops business leaders’ worries (Business Daily)

Construction Starts on Congo, Central African Republic Sub-River Fiber Connection (Energy Capital & Power)

Ghana removed from list of EU’s high-risk money laundering countries (My Joy Online)

New vaccine manufacturing facility to elevate healthcare in Africa (SA News)



Key WTO members to hold virtual meet to discuss reform measures, response to pandemic - Issues like the WTO's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, proposed pact on fisheries subsidies and reform measures will figure in a virtual meeting of key members of the World Trade Organization on January 21, an official said. The meeting, which is happening at the sidelines of the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, is called by Switzerland. Director-General of World Trade Organization (WTO) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is also participating in the deliberations. The official said that the ministers would be sharing their assessment of the current state of the negotiations in the WTO and how pragmatic and tangible outcomes could be reached. India and South Africa are pushing for a decision on their proposal for a temporary waiver of certain provisions of a WTO agreement on intellectual property rights to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. (economictimes)

Key Words: World, Economy, Trade, WTO


Governments, businesses to converge in Abidjan for Intra-African Trade Fair - Entrepreneurs, financiers, business leaders, governments and regulators will converge in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire for the Intra-African Trade Fair in 2023 (IATF2023) to deliberate on ways to boost trade and investment on the African continent. Organised by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in collaboration with the African Union (AU) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, the third edition of the fair is expected to build on the successes of the 2021 fair held in Durban, South Africa. At a launch in Accra to announce the opening of registrations for the (IATF2023), former president of Nigeria and chair of the IATF Advisory Council, Olusegun Obasanjo, said the IATF2023 would beat the 2021 edition. He said the favourable outcome of the 2021 IATF was a testament to what the African continent could achieve by working together. Looking forward to the next fair, the former Nigeria President stressed that SMEs are encouraged to participate because they are the backbone of the economies in African countries. On her part, the Managing Director, Intra-African Trade Initiative at the Afreximbank, Mrs Kanayo Awani, said the 2023 fair would provide a valuable platform for businesses to access an integrated African market of more than 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of over $3 trillion. The IATF2023 conference will also deal with some thematic areas with additional networking, including the IATF Youth Start-Up programme, which would highlight the support needed for youth-owned startups and small and medium sized businesses to thrive. There will also be capacity development, mentoring, access to finance, supportive infrastructure, government policy and market linkages. (ghanabusinessnews)

Key Words: Africa, Economy, AfCFTA


Morocco, Mauritius Agree to Initiate New Dynamic of Sectoral Cooperation - Morocco and the Republic of Mauritius have agreed to initiate a new dynamic of sectoral cooperation by inviting the ministers of both countries to interact in order to assess the implementation of the agreements previously signed and to jointly identify actions and projects to be undertaken in key sectors, such as health, renewable energies and information technologies. This willingness was expressed during talks, held by video conference, between Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad, Nasser Bourita, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, and Minister of Transport and Light Metro of the Republic of Mauritius, Alan Ganoo. On this occasion, the two ministers welcomed the friendly relations between the two countries, stressing their shared desire to proceed to a revitalization of bilateral cooperation, through the identification of areas of cooperation to promote a qualitative leap and promote a multidimensional partnership between the two countries, said a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Abroad. Bourita and Ganoo also stressed the interest of establishing an ambitious and fruitful cooperation in the maritime sectors, such as port infrastructure, maritime transport, fisheries, aquaculture, protection of underwater cultural heritage and marine renewable energy. As part of strengthening the legal framework governing Moroccan-Mauritian relations, the two ministers agreed on the upcoming signing of agreements finalized between the two countries, the statement added. Aware of the importance of developing their partnership in the economic field, the two officials decided to intensify trade, which remains below the potential of both countries, and encourage the dynamics of cross-investment between Morocco and the Republic of Mauritius, inviting economic operators to multiply missions to explore trade and investment opportunities on both sides. (einnews)

Key Words: NA, Economy, Trade, Regional Integration


Supply chain hiccups tops business leaders’ worries - The risk of interruption of doing business tops the list of concerns for Kenyan companies this year, ahead of the Covid-19 pandemic and market volatility which were the biggest concerns last year. Business leaders told global underwriter Allianz that cyberattacks and supply chain disruptions are the most likely threats to smooth running of businesses this year, mirroring similar concerns globally that has seen supply hiccups push up prices of products such as cooking oil and motor vehicles. Allianz said that fears of cyber incidents reflect an increase in ransomware attacks as companies continue to adopt digital systems and remote working. Forty percent of respondents identified these disruptions as their top concern, followed by political risk and violence at 35 percent —ahead of the general elections due to be held on August 8. Kenya will be electing its fifth president alongside governors, members of parliament and other officials. “For most companies the biggest fear is not being able to produce their products or deliver their services. 2021 saw unprecedented levels of disruption, caused by various triggers,” said Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty chief executive Joachim Mueller. Other top concerns in Kenya include changes in legislation and regulations, loss of brand reputation, theft, fraud and corruption. Business optimism is also ebbing lower this year, according to a separate survey done by Stanbic Bank and IHS Markit. (businessdailyafrica)

Key Words: EA, Economy, Trade


Construction Starts on Congo, Central African Republic Sub-River Fiber Connection - As part of the Central African Backbone (CAB) development project, the Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic (CAR) will be connected by a 285km steel-reinforced, sub-river fiber optic connection designed to enhance business and communications between Congo and the Central African region. Construction on the fiber-optic connection began in Congo’s capital city of Brazzaville and is expected to take seven months to complete. Global information and communications provider, Huawei, and telecommunications operator, China Communications Services International, will use a cable-laying barge to lay the fiber along the beds of the Congo River and crossing Ubangi River, connecting Brazzaville to CAR’s capital city of Bangui. The CAB project is a fiber-optic internet development initiative designed to connect the countries within the Economic Community of Central African States through high-speed internet, thus diminishing the region’s reliance on foreign telecommunications infrastructure. Countries involved in the CAB project include Cameroon, CAR, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, The Republic of Congo, and São Tomé and Príncipe. The mobilization of telecommunications and high-speed fiber is expected to promote regional economic cooperation, developing the capacity for cross-border trade, interregional activities, as well as physical, economic, and monetary integration. For the Congo’s energy sector, this will open up new opportunities regarding regional cooperation, ushering in a new era of cross-border trade and progress. (energycapitalpower)

Key Words: CA, Economy, Trade, Regional Integration


Ghana removed from list of EU’s high risk money laundering countries - Ghana has been removed from the list of European Union’s high risk third countries with strategic deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regimes, a statement from the Finance Ministry has revealed. This was after the country had strengthened the effectiveness of its AML/CFT regime by addressing related technical deficiencies including strengthening the legal and regulatory framework to meet the commitments in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) action plan, with a view of removing strategic deficiencies identified under the Article 9 of 4th Anti-money Laundering Directives. The nation also established legal and regulatory frameworks to meet the commitments in our action plans regarding the strategic deficiencies the FATF had identified. (myjoyonline)

Key Words: West Africa, Economy, EU


New vaccine manufacturing facility to elevate healthcare in Africa - President Cyril Ramaphosa says the newly launched vaccine manufacturing facility campus at Brackengate in Cape Town will usher in a new era in healthcare, medicines and vaccines for the African continent. The President was speaking at the new facility - dubbed NantSA - which was launched in collaboration with world renowned technology healthcare scientist, Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong and his company NantWorks LLC. The facility is aimed mainly at building vaccine manufacturing and pharmaceutical capacity for the African continent – including developing a new COVID-19 vaccine. “[We] are gathered to witness a milestone in Africa’s onward march towards health, progress and prosperity. The President said the vaccine manufacturing facility will allow Africa to no longer rely heavily on other countries and organisations to supply its people with vaccines and other much needed medication. During a presentation at the launch, Dr Soon-Shiong also announced that at least R100 million in scholarships will be made available to students in order to build capacity in scientific fields. At the launch, President Ramaphosa announced the formation of the Coalition to Accelerate Africa’s Access to Advanced Healthcare (AAAH Coalition), which aims to accelerate local production of pharmaceuticals, biologics and vaccines for Africa. (sanews)

Key Words: Southern Africa, Economy, Covid-19