Today’s Topics 

IMF chief warns world economy faces an ‘obstacle course’ this year (Financial Times)

African Central Banks Set to Hold Rates With Focus on Growth (Bloomberg)

Algeria-Morocco dispute hits LPG trade (Argus Media)

EABC calls for review of region’s rules of origin (The East African)

Congo Republic Gets $455 Million IMF Loan for Pandemic Fallout (Bloomberg)

Nigeria: CBN releases e-invoicing guidelines for import, exports (The Guardian)

World Bank approves R11.4 billion loan for South Africa (BusinessTech)



IMF chief warns world economy faces an ‘obstacle course’ this year - The head of the IMF said that the global economy would have to navigate an “obstacle course” this year with the ongoing pandemic and geopolitical tensions deepening a global inflation problem. Speaking at the virtual World Economic Forum held instead of the normal in-person gathering at Davos, Kristalina Georgieva warned that the outlook for the global economy this year would be far from smooth. With an eye to the worsening tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Georgieva said that many of the causes of inflation were not simply explained by levels of spending and demand being too high compared with global supply capacity. Georgieva said the US Federal Reserve was “acting responsibly” in its tightening of monetary policy, and was balancing the need to fight rising prices and protect the recovery at a time when “inflation in the US is turning into an economic and social concern”. However, higher US interest rates would hit some countries, especially those with high levels of dollar denominated debt, which “could throw cold water on what for some countries is already a weak recovery”. The IMF will publish its latest forecasts for the global economy on Tuesday next week. (

Key Words: World, Economy, Trade, IMF


African Central Banks Set to Hold Rates With Focus on Growth - Central banks in some of Africa’s biggest economies will likely look past high inflation and U.S. policy tightening and hold interest rates over the coming weeks to shore up their recoveries from the Covid-19 stasis. Price growth in Nigeria, Ghana, Angola and Zimbabwe that was already in double-digits has accelerated, stoked by rising food and oil prices. Even so, most major central banks are set to prioritize supporting fragile economies over taming price growth by leaving key interest unchanged in the coming days.  Africa’s “growth recovery is a lot slower and weaker, and implies that central banks have to be a lot more cautious when it comes to the tightening,” said Yvonne Mhango, Renaissance Capital’s head of research for the continent. She also cautioned that its nations lacked the resources to provide the level of fiscal stimulus that helped developed markets like the U.S. recover faster.  Borrowing costs are only expected to rise in South Africa, whose liquid capital markets make it vulnerable to tightening by developed market central banks; and Zimbabwe, which is contending with an inflation rate of more than 60% and a sliding currency. (bloomberg)

Key Words: Africa, Economy, Trade


Algeria-Morocco dispute hits LPG trade - A diplomatic breakdown between Algeria and Morocco has disrupted traditional LPG trading flows, with the former looking east to sell and the latter looking west to buy. Algeria severed all ties with Morocco in August 2021 over the latter's alleged support for terrorist activities in the Kabylie region of Algeria. The duo's more than 40-year dispute stems from Morocco's claim to the Western Sahara territory while Algeria supports the Polisario Front's fight for an independent state. Algeria continued to ship LPG to Morocco until the end of 2021 to fulfil contractual obligations, but it is uncertain if contracts will be renewed this year. Morocco imported 1.03mn t of Algerian LPG in 2021, steady on the year and 17pc higher than in 2019, but down from 2mn t in 2015. The most recent trade between the two was on the Gaschem Weser on 16 December, which may have been part of a contract. Algeria exported 267,000t of LPG in the first 17 days of this month compared with around 6,800t, or 3.5pc, a year earlier, none of which was aimed at Morocco, Vortexa data show. Algeria's move to stop issuing a key customs form has led Morocco to impose an extra $20/t tax on imports from its neighbor, which appears to be deterring spot deals. (argusmedia)

Key Words: NA, Economy, Trade, Regional Integration


EABC calls for review of region’s rules of origin - East Africa's private sector wants a review of the region's rules of origin in order to maximise its gains from the implementation of the Africa continental free trade area. Traders, under the East African Business Council (EABC), say that the existing rules, which have not been reviewed since 2015, have denied a number of products duty-free access to the EAC markets. The current rules of origin deny edible oil, cement and newly introduced fruits duty-free access, among other products. The EAC rules of origin set the criteria to distinguish between goods that are produced within the EAC Customs territory and are eligible for community preferential tariff treatment, and those produced outside the bloc, which attract import duties specified in the Common External Tariff (CET). The main intention of the review is to make EAC rules of origin facilitate trade and attract more investments into the region. EAC partner states have agreed to adopt a four-band tariff structure, that is, zero percent, 10 percent, 25 percent, and a rate above 25 percent. The partner states have reached a consensus on only the first three bands. On the fourth band, they are torn between 30 percent and 35 percent. (theeastafrican)

Key Words: EA, Economy, AfCFTA


Congo Republic Gets $455 Million IMF Loan for Pandemic Fallout - The International Monetary Fund approved a $455 million loan for Republic of Congo to support the country’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and a tumble in oil prices. The IMF executive board approved the package under a new three-year Extended Credit Facility arrangement, the lender said in a statement Friday. The decision will enable an immediate disbursement equivalent to about $90 million. “Reducing debt vulnerabilities while implementing fiscal policy that supports a strong and equitable economic recovery will be key,” the fund said. Congo needs to advance wide-ranging structural reforms, including anti-corruption measures, steps to enhance transparency in the use of public resources, and energy sector reforms to improve governance and the business environment, the IMF said. Policies adopted under the agreement over the long term will help reduce fragilities and place Congo onto a path of higher, more resilient, and inclusive growth, the IMF said. They will also contribute to the regional effort to restore and preserve external stability for the Central African Economic and Monetary Union, the fund said. (bloomberg)

Key Words: CA, Economy, Trade, IMF


Nigeria: CBN releases e-invoicing guidelines for import, exports - The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released guidelines for the newly-introduced electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) and evaluator for exporters and importers, saying the process commences on February 1, 2022. The new regulation, it stated, is aimed at determining the accurate value for goods leaving the country or otherwise. The migration was announced in August, last year. At the weekend, the apex bank said the electronic process, which replaces the hard copy, would commence on February 1. It added that the invoice must be authenticated by the authorised dealer banks. This was disclosed in a circular signed by the Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Dr. O. S. Nnaji, and addressed to authorize dealers and the general public. The guideline promised that the system would operate on a global price verification mechanism, which is determined by benchmark price – a spot market price obtainable in the market where the goods are traded during the invoicing. The document listed the obligations of both exporters and importers in the new scheme as well as possible sanctions for violating the rules. (

Key Words: West Africa, Economy, Trade


World Bank approves R11.4 billion loan for South Africa - The World Bank has approved South Africa’s request for a $750 million (R11.4 billion) development policy loan. This loan will support the government’s efforts to accelerate its Covid-19 response aimed at protecting the poor and vulnerable from the adverse socio-economic impacts of the pandemic and supporting a resilient and sustainable economic recovery, Treasury said in a statement on Friday (21 January). “The World Bank budget support is coming at a critical time for us and will contribute towards addressing the financial gap stemming from additional spending in response to the Covid-19 crisis,” said Dondo Mogajane, director-general of the National Treasury. Treasury said the funding is a low-interest loan that will contribute to South Africa’s fiscal relief package. It follows support that has already been given by a number of international monetary groups, including the International Monetary Fund, the African Development Bank and the New Development Bank. As the second-largest economy in Africa, the World Bank noted that South Africa’s economic performance has spillover effects on other countries in the region. Its recovery and successful economic development will provide an economic boost to the whole region, it said. (businesstech)

Key Words: Southern Africa, Economy, Covid-19