Italy quietly joins ranks of Africa’s major players – Italy has become the world’s sixth biggest investor on the African continent. Italian companies, like the oil and gas giant, Eni are expanding their operations in African countries.  Italian companies have been increasing their presence on the African continent in recent years. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Italy’s foreign direct investment (FDI) grew to €28 billion in 2018. This makes Italy the sixth largest global investor in Africa after France, Netherlands, United States, United Kingdom, and China.While Italy’s focus seems to be on North Africa, its two main recipients of FDI were South Africa ($4.5bn) and Nigeria ($1.3bn) last year. The partially state-owned (30%) hydrocarbon firm, Eni has significantly boosted Italy’s position in the rankings. It makes the largest FDI contributions in Africa compared to any other Italian company. The group has also become a major gas player thanks to the rise of the Egyptian mega-field in Zohr. Half of Eni’s global production and 60% of its reserves come from 14 countries in Africa. Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) in Ghana, is one of the company’s key projects on the continent, according to Eni spokesperson, Marilia Cioni. Other Italian companies are trying to play catch-up with Eni. Under CEO Francesco Starace, Enel Green Power has become one of Africa’s leading private operators in renewable energy. Enel operates in South Africa, Zambia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, and Zambia. It recently launched the RES4Africa Foundation – a platform for training, technical assistance, and expertise. Another Italian company, Terna manages high-voltage electricity transmission networks. (The African Report)

Key Words: Global Trade, Business, Market

Managing capital inflows to reduce resource transfer from developing to developed countries – Increased financial integration has heightened the vulnerability of developing countries to global financial cycles. In response, many have sought to accumulate foreign exchange reserves, usually in the form of short-term United States dollardenominated bonds, as self-insurance to prevent a sudden capital inflow reversal or contain the adverse effects of such a reversal. However, such assets bring low returns relative to the costs of servicing the volatile capital inflows that developing countries receive. In the period 2000–2018, the ensuing resource transfer from 16 major developing countries amounted on average to roughly $440 billion per year or 2.2 per cent of the combined gross domestic product (GDP) of these countries. This policy brief argues that capital controls can provide a more effective way to control financial vulnerability, but that supportive measures will be needed at the international level. Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development requires resources to be mobilized from many sources. Private foreign capital is increasingly perceived as having the potential to narrow the resource gap in developing countries. However, capital inflows do not come with a guarantee that opening the capital account and establishing an investor friendly environment will attract the kind of inflows needed to strengthen a more inclusive and sustainable development path. (UNCTAD)

Key Words: Global Trade, Business, UNCTAD

Trade In Asia-Pacific Declines For First Time Since 2009 – Asia-Pacific economies may see positive trade growth in 2020 but are still facing downside risks from the adverse impacts of the United States – China trade tensions, two new trade briefs by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) released Wednesday have revealed. Trade in the Asia-Pacific region contracted during 2019. For the first time since the 2009 global economic crisis, the value and volume of trade in the region is declining. Total export volume fell by 2.5 per cent, while import volume decreased by 3.5 per cent. Oil exporting economies such as Islamic Republic of Iran and Indonesia as well as Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong, China registered some of the largest declines in export volume. Merchandise trade in the region also faced strong headwinds in 2018-2019 caused by the worldwide economic growth slowdown and heightened trade tensions. These have had an adverse effect on trade, particularly in the case of economies closely integrated with China through Global Value Chains (GVCs). Integration of smaller traders into the global and regional economy through GVCs is becoming more difficult. New import barriers increase the cost of production and reduce the competitiveness of companies participating in regional production networks. (Eurasia Review)

Key Words: Global Trade, Business, Economic Growth

Oil markets could face oversupply in 2020, says DWF – Slava Kiryushin, Dubai-based global head of energy at DWF, has commented on the global oil trade in 2020, where he expects there to be an oversupply. He said, “Many oil traders have predicted a bullish 2020 for the global oil industry, recent market analysis demonstrates that this is unlikely to happen and the market will be in a position of oversupply. “My view is that this will primarily be due to increased shale production and a slower than expected growth of the global economy. The International Energy Agency’s latest reports support the view that there will a global oversupply. “Even the new shipping fuel regulations set to be implemented in January 2020, known as IMO 2020, are not expected to change this trend despite potentially leading to an increased demand for low-sulphur gasoil and diesel. No doubt that the growth of the oil supply is a sensitive topic for OPEC+ members as 500 kbbl/day were agreed to be cut from OPEC’s supply. Overall, the market is less optimistic over the “revival” of the oil price.” The global power market will continue to witness a growing demand, according to Kiryushin. He said, “Whether generated by gas, coal, oil or renewable sources, power will continue to witness growing demand. There is no doubt that demand in growing markets such as China, India and the Middle East will increase steadily. The ongoing urbanisation of Africa is also likely to have an impact on demand in 2020. The main question for most commentators is not ‘whether’ Africa demands more power but ‘how quickly and by how much’ this demand will rise.” (Oil Review Africa)

Key Words: Global Trade, Business, Oil Market



The good, the bad and the promising of Africa 2019 – Just as it is impossible to describe ‘Africa’ in a single word, or to visit ‘Africa’ in a single trip – Africa is not a country, as foreigners so often have to be reminded – it is difficult to sum up a whole year in the life of this continent without resorting to sweeping generalisations. But it is possible to pick out a few highlights – or lowlights. These are the events that will, when in decades to come historians look back at the year 2019, stand out as seminal moments in the development of politics and economics in Africa. Perhaps the most seminal of all was epochal, unexpected revolution in Sudan. There had been murmurings of discontent throughout President Omar al-Bashir’s long rule, which began in 1989. There had been plenty of protests and opposition movements and even war crime charges against him at the International Criminal Court, coupled with crippling sanctions. And yet Bashir, somehow, had always stood firm, his canny blend of divide-and-rule coupled with brutal authoritarianism proving too strong for all opponents. That all changed this year. What began as demonstrations against a hike in the petrol price morphed into an astonishingly united and persistent mass revolt against Bashir’s regime, one that ultimately toppled him. But the protesters didn’t stop there. Learning from the example of neighbouring Egypt, whose own Arab Spring revolution proved to be all too short-lived, Sudanese protesters kept up the pressure to ensure that the interim government was not hijacked by those same generals who had kept Bashir in power for so long. (ISS)

Key Words: AfCFTA, Business, Intra – African Trade

AfCFTA to have short-term impact on tax revenue for most countries – The African Continental Free Trade Area’s short-term impact on tax revenue will be small for most countries, a new report says. The report, presented to African trade ministers and senior trade officials in Accra, Ghana, ahead of its official launch, says tariff revenues would decline by less than 1.5 per cent for most countries except for the DR Congo (3.4 per cent), Gambia (2.7 per cent), Republic of Congo (2.1 per cent), and Zambia (1.6 per cent). The agreement, which experts say will create the largest free-trade area in the world measured by the number of countries participating, was first signed by 44 African leaders on March 21, 2018, in Kigali. An executive summary of the World Bank report states total tax revenues would seldom decline by more than 0.3 percent except for Djibouti (0.5 percent), Republic of Congo (0.6 percent), Gambia (0.9 percent), and the DR Congo (0.9 percent). Two factors, it is noted, help explain these “small revenue impacts,” the first being that only a small share of tariff revenues come from imports from African countries – which are less than 10 percent on average. The second reason is that “exclusion lists can shield most tariff revenues from liberalization because these revenues are highly concentrated in a few tariff lines (1 percent of tariff lines account for more than three-quarters of tariff  revenues in almost all African countries). “In the medium to long run, tariff revenues would grow by 3 percent by 2035 relative to the baseline as imports rise and as tariff liberalization is accompanied by reduction of NTBs [Non-Tariff Barriers] and implementation of trade-facilitation measures,” the report states. (The New Times)

Key Words: AfCFTA, Business, Intra – African Trade

Africans Want Open Borders, but Can They Overcome the Stumbling Blocks? -Africa's new free trade deal is a building block in its plan to achieve prosperity and unity. Yet stumbling blocks in the form of border and trade disputes make a borderless continent seem decades away. "The continental free trade area symbolizes our progress toward the ideal of African unity," Rwanda's President Paul Kagame said over a year ago as he welcomed African leaders to Kigali to a special African Union summit in March 2018. Signed by 54 out of 55 African countries and ratified by 28, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), is the much anticipated deal, which many hope will enable a single market economy and therefore cross border trade between African countries. Trading under the agreement is due to begin rolling out in July 2020. If all goes well, African countries hope to increase intra-African trade by 53% through a blend of consumer spending, investments and a reduction of import duties. Is the continent - minus Eritrea - ready to open up its borders and cut down the tariffs though? Under the current political climate of security concerns, for instance between Kenya and Somalia, or in the Sahel region, fears of uncontrolled migration or the smuggling of substandard goods as is the case with South Africa and Nigeria respectively and border spats, as is the case with Rwanda and Uganda, a vibrant and yet controlled trading environment seems a long way off. Corruption and poor infrastructure in great parts of the continent only enhance the problem. In 2017, only up to 17% of all trade on the continent occurred between African countries, while Africa still relies greatly on imports from abroad. And as it currently stands, African businesses face over six percent higher tariffs if they trade within Africa than when they do their business outside the continent. (allAfrica)

Key Words: AfCFTA, Business, Intra – African Trade

AfCFTA deliberations on next year - Deliberations on operationalising the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) – which came into effect earlier this year – will take centre stage at the next CEO Africa Roundtable Summit next March in Harare. The CEO Africa Roundtable is a membership based grouping of chief executives from the continent who shape business, and AfCFTA is considered by African businesses as a critical platform for harnessing unfettered access to markets in the Sub Saharan African region. AfCFTA is the world’s largest free trade area with 54 member countries, including Zimbabwe. Speaking to the Herald Finance and Business yesterday, CEO Africa Roundtable executive director, Kipson Gundani said AfCFTA resonates with Africa’s vision of the 4th industrial revolution. “Central to the discussions will be the 4th industrial revolution, which comes at a time when we now have the Continental Free Trade Area. We want to see how the Continental Free trade area feeds into the 4th industrial revolution,” he said. The conference, which will run under the theme, “Problem-Zero, What’s in it for Africa,” will also look at other economic aspects like technological advancements, thought leadership and also how to deal with the geo-political and economic matrix across the region. This comes at a time Africa has positioned itself on an industrialisation path taking on board the concept of open markets in order for economies to realise better growth prospects. But with the political matrix always ever present in Africa’s economic dynamics, key political figures such as opposition party, Alliance for People’s Agenda leader, Dr Nkosana Moyo and Tanzania’s former president Jakaya Kikwete are also expected to grace the event. (The Herald)

Key Words: AfCFTA, Business, Intra – African Trade

One Africa: Businesses need to drive the African Continental Free Trade Area – The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is the subject of much excitement and debate at the moment. All but one of the 55 countries making up the continent have signed the agreement, which has been drawn up to create a single African market for goods and services and facilitate the free movement of people, capital, goods and services between all participating countries. Given that the successful creation of such an African free trade area would make it the largest in the world since the formation of the World Trade Organisation, AfCFTA has understandably attracted a huge amount of attention. And while there are sceptics amongst the observers, analysts and commentators, the majority of people agree that this agreement represents a major driver of African growth, with the potential to fundamentally transform the continent thanks to the creation of a massive market comprising close to 3 billion people and a combined GDP of well over US$2 trillion. But while these big picture predictions are all good and well, many businesses across Africa are still wondering what, if anything, the successful implementation of AfCFTA will mean for them, and whether it is actually in their best interests to be supporting the initiative.  The short answer to that question is a definitive, yes. If for no other reasons than the fact that AfCFTA has the potential to create an intra-African trade market that most businesses would otherwise never have thought possible. (Engineering News)

Key Words: AfCFTA, Business, Regional Integration

General Procurement Notice: FAPA Grant to Support the Capacity Building of Emerging Factoring Firms in Africa – The African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIM) has received a USD500,000 grant from the African Development Bank Group (Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) Grant) to finance the capacity building of emerging factoring firms in Africa. The principal objective of this project is to support capacity building (including back office) of emerging factoring firms, provide advisory services to enhance sustainability of established firms, and support the setting up of a sustainable knowledge and learning platform, which will continuously build and upgrade skills required in the factoring industry. The Grant will finance activities under the following Components: Component 1: Capacity Building of Emerging and Established Factoring Firms. This component will support on site capacity building targeting up to twenty (20) emerging factoring companies and no more than six (6) established factoring companies.  It will encompass on-site trainings, provision of customized manuals for marketing, credit & risk policy manuals, as well as manuals for finance and operations, legal and transaction templates, and back-office support systems. (Afreximbank)

Key Words: Afreximbank, Investment, Business

Advocating alliances for agricultural transformation - Dr Agnes Kalibata, president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), highlights the importance of knowledge sharing and partnership building by CTA and the need for a stakeholder alliance for achieving greater impact in digitalisation for agriculture. “ One of the ways in which AGRA fast tracks the transformation of agriculture is by bringing together groups of people or institutions who care about the same things through our continental convening, the AGRF, and looking to see how these groups can work together on certain themes between each annual event. There are currently around 10 thematic working groups, including on digitalisation and gender. My hope is that the digitalisation group becomes an alliance for digitalisation through which we are able to form partnerships that are needed for progress, and to discuss available opportunities in this sector. For example, is it resourced enough? What type of investment does it need? Is it a public or private sector thrust? From a public sector perspective, what does it need – is it policies, new ways of looking at how the private sector engages, etc? So, an alliance for digitalisation is critical, it’s something that needs to happen because the industry is growing and players need to come together on a regular basis to know who is working in what space. The AGRF provides the opportunity for all of us to get together and talk about the progress we are seeing, and in between each event, it’s really important that all partners track progress and hold each other accountable.”(SPORE)

Key Words: Africa, Investment, Business

Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Consultation and Capacity Building on Implementation of the African Union Transitional Justice Policy – The Department of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission (AUC) is organizing the second regional consultative and capacity building workshop on the implementation the African Union Transitional Justice Policy (AUTJP) from 16-18 December 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya. The overall aim of the meeting, is to among other things, popularize the Policy and promote its effective implementation in Eastern and Western Africa. The meeting brought together over forty participants from the AU Member States in the two regions.‘‘Specifically, the consultative workshop is a realization of one of the activities of the roadmap on implementation of the AUTJP. It is also meant to reflect on how to enhance inclusivity, including gender and youth participation in transitional justice processes; to Identify key roles of stakeholders and strengthen cooperation on information sharing, joint activities and follow up mechanism with RECs, RMs and the non-state actors. During the opening ceremony, Dr. Khabele Matlosa, the Director for Political Affairs on behalf of H.E. Amb. Minata Samate Cessouma, the Commissioner for Political Affairs of the AUC, expressed the AUC’s profound gratitude to the People and Government of the Republic of Kenya for hosting the meeting. He also thanked all the participants for honoring the invitation to attend the workshop. Specially, Dr Matlosa extended profound gratitude to the African Transitional Justice Legacy Fund (ATJLF) and the Center for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) for their unwavering support to the AU transitional justice programmes. (AU)

Key Words: AU, Regional Integration, Business

African farmers lose US$4bn grain after harvest annually - Food security in Sub Saharan Africa is under threat with the continent losing an average US$4 billion in post-harvest losses annually, hence the need for farmers on the continent to invest in modern storage methods to avert acute hunger, the United Nations food agency has advised. Estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), seen by The Southern Times shows the losses in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) in grain and other cereals accounting are in excess of US$4 billion per annum for all grains, which is more than the value of food aid received on the continent over last decade. The volume and value of these postharvest loss estimates are alarming, fueling concerns of more people likely to go hungry in the next few years, with climatic changes setting onto the continent. George Okech, the FAO representative in Zambia, regrets the increasing food insecurity among various households on the continent. He notes presently, post harvest losses levels have risen above 33% annually and needs to be curtailed to save the continent from total food insecurity. “Farmers need to adapt to new farming methods. Given the amount of food being lost annually on the continent, we need to devise new strategies and storage methods, otherwise we are at risk of doubling the food loses in the next few years and leave many people hungry,” he said. In an interview on the sidelines of the Institute of Agriculture Policy Research Institute (IAPRI)-organised launch of the Food Security Update report in Lusaka last week, Okech warned of increased food scarcity on the continent. He urged farmers, chiefly small and medium scale, to adapt to new methods of farming, improve storage capacities, noting that many barns and silos lacked acceptable standards to reduce post harvest losses to avert or reduce hunger. (Southern Times)

Key Words: Africa, Business, Trade

Jumia reviewing Africa operations as mounting losses, trust concerns bite – Jumia Technologies AG, Africa’s largest online retailer, is facing a difficult time on the continent as it battles to shed off integrity issues related to allegations of cheating investors during its initial public offering in April. The Pan-African e-commerce operator, which has been operating on the continent for close to seven years, is now scaling down its operations in key markets amid mounting losses and concerns over its alleged breach of investor and customer “trust.” The Berlin-based firm says its African operations, which are now hanging by a thread, have largely been driven by “trust” and it is now reviewing its operations on a case by case basis based on the financial performance of the business, commercial environment as well as the ease and cost of doing business in each market. “Trust is critical in Africa where people traditionally rely on face-to-face interaction,” said Jumia in its IPO prospectus. “We believe that our targeted marketing efforts and consistent focus on delivering a high-quality seller and consumer experience have helped us to build a strong reputation and create a leading brand that consumers recognise and trust.” Since May this year, several law suits have been filed against the retailer in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, the Kings County Supreme Court and the New York County Supreme Court in New York. (The East African)

Key Words: Africa, Business, Trade



Somalia and Turkey host a joint trade exhibition aimed at sensitizing locals on how they can gain entry in the international markets. A joint trade exhibition organized by Somalia and Turkey opened in Mogadishu on Sunday. Hundreds of participants thronged the venue for the meeting whose aim is to strengthen trade between the two countries. Turkish Ambassador to Somalia Mehmet Yilmaz, said the meeting was the first of its kind. “There will also be panels at the expo where Turkish and Somali experts will discuss problems regarding agriculture in Somalia and deliberate on possible solutions and cooperation,” he said. The two day meeting is also expected to be a catalysts for Somalia traders to get in to the international agriculture export market. “Some parts of Somalia, like where I come from, are good for farming. I just want to know how I can export my farm produce abroad, and I have been given help here,” Mohamud Osman, a Somali farmer said. “How can we use agriculture to grow Somalia and where do we export what we have?” said businessman Hassan Omar. Somalia’s Minister for Labor and Social Affairs, Sadik Warfa, called for Turkey’s assistance to help Somalia realize its potential in agriculture, which will provide jobs for many youths. Somalia mostly exports livestock, fish and bananas and also grows corn and sorghum for domestic use. But a lack of security as well as displacement due to war, poor irrigation and transport systems and degraded natural environments have slowed exports over the years. (Dalsan Radio)

Key Words: East Africa, Trade, Business

EAC gets key roads in Kenya and Tanzania funded by the AfDB board – The East African Community has for long earmarked the linking of partner countries through roads. One of this link is the link road that connects the coastal towns of Mombasa and Tanga, touching the lives of thousands of commuters and transporting goods and services worth millions. Recently, the EAC announced that it has increased its funding for key projects from various donors among the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), which has now approved this project. The Bank’s support for the Mombasa-Lunga Lunga/Horohoro and Tanga-Pangani-Bagamoyo roads Phase I, is in the form of African Development Bank and African Development Fund loans and represents 78.5% of the total €399.7 million project cost.  The European Union contributed a grant of €30 million, 7.7% of the total project cost, to the government of Kenya. The road is a key component of the East African transport corridors network, connecting Kenya and Tanzania. Producers, manufacturers and traders will be able to move goods more quickly and cheaply. In addition, farmers and fishermen will benefit from improved access to local and regional markets and amenities, including better schools and health centres. (The Exchange)

Key Words: East Africa, Trade, Business

Ethiopia: Business License Registration Goes Online – Businesses can soon apply for new licenses and renewal online when the Online Trade Registration & Licensing Service (OTRLS) becomes operational in a few days. The Ministry of Trade & Industry is launching the new online system, which purports to reduce the days the former procedure took from 32 to six. The system is also expected to reduce the number of people who physically visit the Ministry for new business licenses and renew old ones. By logging into the virtual system, clients can obtain information on the requirements for renewing and issuing a particular type of business license from anywhere in the country and beyond. Once logged in, an individual can fill out the appropriate forms, attach scanned copies of supporting documents such as a Tax Identification Number (TIN) and process their license. The system, initially installed in 2012 by local firm Custor Computing for one million Birr, did not originally provide online access to clients. Businesses had to be present at the Ministry to process their documents physically. To upgrade the system, the Ministry floated a tender in 2018, and Custor Computing Plc won the bid for eight million Birr, which was covered by the Ministry. Custor was established in 1993 and provides web-based public service delivery solutions, system development, infrastructure design consulting and IBM enterprise solutions. (Addis Fortune)

Key Words: East Africa, Trade, Business

Tax relief for Kenyan businesses - Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Kenya may soon pay less tax after President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the Kenya Revenue Authority and the National Treasury to review the current regime. Speaking at Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi during Jamhuri Day celebrations on Thursday commemorating 56 years since Kenya became a republic, President Kenyatta said the government would take on “salient factors that are holding back the potential of our enterprises; particularly with regard to taxes and tax administration, reduction or where possible elimination of fees or charges levied by government agencies as well as the private sector. “To address some of these challenges, I order and direct that the National Treasury and the Kenya Revenue Authority review our tax structures, especially in relation to small businesses, so as to reduce the tax burden while fostering tax-compliance,” he said. He promised less bureaucracy and more simplification of processes in trade, access to credit and streamlining of consumer protection. (The East African)

Key Words: Business, East Africa, Trade



Key players in Guinea's economy will review their country's AfCFTA National Strategy – The key players in the economy of Guinea will examine the National Strategy for the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This will take place during a validation workshop organised by the Ministry of Commerce of Guinea in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the International Trade Centre and the African Union Commission, on December 18 and 19, in Conakry. This meeting, which will last two days, is part of a technical assistance project aimed at deepening trade integration through the effective implementation of the AfCFTA, led by the ECA, in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the International Trade Centre, with financial support from the European Union (EU). It will serve as a presentation framework for discussion and validation of the National Strategy for the Implementation of the AfCFTA in Guinea. The elaboration of this Strategy will start with a detailed examination of the macroeconomic and commercial profile of the country and the institutional and regulatory framework on one hand, and an identification of the potential opportunities and risks linked to the implementation of the AfCFTA, on the other hand, leading to an action plan which should result in the successful implementation of the Agreement. This Strategy document will also propose a framework for monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the AfCFTA at the national level, in accordance with the content of the Agreement, through the AfCFTA National Committee (AfCFTA-NC) for Guinea. (UNECA)

Key Words: AfCFTA, West Africa, Regional Integration

International Conference on Trade and Finance scheduled for April – Ghana is to host the 4th edition of the Ghana International Conference on Trade and Finance (GITFIC) on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in April 2020. The Chief Executive Officer of GITFIC, Selasi Koffi Ackom who spoke to the Ghana News Agency said the Conference, dubbed: “The AfCFTA Edition” would assemble high profile delegates in Trade and Finance from across the continent to address various areas of the African Free Trade Area. These include Physical Connectivity, Digital Connectivity and Logistics Infrastructure. The two-day conference would be held under the theme: “Optimising AfCFTA for Africans; the Role of Logistics Infrastructure”. The Conference is expected to host up to five-panel sessions each day, with speakers being tasked with apt topics to discuss, educate and inform participants. There will also be sessions for selected Ambassadors from some African Embassies in Ghana. Additionally, there will be a media session for top media practitioners from selected media houses across the continent to examine and discuss their core role in ensuring the successful implementation of the AfCFTA. The Steering Committee of GITFIC, Mr Ackom said, believed that the contribution of logistics infrastructure was key in achieving a single Trade Market for Africa. “The pivot of AfCFTA will largely depend on Logistics. Most Member States, if not all, already have their various peculiar Logistics Challenges one way or the other. Therefore, synchronising Free Trade without adequately finding sustainable solutions for Logistics may render the entire idea unachievable. (Ghana Web)

Key Words: AfCFTA, West Africa, Regional Integration

ECOWAS Council of Ministers hold 83rd Ordinary Session in Abuja – The Council of Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) opened its 83rd Ordinary Session on the 17th of December 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria. While welcoming participants to the meeting, the President of the ECOWAS Commission Jean-Claude Kassi Brou emphasised that the meeting offers the Ministers a platform to be presented with an overview of the situation in the Community. In his welcome address, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Federal Republic of Nigeria Ambassador Zubairu Dada urged his colleagues to make fruitful contributions to the issues to be raised in order to provide the ECOWAS leaders, useful information that will guide their decisions as the community moves from an ECOWAS of States to an ECOWAS of the people. Declaring the session open, the Chair of Council and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Niger H.E Kalla Ankourao stressed the overriding importance of examining the state of play in the ECOWAS community and collectively determining “the ways and means of advancing our regional agenda and providing appropriate responses to the various challenges facing us”. The ECOWAS Council of Ministers will be making recommendations on the various reports on the Community’s financial situation including the Auditor General’s multifaceted reports, memoranda on different thematic areas and those on sectoral Ministers, and integration activities including the examination of the action plan to combat terrorism and it’s financing, among others. (ECOWAS)

Key Words: ECOWAS, Regional Integration, Investment

"ROSEWOOD REVEALED" - EIA Offers Transparency to Ghanaian Rosewood Trade – The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is releasing a new web-based tool that allows Ghanaian citizens to know the quantity and value of illegal rosewood imported into China from Ghana every month. Using data available for the month of September 2019, the Rosewood Revealed webpage shows that over 9,330 tons of rosewood, worth over US$5.4 million, has been imported into China – in breach of Ghanaian regulation prohibiting the harvest, transport and export of the species. In addition to violating national laws, these exports raise serious questions about Ghana’s implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Wild Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), since the West African rosewood species has been protected by the international convention since 2017. In July 2019, EIA released BAN-BOOZLED: How Corruption and Collusion Fuel Illegal Rosewood Trade in Ghana . The investigation and report findings pointed to a massive institutionalized timber trafficking scheme, enabled by high-level corruption in the forest sector. The report showed that despite a fifth ban in place since March 2019, the illegal trade in West African rosewood (Pterocarpus erinaceus) continues to flourish in Ghana. In response to national and international outrage following the release of EIA’s findings, two investigations were launched in Ghana. The “Committee to Investigate Allegation of Corruption in Rosewood Trade in Ghana,” announced by the Ghanaian Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, is expected to investigate the rosewood sector and propose remedial actions in the coming weeks. (allAfrica)

Key Words: West Africa, Trade, Regional Integration



Indian investors flock to Zimbabwe - THE new dispensation’s rallying call, that Zimbabwe is open for business, has roused the interest of Indian investors amid indications that investment proposals from the Asian economic giant are growing at a fast pace. Investment registrations by Indian investors appeared to take a plunge in 2016, after proposed investments dropped from 13 to seven, but shot up to 37 by the end of last year. From January 2019 to date, registrations for proposed investments in Zimbabwe have hit 39, with expectations high that by the end of the current year, investment proposals from India will reach 50. Last month, Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Rungsung Masakui noted that since January, registrations with investment authorities had reached 25. He was confident the number will double by year end. True to that forecast, proposed investments from the Asian economic giant have already risen to 39, with most investors targeting agriculture, mining, SMEs, education and manufacturing. “In 2016, there were 13 registrations with the Zimbabwe Investments Authority, which came down to seven in 2017. “In 2018, registrations shot up to 37. As I speak, registrations are now standing at 39,” he said. (The Sunday Mail)

Key Words: Africa, Economic Growth, Pan African