Today’s Topics 

UNCTAD report shows developed economies leading global FDI recovery (Investment Monitor)

France aims to revive EU partnership with Africa ahead of February summit (Euro News)

Algeria/Morocco: Latest World Bank economic report causes further tensions (The Africa Report)

EAC rolls out plans for $900m fruit and vegetable exports (The East African)

Chad looks to lower cost of entry to digital economy with tax breaks (Developing Telecoms)

African Development Bank President Adesina and Nigerian Governors resolve to advance Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone Initiative in Nigeria (AfDB)

New rules planned for foreign workers in South Africa (Business Tech)


UNCTAD report shows developed economies leading global FDI recovery - As the world enters 2022, foreign direct investment (FDI) flows are showing a strong recovery from Covid-19. The UN Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) Investment Trends Monitor, published on 19 January, reported that FDI flows were up by 77% in 2021 to $1.65trn, having slumped to $929bn in 2020. Perhaps unsurprisingly, developed countries saw the biggest rebound in FDI with an estimated $777bn in inflows in 2021, three times the 2020 figure. The US saw FDI inflows double due to cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&A) almost tripling in value at $285bn. Overall US inflows saw an increase of 114% to $323bn. In Europe, 80% of inflows were accounted for by conduit economies – economies with tax incentives – with EU inflows up by 8%. However, there is still a way to go until a full recovery can be declared, with the largest economies remaining below pre-Covid levels. With a 20% increase, China saw record-breaking FDI inflows in 2021 at $179bn, driven by a strong services sector. Brazil is yet to fully recover but did see FDI figures double to $58bn. On the less positive side, in developing economies the number of investment projects into sectors related to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – such as electricityfood and health – rose by only 11%. However, the overall value of both greenfield and project finance deals increased by 55%, largely due to a handful of high-value investments in the renewables sector. Overall, investment project numbers for SDG sectors declined by 17% in the least-developed countries, which is particularly concerning given the 30% fall in 2020.  Infrastructure sectors saw the lion’s share of FDI inflows in 2021, with a 53% increase in international project finance deals. In comparison, industrial sectors (such as aerospace and manufacturing) saw a decline of 1% in new greenfield projects. (investmentmonitor)

Key Words: World, Economy, Trade, UNCTAD


France aims to revive EU partnership with Africa ahead of February summit - France wants to renew the partnership between Europe and Africa ahead of a crucial summit between the two in February. A meeting was held on Monday in Paris aimed at identifying the priorities for EU member states in their relationship with the African Union, the first event organised by the French government as part of its six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union. When presenting his programme for his country's tenure in December, French president Emmanuel Macron made relations with Africa a priority. He said he wants to "rebuild an economic and financial New Deal with Africa", highlighting the "somewhat tired" current relationship between the two continents. For the French minister for foreign trade Franck Riester, this partnership is an obvious choice for Europeans. On Monday, Riester emphasized Europe's geographical proximity to the African continent, but also the weight of economic relations. The European bloc is "the leading trade partner, the leading foreign investor and the leading development partner" of Africa, he said. While the relaunch of the Euro-African partnership is not solely economic in the French president's mind, trade is an essential part of it. The European trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis welcomed the initiative, saying that more can be done between the two partners. He said that they must both "strive to strengthen economic integration while leading the climate and digital transition of our economies". (euronews)

Key Words: Africa, Economy, Trade, EU


Algeria/Morocco: Latest World Bank economic report causes further tensions - The World Bank’s latest report on Algeria’s economic situation has created a media-diplomatic-political conflict, in spite of itself. Published on 22 December, just before the end-of-year holiday season, it could have gone unnoticed had it not been for the official press agency Algérie Presse Service (APS). By slamming the report, it triggered a tug-of-war between the multilateral institution and Algiers. This war of words is part of escalating tensions between Algeria and Morocco. A few days after the report was launched, two APS dispatches criticising the World Bank document were published on 28 December. In its first report, the official agency accused the latter of “going beyond its institutional framework”, denouncing “a plot to harm the country’s stability” through “this kind of negative and harmful report, based on indicators and unsourced arguments”. In its second write up, which was published less than two hours after the first, it complained about “an erroneous report” – particularly with regards to how it evaluates growth and poverty – which was “written at the instigation of certain parties known for their hostility towards Algeria” and constitutes an “attempt to destabilise” the country. This violent charge had only just begun. In the days that followed, no less than eight other dispatches, on the report or referring to it, were published. Although it had remained silent until then, the World Bank finally reacted by publishing a short “clarification” on 6 January. Reiterating that the report “is based exclusively on public data” and that it “was prepared with the utmost rigour” by “a team of economists working on the Maghreb region”, it stresses that its conclusions “are consistent with the official data available at the closing date of the report (1 November 2021), most of which are presented in the Bank of Algeria’s economic report published on 22 December 2021”. (theafricareport)

Key Words: NA, Economy, World Bank


EAC rolls out plans for $900m fruit and vegetable exports - The East African Community has unveiled a strategic plan to double its fruit and vegetable exports to $900 million in the next eight years. In the 2021-2031 strategic plan that was unveiled late last year, the region plans to increase the area under fruit production by five percent, to 10 million hectares, with an eye on the global export market. If implemented, the intra-EAC trade in fruit and vegetable products would increase from the current $9.9 million to $25 million by 2031. The region also plans to increase vegetable production by five percent of area cultivated, to 45 million hectares from 32.8 million hectares, with productivity increasing by at least three percent. (theeastafrican)

Key Words: EA, Economy, Trade


Chad looks to lower cost of entry to digital economy with tax breaks - The finance ministry of Chad has decreed that equipment related to telecom and internet services, including network equipment, devices, modems and routers, are exempt from import duties and taxes for the next five years. The tax break is aimed at stimulating uptake of digital services by reducing the cost barrier to the public and thereby fostering a more active digital economy. TeleGeography reports that the high cost of mobile devices is frequently cited as a factor behind the low penetration rates of digital services in Chad and much of Africa. High tariffs have also been an issue in Chad, to the extent that a delegation of senior government ministers – including the country’s Head of State General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno and the president of Chad’s Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Post (ARCEP) – earlier this month met with the CEOs of Airtel Chad and Moov Africa Chad to press them on the matter and call for lower rates. (developingtelecoms)

Key Words: CA, Economy, ICT


African Development Bank President Adesina and Nigerian Governors resolve to advance Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone Initiative in Nigeria - African Development Bank President Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina received four Nigerian executive governors and the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) at the Bank’s Abidjan head office on Tuesday. The Bank President invited the Governors and the NSIA head to discuss what will be the rapid rollout of the first phase of the Bank’s Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) program in their states. The African Development Bank set up the flagship SAPZ program to support inclusive and sustainable agro-industrial development in countries across the continent. In Nigeria, the program will soon get underway in seven states. As Dr Adesina put it “the special agro-industrial processing zones will be game changers for agriculture in Nigeria. They will provide world class infrastructure to support food agribusinesses to locate close to zones of production, develop competitive value chains supported by logistic systems that will drive food processing and value addition. The SAPZs will help create massive wealth and jobs in rural areas and turn rural areas away from being zones of economic misery to zones of economic prosperity,” said Adesina. President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to preside over a ceremony in Nigeria in February to officially launch the first phase of the SAPZ program in the country. The presidents of the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and various investors are also expected to be present. (afdb)

Key Words: West Africa, Economy, Trade


New rules planned for foreign workers in South Africa - The Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) has raised concerns around illegal recruitment practices in South Africa – including the hiring of immigrant foreign workers who are not in the country lawfully. To address these and other issues, the department said it has developed a new National Labour Migration Policy and proposed amendments to the existing Employment Services Act. In a statement on Tuesday (25 January), the Department said that these proposals will be released for a three-month public comment process before the end of February/March 2022 once Cabinet approves the department’s submission. Social partners at Nedlac will also be afforded the opportunity to adjust the Policy and the Bill during May/June before we make a submission to Parliament, it said. The department said these proposals will focus on four specific areas which will introduce significant changes to the country’s labour market.  (businesstech)

Key Words: Southern Africa, Economy, Regional Integration