Browsing: SADC

The shrinking economy and resulting unemployment have given birth to an informal economy that has spiralled out of control. Treasury and monetary authorities have been at pains to find ways they can tax the informal sector. The informal economy is difficult, if not impossible, to absorb into the formal economy or to include in the tax pool from which the government can draw revenue.

As the formal economy shrinks, so has Zimbabwe’s effective tax revenue stream, and this problem can only be arrested and mitigated by a growing economy.

An economy characterized by slow or negative growth makes it more difficult for the government to repair its finances. This is because there is a positive relationship between a country’s tax pool and the growth of the economy. A shrinking economy brings with it the added cost of having to provide social safety nets for the vulnerable members of its society.

If the government does not cater to these members of society during times when the economy shrinks, it will invariably experience heightened levels of poverty.

The AfCFTA presents a significant opportunity for African countries to bring 30 million people out of extreme poverty and to raise the incomes of 68 million others who live on less than $5.50 per day.  The AfCFTA is the new anchor to pull multinationals to invest in Africa.

This agreement not only brings hope to African governments but also encourages current efforts on the ground, which improve jobs in Africa.  

The World Bank points out that the AfCFTA will create the largest free trade area in the world, measured by the number of countries participating. The pact connects 1.3 billion people across 55 countries with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) valued at $3.4 trillion.   

It has the potential to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty, but achieving its full potential will depend on putting in place significant policy reforms and trade facilitation measures. 

In June, Zawya Projects announced that Namibia had received 25 submissions for pilot projects, from which it plans to select no more than five.

The four projects – the Daures, Namport, Cleanergy, and TransNamib projects – have a combined value of over N$890 million (53,39 million euros), and some of the funds will be sourced by the initiators of the projects. The four projects will be located in the Erongo region, which has been marked as ‘valley 1’ of the envisaged national hydrogen ecosystem.

Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) will collaborate with Botswana Rail (BR) to fix parts of the 126 km rail line between Swartruggens, in South Africa’s North West province, and Mafikeng, on the border with Botswana, helping South Africa’s landlocked northern neighbor get its minerals, including thermal coal, to market.

According to an article by Reuters published on August 5, 2022, the rail revamp will enable heavy haul trains to travel from Botswana to South Africa’s ports of Richards Bay and Durban, TFR said. The project aims to be up and running in the next 24 months. However, financial terms were not disclosed.

TFR and BR will also build a rail line from Mamabula in Botswana to Lephalale in South Africa’s Limpopo province.

The two rail companies will work together to fight the “scourge of cable theft and infrastructure vandalism” that is impacting rail services, TFR said, adding this was a “rising problem” in Botswana.

According to Deutschland, German companies long concentrated only on South Africa, but this is changing. Over the past eight years, the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) has opened not less than five new branch offices. Apart from South Africa, top investment destinations include Nigeria, Ghana, Angola, Tanzania, and Mozambique.

Alongside their primary business, German companies are also involved in numerous initiatives to support the African economy and combat poverty. Germany’s Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) has founded the “Skilled Workers for Africa” initiative in Botswana, Kenya, and Nigeria. Germany’s successful dual vocational training model serves as an example in Africa. At the same time, Germans benefit from collaboration with local partners, who enable them to access new markets. Local shareholders are essential in some countries.

To strengthen their cross-continental network and promote a value and interest-based exchange, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) and the Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung (HSS) supported by the Africa CDU/CSU group in the German Bundestag, held a conference in May 2022.

Stavros Nicolaou, a Senior Executive at Aspen Pharmacare Group said in the absence of orders or commitments, Aspen is considering the repurposing of two COVID-19 production lines for the manufacture of other products.

“The continent would lose its only existing COVID vaccine manufacturing capacity, It would be a massive setback for Africa’s plans to localize and reduce its dependency on imported vaccines,” he said.

John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, said global health security would be undermined if companies like Aspen were not backed.