Tuesday, June 6

Industry and Trade

Zimbabwe has relaxed regulations barring the importation of basic commodities to avert a shortage of goods. www.theexchange.africa
  • Zimbabwe has relaxed regulations barring importation of basic commodities to avert shortage of goods ahead of elections.
  • The move not only bolsters the domestic market but also improves Zimbabwe’s exports with SADC and China.
  • In March, South Africa emerged as Harare’s primary source of imports, contributing 37.6 percent of the total. China, Singapore, India, and Zambia followed accounting for 19.2 percent, 16.7 percent, 3.7 percent, and 3 percent respectively.

In a strategic move aiming to avert looming drought of essential goods ahead of 23 August 2023 elections, authorities in Harare have rolled out bold steps, relaxing rules that are choking the flow of Zimbabwe imports. The strategy further aims at countering escalating prices and ensuring smooth flow and access of essential goods in the country.

Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mthuli Ncube, has announced the complete elimination of import restrictions on basic goods. The initiative will be complemented …

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  • As of 2021, the value of Brazil-Africa trade was $7.4 billion, being 56 percent drop from $17 billion in 2011.
  • Brazil’s energy giant Petrobas left Africa in 2020, selling off its subsidiary, Petrobas and Gas BV.
  • President Lula: “Brazil would not be what it is today without the participation of millions of Africans”.

The Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (ApexBrasil) has mapped out potential investment and trade opportunities across Africa, a pointer to a new era of economic relations between the two regions that literally sit on opposite sides of the south Atlantic Ocean.

The move is part of the organ’s broader efforts to promote Brazilian products and services abroad and attract foreign investments to strategic sectors.

Historically, it is only fair that Brazil increases its economic and bilateral relations with Africa, a continent where over half of her population trace their origin.

After a recent major drop in …

GMO Maize
  • World hunger is not the result of food shortage, and opposition to gene-edited crops, but due to political strife.
  • Global food production is sufficient to feed all, but skewed distribution systems create a huge shortfall in countries.
  • Analysis shows that even if GMOs were adopted globally, food shortage will persist.

Globally, Genetically Modified (GM) crops have been touted as the magic wand that could end world hunger. The ability of gene-edited crops to produce more over shorter periods of time and their resistance to diseases has been lauded. Further, GMO’s ability to resist poor weather conditions occasioned by climate crisis are earning them acceptance across nations.

These traits make Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) a solution to global food shortage. Increasingly, naturally maturing crops are yielding little, and their long gestation periods leave them vulnerable to climate crisis. Further their vulnerability to pests and diseases drastically cuts yields, exacerbating food shortages.…

  • Tanzania-based CRDB bank has recognized the potential for growth opportunities in regional economies.
  • CRDB Bank has established a presence in Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and DRC, following in the footsteps of Kenya’s Equity and KCB.
  • CRDB Bank’s regional expansion aims to facilitate cross-border trade and enhance financial inclusion.

CRDB Bank is evolving into a partner for growth for East Africa’s entrepreneurs by seeking to replicate its success story in Tanzania across the regional markets. The bank has recognized the potential for growth and opportunities in neighboring countries and is strategically expanding its operations in East Africa.

In Tanzania, entrepreneurs are tapping into the lender’s range of products to scale into new growth horizons. Take Diana Tarimo for instance. When Diana received about $21,000 in business loans from CRDB, this became the catalyst she needed to expand her water distribution investments in suburban Dar es Salaam.

Diana is one of over 10,000 …

  • An estimated 90 percent of African women do not use the internet, UNICEF reveals.
  • UNICEF report says millions of girls are less prepared for the digital revolution in Africa.
  • Governments in Africa urged to increase women’s safety online

While the digital revolution is believed to be reducing gender inequality globally, in Africa, the internet is largely a preserve of men. According to UNICEF, up to 90 percent of African women do not use the internet yet their male peers are twice as likely to be online.

Titled “Bridging the Digital Divide: Challenges and an Urgent Call for Action for Equitable Digital Skills Development” the survey warns that girls in Africa “are being left behind in the digital world and are the least likely to have the opportunities to develop the skills needed for 21st-century learning and employment.”

Girls less likely than boys to access internet

Released on the International Day …

  • Africa’s average GDP will stabilize at around 4 percent in the course of the next two years, notes AfDB.
  • The continent needs alternative sources of imports and new export markets to counter disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine.
  • Economists are urging African economies to look at expediting intra-African trade to stave off global shocks.

A significant number of African nations continue to show economic resilience in the face of tougher global challenges. The latest update by the African Development Bank (AfDB) on economic review says the continent has a stable outlook in the 2023-2024 financial year.

Africa’s Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook report provides an up-to-date assessment of the continent’s macroeconomic performance and a forecast of expected performance on the backdrop of global economic challenges.

Africa average GDP to stabilise at 4 percent

The lender estimates that Africa’s average GDP will stabilise at around 4 percent in the course of …

  • Bittersweet consequences. Global chocolate value chains are fueling desertification across West Africa, a new report says. 
  • As chocolate demand soars, Côte d'Ivoire, the world’s largest producer of cocoa beans is paying a huge price with 80 percent of its forest cover lost.
  • Corruption fueling illegal logging and deforestation of rainforests for cocoa farms

The raw material needed to make chocolate is cocoa beans, but West Africa, which produces 40 percent of the world's produce, is destroying its rainforests at an unprecedented pace to feed global demand.

Already, Côte d'Ivoire, the world’s largest producer of cocoa beans has lost 80 percent of its forest cover over in just sic decades, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reports.

FAO's Transparency, Traceability and Deforestation survey in the Ivorian cocoa supply belt shows that the unmonitored value chain of chocolate is leaving populations vulnerable to adverse effects of climate change.

Chocolate demand rising globally

AI Systems in Africa
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionize Africa’s climate-smart agriculture initiatives.
  • Nigeria’s Data Science Centre in Lagos projects to train over one million Nigerians in data science by 2027.
  • Rwanda is looking to invest $76.5 million over the next five years in setting up comprehensive AI ecosystem.

Across Africa, an increasing number of countries are embracing Artificial Intelligence (AI) investments. AI is programming that provides machines the ability to think, learn and act on their own.

In 2014, Africa Heads of State from 32 countries signed what has now become known as the Smart Africa Alliance. The deal was dedicated to identifying priorities and stimulating investment in AI-powered investments.

Through the alliance and with the backing of Facebook and Google, the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences has launched a master’s degree in AI. Since then, all around Africa, nations are embracing and investing in AI technologies.

African countries are

Safaricom Ethiopia
  • Safaricom targets a customer base of at least 10 million across 25 cities in the next year.
  • Since Safaricom Ethiopia switched on its mobile telecommunications network, it has grown coverage from an initial 11 to 22 cities.
  • Safaricom Ethiopia is building a wholly-owned mobile network and also has infrastructure sharing deal with state-owned Ethio Telecom.

Safaricom is now targeting a customer base of at least 10 million in Ethiopia in the next one year. The move is tailored to shake up the country’s telecommunication industry. Latest developments follows huge investments in the country, with cash transfer service M-PESA now on the table.

Since Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia switched on its mobile telecommunications network and services in Addis Ababa in October last year, major inroads have been made in the second-most populous country in Africa.

It has grown coverage from an initial 11 cities when it launched to 22. The telco with …