International Trade Commission News Updates
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We earlier covered the pivot by Nigeria's MVX Transit, a digital freight and haulage company to MVX. Often regarded as Africa's " Uber for Ships ," the company has set its bet on international trade. As a maritime tech startup, MVX now has a presence in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, and Tanzania. The platform is also introducing embedded trade finance services on its platform. MVX has now partnered with PayHippo to expand trade finance opportunities for SMEs across Nigeria. This partnership looks to generate trade across Nigeria and create positive economic outcomes for Africa's largest economy. The goal is to empower underserved SMEs with easy-yet-affordable collateral-free loans that look to supercharge their businesses and create economic opportunities for the company. MVX and PayHippo have also advanced $12,000 (?5 million) in trade finance to an SME in Nigeria. MVX's trade Finance Director, Abdelmuizz Bello, said the collaboration with PayHippo is " exactly where we want to be as a company." The WTO gives estimates 80 to 90 percent of global trade is reliant on trade finance. However, AfDB gives the financial shortfall at US$82 billion. Bridging this funding gap requires targeting Africa's SME funding needs, making up 95% of businesses on the continent. MVX connects SMEs to verified 3rd party financial partners who advance fast, easy, non-collateralized working capital. The digital solution offers integrated and seamless logistics and financing that advances credit to businesses to pay their customers and facilitates them in terms of logistics. Since its inception, MVX has worked with over 200 businesses in sectors like manufacturing, oil gas, construction, agriculture, and power. PayHippo is a Nigeria-based AI-driven SME lending platform.
Africas fintech sector is growing and maturing, with more startups active in the space than ever before, platforms increasingly offering a variety of services, and investment and acquisitions taking place to an unprecedented degree. Disrupt Africa has released the Finnovating for Africa publication, which tracks the extraordinary development of the fintech ecosystem across Africa over the last few years. The 2021 edition of the report, which is for the first time available free to all as part of an open-sourcing initiative in partnership with key partners Flutterwave and GreenHouse Capital , as well as MFS Africa , truID , Paga , DEMARS , Quona Capital , JUMO , Abjel Communications and Kuda , reports sustained - if slower - growth in the number of ventures, but also details major developments in terms of ecosystem maturity. The number of active fintech startups has increased by 17.3 per cent to 576, which represents a slowdown in growth on the previous two years, but nonetheless means the number of fintech startups active in Africa has increased by 89.4 per cent between 2017 and 2021. This growth story is taking place continent-wide. Notably, the variety of services offered by these startups is on the rise. Though the onset of the fintech revolution in Africa was largely based on startups unbundling the bank, focusing on niche segments such as payments and lending, the space is now rushing to rebundle. In 2021, 143 of the 576 fintech startups tracked in 2021 are multi-category, representing 24.8 per cent of the total, up from 73 companies (14.9%) in 2019. The major developments in the fintech sector over the last two years, however, have come in terms of investments and acquisitions, where the space is a continental leader. African fintech startups are far more likely to raise funding, or get acquired, than a company operating in any other sector of the continents growing tech and innovation space. Since January 2015, 277 fintech ventures have banked US$874,968,465, more than twice that raised by any other vertical over the same period. The amount raised by fintech startups on the continent is growing each year, at even greater rates, with the sector having already doubled its 2020 total in the first six months of 2021. The report finds that fintech businesses are also more likely to be acquired than those in any other space. The sector has seen seven acquisitions in a period of two years, compared with 10 in the previous eight; and in the reported US$200 million acquisition of Nigerian fintech startup Paystack by Stripe last year can lay claim to one of the landmark moments of the African tech space in the last decade. Were very pleased to continue our drive to make data around the African startup landscape accessible for all, and are excited to present this open-source edition of Finnovating for Africa , together with our fantastic partners. We hope this report unlocks the fintech landscape for all those interested - it has certainly been a busy and stimulating space to watch these past two years, in spite of the pandemic-induced challenges facing businesses and economies alike, said Gabriella Mulligan, co-founder of Disrupt Africa. We might not be witnessing the same levels of explosive growth in terms of new startups launching in the fintech space as we have seen before, but instead we are seeing the increasing maturity of the fintech ecosystem in Africa. Startups are building out their solutions for the benefit of their customers, expanding to new markets, and raising millions of dollars in capital. It is an exciting time to be involved in African fintech, whether you are an entrepreneur, investor, traditional financial institution or customer, said Tom Jackson, co-founder of Disrupt Africa. Previously available for sale, previous editions of Finnovating for Africa have been purchased each year by leading tech companies from Africa and the rest of the world, Big Four consulting firms, banking and fintech leaders, venture capital firms, supranational investors and international trade bodies. This year, however, Disrupt Africa is making it open source for the first time, to make it accessible to those for whom the information is most valuable - African entrepreneurs. It has done this with the help of partners key partners Flutterwave , an African fintech company that allows clients to use its APIs and work with its developers to customise payments applications, and which recently obtained unicorn status , and GreenHouse Capital , a Lagos-based fintech investment company that invests capital and specialised expertise into companies that will power Africas economic future. Section partners are MFS Africa , a leading pan-African fintech company, operating the largest digital payments hub on the continent; truID , the largest Open Finance platform in Sout
A successful round of AfricArena's West Africa Summit took place in Dakar, Senegal's Radisson Blu Hotel on June 21 to 23. The 3-day conference was in partnership with DER/FJ and United Nations international trade Centre #FastTrackTech Africa project, where pitches from over 20 startups operating in the region from Seed to Growth stages were presented while top minds in tech, business and investment across the region participated in keynotes and panel discussions. The West Africa VC Unconference happened parallel to the Founders Bootcamp where African VCs and mainly francophone Africa-focussed investors participated in discussions and workshops centered on open source data tools, co-investing, regulations, and how to ease the investment process for continental tech startups. The pitch sessions were split into seed stage, Serie A, and growth stage, and saw participation from startups from Ghana, Senegal, Benin, Nigeria, Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal, and Gambia. Based on the pitch cartegories, the winners are Zencey ( Seed stage ), Moja Ride ( Serie A ), CoinAfrique ( Growth stage ), and Assuraf ( Innovative business model ). Elohor Thomas the CEO of CodeLN took the most promising enterpreneur award. In a statement, Bintou Adekoya, AfricArena's COO said, "AfricArena's second summit of the year had a fantastic line-up of innovative startups, investors, and iconic speakers who, during these 2 days, had the opportunity to create more interconnections between the different economies, more communication and also more exchange about the expanding West African ecosystem."
Over 17 containers of rosewoods- banned timber species under the protection of international trade in Endangered Spices of Wild Flora and Fauna CITES, packed at Buffer Zone and confiscated by the State, has been handed back to the State by the Brikama Magistrate's Court. Speaking to this medium at his office, Mr. Lamin Bajo, Regional Forest Officer, said the court has released an order for the logs to be given to the state. "As we speak, the order has been released since a week back," he said. "But the logs are still standard at the zone despite court order." Mr. Bajo said the accused person, Mr. Saikou Conteh, is a second time offender and since the magistrate cannot fine him twice on the same count, the court has ordered the logs to be taken into state custody. Bajo said the accused person was previously fine two (2) million dalasis, thus he said, the Magistrate Court cannot fine him again. It could be recalled that the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Mr. Lamin Dibba, had told the National Assembly Select Committee on Environment, that 22 containers were found at the Buffer Zone. "And out of the 22, five were empty containers and 17 were stocked with processed wood and 1 container loaded with round logs," Dibba said. The Minister told the aforesaid committee that the person alleged as the owner of the rosewoods was one Mr. Saikou Conteh, who has not obtained any permit or license to carry on with the activities. Despite the fine, the containers were still packed at Buffer Zone. Speaking further, Mr. Bajo said since the court ordered the logs to be handed over to the State; the logs have to be handed back to the Regional Office. However, he said the logs are still left at the Zone. Bajo feared that if proper security is not put in place at the Zone, the logs could go missing, saying some pieces have started to disappear. According to the 2010 Forest Act, whenever a forest produce is seized, the produce should be handed over to the Divisional Forest Officer, who after obtaining an order of a Magistrate, may - (a) sell such forest produce and pay the proceeds as specified in section 8 after deducting the expenses of the sale and payment of compensation under the provisions of paragraph (f) of section 119; (b) allocate such forest produce to the use of the Government; or destroy such forest produce when necessary.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reports that South Africas geographical location and its international trade links with countries in Asia, Latin America, Western Europe and North America has made it an attractive illicit drug transit country.Like many other counties located on major illicit drug trafficking routes, South Africa has also experienced a serious increase in illicit drug-related social ills such as drug abuse and associated drug use disorders, especially among young people, resulting in lost potential and opportunities.With levels of substance use disorders at epidemic levels, the Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, will on Friday 28 May, inaugurate new members of the Central Drug Authority (CDA) Board in Kempton Park. Established in terms of the Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency Act No 20 of 1992, the CDA serves as an advisory body with a mandate of fighting against substance abuse.Members of the Board are expected to work with key stakeholders including the Department of Social Development, law enforcement authorities and the Non-Profit Organisations (NPO) sector to address substance abuse and its effects on families and communities.This inauguration of the CDA Board is taking place during a time when the country is currently under Level 1 of the Risk Adjusted Strategy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.In addition, the board will also assist with the implementation of the National Drug Master Plan (NDMP) 2019 2024 as approved by Cabinet in 2019. The NDMP serves asthe countrys blue print strategy to prevent substance abuse and its related socio-economic impact in society.The inauguration will take place two days before the launch of the Child Protection Week (CPW) campaign, under the theme, Let us Protect Children During Covid-19 and Beyond, which plays a significant role in addressing substance abuse and its impact on children.The term for the new CDA Board members runs for a period of five years.Members of the media are invited to attend and cover the Inauguration on the Central Drug Authority Board scheduled as follows:Date: Friday, 28 May 2021Time: 10h00Venue: 64 Jones Road, Kempton Park, Emperors Palace - Gauteng ProvinceVirtual:YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpw-OX-TSAI Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SocialDevelopmentZA Twitter: https://twitter.com/The_DSD Media can RSVP by contacting Ms Sharlene Naiker on 082 673 5849 / [email protected] or Ms Nomfundo Lentsoane on 066 480 6845 or [email protected] Enquiries: Ms Lumka Oliphant on 083 484 8067 or [email protected]
To boost the prospects for a strong and sustainable recovery from the impact of COVID-19, African governments need to mobilise significant additional external financing, with the assistance of the international community, says President Cyril Ramaphosa. The President made the remarks during his address at the Paris Summit on the financing of African economies on Tuesday, convened by French President Emmanuel Macron. President Ramaphosa last night successfully concluded the visit where he was joined by African Heads of State and government. At the summit, they were joined by leaders of financing institutions, such as the international Monetary Fund, World Bank, Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and representatives of G7 and G20 countries. The summit took place at a time when world economies are counting the cost of the COVID-19 pandemic and considering measures that are urgently needed for a swift recovery. The economies of the African continent have been particularly hard hit, said the President. The international Monetary Fund estimates that sub-Saharan African economies will grow at 3.4% in 2021, compared to global growth of 6%. Although this expected growth will be buoyed by the resumption of international trade, higher commodity prices and a resumption of capital inflows, the recovery, President Ramaphosa said, will be slow. Following two decades of economic reform, the ability of many countries on the continent to implement macroeconomic policies that support a sustainable recovery is now constrained. President Ramaphosa called on credit rating agencies to play their role without acting as a deterrent to countries that seek to take advantage of credible and transparent credit relief measures. The most important task at hand is to protect and save lives. We therefore need to ensure that everyone has access to the vaccine in an equitable manner. The World Health Organisations Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) is a key instrument for achieving this goal. As co-chair of ACT-A, President Ramaphosa urged countries to assist in closing the US $19 billion financing gap for 2021. He expressed South Africas support in the IMFs Special Drawing Rights mechanism, saying this should be allocated without delay to provide liquidity to the global financial system and to support vulnerable countries. South Africa and other G20 members have called on the IMF to make a comprehensive proposal for a new SDR general allocation of $650 billion to meet the long-term global need to supplement reserve assets. South Africa is of the view that the IMF must explore options for members to channel SDRs on a voluntary basis to the benefit of vulnerable low and middle income countries. This should be done parallel to the general allocation and as soon as possible. We furthermore support an ambitious replenishment process of the international Development Association or IDA-20 as well as increased levels of official development aid. We strongly believe that alternative development financing mechanisms should not be a substitute for official development aid, said President Ramaphosa. In this regard, he said South Africa welcomes the pipeline of 30 projects - amounting to approximately $2 billion - for the African continent being prepared under the vaccines programme of the World Bank. At the summit, discussions centred on external funding and debt treatment, as well as African private sector reforms and expansion, and infrastructure development. The Presidency said these discussions reinforcedthe role played by President Ramaphosa during South Africas 2020 tenure as chair of the African Union to secure a strong and inclusive economic recovery in Africa. During his tenure, the President appointed Special Envoys of the African Union to mobilise international support for Africas efforts to address the economic challenges African countries will face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If the international community is truly committed to human rights and the values of equality and non-discrimination, vaccines should be viewed as a global public good, says President Cyril Ramaphosa. The President made the remarks in this weeks newsletter in which he argued that the World trade Organisation (WTO) should consider South Africa and Indias proposal for a temporary waiver of certain aspects of trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). This, he said, would facilitate wider access to technologies needed to produce vaccines and medicines. The idea is to rapidly scale up local production to ensure wider access to affordable and effective vaccines, wrote the President. The waiver proposal currently enjoys the support of more than 100 countries. Last week, the US government announced its support for the proposal, which will give the current negotiations added momentum. Public good against private profit Previously, the President highlights in the letter, South Africa scored a victory in a lawsuit that pitted public good against private profit in the height of the HIV/Aids pandemic. Then, the country sought to enforce a law allowing South Africa to import and manufacture affordable generic antiretroviral medication to treat people with HIV and save lives. In response, representatives of the pharmaceutical industry sued the government, arguing that such a move violated theTRIPS. This is acomprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property. The case, dubbed Big Pharma vs Mandela, drew widespread international attention.The lawsuit was dropped in 2001 after massive opposition by government and civil society. He said the enforcement of intellectual property rights is critical to research and development and innovation in the quest for human progress. But our position as South Africa is that such a waiver is necessary at this time. It is temporary and is in direct response to an emergency. This is an unprecedented situation. It requires that allintellectual property, knowledge, technology and data related to COVID-19 health technologies be put at the disposal of all, President Ramaphosa said. They should be made available to all, not just to the highest bidders, he said. A situation in which the populations of advanced, rich countries are safely inoculated while millions in poorer countries die in the queue would be tantamount to vaccine apartheid. It will set a devastating precedent in our quest to realise a more egalitarian world and our ability to handle future pandemics. Social responsibility for health is a recognised principle in the Universal Declaration of Bioethics and Human Rights adopted by the international community in 2005. It affirms that progress in science and technology must contribute to justice, equity and the interests of broader humanity. It notes that the benefits of scientific research should be shared with society as a whole and within the international community, in particular with developing countries that face resource constraints, said President Ramaphosa. Vaccine equity Earlier this year, the UNs education, science and culture body UNESCO called for vaccine equity, noting that it was not just the right thing to do, but also the best way to control the pandemic, restore confidence and to reboot the global economy. Currently, 55% of the existing vaccine manufacturing capacity is located in East Asia, 40% in Europe and North America, and less than 5% in Africa and South America. In the case of developing countries, much of this capacity is under-utilised, he said. South Africa is one of only five countries on the continent with vaccine production capacity. Added the President: Although we have secured enough vaccine doses to reach population immunity, there will continue to be a need for vaccines. We are therefore preparing to bolster global vaccine manufacturing for COVID-19 and other major diseases. Existing facilities need to be repurposed and new capacity built. In the letter, President Ramaphosa called on all South Africans to support this effort, and in particular civil society organisations that played a leading role during the HIV/Aids pandemic. Civil society has a critical role in mobilising international support for this cause, particularly through international cooperation with like-minded organisations in developed countries. This is an issue that calls for greater public advocacy and awareness-raising. As a nation, we must stand united in our effort to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines to save lives and proceed with the national recovery, he said. South Africas commitment to putting human lives first does not diminish its commitment to honour international trade agreements, he said, adding that the proposal was about the promotion of h
The South African National Parks (SANParks) has welcomed the report of a High Level Panel into the management, breeding, hunting, trade and handling of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros. The panel was appointed by the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy to review policies, regulatory measures, practices and policy positions that are related to the hunting, trade, captive keeping, management and handling of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros. SANParks Chief Executive Officer Fundisile Mketeni said as the body tasked with the conservation of the countrys natural heritage, SANParks sees the release of the report as a historic moment that will assist in enforcing responsible management of wildlife in the country. This report will assist in building capacity for key decision-makers to understand wildlife legislation and to support responsible wildlife management and environmental sustainability, Mketeni said. Creecy released the report on Sunday. The panel recommended that South Africa halt the captive breeding of lions, keeping lions in captivity, and using captive lions or their derivatives commercially. SANParks welcomed the prohibition set on canned-lion hunting. This paves a positive trajectory for South Africa considering the damaging view many tourists and conservation bodies held against these kinds of activities. However, SANParks hopes that the anticipated resultant growth in tourism will not only save jobs but will create new opportunities for those who depended on values chains linked to canned-lion hunting, said Mketeni. He said the country had found itself on a collision course with many partners in conservation including environmental non-governmental organisations, other member states in the Convention on international trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and nature lovers who found activities such as captive breeding, of wild animals problematic in various ways. I have no doubt that this is a step in the right direction. Hopefully, we will work hard as a collective to achieve the recommendations of the High Level Panel report, he said. In addition, SANParks will play a critical role in supporting the implementation of the recommendations for the protection of iconic species which were the focus of the report such as rhino, elephant, leopard, and lion. SANParks will do everything within its power to support the transformation of the wildlife sector. The wildlife economy can play an important role in community development, particularly those communities living adjacent national parks. If we are to hand over a better future to our next generation, it is imperative to enhance the responsible management of our protected areas and the conservation of these four iconic species. We take note of the great work done by the panel and we support the key recommendations which, in our view, will go a long way towards aligning our countrys protected areas with international best practice by giving effect to our national legislation, Mketeni said. The appointment of the Panel by the Minister in October 2019 came after the hosting of a colloquium on captive lion breeding in August 2018, which recommended an end to lion breeding in South Africa. It was also in response to a number of emotive and complex conservation and sustainable use issues being raised by the public, particularly those involving keystone species.
A High-Level Panel appointed to review policies has recommended that South Africa halt the captive breeding of lions, keeping lions in captivity, and using captive lions or their derivatives commercially. The High-Level Panel Report on the management, breeding, hunting, trade and handling of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros was released on Sunday by Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, in Pretoria. The Panel identified that the captive lion industry poses risks to the sustainability of wild lion conservation resulting from the negative impact on ecotourism, which funds lion conservation and conservation more broadly, the negative impact on the authentic wild hunting industry, and the risk that trade in lion parts poses to stimulating poaching and the illegal trade, the Minister said. Creecy has requested the department to action the recommendation accordingly and ensure the necessary consultation for implementation is conducted. It is important to stress that the recommendations are not against the hunting industry. Preventing the hunting of captive lions is in the interests of the authentic wild hunting industry, and will boost the hunting economy and our international reputation, and the jobs that this creates, the Minister said. Creecy appointed the High-Level Panel in October 2019 after hosting a Colloquium on Captive Lion Breeding in August 2018, which recommended putting an end to lion breeding in South Africa. It was also in response to the number of emotive and complex conservation and sustainable use issues raised by the public, particularly those involving keystone species. These included the lion bone trade, hunting of captive-bred lions, the elephant culling debate, the ivory stockpile, and trade in rhinoceros horn. We will be taking forward the recommendations to develop a Policy on Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable use and adopt a One Welfare approach for wildlife. There are key recommendations to reposition and organise protected areas, simplify and make more effective legislative and administrative processes, as well as to improve cooperative governance. The department will initiate processes to resolve these, the Minister said. She said transformation of the wildlife sector will be prioritised, in terms of improved inclusion of marginalised groups, especially communities living with or adjacent to these species, and in the role and influence of traditional leaders and healers in the wildlife sector. In terms of captive rhino, the panel made clear recommendations as to how partnerships with private owners of rhino can lead to strong conservation outcomes for the species, while enhancing potential benefit streams. We have accepted that the country adopt the recommended positions on ivory and rhino horn trade, such that we will not be making proposals to CITES (the Convention on international trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) for further trade in these derivatives until certain conditions have been met. On the rhino these are based on the commission of Enquirys report Option 3 as approved by Cabinet and the Rhino Action Plan and the development of a global consensus for legal international trade in rhino in the interest of rhino conservation, the Minister said. As South Africa protects the largest component of the global rhino population, the country intends to play a global leadership role in this. For elephants, although we hold a relatively small portion of the population, South Africa wants to play a key role to bring African consensus on ivory trade in the interest of ivory trade on elephant. We will be initiating a participatory process, with recognition of the important role and contribution by private owners, including some major ecotourism-based rhino populations, to rhino conservation, to find win-win solutions to safeguard rhino conservation and broaden and deepen the bio-economy associated with rhino, the Minister said. In adopting the reports recommendations, the Minister said the following are the key outcomes for the country: Improved policy and legislative coherence, which will provide certainty and a stable base for growth and development; Better balancing economic, social, cultural and natural heritage needs, including re-imagining the role of protected areas, both state and others, in contributing to ecologically sustainable rural development; Placing communities living with wildlife at the centre, focussing on enhancing human-wildlife co-existence, and transformative approaches to access and benefit sharing for communities living on the edges of protected areas; A renewed focus on transforming the ownership and management of the commercial wildlife economy particularly in the eco-toursim and authentic hunting sectors; The ending of certain inhumane
Two advocacy groups on Wednesday called on the US Federal trade commission (FTC) to investigate whether apps that Google's Play Store labels as "Teacher approved" are unlawfully collecting personal data without parental consent to target ads at children.