The Future for Botswana-Namibia Ties

Botswana is looking to Namibia to strengthen ties between the two countries. Former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, called on Namibia to develop stronger trade relations with each other. Mogae is hoping to strengthen the economies of countries in Southern Africa and is eventually hoping to extend this effort to more countries, such as Zambia and Zimbabwe. By creating better trade relations with smaller countries, Mogae looks to cut over reliance on imports from South Africa and to create better economic opportunities for southern African countries.

 

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Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201404081532.html

Photo source: https://www.diamondempowerment.org/about-us/board-and-staff/board-of-directors/mogae/

Nigeria Now Has Africa’s Largest Economy

Revised GDP reports for Nigeria’s economy in 2013 reveal that the country has surpassed South Africa as the African continent’s largest economy. The original estimate of 42.4 trillion naira has now been adjusted to 80.2 trillion naira, allowing Nigeria to “leapfrog” South Africa’s economy and ascend to 24th on the global list of economies.  The primary factor of Nigeria’s GDP ascension has been the growth of the telecom industry; the increase of mobile technology and cell phone usage made this particular industry responsible for a quarter of the rise in GDP.  Other contributing industries include manufacturing and even film making industries. The new figures also reveal that the oil and gas industry, once thought to be the dominant resource of the Nigerian economy, has halved its percentage of GDP.  According to The Economist, “Nigeria now looks like an economy to take seriously.”

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Source: http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21600734-revised-figures-show-nigeria-africas-largest-economy-step-change?zid=304&ah=e5690753dc78ce91909083042ad12e30

Faster Cargo Clearance Has a Positive Impact on Benin Economy

Benin Port

The average clearing time for cargo in Benin is highly reduced, leading to a boost in the transport of goods via ports. Nigeria, a neighboring country, stands to lose business at its ports due to the long clearing time of 14 to 21 days. In Cotonou, Benin, the cargo clearing process averages seven days. The faster process proves to be more cost-effective, which thereby stimulates the growth of the port industry, as well as accumulate revenue for the government. General manager of the RORO Terminal in Benin states that it takes an average of seven days to clear a container, and 24 hours to clear a vehicle. Their goal is to eventually minimize the cargo dwell time to 24 hours so that importers may retrieve their containers as soon as the ships dock.

Cargo clearance in Cotonou port has become faster due to governmental port reform that was initiated in 2011. Since the reform established a single online clearing platform called SEGUB, there is less vessel waiting time, free flow of traffic in the port access roads, and an increased volume of cargo in the port.

Further Reading: http://businessdayonline.com/2014/02/importers-move-to-ghana-benin-ports-as-slow-processes-in-nigeria-hurt-business/#.UyCV-vldXTo

Image Source: http://www.dredgingtoday.com/2013/02/07/benin-afgen-inks-agreement-with-dredging-international/

‘Ocean Economy’ in Mauritius Could Pave the Way to Economic Stability

 

Boats

Ocean tourism is a driving force of the Mauritius economy; due to a slowdown in the sector, government is exploring new ways of utilizing the ocean and its resources. 

The tourism sector in Mauritius has developed rapidly over the past decade and is currently a major contributor to economic growth on the island, accounting for up to 11% of total GDP. In the wake of the global financial crisis, tourism in Mauritius has slowed down, inciting fear in a small nation that has become accustomed to steady growth rates. In response to this slow down, Prime Minister Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam plans to create an ‘ocean economy’ aimed at tapping into the vast potential of the available ocean resources.

The term ‘ocean economy’ implies the strategic development of a variety of marine related industries. Business opportunities in this field can be grouped into five clusters: marine services (marine tourism and marine pharmaceuticals); petroleum, minerals, and ocean energies; fisheries and aquaculture; seaport related activities; and deep ocean water applications. There has already been some development in the marine pharmaceutical sector. Advanced research on marine sponges has shown these organisms could potentially be used in drugs for cancer treatment; there has also been an ongoing search for eight marine organisms known to be beneficial in pharmaceutical products and valuable to the industry as a whole. Plans for a pump that would cycle cold deep water to cool buildings are also gaining momentum. The project aims at reducing carbon emissions on the island and reducing the environmental impact of the country. In general, the plan for an ocean economy will ideally restore economic growth, diversify the economy, and protect it from future external fluctuations.

Environmentalists and animal rights activists have voiced concerns over the effect of increased resource pressure on the health of the ocean ecosystem. The Mauritian government has responded by emphasizing their sustainable approach towards the development of the ‘ocean economy’. Mauritius has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), a law that demands the protection and preservation of the marine environment. If Mauritius can utilize this vast resource in a sustainable manner, it may prove to be a winning strategy to consolidate an already strong economy.

 

For more details: http://travel.cnn.com/could-mauritius-ocean-economy-be-future-island-states-854421?hpt=hp_bn5

South Africa’s National Food Security Policy

South African Farming

The government of South Africa has developed a new national food security policy, according to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson.  Under this policy, agricultural land in the country that is seemingly unexploited will be used to make new markets for smaller-scale producers.  This food production “intervention” has been named by the government “Fetsa Tlala,” meaning “end hunger.”

Fetsa Tlala has accomplished much already, with Joemat-Pettersson explaining how 200,000 hectares of land have already been bought to fuel the project in seven provinces of South Africa.  The primary goal of the intervention is to make sure that land that has not been producing food becomes more viable, thus creating a new outflow of agricultural production.  Doing so will boost the economy greatly, because not only will workers be needed for the farms, but smaller enterprises in the agriculture industries will be needed for packaging the products and other post-production needs.

Such a project is a great initiative of the South African government.  It will stimulate local economies where the farms reside, and will ensure the employment of many more people.  Fetsa Tlala will create new markets for small-scale farmers who have not previously had access to a larger group of people to sell their goods to.  Fetsa Tlala may become an extremely important step towards solving many of the hunger problems that exist in South Africa, and will stimulate the income of many South Africans.

For more details: http://allafrica.com/stories/201309180285.html

Mozambique Making Moves for Coal Exportation

The government of Mozambique has been in negotiations with the company Rio Tinto about how to advance logistical infrastructure to transport mined coal from the inland to the ports. Previously, it was discussed that a type of barge project was going to go into effect, which would ship coal down the Zambezi River, but the government has concluded that the river would be unnavigable. Current talks include plans for a rail system to help transport, not only coal for Rio Tinto, but other mining companies as well.

The Zambezi River, Mozambique

Full story here.

Minimum Wage Increased by 52% After a Two-Week Strike

South African labor minister, Mildred Oliphant, stated that South Africa has agreed to increase the daily wage of farm workers by 52%.

After a two-week strike in January, 2013 in the Western Cape, the minimum wage is being raised from $8.00 to $12.00. The famers had demanded $17.00 claiming that with the current wages they are no longer able to support their families.
The Western Cape is home of approximately 3,000 seasonal farm workers picking and packing fruit, meaning that they do not have a guaranteed income through out the year.

Although the workers were successful in obtaining a wage increase, both employers and employees fear that the increase in wages will eventually cause job loss with the increased burden of fuel and electricity prices on the employers.

Farm Worker on the Western Cape

Farm Worker on the Western Cape

Link to the original article:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-21324275