The US government has granted a long-term extension to a major US-Africa trade programme on 29 June, a move welcomed by African textile and apparel manufacturers.
President Obama signed into law a bill reauthorising the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) for another 10 years. Since 2001, the non-reciprocal trade programme has allowed more than 6,400 items from around 40 sub-Saharan African countries to be imported into the US without duties or quotas.
US imports of apparel manufacturing products from Agoa countries dropped by 5.6 percent to $225m in the first quarter of 2015, according to the latest available statistics from the US Department of Commerce. More decline is expected for third quarter of the year, according to Paul Ryberg, president of the African Coalition for Trade, a US organisation which represents African companies mostly in the textile and apparel sector and that has lobbied for the extension of Agoa.
AFRICAN NATIONS are taking steps toward creating a free-trade zone with a combined size of $2 trillion, as heads of state meet in Johannesburg this week.
This comes after a potentially historic deal was signed in Egypt this week that created a common market that would span half the continent from Cairo to Cape Town.
Talks on removing the barriers to trade and the movement of people between the continent’s 54 countries will begin on June 15 at the African Union summit and conclude by the end of 2017, Fatima Haram Acyl, the AU’s trade commissioner, said in an interview on Thursday.
Progress on creating a continental trade bloc inched forward on Wednesday after an agreement on a free-trade area was signed in Egypt between three regional groups: the Common Market for East and Southern Africa, the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community. Read more
Clinical Question Are pharmacological interventions associated with better-quality sleep and alertness in shift workers?
Bottom Line Low-quality evidence shows that melatonin is associated with 24 minutes longer daytime sleep after the shift but not with faster falling asleep compared with placebo. There is no association between hypnotics, such as zopiclone, and sleep outcomes, alertness, or harms. The alertness-promoting medications armodafinil and modafinil are associated with improved alertness during shift work but are also associated with headache and nausea.
In the United States, 29% of workers do not work regular daytime shifts.1 Shift work is associated with reduced sleep duration, impaired daytime sleep quality, and reduced alertness during night shifts.2,3 Workers frequently use pharmacological products to ameliorate the adverse effects of shift work.4,5 This JAMA Clinical Evidence Synopsis summarizes data from a Cochrane review6 of pharmacological interventions for sleepiness and sleep disturbances caused by shift work.
Siemens, the largest engineering company in Europe, is set to construct gas and wind power plants in Egypt after the German engineering firm was awarded contracts valued at $9 billion for these projects, it emerged on Wednesday.
Described as the biggest single order in its history, the contract is poised to bolster Egypt’s power production, increasing the North African country’s power production capacity by 16.4 gigawatts. Read more
General Electric (GE), a 123-year old American Conglomerate with operations in 130 countries around the world, is gearing up to further exploit the economic potentials inherent in sub-Saharan African markets, especially Nigeria and Ethiopia. At the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa, GE said it would increase its capital outlay to $10 billion over the next half-decade.
The conglomerate will target power, health and locomotive opportunities in several African countries. Nigeria, its prime target, offers a ready market with the numerous gaps in infrastructure and a new government looking to drive “change.” Read more
According to worldometers.info, the population within South Africa sits at just over 53 million individuals. To add to the figures, Nigeria currently has over 183 million individuals populating its city’s.
Africa has always been viewed as a continent that isn’t very connected in terms of internet speeds and the number of users – compared to other parts of the world. However, the latest statistics say otherwise. Read more
The challenges of this financing are magnified in sub-Saharan Africa, as there is a paucity of projects that meet the high-water mark required by most investment banks. Basic requirements include experienced and credit-worthy sponsors, healthy financial ratios and forecasts, exhaustive technical due diligence, and a stable and cohesive political and legal framework. Development finance institutions (DFIs) are more flexible than investment banks, but African governments are increasingly less willing to accept the more onerous conditions attached to their funding. Read more
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Drones are a controversial topic when it comes to national security. However cargo drones, with their potential applications for last mile delivery in remote areas and humanitarian emergency situations, are tipped to be an exciting area of innovation for Africa.
But who is behind the push for cargo drones in Africa, why has it got the business world so excited, and how is progress on this embryonic technology panning out?
Cargo drones are small pilotless airplanes designed to transport 20-30kg packages across distances of 80km or perhaps further. The technology could have a revolutionary impact for delivering products to remote, poorly connected communities in much of Africa. Read more
Although it is the most talked about, China is not the only Asian economy looking to Africa – and bankers are moving to facilitate the flow of capital.
A case in point: South Africa’s Standard Bank announced a partnership on 23 April with the largest bank in South Korea to provide services for its clients doing business in Africa.
The agreement with Woori Bank, which has been in the process of privatising from state ownership since 2010, aims to support the South Korean lender’s clients even though the bank has no presence in the region.
China Railway Construction Corp Ltd (CRCC) has signed two deals worth a combined $5.5 billion for construction projects in Africa, Xinhua reported late on Monday, as the country’s railway firms increasingly flex their muscle overseas.
CRCC’s China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) unit will work on a $3.5 billion intercity railway line in Nigeria’s southwestern Ogun state, Xinhua said, citing the area’s state governor, Ibikunle Amosun. Read more