China may retaliate to US Huawei ban using rare earth metals

Rare earth metals are minerals which are very hard to extract and in which China is one of the world’s biggest supplier of, these metals are used in various products like mobile phone cameras and automobile catalytic converters.

The US is one of the world’s biggest consumers of rare earth metals coming from China. Media in China has now suggested that China may limit exports of rare earths to the US escalating the trade war even further, after the US banned Chinese telecommunications company Huawei.

80% of Chinese rare earth metal exports are to the US and the limitation of these metals will spark price increases for a number of tech products made by US companies. President Donald Trump avoided putting rare earth metals on the tariff list for this very reason.

So far consumer and producers in both countries are bearing the brunt of the US-China Trade war, which is also propelling a negative outlook on global and tech markets. The trade war is escalating and both sides are claiming to have the upper hand, with no end in sight while holding the world hostage.

 By Mokgethi Mtezuka

Africa’s move to ban tariffs

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has come into effect legally, however, countries that have ratified have a month to decide how the agreement will work.

24 out of 54 African countries have signed the agreement, Africa’s biggest economy, Nigeria is yet to sign. The AfCFTA will make Africa the largest free trade area created since the formation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and is intended to particularly benefit SMEs and young people.

It is believed that South Africa will benefit the most from the trade agreement. The credit rating agency, Moody’s said in a report that countries like South Africa, Kenya, and Egypt were likely to benefit the most – this due to their “large manufacturing bases and relatively robust infrastructure, particularly given their access to electricity.”

READ MORE: African Continental Free Trade Agreement

The agreement comes during a time where the trade war between the US and China is escalating. Africa is bypassing tariffs and putting together the world’s largest free trade zone.

 

By: Kgothatso Nkanyane

Preview of the ICC 2019 Cricket World Cup

The ICC 2019 Males Cricket World Cup starts tomorrow with the opening game between South Africa and co-host England at the Oval. South Africa’s Proteas will once again be looking to shake off the chocker’s label by making a great showing and winning the tournament.

The Proteas coach Ottis Gibson, Barbadian who lived in England for almost 20 Years where he played for Durham, Glamorgan and Leicestershire in English country cricket, his experience with English cricket could be the difference maker and be beneficial for the proteas.

In terms of ICC Rankings South Africa is 8th while England is ranked 4th, England is also one of the tournament’s favourites due to them co-hosting. Australia 2nd and India 5th are also expected to make a strong showing being previous world champions.

The Proteas will have to really bring the fire and show the form that made them the most consistent ODI team in the world for two years in a row, and also being ranked number 1 in the test format. The Match between the Proteas and England will started at 11:30.

South Africa squad

Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wicket-keeper), JP Duminy, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Rassie van der Dussen.outh Africa squad

England squad

Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow (wicket-keeper), Jos Buttler (wicket-keeper), Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

South Africa’s new Carbon Tax Law

South Africa has finally made the carbon tax an official law, first drafted in 2010 the law has had a long road in getting approval, with 3 postponements due to mining companies, steel  manufactures and even government owned enterprises disputing the law saying it will hurt profits and push up costs.

South Africa being one of Africa’s worst when it comes carbon emissions can move towards lowering emission in agreement with global climate change requirements.

Signed in to law by President Cyril Ramaphosa it will come in to operation 1 June December 2022, with a tax rate of R120 ($8.34) per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent. Climate change activists believe that the law is still not doing enough to lower carbon emission and are called for more stringent measures.

 Source: ewn.co.za

The Growing Tech Cold War between the US and China

The Trade war between the US and China has spilled over in to the tech industry, with the US claiming that China’s advancement in 5G technology is a national security threat which resulting the banning of Chinese tech company Huawei.

The ban which prevents Huawei from accessing US made Hardware and Software services could lead to China build those previously outsourced products internally. This would lead to a possible global split in tech hardware, software and general compatibility.

For example the Huawei won’t be able to use the smartphone operating system Android owned by Google as a result of the ban this will lead to many of Huawei’s smartphone users unable to access other Google services like gmail and chrome.

Chinese companies could fill this gap by building out their own hardware and software capabilities, resulting in competition for the dominate US tech companies, this could see consumers forced to pick whether they want the US tech or Chinese tech.

 

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

The NBD has the potential to reshape the world of development finance

 The New Development Bank has the potential to change the world of development finance, says Professor Karin Costa Vazquez, in an article on the Financial Express.

Prof. Vazquez is the Assistant Dean for Global Engagement, Executive Director, Center for African, Latin American and Caribbean Studies at School of International Affairs, O.P Jindal Global University.

The NDB has been in operation for less than four years, however, it has thus far received an AA+ rating international credit rating and built a portfolio of 35 projects worth USD 9.2 billion – nearly half the World Bank’s lending in 2018, reports the Financial Express.

READ MORE: S&P rates Brics New Development Bank AA+

The Professor outlined the key features that set the NBD part; the bank is committed to close the infrastructure gap in developing and emerging countries, it is focused on sustainable development and the bank’s equity in power-sharing.

 

By: Kgothatso Nkanyane

Trump visits Japan, North Korea resumes missile testing

US President Donald Trump travelled to Japan to meet with Prime Minister Shino Abe for a four day visit which started on Saturday. On the agenda will be the new US-Japan trade deal, the new raising in tension with North Korea.

The US-North Korea deal seems to be back in the improbable category even though Trump has claimed that there is still a chance for a deal. North Korea on the other hand has returned to testing its missile which is a further indication of a no deal situation.

Japan is the US’s closest Asian partner with military, technology and financial ties link the two countries since the Second World War, North Korea’s missile test is very worrisome for Japan due its proximity, while Trump and South Korea have done played the recent aggressions by not calling out Kim Jong-un.

Trump’s visit to Japan also serves as good getaway from Washington as there is a push by certain democrats to have him impeached according to CNN.com. With the trade war with China escalating and no deal with North Korea, Japan could be a good place for Trump to score and easy win in Asia.

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

Theresa May’s Resignation leaves more questions on BREXIT.

British Prime Minster Theresa May’s failure to pass any deal on BREXIT has left her with no options but to announce her resignation and is expected to stay in office until the end of July. In her resignation address she stated that she will official resign 7 June and will remain as interim prime minister until the next prime minister is chosen.

Eight possible candidates have been highlighted as possible replacements for May. The most controversial is Boris Johnson who is very divisive not only in his own party, but in the UK and EU. Johnson a Brexiteer is also the bookies favourite for the top job and has many MP’s in his own party planning to block his succession.  

It is expected that Johnson will be more than willing to have a no-deal BREXIT if he becomes Prime Minister. Britain is expected to finally leave the EU 31 October and a no deal situation with EU is now looking to be more than likely given May’s failure. Add with the fact that the British parliament is unable to come to any agreement on BREXIT the next prime minister will face the same challenges as May.

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

 

South Africa Celebrates Africa Day

25 May 2019 will mark The 56th Africa Day, established in 1963 when the then independent African States met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Africa Day is therefore a symbol of Liberation and the fight for Human Rights, It also a day to acknowledge African heritage.

South African on the 25 May will also have the 6th democratically-elected President Cyril Ramaphosa’s inaugurated, at the Loftus Stadium where he will take his oath of office.

Yesterday the City of Johannesburg hosted the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) for Africa Day Social Cohesion Summit at the Metropolitan Building.

The goal of the summit was to highlight that integration of people from all backgrounds and walks of life which is democratic responsibility South Africa was built on.

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

Minister Sisulu challenges UN Country Team to support South Africa’s national priorities

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, has received a Letter of Assignment from Ms Nardos Bekele-Thomas following her appointment as the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator to South Africa, the highest-ranking UN official in the country.

Ms Bekele-Thomas is a direct representative of the UN Secretariat and her role includes, but is not limited to, ensuring the coordination of all UN operational activities for its development programme in the country and to facilitate the alignment and coherence of UN operational activities for development in line with national priorities and development objectives of the host country. Prior to her appointment to this position, she was the Senior Director of the Office of the UN Secretary-General.

Minister Sisulu expressed the view that Ms Bekele-Thomas’ experience would offer deep insight into the development challenges confronted by South Africa, the continent and developing countries as a whole.

“We believe that the relationship between the UN entities and our government departments will be elevated in order to maximise the mutual benefits of the relationship between South Africa and the UN system”, Minister Sisulu said.

“It is important that the operations of the United Nations Country Team in South Africa are relevant and closely aligned with and supportive of South Africa’s national priorities such as job creation, education and skills development, healthcare and rural development”, added Minister Sisulu.

South Africa currently hosts 17 UN agencies engaged in activities and projects in support of South Africa’s national priorities and development objectives. These include UNICEF, UNAIDS and UNHCR.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION