#EarlySignals - August 2022

5 August 2022


Our monthly selection of news, quotes and figures that slipped through the radar but could have significant implications


DRC: the government removes 14 imports and exports taxes and lowers the rate of 20 other levies to make the economy more competitive

This announcement made by Jean-Lucie Bussa, the Minister of Foreign Trade, aims to make the Congolese economy more competitive and attractive at the sub-regional level given that DRC joined, in March 2022, the East African Community (EAC), a common market of nearly 300 million people. In order to improve the business climate and attract new investors, several African countries are granting numerous fiscal incentives. Faced with the challenge of being competitive and the need to generate more tax revenue, how much latitude do African countries possess? The IMF's call for many countries to reduce their tax exemptions and the implementation of a global tax rate could hamper this race for tax relief in Africa.  


“The role of Africa in the new Concept for Russian Foreign Policy will be given much more prominence. This would have happened regardless of the developments in the West, which as you know, is “cancelling” itself on its own. This will objectively force us to concentrate more on Africa in our work" Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, during his visit to Uganda.
In the wake of the signing of the Istanbul agreement on the resumption of Ukrainian and Russian grain exports, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, toured Africa. While many African countries are facing a food crisis, the head of Russian diplomacy tried to appease his partners on the continent. Lavrov notably announced that Russia will hold another edition of a Russia-Africa summit in 2023, a few days after the announcement of a U.S.-Africa summit in December 2022. What benefits can the continent gain from this struggle for influence? Apart from the announcements of bilateral investments, the war in Ukraine has led to the acceleration of many energy projects and to progress on the crucial issue of agricultural sovereignty.  


USD 15 billion: the value of trade between India and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)

The value of trade between India and the 21 member countries of COMESA, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, reached USD 15 billion in 2021. India, along with many other countries, has made Africa one of its priorities, as illustrated by the June visit of Indian Vice President Venkaiah Naidu to Gabon and Senegal. This African trip, which aimed at reinforcing the commercial links between India and these two countries, comes in the middle of a reconfiguration of the nature of partnerships between China and African countries. Is India able to compete with its Chinese neighbor in Africa? Despite the announced drop in investment, China remains far ahead of its neighbor as a partner of choice because of its diplomatic influence and economic weight. Indian companies should nevertheless continue their expansion in Africa, particularly in the agri-food and industrial sectors.