Trade Winds bimonthly update volume 20

Border updates, Cross-border transporters and the NGO striving to protect the sub-Saharan interests of long-distance drivers, Transit Assistance Bureau (Transist), are taking a strong stance against an announcement yesterday forcing South African drivers to abide by an SADC Covid-19 protocol.

According to the protocol, decided upon by SADC at the end of July, drivers will have to present laboratory certificates proving they have been tested for the coronavirus.

The certificates, which may not be older than 72 hours and are valid for 14 days, have sparked a fair amount of opposition from private sector logistics concerns, with many transporters complaining of not being consulted by either the SADC or any country officials representing health and transport officials.

When the protocol’s 1 September date arrived, Zambia was the only SADC partner to implement the determination, causing hauliers to ridicule the coronavirus-curbing measure as yet another case of the SADC talking about border harmonisation while practising the opposite.

Botswana indicated earlier that they would still be testing all drivers on entry to their territory, whether they could provide a negative lab certificate or not.

In a shock announcement yesterday, which takes effect as of today, the tax authority said truck drivers would be required to present Covid-19 negative results upon departure from RSA and on arrival.

The statement by a SARS added that all positive truck drivers were to be handled as per the Department of Health Guidelines.

“All other health control measures are also applicable to truck drivers.”

More to come…

Positive news coming from Zimbabwe, there is some positivity in the mining and construction sector within Zimbabwe, this is noted after recent developments came to light.

Zimbabwe is one of the major lithium producers that may draw great benefits from the firm global prices and high demands for the precious mineral due to expected supply deficit projected to start in two years.

Zimbabwe holds extensive deposits of the in-demand mineral which is widely used in the automotive and glass industries, currently Zimbabwe has a single active lithium mine in the country with a number of projects in the pipeline.

The Government classified the commodity as on of the strategic minerals towards achieving its vision of transforming mining into a US$12 billion industry by 2023.

Prospect Resources Plc, an Australian listed company,  are the developers of the new Lithium project and expect the mine to enter production by second half 2021.

Following from this, RioZim has signed an agreement for phase two of the Sengwa Coal Plant in Ghokwe North. This plan entails the expansion of the plant capacity to 2800MW increased in 700MW phases.

Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe (Lafarge) is set to complete the installation of a US$2.2 million Dry Mortar Mix (DMX) plant during second half of this year as the cement-maker targets increasing its production capacity.

The project is part of Lafarge Holcim Group’s US$ 25 million recapitalization program.

Zambia mining royalties throws spanner in the works, copper miners in Zambia have halted $2 billion of planned investments because a royalty tax introduced last year makes the projects unviable, according to an industry lobby group.

A plan by First Quantum Minerals Ltd. and Lubambe to invest significant amounts in expansion and new mining operations has come to a grinding halt until this matter is resolved.

Zambia’s uneasy relationship with mining investors has deteriorated over the past 12 months, with the government clashing with Glencore Plc over the company’s plan to mothball Mopani Copper Mines’ operations.  KCM’s future also remains unclear.

Threat of terrorism in the region, a growing concern!  over the past few months, namely in Mozambique, there has been an influx of insurgents mainly in Cabo Delgado, the result of this has led to more than 50,000 people fleeing their homes from the once most promising district in the country which holds mass amounts of natural gasses and gemstones.

The threat has become such a reality now that neighbouring countries have been mulling the idea of sending aid to help deal with the terrorist organisation, known as Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jamaa or otherwise locally known as al-Shabaab.

However, its not just the threat of al-Shabaab that has seen the Cabo Delgado province underperforming for decades, locals have said the government has forcibly removed communities from state-owned land after ruby, mining and gas exploration was handed to private companies.

In recent weeks the militants took Mocímboa de Praia, an important border post for travel to and from Tanzania. Government has since battled to regain control the port, SADC has considered sending aid, ranging from intelligence gathering to military support. There is currently an operation led by Mozambican forces accompanied by mercenary groups, however there are accusations being made that this is only intensifying tension within the region.

“When a needle falls into a deep well, many people will look into the well, but few will be ready to go down after it”