Trade between Malawi and Mozambique using the ports of Beira and Nacala went down by 13 percent in the past two months, mainly due to travel restrictions in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
This is according to a report released by shipping and clearing firm, Fortress Business and Logistics Consult.
Speaking in an interview, Fortress Business and Logistics Consult Chief Executive Officer, Karl Chokotho, said annual volumes through Mozambique corridors make up to around 20 percent of the total Malawi imports and exports.
He said the trend in these corridors is a fair indication on what is happening in the economy.
He said over 70 percent of Malawi exports peak in the second half of the year, and that the real Covid-19 impact is yet to be felt.
The Times Group
Equatorial Guinea has agreed to pause the construction of a controversial border wall with Cameroon after talks between the two countries’ defense ministers in Yaoundé.
The two sides also agreed once again to withdraw troops from their disputed border after deadly clashes left at least seven people dead. An agreement earlier this month to withdraw forces failed to hold and some border traders are skeptical of this latest pact.
After a second day of closed-door meetings in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea’s Defense Minister Leandro Bekale Nkogo said the two sides agreed to set aside their differences.
Nkogo on Tuesday announced Equatorial Guinea would pause construction of its controversial border wall, which Cameroon’s government says violates its territory.
He says troops from the two countries that have been deployed to the border will return to their barracks and only come out to protect their civilians in times of crisis. Nkogo says Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea will henceforth jointly combat their common enemies, who are poachers, pirates resurfacing in the Gulf of Guinea, and armed groups attacking and looting civilians in both countries.
Nkogo said as neighbors, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea need each other for their security and development.
Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema ordered the border wall be built in 2019 to stop Cameroonians and West Africans from illegally entering the country.
Cameroon deployed its army to stop what it called an intrusion of border markers, leading to armed conflicts and casualties.
An agreement earlier this month to pull back troops, and jointly demarcate the border, apparently failed.
Cameroon says at least seven of its civilians were killed in border clashes that followed in the southwestern town of Kye-Ossi.
But Cameroon’s Defense Minister Joseph Beti Assomo on Tuesday said both sides were firm in seeking an end the border tensions.
He says the wish of Cameroon’s President Paul Biya is to see Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea become the true brotherly and friendly nations that they were at the dawn of independence.
He says both countries have sociological, cultural and geographic relations that should encourage the people of the two states to live in peace and harmony.
Despite the agreements Monday, not all traders along the border were convinced that the skirmishes will end.
40-year-old Cameroonian merchant Angelica Amende, who buys wine from Equatorial Guinea to sell back home, doubts the border dispute can soon be resolved.
She says she does not think there is a political will to solve the crisis on Cameroon’s border with Equatorial Guinea. She says it is not the first-time high-profile delegations have met on the instructions of the two heads of state and the border crisis is yet to end.
Equatorial Guinea has often accused Cameroon of not doing enough to stop its citizens and other West Africans from crossing the border illegally.
In 2017, Equatorial Guinea sealed its border with Cameroon for six months after authorities on both sides arrested heavily armed foreigners and accused them plotting to overthrow Obiang.
The two countries’ leaders are Africa’s longest-serving presidents. Obiang has ruled Equatorial Guinea since 1979, while Biya has ruled Cameroon since 1982.
Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea in 2017 joined four other states in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) in agreeing to lift visa requirements.
Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo have since accused Equatorial Guinea of dragging its feet on allowing the free movement of people and goods.
With electronic payments shaping the online transactions sector, there is no denying that some big players have established an edge over others to become the defacto choice for users. Currently, different electronic payment solution providers have invested heavily to dominate emerging players.
Data obtained by Buyshares.co.uk shows that Stripe accounts for a staggering 52.84% of all e-payments online. PayPal Form is second accounting for 19.77% of all online payments. Google Pay’s 16.29% share ranks it in the third slot followed by Amazon Payments at 4.46%. Klarna has the fifth-highest online payment distribution at 3.84%. Other e-payment solutions account for the remaining 2.80%.
Our research also overviewed the five largest payment processors usage distribution on the entire internet based on the number of websites. Stripe takes the lion’s share with a presence on 1,189,298 websites while PayPal Form comes second at 444,864. In the third slot, there is Google Pay with usage on 366,740 websites. Amazon Payments is fourth with acceptance on 100,416 websites. In the fifth slot, there is Klarna with 86,355 websites.
Stripe, PayPal establish dominance
The e-payment solutions enable merchants to pay for goods and services through an electronic medium as opposed to the traditional use of checks or cash. With a revolution in internet-based banking and shopping sector, electronic payment systems have been rising rapidly. Over the years, electronic payments have been improving to offer more secure online payment transactions directly leading to a decrease in cash transactions.
From our research data, the success of Stripe should not come as a surprise considering that the company has a heavy investment in its system. The payment solution has an edge over PayPal thanks to its nature. Stripe is liked by teams with in-house programmers thanks to its customizable development tools. It’s a popular pick for small businesses but is also used by big companies like Lyft. Generally, Stripe has invested sufficient time, money, and resources to building everything developers need to be successful and get up and running with the system.
However, Stripe and PayPal occupy the top spots thanks to their transparent nature. The two are very transparent about their fees and they both offer plans with no setup costs, basic monthly fees, or contracts. Both Stripe and PayPal are known for their ease of use abilities. Both companies have made it simple for customers to pay online.
Just like any other sector, the online payment systems have the potential of reaching significant heights in the coming years, thanks to factors like a mobile explosion. With smartphone usage on the rise, many payment processors are bound to take advantage and customize their systems to leverage this potential.
The current coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the online payment systems, a situation likely to stay around for the unforeseen future. The pandemic has spurred growth in eCommerce through basic commodities like groceries and medical supplies. Consumers are practicing social distancing which is key in curbing the virus spread. Additionally, the use of cash transactions is being discouraged as a measure to flatten the curve.
The future of electronic payments
In future other trends like the introduction of wearable technology are bound to spur online payments growth. For example, payment through the wrist band system using radio frequency identification bands is expected to be massive especially for music concerts and festivals. Furthermore, biometric payments are expected to have a place in online payments. With technological advancements, fingerprint scanners could be used to facilitate payments for products or services, with account information linked through the internet to each person’s fingerprint.
However, for the online payment solution systems to fully revolutionize the industry they need to surpass some barriers like cross border transactions. Cross border transactions are sometimes slow and inefficient and payment solutions need to work with partners to ensure cash flow is seamless. It is, therefore, encouraging to see the emergence of transnational systems that will decrease reliance on third networks.
Additionally, security has always been a major factor in adopting electronic payment solutions. With e-commerce advancing, there exist fraudulent elements ready to take advantage of any flaws in the system. Electronic payment providers need to invest more in fraud-monitoring tools such as the customer account, validation services, and purchase tracking to single out suspicious activities.