Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Mobisol

Aubrey Hruby: African blue chips need to start corporate venture arms to invigorate startup funding (Quartz)

An increasing number of African companies are competing in the global arena. Riding on the wave of growth that has buoyed African markets over the past two decades, companies such as MTN, SABMiller and Dangote Group have all expanded outside of Africa making flagship acquisitions from China to Poland. The Dangote Group has grown rapidly in recent years across more than a dozen African markets and entered the Nepali market in 2015 and has plans for a larger footprint in Asia. But in order for African corporates like Dangote Group to modernize and gain a competitive edge in the global marketplace, they should follow the tried and true path of corporate venture and invest in the next wave of disruptive startups.

Most of the money currently being raised for African startups originates from outside the continent. Cars45, Nigeria’s first online car resale platform, raised capital from TPG Growth and New Enterprise Associates. Flutterwave received Silicon Valley investment including Greycroft Partners while Paystack secured US corporate venture investment from the US media giant, Comcast. As dynamic startups continue to proliferate across the continent, African corporates would be wise to take advantage through their proximity to gain earlier access to the capital tables of future unicorns. [Five charts explaining PE Funding in Africa]

Rwanda becomes first country to ratify all the AfCFTA instruments (New Times)

A month after 44 African states signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, members of the Lower House have given the green light to the deal that is aimed at making Africa the largest trade bloc in the world. The MPs also passed the protocol on trade in services, free movement of persons, protocol on trade in goods, and the protocol on dispute settlement mechanism.

COMESA partner states upbeat about digital free trade area: an interview with COMESA’s Dr Francis Mangeni (The East African)

Q: So far, who are the early adopters of the digital free trade area? A: All member states. In fact, some countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Mauritius and Zambia are already issuing electronic certificates of origin; many are using the self-certification system which is more advanced, when trading with partners such as the European Union. The self-certification system can be used in Comesa trade as well, because the Approved Economic Operators schemes [a certified standard authorisation issued by Customs office in the EU] already provide a basis for an important crop of users – companies that have met the criteria set by regulatory authorities such as revenue authorities, and can be considered credible and trustworthy.

President Magufuli addresses EALA (EAC)

In his remarks, President John Pombe Joseph Magufuli rallied for the industrialization and infrastructural development of the region – saying it held the key for the transformation of the United Republic of Tanzania and the entire region. The President said the time had come for the region to “think big and beyond parochial issues” and urged the regional Assembly to take a central role in ensuring the full integration and development of the EAC was realized. President Magufuli, who addressed the House in flawless Kiswahili, reiterated his remarks by saying the region was resource rich but that the citizens were yet to benefit from the same and called for removal of barriers, injustices, imminent suspicions and fears of the region. The President further reiterated his country’s commitment to the EAC.

He also remarked that the region was on the verge of removing all non-tariff barriers to further boost volume of trade. He said the progress in the region included the expansion of membership and called for strengthening of the integration process further. In the regard, President Magufuli appreciated the decision of the House to debate on the East African Monetary Institute Bill, 2017 acknowledging its contribution to the quest for the single currency. The President also acknowledged the decision by the Assembly to visit the Northern and Central corridors, for which the House had already debated. President Magufuli said the region should resolve the conflicts stalling the integration process and implored EALA to contribute to the solutions.

In other REC updates:

SADC Double Troika Summit of Heads of State and Government: communiqué

ECOWAS, EAC to share best practices in establishing, operationalizing national early warning structures

IGAD inaugurates Centre of excellence for preventing and countering violent extremism

IGAD about to wrap-up national consultations on free movement of persons

ECOWAS parliamentarians discuss climate change effects on agriculture

Nigeria set to adopt African standard on sugar products, sugar (SON)

Nigeria is set to adopt African standards on Sugar and sugar products as well as develop Nigeria Industrial standards for Glucose and Sucrose. Towards this end, a technical committee meeting on sugar and sugar products held recently at the Standards Organisation of Nigeria headquarters to consider the adoption of some African Standards under the auspices of African Organization for Standardization and the development of other Nigeria Industrial Standards. [Nigerian Export Promotion Council: Repositioning Nigeria’s cocoa export for global competitiveness]

Namibia: Beef for China must come from animals from disease-free areas (New Era)

To qualify for export to China, Namibian beef must be from animals born and raised in disease-free zones and have been at least 60 days on the farm of origin prior to transportation to the approved abattoir. The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has informed all Namibian beef producers about the new requirements to participate in the export of beef to China through approved export abattoirs. This comes after China finally agreed to lift the inhibitive clause on lumpy skin disease, which has prevented Namibia from exporting beef to that country. China approved the export of Namibian beef to that country last month with a few additional conditions.

Kenya: Farmers lose as foreigners tighten grip on coffee trade (The Standard)

Six giant European companies control the multi-billion shilling coffee business in Kenya, raising concerns about possible price manipulation. With coffee prices at the auction only a fraction of the market prices - which hurts farmers - the Government has recommended the formation of a coffee pricing committee. However, the proposal is being fought by what the government has termed forces that have long benefited from the over-regulated market. Through various subsidiaries, the six companies have seized control of the value chain of the prized bean from the farm to the consumer’s table. The firms collectively bought around 70% of the beans, worth Sh16 billion, sold through the Nairobi Coffee Exchange for the financial year ended September 30.

South Africa: Cherry-pick high-value exports by supporting fresh fruit farmers (Business Day)

Smart industrial policy design that identifies and supports high-value agricultural sectors, such as fresh fruit, is an easy win for the government to truly transform agriculture, drive economic growth and create jobs. As then finance minister Malusi Gigaba noted in the 2018 budget, agriculture led the economic recovery following 2017’s recession. Echoing what President Cyril Ramaphosa had said in his state of the nation address, Gigaba added that agriculture is among the sectors in which the country has a competitive advantage and has the potential to become world class. Since 2002, the fruit industry has become the largest export contributor within the agriculture sector. Linkages across the value chain multiply this figure in the form of service industry jobs in packaging, logistics and cold-chain facilities.

Today’s Quick Links:

Landry Signé: The state of African economies - insights from the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings

Dangote Cement mulls London listing, appoints Cherie Blair, Mick Davis to board

Tanzania: Electronic Single Window System at ports in offing, SUMATRA vehicles tracking system welcome

Kenya: Shippers embrace model that resolves empty containers row

Egypt’s rice farmers prepare for crisis, while Ethiopia prepares Nile Mega Dam

Ghana looking to sell debt in the 7% coupon range

SWIFT explores Asia Pacific cross-border real-time payments

UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific: Disasters could cost Asia-Pacific region $160bn per year by 2030


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