tralac Daily News
DTIC trade policy statement addresses green, labour opportunities (Engineering News)
The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) on May 20 issued a Trade Policy Statement that reflects its policy objectives for international trade in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The policy objectives also address emerging opportunities which stem from the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The South African government is pursuing trade policy that builds industrial capacity, supports workers, women and communities, unlocks development across the continent, drives manufacturing exports, opens markets for local goods and supports a domestic digital economy. Additional pursuits of government’s trade policy include enhancing environmental sustainability and enhancing South Africa’s role in world trade relations.
The Durban harbour has been ranked by a World Bank report in the bottom three of the world’s 351 competent container handling facilities. The other South African harbours battling low rankings in the report are Ngqura, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. Transnet, the parent company of the Transnet Port Terminals division, said it will be engaging the World Bank regarding the analysis contained in its inaugural report, and the areas of measure considered for the index. This is according to the inaugural edition of the “Container Port Performance Index 2020: A Comparable Assessment of Container Port Performance” (CPPI), produced by the World Bank with external assistance from IHS Markit research enterprise.
Energy efficiency financing must be scaled up to unlock opportunities (Engineering News)
There is considerable opportunity and potential to be unlocked in energy efficiency projects in South Africa, but more needs to be done with regard to financial solutions to catalyse a take up of opportunities, speakers said during a webinar hosted by industry organisation the South African Energy Efficiency Confederation on May 20. Carbon Trust Southern Africa head Benjamin Curnier said the organisation was working with the South African National Energy Development Institute and the Department of Minerals Resources and Energy, along with the World Bank, to see what kind of financial interventions could be deployed in the market to drive energy efficiency.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has said more partnerships between Kenyan and American Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) will help unlock the huge trade potential that exists between the two nations. The President invited American SMEs to invest more in the country by entering into mutually beneficial arrangements with their Kenyan counterparts, adding that the enterprises are the backbone of Kenya’s vibrant economy. “This is where the real opportunity lies. This is not to say that we are telling the big boys not to come in, they are already here. The big corporates are already here. “But they don’t have the capacity to propel inclusive growth as the small and medium enterprises that have a much greater capacity of affecting lives and changing the livelihoods at the grassroots level,” President Kenyatta said.
Kenya receives first ship at new $2.8B port (Anadolu Agency)
Kenya on Thursday started officially using its new Port of Lamu worth 310 million Kenya shillings ($2.8 billion), part of a project to link the East African country with South Sudan and Ethiopia. Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s president, witnessed as cargo was offloaded off the Danish ship MV Cap Carmel at the completed first berth, one of 32 total. Once completed it will be the largest deep-water port in Sub-Saharan Africa. “This port will connect South Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya,” Kenyatta said at the opening. “Eventually, it will connect northern Kenya to the Middle Belt of Africa, which runs from Dakar, Senegal in the west to Lamu in the east.”
Kenya launches Lamu port. But its value remains an open question (The Conversation Africa)
The Nakuru county government has reached an agreement with the British embassy to promote trade and investment opportunities within the devolved unit as it eyes increased agricultural exports. The move is part of a grand plan by the county government to help farmers tap into the foreign export market through value addition for various agricultural products. Governor Lee Kinyanjui and British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott held talks on Tuesday in a bid to bolster ties between Nakuru and the British government. “We’ve held deliberations on areas of mutual cooperation including agriculture, trade and education. The emphasis here is to increase exports of both processed and raw agricultural products to the British market,” the governor said.
Zim asked to facilitate trade links (The Herald)
Namibia has requested Zimbabwean authorities to facilitate direct links to product suppliers to eliminate middlemen who are in the habit of massive profiteering. Mrs Nandi-Ndaitwah said Namibia was a significant consumer of Zimbabwean products. “Namibia is a consumer of some products from Zimbabwe. It is worrisome that these products often reach Namibia through third parties hence there is a need to strengthen direct trade and commerce between our two countries,” said Deputy Prime Minister Nandi-Ndaitwah. “It is therefore important to hold trade initiatives such as business forums between our two chambers of commerce as a way of enhancing trade between our two countries.
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) could be considered as the game changer for the post COVID economic recovery and transformation of Ghana, Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Keyermaten has said. According to him, the country can achieve that if it harnesses the numerous benefits of AfCFTA. Speaking at the launch of the electric cable standards for mining companies by the Ghana Chamber of Mines in collaboration with the Ghana Standards Authority, Mr. Kyerematen said the government has developed a National AfCFTA Policy Framework and Implementation Plan for Boosting Intra-African Trade (BlAT).
The Angolan government is drawing up the Annual National Development Plan (PADN-2022) with the actions to be carried out, targets and objectives for next year, the Secretary of State for Planning, Milton Reis said today in Luanda. He noted that the preparation of PADN-2022 was in its initial phase, and that the schedule for its preparation, as well as the paradigm for the presentation of projects and activities to support development, had been presented to the Technical Bodies of the National Planning System.
Maritime security experts partner NPA on safety (The Guardian Nigeria)
Maritime security experts under the aegis of the Support for West African Maritime Security (SWAIMS), on Thursday pledged to partner the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) toward addressing maritime security and safety. The group, which is affiliated to the European Union, provides support to ECOWAS countries in the drive to fight against piracy and related crimes in the sub-region. It offers technical assistance on the anti-piracy and nautical security services, among others.
Aid deal for fish farmers in Nigeria (Fish Farmer Magazine)
Nigeria’s beleaguered fish farming sector is set to receive a lifeline, thanks to an aid and co-investment package funded by US Aid and a non-governmental organisation, Partners For Development. Fish farmers in the country have seen rising costs and falling prices for their product throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. The aid package, a co-investment partnership between the USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub and global organisation Partners for Development, will leverage $1.1m (£0.77m) of private funds in addition to a grant from the Trade Hub of $500,000 (just under £352,000) to build the industry’s resilience. Key project goals include improving production, helping sales rebound, and increasing employment in the aquaculture sector, including for women and youth.
FDA collaborates with GEPA Impact Hub to boost export trade (Myjoyonline.com)
The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has expressed excitement in collaborating with the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) on the latter’s Impact Hub initiative, intended to provide relevant trade information to the Ghanaian export community to boost the country’s export trade. The facility christened the GEPA Impact Hub, and located at the African Trade House, Headquarters of AfCFTA in Accra, is fully furnished with computers, dedicated online resources, printed trade information and publications and a library, to aid exporters in accessing trade information. GEPA has plan to rake in a revenue of $25.3 billion from non-traditional export trade by 2029, and the Hub is expected to contribute significantly to achieving this target through the provision of key trade information to exporters.
Guinea Backs FEDA’s Establishment (THISDAY Newspapers)
The Republic of Guinea has signed the Agreement for the Establishment of the Fund for Export-Development in Africa (FEDA), a development impact-oriented subsidiary of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). The Establishment Agreement was signed on March 31, 2021, by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ibrahima Khalil Kaba, on behalf of the Republic of Guinea. According to a statement, Guinea becomes the third signatory of the Establishment Agreement after Rwanda in November 2020 and Mauritania in January 2021. To complete the FEDA Legal Establishment process, two Afreximbank member states were required to sign and ratify the Establishment Agreement. The signing of the Agreement by Guinea was a significant step as it enables FEDA’s Legal Establishment procedures to progress towards completion.
Morocco Ensures Prosperous Financial Future After Meeting with AfCFTA (Morocco World News)
Morocco’s Foreign Minister, Nasser Bourita, met with the Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Wamkele Mene, to discuss Morocco’s commitment to promoting free trade in Africa. During the meeting, both officials relished the fact that Morocco continues to offer goods and services to aid in the prosperity of the agreement. The meeting ended amicably with officials from both parties agreeing that special importance should be attributed to developing the “private sectors of the Member States in order to promote intra-African trade for a more integrated and prosperous continent.”
Over 200 International Islamic Finance Leaders to Gather in Djibouti for the two day event focusing on capturing the Islamic finance opportunity in Africa. Speaking ahead of a high-profile conference addressing the opportunities for Islamic finance in Africa, David McLean, Chief Executive of the Islamic Banking Summit Africa (IBSA 2012) noted that “as a result of the recent policy revisions, regulatory changes and economic reforms in key markets on the continent, Africa has now been re-positioned as the third fastest growing region in the world, after the Middle East and Asia. The resurrection of Africa’s trade ties with the rest of the world has resulted in an increased international investor interest in the region. The rapid expansion of the major economies in the region has also resulted in the need to invest heavily in developing vital infrastructure. These factors highlight the tremendous opportunity that Africa presents for the growth of Islamic finance and also indicate how Islamic finance can play a key role in catalysing economic development in the region.”
Doors to US Market Swing Open. Can DRC Entrepreneurs Enter? (Global Press Journal)
The cocoa industry in this eastern stretch of DRC had all but disappeared when Alexis Kalinda Salumu decided to try and save it. Salumu in 2019 launched his processing company, Chocolaterie Lowa, from a small white house stocked with little bites of dark chocolate truffles, bittersweet bars of chocolate, and smooth cocoa butter extracted from nuts in a locally-made machine next door. His export goal seemed closer than ever in January, when the United States added DRC back to the list of countries that receive special trade provisions, known as the African Growth and Opportunity Act. But the optimism of entrepreneurs like Salumu is tempered by DRC’s limited infrastructure and an array of logistical hurdles, revealing the complexities of a deal that had been quickly heralded by both countries.
Achievements in agricultural sector showcase capacity for food self sufficiency, exportation (Ethiopian Press Agency)
“Agriculture plays a backbone role in Ethiopia’s economy being core part to our vision for attaining prosperity,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) said recently. The Prime Minister mentioned some successes as a few of the milestones achieved so far in the past three years in the agriculture sector. In order to strengthen market-led agricultural development system, 10 crop varieties are being developed in four States of the country on 3.2 million hectares of land in a cluster approach. To facilitate the supply of irrigation rig and other agricultural equipment and inputs from the smallest to the largest, irrigation rigs and other inputs have been made tax-exempted at all levels and the inputs required for domestic production and assembly are equally tax-exempted.
Zambian miners want tax changes (The Southern Times)
The Zambia Chamber of Mines is lobbying the government to address impediments to investment inflows and production growth, and to guarantee stable tax policies. Chamber president Dr Godwin Beene this week said it was imperative to rectify negative investor perceptions of the mining sector in the country. “Our sector, like any other sector that thrives on engagement with foreigners, is sensitive to public perception. Since the year 2000, when Zambia’s investment policy changed, the new mining sector has been battling a bad press leading to Government putting various measures in place to address complaints from watchdog groups. Some potential investors have found reason for not wanting to invest in the Zambian Mining Sector,” he said.
Intra-African and international trade
Kazungula bridges SADC trade drive (The Southern Times)
The US$259 million Kazungula Bridge over the Zambezi River and One Stop Border Post facilities connecting Botswana and Zambia were commissioned on May 10, 2021, paving the way for enhanced Southern African Development Community (SADC) integration and development. The 929m bridge and state-of-the-art facilities were officially commissioned by the President of Botswana Mokgweetsi Masisi, and the President of Zambia Edgar Lungu, at a colourful ceremony at the quadriphonic point across the Zambezi River where Botswana and Zambia meet Namibia and Zimbabwe. Kazungula Bridge will link the Port of Durban in South Africa to the DRC and Tanzania through the North-South Corridor to facilitate seamless and efficient movement of goods and persons, and in doing so reduce cost of doing business, contribute to industrialisation, and enhance trade and SADC
According to the Food Crisis Prevention Network, a record 18.6 million people are currently in need of food assistance in West Africa. While urgent and immediate humanitarian action is necessary to protect vulnerable populations, a new World Bank and FAO publication offers fresh thinking for dealing with both the challenges and opportunities resulting from accelerating long-term trends including climate change, growing populations, urbanization, changing consumption habits and technological advances. The report titled “A Blueprint for Strengthening Food System Resilience in West Africa: Regional Priority Intervention Areas” identifies three interconnected priority areas for simultaneous intervention at regional level: strengthening the food system’s productive base, by promoting climate smart agriculture at farm and landscape levels; promoting an enabling environment for intra-regional value chain development and trade facilitation, and enhancing regional risk management architecture and farmers’ decision support tools.
The Republic of Seychelles, a Member State of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), has attained the status of being the first country in the world to submit its report to Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI). Seychelles has been collaborating with the (FiTI) since 2015, leading regional efforts to promote sustainable management of fisheries. Transparency has become a cornerstone of Seychelles’ endeavours to transit towards a sustainable ocean economy; and it is a core principle of the country’s ‘Blue Economy: Strategic Policy Framework and Roadmap (2018-2030)’.
Africa’s vaccination campaigns to battle COVID-19 are facing significant delays because of the export ban imposed by India as it grapples with a devastating resurgence of the disease, Africa’s top health official said Thursday. The AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India was to be an integral part of the U.N.-backed COVAX initiative to distribute vaccines to low- and middle-income nations. India’s deadly crisis and its decision to halt all exports of the vaccines it produces had badly affected Africa’s mass vaccination drive, which was already lagging behind many other parts of the world, according to John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Russia’s Trade Growing with Africa (InDepthNews)
The first Russia-Africa Summit held on October 23-24, 2019 in Sochi, Russia, set the grounds for raising trade collaboration across various areas and work towards a new dynamism in the existing economic cooperation with African countries.
In an email conversation with Kester Kenn Klomegah in May 2021, Alisa Andreevna Prokhorova, Managing Director for International Activities and Interaction with Business Councils, and Group of companies of the Russian Export Center, stressed that as the African continent undergoes positive transformation, platforms for dialogue on trade between Russia and Africa are emerging too. She refers to the newly created continental free trade zone in Africa for potential Russian investors and enterprises, facilitating their quest for interaction with industry organisations in sub-Saharan African countries.
Over the last ten years, the World Bank Group has invested over $200 billion in Sub-Saharan Africa and, as I announced on Tuesday at the summit in Paris, in just the next five years, we intend to invest and mobilize about $150 billion in Africa to support the continent’s recovery. One of the themes of the Paris Conference two days ago, on Tuesday, was the call by African heads of state for cancellation of debts, but that’s not the direction that the world is moving at this point. A permanent solution is necessary for this overhang of debt stocks for countries that have unsustainable debt levels. World Bank is working closely with the IMF to try to implement the G-20 common framework for debt reduction. The success of that hinges on full participation by the private sector, and also improvements in debt transparency. The full private sector participation is an essential part of any path to lasting debt sustainability.
The 5th ATAF High-Level Tax Policy Dialogue took place virtually on the 5th and 6th May 2021 under the theme “Post-COVID Taxation: Policy and Administrative Strategies for Mobilising Enhanced Domestic Taxes in Africa”. The event was jointly organised by the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) and the African Union Commission (AUC), with the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB). It was agreed that African trade blocks should focus on greater tax alignment to ensure the success of the AfCFTA. In addition to this alignment, African countries should strive for a greater level of predictability in tax policy frameworks, build business confidence, and provide investors with certainty.
New online market to boost small holder farmers in EAC (The Standard)
An online agribusiness market to help farmers in the East Africa Community sell agricultural produce has been unveiled. Agribusiness Confederation of East Africa (ACEA) has launched the online agribusiness market to help sellers in the region find markets for their green produce. Dubbed the ACEA Buyer-Seller Platform, it aims to connect agribusiness players in the agriculture value chains from the East Africa Community. East African countries produce a lot of agricultural products but the challenge remains market for these products.
Global trade after COVID-19: From fixed capital to human capital (World Economic Forum)
Some commentators have trumpeted the “end” of globalization in the wake of rising protectionism over the last half decade, the sudden economic stops wrought by COVID-19, and the corollary disruptions of supply chain activity around the world. The truth, though, is that for companies and investors involved in the exchange, transmission, and sale of goods, services, technology and finance, globalization is anything but dead. Granted, the landscape has dramatically shifted since the 1990s, and executives will need to be nimble and agile in navigating the new environment, which is currently in a state of flux. Indeed, more recent developments in the global trade environment including green frameworks, digital protocols and regional partnerships offer a glimpse not of the demise of globalization, but rather, of what global trade may look like in the post-COVID-19 era.
WTO chief calls for diversification of vaccine production (Associated Press)
On the eve of a global health summit in Rome, WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told European Union legislators that normal market forces for exports and imports couldn’t apply when it comes to the life-or-death issue of COVID-19 vaccines, as many of the world’s wealthiest nations were hoarding the shots for their own population when the crisis hit their home turf. She said the world has the capacity to manufacture some 5 billion vaccine doses overall but that as the virus has spread “we require twice and three times that. So the capacity was not there.”
Digital agriculture can drive the transformation of agri-food systems necessary to eliminate hunger, reduce poverty and build a better future for all humankind, QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said today. “Digitalization is the way of the new life and the new economy,” he said at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2021. “This is both a tremendous responsibility and an unprecedented opportunity for all of us.”
As the world continues to tackle the multiple impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, from pushing some 131 million people into extreme poverty to reversing years of development progress, the UN chief said on Tuesday that a more coordinated approach is key to moving forward. ”In many ways, the COVID-19 crisis has shone a spotlight on international cooperation”, Secretary-General António Guterres told a meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on Operational Activities for Development.