tralac Daily News
New transport initiative aims to empower almost a thousand women (Engineering News)
A new initiative championed by the Commercial Transport Academy (CTA) will aim to empower almost a thousand women in the transport sector. The Women Inspiring Women to Lead in Transport initiative comprises three structured programmes: CTA Excellence; Run With It; and Iron Women. Supported by the US government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), it will train and mentor 120 female professionals, 300 entrepreneurs and 495 truck drivers over a three-year period.
Investment board to establish retail store (The Namibian)
The Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) has set the ball rolling to establish its own branded retail store that would exclusively stock Namibian goods produced by small and medium-sized businesses. The intent is to fast track obtaining shelf space for Namibian goods, which would level the playing field with other goods, the board confirmed last week. Dino Ballotti, executive member of the NIPDB, last week said the store would be set up by at least the end of this year, if not in the first or second quarter of 2022.
Kenya, Tanzania Hold Talks On Improving Relations (Kenya News Agency)
Kenya and the neighbouring Tanzania have continued having talks on how to better their relations for the benefit of their citizens. Ministry of Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary (PS) Amb. Macharia Kamau said that the two countries are in agreement on the need to straighten issues which have been hampering smooth relations and in return hurting the local business communities. Speaking Monday at a Nairobi hotel during a Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) meeting between the Principal Secretaries of both countries and their delegations, Amb. Kamau said that they are looking forward to signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the end of the deliberations.
Kenya eyes duty-free access to South Korea market (The Star, Kenya)
Kenya is engaging South Korea for a trade deal that will see reduction or complete removal of duty on exports to the Asian country. Targeted is coffee, the current leading export alongside tea, mate and spices, which attract an eight per cent duty. Trade, Industrialization and Enterprise Development CS Betty Maina said the duty disadvantages Kenya’s exports, which compete with Least Developed Countries (LDCS) that enjoy duty-free access. “Kenya has renewed the cordial bi-lateral relations with South Korea which will now facilitate for negotiation of tariffs reduction especially on our coffee. It is a conversation we have started with the Korean government,” CS Maina told a media briefing in Nairobi, yesterday. The two countries have also agreed to fast-track pending issues on market access of Kenyan produce including fresh avocados into the South Korean market with a solution expected before year end.
Kenya, US to resume trade relations talks (The Star, Kenya)
Kenya is seeking to negotiate and conclude a trade arrangement with the USA. In a statement on Tuesday, Industrialisation and Trade CS Betty Maina said representatives have agreed to deepen trade engagement to promote the interests of the two countries. According to the CS, Ambassador Tai observed that the US was interested in an approach to trade policy that fits in the overall Biden-Harris Administration’s ‘Build Back Better’ and work-centric trade policy. On her part, CS Maina expressed Kenya’s desire to conclude a trade arrangement that gives confidence to investors while safeguarding the country’s commitments under its regional, continental and multilateral trade agreements. This comes a few weeks after Kenya and the United Kingdom agreed to use blockchain tech to free up trade logistics.
Most Kenya sugar imports to come from Eswatini, Zambia (Business Daily)
Shipments from Eswatini, Zambia, and Mauritius will dominate Kenya’s duty-free sugar imports from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) this year to bridge a local deficit in production, a report shows. Supplies from the three countries will account for 69.5 percent of the overall 210,163 tonnes of the commodity that Kenya targets to import from Comesa. The largest consignment of duty-free sugar into Kenya will be sourced from Eswatini (68,959 tonnes) followed by Zambia at 41,152 and Mauritius bringing in 36,036. In East Africa, traders will be allowed to import 18,923 tonnes of the commodity from Uganda, Rwanda (4,072), and Burundi 0.27 tonnes. The Ministry of Agriculture in the new quota rules for each country will see millers allowed to import only 210,163 tonnes of the commodity this year from the usual 350,000 tonnes that the country is normally allocated under the Comesa window.
Kenyan transporters suspend ferrying cargo to Juba over attacks (The East African)
Kenyan truck drivers have suspended transporting cargo to South Sudan after two drivers were killed just 45 kilometres from Juba on Sunday evening. Five trucks were attacked by unknown people at about 5.30pm and two Kenyans were killed while drivers of three other trucks had to flee for their lives. The group said the continual attacks on their drivers and vandalism of their trucks is taking a toll as many lives have been lost and members have also lost their vehicles and goods. Kenya Transporters Association (KTA) Chief Executive Officer Dennis Ombok said two Kenyans and a Ugandan driver had not been traced by Monday morning. But their trucks had been vandalised, he added.
Uganda’s foreign earnings from commodity exports in the international market fell in the month of June 2021 due to a decline in export receipts from some commodities. In the monthly economic performance July report seen by Daily Monitor, the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development in comparison to the previous month said export receipts declined by 3.9 per cent from $469.98 million (Shs1.661 trillion in May 2021 to $451.72 million (Shs1.597 trillion) in June 2021. “This performance was attributed to lower export receipts of commodities like mineral products, tea, tobacco and maize,” said the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Adeniyi Adebayo has said that the financial system should be broadened and deepened to sustain the growth of the economy. The minister at the 2021 national workshop of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) in Abuja, stressed that the financial sector was central to an economic growth. He also said that the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) will enhance the continent’s capacity to unlock growth and create jobs by building the nation’s industrial capacity, enlarging its productivity as well as becoming competitive globally. “As the economy grows, the financial services sector needs to keep pace with changing industry demands, especially in terms of assessing the prospects for risk and return. Sustainable growth of the economy needs to be underpinned by a broadening and deepening of the financial system, capable of serving the needs of all parts of the economy.”
Ghana commended for role in Africa (BusinessGhana)
The outgoing Egyptian Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Emad Magdy Hanna, has said that Ghana’s good foreign policy makes the country a leader in African affairs with credible global standing. These, he explained, were evident in Ghana becoming the hub of international conferences, including the hosting of the ACFTA Secretariat and the election of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as a two-term Chairman of ECOWAS. According to Mr Hanna, the onset of the pandemic did not affect the growing relationship between Ghana and Egypt since they continued to engage in virtual meetings, visits and other progressive engagements and agreements and said such efforts would soon yield the needed results. He said the two countries had reached a trade balance of $100 million, and that was expected to increase to about $150 million soon.
The President of the African Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank), Professor Benedict Okey Aramah, is an incurable optimist that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) has the possibility to spur industrialisation in Africa and Nigeria in particular.
“Despite the challenges of the past, the future of manufacturing in Nigeria looks bright. The coming into force of the AfCFTA opens the wider African market for Nigerian manufacturer. The preferences that AfCFTA offers can make Nigerian manufactured goods more competitive in many African markets and can also make it possible for integration into regional and global supply chains. “The rising middle class in Nigeria and Africa and the rapid urbanisation will expand demand for manufactured goods. It is the manufacturing industry that will supply these items.
He said: “The AfCFTA will build our capacity to manufacture and change the narrative of African economy and give Africa a stronger voice and positioning in the global economy as we go on. He, however, noted that success of the industrial sector would depend much on the federal government coming up with right policies that would attract investments into the country’s manufacturing sector as well as the willingness of the African governments to enforce the free trade area’s agreement favourablly to checkmate dumping.
As Egypt always seeks to create more cooperation and trade interdependence with other countries in the African continent, there are a number of economic and trade agreements that plays this role. Egypt has a number of trade agreements that link it with 55 African states, aiming to increase economic cooperation. Cairo currently working to finish the linkage between the northern tip of the continent with the southern top through several projects, atop of which is a road between Cairo and Cape Town, South Africa’s capital city. This road to facilitate the transfer of goods and products between African countries, which was one of the biggest obstacles facing businessmen, importers and exporters.
Sudan, South Sudan to reopen borders after 11 years (The East African)
Sudan and South Sudan have agreed to open their borders after 11 years. This was announced after a meeting between South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok according to President Kiir’s office. According to a press statement seen by The EastAfrican at the weekend, the diplomatic meeting convened in Juba also resolved the re-opening of water transport. The borders were closed in 2011 when relations deteriorated after the south seceded following a long civil war, taking with it three quarters of the country’s oil.
AfCFTA should enhance bio-diversity trading: UN (The Herald)
The United Nations has called upon Africa to mainstream trade and bio-diversity to unlock wider economic potential under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The continent is regarded as one of the most bio-diverse regions on earth and yet commitments negotiated so far under the landmark AfCFTA agreement barely mention the environment. This represents a missed opportunity to achieve sustainable development through trade integration in Africa, as stipulated under the Africa 2063 Agenda, says a new United Nations Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD) study entitled “Implications of the African Continental Free Trade Area for Trade and Biodiversity: Policy and Regulatory Recommendations.”
EAC tourism sector lost $4.8b, 2m jobs (The East African)
The East African region lost more than $4.8 billion and two million jobs in the tourism sector in 2020 due to the pandemic, according to a new report. The August report titled “EABC Studies on Impact of Covid-19 on Selected Sectors: Tourism & Hospitality Industry; Light Manufacturing Sector and Agriculture & Food Security” found that 4.2 million foreign tourists were not able to travel to their preferred East African Community destinations. The impact has also been felt across affiliated industries and other sectors of the economy. Tourism is one of the leading foreign-exchange earners and fastest-growing sectors in the EAC.
Just before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic struck, just over half of the world’s population approximately (51%) had access to the internet compared with just 30% in Western and Central Africa. With the strict lockdown implemented during the pandemic, many services were only available to people across the region through the internet. Ever since, the need for universal, affordable, and safe high-speed connectivity has increased exponentially. West African countries will not be left behind and will need to deepen reforms and attract the necessary investments for increased digitalization of services, an essential condition for strong, resilient, green economic growth and quality job creation. The stakes are therefore high and the region is showing tremendous potential and opportunities. Although the challenges are not to be underestimated, this potential allows us to hope that West and Central Africa will accelerate the digitalization of its economy. What will it take? Three important steps:
How can more micro-enterprises adopt e-commerce platforms? (The New Times)
There is a need to subsidize the cost required for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to be on e-marketplace, players in the ICT sector have made the case. According to an assessment by the ministry of ICT, currently, there are 186,396 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) registered in Rwanda, but less than one per cent of them are running their business through e-commerce platforms due to some challenges crossing the e-commerce value chain. The assessment shows that some of these challenges range from the high cost for Merchant Discount Rate (MDR), high cost of delivery, the low level of digital and financial literacy, and many other issues. Consolata Nakure, the E-commerce projects lead at ICT Chamber said that there is a pilot project that has been going on for six months to stimulate e-commerce adoption.
2021 SAAFF Summit programme announced (Bizcommunity)
The South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF) has announced details of the programme line-up for its virtual Summit, taking place from 16-17 September. The SAAFF Summit is one of the most comprehensive and influential online business platforms for the freight forwarding, logistics and supply chain sectors in Southern Africa. “The freight forwarding and supply chain industries have been through a series of intense disruptions and challenges over the past year,” says Dave Logan, SAAFF’s chief executive officer. “The SAAFF Summit provides a valuable opportunity for the industry to re-connect, gain new perspectives an
The number of hungry people in the world grew by a staggering 161 million people in 2020 to 811 million. More than one third of these people live in Africa. One of the main reasons for this increase is the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the cost of healthy diets and high levels of income inequality. More concerted efforts are needed to address the problem of food security. Empowering women is often said to be the key. In the past, researchers have looked to their specific disciplines to suggest how women could be empowered to improve food security.
The need for developing new EU-African agricultural trade policies (Farmers Review Africa)
Agriculture is one of the most critical industries globally, and it’s one of the essential industries in Africa. It accounts for many jobs and keeps the economy going in African countries. Without agriculture, the continent would not compete with other countries, and many people would be without an income. Fortunately, there are opportunities for trade between other countries that can help promote the agricultural industry in Africa. One of those trading partners is the European Union (EU). Even though they have this partner, the trade policies need to be updated and further developed for African farmers to continue working in the agricultural industry. The need for developing new EU-African agricultural trade policies is ever-pressing.
One solution to the trade policies is for African countries to switch to cash crops rather than continue with subsistence crops. Africa has potential for products like cotton, tobacco, avocados, coffee, milk, peanuts and mangoes. Europe is an important market for these products, and Africa has the availability to grow them. Those kinds of crops, if exported from Kenya, are not taxed in Europe.
The second quarter of 2021 saw international merchandise trade for the G20, as measured in seasonally adjusted current US dollars, reach a new high following the record levels already posted in Q1 2021. G20 merchandise exports and imports increased by 4.1% and 6.4% in Q2 2021 compared to the previous quarter, showing a slowdown compared with the rates posted in Q1 2021 (8.6% and 8.5% for exports and imports, respectively). Q2 2021 growth in services exports and imports for the G20 aggregate is estimated (based on preliminary information available for a subset of the G20 economies) at around 4.5% and 4.0%, respectively, compared to the previous quarter and measured in seasonally adjusted US dollars. This compares to the slower rate recorded in Q1 (2.9% for exports and imports).
Surprising very few, the intensive discussions at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over specific text for a proposed waiver of intellectual property (IP) protections for COVID-19 vaccines, and possibly other related technologies, came to a pause in late July with no notable progress being made.
The original proposal put forth by India and South Africa in October of last year called for the waiver of obligations under Sections 1 (Copyright and Related Rights), 4 (Industrial Designs), 5 (Patents), and 7 (Protection of Undisclosed Information) of The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (the TRIPS Agreement) to enforce intellection property protections in relation to “prevention, containment, or treatment of COVID-19” for a to-be-determined number of years. The proposal has since been updated to specify a duration of at least 3 years, although critics worry that a waiver without a definitive expiration could require consensus to terminate, potentially leaving the temporary nature of the provisions in limbo.
Hectic parleys will begin from September 1 among members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva to iron out differences on a proposed agreement on fisheries subsidies, an official said. The aim is to conclude the negotiations soon so that the member countries can finalise the text on the pact before the 12th ministerial conference, to be held in Geneva from November 30, the official added. “The objective is to finalise a fully-agreed clean text, ahead of 12th ministerial conference,” the official said. The agreement is aimed at disciplining subsidies with the overall objective to have sustainable fishing, eliminate IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing subsidies and prohibit subsidies contributing to overcapacity and overfishing.
GVCs for LDCs: How would new plan boost trade for least developed countries? (Trade for Development News)
GVCs for LDCs would offer additional and untapped potential not only for greater participation of LDCs in global trade but also for those exporters that incorporate LDC value-added in their products. Instead of preferential schemes based on ‘direct’ LDC exports, under the new GVCs for LDCs initiative, WTO members would offer duty-free access to LDC value-added that ‘travels’ inside finished products exported worldwide by any other WTO member.
Vaccine inequity is one of the most striking – but solvable – challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also provides a wake-up call for what can happen when so-called least-developed countries, or LDCs, are not able to participate fully in global trading systems. By supporting programs such as COVAX, advancing trade facilitation efforts, and directing more aid toward trade initiatives such as Aid for Trade, the global community can help right this imbalance.
A new International Trade Centre (ITC) report shows policymakers how to unlock markets for women through inclusive trade policies. From Design to Evaluation: Making Trade Policy Work for Women is the latest in a series of ITC trade policy publications focusing on women. Policymakers can use the guide to create inclusive policies in trade, industry or small business institutions. It outlines steps to use data that spot opportunities in value chains, engage partners, carry out policies and monitor their impact.