Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News


UCD opens new depot in Cape Town (Engineering News)

United Container Depots (UCD) has moved from its location in Paarden Eiland to larger premises in Beaconvale, Parow, also in Cape Town. The new depot has a container stacking area of more than 20 000 m²; warehouse space of 4 000 m²; a dedicated controlled atmosphere (CA) gassing area for up to four trucks; three empty container handling machines; 120 reefer plug points; as well as dedicated collection and drop-off truck lanes.

“Over the years we have adjusted our business model from operating as a general purpose depot, to now focusing on 60% to 70% reefer-orientated work. “Having doubled our current capacity, we can now offer our customers a more streamlined system of container movement through the yard.”

Zambia material export ban sends feed prices record high (Business Daily)

The cost of animal feeds has hit a record high after Zambia banned the export of soya and sunflower meals, which are major raw material used in feed production. Zambia is one of the main source markets for Kenya for the products, and a freeze in exports is expected to have a negative effect on feed supply. The Association of Kenya Feed Manufacturers (Akefema) says that 15 millers have already closed shop due to high cost of doing business. The cost of Soya has now doubled to Sh130 from Sh65 a kilogramme in August last year, while sunflower meal is up from Sh25 to Sh35. Akefema appealed to the government to allow duty-free importation of GMO yellow maize and soya to ease the current deficit.

Botswana lifts 2021 economic growth forecast to 9.7% (Reuters)

Botswana now expects economic growth of 9.7% in 2021, compared with the 8.8% forecast in February, helped by higher diamond sales and a recent rebasing of GDP accounts, Finance Minister Peggy Serame told Reuters on Monday. She added the 2021 budget deficit was expected to widen to 3.9% from the 2.8% seen in February. In July, Botswana revised its real GDP accounts base year to 2016 from 2006, seeking to improve the accuracy of its measurement of economic growth. “The larger than forecast contraction in 2020 is, however, expected to be offset by an improvement in growth in 2021 which has now been revised upwards to 9.7 percent growth for the year,” Serame said in response to emailed questions.

Kenyan youth stake claim to digital jobs, seat at negotiating table (UNCTAD)

Young people can be catalysts of inclusive development. That’s the mantra of Linda Okero, a communication enthusiast who leads Youth Action Hub Kenya, a group of young trailblazers from Nairobi.

With the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating digital transformation across sectors – spurring the rise of platform economies and with it the emergence of new employment trends, job roles and opportunities – the youth in Kenya are looking towards the future of work with hope and optimism. “Economically empowered young people are more likely to step into leadership roles and dare to voice and propose solutions, hopes and visions for a better tomorrow,” Ms. Okero says. In Kenya, digital access has been instrumental in reshaping the concept of work, with many unemployed youth, students or young professionals leaning towards newly available short-term jobs or “gigs” to earn an additional income. In the next five years, the gig industry in the country is projected to grow by 33% annually, offering the youth with relevant digital skills a chance to compete for opportunities on a global scale.

To leverage this blooming sector, Youth Action Hub Kenya launched the “Own Your Voice on SDGs” project to educate young people on emerging job opportunities within the digital economy.

One drag on Nigeria’s GDP growth is not because of the pandemic (Quartz Africa)

On the face of it, Nigeria’s economic recovery is on the right track. The country’s GDP grew 5% from April to June, according to official data last week (Aug. 26), making it Nigeria’s best quarterly performance since the closing months of 2014. The easing of Covid-19 restrictions, and the reopening of land borders with neighboring Benin after 16 months, contributed to retail and other domestic trade growing by 22.5%, according to Ibukunoluwa Omoyeni, an analyst at Vetiva Capital, a Lagos-based firm. Transportation and storage also contributed to the bump with nearly 77% year-on-year growth. However, this year’s second quarter is only impressive because it is being compared to a 6.1% slump in the same period in 2020. Omoyeni says growth of up to 8% aided by better performance in other sectors is needed to restore Nigeria to its pre-pandemic growth path. One of those sectors is the telecommunications and information services sector, which is a case study for how poorly-timed policies can impact an economy’s ability to recover from shocks.

NPA sets new guidelines for barge operations at seaports (Daily Trust)

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has established a new regulatory framework for the operation of barges across the nation’s seaports. A statement by the authority, signed by the general manager, Corporate and Strategic Communication, Olaseni Alakija, stated that the guidelines, which come under a new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), must be obeyed by all operators effective September 1, 2021. The authority, the statement said, is poised to review the modalities for the registration of barge operating license with emphasis on operators meeting the minimum safety standards ((MSS) of their barges. Failure to meet this requirement will bar an operator from using the channel, it said.

Alakija noted that under the new set of regulations, an electronic call-up system would be developed for deployment for barge operations in which barges would remain at their anchor until they are called to pick or discharge cargo.

Economic growth may regress if we don’t borrow — FG (Daily Trust)

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said the 5.01 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth recorded in the second quarter of 2021 will regress if the federal government does not borrow to invest in critical infrastructure for investments required for business productivity. Speaking in Abuja Monday during a joint press conference with the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and other government officials, Ahmed said the government was “happy economic and business activities are fully returning to pre-COVID-19 period.”

Govt reintroduces mandatory sale of export proceeds (Malawi Nyasa Times)

The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has reintroduced mandatory sale of export proceeds, a facility that the Bank introduced in 1994 as an export incentive scheme. The scheme allowed exporters to retain export proceeds in their Foreign Currency Denominated Accounts (FCDAs). The scheme started with a Retention/Conversion ratio of 10/90 and has progressively been adjusted downwards until it was abolished in March 2015. Since the abolition of the Retention/Conversion ratio, exporters are allowed to retain 100 percent of export proceeds in their FCDAs.

Zimbabwe: Unfortified Food Faces Ban (The Herald)

Manufacturers of foods that are required to be fortified have been warned by the Ministry of Health and Child Care that they risk having their products banned if they do not meet the required standards. In 2016, the idea was pushed a lot further to combat the loss of most vitamins and minerals when many common grains are processed, with these losses having to be replaced at levels previously set, as laid out in Statutory Instrument 120 of 2016: Food and Food Standards (Food Fortification Regulations).

Ethiopia Positions as Africa’s Aviation Hub (East African Business Week)

Ethiopian Airlines Group and the Boeing Company have signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on positioning Ethiopia as an aviation hub for Africa. Building on the two parties’ seventy years of shared history in aviation, the MoU aims at positioning Ethiopia as Africa’s aviation hub – “Ethiopia for Africa”. Boeing has recognized Ethiopian as a global aviation leader in the continent. The MoU is indicative of Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines’ interest to establish a mutually beneficial world-class aviation partnership. To realize their shared vision, Ethiopian and Boeing have agreed to work in partnership in four areas of strategic collaboration namely: Industrial Development, Advanced Aviation Training, Educational Partnership, and Leadership Development in a span of three years.


EAC workshop on enhancing participation of women in African Continental Free Trade Area opened on Monday (EAC)

A two-day East African Community (EAC) workshop aimed at enhancing the participation of women in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) opened on Monday. Speaking during the opening session of the workshop, the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of the Productive and Social Sectors, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, said that traders in Africa especially women, youth and SMEs face significant challenges when attempting to benefit from multilateral and regional trade agreements as many trade agreements do not include their specific needs and concerns.

“In EAC, the AfCFTA will allow our people to access a large continental market and increase EAC export to African countries outside the region. It will also improve movement of people across Africa, advance trade and development aspirations and ultimately put the region in a better position to trade more with the rest of the world,” said Hon. Bazivamo.

AfCFTA: A Guide for Export Oriented Nigerian Manufacturers, SMEs (THISDAY Newspapers)

The National Action Committee on AfCFTA provided needful guide on how Nigerian enterprises could participate effectively in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Secretary, NAC on AfCFTA, Mr. Francis Anatogu said: “What is important is to know the steps and how to take them. It is important to know what is in place and what are still being discussed to enable businesses to get up and do what that are needed to be done. “The AfCFTA is about rules and making them clear; about reducing tariffs and harmonising policies, standards and operationalising corporation among African countries so that we can increase trade among ourselves. It is also about exporting and earning FX,” adding that the agreement offered those who are able to produce, the market to sell at discretional terms.

Sadc should tap into digital industrialisation opportunities (Chronicle)

INCREASING digitalisation is critical for Southern African Development Community (Sadc) countries to minimize disturbances to the development of industry as a result of Covid-19. The Vice President of Malawi, Dr Saulos Klaus Chilima, said this in a recent Sadc public lecture on industrial digitalisation where he stressed the need for scaling up regional collaboration in driving innovation in various sectors to foster development. He called for the strengthening of Sadc member States’ capacities and exploring possibilities of establishing a regional centre of excellence on digital technology. “Covid-19 has provided impetus for innovation and development of technologies for continuation of business amidst the pandemic,” said Dr Chilima, a former chief executive officer for Airtel Malawi. His lecture was delivered under the theme: “Promoting Digitalisation for the Revival of the Sadc Industrialisation Agenda in the Covid-19 Era”, taking into account the disruptive impact of the pandemic on regional supply chains.

Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria… Is West Africa ready for life without the CFA Franc? (The Africa Report)

After a further postponement of the launch of the ECOWAS single currency, which was supposed to be launched in 2020, the 15 heads of state and government concerned have set a new date for the transition in 2027. Will it work this time? The question is legitimate, because the deadline for creating the eco is very tight. The eight member states of WAEMU have been slow to ratify the abandonment of the CFA franc. Nigeria is sulking over this move by Francophone countries. There has been little improvement in convergence between the countries that are candidates for the monetary union. Will the eco rate be fixed or flexible? Will its central bank be truly independent?

Can Africa Fund its Way Out of Poverty? (News Ghana)

The narrative of Africa is nothing but positive. From time immemorial, Africa has been battling with all sorts of labels. These include lack of infrastructure, inequality, lack of opportunities, high crime rate, overpopulation, bad governance, corruption, and poverty. Many on the continent are already used to the over-flogged statement that Africans live on less than a dollar a day and that it is the world’s poverty capital. The international poverty line the World Bank says is $1.90 per day using purchasing power parity.

In 2021 according to Development aid, there are 490 million people in Africa living in extreme poverty, or 30% of the total population. This number is up from 481 million in 2019. Unfortunately, what further compounds the problem of poverty in Africa is the rapidly growing African population.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee, which tracks Official Development Assistance (ODA) spending, reported that in 2019, aid to Africa totalled $US49.1 billion or 34% of total net ODA. Furthermore, a Washington Times report said that “Over the past 60 years, at least $1 trillion of development-related aid has been transferred from rich countries to Africa, yet, endemic poverty still exists.” So, the question now is, where are the international aids meant for development going? Are they only good enough to purchase motorcycles et al.? Are they being lost to corruption or other unproven or not well thought out modes of resolving poverty?

France works with African partners to deliver 10 million vaccines to Africa (UNECA)

African Union Member States will receive an additional 10 million doses of Astra Zeneca and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines over the next three months through a new partnership between the French government and the African Union. The vaccines will be allocated and distributed by the initiative known as the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and the COVAX global vaccine initiative. The AVAT initiative was set up as a pooled procurement mechanism for the African Union Member States to be able to buy enough vaccines for at least 50% of their needs. The AVAT works closely with the COVAX initiative, which seeks to provide the other 50% through donations. AVAT is managed on behalf of the African Union Member States by an alliance of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), as well as the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), which also provides the funding for the acquisition of vaccines. AVAT has already acquired enough vaccines for African countries to vaccinate 400 million people, or one-third of the African population, by September next year, at a cost of $3 billion, supported by an innovative partnership with the World Bank.

African campaigners call for climate justice to hasten green recovery (News Ghana)

Delivering climate justice to African countries is crucial to accelerate the continent’s green recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic’s social and economic aftershocks, campaigners said on Monday. The green campaigners stressed that promoting a climate-resilient future for Africa was paramount in order to safeguard the livelihoods of communities.

Keriako Tabiko, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for Environment and Forestry in his opening remarks at the Nairobi Summer School on Climate Justice said that Africa deserved a fair allocation of resources, technologies and innovations to help communities cope with extreme weather events.

“Every climate action that will be undertaken in Africa going forward should have justice, equity and human rights as key components. We must entrench climate justice in legislation and policies,” Tobiko said at a forum in Nairobi. Mithika Mwenda, executive director of PACJA noted that there is a growing consensus on the need to promote justice, equity and inclusivity in Africa’s quest for carbon neutrality. “Climate justice is no longer an abstract concept. It is key to raising the voices of local communities in Africa and the global south who have suffered heavily from failed crops, droughts, floods and disease outbreaks linked to rising temperatures,” said Mwenda.

A Turning Point for Dubai-Africa Trade (Forbes Africa)

The Global Business Forum Africa in Dubai and Dubai Chamber’s representative offices across the continent have catalysed bilateral trade growth over the last decade. Dubai’s trade with Africa has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade, thanks to several important developments that have established new business links between the emirate and promising markets across the continent. The emirate’s trade and investment relationship with Africa has gone from strength to strength in recent years as more African companies have entered the UAE, while many UAE companies have expanded their presence in Africa. Among the most crucial factors that facilitated bilateral trade and investment flows is the Global Business Forum Africa in Dubai. Since this high-profile event series was launched by Dubai Chamber in 2013, Dubai’s non-oil trade with Africa has surged by over 71 percent to exceed $50 billion in 2020. The 6th edition of the Global Business Forum Africa, set to descend on Expo 2020 Dubai October 13th -14th, 2021, comes at a time when UAE-Africa ties are rapidly expanding as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and regional integration efforts gain momentum.

Dubai’s trade with Africa is projected to see an annual increase of up to 10% over the next five years following the implementation of AfCFTA, according to recent analysis from Dubai Chamber.


International community must act to avert a two-speed global economic recovery post Covid-19 (AfDB)

Heads of international development institutions held a closed-door session with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday to discuss the uneven global economic recovery, access to vaccines, and strategies to drive a recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. Merkel was joined by the heads of the African Development Bank, World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Addressing Africa’s economic prospects, African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina said the continent’s economies were forecast to grow by 3.4%. He said the IMF special drawing rights were invaluable in facing down economic headwinds. “The recent IMF release of $650 billion in SDRs, with $27 billion to Africa, will go a long way in helping to boost reserves for developing countries,” he said. He added: “If the developed countries reallocate $100 billion of SDRs to Africa, as agreed at the Paris leaders meeting and by the G7, that will further support faster economic recovery in Africa.”

The meeting took place a day before a Compact with Africa conference, which several African heads of state are attending. The Compact with Africa is a G20 initiative that promotes private investment in Africa. It involves reform of the continent’s macroeconomic, business and financing frameworks.

Allow Least Developed Countries to Develop (Inter Press Service)

The pandemic is pushing back the world’s poorest countries with the least means to finance economic recovery and contagion containment efforts. Without international solidarity, economic gaps will grow again as COVID-19 threatens humanity for years to come. While bringing some concessions, the ‘least developed countries’ (LDCs) designation – introduced five decades ago – has not generated changes needed to accelerate sustainable development for all.

With many others joining, the LDCs list rose to 49 in 2001. Half a century later, with only seven having ‘graduated’ – after meeting income, ‘human assets’ and economic & environmental vulnerability criteria – the 44 remaining LDCs have 14% of the world’s people. With more than two-thirds in Sub-Saharan Africa, LDCs have over half the world’s extreme poor, surviving on under US$1.9 daily. LDCs are 27% more vulnerable than other developing countries, where 12% are extreme poor. Although they have not yet graduated, several LDCs have successfully begun diversifying their economies. Their policy initiatives offer important lessons for others.

Food systems: seven priorities to end hunger and protect the planet (Nature)

The world’s food system is in disarray. One in ten people is undernourished. One in four is overweight. More than one-third of the world’s population cannot afford a healthy diet. Food supplies are disrupted by heatwaves, floods, droughts and wars. The number of people going hungry in 2020 was 15% higher than in 2019, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and armed conflicts.

Our planetary habitat suffers, too. The food sector emits about 30% of the world’s greenhouse gases. Expanding cropland, pastures and tree plantations drive two-thirds of the loss in forests (5.5 million hectares per year), mostly in the tropics. Poor farming practices degrade soils, pollute and deplete water supplies and lower biodiversity.

As these interlinkages become clear, approaches to food are shifting — away from production, consumption and value chains towards safety, networks and complexity. Recent crises around global warming and COVID-19 have compounded concerns. Policymakers have taken note.

Era of leaded petrol over, eliminating a major threat to human and planetary health (UN Environment)

When service stations in Algeria stopped providing leaded petrol in July, the use of leaded petrol ended globally. This development follows an almost two decades long campaign by the UNEP-led global Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV).

2021 has marked the end of leaded petrol worldwide, after it has contaminated air, dust, soil, drinking water and food crops for the better part of a century. Leaded petrol causes heart disease, stroke and cancer. It also affects the development of the human brain, especially harming children, with studies suggesting it reduced 5-10 IQ points. Banning the use of leaded petrol has been estimated to prevent more than 1.2 million premature deaths per year, increase IQ points among children, save USD 2.45 trillion for the global economy, and decrease crime rates.

“The successful enforcement of the ban on leaded petrol is a huge milestone for global health and our environment,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “Overcoming a century of deaths and illnesses that affected hundreds of millions and degraded the environment worldwide, we are invigorated to change humanity’s trajectory for the better through an accelerated transition to clean vehicles and electric mobility.”

By the 1980s, most high-income countries had prohibited the use of leaded petrol, yet as late as 2002, almost all low- and middle-income countries, including some Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) members, were still using leaded petrol. The PCFV is a public-private partnership that brought all stakeholders to the table, providing technical assistance, raising awareness, overcoming local challenges and resistance from local oil dealers and producers of lead, as well as investing in refinery upgrades.

FAO calls for renewed digital push in Small Island Developing States battered by COVID-19 (FAO)

The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu, today called on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to foster the power of innovation and digitalization to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 1 (No poverty), SDG 2 (No hunger) and SDG 10 (Reduced inequalities). Qu spoke at the opening of the two-day virtual SIDS Solutions Forum (30-31 August), co-hosted by FAO and the Government of Fiji.

"Advances in digital innovation have seen the vast oceans that separate us give way to vast possibilities. Alone, we are small islands. Together, we are one connected continent bound by a spirit of innovative resilience,” said Josaia V. Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji. “Our 39 states, from the South Pacific, to the Caribbean, to the Indian Ocean, are home to incredible minds, cutting edge innovation and deep traditional knowledge.”

Digital technologies are transforming agri-food systems. While this is an important development everywhere, it is of great importance to remote areas such as SIDS. The expansion of mobile technologies, remote-sensing services and distributed computing are already improving smallholders’ access to information, inputs and markets, increasing production and productivity, streamlining supply chains, reducing operational costs, and consequently enabling farmers to gain more economically.


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