Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News


New high-capacity railroad planned for South Africa (BusinessTech)

The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) plans to build a new rail corridor between Gauteng and the Eastern Cape to help reduce congestion at Durban’s port. The corridor is specifically aimed at the country’s vehicle manufacturers, and boosting the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ), says DTIC deputy minister Fikile Majola. “We will now get into another project, which is the development of the High Capacity Rail Corridor between Silverton and Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape. We will build rail lines working with Transnet and private sector partners to ensure that Ford and other manufacturers can transport their cars to reduce congestion at the Durban Port.”

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has previously said that the government is conducting a feasibility study to introduce a high-speed rail development between Pretoria, Johannesburg and Durban. Presenting to parliament’s select committee on transport on 25 August, Mbalula said that the planned development would carry passengers and freight. He said that the government is also looking to overhaul its freight-by-rail plans, and is working on an updated rail policy for the country, currently being developed as a white paper.

South Africa needs to ramp up critical minerals exploration as world decarbonises - study (Engineering News)

The South African mining sector can remain internationally competitive and support socioeconomic development only if it drives decarbonisation and adapts to the global shift in commodity demand towards minerals used in green sectors such as renewable electricity and electric vehicles (EVs), a new study shows. However, the country will have to materially ramp up its exploration of the critical minerals required for emerging green technologies if it is to succeed in offsetting the decline in coal mining, as well as some platinum group metals (PGMs), notably palladium.

Cotton farming provides diversification options for South African canegrowers (Engineering News)

The SA Canegrowers Association will present the outcomes of a recently concluded cotton diversification pilot project to the Sugarcane Value Chain Masterplan Task Team on diversification. “These findings represent an exciting new avenue for the sugar industry to explore in pursuit of viable diversification options for canegrowers in South Africa,” the organisation states.

Domestic debt at 63.2% breaches SADC benchmark (New Era)

Namibia’s total debt as a percentage of gross domestic debt (GDP) has breached the Southern African Development Community (SADC) benchmark of 60%. At the end of June 2021, this figure stood at 63.2%. This debt level represents annual and quarterly increases of 6.9 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points, respectively. Generally, government debt as a percent of GDP is used by investors to measure a country’s ability to make future payments on its debt, thus affecting the country’s borrowing costs and government bond yields. According to the recently released quarterly bulletin by the Bank of Namibia (BoN), going forward, the total domestic debt stock is anticipated to rise to N$159.3 billion over the medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) period, which represents a staggering 77.3% of GDP.

UAE firm to hike fruit, veg imports (The Herald)

LEADING fruit and vegetable products distributor, Ali Gholami, which is based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), says it intends to increase the volume and value of its horticultural imports from Zimbabwe by growing the current tonnage more than 10 times over the next two years. This was said by Ali Gholami imports manager, Shihad Aboobacker, in an interview after a tour of the company by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga. He said that the Dubai head-quartered company was currently importing a few types of berries from a Zimbabwean company, but had started working on plans to expand the basket of its imports multiple times.

34 local firms to headline Africa’s trade indaba in SA (The Herald)

Zimbabwe’s trade development and promotion agency, ZimTrade, will this year lead the participation of local businesses and Government related institutions at the continent-wide trade fair scheduled for November 15-21, 2021 in Durban, South Africa. The second edition of the Intra-Africa Trade Fair (IATF) provides a marketplace for business linkages among buyers and sellers in Africa and will strengthen networks for Zimbabwe’s exporters so that they have a fair share of the African market, estimated to have more than 1,2 billion consumers. Participating companies, who include small businesses, women-led and youth-led businesses are drawn from sectors such as horticulture, processed foods, construction and engineering, agricultural inputs and implements, clothing and textile, packaging and printing, arts and crafts, and electricals.

Kenyan President Kenyatta hopes to discuss trade during meeting with U.S. President Biden (CGTN)

U.S. President Joe Biden is slated to meet Thursday with his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta, the first African leader invited to the White House under the current administration. The two leaders will discuss “the strong US-Kenyan bilateral relationship and the need to bring transparency and accountability to domestic and international financial systems,” the White House said ahead of the meeting.

Another issue on the agenda is trade. Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration had started discussions with Kenya on a free trade agreement but, according to Nairobi, Biden’s team so far hasn’t resumed the negotiations, causing much frustration. “To our American friends, I would like to say that you know you cannot start and stop a discussion with partners on the basis of one administration after another,” Kenyatta said earlier this week in New York. “Relationships are between countries and people, not between administrations.” Kenya is worried that a trade agreement that largely exempts its exports to the United States from customs duties will expire in 2025. Trump eagerly engaged in trade negotiations, Biden has so far shown restraint on that front.

Kebs to scale up horticulture export tests (Business Daily)

The Kenya National Bureau of Standards (Kebs) will scale up tests on horticulture produce destined for Europe to boost export volumes and retain this lucrative market. Managing director Bernard Njiraini said the agency would acquire more test equipment amid tightening compliance conditions in the main European Union (EU) market. “We have the capacity to check mangoes and avocados going to Europe but we need more equipment to help on these checks,” he said yesterday when he received testing equipment worth Sh500million donated by the EU. Mr Njiraini urged growers seeking to export agricultural produce to the EU to ensure that their produce complies with the market requirement to minimise interception by authorities. Kenya’s horticulture export to Europe has been facing phytosanitary challenges in the European market, a move that has seen some of the produce restricted from accessing the market. This comes at a time when Kenya is preparing to resume exports of mangoes to Europe after a self-imposed ban nearly a decade ago on the back of fruit flies, risking a ban from EU.

Air Tanzania steps up competition for KQ with new aircraft, routes (The East African)

Air Tanzania will launch direct flights to Nairobi, Bujumbura and Lubumbashi in November, stepping up competition for Kenya Airways, which also serves these routes. The national carrier recently acquired two Airbus A220-300 aircraft, raising its fleet of A220s to four, boosting its plan to introduce more international routes. The airline will operate two daily flights from its Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam to the Kenyan capital Nairobi starting November 26.

Air Tanzania currently operates 12 domestic routes, namely Zanzibar, Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza, Geita, Bukoba, Kigoma, Mpanda, Mbeya, Tabora, Dodoma, and Songea. On the international routes, the airline flies to Uganda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Comoros in the continent, and Mumbai, India, and Guangzhou, China. Kenya Airways has at least four daily flights to Dar es Salaam, five to Entebbe, four to Lusaka and at least one daily flight to Livingstone (Zambia). KQ also flies to two other cities in Zambia.

Dar commits to fully explore AFCFTA trade opportunities (Dailynews)

“Tanzania can access the market of approximately 1.2 billion people compared to the population of about 522 million EAC and SADC,” said Prof Mkumbo.

TANZANIA is committed to use all trade opportunities arising from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement including the acquisition of new markets for agricultural products. Access to markets will stimulate production, strengthen the value chain of agricultural products involving smallholder farmers of sunflower, cotton, cloves, spices, fruits and vegetables. This was stated recently by the Minister for Industry and Trade, Prof Kitila Mkumbo (pictured) when he attended the seventh meeting of the African Council of African Trade Ministers of the AfCFTA held in a traditional and hybrid network.

Ending Ethiopia’s AGOA Eligibility Would Hurt Poor Women the Most (Foreign Policy)

U.S. President Joe Biden recently threatened to impose sanctions on Ethiopia due to the conflict in Tigray. If Washington follows through and removes preferential trade arrangements under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Ethiopia’s fledgling manufacturing sector could face an existential threat. While many people around the world share the U.S. government’s concern about “the peace, security, and stability of Ethiopia and the greater Horn of Africa region,” Ethiopians are dismayed by the threat of withdrawal of AGOA trade privileges. Whatever concerns one may have about the security situation in Ethiopia today, removal of AGOA eligibility would only worsen the condition of ordinary Ethiopians who have no connection to the Tigray conflict.

U.S. President Joe Biden recently threatened to impose sanctions on Ethiopia due to the conflict in Tigray. If Washington follows through and removes preferential trade arrangements under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Ethiopia’s fledgling manufacturing sector could face an existential threat. While many people around the world share the U.S. government’s concern about “the peace, security, and stability of Ethiopia and the greater Horn of Africa region,” Ethiopians are dismayed by the threat of withdrawal of AGOA trade privileges. Whatever concerns one may have about the security situation in Ethiopia today, removal of AGOA eligibility would only worsen the condition of ordinary Ethiopians who have no connection to the Tigray conflict.

Ethiopia prioritizes to African Agenda, Cooperation (Walter Information Centre)

The Government of Ethiopia will give priority to the successful realization of African agenda, a senior official of Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. In an exclusive interview he held with ENA in connection with the 39th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union, Protocol Affairs Director-General Feysel Aliy stated that the necessary preparations for the Councils of African Foreign Ministers meeting have been finalized. The opportunity given to Ethiopia to host this important meeting signifies the country’s priority for African agenda, he said, adding that Ethiopia will continue its effort for the success of the continent.

Ghana poised to opening up renewable energy sector for investments - Pres (Ghanaian Times)

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says the government is exploring the regional market as part of its efforts in opening up the renewable energy for investments. Consequently, he said, the country was being positioned to become a major exporter of reliable and competitive electricity in Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS). In a speech read on behalf at the opening of the 7th Ghana Renewable Energy Fair in Accra yesterday, he said, these efforts would help the country rake in more foreign exchange earnings, contribute to the regional economic inclusiveness strategy and strengthen energy security and peace in the sub-region.

N300tr fabric sector fund projected for national development plan (The Nation Newspaper)

Orgarnised Private Sector (OPS) operators are to contribute N300 trillion to the N350 trillion 2021-2022 National Development Plan (NDP), Minister of State for Budget & National Planning Clem Agba said yesterday. The remaining N50 trillion will be raised the Federal Government, the minister said, adding that part of the money required for five-year plan has been built into the 2022 Appropriation Bill.

NPA moves to improve petroleum trade between Ghana, Burkina Faso (Ghanaian Times)

Dr. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, the Chief Executive of NPA, who made these known during a courtesy call on the management of SONABHY in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, said “this would ensure that we tighten the processes on petroleum products.

The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) is reviewing export and transit arrangements with Societe Nationale Burkinabe d’Hydrocarbures (SONABHY) to improve petroleum trade between Ghana and Burkina Faso. SONABHY is the only institution mandated by law to import and distribute petroleum products in Burkina Faso, and the review is expected to among others strengthen the collaboration between both countries in the supply of petroleum products.

NPA Repositions Seaports For Intra-Africa Trade (Leadership)

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has said it is repositioning all seaports in the country to be efficient and reliable gateways for maritime trade as the nation prepares to tap the enormous benefits inherent in African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement. Speaking at the maiden edition of the Nigerian International Maritime Summit (NIMS) which held recently in Lagos, the acting managing director of NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko said repositioning the seaports will optimise Nigeria’s trade interconnectivity with other countries under the AfCFTA agreement.

“Given the urgency with which the new vistas of opportunity of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement beckons, the authority is eager for actionable ideas and synergistic partnerships that the summit promises to deliver.”

“The promotion of the African Union agenda of well-interconnected and integrated networks of transport infrastructure to boost opening of markets and increase intra-regional trade, will serve to complement our ongoing aggressive efforts at attaining seamless port hinterland connectivity through


How African youth can propel the success of AfCFTA (The New Times)

Before the outbreak of Covid-19, about 55,000 small scale traders and businessmen transported and traded food and goods across the border of Rwanda and the DR Congo every day. Millions of young people across the continent are an indispensable force for the post-pandemic build-back-better of African economies. About 65 per cent of the continent’s population is under 35 years of age. They embrace new technologies and often take risks to achieve innovation.

The AfCFTA needs Africa’s youth, and youth need AfCFTA. By eliminating trade barriers and allowing the free movement of people, goods and ideas, the audacious economic initiative has the potential to create more than 14 million new jobs by 2025 in the manufacturing sector alone.

AfCFTA agriculture export efforts will have to be focused – Agbiz (IOL)

WHILE there is optimism that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is set to provide further expansion opportunities for South Africa’s agricultural exports into the African continent, the benefits of this agreement for the local sector are not as much as previously thought, according to the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz). Structural limitations would prevent the sector from expanding its exports into untapped markets.

Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo said the optimism came against the backdrop of Africa being the largest market for South Africa’s agricultural sector, accounting for an average 43 percent, or $4.1 billion (about R61bn) a year of all agriculture exports over the past decade.”What is clear is that South Africa’s agriculture export opportunities will not only be limited in general, but also most likely be opportunistic and focused on specific commodities or products in the short to medium term.

African aviation ministers reject imposition of vaccine passport on air travellers (Daily Sun)

African aviation ministers have unanimously rejected the planned imposition of the vaccine passport rule on air travellers, describing the proposal as discriminatory, anti-Africa and an insult to the Chicago Convention. A vaccine passport is proof that a traveller has tested negative for or been protected against certain infections like COVID-19; which can be digital, like a phone app, or physical, such as a small paper card. The African aviation ministers registered their rejection on Wednesday in Montreal, Canada, via the presentation made by Nigeria’s Aviation Minister, Mr Hadi Sirika, at the ongoing International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) High-Level Conference on COVID-19. According to them, imposing a vaccine passport on the continent is unacceptable, saying it smacks of discrimination against certain population groups, particularly on the African continent, which still has a considerable number of its citizens unvaccinated.

SACU and South America to deepen trade relations (New Era)

According to SACU Executive Secretary Paulina Elago, “The SACU-MERCOSUR PTA is a limited-scope agreement that aims to promote trade between MERCOSUR and the SACU regions. It offers tariff preferences on approximately 1000 tariff lines from each side with the Margins of Preference ranging between 10% and 100%.”

The SACU chief added that the parties considered procedural and customs administrative issues relating to the implementation of the PTA, assessed progress including utilisation of the market preferences, and challenges encountered by the parties. “The parties agreed on actionable points to facilitate the effective utilisation of the agreement and to improve trade relations between two regions,” Elago stated.

Intra-COMESA export trade drops by 11% (COMESA)

The value of Intra-COMESA total exports declined by 11% from US$ 10.9 billion in 2019 to US$ 9.7 billion in 2020. The low performance was attributed to the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic and pre-existing factors such as supply-side challenges and prevalence of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs). According to an update presented at the ongoing 37th Meeting of the COMESA Trade and Customs Committee, 13 – 15 October 2021, the low intra-regional trade resulted from existing gaps in information availability on trading opportunities, regulatory requirements in markets and factors that inform business decisions on production of goods and trade.

Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Assistant Secretary General in charge of programmes, Dr Kipyego Cheluget observed that regional trade could flourish if Member States embraced the COMESA trade and customs facilitation instruments and policies. “If well implemented these could significantly increase intra-COMESA trade, reduce time and cost, increase regional competitiveness, create jobs and positively impact on living standards of our people,” he said. However, he noted that the implementation of regional commitments and full participation of all Member States in COMESA FTA required greater efforts and improvement.

West African nations urged to use regional value chains as means to diversify exports (WTO)

Maintaining open value chains and predictable mechanisms to support them is key to ensure access to goods and services needed for industrial development and job creation in West Africa, Mr Eloi Laourou, Senior Advisor to the WTO Director-General, said on 11 October. Speaking at a conference co-organised by the University Cheikh Anta Diop (Senegal) and Abomey Calavi University (Benin) under the auspices of the WTO Chair Programme, Mr Laourou said value chains can help West Africa foster an inclusive and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.


The East African Business Council (EABC) Board Director Mrs. Amelie Ninganza accompanied by EABC CEO Mr. John Bosco Kalisa, paid a courtesy visit to the EAC Secretary-General, Hon. Dr. Peter Mathuki at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha and reaffirmed partnership on delivering double-digit economic growth and luring investments into the EAC bloc. In her remarks, Mrs. Amelie Ninganza commended the Secretary-General for deep goodwill on elevating partnership with the private sector as the engine for EAC economic growth and prosperity. She lauded the EABC-EAC Technical Working Group as a direct channel for the national private sector associations to present cross-border trade barriers to the EAC Secretariat for a quick resolution.

Covid-19 presented immense opportunity for African businesses: GBF Africa experts (Khaleej Times)

The Covid-19 pandemic proved to be a significant challenge for economies across the world, but it also presented an immense opportunity for strengthening trade relations and investments in new technologies, experts said at the sixth Global Business Forum (GBF) Africa in Dubai. Organised by the Dubai Chamber under the theme ‘Transformation Through Trade’, GBF Africa 2021 is being held at the Dubai Exhibition Centre at Expo 2020 Dubai under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai. Dr Constantino D.N.G. Chiwenga, vice president of the Republic of Zimbabwe, said that the pandemic was supposed to be a challenge, instead, it presented an opportunity to “restart Zimbabwe.” “We re-engineered our investment to rise to the occasion,” he asserted. “In no time, we found ourselves producing PPEs, sanitizers, medicines, and we progressed to the point where we are now producing medical oxygen for our own hospitals.”

African Continental Free Trade Area and Capital Markets in the Spotlight at GBF Africa 2021 (Al-Bawaba)

China’s Approach to Development in Africa: A Case Study of Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway (Council on Foreign Relations)

Since the inception of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2000 and the China-Africa Development Fund (CADF) in 2006, China’s interaction with African countries has grown steadily. As of 2018, FOCAC’s commitment stood at U.S. $155 billion. Indeed, China is now the top lender and key investor in Africa. Much of this investment in Africa has come via the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In popular Chinese discourse, BRI is understood as a flexible, inclusive project that is a major component of China’s global rise. BRI has rhetorically prioritized “policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, trade, finance, and people-to-people relations.” BRI’s idea of inclusiveness has three components: “a community of common interest; respect for the development path of different countries; and, openness to all countries and international/regional organizations.” This paper examines sustainability, labor standards, transparency, and innovation in BRI projects, using a case study of the China-funded Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) in East Africa. For this case study, see here.

New ECA initiative supports city GDP measurement in Africa (UNECA)

A new initiative by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is supporting African cities to measure their gross domestic product (GDP) – a vital economic well-being indicator. Findings from the pilot initiative for the first time show that between 2015 and 2020 Harare accounted for an average of 38 per cent of Zimbabwe’s GDP, while Accra and Yaoundé’s contributions in Ghana and Cameroon were 36 per cent and 15.7 per cent respectively. The GDP estimates will enable a more accurate understanding of the economic weight and performance of cities as well as the design of tailored measures to unlock their full potential. The figures will further help identify priority policy interventions to attract investors, improve competitiveness and strengthen productive economic sectors in cities.


Market Access Committee updates WTO members on COVID-19 trade-related measures (WTO)

Members welcomed the revised summary report (G/MA/W/168/Rev.1) on export restrictions and prohibitions and trade-facilitating measures relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report seeks to compile and summarize the relevant information on export prohibitions and restrictions that have been notified by members under the 2012 Decision on Notification Procedures for Quantitative Restrictions (QR Decision), the communications notified to the Committee with information on trade-facilitating measures as well as other measures by WTO members collected as part of the WTO’s Trade Monitoring Exercise and listed in “COVID-19: Measures affecting trade in goods”.

UNCTAD15: Building resilience key to prosperity for all in post-COVID-19 world (UNCTAD)

A high-level panel comprising leaders from governments and international organizations shone a light on fostering economic and environmental resilience, while addressing the fifth ministerial roundtable at UNCTAD’s 15th quadrennial conference (UNCTAD15) on 7 October.

“A successful post-pandemic world must be marked by greater resilience,” said Isabelle Durant, the deputy secretary-general of UNCTAD, while opening the dialogue. She noted that resilience would be more difficult to achieve in least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS), which have fewer resources, less diversified economies and tighter fiscal space. According to a recent UNCTAD report, the coronavirus pandemic has pushed more than 32 million people into extreme poverty in LDCs. A third of those countries will need at least five years to regain the levels of GDP per capita they had in 2019, before the pandemic hit.

Cost of vaccine inequality could top US$9tn, trade experts warn (Global Trade Review)

Failure to improve access to Covid-19 vaccines in the developing world could cost the global economy more than US$9tn, trade experts are warning, as formal talks resume on a suspension of patent rules to ramp up production. In a statement issued after its quadrennial conference this month, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says the pandemic “will continue to undermine global and regional supply chains… unless vaccine access is boosted in developing countries given that production systems are interconnected”.

New European Vaccine Proposal Offers Limited Help To Developing Countries (HuffPost)

The Biden administration made waves in May when U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced that the U.S. would support an effort by developing countries to temporarily waive intellectual property rules forbidding generic drugmakers from mass-producing COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. Shortly thereafter though, it became clear that the European Union, led by Germany, might still block a waiver of the World Trade Organization’s agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights, or TRIPS. Global public health advocates maintain that eliminating these intellectual property barriers is a prerequisite for making costly pandemic vaccines available in a timely and affordable fashion in the developing world. Since the waiver would require unanimous approval from the 164 members of the WTO, the objections of even one country would stop it in its tracks.

Now, ahead of critical negotiations between WTO member nations, the EU is inviting some developing country negotiators to Brussels to discuss a new EU text that reaffirms existing exceptions to the TRIPS agreement, but does not waive the monopoly control over where and how much vaccine is made. Developing nations and their allies say that the latter waiver is needed to ramp up COVID-19 vaccine production and dissemination.

Debt cancellation and reparations (The Ecologist)

The G20 announced within the same month, the Debt Service Suspension Initiative which involves simply a delay of debt service due from 1 May 2020 to 31 December 2020. G20 Countries eligible to apply only include those in the list of the World Bank’s International Development Agency (IDA) and the United Nations’ list of Least Developed Countries - a total of 76 countries. The amount of debt service to be suspended if all eligible countries apply and all G20 countries participate is only about USD$11 billion.

Many campaigns and movements - south and north - are calling for deeper, wider cancelation of public debt payments for a much bigger number of countries, and for a longer period of at least four years, as an immediate response to the pandemic and the economic crisis. The campaigners also want decisive steps to be taken for more comprehensive and lasting solutions to the debt problem, including the total and unconditional cancelation of outstanding debt stock and changes in the international financial architecture and borrowing and lending policies to prevent the re-accumulation of debt.


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