Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News


South Africa’s electricity woes continue to place manufacturing at risk (Engineering News)

The lack of reliable electricity supply is not only leading to lost production and increased costs across South Africa’s shrinking manufacturing sector, but has left enterprises unable to plan, invest and grow, Manufacturing Circle executive director Philippa Rodseth warned on Tuesday. Speaking at the start of a two-day electricity forum hosted jointly with the Industrial Development Corporation to discuss collaborative solutions to the ongoing problem, Rodseth said load-shedding remained an area of great concern, as did inadequate investment and poor maintenance by municipal distributors.

The region was at a “tipping point” and at risk of becoming a “rust belt”, with significant plant closures, rising unemployment and crime, as well as low rates of investment.

As the world’s most energy-insecure continent, Africa is in perfect position to lead a revolution (Daily Maverick)

These are the voluntary commitments that lie at the heart of the Paris Agreement and capture each country’s effort to reduce emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. SA’s updated figures significantly ratchet up our commitments as it brings forward by a decade the date at which it will begin to reduce emissions: they will start to fall from 2025 rather than 2035, with the new target for 2030 set 32% lower than previously. Cabinet has approved the Climate Change Bill, which will facilitate the transition to a greener economy and compel businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is promising. Aside from the crushing imperative to wean global economies off fossil fuels, it is becoming evident that growth and climate action don’t have to be trade-offs. And clearly, some in our government (but more in business) have recognised this.

Cote d’Ivoire’s Ambassador Sakaria Kone welcomes elevation of trade ties with South Africa (IOL)

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor was on Tuesday expected to arrive in Abidjan, the capital of Côte d’Ivoire, leading a South African delegation at the inaugural session of the Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) between the two nations. The Côte d’Ivoire-South Africa JCC was established in 2015. “The JCC is being preceded by meetings of senior officials from the two countries on October 19, 2021. The ministerial segment of the JCC is scheduled for October 20-21, 2021,” said spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) Clayson Monyela. He said the JCC will provide an opportunity for the two countries to review the status of bilateral relations, and exchange views about continental and global issues of mutual concern.

‘Make use of Zim Dry Port facility’ (Chronicle)

ZIMBABWEAN exporters should tap into the comparative advantages presented by the Zimbabwe Dry Port facility at Walvis Bay in Namibia to increase trade and investment from Europe and West Africa.

The dry port facility, which was commissioned by President Mnangagwa also seeks to boost trade and bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and Namibia. Furthermore, it is hoped that the Zimbabwe Dry Port would spearhead the growth of more imports and exports for the Zimbabwean market.

Zimbabwe as an economy required to focus on intra-Africa trade pitched by President Mnangagwa to attain an upper middle-income economy by 2030 and Walvis Bay is the most unanimous port for trade with the western side of the continent. Mr Moses said exporters and importers should also use the Zimbabwe Dry Port as the facility offers competitive rates on the back of improved cargo processing technology.

How Rwanda trade portal offset some Covid-19 impact on business (The New Times)

During the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) quadrennial conference in Bridgetown, Barbados world leaders reiterated the importance of improving trade in accelerating the post-Covid-19 economic recovery.

The conference, UNCTAD 15, which the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, described as the “Olympics of trade, development, investment, policy and technology discussions,” took place from October 3 to 7. Guterres used the platform to rally world leaders, among other things, towards embracing vaccine equity and greater solidarity to tackle trade protectionism, debt distress, the climate crisis as well as other pressing global challenges. His rallying call came at a time, back in Rwanda, UNCTAD has worked with the government and other partners including TradeMark East Africa and the International Trade Centre (ITC), among others, to implement the Rwanda Trade Portal (RTP).

“Rwanda Trade Portal provides traders with transparent information on export, import and transit procedures and is a very good tool for the Government to identify administrative bottlenecks and to measure the impact of the trade facilitation reforms through the National Trade Facilitation Committee,” noted the Minister of Trade and Industry, Beata Habyarimana, on the importance of RTP.

“Since the launch of the Rwanda Trade Portal in March 2018, the implementation team has covered close to 30 key commodities resulting in the publication of around 200 procedures with more than 200 laws and regulations, up to 700 forms and requirements and close to 150 civil servants with their contact details,” she added.

Japan’s trade with Nigeria valued at $1 billion annually, committed to Gulf of Guinea stability (Nairametrics)

The Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, has stated that the total trade volume between Nigeria and Japan is $1 billion annually. He added that Japan is also committed to the safety and stability of the Gulf of Guinea to improve maritime trade in Nigeria and West Africa. The ambassador disclosed this on Monday at the inauguration ceremony of a two-week anti-piracy first course organised by the Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre (MLAILPKC) in Jaji, Kaduna.

The Japanese ambassador also revealed that the Japanese government is willing to boost trade volumes between both nations, citing the need for more bilateral trade between the two countries and also enhance economic growth of Nigeria to address unemployment and poverty.

IFC, Egypt’s National Council for Women Partner to Boost Economic Opportunities for Women (IFC)

IFC and Egypt’s National Council for Women signed an agreement today that will help increase women’s economic participation, including by boosting their access to bank lending, promoting equal pay, and providing more flexible work options. Over the next two years, IFC and the National Council for Women (NCW) will support Egypt’s government in developing gender-neutral laws, which will help give women more equal access to economic opportunities in Egypt. The reforms will complement the government of Egypt’s efforts to promote equal pay, increase access to finance, including for women entrepreneurs, and make it easier for women to work outside the home. The project aligns with Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator, a joint initiative between the NCW, the World Economic Forum and the Ministry of International Cooperation, which aims to enhance the legal and regulatory frameworks that encourage women to fully participate in Egypt’s economy.


Oneport 365; Digitization of the freight industry in Africa (TechCable)

As Africa sets to expand trade over the coming decade, a digital freight management company has a plan to help revolutionize a traditional industry critical to the continent’s economic future.

Freight Management encompasses the broad activities that facilitate the movement of goods through the supply chain to the designated endpoints. The process seeks to manage the complex operations, including the financial and administrative considerations involved in transporting goods such that there is an optimization of cost and time, and the inbound or outbound goods arrive at the right places in the best physical conditions. Globally, this industry is estimated by Global Industry Analysts Inc., (GIA) to be worth $2.1 trillion in 2021, and serves as the lifeblood of international commerce. In Africa, the services offered by freight companies stimulate economic activities and bridge factories to the market, underscoring the importance and value of freight management to the continent’s economy. Although the role of freight services is clear, the traditional way of providing trade support has failed in unleashing the potential of cross-continental trade. According to 2019 data from UNCTAD, Africa depends on the rest of the world for 85.8% of its total import, compared to Latin America and the Caribbean (84.9%), North America (81.5%), Asia (38.5%), and Europe (33.9%). On the flip side, intra-regional export amounted to 15.5% of total export trade within the year, against 30.1%, 59.6%, and 68.0% intra-regional trade in North America, Asia, and Europe respectively. At the heart of the high dependence of Africa on the rest of the world for trade is a myriad of issues related to tariffs and poor infrastructure. Due to the unavailability of critical road, rail, and port infrastructure, traditional ways of handling freight can be expensive for businesses in terms of monetary and non-monetary costs. The inherent difficulty in transporting goods to where they are needed at the right time and cost negatively impacts the business environment and, when aggregated on a national or continental level, results in lost Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Africa: Digitisation and transparency will drive private sector growth (The Africa Report)

While Africa has so far avoided the worst of the health consequences of the coronavirus, relative to other parts of the world, the pandemic has laid bare the underlying market fragility across the continent. The pan-African economy is enduring its first extreme recession in 25 years, pushing per capita GDP down ten per cent in nominal terms to levels last seen in 2013. Very little if any fiscal rescue came from Treasuries to consumers, workers, and civil servants across Africa to cushion the economic blow that followed the pandemic response. The hardest hit are workers in the informal sector, which makes up 90% of the economy and 60% of the workforce, according to the International Labor Organization. Financing to these informal micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) was already severely limited – the finance gap was projected at $330bn in 2019, according to the IFC – which has perpetually choked MSME growth. As the world looks to build back better, how do we improve financing to the private sector engine of the African economy? One critical answer: scaling MSME information accessibility through digitisation. As digitisation increases, the discoverability of opportunities and overall market transparency increases, which lowers the cost of doing business and makes growth financing less proximity-dependent. Private markets grow based on this enabling formula.

Africa Oil Week to highlight unrivalled opportunities (Trade Arabia)

Africa Oil Week is expected to stimulate upstream transactions, drive investments into African energy projects, and facilitate new partnerships and networking opportunities for the African upstream. Hosted for the first time in the Mena region, the event will connect the African oil and gas industry to the rest of the world under the theme ‘Succeeding in a Changed Market’ – providing attendees with business intelligence and opening-up new in-market business opportunities.

Uniting under the theme of ‘Succeeding in a Changed Market’, esteemed speakers will tackle topics on how the industry has responded to the evolving market landscape, identify opportunities for new players and high-value assets on the horizon, and analyse the macro-effects of the global energy transition on the African upstream.

As the upstream moves to embrace digital solutions more than ever before to alleviate the impact of the pandemic on operations, Africa Oil Week will spotlight the critical role innovation and technology plays in Africa’s future energy landscape, specifically examining how it can be utilised to safeguard and strengthen Africa’s upstream portfolios from future disruption. An expert panel including representatives from Maersk Drilling, Baker Hughes and Schlumberger will unpack this during a high-level conference session.

Supporting Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa amid the COVID-19 Pandemic and Climate Change (IMF)

Sub-Saharan Africa has made substantial economic and social progress over the past two decades. Yet, the region is facing difficult challenges, including vulnerability to climate change. Indeed, we have seen a marked increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, which are driving the desertification of the Sahel, for example, and threatening growth, employment opportunities and food security. Climate change can also act as a multiplier for conflict and fragility in the region.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also disrupted production, imports and supply chains of food, resulting in volatile and rising food prices. And that, along with falling incomes from the pandemic, has led to an increase in the number of undernourished in the region by 20 percent in one year to reach 264 million in 2020.

UN-backed report reveals rising climate change risk across Africa (UN News)

The State of the Climate in Africa 2020 report highlights the continent’s disproportionate vulnerability but also reveals how investing in climate adaptation, early warning systems, and weather and climate services, can pay off.

Petteri Taalas, the WMO Secretary-General, said the climate indicators in Africa during 2020 were characterized by continued warming temperatures, accelerating sea-level rise, extreme weather, and climate events - such as floods, landslides and droughts. “The rapid shrinking of the last remaining glaciers in eastern Africa, which are expected to melt entirely in the near future, signals the threat of imminent and irreversible change to the Earth system,” he warned.

Estimates reveal that by 2030, up to 118 million extremely poor people on the continent will be exposed to drought, floods and extreme heat, which will hinder progress towards poverty alleviation and growth. “In sub-Saharan Africa, climate change could further lower gross domestic product (GDP) by up to 3%, by 2050,” she said. “This presents a serious challenge for climate adaptation and resilience actions because not only are physical conditions getting worse, but also the number of people being affected is increasing.” The report estimated that the investment in climate adaptation for sub-Saharan Africa would cost between $30 to $50 billion each year over the next decade, or roughly two to three per cent of GDP. The authors said rapid implementation of African adaptation strategies will spark economic development, as well as more jobs as part of post-pandemic recovery. Pursuing the priorities of an African Union green recovery plan would also allow for sustainable recovery as well as effective climate action.

COP26: Africa’s challenges must steer the climate change conference (The Business & Financial Times)

The 26th session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties, popularly known as COP26, is happening at a time when the world has just experienced one of the warmest years on record. The year 2020 reached temperatures that were about 1.02°C warmer than average. 

Africa carries the heaviest burden of the associated climate change effects, despite contributing less than 5% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Industrialised countries – namely China, the US, India, Russia and Japan – top the list in the emission of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide. Africa is the most vulnerable continent to the effects of climate change due to its low adaptive capacity, as a result of financial and technological limitations, and an over-reliance on rain-fed agriculture. The continent is also witnessing a higher rate of warming than the global average of 0.15°C per decade between 1951 and 2020. Given the observed global warming, it is projected that the continent will experience an increase in hot extremes and more frequent and intense rainfall extremes.

At COP26, countries will launch an adaptation goal and adopt strategies for achieving such a goal. This presents African countries with the opportunity to shape the agenda, once more. Leaders of African countries should approach the convention with a strong, unified voice, presenting their climate change concerns and needs.

Free Movement of People a Top Priority, Say West African Nations (IOM)

Free movement of people and goods, and fighting human trafficking should be top policy priorities, members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agreed at talks convened with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Network for Migration and the African Union. Three days of consultations in Abuja this week offered the first chance for ECOWAS members to collectively assess progress in implementing the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) objectives and to decide key recommendations to be put to next year’s International Migration Review Forum.

ESA region discusses the nCEN’s role in Customs operations and intelligence sharing (WCO)

On 4 October 2021, representatives of National Customs Enforcement Network (nCEN) countries from the WCO’s East and Southern Africa (ESA) region gathered for the 6th Regional Meeting of nCEN Programme Leaders. This virtual meeting was organized and chaired by the Burundi Revenue Authority, the current ESA Regional nCEN Leader. Alongside representatives of nCEN countries, representatives of the WCO Secretariat and the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for ESA also participated in the meeting. During the opening remarks at the start of the meeting, focusing on the role of the nCEN application in Customs operations and intelligence sharing in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Jean Berchmans Niyonzima, Commissioner for Investigations in the Burundi Revenue Authority, stressed that in these times of global health crisis, the role of Customs in preventing threats and non-compliant activities at borders was critical and that the use of technology was one means of achieving trade security. Mr. Niyonzima went on to say that the nCEN, through its intelligence sharing feature, would not only help mitigate risks of illicit trade but also optimize revenue collection in the ESA region.

Mistrust, cries of unfairness as states fall out over EAC job vacancies (The East African)

A dispute over the distribution of jobs in the organs of the East African Community, which has simmered for close to a decade, came to a head last week when the bloc’s legislative assembly blocked the hiring of House clerks, citing irregularities in the recruitment process. Cat-and-mouse games unfolded in the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) in Arusha over the hiring of a clerk and a deputy, signalling festering discontent with the staffing ratios in the Community. Ugandan legislators, led by Denis Namara, have been at the forefront of the quest for equity in the recruitment of staff, dramatically staging walkouts that made Speaker Martin Ngoga suspend sittings on Tuesday through to Thursday due to lack of quorum.

UAE and Africa set to usher in new phase of economic growth (Gulf News)

The UAE and Dubai seek to serve as a bridge between markets to enable countries across the world access new opportunities, and platforms such as the sixth Global Business Forum Africa are the enablers of such opportunities, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, has said. The comments from Shaikh Hamdan came as he attended GBF Africa 2021 at the Dubai Exhibition Centre at Expo 2020 Dubai. “Against the backdrop of a rapidly evolving global environment, the UAE and Africa have a unique opportunity to usher in a new phase of growth in their economic relationship. The sixth Global Business Forum provides the ideal platform for both sides to explore ways to tap fresh synergies and add new dimensions to their ties,” Shaikh Hamdan said.


Free flow of trade crucial for post-Covid economic recovery, experts say (Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide)

Trade has played a key role in the global economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, but the rebound is “uneven” as richer countries that are better integrated with global markets and supply chains recover quicker than developing and undeveloped states, industry experts said on Friday.

During the pandemic, firms outside the global value chain suffered more from the cancellation of contracts, the World Bank’s Managing Director for Development Policy and Partnerships Mari Pangestu said in an online panel. It comes as little surprise that poorer countries hit hard by the pandemic are the ones struggling to get back on their feet. Those with little-to-no resources have little to trade and no money to buy goods and services.

“Global economic integration matters … policymakers should ensure that their markets are integrated with the global chains,” Ms Pangestu said. “This is also about domestic reforms … keeping openness in place on the trade and investment side and entering into deeper and more ambitious trade agreements.”

CEOs to World Leaders: Now is the Time for Trade Reform (WEF)

Nearly 30 CEOs and Chairpersons from some of the world’s biggest companies called on governments to work through geopolitical tensions, re-engage on trade reform and refrain from protectionism. This call to action comes at a time of significant geopolitical tensions and challenging economic dynamics. Uniquely, it brings together a diverse group of companies representing 17 countries across all five continents. The signatories are from the following 12 sectors: retail, e-commerce, food and beverage, payments, financial sector, investors, telecommunications, chemicals, logistics, supply chain and transport, professional services, energy and commodities. Convened by the World Economic Forum’s Trade and Investment community, business leaders called for higher global ambition for trade cooperation, including at the upcoming WTO Ministerial Meeting. “Business leaders are sending clear signals to policy makers that change is both necessary and achievable,” said Borge Brende, President, World Economic Forum. “In this Trade for Tomorrow statement, leaders highlight the potential of trade and investment for recovery and development. They call for quick progress on health, digital, investment and environmental matters, and note that business can help with implementing reforms.”

Logistics services critical for trade and economic development — DDG González (WTO)

The critical role of logistics services in trade and economic development can never be overemphasized. As trade is more and more organized through value chains, be it global or regional, logistics services are the “glue” that holds value chains together. Numerous studies have shown that a country’s competitiveness highly correlates with its logistics performance which relies on not only infrastructure, so-called hardware, but also software, namely the ability to supply cost-effective logistics services and the enabling environment. This is particularly important for developing countries as their logistics services are usually underperforming and LDCs suffer most from logistics constraints. Developing countries urgently need to improve their logistics capacity in the pursuit of development goals.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted again that logistics is the lifeblood of economy. It was international logistics operations from transport, storage, distribution to delivery that kept smooth cross-border flows of medical supplies, food and other essential goods when most of the world was in lockdown during the pandemic. Thanks to the efforts of logistics providers, now everyday millions of COVID vaccines are transported and delivered to all over the world to save people’s lives. No need to mention that the production of vaccines also relies on the transportation and delivery of inputs sourced globally.

India to discuss proposals for vaccine patent waiver, global trade issues during WTO chief’s visit (Moneycontrol)

India will be laying out its final proposals on multiple global trade issues, including vaccine patent waiver, when World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala visits the country on October 20. Iweala’s three-day trip to India assumes major significance as all WTO member-nations will converge in November-end for the global body’s biennial ministerial conference (MC). The summit usually sets the global trade legislation for years to come and the 12th MC is set to see major tussles in a number of areas. The main fight will be over the suspension of global intellectual property rights of COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, a proposal by India which has seen a persistent deadlock. “Legacy issues, such as the proposed global e-commerce rules, permanent stockholding of foodgrains, fishing rights and subsidies for agri-exporters, have again gained prominence on the global stage,” a senior official said.

E-commerce negotiations: Co-convenors urge members to intensify efforts ahead of MC12 (WTO)

The co-convenors of the negotiations on e-commerce have urged participating members to intensity their efforts and to make further progress ahead of the WTO 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) starting in late November. In the current global context and with the COVID-19 pandemic

Global investment flows rebound in first half of 2021, recovery highly uneven (UNCTAD)

Global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows in the first half of 2021 reached an estimated $852 billion, showing stronger than expected rebound momentum, according to UNCTAD’s Investment Trends Monitor released on 18 October. The increase in the first two quarters recovered more than 70% of the loss induced by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. “The rapid FDI recovery and the optimistic outlook mask the growing divergence in FDI flows between developed and developing economies, as well as the lag in a broad-based recovery of the greenfield investment in productive capacity. Furthermore, uncertainties remain abundant,” said James Zhan, UNCTAD’s director of investment and enterprise.

Communiqué from the Small States Forum October 2021 (World Bank)

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a disproportionate economic and social impact on small economies. Following an average contraction in small states of more than 8% in 2020, recovery is expected to remain sluggish, with most small states not reaching their pre-pandemic per capita income levels before 2024 at the earliest. With global travel still 60% below pre-pandemic levels, the recovery is expected to be particularly weak in tourism-dependent economies. The pandemic will have a lasting legacy in small states, with potential output expected to remain below pre-pandemic projections for the next decade.

Small states entered COVID-19 with higher debt levels than other EMDEs, due to small domestic economies and high exposure to climate-induced disasters. Responding to the crisis substantially exacerbated their debt burdens and acutely eroded the fiscal space to invest in the recovery. We welcome the Debt Service Suspension Initiative that provided temporary fiscal space to 15 members of our Forum. This further needs to be decisively and comprehensively supported by long-term and durable solutions and sustained focus and commitment from the international community. To this end, we ask the World Bank and the IMF to provide the necessary technical support to address debt vulnerabilities in small states, on a country-by-country basis, and for the international community to engage more closely with creditors to develop common approaches to addressing debt sustainability.

What Does the European Green Deal Mean for Africa? (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)

On July 14, 2021, the European Commission adopted a set of intermediate proposals to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 as part of a broader European Green Deal (EGD). The EGD is a set of long-term policy initiatives that define the European Union’s (EU) climate strategy to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and aim to make Europe the first mover in international climate policy. Toward this goal, the EGD provides a road map for a socioecological transition to a low-carbon future and the building blocks for a green economic growth strategy.

Its implications for Africa are multifaceted. Most prominently, a decline in European demand for fossil fuels alongside rising demand for cobalt, nickel, and other critical minerals for the energy transition will greatly affect global markets and, by implication, the economies of oil-dependent and mineral-rich African countries. The economy-wide effects of the EGD, however, extend beyond the energy transition. This paper identifies the implications of the EGD for African countries in seven main areas: agriculture, biodiversity, energy, critical raw materials (CRMs), circular economy, new technologies, and finance. It also recommends steps to orient the policy initiatives to Africa’s development priorities.


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