Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News


SA tops latest Africa financial market index report (Citypress)

“South Africa’s strong performance across pillars was hampered by economic growth. It scored full points on the sixth pillar, which calculates the enforceability of standard master agreements, and also scored higher than all countries on market depth and access to foreign exchange pillars.

Capital markets play a critical role in a country’s economy. However, compared with the rest of the world, African countries’ financial markets continue to be fragmented and shallow, affecting their ability to access international capital and preventing them from better using domestic investments and savings. Absa – together with the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum, an independent forum for central banking, economic policy and public investment – launched the fifth edition of the annual Africa Financial Market Index last Wednesday. It measures the openness and attractiveness of African countries’ financial markets to foreign and domestic investment, using data from central banks, securities exchanges and international financial institutions.

Natural gas prospectors strike it lucky with massive Free State helium find (Eyewitness News)

In a grassy plain in South Africa, once the world's largest gold producer, prospectors have stumbled upon a new treasure: helium. Popularly known for birthday balloons and squeaky voices, helium plays an underappreciated role in medical scanners, superconductors, and space travel.

Mnangagwa’s efforts: Currency crisis and wrangling over exchange controls may undo early economic progress in Zimbabwe (Daily Maverick)

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s re-engagement efforts with the European Union (EU), United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US) seem to be paying dividends — albeit on a marginal scale. In his State of the Nation address this month, he extolled these efforts and the economic achievements of his government. In his ascendance to the presidency, Mnangagwa coined the mantra “Zimbabwe is open for business”. This was meant to signify his departure from former president Robert Mugabe’s isolationist approach and open investment opportunities with the international community. After many false starts, Mnangagwa’s administration has doubled down on its efforts to mend relations and improve Zimbabwe’s image. But while he blows his own trumpet, the reality is more of mixed success, setbacks and sometimes going in circles.

Kenya and Uganda should honour trade agreements (Business Daily)

That Kenya and Uganda have set a meeting for next month to iron out issues affecting trade between the two countries is good news. Kenya and Uganda have in the past year been embroiled in serious feuds over several products, including sugar, milk, and poultry. The long-drawn trade tensions between the two countries have been damaging and it is time decisive action is taken to restore normalcy for the sake of progression. Officials from Kenya are scheduled to visit Uganda in November to, among other things verify claims that sugar and milk imported from the landlocked neighbour originates from third-party countries — a claim Kampala denies. This is encouraging because it presents an opportunity for both sides to state their respective positions and hopefully find a breakthrough out of the situation.

Kenya and Uganda remain dependable trade partners and everything should be done to ensure this relationship continues.

Trucks using Northern Corridor triple on improved port efficiency (Business Daily)

Mombasa Port and Northern Corridor have recorded an increased efficiency in the past two weeks despite an increase in cargo being hauled along the corridor. According to Mombasa Port and Northern Corridor Community performance weekly report, the number of trucks using the corridor increased from 1,944 in the week ended October 8 to 5,044 trucks which were registered at Mariakani weighbridge. Despite the sharp increase in the number of trucks using the corridor, the vehicles registered 99.51 percent weighbridge compliance up from 89.51 percent in the previous year. Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) in its statement said the efficiency was as a result of its cooperation with other government agencies and private stakeholders.

Malawi, Kenya revive bilateral agreements ahead of Chakwera’s visit (Malawi Broadcasting Corporation)

Malawi and Kenya have renewed commitment to bilateral relations following the end of the 3rd Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation (JPCC) on Monday in Nairobi, Kenya. “The JPCC which is a forerunner to the visit by Malawi President Dr Lazarus Chakwera is aimed to revive and strengthen relationships by ensuring that there are sound MoU’s (Memorandum of Understanding) through the framework of the JPCC. “Our meeting today is the realisation of various  Free Trade Areas (FTA's) in Africa. Kenya is also a member of COMESA, we need to do a little more than we have done before,” he said.

Uganda registers trade surplus of $25.32 million with EAC in August –Finance (Daily Monitor)

Unlike in the past, during the month of August 2021, Uganda’s trade position with the EAC and the Rest of Africa improved from deficits of $64.93 million and $63.61 million to surpluses of $25.32 million and $45.96 million respectively. This development implies that there has been a stable increase in trade volume between Uganda with East Africa and the rest of Africa countries. Compared to August 2020, the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development said in the economic performance report for the month of September 2021 that there was a turnaround in Uganda’s trade position with the Middle East from a surplus of $179.86 million to a deficit of $73.43 million in August 2021 mainly due to a slowdown in exports of gold to the region. However, the ministry of finance said despite an increase in export receipts for items like coffee, tobacco, fish and its products, export receipts declined for the third consecutive month.

Federal Govt Concludes Plan To Establish Agro-processing Zones (Leadership)

The federal government has concluded arrangements to facilitate the development of at least one agro-processing zone in each senatorial district of the country.

Minister of state for industry, trade and investment Amb. Mariam Katagum disclosed that under the 2021/2022 budget, the ministry will roll out the development of agro-processing zone in each geopolitical zone in the first phase of the scheme. She said the government would continue to proactively engage commodities associations with a view to ensuring that challenges militating against their operations were tackled, especially now that the country is gradually exiting the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘How Nigerian manufacturers, exporters can exploit weak currency’ (The Guardian Nigeria)

Local manufacturers and non-oil exporters have been urged to take advantage of the devalued currency to improve their export capacity and hedge against local challenges, especially under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) deal. Giving the advice during the Bank of Industry’s (BoI) yearly SME Directorate Customer virtual forum, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Sector Matters and Secretary, National Action Committee on AfCFTA, Francis Anatogu, urged small businesses to exploit the opportunities that the COVID-19 pandemic has offered in terms of processes and technology.

“The problem we have is the problem of growth. We need to grow our economy to serve the continent. The challenges to AfCFTA implementation border on production, infrastructure, insecurity, predatory trade practices, regulation and funding. We are however working on the opportunities that these challenges present.

“For the trade agreement to work, we need to produce what we will export and equally invest in people. We need to help local demand through patronage and address issues of rising cost of production. The liberalisation of 90 per cent of the products will happen over a 10-year period and this gives us time to develop capacities,” he added.

Nigeria’s Economic Resurgence: Learning from the African Experience - Akin Adesina (Proshare Nigeria)

the world continues to deal with the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has caused so many deaths and upended global economic growth. Due to COVID-19, Nigeria’s economic growth rate declined to -1.8% in 2020. This mirrors the pattern across Africa, as the continent posted a -2.1% growth rate in GDP, its lowest in two decades. The African Development Bank responded rapidly in supporting African countries. We launched a $10 billion Crisis Response Facility to support countries. We provided $289 million in budget support to Nigeria. The GDP growth rate for the continent will recover to 3.4% this year. We project Nigeria’s economic growth rate will rebound to 2.4% this year and reach 2.9% by 2022.

The recovery will depend on two critical issues: access to vaccines and tackling debt issues. Nigeria must decisively tackle its debt challenges. The issue is not about debt-to-GDP ratio, as Nigeria’s debt-to-GDP ratio at 35% is still moderate. The big issue is how to service the debt and what that means for resources for domestic investments needed to spur faster economic growth.

Afreximbank reiterates cross-border payments settlements in local currencies (The Guardian Nigeria)

Nigeria’s contributions to African trade may increase significantly in the near future as Afeximbank has unveiled plans to roll out a payment system that would enable intra-African trade to be consummated using domestic currencies. Besides, the bank also disclosed that it has approved over $26 billion in support of Nigerian public and private sector entities since its inception in 1993. Executive Vice President, Corporate Governance and Legal Services, Afreximbank, George Elombi while addressing participants that gathered at the Intra – Africa Trade Fair (IATF) 2021 official Nigeria roadshow, said the initiative is expected to enhance industrialisation and export development in Africa as well as reduce over dependence on foreign currencies. According to him, despite Nigeria’s status as the largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, representing about 17 per cent of the African economy and about 64 per cent of the economy of West Africa by GDP, its export contribution to the African region remains at 20 per cent while import constitutes about seven per cent.

After mining, DR Congo turns focus on ‘illegal’ forest harvesting contracts (The East African)

The Democratic Republic of Congo government has announced an imminent purge of “doubtful contracts” in the forestry sector, promising another round of anxiety in an area of the economy deemed exploited by foreign entities. The decision was announced on Monday by the government spokesman and Minister for Information Patrick Muyaya, who said Kinshasa would revisit all permits on tree harvesting to ensure they are not exploiting the country.

Sudan’s key Red Sea ports coveted by regional powers (Eyewitness News)

From Washington to Moscow, Tehran to Ankara, Sudan’s strategic Red Sea ports, blockaded for a month by protesters, have long been eyed by global powers far beyond Africa’s borders. It hosted Iranian fleets for decades under Bashir, to the dismay of Tehran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia, whose Red Sea port of Jeddah lies opposite Port Sudan on the other side of the waterway.


African Union, RECS and RMs meet to coordinate implementation of the continental integration programme (African Union)

The African Union (AU), represented by the Bureau of its Assembly, Chairpersons of the Eight (8) Regional Economic Communities, as well as Regional Mechanisms, held their third Mid-Year Coordination Meeting on the 16th of October, to harmonise and coordinate the implementation of the continental integration programme. It was chaired by H.E. Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Chairperson of the African Union for 2021.

President Felix Tshisekedi, highlighted that; “Africa needs to establish a specialized unit to monitor progress” on COVID19. He applauded President Cyril Ramaphosa who is the continental COVID19 champion, for his work in acquiring vaccines, and promoting the manufacturing of vaccines on the continent. He also thanked the AfricaCDC Director Dr John Nkengasong for his contribution to the continental response to the pandemic.

Why it is important to develop infrastructure and related services in support of SADC regional integration (SADC)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s blueprint, the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030, places importance on the development of good infrastructure that will spur economic activity across the Region. Recognising that the requisite regional infrastructure and services hold the key to economic development and regional integration, ensuring affordable access to such infrastructure and services is vital.

African nations urged to harmonize competition policies to boost AfCFTA (News Ghana)

African nations should harmonize competition laws to deal with challenges arising from trade disputes for successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), economic analysts said Tuesday in Nairobi. Kwame Owino, chief executive officer of the Nairobi-based Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), said that despite the fact that the treaty took effect in January, many African countries have not worked on their competition policies to allow free movement of goods and services. “We need to have competition laws that go beyond the borders, however, they have to be built from the ingredients of existing policies in different countries and regional trade blocs. Tribunals do exist and have different ways of responding to infringements but this need to be harmonized for smoother integration,” he said during a meeting on competition laws and AfCFTA implementation.

Road impacts on ecosystems in sub-Saharan Africa (EurekAlert)

Sub-Saharan Africa is developing rapidly. With growing economies and increased trade, major road infrastructure plans have been developed for the region, which also hosts some of the world’s most unique and diverse ecosystems. New research looked into how roads might impact ecosystems in the region. Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet. It is home to a variety of iconic flora and fauna such as the African elephant, the baobab tree, and the chimpanzee, and also generates a range of ecosystem goods and services that sustain the livelihoods of many people. Road developments in the region are expected to have large and potentially harmful impacts on natural ecosystems across the region. Many in the conservation community believe that although these roads may benefit growing African communities and economies, they will also promote the overexploitation of African natural resources and further biodiversity loss.

Wanting to consider a more multidimensional approach, a new study by researchers from the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria and the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa published in Environmental Research Letters, set out to analyze the impacts past road projects in the region have had on ecosystems inside and outside protected areas across sub-Saharan Africa. The researchers reviewed 137 peer reviewed articles in search of documented reports of the effects of roads and their underlying mechanisms in areas across the region. Reports and evidence were divided into the four main regions of sub-Saharan Africa: Central Africa, East Africa, southern Africa, and West Africa. When analyzing the effects on biodiversity, specific taxonomic groups were also reviewed separately. All effects noted by the researchers contained identified mechanisms such as roads acting as barriers to movement or as a habitat, and by facilitating access, specifically to previously inaccessible land, markets, cities, and economic opportunities.

“Mitigating and managing the effects of future road development in sub-Saharan Africa will require researchers and environmental assessment practitioners to predict where interactions will happen and whether it is likely to affect ecosystem functionality.

Driving long-term industrial transformation in Africa (Trade Arabia)

Opportunities to boost the manufacturing sector in Africa are on the horizon, however, for the continent to witness long-term industrial transformation, both public and private sector stakeholders must join forces. These are some of the key findings from the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit’s (#GMIS2021) Digital Series on “Building Digital Capabilities for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialisation in Africa”.

Li Yong, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) addressed the forum, stressing on the importance of accelerating digitalisation in Africa, as the continent builds productive sectors. “We must go further to help African countries to make their digital transition, without leaving anyone behind. We must build capabilities, enhancing digital infrastructure, improve digital skills and access to training and leverage innovative capacities. Strong partnerships with local and regional partners in business, research and government need to be built, as well as with multilateral organisations such as the African Union, Regional Economic Communities, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank.”

Celebrating the contribution of African women to development in Africa (IPPMedia)

The commemoration that was under the theme ”Strengthening Rural Women’s Contribution to Sustainable Food Systems through the African Continental Free Trade Area’’. The day was celebrated in recognition of the crucial role that women and girls play in ensuring the sustainability of rural households and communities, improving rural livelihoods and overall wellbeing of the African Continent.

H.E. Amb. Josefa Lionel Correia Sacko Commissioner for Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment added that rural women are the predominant labour providers in agriculture and agri-businesses. They represent about 50% of the labour force in the sector. It is, therefore, critical that their contributions to sustaining food-systems in the continent are recognized and celebrated.

‘Interstate agricultural research to boost trade, devt’ (Daily Monitor)

The Technical officer in charge of monitoring and evaluation at the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), Mr Moses Odeke has said there is need to dialogue on emerging research on agricultural issues in order to promote development of the sector in the sub region. “We need to convene stake holders to discuss other emerging issues such as cross border trade facilitation, sharing of technologies across national boundaries and scaling up of agricultural technologies across national borders,” he said.

“We need to mobilize additional resources across member’s countries to be able to build their capacities both human and infrastructural, for agricultural research for development in the region,” he said.

Outlook: Africa’s changing agriculture landscape (ZAWYA)

Surging commodity and food prices are hurting sub-Saharan African countries at a time of weak growth. As more go hungry and malnutrition continues, achieving the United Nations’ Zero Hunger initiative to eradicate poverty from the continent by 2030 will prove even more challenging. Even before COVID-19 decimated economic growth and pushed millions of Africans below the poverty line, some 690 million of the continent’s citizens were struggling with undernourishment, according to a new report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The African Development Bank expects the continent’s $35 billion food import bill to rise to $110 billion by 2025.

“On average, 21 percent of budgets devoted to food and agriculture were not spent, suggesting that large financial commitments are not sufficient to enable a country to transform its agricultural sector,” says the report, which focuses on 13 African states including Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania.

African leadership can help realise continental potential (SAnews)

President Cyril Ramaphosa says Africa is in need of “strong democracies, accountable institutions, capable leaders, peace and stability” if the continent is to take advantage of the potential of its vast human capital and mineral resources. “We have enough sun, wind and minerals to become a global leader in the green economy. We are a continent of young people, [possessing] the energy, initiative and skills to establish Africa as a new frontier of production and innovation. Turning to present day challenges, President Ramaphosa emphasised that although much has been done for the prosperity of African people, much is still to be done to overcome the struggle

US-Africa trade pact AGOA at risk? African leaders raise alarm (The Africa Report)

The Joe Biden administration is eager to start discussing how it can apply its ‘build back better’ mantra to commerce with Africa when it virtually hosts the continent’s trade ministers this week. For their part, America’s African partners want to make sure that Washington doesn’t bulldoze their two-decade-old, duty-free access to the US market in the process. Growing tensions behind the scenes will hit the spotlight on Wednesday and Thursday when the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) convenes the annual African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) ministerial. With the unilateral trade preferences program up for renewal in 2025, Washington’s stated desire to negotiate two-way trade deals, which also benefit US exports, has been raising alarm bells in boardrooms and government offices across Africa.

AGOA: Minister Ganoo participates virtually in Private sector forum (Republic of Mauritius)

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Mr Alan Ganoo, participated virtually, this evening, in the first panel of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Private sector forum, “AGOA and beyond”, from Port Louis.

In a statement, the Foreign Affairs Minister underlined the key role of the AGOA for Mauritius in terms of trade, while indicating that exportations to the US under the Agreement amount to Rs 7 billion per year. He emphasised that, in the country’s interest, it is thus crucial to think of other Mauritius-US trade partnerships after the expiration of the AGOA in 2025.

Maximising growth and minimising risk (African Review)

At AFSiC 2021 Simon Gray, head of business development & marketing at BVI Finance, moderated a formidable panel of financial experts to discuss the unique opportunities posed by the African continent, and how funding can be secured to unlock this potential

Agnes Gitau, partner at GBS Africa, began by explaining some of these investment opportunities on the continent. She commented, “For me, the unique opportunities lie in African’s recovery post Covid-19. Sectors investors are interested in are those aimed at addressing society needs like healthcare – which does have a huge gap and requires funding. Africa requires over US$100bn in health infrastructure and, in the last six months, we have seen venture capital, private equity and private financing institutions which are funding tech start ups focused on the healthcare sector. “Other unique areas are in fintech. There are a lot of innovations and great ideas coming out of the continent and they need financing. The governments alone will not be able to finance these and so it is an opportunity for the private sector.”


Botswana calls for investment remobilization for least developed countries (News Ghana)

President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana on Tuesday called for the global community to remobilize investment with a view of mitigating challenges faced by least developed and landlocked developing countries. Masisi was deliberating his statement on the occasion of the virtual World Investment Forum being held under the theme: Investing in Sustainable Recovery, which he joined from Gaborone, Botswana’s capital city. “The global pandemic has had a severe impact on investment flows in general and depressed investments in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in particular with some of the achievements made between 2015 and 2019 now in danger of reversal,” said Masisi. It is therefore essential for the global community to remobilize investment, channel it toward SDG sectors in order to mitigate the unique challenges faced by least developed and landlocked developing countries as well as special situations faced by middle-income nations, he said.

India opposes penalty for delay in WTO notifications (Mint)

India has strongly opposed a proposal from developed countries for administrative actions and penalties in case of delayed submissions of notifications by member countries. It is wrong to assume wilful default on the part of members rather than acknowledging the capacity constraints and other legitimate difficulties faced by many developing countries, India said. Developed countries, including the US, European Union, UK, Australia, and Canada, have moved a draft general council proposal on procedures to improve compliance with notification requirements under World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreements that requires a country that fails to submit notifications by the deadline to explain the delay every six months.

DDG Paugam commends STDF’s broad impact on catalysing SPS capacity development (WTO)

WTO Deputy Director-General Jean-Marie Paugam underlined on 14 October the role of the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) in addressing new challenges at a time when climate change is having an impact on food safety, animal and plant health capacity in developing and least-developed (LDC) countries. Chairing the virtual meeting of the STDF Policy Committee, DDG Paugam put the spotlight on the small-scale farmers, producers, traders and governments who benefit from the STDF’s support to meet sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) requirements for trade, based on international standards.

Will Countries Reach an Agreement at COP26? (Inter Press Service)

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) is just 15 days away. The COP26 secretariat, the UK and Italian government and governments of the participating countries are finalising their last days of preparation before meeting in Glasgow, UK from October 31 to November 12. The major point of discussion now is: Will countries reach an agreement on three key issues? (a) phasing out of coal, (b) scaling up nationally determined contributions (NDCs); and (c) raising financing for adaptation.


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