Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News


Traxtion prepares to make use of ‘rare’ private sector rail opportunity (Engineering News)

Private rail freight operator Traxtion sees the national government’s structural reform agenda as a rare opportunity for the private sector to leverage massive investment in train sets to unlock one of the biggest structural impediments to growth in the South African economy, which is train capacity. The company refers to the announcement that South Africa’s rail network will be opened to third-party freight operators in 2022, as reiterated in the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement last week.

DTIC to submit EV policy to Cabinet before the end of the year – Mlota (Engineering News)

The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) should present a refined new-energy vehicle (NEV) policy to Cabinet before the end of the year, says DTIC automotives chief director Mkhululi Mlota. The DTIC in May issued a Draft Green Paper on the Advancement of New-Energy Vehicles in South Africa. NEVs include hybrids, battery electric vehicles and fuel-cell vehicles.

Electric cars gradually drive into Kenyan roads (Business Daily)

A few years ago, Kenyans and most of us knew little about electric vehicles (EVs) that were synonymous with developed nations such as the US, United Kingdom, China, and Germany. The main reason for Kenya’s, and indeed Africa’s, slow adoption of electric vehicles is that the transition requires heavy investments in technology and infrastructure that many developing countries cannot afford. However, things are changing and at a rather fast pace, especially here in Kenya as international EV startups enter the country in troops. And the momentum to adopt electric vehicles will only accelerate as calls for measures to curb pollution in a bid to reverse climate change impacts get louder.

Zim to import 400MW to bridge power deficit (The Herald)

STATE power utility, Zesa Holdings, intends to import up to 400 megawatts from Mozambique and Zambia as part of measures to end a debilitating power crisis, a senior executive said. This comes as Zimbabwe, blighted by long periods of load-shedding, is spending up to US$20 million of scarce forex on power imports every month, Zesa executive chairman Sydney Gata revealed.

The gap between demand and supply is now being minimised through imports, which sees the country part ways with over US$20 million each month, and load shedding, which usually stretches for 12 hours a day.

FOCAC promotes the growth of China-Tanzania cooperation in depth and substance (The Citizen)

On 29th and 30th November this year, the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held in Dakar, capital of Senegal. It is another great event for China-Africa solidarity and cooperation. With the theme of “Deepen China-Africa Partnership and Promote Sustainable Development to Build a China-Africa Community with a Shared Future in the New Era”, representatives of China and African countries will get together to have a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of the outcomes of FOCAC Beijing Summit in 2018 and China-Africa solidarity in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Facing the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic, China and Africa have supported each other to tide over the difficulties, and promoted further development of their cooperation, which bucks the declining international trend of trade and investment, and manifests the great resilience and strong

Poultry Farmers Call for Ban on Maize Export (This Day)

Disturbed by high cost of maize, a major ingredients in the poultry feeds, the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), has called on the federal government to rescue the poultry industry by banning export of maize, in order to make the commodity available for poultry feed millers in Nigeria. The association made the call in Abeokuta, Ogun State, at the 2021 Poultry Show with the theme: “De-Risking the Nigerian Poultry Industry: Stabilising Critical Inputs and Market Prices for Sustainability.”

Chairman of the 2021 Poultry Show, Mr Olalekan Odunsi, stated that poultry farmers are facing lots of socio-economic challenges which is negatively affecting the industry. Odunsi, who lamented that insecurity, high cost of animal feeds and exchange rate had forced some poultry farmers out of business, added that the challenges had cut number of poultry farmers producing eggs, chickens and other products as many of them had closed shop.

NEPC to implement factoring and forfaiting as instruments of financing export and trade in Nigeria (Nairametrics)

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has announced it will implement factoring and forfaiting as instruments of financing export and trade in Nigeria. It also stated that it would unlock $1 billion financing for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) annually. The NEPC boss said factoring was one of the fastest-growing instruments for structured trade finance in the world, as it is mainly used as a finance tool for a business to sell its account receivables to a third party at a discount in exchange for immediate money to finance other activities.

How Digital Economy Can Boost Nigeria’s GDP – NITDA DG (Leadership)

Director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Mallam Kashifu Inuwa has said that shared vision and collaboration amongst the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, its parastatals and stakeholders produced 17.09 percent contribution of the digital economy sector to Nigeria’s GDP in second quarter of 2021. In a statement issued by the spokesperson of the agency, Hadiza Umar, the DG said in a paper titled: “The Nigerian Digital Architecture: The Journey So Far”, presented at the World Fintech Festival 2021, which was jointly hosted by Nigeria and Singapore that the way forward for Nigeria in attaining vintage position in the global digital economy remains in the country’s resolve to public private partnership initiatives, funding, human capital, advocacy and continuity.

‘AfCFTA is a good tool to end Ghana, Nigeria trade rivalry’ — Igwe Okadigbo (Modern Ghana)

Patience, mutual understanding and humility to learn from each other are keys to not only ending the Ghana-Nigeria traders’ rivalry but also turning it into an opportunity for development and growth, the Ezeudo Ndigbo of Adoteiman kingdom of Accra, Ghana, His Royal Highness Igwe Chuma Raymond Okadigbo, tells this journalist in this interview in Accra.

Formerly, Nigerians used to trade freely in Ghana here; you couldn’t distinguish between Ghanaian and Nigerian; we took everybody as one. But with time, some Nigerians started coming into Ghana without documentation, not even a passport to identify them. Most of them will come on the streets and start messing up, behaving any how. Because of the problems on the streets, some people thought they could do whatever they like. That created problems. Again, in trading, a Nigerian trader can sell something with little profit margin, and turnover quickly. But from my observation, the Ghanaian trader rigidly sticks to whatever price tag he places on a particular good, thereby stalling the rapidity of his turnover. So, part of the problem is jealousy against the Nigerian trader. Whereas, what they need to do is to befriend their Nigerian colleagues and learn some of their trading strategies. For instance, instead of buying something at Ghc10 and trying to sell it at Ghc30, they can learn from the Nigerian trader who buys at Ghc10 and marks up by just Ghc2 or Ghc3 to achieve quick turnover. The latter strategy helps stabilize the economy, and ensures that your shop is always fully stocked. But if you keep on waiting for a Ghc30 profit on a Ghc10 item, that makes your business to stagnate. Essentially, this difference in strategy was what brought on the subsisting traders’ rivalry, as, in a bid to curb it, Ghanaian traders subsequently started doing checks on the Nigerian traders, and in the process found out that some of them didn’t have shops. That discovery became a bargaining chip in the hands of the host traders who then introduced certain conditionalities, like ‘go and marry a Ghanaian wife if you want to trade in our markets’, etc. But such conditions were not practicable as some of the Nigerian traders were already married back home. However, the ECOWAS and the AFCFTA are tackling these issues; one, through the ECOWAS common currency initiative, the Eco; the other, through the African common market initiative; and, soon, there will be a lasting solution to the issue, I believe.

Nigeria, Bulgaria Seek Improved Business Relations (ThisDay)

The federal government and Bulgaria have renewed their commitments to bolster existing trade and investment ties. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Niyi Adebayo, said Nigeria is seeking to harness the diverse opportunities in the areas of trade, industry and investment to create jobs and boost economic recovery. The minister, at the unveiling of the Nigeria-Bulgaria Business Exchange Platform, said globally, investment remained a critical tool for poverty reduction and sustainable development.

Trade Ministry, UN development organization sign programme for Inclusive Industrial Development (Voice of Gambia)

The Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment (MoTIE) in collaboration with United Nations Industrial Development Organisation Friday, signed The Gambia Country Programme (2021-2025) at a ceremony held at Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Centre, Bijilo. The Country Program is designed to enhance UNIDO’s support to the Government of The Gambia to implement a roadmap towards inclusive and sustainable industrial development as stated in the Lima Declaration. Through its mandate, UNIDO aims to harness the full potential of industry’s contribution to the achievement of sustainable development and lasting prosperity for The Gambia.

Cameroon adds provisions increasing export taxes on raw timber in 2022 draft budget (Business in Cameroon)

In the 2022 draft budget to be reviewed by parliament during the budget session opened on November 11, Cameroon plans to tighten conditions required to export raw timber from the country. According to the presentation made on November 8, by Finance Minister Louis Paul Motazé, the document plans for an increase, from 35% to 50%, of export taxes “to encourage local wood transformation and reduce deforestation. This means that if the provision is validated, starting from January 2022, wood exporters would pay an additional 15% customs duties to send raw timber abroad. On the other hand, wood actors who want to acquire equipment to start transforming or even boost their processing capacities locally will be fully exonerated from tax and duties on the importations of equipment and tools that can not be found on the national territory, the text indicates.


Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the official opening of the 2021 Intra-African Trade Fair (The Presidency, South Africa)

In 2018 the first Intra-African Trade Fair opened in Egypt, in the ancient city of Cairo. Today, it is opening in the southernmost tip of Africa.

This year’s Intra-African Trade Fair is about building bridges. It brings together governments, buyers, investors, entrepreneurs and manufacturers from more than 55 countries to give life to the African Continental Free Trade Area. The countries of Africa are open for business.

Now Africa is taking concrete steps to write its own economic success story. It is opening up new fields of opportunity. One such opportunity is in Africa’s rapid adoption of locally developed fintech, of which M-PESA is the most well-known. It is an example of financial and technological innovation in which Africa leads the world.

It is our expectation that this Intra-African Trade Fair will further cement its position as Africa’s premier trade platform, where African manufacturers can promote and sell more ‘Made in Africa’ goods to one another. This is critical if we are to change the distorted trade relationship that exists between African countries and the rest of the world. We can no longer have a situation where Africa exports raw materials and imports finished goods made with those materials.

By promoting trade between African countries we are strengthening the continent’s industrial base and ensuring that we produce goods for ourselves and each other. Two key developments of global significance can serve as a stimulus for Africa to act in unison. Firstly, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020 exposed the frailty of African economies.

Secondly, the African Continental Free Trade Area has the potential to accelerate economic growth across the continent and create opportunities for entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises as well as large corporations to flourish.

‘Africa Trade fair is a powerful expression of SA’s commitment to deepening continental integration,’ says KZN Premier (ANA/Business Report)

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said in a statement on Saturday that the trade fair is a powerful expression of South Africa’s commitment to deepening continental integration and strengthening the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). “The previous IATF in Egypt attracted over 1000 exhibitors and 2500 delegates from more than 45 countries. Another significant outcome was that US$32 million in trade and investment deals were concluded in Cairo,” said Zikalala. “As the several thousand IATF delegates and exhibitors gather in Durban, we are confident of the energy, ideas and contract opportunities that will propel the fresh developmental agenda represented by AfCFTA,” said Zikalala.

AfCFTA to aid growth of airlines in Africa, boost tourism (The Guardian, Nigeria)

The Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is positioned to aid the growth of airlines in the continent, boost trade and tourism, stakeholders have said.  Air Transport specialist and former Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Richard Aisuebeogun said with AfCFTA, it becomes easier for airlines to grow in Africa just like what is obtained in the entire continent of Europe.

He said: “There is virtually no part of Europe that you cannot fly into from one particular spot because you have airlines crisscrossing the entire continent of Europe. We know that is not the case in Africa.

The challenge of flying across Africa is a major challenge. If we find it as a major challenge to fly across Africa or within Africa via intra-Africa transport system, then, you can imagine how it is going to limit the economic development of the region”.

With AfCFTA, African FinTechs See SMB Investment Opportunities (PYMNTS)

FinTech startups in Africa are ballooning beyond their borders to access a wave of new investments expected to arrive with the advent of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Trading under the AfCFTA began earlier this year, with the aim of establishing the largest single market for goods and services in the world. As Quartz reported Friday (Nov. 12), several startups have — just in the last month — either raised growth funding, hired top players from the telecom industry or purchased another regional player in their vertical.

The report uses the example of Kenya’s Asante Financial Services Group, which helps support micro, small and medium-sized businesses and has raised $7.5 million to help SMBs in Kenya and Uganda access new markets.

Understanding the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System of the AfreximBank - Ade Adefeko (Proshare Nigeria)

On the 28th of September, 2021, the Afreximbank in conjunction with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat officially made the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) available to be used by African businesses doing business on the continent. This follows a successful pilot phase in the countries of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ - Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, and Guinea (Conakry). The AfCFTA aims to bring together the 54 African countries to trade under a single market with liberalized tariffs and the elimination of the non-tariff barriers to cross-border trading.

However, one of the problems which had hindered intra-African trade for a long time has been the reliance on third currencies- US dollars, Euros, and the British Pounds for the clearing and settlement of cross-border payments and transactions which in turn leads to high costs and long transaction times. At the moment, 42 currencies are being spent on the continent and only a few of these currencies have any value outside the countries where they are legal tender. This situation has persisted due to the weak and volatile nature of these legal tenders.

It is time for the Intra-Africa Trade Show (African Reporter)

Automotive heavyweights from several countries in Africa will congregate in Durban next week at the Automotive Show, forming part of the Intra-Africa Trade Fair at the Durban Exhibition Centre. Africa’s automotive policy and industry decision-makers will meet to discuss how the auto sector can drive industrialisation on the continent.

“The Forum has attracted Heads of State, industry executives and African industrialists around this agenda, but the wider exhibition, match-making and networking opportunities will connect suppliers of raw materials, vehicles, automotive parts and aftermarket services and technology with buyers across Africa,’’ Automotive Show co-ordinator, Andrew Binning, CEO of Inkanyezi Events, said.

E. Africans face bleak Christmas as weak currency, high oil prices stretch budgets (The East African)

Kenyans are bracing for hard times as the country enters the festive season as a weakening shilling, rising crude prices and the implementation of the contentious inflation-linked adjustment on excise duty threaten to push up cost of transport and prices of basic commodities. The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has quietly introduced a 4.97 percent increase in duty for excisable goods effective November 2, setting the stage for an increase in prices of at least 31 products including juices, bottled water, beer chocolate, spirits, cigarettes and motorcycles. The new levy comes into effect despite public protests that prevented its scheduled introduction on October 1. It is expected to adversely impact households and businesses, which are already hurting from the effects of high fuel prices.

Expedite comprehensive review of EAC Common External Tariff, Partner States urged (EAC)

East African Community Partner States have been called upon to expedite the comprehensive review of the EAC Common External Tariff (CET) in order to promote trade and industrialization in the region. Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Trade and Industrialization, Ms. Betty Maina, said that the failure to conclude the review of the CET, which started in 2016, was providing leeway to products from other parts of the world to flood the EAC Common Market at the region’s expense.

“We need to prioritize the regional trade and industrialization agenda by working together to conclude the comprehensive review of the CET. At the moment we have a punctured wall that allows products from outside the region to penetrate our market,” said the Cabinet Secretary.

ECOWAS Finance Ministers consolidate the migration of HS2017 to the Customs Harmonised System 2022 (HS20022) (ECOWAS)

Come January 1st, 2022, ECOWAS Countries would join the World Customs Organisation with a stronger and more harmonised Custom Union, with the Migration from HS2017 to HS2022. This was one of the major outcome from the 6th meeting of ECOWAS Minis-ters of Finance in the city of Accra, 12th November, 2021. The honorable Ministers reviewed and validated the draft text on the various supplementary acts and regulations including the Acts Community levy, Acts on Community transit guarantee mechanism, texts relating to the consolidation of ECOWAS Customs Union, among others, as recommended from the just concluded Directors General of Customs meeting in Accra also. This approved recommendations will be presented at the next council of ministers in December, 2021 for adoption and further implementation in member States.

CEMAC launches Observatory of Abnormal Practices along the main Central African corridors (Business in Cameroon)

On November 11, 2021, the regional Observatory of Abnormal Practices along the main Central African corridors (OPA-AC) was launched in Yaoundé. The OPA-AC was launched in the framework of the Support Program for the Management of Regional and National Infrastructures in Central Africa (the program is funded by the European Union to the tune of XAF3.8 billion), and its installation is entrusted to the Sub-regional Institute for Statistics and Applied Economics (ISSEA) through a service agreement. The observatory will collect and analyze and regularly publish (four national and one workshop annually) transport data, that will help to review abnormal practices happening along the concerned corridors, towards alerting main actors and decision-makers for progressive eradication of those practices.

Building the Knowledge Base to Boost Growth and Jobs in the Lake Chad Region (World Bank)

The Lake Chad region, an economically and socially integrated area in West and Central Africa straddling Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, is confronted with an interplay of multidimensional development challenges that have resulted in low economic growth, limited opportunities, and fragility. Boosting growth and job creation in the region requires policies and programs that restore peace and improve the service delivery of basic public services for greater economic opportunities. Yet, a severe lack of data and diagnostics hinders coordinated, evidence-based interventions. A new World Bank study aims at closing critical knowledge gaps to inform the policy discussion on challenges and opportunities for faster, more inclusive, and sustained economic growth in the Lake Chad region. The Lake Chad Regional Economic Memorandum “Development for Peace” provides a detailed account of the interlocked development challenges affecting the Lake Chad region. It finds that poverty rates, economic growth, and other core socio-economic indicators in the region trail behind other areas of the respective countries. This stagnation is perpetuated by the negative feedback loops between “3Ds and 2Cs”: that is, (i) the low density, long distances, and profound social, cultural, and ethnic divisions that characterize the economic geography of the region; and (ii) climate change and conflict that exacerbate such development challenges.

Smart Africa, Afriwave partner to advance connectivity and data capacity (BusinessGhana)

Smart Africa and Afriwave Telecom Ghana Limited have partnered to collaborate in One Africa Network and Interconnect Clearinghouse initiative, Data Centre and Cloud Project and Intra-Africa Connectivity project, to advance digital transformation in Africa.

Smart Africa is an alliance of 32 African countries, international organisations and global private sector players, tasked with defining Africa’s digital agenda. “The alliance is empowered by a bold and innovative commitment by African Heads of State to accelerate sustainable socio-economic development on the continent and usher Africa into the knowledge economy through affordable access to broadband and the use of ICTs,” the statement said.

Is energy transition the answer to Africa’s Socio-Economic Development? (Modern Diplomacy)

Europe’s energy transition is under scrutiny following the region’s soaring electricity prices and the scarcity of fossil fuels. The inadequacy of renewable energies to efficiently respond to these problems has become apparent. Is it necessary to increase the commitment to renewable energies and accelerate the transition? Must Europe re-think the market for emission rights (responsible for 70% of the increase in electricity prices in Spain, according to the Bank of Spain)? Does Europe need to take a step back and stockpile fossil fuels to avoid a future energy crisis?

Department for International Trade to hold virtual Africa Investment Conference (GOV.UK)

The Department for International Trade is today, 15th November, announcing that it will host a second edition of the Africa Investment Conference on 20 January 2022. The conference will mark two years from the UK-Africa Investment Summit hosted in London by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, where 27 trade and investment deals worth £6.5bn and further commitments worth £8.9bn were announced.

UK Minister for Investment Lord Gerry Grimstone said: The 2020 UK-Africa Investment Summit secured partnerships and investment commitments worth over £15 billion, leading to long term economic growth and jobs for both our regions. The upcoming African Investment Conference will provide the perfect opportunity to build on this success by bringing UK-Africa investment opportunities, from clean growth to financial services, to the fore within our business communities.

Vicky Ford MP, Minister for Africa, said: Strengthening our connections with emerging markets across Africa is a priority for the UK.

COP 26 conclusion: updates

COP26 Reaches Consensus on Key Actions to Address Climate Change (UN Climate Change)

Deliberations under the current session of the COP, CMP and CMA came to an end this Saturday in Glasgow, one day after their scheduled conclusion. The wide-ranging set of decisions, resolutions and statements that constitute the outcome of COP26 is the fruit of intense negotiations over the past two weeks, strenuous formal and informal work over many months, and constant engagement both in-person and virtually for nearly two years. The package adopted today [13 November] is a global compromise that reflects a delicate balance between the interests and aspirations of nearly the 200 Parties to the core instruments on the international regime that governs global efforts against climate change.

CoP26: A ‘net nothing’ summit that the UN termed a global compromise (Down to Earth Magazine)

The 26th Conference of Parties (CoP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at Glasgow came to an end late evening November 13, 2021

The end came more than 24 hours after the scheduled completion deadline, with a deal that the United Nations termed ‘a global compromise’. Countries like India and China got the fruit of this compromise when under pressure from them, the phrase ‘phase out’ of coal, used in the earlier text, was changed to ‘phase down’ in the final agreement. This effectively means that their coal-based power programmes will continue, albeit in a low key manner over the future.

Sunita Narain, director-general of New Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment, pointed out that the much-vaunted summit had either failed, or could not progress beyond earlier status, regarding the most contentious points, be it climate justice or the question of coal. “Has the Glasgow Climate Pact succeeded in going far enough to keep the world below a 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature rise … the answer is a resounding ‘no’,” said Narain. Several high carbon emitter countries have only settled for long-term ‘Net Zero’ targets in the face of several scientific studies. These clearly point out that the next two decades would be crucial in the context of temperature rise and climate change whose impacts are to become more frequent and forceful. “CoP26 has betrayed the poorest of the poor and the most vulnerable in south Asia,” Sanjay Vashisht, director of Climate Action Network South Asia, said. He criticised how developed countries continued to talk without real money on the table.

No breakthrough in Glasgow: Developed countries do not take responsibility for damage done (Care International)

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of Parties has drawn to a close with a decision that has left vulnerable countries most impacted by climate change frustrated and disappointed, according to CARE International.

“We had hoped for a real plan, but instead developed countries only agreed to a vague two-year dialogue on arrangements for loss and damage funding without a clear outcome in sight,” said Chikondi Chabvuta, Southern Africa Advocacy Lead with CARE International.

CARE is concerned that forward-looking pledges and plans rely on immediate implementation, while lengthy dialogues don’t recognize the urgency for the poorest who did the least to cause this crisis but are suffering the most.

“Before the next COP, rich countries must meet their commitments on climate finance, which must be new and additional, scale up adaptation to 50% and mobilize resources for Loss and Damage. Across all these areas, gender equality and women’s leadership must be integrated and prioritized.”

Cooling community announces steps to beat global warming with GBP 12 million boost from UK (UNEP)

Climate action can deliver a sustainable future for all: UN deputy chief (UN News)

Pay Africa for carbon offsets to save the planet and support livelihoods, leaders say (The East African)

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta wants businesses and corporations in the global North to take advantage of the unique ecological opportunity offered by Africa as a natural carbon sink and compensate the continent. Mr Kenyatta explained to investors at a side event at the ongoing COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, that the process can transform conservation finance in Africa by compensating the continent for storing carbon and tackling climate change. He noted that the global net zero emissions demand can unlock value for Africa’s people by offering businesses an opportunity to appeal to consumers keen on making more environmentally conscious purchases.


How COVID-19 is undermining international trade law (East Asia Forum)

The COVID-19 pandemic will have a lasting effect on many areas of international lawmaking. In recent years, members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have struggled to progress the trade agenda or even keep the multilateral system functioning as designed. The pandemic may accelerate the trend of increased protectionism and movement away from liberalism and towards managed trade.

At the domestic level, the pandemic will likely result in legislation from the most important trading nations that attempts to domesticate production. Sometimes the language used is more obscure — such as the US emphasis on ‘supply chain resilience’ — but the practical effect is the same.

The pandemic could make governments less likely to engage in international lawmaking as uncertainty leads to stronger notions of sovereignty and an accompanying hesitance by governments to further liberalise trade. Trade can be a force for good during pandemics and such hesitation threatens economic recovery and growth.Before COVID-19, there was already a trend towards increased protectionism and managed trade, with prominent examples being the failure of the WTO’s Doha Round of trade negotiations and US President Donald Trump’s approach to counter China’s rise.The uncertainty brought about by COVID-19 has led to even less trust in the global system and calls for increased ‘homegrown’ reliance. It has not helped that several countries have initiated a host of trade-restrictive measures, including actual or de facto export bans on PPE and vaccines.

While the crisis should lead to increased liberalisation to avoid supply issues, there is no indication this will be the case.

LDC members exchange views, experiences on impact of graduation (WTO)

LDC graduation refers to the point when an LDC meets certain United Nations development criteria and is no longer defined an LDC. LDCs are accorded special treatment in the WTO, in particular with regard to enhanced market access opportunities and policy flexibilities. While graduating from the LDC category is a major development achievement, this process comes with challenges, the discussants noted.

DG Okonjo-Iweala noted that the WTO’s upcoming 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) will be an occasion for the WTO membership to address the opportunities and challenges of LDC graduation.

“Development issues should be at the heart of work at the WTO”— DG Okonjo-Iweala (WTO)

DG Okonjo-Iweala stressed that the work of the WTO is important for developing and least developed countries (LDCs), hence, it is critical for the WTO to deliver on issues of importance to them. Trade is a significant driver for economic growth and poverty reduction and ultimately for development, she added.

DG Okonjo-Iweala also noted that the ongoing review of duty-free and quota-free market access for LDCs, the implementation of the Aid for Trade work programme, work to enhance transparency in regional trade agreements and preferential trade arrangements are also vital areas of the CTD’s work that need to be paid attention to.

For Local Fishers to Compete, African Leaders Must Urge WTO Members to End Harmful Subsidies (allAfrica)

Mauritania’s waters are rich in biodiversity: More than 600 fish species live in the northwest African nation’s territorial waters. The fishing industry provides jobs for 180,400 people and accounts for up to 10% of the country’s gross domestic product, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. But that wealth of marine resources is also the reason that fishing fleets from foreign nations flock to Mauritania’s coast.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia estimate that governments worldwide give out $22 billion in harmful fisheries subsidies every year, nearly two-thirds of which comes from six countries and the European Union. About $7.2 billion of the global total—or one-third—goes toward distant-water fishing, according to UCSB’s tool. Mauritania’s EEZ is the fifth-largest target of subsidized distant-water fishing in the world. It’s a challenge shared by other African countries, which are losing out to aggressive foreign fleets from big fishing nations, primarily in Europe and Asia, that have depleted fish populations in their own waters and come to Africa to fill their nets—often hunting for fish not only within African EEZs but in the areas just outside them, known as the high seas.

WTO members’ trade ministers could strike the deal when they gather in Geneva for a ministerial conference Nov. 30 through Dec. 3. In these last weeks leading up to the conference, Africa’s leaders should urge their counterparts around the world to support an ambitious treaty that would eliminate the distant-water fishing subsidies that make it hard for their domestic fishers to compete with foreign fleets.

Fishery subsidy: India to seek fairer deal at WTO (The Financial Express)

India and many other developing countries are pushing for changes to the latest draft negotiating text on fishery subsidies at the World Trade Organization (WTO) as they apprehend that their interests are being shortchanged while advanced fishing nations — primarily responsible for the fast-depletion of the world’s fish stocks — get to continue with their elevated levels of sops. Given that a consensus on the ways to curb fishery subsidy remains elusive just days before the ministerial starts on November 30, an agreement at the meeting of the trade ministers seems unlikely unless key groups settle on a middle path. The new text, sources said, seems to suggest that those who demonstrate certain convoluted standards of conservational management can continue to extend subsidy for distant water fishing and those who fail to do so can’t offer it.

Kenya is Africa’s finest in Intellectual Property (Business Daily)

Global economies are reeling from the harsh realities occasioned by the stochastic spread of the coronavirus disease of 2019 and its attendant variants. Combined with intensified adverse weather episodes and vaccine inequality in the global south, life has been tough for many. Companies were impelled to shut down or downsize to remain afloat but the intervention was not without dire effects on employees, especially those in the informal sector. It is within this hopeless state that ingenuity and invention proved critical, according to the World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) report. The report succinctly establishes China as a leading hub in a range of intellectual property concentrations.


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