tralac Daily News
Auto industry welcomes the introduction of cleaner fuels in 2023 – Naamsa (Engineering News)
The Automotive Business Council says it welcomes the announcement of the next step in government’s clean fuels programme, set to become effective in September 2023. The Department Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) earlier this year gazetted the introduction of the next phase of the Clean Fuels Programme – CF2 – in South Africa.
South Africa’s biodiversity economy has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and this has had an impact on both domestic and international travel and tourism. “Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, South Africa’s hunting industry generated R2 billion from foreign hunters and nearly eleven and a half billion rand from the domestic hunting market,” Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, said on Wednesday.
Kenya turns to South Africa in new railway deal (The East African)
Kenya has turned to South Africa to revamp its old railway network, as it seeks solutions within the continent to revamp its railroad networks. During a three-day state visit to Pretoria, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta invited South African state-owned engineering company to revamp and upgrade its railway system.
In Pretoria, President Kenyatta was optimistic that Kenya partnering with Transnet Engineering Company, a manufacturer of railway components including freight wagons, locomotives and passenger coaches, will complete pending railway infrastructure project in the country. “The advanced engineering that is taking place here is a clear indication that Transnet can be a leading partner in working together with other African countries to restore their rail-stock. We look forward to working with you as we move towards fast tracking the restoration of our railway system,” said the Kenyan President.
Mr Kenyatta said the enhanced partnership in the improvement of railway systems would boost the economies of other countries in the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community.
The new rail and depot facilities have enabled significant movement of freight to Naivasha ICD which helps in quick evacuations by both road and rail to the final destination. There was need to connect the new inland depot with the meter gauge rail system to Malaba.
Kenya’s trade deficit up 38pc to Sh988bn (Business Daily)
Kenya’s trade deficit for nine months to September widened 38.57 due to a growing appetite for foreign manufactured goods, fuel and the soaring cost of imports following Covid-19 related supply chain disruptions. Trade data collated by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows the gap between merchandise imports and exports climbed to Sh988.51 billion in the review period from Sh713.37 billion in the same period a year ago. The cost of imports has soared globally on persistent disruptions in global supply chains which have increased shipping expenses amid a resurgence in global oil prices for non-oil producing countries such as Kenya.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), proposed by China eight years ago, is transforming Kenya’s development space in a profound way, said a report released Wednesday. According to the report by Africa Policy Institute, a pan-African think tank, since the BRI was proposed in 2013, China has supported modern infrastructure projects such as railways, roads, ports, dams, industries, digital connectivity which has injected vitality into Kenya’s growth. “In less than a decade, Kenya has a brand new 670-kilometer modern Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) connecting the port of Mombasa and the inland (dry) port of Naivasha,” said the report, titled “Shared prosperity: tracking the belt and road initiative in Kenya, 2018-2021.”
The DRC-Africa Business Forum 2021 started with a bang on Wednesday, November 24 in the Congolese capital. A battery of firm commitments was signed for the development of a battery minerals industry in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The plan is for the project to start within the next two years. From the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Africa will develop a regional industry of electric battery minerals and later electric vehicles and clean energy.
The signing sharpens the commitment of Bosh, a German multinational, whose main centers of activity are the manufacture of equipment for the automotive industry; the manufacture of power tools and household appliances; industrial and building techniques; packaging techniques.
To put words into action, stakeholders have agreed to create a Battery Council in the DRC in order to set up a special financial vehicle to facilitate private investments and the participation of the population. In addition, they committed to the development of the battery minerals industry in the DRC.
Ghana’s $2.6 billion Skytrain project isn’t happening after all (Quartz Africa)
On the opening day of the Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg in 2019, Ghana signed an agreement with a South African company for a train project that would be built above the ground. The train tracks were to be 194 km long and transport nearly 400,000 passengers a year within Greater Accra, covering five routes. Skytrain, the project’s trademarked brand name, was to create 5,000 jobs throughout the construction period. None of that will happen anytime soon, according to Ghana’s minister of railway development John Peter Amewu, who said the project is too expensive and that the country has other needs. “I don’t see a sky train being done in the next 3 to 4 years let’s be very frank to ourselves,” Amewu said on Citi TV, a Ghanaian private broadcaster, quashing hopes that president Nana Akufo-Addo will deliver on one of the more ambitious projects in a masterplan for the Accra metro.
The African Development Bank has assisted in the establishment of a new institution aimed at growing Ghana’s small businesses. Ghana’s newly established development finance institution (DFI) has received USD 40 million in backing from the African Development Bank (AfDB). Earlier this month the AfDB board approved the grant to aid the capitalisation of The Development Bank Ghana (DBG).
The MSME sector has been identified by many Sub-Saharan countries as an important outlet for growing and diversified economies. AfDB country manager for Ghana, Eyerusalem Fasika said the new bank would help with the programme of recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, through which the “expansion of access to finance for Ghanaian businesses” was “one of the key measures for economic revitalisation and transformation”.
Ghana has an opportunity in the coming decades, to accelerate economic transformation and create more and better jobs, after navigating through the heights of the pandemic. It can achieve this through fostering greater global integration, technological transformation, macroeconomic stability, and financial sector development, says the World Bank’s latest economic analysis for the country. The newly released Country Economic Memorandum, Ghana Rising - Accelerating Economic Transformation and Creating Higher Quality Jobs says Ghana has all it takes to continue being an economic development star, if it takes the right steps to nurture growth and job creation. “Ghana faces an acute challenge of generating more and better jobs and has a ‘missing middle’ of employment in mid productivity sectors”, notes Pierre Laporte, World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone. “This is the time for Ghana to fill that ‘missing middle’ by cultivating export-oriented activities in both manufacturing and services and harnessing the transformative potential of trade; it faces an historic opportunity to do so with the Africa Free Trade Continental Area (AfCFTA).”
The World Bank Board today approved $40 million from the International Development Association (IDA) to promote the development of inclusive, resilient, and competitive agricultural value chains, with specific focus on smallholder farmers and agribusinesses in The Gambia. The Gambia Inclusive and Resilient Agricultural Value Chain Development Project (GIRAV) will promote the development of key priority agricultural value chains with strong growth potential in the country through a combination of soft and hard investments aimed at strengthening production capacity, creating opportunities for complementary private sector-led investments in agribusiness, and development of agricultural small and medium enterprises (SMEs).”The Gambia can transition out of fragility only by addressing constraints on development in key economic sectors such as agriculture. The project will support the government efforts to boost commercial agriculture by investing in enabling agribusiness environment and mobilizing private investment through a dedicated matching grant mechanism,” said Feyi Boroffice, World Bank Resident Representative in The Gambia.
“The Government must be commended for making tough policy choices that have resulted in this positive turnaround in macroeconomic fundamentals, especially under a challenging COVID-19 environment,” said Dr. Khwima Nthara, World Bank Country Manager for Liberia. “The focus now should be on complementing the improved macroeconomic environment with critical structural and governance reforms that will help boost domestic and foreign private investment to create more jobs,” he added.
The World Bank has today launched the Second Edition of the annual Liberia Economic Update, “Finding Fiscal Space”. According to the report, economic growth is expected to recover to 3.6 percent in 2021, before rising gradually to an average of 5.2 percent over 2022–2025. In the near term, growth will be driven by the expected recovery in the mining sector underpinned by the recent uptick in commodity prices.
Chief Executive Officer of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) says the institution is ready to deploy its expertise in the area of trade as it seeks to supervise and monitor the compliance of state parties to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The APRM boss said this is the first time APRM will be considering the area of trade on the continent that has been operating along with the themes of social-economic development, political, corporate, and economic governance. “APRM is a known governance mechanism for Africa but essentially the tools that we use are mostly monitoring and evaluation. Our specialty is in looking at the state of compliance of member states to their regional instruments and commitments. The AfCFTA is a treaty with all its binding requirements on its state parties and so our role will be to go to these states and find out how they comply with the provisions in the treaty,” he told Single African Market.
Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs (GCYE), Sherif Ghali, has welcomed the government’s 2022 budget proposal to allocate GHS1bn yearly towards advancing the interest of youth entrepreneurs in the country, calling for its effective implementation. “That’s one key thing if we want to solve our unemployment issue in Ghana; the government will need to promote youth entrepreneurs by setting up a support framework for them to be able to have access to finance,” he told Single African Market on the sidelines of the chamber’s three-day summit in Accra. He added: “It’s good that the government has finally come to understand and will be deliberate about supporting youth entrepreneurship in Ghana. We believe that setting up GHS 1bn annually for the next few years will be helpful to youth entrepreneurship.”
The Economic Development in Africa Report, published annually, analyses major aspects of Africa’s development and policy issues of interest to African countries. It makes policy recommendations for action by African countries themselves and by the international community to overcome the development challenges that the continent faces. The 2021 edition, entitled “Reaping the Potential Benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area for Inclusive Growth”, aims to equip African governments and development partners with knowledge on how the AfCFTA can be beneficial for inclusive growth and help realize Africa’s untapped export potential.
Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade, Industry and Tourism, Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, has urged all national bodies in Africa to move from outdated laws and policies to stay within modern trends of trade globally. According to him, doing that will reduce trade barriers on the continent. “Once our quality policies are in line with the Pan African Quality Policy and once, we use African standards, we will automatically reduce several barriers to trade and improve the ease of doing business on the continent. This will improve African industry and create wealth” he said. He said this at the 65th Council Meeting of the African Organization for Standardization on November 24, 2021, in Accra. Stressing on the importance of intra-African trade, Mr Ahenkorah indicated that poverty can be substantially eliminated if opportunities presented by the free trade agreement are properly leveraged.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region has great potential to become a successful hub for exporters of finished goods if Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and Multi-National Corporations (MNC) strongly work together. This view was expressed by various speakers at the SADC Industrialisation Week 2021 currently underway in Lilongwe, Republic of Malawi. They unanimously agreed during a break away session titled “Building linkages between MSMEs and Southern-led MNCs: the case of Southern Africa”, that if large manufacturing firms work together with the small firms in value addition, this can change the story of SADC being the net importer of processed foods to that of an exporter.
Mr Duncan Samikwa, Senior Programmes Officer in the Directorate of Food Agriculture and Natural Resources at SADC Secretariat said that the MNCs need to play an important role to ensure skills transfer and mentorship of MSMEs to improve the quality of their products to make them competitive for export. He said this can be realised if regional governments also capacitate agro-processors to produce improved quality products for exports. “The move to become net processed food export can work if governments attract and facilitate private sector investments in new agro-processing activities and ensure that investors function optimally,” said Mr Samikwa. He said provision of tax, cost-recovery incentives both in plants and equipment and other investment incentives are capable of changing the status quo for the better.
President of Malawi, His Excellency Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera yesterday issued a stark warning to SADC member States that if industrialization does not take root in the region, Southern Africa risks becoming a dumping ground for products from other nations and could fail to reap the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). President Chakwera made this pronouncement on Monday at the opening of the fifth SADC industrialisation week and exhibition, which was officially opened by the President of the Republic of Mozambique, His Excellency Filipe Nyusi.
The President further stated that the SADC Free Trade Area and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will be meaningless and not achieve their intended purposes without industrialization relegating the sub-region to a real junk yard for the rest of the continent and the world.
How DR Congo joining EAC will bolster bloc’s potential (The New Times)
By DR Congo joining the East African Community (EAC), the six-member bloc will open the corridor from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, as well as North to South, hence expanding the economic potential of the region. This observation is made in an EAC document, which The New Times has seen, containing a summary of findings of the verification exercise launched by Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi on June 25, in Goma, the capital of the vast country’s North Kivu Province. At the time, the verification team earlier appointed by the EAC Council of Ministers had embarked on a 10 day trip there to establish DR Congo’s level of conformity with the criteria for admission of foreign states into the bloc in accordance with the EAC Treaty.
On the potential to strengthening integration within the region, the report also notes that DR Congo has bilateral and multilateral cooperation arrangements with regional countries in various areas that include customs, infrastructure, productive and social sectors.
“Building Resilience Through Strategic Digital Economic Integration”. IN ATTENDANCE, Heads of Stat
The executive director of Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (Asareca), Mr Enock Warinda, said a new regional policy on agricultural and trade policy reforms will boost trade between member states. Mr Warinda made the remarks yesterday during the opening of a dialogue between the 11 member states on the new regional policy which, according to him, will be ready in a month. “The reforms will focus on the standardisation of some of the commodities traded within the eastern and central African region. We want to increase the trade, accessibility of the farmers and practitioners to the market both within and outside their countries,” he said.
In 2003 officials from Tanzania and several other African countries descended upon Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, with a determination to transform African agriculture. After a couple of days of reminiscing on how important farming was for Africa future in terms of food self-sufficiency the officials agreed to allocate at least 10 per cent of their national budgets to agriculture to start with, what came to be known as Maputo Declaration.
Political will, however, is one thing and action is another. About 18 years after the Maputo Declaration Tanzania has yet to allocate 10 per cent of its budget to agriculture. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) earlier this year released an analysis report that showed that Tanzania and 13 other major agriculture producers have allocated only about 6 per cent per country of public financial resources. The failure to allocated 10 per cent is because of many priorities and limited financial resources. But it also shows that as it comes to agriculture it is easier to talk about it than to take concrete actions to improve it.
The ECOWAS Commission and the United Nation Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) convened a meeting on 18 November, 2021 with E-commerce focal points from the region to present the project on the development of the regional E-commerce strategy.
In his opening remarks Mr Kolawole SOFOLA, the Ag Director for Trade of the ECOWAS Commission speaking on behalf of the Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement Mr Tei KONZI, recalled the low level development of e-commerce in the region compared to the rest of the world. He highlighted the uneven development of e-commerce in the region as revealed by the E-trade readiness assessment conducted by UNCTAD in selected ECOWAS Member States based on seven policies areas of e-commerce development including e-commerce infrastructure and services, payment, trade logistics, legal and regulatory frameworks, skills development and financing of e-trade economy. After underscoring the important role of e-commerce in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals and the ECOWAS Vision 2050, he highlighted the efforts undertaken by the region to tackle the challenges of e-commerce development.
The strategy will take into consideration the African Union (AU) led initiatives in the area of e-commerce and digital development, the new African Continental Free-Trade Area (AfCFTA), and other relevant programmes/projects implemented at national level and international level.
“The challenges posed by the pandemic have strengthened our collective resolve as a region to build back better, and part of our strategy is to work together as a regional bloc. It is in this regard that we appreciate and commend the support and leadership role of our development partners such as African Development Bank Group in the development of quality health infrastructure across the continent,” the Health Minister said.
African Development Bank Vice President Dr. Beth Dunford has outlined the details of a new strategy that seeks to boost access to health services across the continent. Dunford delivered the message in a keynote speech at the 22nd Ordinary Session of the Economic Community of West African States Assembly of Health Ministers in Abuja.
President Paul Kagame has called upon all national parliaments to back the treaty on African Medicines Agency (AMA), which has now entered into force. The President made the observation on Wednesday, November 24, as he opened the 17th Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (CSPOC) - Africa Region.
“This is a landmark agreement that will help ensure that vaccines and medications in Africa are both high-quality and locally produced,” he said of the African Medicines Agency treaty. Among its functions, AMA will develop systems to monitor, evaluate and assess the comprehensiveness of national medical products regulatory systems with the view to recommend measures that will improve efficiency and effectiveness.
The German Development Cooperation (GIZ) is facilitating an ongoing awareness engagement with the African Union to ensure greater security for citizens and visitors while guaranteeing respect for the rule of law and human rights standards at the various borders of Ghana and West Africa. The technical awareness workshop which brought together members from Immigration and Police Service, Customs and Health agencies of the four countries and ECOWAS Directorate of Free Movement & Tourism seek to contribute to the development of the long-term capability of Ghana and West Africa’s border control authorities, to update border management information and communication systems and to ensure greater securities at the borders.
Huge potential to boost Arab-Africa trade (African Business)
In general terms, Arab countries, specifically in the Middle East, import precious metals and foodstuffs from Africa while exporting pharmaceuticals, machinery and plastics. A range of public development entities and private Arab companies work across Africa. One of the most well-known is the Dubai-based logistics company, DP World, which is set to invest more than $1bn in three African countries: Senegal, Egypt and Somaliland. But relative to the long history of trade and cooperation, the size of Arab-African trade today remains small. “With total Arab-Africa trade at around $80bn we have a long way to go to catch the opportunities that abound,” says Benedict Oramah, president of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) at the Second Arab-Africa Trade Forum in Cairo in October.
One of the largest opportunities in Africa for Arab investors is light manufacturing, with an estimated $80bn worth of potential on the continent. “The Arab world can take advantage of the relatively cheaper capital and labour costs in Africa either for the domestic market or for exports,” says Oramah. The creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which boasts a combined GDP of $3.4trn, should act as catalyst to encourage Arab companies to manufacture goods that can be sold across the continent.
Future of Trade 2030: Trends and markets to watch new research by Standard Chartered projects that global exports will almost double from USD17.4tn to USD29.7tn over the next decade. The report reveals 13 markets that will drive much of this growth, identifies major corridors, and five trends shaping the future of global trade.
Global trade will be reshaped by five key trends: the wider adoption of sustainable and fair-trade practices; a push for more inclusive participation; greater risk diversification; more digitisation and a rebalancing towards high-growth emerging markets. Almost 90 per cent of the corporate leaders surveyed agreed that these trends will shape the future of trade and will form part of their five to 10-year cross-border expansion strategies.
The research found a significant trend towards the adoption of sustainable trade practices in response to climate concerns and a rising wave of conscious consumerism. However, while almost 90 per cent of corporate leaders acknowledged the need to implement these practices across their supply chains, only 34 per cent ranked it as a 'top three' priority for execution over the next five to 10 years.
The aim of the exercise is to survey: Aid-for-Trade priorities and how these have changed since the last monitoring exercise policies for sustainable development policies for women’s economic empowerment. The objective is to gather information on the countries’ trade and development priorities and on the role that Aid for Trade can play in supporting environmental sustainability and women’s economic empowerment. The ongoing economic and trade impact of the COVID-19 pandemic also features prominently in the survey.
Over 170 representatives from CSOs working on trade-related issues attended the briefing. They highlighted areas of critical importance for their constituents and asked questions on matters such as possible deliverables at MC12, how the WTO is going to ensure inclusive participation of all members at the conference and how CSOs can contribute to efforts to reach a positive outcome at MC12. The Director-General updated CSOs on recent developments in the WTO negotiations while Deputy Director-General Angela Ellard provided information on the administrative and logistical issues relating to CSO participation at MC12.
Initiative to drive robust global growth (Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide)
Media buzzwords such as “loses steam” have frequently struck a public nerve worldwide recently in reference to rising commodity prices, disrupted supply chains, dwindling trade or shrinking job opportunities in a number of regions. “If supply disruptions continue or inflation expectations become de-anchored, inflation may become more sticky,” said Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund. The IMF said in its latest “World Economic Outlook” report, released last month, that the momentum of global recovery has weakened and “uncertainty has increased”.
Chen Fengying, a senior economist and former director of the Institute of World Economic Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said this is “because development is a premium benchmark for all countries, and the world haunted by the COVID-19 pandemic will be in deep trouble if global growth fails to gather steam in a robust way”.