Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Country-related news

SARS Customs scales up digital transformation (SAnews)

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) Customs division will scale up digital transformation and increase data usage to improve the facilitation of trade, revenue collection and compliance by import and export traders across South Africa’s borders. The commitment was on Wednesday made by SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter at the annual International Customs Day.

Kieswetter said digital transformation and the increased use of data is necessary to combat the increased sophistication of organised crime, and better manage the expanding volume and complexity of international trade. The Commissioner reported that the Customs Modernisation Programme led to an improvement in the average case turnaround time on interventions by 22%, as at December 2021.

India-South Africa trade exceeds $10 billion target set by leaders (Business Standard)

Trade between India and South Africa has exceeded the USD 10 billion target set by the leaders of the two countries, Consul General Anju Ranjan announced at a reception here on Wednesday to celebrate India’s 73rd Republic Day. “India-South Africa trade has crossed the landmark. We have achieved the 100 per cent target and now it has increased from USD 10 billion to USD 11.6 billion,” Ranjan said. This was despite the restrictions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in both countries, she added.

“Notwithstanding the pandemic, the improvement in trade relations between our two countries is a positive step. We aspire to do much more in the coming months in the areas of spices, IT, telecom, mining, pharma and textiles,” Ranjan said.

Trade declines by 13.8% in November (Namibia Economist)

The month of November 2021, saw Namibia’s total merchandise trade amounting to N$20.9 billion, a decline of 13.8% from the N$24.2 billion recorded in October 2021. China emerged as Namibia’s largest market for exports whereas South Africa maintained its position as the largest source market for the country. During the month under review, exports mainly comprised of minerals such as Copper, Uranium, Precious stones (diamonds) as well as Non-monetary gold. Fish continued to be the only non-mineral commodity within the top five products exported. On the other hand, the import basket was mainly comprised of Copper, Petroleum oils, Precious stones (diamonds), Motor vehicles for the transport of goods as well as Copper ores and concentrates.

Looking at year-on-year total merchandise trade, the November 2021 figure is an increase of 5.5% when compared to the levels of N$19.8 billion recorded in November 2020.

However, the country’s trade balance remained in a deficit, standing at N$3.3 billion from the revised deficit of N$6.9 billion recorded in October 2021, which is more compared to N$2.9 billion witnessed in November 2020.

Investment Conference envisaged to be the climax event for Namibia at Expo 2020 Dubai - NIPDB (Namibia Economist)

The Namibia Investment Conference set for 23 March is envisaged to be the climax event of the country’s Expo 2020 Dubai journey and will be one of the final pitches on investment opportunities, brand awareness and export promotion, an executive said this week. Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB), spokesperson, Catherine Shipushu highlighted this in an update statement on Tuesday. Since officially opening its doors on 1 October 2021, the Namibian Pavilion has recorded a steadily increasing visitor count that currently stands at 146,855 representing an average of 37,000 visitors per month at the expo.

According to Shipushu, most investor interest is in the area of Green Hydrogen and recorded leads indicate investor interest in other key industries such as agriculture, education, tourism, and various trade activities.

Electronics, medicines top shipment from kin abroad (Business Daily)

Electronics, clothing items and medicines account for more than half of the value of items Kenyans living abroad ship to their relatives back home, highlighting the demand for higher quality at a more affordable cost.

A Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) survey on diaspora remittances shows that electronics (including computers), clothing and medicines account for 24.4 percent, 17.8 percent and 13.6 percent respectively of the value of goods received from relatives abroad. This is significantly higher than the value of household goods, vehicles and other items, whose share of costs of the merchandise shipped to Kenya is in the single digits.

The cost of remittance and hidden charges, however, remain a lingering concern for the diaspora despite the strides made in bringing them down with the adoption of digital channels.

Higher import duty killing sector, decry Kenyan juice makers (The East African)

Fruit juice manufacturers have rejected the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) decision to increase import duty on products used in the manufacture of ready-to-drink juices. They said KRA has increased duty from 10 percent to 25 percent, which sees consumers foot the extra costs. The reclassification of duty charged on semi-processed products used for juice manufacturing, they said, will raise juice prices and kill the local sector. KRA in November last year reclassified ready-to-drink juices that are manufactured locally from a lower to a higher tariff. It moved the products from tariff code HS 2106.90.20 to code 2009 which is for finished products and attracts 25 percent duty.

Economic Sanctions Won’t Bring Peace to Ethiopia (ZeHabesha)

The exclusion of Ethiopia from the African Growth and Opportunity Act is intended to stop human-rights abuses in Tigray, but there is little evidence that such measures affect the behavior of political elites. Instead, they limit options for low-skilled workers and damage bilateral relationships.

The decision to expel a country from AGOA could still be expected to pressure its government in three ways: deny it tax revenues, limit its access to foreign exchange, and encourage investors and interest groups to lobby for a policy change. But none of these levers is likely to work in Ethiopia.

To spur growth in the ultra-competitive light manufacturing sector of the global economy, Ethiopia adopted a low-tax environment for apparel and leather-goods production. It developed industrial parks allowing foreign firms to start production with minimal initial outlay and offering reduced taxation to promote long-term investment. During the early stages of the investment cycle, the most immediate benefits are employment generation and foreign-currency earnings, not tax revenue.

Ethiopia will lose some foreign exchange because of the Biden administration’s move. But this loss is likely to affect the supply and prices of imported consumer goods rather than any product or service that could contribute to “gross violations of human rights.”

Rwanda - Country Strategy Paper 2022-2026 (AfDB)

This Country Strategy Paper (CSP) for Rwanda 2022-2026 lays out the strategy that will guide the Bank Group support towards achieving structural transformation in line with the country’s first National Strategy for Transformation (NST-1) for 2017-2024, and the vision 2050, as well as the Bank’s TYS and High-5s. The Bank Group Committee on Operations and Development Effectiveness (CODE) endorsed the proposed priority areas of this CSP during its consideration of the CSP 2017-2021 Completion Report on the 29th June 2021 and provided guidance for the preparation of the CSP. This CSP 2022-2026 for Rwanda was prepared at a time when the country’s economy was bouncing back from adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic despite the second and third waves of this pandemic. This rebound mainly resulted from fiscal and monetary policy measures, as well as the ease of COVID-19 containment measures.

Uganda’s president seeks to boost trade, rein in borrowing (The Star, Kenya)

Uganda wants to curb its borrowing and boost exports in sectors such as meat and dairy as the East African country lifts restrictions triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, President Yoweri Museveni and government officials told Reuters. Uganda’s trade push follows several years of reduced Chinese lending to the continent and programmes designed to offer relief to indebted countries as they recover from COVID 19-induced slumps start to expire. “Uganda can do much better without borrowing in my opinion. Especially borrowing for ... budget support, the balance of payments support,” Museveni said, speaking to Reuters in a tent on his private farm as a large herd of his Acholi cows wandered past. Museveni said he wanted to expand the country’s meat, leather and dairy trade and add value to other agricultural exports such as coffee, which has long been one of Uganda’s main foreign exchange earners.

AfDB President Adesina and Nigerian Governors resolve to advance Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone Initiative in Nigeria (AfDB)

African Development Bank President Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina received four Nigerian executive governors and the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) at the Bank’s Abidjan head office on Tuesday. The Bank President invited the Governors and the NSIA head to discuss what will be the rapid rollout of the first phase of the Bank’s Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) program in their states. The African Development Bank set up the flagship SAPZ program to support inclusive and sustainable agro-industrial development in countries across the continent. In Nigeria, the program will soon get underway in seven states. As Dr Adesina put it “the special agro-industrial processing zones will be game changers for agriculture in Nigeria. They will provide world class infrastructure to support food agribusinesses to locate close to zones of production, develop competitive value chains supported by logistic systems that will drive food processing and value addition. The SAPZs will help create massive wealth and jobs in rural areas and turn rural areas away from being zones of economic misery to zones of economic prosperity,” said Adesina.

Nigeria’s economy under Buhari worse than 10 years ago: World Bank (Peoples Gazette)

The World Bank has again noted that Nigeria’s economy under the Muhammadu Buhari administration is worse than 10 years ago. These findings are contained in its flagship report for 2022, titled ‘Global Economic prospect’. “The pandemic has reversed at least a decade of gains in per capita income in some countries—in almost a third of the region’s economies, including Angola, Nigeria, and South Africa, per capita incomes are forecast to be lower in 2022 than a decade ago,” the report said.

The report also mentioned that disruptions to the supply chains or armed conflicts could contribute to surges in food prices, leaving vulnerable groups suffering the most.

The findings from the global bank corroborate a study published by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which revealed that many people living on less than $1.90 a day had jumped from 2.3 per cent to 2.9 per cent in 2021, and the debt burden of countries increased amid slow economic recovery, shrinking fiscal space and weak resource mobilisation.

China tasks Nigeria on trade imbalance, raises stake in Africa to $300billion (The Guardian)

The Chairman, China Africa Business Council (CABC), Chief Dana Chen, has announced that the Chinese government is planning to invest over $300 billion in the African continent over the next three years. According to her, the move is expected to increase the volume of trade between Africa and China from the current $30 billion. Chen stated this at the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony between LCCI and CABC in Lagos. “We are targeting the next three years to increase the trade volume between China and Africa from over $30 billion to $300 billion. This is over 10 times the size of the current trade between China and Africa. The trade increase is expected to benefit more African businesses. “Nigeria imports too much and needs to also export to achieve a balance of trade level. This would also make the Nigerian currency to be strong. There are lots of areas we can explore and strengthen our trade relationships.

“We can invest more in logistics, supply chain and product manufacturing in Nigeria. We are also increasing investments in promoting the culture in Nigeria, because Nigeria’s creative industry is one of the biggest industries in the world where they can be developed to export to Asian countries and it offers huge potentials for Nigeria”, she added.

Angola to gradually eliminate import duties for AfCFTA countries (Xinhua)

Angola will gradually eliminate import duties for products originating from member states of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), according to a communique released on Tuesday. The measure is based on the Memorandum on the Proposed Tariff Offer of Angola under the framework of the AfCFTA, according to the final communique of a meeting of the Economic Commission of the Council of Ministers. In November 2020, Angola became the 30th country to ratify the agreement to establish the AfCFTA.

Morocco is positioning itself as an exporter of medical devices in West Africa (Oxford Business Group)

The topics covered during this discussion were centered around the role that Morocco plays in the development of the health sector in several West African countries. Among the topics that were discussed, the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area and government support measures were highlighted as two points that can contribute to the growth of Moroccan exports of medical devices to the region.

Liberia Abandons Agricultural Transformation To NGOs (The New Dawn Liberia)

Liberia still produces less than half (0.2) cup of rice per Liberian, per day after spending hundreds of millions on projects to be self-sufficient in rice production. Almost half of a billion (437.02 million USD) accounts for financial flow to Liberia’s agriculture sector- specifically the crop-subsector between 2018 and 2022. The African Union has consistently ranked Liberia “NOT ON TRACK” to transforming its agricultural sector. Liberia failed 22 of 24 progress indicators in AU latest report. 96% of farmers in Liberia relied on informal market as the main source of seeds, fertilizers and other inputs because agricultural market is not functional. The World Bank says Liberia is the worst place for farmers to operate their business. Cocoa, farmers in Liberia received 69.79% less average yield/hectare than farmers in Cote’ d’Ivoire, 69.22% less than farmers in Guinea, 65.6% less than farmers in Sierra Leone and 66.6% less than farmers in Ghana. Rice farmers are experiencing almost the same. No poor country in the world has ever reduced poverty without increasing agricultural productivity. If Liberia should move out of poverty, it must prioritize the transformation of its agriculture sector and improve agricultural productivity!!Liberians must sit up, shine their eyes, and begin to demand real sustainable results from stakeholders in the agricultural sector- especially NGOs and the Government.

Tunisia and AATB ink work programme (TAP)

Minister of Economy and Planning Samir Said and CEO of the International Islamic trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and Arab Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) Program Secretary General Hani Salem Sonbol on Wednesday signed a work programme for the benefit of the Republic of Tunisia under the AATB.

According to the Department of Finance, this programme comprises several aspects, such as the consolidation of Tunisian-African cooperation in the training field and the organisation of bilateral meetings for the professionals in promising sectors (export of products and services, pharmaceutical and food industries, health services, building materials, digitisation, etc.).

African trade

PAMA: AfCFTA aims to achieve Africa’s industrialisation agenda (New Telegraph)

The Pan-African Manufacturers Association (PAMA) has disclosed that the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement is aimed at encouraging cooperation among African manufacturers in a bid to achieve market transformation, grow SMEs and create value chains in line with Africa’s industrialisation agenda.

The Interim Chairman, PAMA, Mansur Ahmed, an engineer, disclosed this in his opening speech during the Lighting of the Africa Trade Torch in Cairo, Egypt, recently. He explained that AfCFTA was the continent’s collective determination to promote and trigger engagement in intra-Africa trade and cross-border value chains.

“African manufacturers can be rest assured that with PAMA, there would be an increase in intra-Africa trade through the creation of competitive and comparative advantages for different markets.” Furthermore, the industrialist reassured the African Business Council of PAMA’s commitment to advancing and prospering the efforts of the AfCFTA in order to build high quality continental value chains.

“I strongly believe that our challenge is to boost greater cooperation between manufacturers and countries, and to constantly remind African manufacturers that they can and should think bigger and bolder,” he stated, adding that, “it is time to herald a new era.

Africa needs to open up to its people, not only trade, By Olufemi Ogunjobi (Premium Times Nigeria)

…for a continent projected to double its current growth rate by 2050, only with the free movement of people will there be the needed boost in intra-Africa trade, commerce and tourism; labour mobility, intra-Africa knowledge and skills transfer, social integration and tourism; improved trans-border infrastructure and shared development.

Intra-African travel is complicated and fraught with suspicion. To travel in Africa, According to the Visa Openness Index Report 2021, 51 per cent of African countries require citizens of other African countries to obtain visas before setting out. 25 per cent of African countries welcome some or all African visitors, visa-free. 24 per cent of African countries allow some or all African visitors to obtain a visa on arrival. Only Seychelles, Benin and The Gambia offer visa-free access to all Africans. Right now, African countries need to strategically position themselves to make the AfCTA work, and one of such ways to achieve this is by relaxing their visa restrictions for easy entry and exit among Africans. Like the European Union, we need to craft out a working model that will ensure great success in connecting people and economies…

Africa’s economic recovery: Financing robust post-pandemic growth (Brookings)

Africa’s future never looked brighter than it did during my time serving as the World Bank’s vice president for Africa from 2012 through 2018. The continent was home to the world’s fastest-growing economies—a growth fueled by high commodity prices. Free trade was becoming a reality with the rapid approach and realization of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. Political instability was largely under control. And, even in the midst of an Ebola outbreak, the continent largely succeeded in containing the worst health and economic impacts of that virus.

But I am also concerned about Africa’s future, especially for the young people coming of age in a time of great uncertainty. Conflict is on the rise, and the number of countries falling into instability is increasing. The impacts of climate change are worsening each year. And while COVID-19 has affected everyone, it has not affected everyone equally: This truth is especially salient for Africa, which saw decades worth of economic and social progress erased almost overnight.

The path forward is clear: We must come together, as public and private actors, to ensure an inclusive, resilient recovery. We must unite around one shared and audacious goal: To create a more equitable and resilient world coming out of the pandemic than the one we had going into it.

Bitcoin remittance revolution: will Africa lead the way? (Moneyweb)

Africa might just as well be the new home of Bitcoin. Mobile phone penetration, weak national currencies, and restrictive monetary policies are some of the key drivers for the rise of Bitcoin remittance market in Africa. The African continent has many opportunities for widespread Bitcoin adoption. One of those opportunities is remittance fueled by Africa’s growing ~mobile~ population. There are over 30 million Africans living outside their countries of origin. Since 2012, the African Union considers the African diaspora the sixth Africa’s region. Among other factors, wide-spread mobile phone adoption is paving the way for the use of Bitcoin in Africa. The general rise of Bitcoin adoption in Africa goes together with this mobile phone penetration, leading to a surge in Bitcoin remittances on the continent.

Bitcoin is rapidly gaining adoption in Africa from those less interested in speculation than in its ability to transfer funds – also known as remittances. What are the factors pushing for this bitcoin remittance in Africa? Apart from mobile phone penetration, we also see government policies helping bitcoin adoption, although mostly unintended. Other reasons include the speed, cost, and reliability of bitcoin compared to fiat currencies that rely on older, costly technology for transfering money.

Investment in science and technology is key to an African economic boom (Brookings)

The African continent represents 20 percent of the earth’s surface and is home to 1.3 billion people

It boasts 60 percent of the world’s arable lands, large swathes of forests, 30 percent of the world’s reserve of minerals, and the youngest population of any continent. Yet, despite these riches, it produces only 3 percent of global GDP, accounts for less than 3 percent of international trade (mainly primary commodities and natural resources)

How can a continent that has fueled the world’s industrial revolutions, that helped drive the dominance of the mobile phone industry, and whose large store of rare earth minerals are integral to the global green energy transition tolerate such dismal statistics? A lack of investment in science and technology has undermined Africa’s economic transformation at both the structural level (the shift of workers and resources from low- to higher-productivity sectors) and the sectoral level (the growth of productivity within sectors). This lack of investment has had far-reaching consequences: Without the economic and scientific infrastructure necessary for innovation, the continent has continued to rely on the colonial development model of resource extraction, which is both unsustainable and largely responsible for its debilitating poverty and aid dependency. These challenges have been compounded by economic fragmentation, as smaller markets constrain the long-term investments and patient capital that would foster innovation and drive technology transfer in the context of globalization.

The silver lining is that there is potential here with growing recognition by policymakers of the role that science and technology can play in achieving national development goals and transforming Africa’s economic growth story. Moreover, given the positive correlation between growth and environments that beget competition and innovation, competitiveness must be fostered.

EU and African leaders seek to rebuild fragile trust ahead of summit (EURACTIV)

Migration, climate change mitigation and the fallout from the Covid pandemic are set to be the main bones of contention at the upcoming EU–African Union summit in Brussels, insiders to the talks have told EURACTIV. Ahead of the summit, the EU has been keen to play up its contribution of Covid vaccines and status as one of the largest donors to the COVAX vaccine sharing initiative, as well as proposing its €300 billion Global Gateway programme as a means to encourage investment in green technologies and infrastructure in Africa. However, trust is fragile. The EU’s rhetoric of a ‘partnership of equals’ has rung increasingly hollow following the EU’s handling of the pandemic. There is a lingering perception that Europe closed its borders, without consultation, after South African scientists discovered the Omicron variant late last year.

Partnerships to strengthen UAE-Africa food trade (Khaleej Times)

Dubai’s position as a global logistics hub make it the perfect destination for companies that are interested in strengthening the UAE-Africa food trade sector, experts highlighted at a webinar on Wednesday. Speaking at the ‘Tap into Dubai’s F&B sector’ webinar, organised by the Dubai Chamber, in association with The Corporate Group and ZimTrade, Omar Khan, director of International Offices at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, spoke about the potential of growing trade between the UAE and the African continent. “We are all recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, physically, mentally, and also economically. However, our attitude here in the UAE and Dubai is always on how we have to move forward. This is a new world and we can’t sit and wait for things to happen to us. We have to make things happen ourselves, and we always believed that everything should be done with partnerships,” he said.

In his presentation to the attendees, Allan Majuru, CEO of ZimTrade, noted that food exports from Zimbabwe are focused on health and wellbeing. “As a country, we are a non-GMO country and that has given us a niche,” he said. “We also have the capacity to go organic in terms of producing for exports.”

Global economy

The economic transformation: What would change in the net-zero transition (McKinsey & Company)

Global decarbonization will be possible only if nine system-level requirements are met, encompassing physical building blocks, economic and societal adjustments, and governance, institutions, and commitment. Here, we illustrate the economic and societal adjustments by examining the economic transformation that would enable a successful transition to net-zero emissions by 2050. We look at the shifts in the economy in aggregate, on energy and land-use systems and the sectors that they encompass, and on individuals, both consumers and workers. Our focus is on the nature and magnitude of the transition in four areas: demand, capital allocation, costs, and jobs.

The Data-Driven Journey Towards Manufacturing Excellence (WEF)

Global disruptions, such as supply chain shortages and climate change, are fundamentally affecting manufacturing operations around the world. Data is key to overcoming these challenges, to improving existing operating models and enabling new value creation. To help capitalize on the power of data, members of the Unlocking Value in Manufacturing through Data Sharing initiative co-developed the Manufacturing Data Excellence Framework, a tool that identifies high-value opportunities for data-driven applications and the technological and organizational enablers required to build and scale them. This white paper sheds light on best practices and real-life use cases implemented by the leading manufacturers that co-developed and applied the framework across their facilities. It also describes three stages of manufacturing data excellence: deriving actionable insights, predicting future outcomes and enabling self-optimizing systems.

DDG Ellard outlines state of play in the WTO negotiations (WTO)

In response to a question about the impact of COVID-19 on global supply chains, DDG Ellard noted that among the most pressing trade policy issues are: (i) access to vaccines, therapeutics and other products necessary to combat the pandemic; (ii) broader supply chains issues; and (iii) the pandemic’s overall impact on jobs and people’s lives.

In particular, she noted that having resilient supply chains is essential to combatting the pandemic, and participation in global value chains is crucial to economic wellbeing of many developing countries. Instead of simply aiming to “reshore” production, she said, countries should consider whether such a step would actually solve the problem and should instead work with their trading partners to diversify supply sources and adopt trade facilitating measures.

PwC’s 25th Annual Global CEO Survey: Reimagining the outcomes that matter (PwC)

As we near the two-year mark of the pandemic, the global economy has rebounded from the depths of mid-2020. The IMF projects global GDP to grow 4.9% in 2022, a downtick from the 5.9% growth expected in 2021, but still formidable. The 4,446 CEOs from 89 countries and territories who responded to our 25th Annual Global CEO Survey display optimism about continued economic resilience.

Yet threats, uncertainties and tensions abound. The survey was in the field during the COP26 conference in Scotland, which convened world leaders to try to prevent the worst effects of climate change. PwC experts who attended were both impressed by executives’ commitment to rapid progress and aware that the captains of industry in Glasgow were a self-selected group that came prepared to take action. The question of how to bring others along looms large. Then, just two weeks after our survey closed, news of the Omicron variant reverberated around the world, raising fresh questions about the course of the pandemic and about society’s ability to continue the slow climb to normalcy.


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