Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Local news

Supply chain bottlenecks here to stay for 2022, goods prices to rise sharply – Cargo Compass SA (Engineering News)

Global supply chain backlogs are showing no signs of easing and are likely to worsen for the rest of the year, leading to even higher prices of consumer and commercial goods in South Africa, warns Cargo Compass South Africa (SA) CEO Sebastiano Iorio. “At the start of this year we were hopeful that trade bottlenecks would ease this year, but they seem to be getting even more severe.”

Brazil, EU dump poultry in SACU - implications and lessons for Namibia (New Era)

The International Trade Administration Commission, which is the de facto trade regulator for the SACU market has concluded a preliminary investigation of dumping of poultry products into SACU. Technical advisor at the Namibian Agricultural Trade Forum (ATF) Maria Immanuel said after considering all interested parties’ submissions and comments, ITAC made a preliminary determination that the subject product originating in or imported from Brazil, Denmark, Ireland, Poland and Spain are being dumped into the SACU market, causing a material injury and a threat of material injury to the SACU poultry industry. ”As a result, ITAC requested the relevant authorities to impose provisional measures (anti-dumping measures) on imports of the subject products for a period of six months. The South African Revenue Services (SARS) has gazetted the measure on 4 March 2022, to be implemented with retrospective effect from 17 December 2021 up to and including 14 June 2022,” stated Immanuel.

Cross-border traders adopt plastic money (The Herald)

Zimbabwean cross-border traders are cutting right back on cash after years of being a target for robbers switching to plastic money. They hope with the new switch, they will cease being a target for robbers. Criminals have been targeting foreign-registered vehicles and cross-border buses along major highways in South Africa and some major highways in Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwe Cross-Border Traders’ Association has struck a deal with FBC Bank to issue the prepaid MasterCard to thousands of its members. The association’s president Mr Killer Zivhu led scores of cross-border traders to South Africa over the weekend on a test run of the FBC MasterCard. “This is a major milestone in the history of cross-border traders and the deal we have struck will help us trade freely without any worry of losing our money,” said Mr Zivhu. “Thousands of people depend on cross-border trading and this move with help secure their businesses.”

How regional maritime single window can boost Kenya’s port attractiveness (Business Daily)

It is during seasons of strife that the world is restructured. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic two years ago, a revolution has been happening in the shipping industry, whose supply chains globalisation depends on moving pretty much everything to all corners of the globe. However, climate change, the pandemic and now the war in Ukraine have dealt a major blow to the current supply chains structure. Just recently, Shanghai City in China was ordered into lockdown after a spike in Covid-19 cases. As home to the world’s busiest port, which moves approximately 250,000 containers in a day, speculation amongst shippers is high. It will likely tip the container spot rates leading to additional freight costs. The burden is adversely felt by net importing countries that depend on Shanghai for everything from electronics to clothes. How then can countries especially in Africa shield themselves from the increasing shocks in global supply chains?

Cargo transporters feel heat of nationwide fuel shortage (Business Daily)

The logistics sector is feeling the heat of a fuel shortage that has hit different parts of the country even as transporters who are stuck with cargo at the Port of Mombasa ask authorities to waive storage charges. Transporters argue that some of their trucks cannot move cargo from the port as they do not have enough fuel to ship the consignments from the facility to the final destination. The government and oil marketers have been on a back-and-forth over the arrears owed to oil dealers in the last couple of weeks, a move that has paralysed the transport sector in the country, especially in western Kenya where the deficit was acute. The shortage has impacted not only on transport but also farming activities as farmers grapple with difficulties in getting diesel, which has coincided with the peak of planting season.

State recommends milk imports amid shortages (Business Daily)

The Agriculture ministry has proposed a one-month window for the importation of milk to address the current shortage that has seen the price of the commodity rise significantly. The ministry says there is reduced milk productivity as a result of poor rains and it wants processors to be allowed to import UHT and powder milk to ease the situation. The National Food and Nutrition Security Report indicates that milk production in Kenya has been below average while prices have been increasing. “Short term response (is) requested to increase imports of fast-moving milk products over a period of one month for processing only by processors,” says the ministry in a report seen by the Business Daily.

US says IMF stopped Kenya economic meltdown (Business Daily)

The US government has revealed that emergency loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cushioned Kenya’s economy from near collapse amid protests from Kenyans over the mounting public debt.US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen asked the US Congress to continue providing support to the IMF, citing its involvement in Kenya in the wake of Covid-19 economic hardships, which triggered layoffs, pay cuts and business closures. Ms Yelllen made the comments last Friday while pushing Congress to approve a Sh503 billion for international plans under institutions like the IMF.

“The pandemic hit Kenya’s economy hard, worsening preexisting financial vulnerabilities and debt risks. These efforts have helped the Kenyan economy rebound from the Covid-19 shock and stage an economic recovery, with growth expected at nearly six percent in both 2021 and 2022.”

Kenya’s economy dipped by 0.3 percent in 2020, hit by the economic fallout of Covid-19, compared to 5.0 percent growth in 2019. The pandemic hit Kenya’s revenues and limited access to commercial loan markets, forcing the country to turn to the World Bank and the IMF for direct budgetary financing.

Rwanda, Zambia sign seven trade and cooperation deals (The East African)

Rwanda and Zambia on Monday signed seven cooperation agreements that will boost trade between them. The deals signed cover areas of investment, trade, agriculture, and migration.

Zambia is among Rwanda’s major sources of raw sugar, corn, and soya bean imports. Trade value between both countries reached $20 million in 2020. A statement by Zambia’s presidential spokesperson indicated that the country plans to leverage cooperation with Rwanda to rebuild its economy, create jobs, and put food on the table.

“Zambia is also using this opportunity to learn and share best practices in areas of information and communication technology as well as the areas of easing the cost of doing business,” the statement said. The country also plans to learn from Rwanda how to position its economic sector into key economic pillars.

How will AfCFTA boost Ghana’s free zone exports? (Oxford Business Group)

With a focus on driving broader economic development through both manufacturing and the establishment of special economic zones (SEZs), Ghana is looking to capitalise on the benefits associated with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Ghana has long sought to increase its industrial capacity as a way of creating jobs and stimulating GDP growth. Key to this have been government efforts to improve the country’s industrial infrastructure, in part by establishing programmes designed to expand industrial parks and SEZs. While SEZs and industrial zones have formed part of Ghana’s strategic economic plans for some decades, the country has recently reaffirmed its focus on them as a way to stimulate GDP growth following two years of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nigeria wants landlocked West African countries linked to railway (Daily Trust)

The federal government is to champion the extension of rail lines from land-locked countries to coastal states of Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana and other African countries as part of efforts to sufficiently benefit from the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Ruqayyah Saraki said the strategy would facilitate movement of cargoes, enhance import and export of goods to promote trade and create employment opportunities.

“Charting out strategies to implement the low hanging fruits that will propel the sector to achieve the various deliverables in the AfCFTA implementation plan is key”, she said.

Abidjan-Lagos Highway Could Be West Africa’s Game Changer (Business Post Nigeria)

The Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr Douye Diri, has stressed the need for proper financial reporting as a form of guidance to the government in formulating policies that will be beneficial to the citizens.

The Governor said the burden was on the shoulders of the accountants, to discharge the responsibility to ensure that government and other institutions have correct and proper reporting in place.

He further said, “Without positive and accurate reporting, governance would become a challenge. Countries, societies, and even families have made decisions that are very colossal as a result of wrong reporting in terms of the available resources and how those resources can be applied.

Nigeria to become Africa’s fertilizer powerhouse — Buhari (Premium Times)

President Muhammadu Buhari has said developments in the Nigerian fertilizer value chain is moving the country to becoming a regional and global fertilizer powerhouse. He attributed Nigeria’s rising prominence to the implementation of the “right policies” by his administration, which has given birth to over seventy active blending plants in the country. In a statement by Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, the president said Nigeria is definitely a “global player” in the Urea space. ‘‘With our over seventy blending plants operating, Nigeria is on its way to becoming Africa’s fertiliser powerhouse. And with our mega Urea production facilities, Nigeria is definitely a global player in the Urea space,’’ the president was quoted to have said at an audience with the Executive Committee of Fertiliser Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.

Assessment of the Potential of Development Mineral Value Chains to Support Rwanda’s Economic Development (AfDB)

Rwanda aspires to attain an upper middle, and then transition to a high income country status by 2035 and 2050 respectively. This aspiration recognises and builds on the role played by non-metallic mineral products in ensuring the country achieved an average 9.4% growth per annum in its industrial sector since 2009.

Tanzania Can Do More to Protect Its Women and Girls and Promote Gender Equality (World Bank)

While there are many promising opportunities to advance women’s empowerment and gender equality in Tanzania, the high rates of gender-based violence in the country remain a serious concern, according to two new World Bank Group studies which call for the Government of Tanzania to continue to strengthen the policy and legal environment to protect the nation’s women and girls. The two reports, the Tanzania Gender Assessment 2022 and the Tanzania Gender-Based Violence Assessment 2022, bring together the latest evidence on gender gaps in human endowments, economic opportunities, ownership and control of assets, and (women’s) voice and agency; and the effectiveness of concrete policy and programmatic interventions that address these underlying drivers.

Seychelles starts first WTO policy review on trade and transparency issues (Seychelles News Agency)

Seychelles has started its first policy review with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to identify gaps in existing policies, which once addressed, are expected to improve transparency in the sector and attract more investors, according to officials.

Veronique Brutus, the trade attaché at the Permanent Mission of Seychelles to the UN Office and other international organisations in Geneva, told reporters on Monday that the review will help Seychelles re-look at its trade policies. “The review will help us identify the gaps that exist if there are any. From the review, we will be able to address these gaps and that will allow us to be more efficient in the way we implement our trade policies,” said Brutus.

She added that the review will help Seychelles facilitate and address trade in a better manner, as well as better implement policies and work with business. In return, the review will provide investors with more confidence as the exercise is about transparency, said Brutus. “The more we are transparent, the more investors will be interested to do business with Seychelles,” she said.

Egypt’s Tourism Hit by Ukraine Crisis (Inter Press Service)

Tourism to Egypt’s GDP is as vital as the Nile to its people. After Egypt’s tourism sector began to recover following the Russian plane crash in 2015. Then COVID hit, and now the Ukrainian war shot a bullet through its heart. The protracted Russian conflict with Ukraine threatens several tourist destinations that rely on Russian visitors. Turkey, Uzbekistan, the UAE, Tajikistan, Armenia, Greece, Egypt, Kazakhstan, and Cyprus are among the top 25 countries for outbound Russian tourism by flight capacity, according to Mabrian Technologies, an intelligence platform for the tourism industry. Egypt’s economy is also heavily reliant on tourism from Russia and Ukraine, with the two countries accounting for roughly one-third of all visitors each year. In 2015, Russia imposed a slew of punitive measures against Egypt in the tourism sector, wreaking havoc on the industry and its workers.

Tunisia: Accelerate structural reforms to boost future growth and lift living standards, says OECD (OECD)

Accelerating structural reforms will be the key for Tunisia to recover fully from the COVID-19 recession, overcome economic vulnerabilities and raise living standards for all, according to a new OECD report. The latest OECD Economic Survey of Tunisia highlights the country’s success in fighting poverty and reducing gender imbalances in education and well-being in the past decade. This progress provides a solid base for an inclusive recovery from the 2020 recession. A pickup in commodity prices seen since the beginning of the war in Ukraine and the Omicron and potential new variants of COVID-19 could slow the recovery and exacerbate structural challenges. In the short term, it is very important to raise the vaccination rate, maintain support for the most vulnerable, and overcome political uncertainties. In the long term, reforms are needed to improve the business climate, education, professional training, and active labour market policies. Ensuring macroeconomic stability – already threatened by large budget and balance of payments deficits, a large debt stock, and rising inflation – would help to improve the country’s credit ratings and reduce financial vulnerability.

African and regional trade news

Leverage AfCFTA to promote pharmaceutical industry – Wamkele Mene (BusinessGhana)

He said the pharmaceutical industry could build the continent’s research and development capacity, harmonise regulations in drug registration, and help countries comply with best practices and international standards.

Mr Mene was delivering the closing keynote speech at the 8th annual London School of Economics (LSE) Africa Summit held in London on Sunday on the theme: “African Prosperity through Peace, Health and Development”.

Mr Mene said improving the health of a nation’s citizens could directly result in economic growth because there more people would be able to conduct effective activities in the workforce.

Mr Mene said the operationalisation of the AfCFTA had put Africa in a stronger position to address challenges in the healthcare space, especially in the pharmaceutical industry. That, he said, would be done by creating a platform to harmonise national standards, pool procurement of medicines and pharmaceutical products as well as increase investment in pharmaceutical production and exports.

ECOWAS holds consultative meetings on Regional AfCFTA Implementation Strategy (ECOWAS)

The ECOWAS Commission continued its consultations with State and Non-State Actors on the formulation of the ECOWAS Regional Implementation Strategy for the Agreement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on 22 March 2022. With a view to ensuring that that the AfCFTA outcomes are consistent with regional advancements and that the Agreement builds on the ECOWAS acquis, the Commission is accelerating the development of a regional implementation strategy taking a participatory and inclusive approach. To date, twelve (12) ECOWAS Member States have developed or are in the process of developing their national AfCFTA implementation strategy.

In his remarks, Mr. Kolawole SOFOLA, Acting Director of Trade at the ECOWAS Commission, on behalf of Mr. Tei KONZI, Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement, recalled the coordinating role of the ECOWAS Commission in the negotiations and implementation of AfCFTA Agreement by its Member States. He stated that the formulation of an ECOWAS regional implementation strategy will ensure a coordinated, integrated and coherent implementation of the AfCFTA. He emphasized the importance of deepening regional and continental value chains so that all Member States benefit from AfCFTA, irrespective of the seize of their national economy.

Measures to Improve Transport Corridors’ Performance (COMESA)

The need for increased border operating hours at the regional transport corridors is one of the key recommendations that emerged from a recent meeting of ministers of transport from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Namibia. Also proposed for immediate implementation was the harmonizing of transit fees and cross border charges among the countries as recommended by the various regional economic communities namely COMESA, East African Community and the Southern Africa Development Community. This was during the 12th Tripartite Ministerial meeting on 16 – 17 March 2022 in Lubumbashi, DR Congo.

The Ministers agreed to improve the road infrastructure on the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi corridor to facilitate easier and quick transit for freight and persons travelling along the corridor. They instructed border agencies along the corridor to promote free movement of people in line with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

Further, the meeting recommended the harmonization of axle load limits by DR Congo and gross vehicle mass limits in line with the tripartite blocs (SADC, COMESA, EAC) vehicle load management strategy.

The blocs have so far harmonized the COVID Guidelines on Trade and Transport Facilitation for Safe, Efficient and Cost-Effective Movement of Goods and Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Key activity under this initiative was the development of the Corridor Trip Monitoring System (CTMS) in response to the transport and transit challenges posed by the pandemic.

IICB recording notable progress towards SADC regional integration (SADC)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has stepped up efforts towards regional integration through advancing various programmes with support from its International Cooperating Partners. One of these programmes is the Integrated Institutional Capacity Building Programme (IICB) for the SADC Secretariat and National Stakeholders. The IICB (2019-2023) is a €18,7 million programme funded by the European Union (EU) and Germany to increase capacity for the SADC Secretariat to enhance the regional integration agenda.

IICB is primarily aimed at accelerating progress towards the implementation of the SADC regional integration agenda through strengthening the SADC Secretariat’s capacity and Member State structures under two specific objectives.

The IICB’s specific objective 1, whose end date is 30 July 2022, seeks to enhance the capacity of SADC Member State structures to facilitate and co-ordinate implementation of the regional agenda at country level.

Under this specific objective, 70% of country level implementation of regional priorities has been reported through the SADC Monitoring and Evaluation system. Seven SADC Member States are implementing the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP 2020-2030) and priority protocols, out of the eight targeted countries. These are Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia.

Stakeholders discuss African ports and the role of the blue economy in integration (AfDB)

The African Natural Resources Center of the African Development Bank brought together a range of stakeholders on 30 March to explore ways to integrate African ports more effectively into the blue economy. Participants at the meeting—including representatives of the African Development Bank, the African Union Development Agency, governments, and regional bodies—agreed on the pressing need to develop national strategies to harness the blue economy. There was also consensus that ports, as a locus of many blue economy activities, should be an integral part of such a strategy. The blue economy approach promotes the sustainable use and management of marine and coastal spaces and resources for economic growth. The concept covers fisheries, aquaculture, maritime transport, tourism, and offshore energy, among other sectors. “There are a lot of opportunities to strengthen business networks through a blue economy, and ports play a key role in that,” said Dr. Bernice McLean of the African Union Development Agency.

SADC, AfDB and Partners launch ProFishBlue programme for the SADC region (SADC)

The Secretariat of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), African Development Bank (AfDB), Member States and implementing partners have launched the Programme for Improving Fisheries Governance and Blue Economy Trade Corridors (ProFishBlue) in the SADC region at a ceremony that was held in Gaborone, Botswana on 30 March, 2022. ProFishBlue was approved by the Board of Directors of the AfDB on 22 October, 2021 with a grant totaling US$9.2 million to support the implementation of best practices of fisheries governance and blue economy trade corridors in the SADC region. The project aims to promote sustainable management of fisheries resources within the blue economy context to improve food and nutritional security, create employment through value chain activities, facilitate intra-regional trade, and build adaptive capacity. Potential co-financing is also expected from Global Environment Facility (GEF) and other resource partners.

AGRA, COMESA to Collaborate in Promoting Agriculture Productivity (COMESA)

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and COMESA will renew their commitment to enhance the production of food to ensure food security and regional food balance. The aim of this commitment is to eradicate poverty by the year 2030.

AGRA’s deputy president in charge of policy and state capability Apollos Nwafor said AGRA is mobilizing at least $500 million in the next five years to directly increase incomes and improve food security for nine million farm households. This will be directly from its activities, its grantees and partners, to increase productivity and access to markets and finance. It is part of the new AGRA Strategic Framework 2030 to scale-up, accelerate and create conditions for agricultural transformation. “Four years into our five-year strategy, integration is at the heart of everything AGRA does such as multiple systems working together to deliver fertilizer, seeds and knowledge to smallholder famer,” he added.

Afreximbank launches 4 billion US dollar Ukraine Crisis Adjustment Trade Financing Programme for Africa (UKAFPA) (Afreximbank)

The Board of Directors of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) on 31 March 2022 approved the launch of the Ukraine Crisis Adjustment Trade Financing Programme for Africa (UKAFPA), a programme of credit facilities that the Bank has developed to manage the impacts of the Ukraine crisis on African economies and businesses. The programme amounts to US$ 4 billion. The Russia-Ukraine crisis which escalated on 24 February 2022 has had a significant effect on the global economy. Given the importance of both Russia and Ukraine as sources of crude oil and gas, raw materials and grains, the outbreak of the conflict has wider repercussions on a global scale, including adversely affecting African economies, especially those that rely heavily on grain, fertilizer and fuel imports. The UKAFPA programme has the following objectives: Import Re-Order Cost Adjustment Financing, to help countries to meet immediate import price increases pending domestic demand adjustments. Oil and Metals Buy-Back Financing to refinance over-collateralized loans in the context of the current high oil and metal prices, and thereby release more free cashflow for use in meeting other urgent needs, eg. food and fertilizer imports and servicing rising cost of debt. Commodity Export Revenue Stabilisation to help countries and companies to structure and enter derivative contracts at today’s high commodity prices and stabilise future export earnings. Tourism Revenue Deficit Financing to be extended to Central Banks of tourism dependent economies to cover foreign exchange revenue shortfalls arising from a decline in tourism arrivals from Russia and Ukraine. National Export Revenue Acceleration Facility to be used to accelerate the completion of impactful export-oriented projects by expediting access to foreign currency for use in importing critical equipment, technology, and expertise, for project completion.

West Africa Faces Historic Food Crisis Driven By Conflict, Price Surge (I24NEWS)

Global food prices are surging, and trade has been disrupted due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. West Africa is facing its worst food crisis on record, aid agencies said Tuesday, as the region is affected by conflict, drought, and the impact of the war in Ukraine on food prices and availability. Roughly 27 million people are suffering from hunger in West Africa, possibly rising to 38 million by June, a 40 percent increase from last year and a historic high, 11 international aid organizations said in a joint statement.

Additionally, global food prices are surging, and trade was disrupted due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Border closures caused by Covid also had a negative impact, the Food Crisis Prevention Network said.

ECOWAS, EU in fresh move to tackle maritime insecurity (The Guardian Nigeria)

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission is collaborating with the European Union (EU) to tackle maritime insecurity along the West African coast. Meeting in Abuja to develop the framework known as the ‘European Union-funded Support to West Africa Integrated Maritime Security (SWAIMS) project’, the gathering which drew participants from all the ECOWAS member countries, is expected to review and refine modalities on the distribution of essential maritime security equipment across ECOWAS’ littoral countries. Speaking on the modalities of the meeting, the Head of ECOWAS’ Regional Security Division, Col. Abdourahmane Dieng, observed that maritime insecurity is one of the most persistent and intractable threats to maritime communities and economic prosperity in the sub-region.

Among the ongoing efforts at tackling insecurity along the West African corridor is the EU-funded ECOWAS project tagged SWAIMS, a collaborative, complex, multi-component, regional initiative implemented by various partners and covering 15 ECOWAS countries.

New Agreements Foster Regional Cooperation on Migration for Sustainable Development and Migrant Workers Rights in the East and Horn of Africa (IOM)

Government Ministers from 11 countries in East and Horn of Africa, have signed two agreements in the past week committing to work more closely to realise the benefits of migration for sustainable development and economic growth, while enhancing protection for millions of migrant workers. Ministers from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania, and Uganda signed an agreement promising to work together to realize the potential of labour migration as a contributor to the region’s development at the 3rd Regional Ministerial Forum on Migration (RMFM) in Nairobi, Kenya on 01 April. There are over 7.7 million migrant workers in East and Horn of Africa. In 2021 migrant workers from Sub-Saharan Africa sent back an estimated USD45 billion in remittances. According to IOM’s Africa Migration Report there are more than 21 million African migrants working in other African countries where they fill skills and labour shortages, do business and provide goods and services. But labour migrants from the region face various challenges.

Africa Oil Week partners with Africa Energy Commission (Oil Review Africa)

Major African energy event Africa Oil Week has announced a globally significant partnership with the African Union (AU), represented by its specialised energy agency, the African Energy Commission (AFREC). The partnership is a further endorsement of Africa Oil Week (AOW) as a global energy platform and forum for stimulating conversations in the Africa power and energy exploration sector.

As part of the Africa Oil Week partnership, AFREC will facilitate a ministerial dialogue to help advance Africa’s energy development in line with the commission’s energy transition programme. This programme identifies strategies needed for Africa to achieve a just energy transition in line with AU Agenda 2063, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement.

“Access to affordable clean energy for Africa can be achieved by finding policy tools that balance accessibility, reliability, affordability and low carbon impact,” said AFREC executive director Rashid Ali Abdallah.

Effective engagement with Africa: Capitalizing on shifts in business, technology, and global partnerships (Brookings Institution)

Africa, enabled by rapid technological change and demographic shifts, is primed for a major socioeconomic and structural revolution. This report analyzes the major trends driving this change, along with the opportunities and challenges stemming from it. Africa has the fastest-growing population in the world. In fact, one in four global citizens will be African by 2050. This growing population is projected to become increasingly concentrated in urban areas as Africa continues to experience a rise in the influence of and opportunities in its major cities. This young, growing workforce will be complemented by a rapidly expanding middle class with trillions of dollars in buying power in the coming decades. This report argues that, if harnessed successfully, these trends represent a significant opportunity for African countries and the U.S. to shape a transformation on the continent that ensures prosperity and equitable growth for all.

African Development Bank New Series of African Country Gender Profiles Show Progress in Addressing Gender Discriminatory Law (AfDB)

New reports the African Development Bank has produced on Benin, Djibouti, Somalia, Zimbabwe and Liberia show the countries have successfully put national policies in place to advance gender equality. At the same time, the Covid-19 pandemic has sharpened the challenges women face. Prepared in collaboration with the countries and the international partner, UN Women, the Bank’s country gender profiles evaluate gender equality and offer recommendations to drive parity across a range of metrics. These include strategies to bolster the responsiveness of development initiatives. “The country gender profiles are timely as countries define actions and policies to support recovery from the pandemic. Gender data and analysis are critical but remain limited, slowing the achievement of the gender agenda. We hope these reports will help address this important challenge,” said Amel Hamza, Acting Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society at the Bank.

Remarks by Bo Li, IMF Deputy Managing Director At the seminar “Central Bank Digital Currency and Crypto Assets” in celebration of the 20-year Anniversary of the African Regional Technical Assistance Centre (AFRITAC) East (IMF)

The IMF recently did a stocktaking of six countries with advanced central bank digital currencies (CBDC) pilots, and three broad themes emerged. First, objectives and needs for CBDC may vary across jurisdictions. In some countries, CBDC is all about financial inclusion—consider, for example, island nations where a digital means of payment is needed given the cost and difficulty of getting cash to citizens spread across many islands. In other places, CBDC is about enhancing resilience—becoming an essential backup if private sector solutions fail. And in other countries with dominant private sector service providers, CBDC is also about promoting market competition. Thus, central banks should tailor the design of CBDCs to meet their specific objectives and needs, reflecting country circumstances. There is no “one size fits all” approach.

Second, financial stability and privacy considerations are paramount for the design of CBDCs. Central banks are committed to minimizing the impact of CBDC on financial stability, including the risk of banking disintermediation. it’s vital that policymakers get the mix right between protecting privacy, promoting financial inclusion, and ensuring financial integrity.

Third, introducing a CBDC is a complex process requiring appropriate resources and capacity. Areas for further efforts may include new legal frameworks, new regulation, and public-private partnerships to ensure successful adoption, or the building of additional features.

How Africa can navigate growing monetary policy challenges (IMF Blog)

Sub-Saharan African countries face important monetary policy challenges. The pandemic dented economic growth, and even now the recovery is likely to leave output below the pre-crisis trend this year. Several countries in the region have also seen inflation increase, a challenge that is in some cases compounded by fiscal dominance emanating from high public debt levels.

Many of these economies may also face capital outflows as the major central banks in advanced economies withdraw policy stimulus and raise interest rates in the period ahead. The economic impact of the conflict raging in Ukraine—including the attendant sharp rise in energy and food prices—is likely to further intensify the challenges. How should countries in sub-Saharan Africa manage this volatile environment?

Unity of Purpose to Accelerate Africa’s Sustainable Development (Inter Press Service)

The COVID-19 pandemic reversed several development gains on the continent, and Africa’s leaders are convinced stronger cooperation in boosting investment in green growth will help Africa meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). African economies took a hit during the pandemic, which governments say has led to reverse progress made in health care, education, poverty alleviation, food security, and industrialisation as part of delivering on the SDGs adopted by the UN in September 2015.

“Over the years, Africa had made significant progress in tackling economic challenges. However, COVID 19 has slowed the development gains in some cases reversed progress,” Kagame noted. He called for solid mechanisms to monitor and change the implementation of the SDGs. “We have to own and lead the process and support one another. That’s why these agendas [2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063] are important because it is about achieving the stability and sustainability of our continent.”

Global economy news

Members launch discussions under trade and environmental sustainability work plan for 2022 (WTO)

Participants addressed the following themes as set out in the work plan - trade-related climate measures and policies; challenges and opportunities for sustainable trade; environmental goods and services; the circular economy and circularity; and subsidies.

Under the theme of trade-related climate measures, participants were provided with an overview from the WTO Secretariat on different types of trade-related climate measures and information included in the WTO’s Environmental Database. More than 4,600 trade-related climate measures were notified to the WTO between 2009 and 2020, with the large majority relating to alternative and renewable energy, and energy conservation and efficiency.

UN Oceans Forum to chart course for ‘Blue Deal’ on economic recovery and sustainable growth (UNCTAD)

Protecting our ocean and boosting its economic benefits demands a global trade, investment and innovation “Blue Deal” to create a sustainable and resilient ocean economy that benefits all. An UNCTAD-led coalition will chart the course for this vital initiative at the fourth edition of its Oceans Forum, set for 6 to 8 April in Geneva and online. “This is the perfect time to set a new direction by investing in sustainable ocean-based economies,” said UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan. “The ocean’s economic, social and environmental value can help us recover better from the pandemic and cushion us against future crises,” she said. “But we have to find the right balance between benefitting from the ocean and protecting its resources.”

The 60th Session of the OACPS Parliamentary Assembly and 41st Session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly concludes (ACP)

The 41st session of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) took place from 1-3 April 2022 in Strasbourg, in the presence of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and their counterparts from 78 countries of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS). Among the issues discussed were the challenges of peace and security within Members of the OACPS and climate change, in particular, the European Commission’s (EC) proposal to establish a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) with the European Union (EU). Participants noted that the CBAM will put pressure on exporters to the EU, to decarbonise the production of certain goods and that many exporters and producers in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and other developing countries such as those in members of the OACPS will face particular difficulties to finance necessary investments. Members also discussed trade issues guaranteeing access to the European Market for producers in the framework of new regulations arising from the green pact for Europe.

Digital destiny for development, says Secretary-General (The Commonwealth)

Game-changing innovation has a key role in supercharging the sustainable development of Commonwealth member countries. Opening the latest in a series of Data, Technology and Digitalisation workshops organised by the Secretariat, Secretary-General Patricia Scotland emphasised how transformative technologies, combined with good quality accessible data and digital skills, are part of the Commonwealth’s vision and practical action towards a more inclusive world. The Secretary-General said: “I am delighted to open an event with such distinguished experts, who will guide us through the process of applying transformative technologies in all kinds of situations – whether tackling entrenched inequalities, sudden crises, natural disasters or the pandemic.”

Global Perspective on Coal Jobs and Managing Labor Transition Out of Coal (World Bank)

Although the conflict in Ukraine has increased volatility in global energy markets, the urgency of the coal transition remains unchanged. . The developing world has more than doubled its per capita electricity consumption since 1990, driving up global demand for coal. A new World Bank report, Global Perspective on Coal Jobs and Managing Labor Transition out of Coal, finalized December 2021, reviews these challenges through the lens of five countries. The report offers recommendations on how governments can prepare for job losses that arise from future mine closure and highlights policies to support workers through the transition period and into alternative employment.

Members welcome COVID-19 trade-related measures report, agree on future experience sharing (WTO)

The WTO Secretariat presented a revised report that compiles and summarizes relevant information on export prohibitions and restrictions that have been notified by members under the 2012 Decision on Notification Procedures for Quantitative Restrictions (QR Decision), the voluntary communications submitted by members to the Committee with information on trade-easing measures as well as other measures by WTO members collected under the WTO’s Trade Monitoring Exercise and listed in “COVID-19: Measures affecting trade in goods”.

The report indicates that as of 25 March 2022, a total of 98 measures that prohibit or restrict exports as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have been adopted by members. These measures have either been formally notified as a quantitative restriction or recorded by the WTO’s Trade Monitoring Exercise.

WTO launches book on trade in knowledge in today’s technological, commercial environment (WTO)

Co-edited by Antony Taubman, Director of the Intellectual Property, Government Procurement and Competition Division at the WTO, and Jayashree Watal, Honorary Professor at the National Law University of Delhi and former WTO Counsellor, the publication offers a fresh understanding of what it means to trade in knowledge in today’s technological and commercial environment. Drawing together insights from a diverse range of leading international scholars and analysts, the publication explores how to build more inclusive, up-to-date and precise ways of measuring knowledge flows, discusses how more nuanced and effective use of these data may guide policymakers and provides insights into the prospects for knowledge-based social and economic development, moving legacy models and adapting to the realities of the contemporary knowledge economy. The book also proposes ideas for updated systems of governance that promote positive sum approaches to the creation and sharing of the benefits of knowledge as a public good, with a view to informing planning for development.

China lockdowns, Russia-Ukraine conflict cloud container outlook (Logistics Update Africa)

The shipping industry has entered troubled waters again. “The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has further disrupted the supply chain — blocking the flow of freight, fuel, and even funds,” says Container xChange in its latest report. Overall, the conflict between the two countries is likely to affect container availability globally but the situation will vary from port to port and region to region, the report added. Strict lockdown in several cities in China, including Shanghai and Shenzhen, is a worrying indicator. “This will further reduce capacity and cause a surge in already inflated shipping prices, says Johannes Schlingmeier, CEO, Container xChange. “The shockwaves will be felt across the U.S., and almost everywhere in the world. Some hypothesise it being “practically impossible” to get containers out of said ports at current.


Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel +27 21 880 2010