Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Local news

Removal of poultry import tariffs will destroy domestic jobs, says SAPA (Engineering News)

Requests by the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE) to suspend existing tariffs on the import of chicken in South Africa, and not impose any new tariffs for the next three years, is “superficially appealing, but economically dangerous”, says broiler organisation South African Poultry Association (SAPA) head Izaak Breitenbach.

“Consumers will be the ultimate losers if tariffs on chicken imports are removed,” he states, saying such a move will have “no impact at all” on the main drivers of food price inflation, which are the surge in the cost of feed, fuel and fertiliser prices, as well as the war in Ukraine. These added inflationary pressures come at a time when prices were already rising because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on global trade and the price of grains which make up nearly 70% of the input costs for poultry producers.

SAPA believes removing the tariffs will only serve to benefit the importers AMIE represents, whose revenues and profits have been hit by decreases in import volumes over the past three years.

Consolidation of Virtual Capacity Building for South African Revenue Service (SARS) on Time Release Study and Air Cargo streamlining (WCO)

The WCO conducted a mission from 14-17 and 23 March 2022 under the auspices of the by the United Kingdom’s Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) supported Trade Facilitation Capacity Building Programme to further strengthen capacity within South African Revenue Authority (SARS) The WCO team zoomed in primarily on capacity building to conduct a Time Release Study (TRS) at the seaport in Durban and to implement the WCO Immediate Release Guidelines at the Johannesburg airport cargo area in order to align with the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) Article 7.8 on expedited shipments. The mission built on virtual capacity building provided to SARS in these two areas under the Trade Facilitation for Middle Income Countries (TFMICs) programme – previously supported by the United Kingdom’s Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office.

The SARS leadership formally welcomed the opportunity to continue the partnership with the WCO for technical assistance and capacity building under the next phase of the HMRC Programme ‘Accelerate Trade Facilitation’ (2022-2025). It was noted that trade facilitation initiatives would not only benefit the South African economy but the entire southern region of Africa – also considering that other partner countries of the Programme include Zambia, Eswatini and Lesotho.

SA, Botswana deepen bilateral relations (SAnews)

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on African countries to put the continent on a new trajectory of progress, prosperity and self-reliance.

The President said that Africa’s focus must be on strengthening health systems across the region and the continent, and on improving its capabilities in areas such as vaccine and medical supplies manufacturing.

The President said this as he delivered opening remarks during the plenary session of the fifth Bi-National Commission (BNC) between South Africa and Botswana in Pretoria on Friday. “This BNC is an opportunity to further deepen our cooperation in many areas including infrastructure development, energy production, mining, defence, health, transport, migration, and information and communication technologies,” Ramaphosa said.

The President emphasised that it is critical to consolidate the work that has already been done within the existing areas of cooperation and explore further areas of collaboration and cooperation.

Animal feed prices stay high on maize imports nod delay (Business Daily)

The price of animal feeds is expected to rise following delays in publishing changes to GMO rules governing the importation of yellow maize in the Kenya Gazette, hampering the purchase of the produce by millers amid the rising cost of the commodity. The government announced last month that it had lowered the requirement on the purity of yellow maize to be imported by processors to 99.1 percent from 100 percent, meaning that imports would be allowed to have traces of genetically modified organisms (GMO).”In March 2022, the working committee convened and approved the proposal to change the purity level as an immediate measure to mitigate the dwindling source of raw materials,” said Joseph Karuri, chairperson of the Association of Kenya Animal Feeds Manufactures. “Unfortunately, the notice has not been published and neither measure(s) have been undertaken to resolve the crisis in the livestock feed sub-sector almost a year since we raised the red flag.”

Manufacturers have refused to import the produce under the current total GMO purity requirement for fear that the shipments will be confiscated by Kenyan authorities since it is difficult to find stocks that are free from genetic modification.

Mitumba dealers plan centre for sorting exports (Business Daily)

Dealers in second-hand clothes have petitioned the government to set up a sorting centre in Kenya for re-exports, opening a fresh battlefront with local manufacturers. The sector lobby, the Mitumba Association of Kenya says a sorting facility will cut costs incurred along the supply chain as they target high-demand markets. The sector launched a report on Thursday that shows that Kenya is well-positioned geographically to act as a global hub linking other markets throughout Africa to the US, and Europe. “An African hub would have considerable benefits… This would create job opportunities and increase the export of textiles to the largest African markets,” the report read in part. “These benefits would be enhanced if further sorting centres could be opened, improving the efficiency of the supply chain.”

The report titled Global Production Networks of the Second-hand Clothing Industry-Impact on Africa was authored by Dr Anuja Prashar of the Mitumba Institute and Research Centre of Kenya.

Ugandan Business Players Explore EAC Opportunities at PSFU Dialogue (Chimp Reports)

Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), the apex body of the private sector in Uganda, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and Young Africa Works Uganda, held a high level Private-Public Policy dialogue on the status of East Africa Community integration on investments and job creation, to get the young person’s outlook on the status of the EAC and an overview on the future.

“There are existing business opportunities that can be harnessed to support the growth of the economy and job creation. Presently, the ecosystem, the companies and SMEs continue to be negatively affected by some market restrictions which hinder their ability to expand and grow and create both direct and indirect work opportunities to the youth in the value chains.”

Nacala Corridor To Spur Economic Growth (Malawi Broadcasting Corporation)

President Dr Chakwera says the signing of the Nacala Development Corridor Agreement, the Railway Agreement and the Road Transport Agreement between Mozambique and Malawi will boost economic operations in the two countries. He said the port is helping to spur and foster economic development between the two countries.

“It is pleasing to note that since its completion, the developments made at the port are helping to increase capacity and efficiency in handling cargo and they are providing a cost-effective avenue for transporting people, goods and services,” said Dr Chakwera.

Transporters lament trade facilitation setbacks on transit corridor (GhanaWeb)

The incidence of extortion and other illegal, unpleasant activities of some security officers towards cargo truckers on the transit corridor seem to persist, despite many efforts by stakeholders within the port and shipping industry to put an end to them. The latest report on such activities was made by the Executive Secretary of the Joint Association of Port Transport Unions (JAPTU), Ghana, Ibrahim Musah, on the Eye on Port program, while discussing the state of the haulage sector in Ghana.

“When a transit truck breaks down, you are to report to the nearest customs station where they deploy an officer to inspect the problem and write a report. This is supposed to be done without a fee, but in practice some customs officers are beginning to make it a key part of their regulations, to charge GHC 500- GHC 1000 just before the documents are released,” he bemoaned.

Prices of Poultry products set to go up (GBC Ghana Online)

Chairperson of the Greater Accra Poultry Farmers Association, Gifty Rodor, has appealed to the public to bear with farmers as they plan to increase prices of poultry products. Speaking with GBC News, Madam Rodor said the measure has become necessary due to the increasing prices of inputs. Appeals to the government to come through for poultry farmers with some subsidies on their raw materials are yet to be met. Madam Rodor said the farmers are “left with no option, but to increase prices to continue to stay in business.”

Export Strategy sector group committee inaugurated (BusinessGhana)

A sector group and governance structure for the successful implementation of the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS) has been inaugurated in Accra. The governance structure comprises the Inter-Ministerial Oversight Committee, the Steering Committee, the NEDS secretariat and the sector group. A media release issued in Accra on April 14, 2022 said that the NEDS, spanning 10 years (2020-2029), sought to diversify and grow the Non-Traditional Export (NTE) sector of the economy and employ a private-sector-driven approach. It is expected to give a significant boost to Ghana’s export volumes by growing NTEs from US$2.8 billion (2020) to US$25.3 billion by 2029. The initiative was unveiled by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) under the auspices of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Speaking at the inauguration, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Herbert Krapah, said the realisation of the target in the next decade demands strong collaboration between key implementing partners and players within the NTE sector. He said the creation of the sector group to lead and implement the strategy for the 17 priority products areas was timely with the full implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Importers condemn CET implementation (New Telegraph)

Stakeholders have lamented that government was overheating the port economy with unfavourable multiplier effects on the national economy. Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had recently explained that in line with the Finance Act and the National Automotive Policy, it had retained a duty rate of 20 per cent for used vehicles as was transmitted by ECOWAS with a NAC levy of 15 per cent. Also, the Service noted that new vehicles would also pay a duty of 20 per cent with a NAC levy of 20 per cent

Miffed by the new policy, a former President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu, said that the introduction of regular wrong policies would continue to have negative impact on national growth.

Also, the Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) National President, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, argued that by the new levy, the Nigeria Customs Service had shown a high level of inconsistency capable of betraying the existing trust and undermining the cordial working relationships with freight forwarders and importers. Ogunojemite said that the association was strongly against the collection of NAC levy on used vehicles, saying that it should be limited to brand new vehicles only.

Nigeria will become West Africa’s highest cocoa producer, exporter by 2027 — CFAN (Vanguard)

The Cocoa Farmers Association of Nigeria (CFAN) has assured that Nigeria will in the next five years become the highest cocoa producer in West Africa. It equally said that cocoa production will be also be increased from 340,000 metric tonnes to 500,000 metric tonnes by 2024.

The National Chairman of CFAN, Comrade Adeola Adegoke, who this in Akure during the free distribution of cocoa Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) handbook to smallholder cocoa farmers, stressed the commitment to increase cocoa production in conjunction with other value chain stakeholders. He pointed out that “the target would make the country produce the best quality cocoa beans in line with internationally acceptable best practices.”

We are interested in strengthening trade, investment with Nigeria, says Cote d’ivoire (Sun News Online)

The Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire to Nigeria, Mr Kalilou Traore has said that his country is interested in strengthening trade and investment with Nigeria due to the peculiarity in both country’s economy. The Ambassador stated this in Abuja, yesterday, at the official launch of the 2022 made in Nigeria exhibition that would be holding in Abidjan in June.

Kalilou explained that the initiative of made in Nigeria exhibition has grown into a strong platform for the development of both country’s economy through the creation of lots of business opportunities.

“As a reminder trade between Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria represents approximately $ 1.4 billion, mainly in petroleum products. The significant potential of trade in industrial products and services between the two countries remains to be filled with regard to the production and consumption capacities of the countries within the framework of the regional common market but also of the continental market which is being set up.”

African trade news

Studying on Trade - Carrying Infrastructure Gap in Southern African Development Community (SADC) (Afreximbank)

The overall objective of this assignment is to analyse the trade-carrying infrastructure gaps across one pilot African region and propose priority investments to fill these gaps. To do this, the report first quantifies existing and future intra-regional trade flows along the main transport corridors in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and ranks the importance of each corridor for future intra-Africa trade. Next, it assesses the condition, capacity and competitiveness of trade-carrying transport and logistics infrastructure, notably the main seaports, border posts, railways and roads that are the backbone of the main corridors traversing the region. It also analyses secondary and informal routes, highlighting the findings pertinent to these corridors in the SADC region. The assessment identifies major gaps in the trade-carrying transport and logistics infrastructure on each of the main transport corridors and frames the priority interventions on each regional transport route. Finally, the report develops a programme of priority interventions and a pipeline of proposed projects.

EAC boss rallies youth to take advantage of DR Congo market (IPPMedia)

Mathuki made the remarks recently when addressing virtual press conference from his offices in Arusha, Tanzania. His comments came barely few weeks after DR Congo President Félix Tshisekedi signed the Treaty of accession by his country to the EAC. DR Congo’s entry now makes EAC a seven-member bloc. Mathuki who was briefing regional journalists on the initiatives the Secretariat put in place for DR Congo’s integration, in the upcoming months, indicated that the youth in the region now have a market of about 300 million people to tap and grow their businesses. Irrespective of the challenges that may come with an expanded community, he said, there is a huge market opportunity.

Sector mismatch widens agri-SME financing gap (The East African)

Agricultural small and medium-enterprises (agri-SMEs) in sub-Saharan Africa are grappling with a $74.5 billion (or 83 percent) annual financing gap, says a survey by Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness (Casa) programme. The survey, The state of the agri-SME sector – Bridging the finance gap, revealed a disproportionate financing pattern favouring a small number of “top of the market” and “possibly adequately served” tier of agri-SME players. According to the analysis, more than half of the total financing is supplied by local commercial banks, which typically invest in more mature agri-SMEs — for instance established aggregators and local processors, such as maize or rice millers, serving regional or national markets.

“What’s needed is a more coordinated approach to ensure that whatever sub-commercial finance is available is applied to the best candidates among agri-SMEs.”

Grain shortfall from Ukraine war exacerbates food insecurity in Africa (RFI)

In an effort to cover wheat shortages following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, African countries are looking to other sources, or trying to use local-based alternatives in order to provide bread each day. However this is also causing a spike in food prices. “What is coming immediately is an increase in price, which will have an impact on the government’s fiscal budget,” says Kibrom Aboy, research fellow and Egypt country head for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Cairo. “This means an increase in price on wheat and other products, and has impact on poor households too.”

Energy storage becoming more relevant to Africa’s energy transition (ESI Africa)

Ever-decreasing costs of renewable energy generation are already introducing an energy transition across Southern Africa, especially as energy storage becomes more viable. This was some of the insight provided at a recent ATA Insights open workshop into Southern Africa as the land of renewables and storage opportunities. Albie Alant, associate director at PwC, said

“We see the requirement for more renewable energy and in order to service and support the large industrials and mines, storage becomes very relevant to manage baseload requirements and energy needs of entities,”

He said PwC did not see new investments being made into fossil fuels going forward: “The move is away from that, with large pools of capital being earmarked to fund renewable energy.” While slow policy formation has limited the integration of renewable energy into national electricity grids, he said South Africa’s successful REIPPP programme has been very successful in starting large scale procurement of renewable energy for the country.

African Development Bank Group 2022 Annual Meetings: Climate resilience and just energy transition take center stage (AfDB)

The African Development Bank Group’s Annual Meetings in May will focus on the impact of climate change on Africa and the need for a just energy transition on the continent, the Bank Group’s Secretary General said on Wednesday.

Professor Vincent Nmehielle said the theme, Achieving Climate Resilience, and a Just Energy Transition for Africa, was chosen to provide a framework for the governors of the Banks to share their experiences and engage in addressing climate change and energy transition challenges, as well as their policies and measures to deal with them. “Governments will be able to show what their countries have done in this regard,” the Secretary General said. A key highlight during the Bank Group’s Annual Meetings will be a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the African Development Fund, the Bank Group’s concessional lending arm.

Miners gather amid surging demand for critical minerals and fiercely rising ESG demands (Engineering News)

Amid the global transition to renewable energies and the effects of strong commodity prices and supply crunches, there is a scramble to ensure security of supply of critical and battery minerals in Africa. These factors heighten the importance of African mining and the role of the Investing in African Mining Indaba – to be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from May 9 to 12 – states Indaba organiser Hyve Group head of content Tom Quinn.

Seychelles Reconnects with Trade Partners at WTM Africa (eTruboNews)

Present at the World Travel Market (WTM) Africa event, Tourism Seychelles representatives and a small delegation of local partners were in Cape Town to reconnect with trade partners from the South African region. The 3-day international fair, which took place at the (CTICC) Cape Town International Conference Centre between April 11-13, 2022, was the first in-person event for the region since the pandemic.

Speaking of the event Christine Vel, the director for South Africa said that the fair was a successful one for the destination. “We are quite satisfied with the outcome of the WTM Africa as we have seen that our trade partners still had much enthusiasm and interest in the destination,” said Ms. Vel.

Launched in 2014 under the Africa Travel Week umbrella, WTM Africa is a key trade Rendezvous for the travel industry. The 2023 edition of WTM Africa will take place between April 3-5, 2023.

Global economy news

Greater international cooperation needed on subsidies data, analysis and reform — report (WTO)

The report, “Subsidies, Trade, and International Cooperation”, cites the importance of broad-based international cooperation on subsidies in order to bring greater transparency, openness and predictability to global trade. “Subsidies appear to be widespread, growing, and often poorly targeted at their intended policy objectives,” the report notes. “Beyond raising economic efficiency concerns, this situation is spurring the use of unilateral trade defense measures, eroding public support for open trade, and contributing to severe trade tensions that impede progress on other global trade priorities.” “Governments should work expeditiously to clarify and strengthen international disciplines around subsidies while recognizing the important roles that well-designed subsidies can play in some circumstances,” the report adds.

Global supply chains at work: A tale of three products to fight COVID-19 (OECD)

The goods needed to vaccinate, protect and test during the COVID-19 pandemic are produced across many different countries. This brief tells the tale of three products ‒ vaccines, face masks and tests ‒ and highlights the role of trade in the fight against COVID-19. International markets and global supply chains played a pivotal role during the COVID-19 pandemic: first, by helping countries avail themselves of the goods needed to address the pandemic; second, by providing a means to ease temporary supply constraints; and third, by enabling access to key components to ramp up production to meet surging demand.

The fight against COVID-19 remains an ongoing and global challenge. Global supply chains played a key role in allowing countries to: i) avail themselves of essential products when they may not have had the capacity to produce them; ii) to mitigate temporary supply shortages; and iii) to ramp up production of key components. Supply chains proved to be both agile and resilient in the face of unprecedented surges and changes in demand for products needed to fight COVID-19.

All countries are facing challenges in ensuring that their populations are vaccinated, protected and tested, but not all countries produce all the goods needed to do this. Trade enables access to the final and intermediate goods that underpin their supply. Open markets, transparency and trade facilitation can ensure greater ease of access to these products.

2021 supply shortages: Year of waiting followed by year of anxiety (DW)

There were a lot of hopes for this year, following the utter economic carnage unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns in 2020. The global economy was expected to boom with the arrival of effective vaccines and the subsequent easing of restrictions. Global growth did roar back, but soon lost its momentum. A sudden demand for goods coupled with chaos in the shipping industry threw global supply chains off track, taking the steam off the recovery.

This has meant that people and businesses around the world are having to contend with shortages of just about everything from bikes to cars, toys to smartphones, and reinforced concrete to computer chips. Waiting periods have become painstakingly long. The problem is that the strong recovery in demand has been “bumping up against physical constraints of ports,” Coleman Nee, senior economist at the World Trade Organization (WTO), told DW. He added that even air freight, used to carry goods such as semiconductors, has struggled to keep up with demand due to travel restrictions.

COVID-19 assistance to developing countries lifts foreign aid in 2021 – OECD (OECD)

Foreign aid from official donors rose to an all-time high of USD 179 billion in 2021, up 4.4% in real terms from 2020 as developed countries stepped up their help for developing countries grappling with the COVID-19 crisis, according to preliminary data collected by the OECD. Development Assistance (ODA) provided by members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) in 2021 included USD 6.3 billion spent on providing COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries, equivalent to 3.5% of total ODA. Excluding ODA for donated COVID-19 vaccines, ODA was up 0.6% in real terms from 2020.

“OECD countries have once again shown that even in times of crisis they will step up and provide support to more vulnerable countries and people,” OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann said, presenting the new data. “While the effort last year was another significant step up in development support, there continues to be much more to be done. With the world now hit by a new humanitarian crisis following Russia’s unprovoked war on Ukraine, we must make additional efforts to help those developing countries that will be hardest hit by supply shortages and higher prices for food and key commodities.”

eCommerce Week: UN convenes leading global forum on digital economy (UNCTAD)

With over 60 high-level speakers, 100 sessions and thousands of participants, UNCTAD’s eCommerce Week slated for 25 to 29 April brings together UN experts, governments, business, civil society groups and academics focused on innovative solutions for development in a digital world. With the theme “Data and Digitalization for Development”, the event will address the pressing need for global dialogue, debating with a wide range of United Nations and government representatives as well as private sector and civil society actors how the digital world is managed and how its governance will help to bridge the digital divide and support sustainable development.

eCommerce Week, as the global forum on development and the digital economy, aims to highlight the urgency of global data and digital governance to bridge the digital and data divides, fight inequality and support developing countries to benefit from the digital economy.

“The pandemic has exposed the huge and growing digital and data divide that cuts off many developing countries from health-care solutions, financial access, e-commerce, technology skills and new growth sectors. Now is the time for a new path with new governance that makes the digital world far more inclusive, equitable and beneficial,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan said.


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