tralac Daily News
SA exports reach all-time high in March, thanks mainly to coal (Daily Maverick)
Of late, the war in Ukraine has led to further upward pressure on the prices of several of South Africa’s key export commodities, especially iron ore and coal. It is clear that the sharp rise in the country’s export earnings has been fuelled by a continuation of the upward phase of the current commodity price super-cycle, especially for coal.
More than 60% of South Africa’s annual citrus production is destined for the export market, a trade that earned R30 billion in foreign exchange in 2021. According to the industry forecasts, export production can increase by up to 500,000 tons over the next three years.
South Africa: Should VAT and tariffs be lifted on chicken? (Poultry World)
The proposal by Paul Matthew, CEO of the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE), to suspend existing tariffs and not impose any new tariffs for the next 3 years is superficially appealing but economically dangerous, said Izaak Breitenbach, head of the Broiler Organisation at the South African Poultry Association (SAPA). The poultry sector master plan, which was implemented in 2019, aims to curb imports and expand local demand and local production for the South African and export markets, meanwhile creating nearly 5,000 local jobs.
The hope is that agreements can be reached with those countries before COP27, the people said, and that details of the South Africa pact will be finalized by then. But negotiations have been snarled by national politics and Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has made the dirtiest fossil fuel a lucrative commodity to mine and export, according to people familiar with the talks who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.
A large number of Ghanaian Small and Medium Scale Enterprises have no domestic quality certification for export and no internationally-recognised quality certification, a research conducted by CUTS International has revealed. This simply means that most of them are unable to compete in the African or international market.
The findings also revealed that most of the SMEs also have excess capacities and lack a functioning management structure, and this notwithstanding, most of these firms have not made sufficient investments in the production, finishing and packaging of their products to meet international standards.
“Ghanaian SMEs are uncompetitive and hence, a lot of work and efforts are needed by these firms, policy makers and government to boost their competitive capabilities. Most of these firms also lack connectivity to their clients and suppliers with few using emails and website”, the report disclosed.
Exports into Comesa can rise to US$4,1bn (The Herald)
ZIMBABWE has potential to contribute US$4,1 billion annually to the total value of trade within the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) through exports into the regional trade block if a host of bottlenecks facing the region are addressed. The regional trading bloc said the major constraints hindering exploitation of the identified potential is weak productive capacities in member States.
Namibian exporters seek clarity on Angolan import decree (The Namibia)
An Agolan delegation of trade experts visited Namibia to clarify issues around that country’s Presidential Decree No. 23/19. This was revealed on Tuesday during a meeting between the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Angolan delegation at Swakopmund. The decree gives priority to 54 product categories produced in Angola, by requiring that importers demonstrate that they either cannot find a product locally or already have a contract to purchase products on the domestic market. It is aimed at reducing reliance on imports that Angola has the capacity to produce by increasing local production.
Kenya’s mitumba dealers push for setting up of re-export facilities (The East African)
Dealers in second-hand clothes (mitumba) in Kenya want the government to introduce sorting centres, saying such facilities would allow the country to export clothing to high-demand markets in the US and Europe.. Kenya and other EAC member countries have been planning for a reduction in reliance on second-hand clothes by advancing policies to ban the trade, pushing for the revival of the cotton growing industry, and getting local fabric manufacturers to increase local apparel production and sale.
Kenya to benefit from partnership with Japan (The Star, Kenya)
Kenya has signed at least 12 MoUs with Japan in finance, energy, health care and other fields. On Tuesday, public and private sector firms from Japan signed more than 15 MoUs with Kenyan firms and state organisations in Africa, 12 of which directly affect Kenya. The Kenya MoUs were signed to consolidate cooperation and collaboration between the public and private sectors in both Japan and Africa.
Trade CS Betty Maina said relations between Africa and Asia have grown significantly , with Japan having a fairly reciprocal trade pattern. In 2020, Africa’s exports to Japan totalled $8.6 billion (Sh996,13) whereas African imports from Japan were approximately $7.9 billion. Japan has been instrumental in the development of Africa. It has enhanced the role of regional integration through the Regional Economic Communities to Expand industrialisation, trade and investments.
Over reliance on raw commodity exports renders Africa vulnerable to external shocks and the solution lies in transforming the continent from a raw material exporter to a producer of market-competitive value-added goods, Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr Sekai Nzenza, has said. By producing market competitive value-added goods, Africa’s value chains would, therefore, be linked to global chains. “Most of the African countries still rely heavily on production and export of commodities with minimum value addition and even fewer forward and backward linkages to other sectors of the economy,” she said.
“The Regional Economic Communities (RECs) on our continent are more connected to other third-party RECs outside the continent, wherein African countries source the same goods, mainly manufactured, and services that are produced by sister African countries on the same Continent.”
New round of Kenya-US trade talks starts (Business Daily)
The US government and Kenya will from Tuesday start another round of trade talks, signalling a fresh direction after the Biden administration froze Trump-era negotiations on the free trade agreement. The proposed trade deal has faced delays after the Biden administration sought more time to scrutinise the pact negotiated by Donald Trump.
The national action committee on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) says it has commenced the development of policies in collaboration with relevant export agencies for the free flow of trade in Nigeria.
Power: Investors spent N72bn on alternative sources –MAN (New Telegraph)
He lamented that uncompetitiveness with other challenges retarded the propensity of the manufacturers to penetrate the 1.3 billion continental market across 54 countries in Africa under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Nwanisiobi, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Corporate Communications Department, said during the Covid-19 pandemic, the CBN’s Anchor Borrower’s programme was the nation’s saving grace for improved rice availability. The apex bank consequently urge Nigerians to adopt homemade products to boost Nigeria’s economy and stop the Naira from depreciating further in the parallel market.
Nigeria seeking funding for gas pipeline to Morocco (Daily Trust)
Nigeria and Morocco are still seeking funding for a huge pipeline project that will carry Nigeria’s gas to North Africa and onto European markets, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said. He said, “We want to continue that same pipeline all the way to Morocco down the coast.
With about one year and one month to the end of the administration, stakeholders are anxious about the implementation of the roadmap which they said looks good on paper but its implementation will catalyse into bequeathing a better aviation industry in Nigeria. While the move to float the national carrier code-named Nigeria Air has missed several targets, the government has promised to unveil it this year amidst doubts from stakeholders.
Nigeria, UK parley to boost £3.2b trade relationship (The Guardian Nigeria)
“Through the Economic and Development Forum, we can demonstrate how trade is a force for good, creating jobs and prosperity and reaffirming our commitment to boost economic ties, support businesses, and grow new markets.” Nigeria Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo said: “The Nigerian government is committed to implementing reforms that can attract more foreign direct investment into key industries, boost trade and development and create employment opportunities for Nigeria’s youth by leveraging technology.
Chinedu Eze Operators at the cargo terminal of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), have confirmed that currently some foreign airlines have refused to airlift cargo from Nigeria to European destinations, except London. The airlines that refused to airlift Nigerian cargo include Turkish Airlines, Air France, Lufthansa and KLM. Managing Director of Flights and Logistics Solutions.
Eromosele Abiodun Clearing agents under the aegis of the National Council of Managing Director of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), have told President Muhammadu Buhari that there is no provision for the National Automotive Council (NAC) levy of 15 per cent in either the 2020 or 2021 Finance Act, stressing that its implementation by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is illegal.
The Federal Government has warned APM terminals at Apapa and others to adhere to government’s freight forwarders’ directive on the collection of practitioners operating fee, POF.
Speaking during a meeting between officials of the Ministry of Transportation and Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarders and terminal operators in Lagos weekend, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, said since the introduction of the policy on February 24, 2021, some terminal operators have failed to comply with the agreement reached, which has resulted to loss of revenue to the country.
India-Mauritius trade agreement may include safeguard mechanism related provisions to protect the domestic industry from a sudden or unusual surge in imports of goods, according to sources. Similarly, in the India-Australia economic cooperation and trade agreement, there is a provision for a safeguard mechanism that includes stricter rules of origin to prevent any routing of products from a third country, and it also deals with any unusual surge in imports.
The Gambia has made significant progress in reforming State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), but major efforts are still required to establish a sound, efficient and financially sustainable SOE sector, according to a new World Bank report released today.
The Gambia Integrated State-Owned Enterprises Framework (iSOEF) report applies the new World Bank iSOEF methodology to assess The Gambia´s SOE sector and its current reform trends. It is one of the first comprehensive applications in Africa and provides first, a landscape of SOEs in The Gambia, and then addresses key aspects for assessing SOEs, namely: “Effects on Markets”; “Fiscal Impact”; and “Corporate Governance and Accountability Mechanisms”. The report assessed 12 non-financial SOEs identified as the SOE portfolio.
African trade news
AfICTA, Mr. Thabo Mashegoane has urged players in the industry body to continue closing the gap that exists between all sectors involved in shaping the Internet and delivering the information society to the realization of digital Africa through knowledge sharing, trade facilitation, and cross-African advocacy. AfICTA in its advocacy for prosperity and enabling environment for businesses in Africa has held nine consecutive Summits in different member nations and from the past experiences and outcomes of the summits, AfICTA continues to close the gap that exists between all sectors that are involved in shaping the Internet and delivering the information society to the realization of digital Africa through knowledge sharing, trade facilitation, and cross-African advocacy.
The Vice-President Philip Mpango has underscored the need for African countries to team up and engage in implementation of regional transport infrastructure projects, to smoothen trade amongst themselves through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) arrangement.
Kenyan Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)/startups have been urged to participate in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) hackathon designed for Manufacturers and creatives in the branding industry.
Mombasa Port on course to becoming Africa’s trade hub (Business Daily)
As frontier markets in Africa develop, ports are increasingly playing a pivotal role. Industries and e-commerce platforms all depend on ports. They are the beginning and the end of the supply chains.
“The pandemic has accelerated mega-trends in the maritime sector like digitisation and de-globalisation. Ports are now a focus for regional integration and industrialisation, and can help promote the resilience of regional markets due to the geographical proximity,” said Andre Ciseau, the Secretary-General of Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA), during the Intermodal Africa Conference hosted by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) in Mombasa last week.
The Africa Free Continental Trade Area (AfCFTA) is gaining traction and there will be a significant increase in traffic flows on all transport modes. Thus, with all the expansion plans at the Mombasa Port, it can readily market itself as a critical maritime node for the Eastern and Southern Africa region.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating for South Africa and its near neighbours. As well as the many personal tragedies, no region on the continent has been as badly affected in economic terms.
The latest round of budget speeches has finally shifted attention from crisis management to “rebuilding”, but there is one topic on which all are surprisingly silent: the reform of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). From South Africa’s perspective, the customs union, which is more than a century old, is expensive to sustain under the current configuration. The remaining member states – Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho and Namibia – could also benefit from a less-volatile SACU payment.
Poor, congested roads erect more hurdles on cargo routes from ports (The East African)
At the 26th Intermodal Africa Exhibition and Conference in Mombasa this past week, KPA acting managing director John Mwangemi said they expect the port in Lamu to pick up after an improvement of infrastructure. Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) Director-General Eric Hamissi says some of the funds have been invested in a new online information system that will be accessible to government agencies involved in processing cargo through the ports of Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mtwara.
Despite growing rapidly, Africa’s cities have provided improved access to services, jobs and infrastructure for millions of people in the last 30 years compared to smaller communities, a new report finds. “African cities have maintained their economic performance despite growing by 500 million people over the last 30 years, providing several hundred millions with better jobs and improved access to better jobs and infrastructure, this in a context of very limited public support and investment.”
While previous studies have focused on trade finance supply, numerous questions remain unanswered on trade finance demand by firms in Africa; including but not limited to, the value of trade lost by firms due to lack of access to finance, the choice of trade finance instruments, challenges firms face in managing trade finance, and why some firms are discouraged from applying for trade finance. The report is the most comprehensive study combining demand- and supply-side data to understand the trade finance market in Africa .
Climate change: West African countries mark $294 billion to meet challenge (Down to Earth Magazine)
The leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a regional, political and economic union of west African countries, recently agreed to spend $294 billion over the next 10 years to fight against climate change. The commitment was part of a Regional Climate Strategy (RCS) to set regional mitigation and adaptation targets for 2030, with a review planned for 2050, according to a statement by ECOWAS.
Minister for Community Development, Gender, Women and Special Groups Dr Dorothy Gwajima has called on stakeholders to collaborate with the government to raise awareness about cultural barriers that prevent women and girls from gaining access to technology. She said despite several initiatives, a significant digital gender gap remains, limiting the equitable realization of the benefits of digital
Members of the Africa High-Level Working Group on the Global Financial Architecture (the Group) coordinated by United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and comprising African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, the IMF, the World Bank and key African stakeholders – African Development Bank, African Union, Afreximbank – met during the 2022 Spring meetings in Washington, DC to discuss Africa’s urgent financial needs amid the war in Ukraine.
Out of Africa: Rich Continent, Poor People (Inter Press Service)
Capital flight from the global South is immense, with widespread adverse effects. A new book proposes measures to curb, even reverse capital flight from Africa. It also offers pragmatic lessons for many developing countries.
SSA currently loses US$65 billion annually – more than yearly official development assistance (ODA) inflows. The book’s studies carefully investigate natural resource exploitation – of South African minerals, Ivorian cocoa, and Angolan oil and diamonds.
Such forensic country analyses are crucial to more effectively check capital flight. Outflows since the 1980s from the three countries have been massive: US$103 billion from Angola, US$55 billion from Cote d’Ivoire, and US$329 billion from South Africa in 2018 dollars.
The recovery of global trade will depend on the extent to which businesses harness existing business opportunities to boost their operations, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of First National Bank, Dominic Adu, has said. He said the growth opportunities that the COVID-19 had brought were closer than businesses “think and might be closer to their doorstep.”
Mr Adu said COVID-19 undoubtedly had put the brakes on trade all over the world, and Africa wasn’t insulated from this pandemic-driven fallout. “But much of the world is now on track towards recovering from the economic impacts of the virus, which means it’s time for businesses to shake off the difficulties and constraints that understandably became the norm in 2020 and 2021, and make the decision to take back their success,” he said.
“The quickest way to address the trade challenges in Africa is to ensure we are serious about building our intra Africa trade,” he explained, “and that includes locating or creating trade opportunities across the continent, getting involved in forums and organisations that have a mandate to prompt investment and policy reforms by African governments, and making sure that discussions about intra-Africa trade are standing items on the agendas of every company board meeting.”
But this year, a slower global recovery and a less benign outlook for commodity importers will mean that growth will shrink to 3.8 percent. Further, as always, these aggregate numbers of course masks significant differences amongst countries. Projected growth for oil exporters in 2022 has been revised up by about point eight percentage points, while growth for oil importers has been revised down by 0.4 percentage points. And among oil importers, downgrades are particularly pronounced for the most fragile economies. Looking ahead, we only expect growth to pick up to around 4 percent in 2023, or about 1.7 percent in per capita terms. While you know this is welcome, it is still not enough to help countries make ground – a lot of the lost ground from the effects of the pandemic. It also makes the task of creating jobs, fighting climate change, and achieving the sustainable development goals that much harder to achieve. Indeed, per capita incomes are expected to remain 4½ percent below pre pandemic projections.
African ministers in charge of finance, planning and economic development, as well as leading figures from the private and public sectors will participate in the 54th session of the ECA Conference of Ministers (CoM2022) from the 11th to the 17th of May 2022. The hybrid event will be jointly hosted in Dakar, Senegal, by the Economic Commission for Africa and the government of Senegal on the theme “Financing Africa’s Recovery: Breaking New Ground.”
The programme will include high level ministerial panels and round table discussions on how to transform the continued threat of the COVD-19 pandemic into an accelerator of growth and global prosperity. CoM2022 will also feature the launch of ECA’s annual flagship Economic Report on Africa.
These harmonisation efforts will further improve trade in support of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), by deepening African integration and enabling the development of markets for health commodities and technologies?
EU to turn to Africa to wean itself off Russian natural gas: report (Business Insider)
In the draft strategy document, the European Commission said it planned to boost imports of liquefied natural gas by 50 billion cubic meters and pipeline gas from countries other than Russia by 10 billion cubic meters, per Bloomberg. The European Union is planning to turn to Africa to help wean itself off Russian natural gas, Bloomberg reported, citing a draft document detailing the trade bloc’s energy strategy.
Trading aims: The value of Africa’s deep integration trade agreement (European Council on Foreign Relations)
In this context, EU policymakers should view the recent creation of an Africa-wide market under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as an opportunity to consolidate and strengthen commercial and geopolitical ties with Africa.
Bringing together 300 e-commerce platforms, over one million traders and product portfolio in excess of 100, 000 brands, the shopping festival is the clearest indication yet of the growing trade and economic ties between Beijing and different African capitals. Powered by technology, the event will grant Chinese consumers real-time interaction with high quality production bases in 23 African countries.
Global economy news
WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala put forward on 3 May the outcome document that emerged from the informal process conducted with the Quad (the European Union, India, South Africa and the United States) for an intellectual property response to COVID-19.
After an impasse of more than one year in the TRIPS Council, DG Okonjo-Iweala, working with Deputy Director-General Anabel González, supported an informal group of ministers to come together around what could be a meaningful proposal, without prejudice to their respective positions, that could provide a platform to be built upon by the membership.
In their discussions, the Quad adopted a problem-solving approach aimed at identifying practical ways of clarifying, streamlining and simplifying how governments can override patent rights, under certain conditions, to enable diversification of production of COVID-19 vaccines.
WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the CEO Advisory Committee of the International Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (IGBA) held on 2 May a virtual meeting to discuss how to promote international health equity and access to therapeutics. The meeting marked the initial step towards a continuing dialogue aimed at contributing to the fight against the pandemic and securing global public health beyond the current health crisis.
Unlocking e-commerce in LDCs: Governments hold the key (Trade for Development News)
Our contribution to this process has been to work directly with governments to support the formulation of national e-commerce strategies and policies. This alignment can be achieved through strong relationships within LDC governments and working together with trade ministries to drive their own national e-commerce strategy and regulations.
Non-alignment urgent imperative for Global South (Asia Times)
BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) has a bank , and for the 16 nations of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) there is the Development Bank of Southern Africa; yet the reserves of the countries joined to these projects are still kept in the United States or in European capitals.
Ambition was plentiful at last year’s climate conference, but outcomes can best be described as mixed when it comes to climate finance. While some eye-catching pledges made headlines, for the majority of the world where climate change impacts are a constant reality, these can still feel far-removed, not to mention entirely inadequate in scale against the estimated $60-90 trillion of investment needed over the next 15 years.
Trade is a critical part of on the ground adaptation efforts that must also be considered, specifically local trade amongst small and medium enterprises which are impacted head-on by climate emergencies. We are seeing communities already vulnerable to shocks affected not only in terms of their resources getting destroyed or depleted but also due to a lack of support systems when this happens. There is an added dimension to this, in which we are now moving into a phase where disasters happening in one part of the world have a ripple effect, impacting global supply chains.
New data from the World Bank finds that private investment in low- and middle-income country infrastructure is rebounding from the historic lows recorded in 2020. Private investment commitments in low- and middle-income countries totaled $76.2 billion in 2021, representing a 49% increase from 2020.
“The rebound of private sector investment commitments in infrastructure is a positive sign that the recovery from COVID19 had begun in 2021,” said Imad Fakhoury, the World Bank’s Global Director for Infrastructure Finance, PPPs & Guarantees. “There is a significant opportunity to forge ahead with quality investments in green, resilient and inclusive infrastructure in 2022. But as economic stimulus slows, credit conditions tighten and uncertainty from overlapping crises intensifies, there will be even greater need for private investment in infrastructure. This will require working collectively to enable private sector solutions and putting in place stronger foundations for a post-crises recovery.”
Rich nations scramble to seal coal transition deals before COP27 (Engineering News)
As they prepare for the next round of global climate talks in November, officials from rich countries are trying to pull together a series of multibillion-dollar packages to help poor countries phase out coal. But negotiations have been snarled by national politics and Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has made the dirtiest fossil fuel a lucrative commodity to mine and export, according to people familiar with the talks who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.
A summary by the forum’s chair sets out how countries can use trade to protect the ocean, while boosting the local economy and creating jobs, in line with Sustainable Development Goal 14. The fourth edition of the UN Oceans Forum, organized by an UNCTAD-led coalition from 6 to 8 April, called for sufficient and reliable long-term investment in a Blue Deal to conserve and sustainably use the ocean for sustainable development.