Building capacity to help Africa trade better

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South Africans set for early US citrus programme start (Fruitnet)

The South African Summer citrus marketing campaign in the US is likely to start in earnest by the middle of June, according to Summer Citrus from South Africa. This will be some weeks earlier than last year and is the result of the Californian crop coming to an early end this year. First container shipments are already on the water and the first of the weekly conventional reefer vessels is likely to start loading by the middle of May. “The development of the fruit on the trees will determine the date of departure of the first conventional reefer,” said Summer Citrus from South Africa spokesperson Boet Mouton.

Conventional reefer vessels for the US programme are supplied by Seatrade and will be loaded weekly from the middle of May, or a soon as the fruit is ready for picking. South African citrus shippers to the USA normally use containers at the start and the end of the season. This year South African growers will be grateful that they have the conventional programme at their disposal as everywhere around them exporters are facing a shortages of containers.

While container shipments have in recent times been disrupted, particularly due to floods in the port of Durban and delays elsewhere in South Africa ports, conventional reefer vessels have been loading at the Fresh Produce Terminals in the Durban port as well as in Cape Town on the trade route to Europe.

South Africa advocates boosting mining cooperation with Angola (Angop)

South Africa’s Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantasha, on Tuesday in Cape Town, said that his country wanted to boost cooperation with Angola in the geology and mining sector. Speaking to the Angolan press after holding a working meeting with his Angolan counterpart, Diamantino Azevedo, he said that it was necessary to increase trade in mineral products between the two states. ”We have to increase trade in mineral products because we are trading more with our former colonisers than with ourselves,” Gwede Mantasha said on the sidelines of the Mining Indaba international conference. He noted that Angola has great potential and experience in the oil sector and South Africa in the mining sector.

Insights from Zimbabwe on how to link formal and informal economies (The Conversation)

Industry capacity utilisation increases to 56,5pc: CZI (The Herald)

According to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) 2021 manufacturing sector survey report launched in Harare yesterday, surveyed firms invested US$147 million towards new capacity, with the funds largely coming from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ’s) foreign currency auction system. “37,8 percent of the manufacturing sector undertook investments to increase their production capacity in 2021 and this resulted in additional capacity of 25,6 percent,” Dr Cornelius Dube, the CZI chief economist, said while presenting the survey report.

“Testimonial to this, the manufacturing sector has realised a 5,5 percent increase in exports from US$383 million in 2020 to US$404 million in 2021. In addition, we welcome the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) timely figures on provincial GDP with Harare having $294 billion out of $1,157 billion in 2020, thus contributing 24,4 percent to national GDP,” Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza said.

Transporters appose second-hand trucks, buses importation ban (Business Daily)

Kenyan transporters have protested the government’s decision to ban the importation of second-hand buses and trucks. Salim Karama, one of the transporters, said the ban by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) will encourage more companies to shift their base to other East African countries where such policies do not apply. “The shift by the government to ban importation of trucks not more than 8-years to three years and further banning them altogether will make the trucks more expensive and will increase from the current Sh5.5 million to more than Sh16 million. This will make them unaffordable to many transporters, causing them either to close their shop or move to countries where such policies do not apply,” said Mr Karama. Former Kenya Transporters Association executive director Dennis Ombok blamed the government for introducing such a policy without involving key stakeholders such as transporters.

Kigoma ports steal show in regional trade volume (Dailynews)

Total trade volume between Tanzania and other countries sharing Lake Tanganyika, particularly the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), stood at 740bn/- in the year 2019 compared to a combined 600bn/- earned from other major four border points in East African Community (EAC) during the same period.

Available statistics indicate that earnings through Kigoma ports in Lake Tanganyika are on the increase despite infrastructure challenges compared to other border points including Sirari in Mara, Namanga in Arusha, Holili in Kilimanjaro and Horohoro in Tanga. It is on this backdrop that the Kigoma Regional Commissioner, Mr Thobias Andengenye, is upbeat that the three-day Lake Tanganyika Investment and Business Summit, which started on Monday, will further open up Kigoma Region for cross-border trade.

For his part, Kigoma’s Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) Chairman, Mr Abdul Mwilima, said efforts should be increased to open up Kigoma since the region is located in a strategic position for trade along Lake Tanganyika. He was of the view that trade volume between Tanzania and other countries sharing Lake Tanganyika could surpass 1tri/- if there is supporting infrastructure such as roads, railways, airports and ports.

Ugandan manufacturers push for return to Rwandan market (The East African)

Ugandan exporters and manufacturers are still struggling to return to the Rwandan market, three months after Kigali reopened its common border with Kampala after nearly three years of closure. The persistent trade bottlenecks are a blot on the recent public relations efforts by Lt-Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the Commander of Uganda’s Land Forces, whose shuttle diplomacy was followed by the announcement of the reopening of the common borders in February. The reopening was taken as a sign of a new chapter in the relations between Uganda and Rwanda, as both countries promised to tackle contentious issues through dialogue. The open border was expected to return bilateral trade between the two countries, especially in sectors such as food and agriculture, mining, iron and steel-related industries.

“Since the announcement of the border opening, there have been preliminary discussions about resuming operations in a market where we have not been in a long time. These have been mainly between Ugandan manufacturers and their distributors in Rwanda pushing for the resumption of trade,” Mr Birungi said.

Uganda’s exports to Rwanda hit a low of $2 million in 2020 at the peak of hostilities between the two countries, from a high of more than $200 million before the closure of the border. Ugandan manufacturers took more business into South Sudan and explored further alternative markets like the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Inside Tanzania, Uganda deals sealed in Samia’s state visit (The Citizen)

Tanzania has agreed to cut a road toll by about 71 percent on the Uganda-bound cargo trucks as part of the consensus reached during the meeting of leaders of the two countries. From mid-last year, Tanzania government charged $500 on Ugandan cargo trucks as fees collected for road repairs and maintenance. Kampala immediately protested and filed a complaint with the East African Community (EAC) Council of Ministers accusing Dodoma of breaching the Common Market Protocol by imposing different road user charges to partner states in the same trading bloc. The Common Market is one of the pillars of the seven member regional bloc. However, starting next financial year, which kicks-off this July, Tanzania will charge $10 per 100km on the cargo trucks plying the 1,485km Mutukula-Dar es Salaam route. The $10 translates into about $144 for the distance, down from the $500.

Tanzania cuts levy for Uganda cargo trucks (Monitor)

Bazivamo urges Rwanda’s private sector to leverage opportunities in EAC market (The New Times)

Christophe Bazivamo, the Deputy Secretary General of East African Community (EAC) has urged the Rwandan private sector to leverage opportunities that are available in the region, by improving standards of their products as a way of expanding their businesses and increasing revenues on the regional and global market.

“Rwanda private sector should first consider the market available in the East African Community while preparing their business plans,” he said. “Some measures to facilitate free movement of businesses in the East African Community include the use of national identity cards while travelling in the region. People can call to and from Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Rwanda and this is part of the steps to ease doing business, cooperation and integration,” he said. One of the investment and market opportunities in the region, he said, is available in agribusiness.

Freight forwarders seek review of operation fee (The Street Journal)

The Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) has called for the review of the act establishing the Council for Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) on the Practitioners Operation Fee (POF). According to the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, the country is losing much revenue to the non-collection of POF. He noted that integrating the policy will promote global competitiveness and build capacity for effective participation in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

FG woos investors to revamp Calabar, Kano Free Trade Zones (Daily Sun)

As part of its efforts to revitalise the economy, the Federal Government of Nigeria through The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) via its Secretariat, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) has declared open the opportunity for the concession of the Calabar and Kano Free Trade Zones in a bid to make them world-class standard, functional and globally competitive.

The Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment (FMITI) Adeniyi Adebayo Otunba, who made this known in Lagos decried the cumulative investment earnings of about $20bn from the Calabar and Kano Free Trade Zones when compared vis a viz what other African countries particularly have earned from their Trade Zones.

“The ultimate aim of the free trade zone scheme is to attract foreign direct investments, generate employment, enhance trade and industrialization, promote exports, enhance foreign exchange earnings, and encourage the transfer of technical know-how.

“Other countries have leveraged FTZs, which are designated areas for promoting trade openness and investment facilitation, as a dynamic instrument for growth and development. Sadly, efforts to replicate the success of the FTZ model in Nigeria have not recorded the same success,”

UK-Ghana trade links boosted as political and business leaders meet in London (GOV.UK)

Economic ties between the UK and Ghana were boosted this week as the UK-Ghana Business Council (UKGBC) met in London. The formation of the UK-Ghana Investors Group, made up of investors and business leaders with the aim of creating investment opportunities, was announced and UK representatives welcomed recent deals in the gold supply chain and security sectors worth more than £100 million.

Minister for Africa Vicky Ford said: The UK and Ghana trade is already worth almost a billion pounds per year, but there is so much more our two economies can do together. The signature of the UK-Ghana Trade Partnership Agreement last year paved the way for closer economic ties and this week we’ve discussed the potential for huge growth in both countries, driven by British International Investment’s ambitious plan for the year ahead.

Minister for Trade Policy Penny Mordaunt said: The UK’s trade ties with Ghana already help businesses in both our nations flourish, and I’m determined to deepen these ties to create more jobs and deliver mutual prosperity. Ghana is one of the fastest-growing economies in the region and the UK’s fourth-biggest export market in sub-Saharan Africa, with the UK aiming to boost UK-Ghana trade to £1.4 billion by 2024.

Ghana’s democratic credentials, mining framework good for investment – Jinapor (Class FM Online)

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel A. Jinapor, ahs said there must be a careful balance between ensuring that citizens get the maximum benefits from their resources and attracting the needed capital and technology for the effective exploitation of the resources. Contributing to a panel discussion on ‘Resource Nationalism’ at the ongoing “African Mining Indaba” conference in Cape Town, South Africa, Samuel A. Jinapor stressed that striking the right balance between the aforementioned issues will resolve the headache of resource nationalism.

The Lands Minister said the framework for the mining sector in Ghana is cast out clearly and indicated that, for potential investors who want to do business with the government of Ghana, they should be certain that the sanctity of contractual agreements is the norm and not the exception, adding that government will respect and comply with contractual agreements.

“If an investor were to come into Ghana, he knows the local content laws clearly, he knows the physical framework we work with in the country clearly and the regulatory framework so the rules don’t change in the middle of the game,” he said. Mr Jinapor said the issue of value sharing and Mining impacting on the livelihoods of populations have to be looked at dispassionately as poverty, COVID- 19 and other occurrences have made these impact almost impossible to be realized by the indigenes of mining nations.

What you need to know about the Central African Republic’s adoption of Bitcoin (African Business)

he Central African Republic (CAR) adopted Bitcoin as an official currency alongside its local currency, the CFA franc, the presidency announced on April 27. The move sparked a backlash from the region’s central bank, the Bank of Central African States (BEAC), which manages the Central African CFA Franc common currency used by six countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. In response to the move, BEAC issued a statement declaring the CAR’s adoption of the new cryptocurrency law “null and void” and in violation of the tenets of the regional bloc. “This law suggests CAR aims at establishing a currency competing with or aiming at replacing the Central Africa Central Bank and the Franc CFA,” the statement said. The IMF also raised concerns about the CAR’s decision, protesting that the move was made without consulting the regional economic union, the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC). The adoption “raises major legal, transparency, and economic policy challenges,” the IMF said, adding that they are assisting the region and the CAR’s authorities in addressing the concerns posed by the new law.

Why import restrictions aren’t enough to help Nigeria industrialise (The Conversation)

Nigeria has a strong ambition to industrialise. It has relied heavily on the restriction of imports of certain goods targeted for domestic production. But for Nigeria’s industrialisation drive to succeed, it needs a broader array of industrial policy tools than simply import restrictions. These tools should include addressing binding constraints in different sectors to raise productivity. And addressing the flaws in the design and implementation of industrial policies. A further complicating factor is regional integration, specifically Nigeria’s approach to it, and a lack of capacity both in Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States to manage illegal cross-border trade.

Industrial policies have often been a response to economic crises following a fall in oil prices. Governments consequently tend to rely on import restrictions and foreign exchange controls to incentivise domestic production. Nigeria’s focus has been on the so-called backward integration policy . Under this approach imports of designated products are limited to a handful of companies through licences and quotas. Import licences are gradually phased out as these firms ramp up local production.

But successive governments have not paid enough attention to the whole value chain. Rice milling capacity, for example, is constrained by continued electricity disruptions as well as lack of local markets for spare parts of milling equipment. This elevates the operating cost of mills, and increased disruptions. The effect is a reduction in the competitiveness of locally produced rice.

Tech sector driving Nigeria’s govt non-oil export agenda (Vanguard)

Nigeria is regarded as Africa’s largest ICT market with 82% of the continent’s telecoms subscribers and 29% of internet usage. Sub-Saharan Africa is also projected to be the fastest growing region with a compound annual growth rate of 4.6% and an additional subscriber enrollment of over 167 million in the next five years. Nigeria is expected to account for over 55% of this. The NCC estimates that the country has about 76 million subscriptions on broadband (penetration of 40%) and 187 million lines in the voice segment as of May 2021, representing 97.9% teledensity.

Senegal: State distributes aid as global economic crisis hits (Africanews)

President Macky Sall has announced “emergency” cash transfers to more than half a million Senegalese households to help them cope with the effect of the war in Ukraine and the Covid pandemic. Since the start of the war in Ukraine at the end of February, oil prices have soared on world markets, driving a sharp rise in fuel and food prices in many countries, including Senegal. “To provide solutions to the unfavourable situation, I have decided to support the resilience of 542,956 households to receive an exceptional financial cash transfer from the state in the amount of 43.4 billion CFA francs (66 million euros),” said President Sall, during a ceremony at the Grand Theatre in Dakar.

Senegal’s economy returned to its pre-Covid-19 growth trajectory last year, but the war in Ukraine “clouds the outlook” for the economy, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in March in a statement. The rise in global food and energy prices caused by the conflict comes on top of “the aftermath of the pandemic, regional insecurity and rising social demands in the run-up to parliamentary elections in July,” Edward Gemayel, who led an IMF mission to Senegal from 9 to 15 March, said recently.

EBRD predicts that the Moroccan economy will grow by 3% in 2023 (Tumbler Ridge News)

The EBRD presents its economic forecasts report stating that by 2022, the Kingdom’s economy will face adverse weather conditions that will affect agricultural production in Ukraine, in addition to the impact of the war. This forecast is taken into account “The effects of the drought are expected to put pressure on domestic food prices and boost the country’s food imports to higher international prices.” The financial institution says that disruptions in the global supply chain are an additional drag on growth. “These risks are likely to continue into next year, although we can see a resurgence in 2023 growth, forecast at 3%, as agriculture recovers and the pace of growth returns to the pre-epidemic level,” supports EBRD.

INS explains why imported food inflation is higher in Douala than in Yaoundé (Business in Cameroon)

The prices of imported food products increased by 10.1% between March 2021 and March 2022 in Douala, the National Stats Agency (INS) reported. In Yaoundé, the rate is 9.2%. Logically, prices in Douala should increase less than in Yaoundé, since the economic capital is home to the country’s largest port, which is the gateway to more than 90% of the goods imported by the state. Yaoundé, on the other hand, is located about 240 km from the port of Douala, and consequently, the final prices of imported products are usually inflated by the cost of transportation. To explain this mismatch, an INS official blamed it on the “speculative activities of crooked traders,” whose tracking seems to be more vigorous in Yaoundé (the administrative capital) by the Ministry of Commerce’s national fraud control and repression brigade. The crackdown on these dishonest traders is less dynamic in other cities, the INS official regretted.

The Port of Kribi plans to build an 80 MW thermal power plant (Business in Cameroon)

The Port Authority of Kribi (PAK) announced the upcoming construction of a thermal power plant (80 MW) to supply the port platform. Patrice Melom, MD-PAK has already launched an international call for tender to select the partner. The successful bidder will be responsible for conducting comprehensive technical, financial, legal, and commercial due diligence. The company will also define the technical solution to be implemented while specifying the installed capacity, the type of technology to be used, and the impact on the operational performance of the plant. In addition, it will be in charge of developing a consultation file to be used for the selection of private partners and the elaboration of contractual documents needed in the framework of the project, in particular, the power purchase agreement.

Egypt imports from COMESA countries record decline by end of 2021: CAPMAS (Egypt Today)

The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) monitored a noticeable decline in the volume of Egyptian imports from the COMESA group recently, as the total value of Egyptian imports amounted to about 15.8 million dollars in December 2021, compared to 31.4 million dollars in December 2020, a decline of about $15.6 million. CAPMAS issued a bulletin, saying that Egypt’s imports from Tunisia amounted to about 4 million dollars last December, compared to 13.4 million dollars in the same month in 2020, a decrease of 9.4 million dollars, followed by imports from Libya, which amounted to about 3 million dollars last December, compared to 5.3 million dollars in the same month in 2020, a decrease of 2.7 million dollars.

The list of countries also included Egyptian imports from Zimbabwe, which amounted to $2.4 million last December, compared to $3 million in the same month in 2020, a decrease of $600,000. As for the rest of the COMESA countries, imports from them declined and amounted to $600,000 last December, compared to $9.7 million in the same month in 2020, a decrease of $9.1 million. The Egyptian exports to the Arab countries amounted to about 929.6 million dollars last January, while they were 886.3 million dollars in January 2021, an increase of about 43.3 million dollars.

African Competition Increases as Hapag Develops New Terminal in Egypt (The Maritime Executive)

Recovery of growth, incomes, and human development: Update on Niger’s economic situation (World Bank)

The combination of the COVID-19 pandemic with the climate and security crises has had a particular impact on Niger’s health indicators. A large and growing proportion of Niger’s population is in poor health. Restoring public health priorities and resuming economic growth are essential conditions for sustainably financing increased health spending and achieving better health outcomes.

Seychelles: African Development Bank approves $20mln loan to support Covid-19 recovery (ZAWYA)

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a $20 million flexible loan to finance Seychelles’ Governance and Economic Reforms Support Program, expected to help drive the island nation’s macroeconomic stability and recovery from Covid-19 in the medium-term.

The government program aims to deepen reforms introduced through the Bank’s Covid-19 Crisis Response Budget Support Program, approved in June 2020 for $10 million. These reforms are expected to advance fiscal sustainability, improve the business environment and Seychelles’ climate change and environmental resilience.

“The facility comes at an opportune time and will provide much-needed relief given the economic hardship we are faced with in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. It will help the government meet the current budgetary financing gap and help achieve economic development targets as we steer the country on the path to recovery and debt sustainability,” Seychelles’ Minister of Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning, Naadir N.H. Hassan said.

African trade news

SADC to adopt public finances model law (New Era)

Standing committees of the SADC Parliamentary Forum and the Regional Women’s Parliamentary Caucus have unanimously endorsed a draft SADC Model Law on Public Financial Management, and will soon commend it to the highest decision-making body of the forum, the plenary assembly, for adoption. The endorsement happened at the end of a two-day consultation over the draft Model Law on PFM that took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, recently. The validation was the climax of a series of similar engagements with different stakeholders over several weeks, as the SADC PF sought the buy-in and strengthening of the model law, the first of its kind in the world.

Musokotwane, who was a member of the forum as an MP between 2011-2021, said the PFM Model Law or related laws must have provisions for the participation of all stakeholders to provide checks and balances regarding the utilisation of funds and their impact. ”In this regard, the legislation must provide the MPs either individually or through committees of parliament the necessary voice and powers to check what impact is being created by the money that has been spent, otherwise you risk money being expended but other things taking place,” he noted.

Newly launched E-commerce platform seeks to link SMEs to W.African market (Capital Business)

Small and Medium Enterprises in Africa are set to benefit from a newly launched E-commerce trading platform aimed at promoting intra-Africa trade. Ancestral House Eastern Africa online trading platform which has its offices in Abuja and Nairobi is aimed at enabling traders to access East and West African markets. This new platform will offer services such as business matchmaking, market research, logistics, consumer trends, and behaviors.

Ose Imoukhuede, the firm’s chairman, said: “The biggest challenge most SMEs in the continent face is that they cannot easily export goods within the continent, but they can easily export and import goods from other continents despite the Intra Africa trade potential being over USD 1 billion annually... There are a number of challenges facing the SMEs sector in the continent ranging from lack of market information, inexperienced exporters/importers, poor logistics infrastructure, inefficient cross-border payment systems/infrastructure, cultural differences, gaps, trust deficit, and varied Competitive landscape. We want to be the one-stop solution for all these problems and enable them scale up their businesses.”

Fintech solutions empower African SMEs with financing alternatives (Trade Finance Global)

AfCFTA: Insecurity, infrastructure deficiency threaten regional trade – WACTAF (The Sun Nigeria)

The West African Association for Cross-Border Trade, in Agro-forestry-pastoral, Fisheries products and Food (WACTAF) has lamented insecurity and infrastructure deficiency, saying they are threats to Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

In a presentation by its President, Alhaji Salami Alasoadura, infrastructure deficiency and insecurity were major hindrances to cross-border trade in the West African corridor and have posed setback in the distribution of agricultural products, goods and services. He bemoaned lack of connectivity between Customs commands and their stations along the borders, noting that there were no stable policies on banned goods, export levy on agricultural produce, multiple transit levies along the corridors.

Africa must be dependent on its own financial resources for sustainable dev’t – Akufo-Addo (New Ghana)

President Of The African Development Bank President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has underscored the need for Africa to be dependent on its own financial resources for sustainable development. According to the President, the continent must not rely on external development assistance for its development but find ways to expand the capital base of regional financial institutions like the Africa Development Fund (ADF), to make them significant in the scheme of things.

Dr Adesina is on day’s visit to Ghana ahead of the Bank’s 2022 Annual Meetings which would be held in Accra from May 23 to 27. The meetings, which will be attended by several African leaders, will be held on the theme: “Achieving Climate Resilience and a Just Energy Transition for Africa.” It will address climate change and energy transition challenges of the continent, as well as make a case for sustained replenishment of the ADF and for the fund to be allowed to use its equity leverage more resources for the African continent.

Debt distress in Africa: biggest problems, and ways forward (The Conversation)

Fostering Regional Cooperation for Sustainable Oil Production (East African Business Week)

Following the announcement of the Final Investment Decision (FID) in February 2022, and the recent accession of the Democratic republic of Congo (DRC) into the East African Community (EAC), the case for regional and international cooperation in the sustainable exploitation of natural resources has never been stronger. This is primarily because the East African Crude Oil pipeline (EACOP) project not only traverses Uganda and Tanzania but is designed to be a regional pipeline with potential linkages to DRC and South Sudan.

This is an exciting period for the EAC considering that Uganda is transitioning from exploration to the development and production of its petroleum resources with a project investment estimated at about $15-20Bn. The Republic of Tanzania Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) project is estimated at $30bn, while Kenya and the DRC are also undertaking exploration activities in their respective provinces. South Sudan (which is currently an observer at the EAC) is already producing and exporting crude oil via pipeline from Hegleig and Paloch to Khartoum and then to Port Sudan. Mozambique, which falls within the Western Rift Valley, is already developing its LNG project after a Final Investment Decision (FID) for a $20bn project. The East African potential cooperation is a great opportunity to lift the EAC people from poverty. This, however, will require synergies from government entities, including the regulators, in order to lay strategies and develop policies that maximise value retention in the region through National Content.

Stakeholders Discuss Gas Monetization and Energy Poverty During Oil Industry Business Forum In Equatorial Guinea (Social News XYZ)

As global pressures mount to transition to cleaner sources of fuel, Africa continues to struggle with high energy poverty and slow rates of economic growth. To mitigate this, and correspondingly reduce carbon emissions, Africa is committed to utilizing every energy resource at the continent’s disposal, and natural gas has emerged as the most suitable. In regard, speakers during a panel at the Malabo Business Breakfast discussed energy transition, energy poverty and gas monetization.

As Equatorial Guinea progresses with its national development plan to capture domestic and regional gas reserves, processing these reserves and then distributing them across Africa, the speakers emphasized the progress made as well as the role gas-to-power will play in electrifying Africa. According to Berniko, “If you look at Africa, there are great gas opportunities that can be used for production through power plants to turn gas into electricity. Equatorial Guinea has about 67% energy access. We have done a great job since 2012 and the turbogas plant has added to this and has developed the use of natural gas for local consumption.”

With gas-to-power playing a role in addressing energy poverty in Africa, the panel discussed the intersection of energy poverty and energy transition, emphasizing that Africa needs to prioritize economic development before the continent transitions to renewables.

Is Africa ready for green growth? New report assesses Gabon, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal and Tunisia (AfDB)

A new report co-authored by the African Development Bank and the Global Green Growth Institute, has found evidence of growing political commitment to green growth in Africa. The Africa Green Growth Readiness Assessment Report was launched on Wednesday during a side-event at the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, being held in Abidjan from 9 to 20 May.

he study focused on an in-depth analysis in seven countries, namely Gabon, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, and Tunisia. The findings are based on nine strategic and operational dimensions, including political commitment, policy and planning, and financing & budgeting. The authors define green growth as “the means to promote and maximize opportunities for sustainable economic development through building resilience and managing resources efficiently…”

The assessment found evidence that African leaders are actively championing the UN Sustainable Development Goals and simultaneously implementing the nationally determined contributions, a component of the Paris climate treaty. In addition, Kenya, Morocco and Tunisia have enshrined the fundamentals of green growth, including the right to a clean and safe environment and citizens’ right to consultation, in their constitutions. The governments of Rwanda, Kenya, Morocco, Senegal and Mozambique have adopted green growth and climate-resilient economic strategies.

Africa pivots to cheaper wheat alternatives (The Herald)

Global wheat prices are so high that African consumers are starting to ditch the grain from their diet. Food producers in Kenya, Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Cameroon say they’re mixing cheaper alternatives into their breads, pastries and pastas. Local rice, manioc flour and sorghum are substituting for wheat, which has spiked about 40 percent this year as Russia’s invasion squeezed exports from Ukraine, one of the biggest shippers. These domestic crops are less exposed to trade disruptions and global inflation, thus offering some protection from food prices that remain near record levels. Kenya imports about 44 percent of its wheat from the Black Sea region, and the surging prices helped stoke inflation to 6,5 percent in April. Unga Group, the Nairobi-based maker of Exe brand wheat flour and Jogoo maize flour, is seeing a shift in sales to its Amana line of rice and pulses.

COVID-19, Conflict in Ukraine wake up call for Africa on food production, say Buhari, Adesina (Vanguard)

President Muhammadu Buhari, Monday, said that the effects of COVID-19 and the conflict in Ukraine were a wake up call on the Africa continent to collaborate amongst themselves for sustainable food production. The same position was canvassed by the President of African Development Bank, AfDB, Akuwunmi Adesina.

Both men spoke at first Conference of Speakers and Heads of African Parliament in Abuja with the theme “Enhancing Africa’s post-covid economic recovery through parliamentary leadership” where the speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila said that insecurity was becoming a biggest threat to the future of Africa children.

Declaring the even open, President Buhari who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo emphasized the need for the African countries to collaborate for the common cause of achieving self sufficiency in food production. He said: “We also need to leverage on technology to build stronger systems for the protection of all. Our legislations across the continent must be designed to forge technology and technology innovations. This has been encouraged in Nigeria and since 2015, there are at least seven high tech companies valued at over one billion dollars each. Many of our countries have also seen the rise of some of these kind of companies and some are even licensed in our different countries. But we must look for continent wide legislation that makes the world

Middle East and North Africa: Embracing Modern Solutions to Ensure Better Food Security (AgriBusiness Global)

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is having negative impacts on a global scale. For the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the war is worsening an already bad situation of food insecurity. In Egypt, where bread is one of the staple foods, the country imports 80% of wheat from Russia and Ukraine. In 2020, Egypt imported 8.2 million tonnes of grain from Russia alone. With the invasion, which has triggered a surge in controls on food export across the globe, the country faces skyrocketing prices for grain, making it unaffordable for Egyptian consumers. This situation is not unique to Egypt. Across MENA, the largest food importing region in the world, the perennial challenge of food insecurity is deepening. Notably, on average more than 50% of the food consumed in the region is imported. In some countries, like the United Arab Emirates, 90% of food needs are met by other countries.

“We are extremely concerned about the millions of people in this region who are already struggling to access enough food because of a toxic combination of conflict, climate change, and the economic aftermath of COVID-19,” says Corinne Fleischer, World Food Program Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

She adds that the knock-on effect of the Ukraine crisis is adding further strain to the import-dependent region with the prices of wheat flour and vegetable oil — two key staples in the diet of most families — rising across the region. Cooking oil is up 36% in Yemen and 39% in Syria. Wheat flour, on the other hand, is up 47% in Lebanon, and 15% in Libya.

For the region, it is becoming increasingly critical to adopt modern plant science solutions and embrace the use of innovation and technology for a more sustainable model of agriculture to improve the incomes and livelihoods of farmers and contribute decisively to food security.

Asian African Chamber celebrated 4th Leadership Forum and signed MOUs worth USD 200 Million in Trade and Investment in Africa (Devdiscourse)

Asian-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AACCI) organized the prestigious 4th Asian African Leadership Forum 2022 in New Delhi on Sunday, 24th April at India International Centre which consisted of a grand summit, leadership awards and B2B networking amongst diplomats and industry leaders.

Apart from the participation of over 100 professionals from 25 plus industry sectors and special guests from the film and fashion industry, the Forum witnessed the presence of Dadang Hidayat, Minister Counsellor of Indonesia and CR Chaudhary - Ex-Minister - BJP, Department of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. All the distinguished dignitaries emphasized the role of Africa and Asia in the next economic boom, joining hands to surprise the developed world. An encouraging panel discussed, ‘Measures taken to counter the effects of COVID on Business and Economy’ and explored the areas where the countries in the two continents could become complementary to each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Dr Parin Somani - Educator, Motivational Speaker, Author, Humanitarian and Philanthropist; Eleonora Bonacossa - Founder of ARETA New Perspectives for Leaders and Captain Zoya Agarwal - Airline Pilot and UN Women Spokesperson.

Global economy news

Members, partner organizations outline priorities for Aid for Trade Global Review (WTO)

Organized under the theme “Empowering Connected, Sustainable Trade”, this year’s Global Review will look into how to connect the most vulnerable populations to international trade — the digital economy in particular — and how developing economies can use trade to boost economic growth, meet development objectives and build resilience. Special emphasis will be placed on green initiatives and climate change. The WTO-led Aid for Trade initiative seeks to mobilize resources to help developing countries and least-developed countries (LDCs) overcome trade-related constraints that limit their participation in international trade.

Xiamen launches BRICS event to further deepen economic, trade cooperation (PR Newswire)

As a city that hosted the ninth BRICS summit in 2017, Xiamen in Fujian province launched a serial event on April 28, aiming to showcase the special commodities and humanities of BRCIS countries – China, Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, as well as the huge opportunities and opening-up of the large Chinese market.

The serial event is seen as an important supporting event for the BRICS China Year in the field of economy and trade, which is designated to give full play to the advantages of both online and offline platforms to boost consumption. The online platform, which relies on the online CIFIT (China International Fair for Investment and Trade), displays BRICS countries’ products and latest information, and is connected to major e-commerce platforms for the sales of BRICS products. The Xiamen cross-border e-commerce industrial park created an 800-square-meter service center for products from the BRICS countries on the offline platform. Over 700 products from BRCIS countries have been collected so far by the center.

7 sustainable finance challenges to fix global inequality (WEF)

Despite the recent surge in global demand and supply of sustainable finance, the financing gap for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has actually widened, primarily in countries already furthest behind on the 2030 Agenda. Is it just a consequence of the COVID-19 crisis? Or has the system failed to channel sustainable finance to where it is most needed?

The mainstreaming of sustainability in finance and investment is an opportunity to seize and a trend to encourage. However, early evidence suggests that inequalities remain, and unintended consequences, unless acted upon, could actually slow down our collective progress towards the SDGs. Here are seven risks or challenges that require our urgent attention, and suggestions on how to mitigate them.

War in Ukraine and Omicron Weighs on Air Cargo (IATA)

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released March 2022 data for global air cargo markets showing a drop in demand. The effects of Omicron in Asia, the Russia – Ukraine war and a challenging operating backdrop contributed to the decline. Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs*), fell 5.2% compared to March 2021 (-5.4% for international operations).

Several factors in the operating environment should be noted: The war in Ukraine led to a fall in cargo capacity used to serve Europe as several airlines based in Russia and Ukraine were key cargo players. Sanctions against Russia led to disruptions in manufacturing. And rising oil prices are having a negative economic impact, including raising costs for shipping. New export orders, a leading indicator of cargo demand, are now shrinking in all markets except the US. The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) indicator tracking global new export orders fell to 48.2 in March. This was the lowest since July 2020. Global goods trade has continued to decline in 2022, with China’s economy growing more slowly because of COVID-19 related lockdowns (among other factors); and supply chain disruptions amplified by the war in Ukraine.

“Air cargo markets mirror global economic developments. In March, the trading environment took a turn for the worse. The combination of war in Ukraine and the spread of the Omicron variant in Asia have led to rising energy costs, exacerbated supply chain disruptions, and fed inflationary pressure. As a result, compared to a year ago, there are fewer goods being shipped—including by air. Peace in Ukraine and a shift in China’s COVID-19 policy would do much to ease the industry’s headwinds. As neither appears likely in the short-term, we can expect growing challenges for air cargo just as passenger markets are accelerating their recovery,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

Shipping industry reports 54 losses in 2021 amidst challenges: Allianz (Logistics Update Africa)

The global shipping industry continued its long-term positive safety trend in 2021 with 54 reported total losses (till March 1, 2022) compared with 65 last year, according to the Safety and Shipping Review 2022 report by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS).”Annual shipping losses have declined by 57 percent over the past decade since 2012 (127), while 2021 represents a significant improvement on the rolling 10-year loss average (89), reflecting the increased focus on safety measures such as regulation, improved ship design and technology and risk management advances. “The 2021 loss is more impressive due the fact that there are an estimated 130,000 ships in the global fleet today compared with some 80,000 some 30 years ago. Cargo vessels accounted for half of all vessels lost in 2021 (27). Foundered (sunk) was the main cause of total losses across all vessel types during 2021, accounting for around 60 percent (32). Fire/explosion ranked second (15 percent, 8) with machinery damage/failure third (11 percent, 6). Extreme weather was reported as being a factor in at least 13 losses during 2021, the report said.

Howden Launches End-to-End Digital Trading Platform for Cargo Risks (Insurance Journal)

UNDP calls for policies to support informal sector’s resilience, performance (The Herald)

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has called on African countries to adopt transformative policies to improve the informal sector’s resilience and performance that remains vulnerable to various shocks.

In his opening remarks in Victoria Falls on Tuesday during a two-day policy dialogue on the informal economy in Africa, UNDP Zimbabwe country office senior economist, Mr Ojijo Odhiambo said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the vulnerability of workers and enterprises in the informal economy and the significant contribution the informal economy makes to income, and employment in Africa, and how extricably it is linked to the rest of the whole economy. “We must, therefore, begin to think of counter policy narratives that challenge the status quo and unleash the immense potential of the informal economy.” Such transformative policy narratives can be implemented by collectively learning and building intelligence on how to sustainably support the informal economy – including through an enabling environment for transition to formality and decent work − so it can play a formidable role in Africa’s inclusive, sustainable, resilient and prosperous future with a special focus on people-centred recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.

Think tank warns of over-reliance on non-democratic states for natural capital imports (Global Trade Review)

Commodity trade disruption in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is pushing sovereign states to seriously reflect on the type of governments with which they trade, exposing the dubious source of many western nations’ nature-based imports, according to new research by Planet Tracker.

While governments in Europe and the US scramble to replace Russian oil and gas imports following the introduction of sanctions designed to deprive the country of the economic resources it uses to continue its aggression against its neighbour, the UK-based non-profit financial think tank warns that a wider look at natural capital trade is needed to ensure countries are not exposed to further sudden disruptions caused by non-democratic actors.

Here’s what’s happening at COP15 (Landscape News)

Global leaders are meeting to figure out how to stop terrestrial lands from losing their health and fertility, particularly due to desertification and drought, at the 15th edition of a UN-led conference. Delegates have met in Abidjan to share what’s happening in their countries and sectors and advocate for the funding, policy and support needed most to fight land degradation on their home turf. This start of the COP is when many of major ‘moments’ of the two weeks have been made, so before things progress any further, here are some notes from the floor:

A hallmark report released by UNCCD in advance of the COP – the Global Land Outlook 2 (GLO2) – is serving as the scientific foundation for discussions. Among other staggering facts, the report found that 40 percent of all ice-free land is degraded, which has direct consequences on half of humanity and poses risks for half of global GDP.

The need for gender equity is front and center. Eighty percent of employed women in most least-developed countries rely on agriculture for their livelihoods, but few own their land – for example, only 5 percent in the Middle East and North Africa. The event opened with its second-ever Gender Caucus examining policy, finance and activism in this sector, and the launch of a new report on the gendered effects of desertification and drought.

The first two days ended with the “Abidjan Call” – a collective assertion from leaders stressing the need to make drought an issue of highest global priority and to continue working toward a net-neutral level of annual land degradation by 2030.

Commonwealth needs to be a loud voice for action on climate: Prime Minister of The Bahamas (The Commonwealth)

UN organizations launch plan to catalyse action by 2025 on energy commitments (UN DESA)

Against the backdrop of a global energy crisis and worsening climate emergency, today the UN took a major step to catalyse the large-scale action and support needed for the transition to clean, affordable energy for all and net-zero emissions, with the launch of a Plan of Action by some thirty leading organizations comprising “UN-Energy”.

Speaking of the interlinked triple crises of energy, food and finance arising from the war in Ukraine, UN Secretary-General António Guterres recently stated that “we can maximize this moment to push for the transformational change our world needs.” He added that “now is the time to turn this crisis into an opportunity,” to work towards progressively phasing out coal and other fossil fuels, and accelerating the deployment of renewable energy and a just energy transition, to address our worsening climate emergency.

An Energy Compact Action Network was also launched to match those governments seeking support for their clean energy goals with those governments and businesses that have pledged over $600 billion to support these commitments.

Unparalleled attention and investment are vital for a Green, Healthy and Resilient Future for Forest supply chains (TRAFFIC)

Every year, timber exported from the Congo Basin provides livelihoods to local communities. The forestry sector is essential to regional economies. With some of the world’s richest biodiversity hotspots, the Congo rainforest is home to approximately 10,000 species of tropical plants, 30 per cent of which are unique to the area. Not to mention, as the world’s second-largest tropical rainforest, holistic Nature-Based Solutions involving these local communities, will be vital to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Yet surging demand for tropical wood, primarily from Asia but also from Europe and America, exacerbated by corruption, resource mismanagement, and ineffective regulation, is making it all too easy for criminals to harvest and trade in threatened timber illegally. And it’s not just the Congo Basin; estimates suggest that forestry crimes, including corporate crimes and illegal logging, account for US51 – 152 billion annually worldwide.

STDF partners explore impact of climate change on the global food system (WTO)

Climate change is a major disruptor of the global food system, changing the way food is produced, processed, stored and distributed. Extreme weather events, droughts and rising temperatures affect distribution patterns of pests and diseases and contribute to increased and new SPS risks. Climate Change Week showcased how trade is closely linked to the effects of climate change on the world’s food supply. As agro-climatic zones shift, new regions will face food deficits, requiring increased trade to meet demand. At the same time, unsafe trade can be a pathway for the spread of pests and diseases to new regions.

“Whatever action we take, the solutions will have to be tailored to each region, country and sector, with a focus on supporting producers and regulators in developing countries,” said Jean-Marie Paugam, WTO Deputy Director-General, at the closing seminar on 6 May. “The key to building long-term climate resilience, through risk management strategies, regulatory updates, awareness raising and other ways, is partnerships.”

Explainer: As conflict and climate change bite, are high food prices here to stay? (TODAY)

Remittances to Reach $630 billion in 2022 with Record Flows into Ukraine World Bank)

Officially recorded remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are expected to increase by 4.2 percent this year to reach $630 billion. This follows an almost record recovery of 8.6 percent in 2021, according to the World Bank’s latest Migration and Development Brief released today.

During 2021, remittance inflows saw strong gains in Latin America and the Caribbean (25.3 percent), Sub-Saharan Africa (14.1 percent), Europe and Central Asia (7.8 percent), the Middle East and North Africa (7.6 percent), and South Asia (6.9 percent). Remittances to East Asia and the Pacific fell by 3.3 percent; although excluding China, remittances grew 2.5 percent. Excluding China, remittance flows have been the largest source of external finance for LMICs since 2015.

The top five recipient countries for remittances in 2021 were India, Mexico (replacing China), China, the Philippines, and Egypt. Among economies where remittance inflows stand at very high shares of GDP are Lebanon (54 percent), Tonga (44 percent), Tajikistan (34 percent), Kyrgyz Republic (33 percent), and Samoa (32 percent).

World leaders urged to make firm commitments at Second Global COVID-19 Summit by ACT-Accelerator agency leads (WHO)


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