Building capacity to help Africa trade better

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SA poultry producers missing out on export market with lax livestock health standards (Engineering News)

The South African poultry industry is “missing a massive opportunity” to export products as a result of it not meeting the health and safety standards required by trade blocs such as the European Union (EU), says the South African Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE).

A robust and successful poultry export market for South African chicken could bring material value to the entire value chain, from local producers and their shareholders, to medium-sized and small-scale farmers, exporters, processors and consumers, the organisation says.

AMIE CEO Paul Matthew notes that, while various parties (local industry, importers and government) signed and agreed to a Poultry Master Plan in 2019, very little progress has been made in achieving the targets set out in the master plan to date.

For South Africa to export poultry to the global market, several criteria need to be urgently addressed, including gaining access to countries with which South Africa has preferential trade agreements and meeting the international health and safety standards and requirements of countries to which South Africa will export.

South African terms of trade boon provides unique opportunity for the economy (Engineering News)

South Africa is currently enjoying a terms of trade boon, with export prices outpacing import prices, market research firm Intellidex director and capital markets research head Peter Attard Montalto said on May 25. “It’s an unusual situation, driven by metals prices and helped by the fact that South Africa is a net exporter of food at the moment. We’re seeing that, even though we have very high oil prices boosting the import basket, the export side is more than offset,” he said.

‘Lifting ban on imports commitment to AfCFTA’ (The Herald)

THE Government’s lifting of the import ban on selected basic commodities is testimony to the country’s readiness and commitment to fully implement the dictates of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement to which Zimbabwe is a signatory.

Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza said Zimbabwe was still finalising its tariff offer under the AfCFTA and hoped to reap huge benefits from the agreement. Earlier this month, the Government through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, issued measures to promote the availability of basic commodities as a measure to counter the recent spike in prices of locally manufactured goods. This position has since sparked a massive outcry amongst local industry players as it allowed the flow of basic commodities onto the local retail market.

Kenya’s roadmap to double fish yield, create marine jobs (Business Daily)

Kenya’s fishing sector is set for a major boom after the government drafted a set of regulations to empower industry players. The implementation of the new rules is expected to double fish catch to 300,000 metric tonnes. According to the Draft Marine Fisheries (Access and Development) Regulations 2022 and Lake Turkana Fisheries Management Plan, Kenya will earn at least Sh100 billion and create 240,000 jobs annually once the new regulations are fully implemented. The reforms are expected to bring investment certainty in marine fisheries because fishing rights will be issued “for a sufficiently long time, allowing prudent and profitable planning of investments”.

Higher flour prices loom as millers snub maize imports (Business Daily)

Millers have snubbed maize imports on the back of high landing cost for the produce and a shorter window provided for shipping the commodity, a move that will likely subject consumers to higher cost of flour. Processors argue that currently they can only get good stocks of non-Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) maize in Mexico and it will take at least 45 days for the first consignment to arrive after orders have been placed. The government last week waved 50 percent duty levied on maize outside the East African region and allowed millers and traders to ship in 540,000 tonnes in order to check the current high prices of flour. “We have the challenges that make it nearly unfeasible to import maize in the window provided. Three months is a short time to bring in any substantial quantities,” said Rajan Shah, chief executive officer Capwell Industries. Mr Shah said the international price of maize also makes the landing cost so high that millers would find it difficult to justify affordability, hence defeating the purpose of importing at this time.

Kenya’s push for a purely formal seed system could be bad for farmers (The Conversation)

Kenya’s government wants farmers to grow crops from licensed seeds only. These are hybrid seeds that are certified free of various seed-borne pests and diseases. The Seeds and Plant Varieties Act makes it a crime to plant and exchange uncertified seeds. But many small-scale farmers rely on informal exchanges of seeds with their neighbours to secure their food supply.

Kenya is one of the leading countries in Africa when it comes to formal seed distribution. The second seed distribution channel is informal. This largely involves the production and exchange of seeds among small-scale farmers. This system is characterised by a lack of seed testing, formal registration or quality control.

Tanzania economy feels the heat from Ukraine war (The East African)

Tanzania has admitted its current account is hurting after it registered a deficit of $1.31 billion in the first three months of 2022, compared with the $352 million it recorded in the corresponding period last year. According to the Bank of Tanzania, this is due to “a steady increase in the import bill, particularly for refined white petroleum products,” signalling how supplies to the region have been hurt by the Ukraine invasion. “The external sector has been affected by challenges associated with the Russia-Ukraine war coupled with the residual effects of the Covid-19 global pandemic,” the Bank of Tanzania said in its 2022 Q1 report released on May 16.

The import bill and a rising debt also meant the country spent more than it earned. Total national debt rose a further $399.8 million from December to $37.84 billion by the end of March 2022 with the external debt alone accounting for $28.35 million by March.

prices of agricultural commodities increased from December 2021 due to “persistent supply disruptions, increasing demand for food from neighbouring countries and low or delayed short rain season harvests.”

Samia: Tanzania gearing up to connect countries through rail, road (The East African)

Tanzania is ready for regional integration and is in the process of completing road and railway networks with the goal of linking neighbouring countries, hence contributing to continental integration efforts, President Samia Suluhu Hassan has said.

However, the country will need more external funding to finance the construction of the next phases of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) as well as proposed highways to Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi, she said on Wednesday in Ghana after receiving an award for her country’s recent infrastructure projects.

Angola Takes Charge of Downstream Sector Developments (Energy Capital & Power)

As the second largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa, with production levels most recently estimated at 1.22 million barrels per day (bpd), the Republic of Angola continues to make strides across the upstream segment of its hydrocarbon sector. However, more recently it is the southern African country’s downstream sector that has been gaining faster momentum, with many large-scale projects underway. By prioritizing these downstream mega-projects, the government of Angola aims to improve domestic capacity, reduce refined petroleum imports and begin to firmly establish the country as an energy secure and independent hydrocarbon market.

Currently, 80% of the country’s refined petroleum products are imported, costing Angola $1.7 billion per annum to meet domestic demand. With this reality sharply in focus, the government is accelerating energy security and self-sufficiency ambitions, and with 8.2 billion barrels of its own oil reserves, there is a strong case for both the upgrade of current facilities and for the construction of new refineries countrywide.

to strengthen Angola’s downstream infrastructure, particularly with regards to the efficient transportation of both oil and gas, the government is ensuring investments in associated infrastructure programs, such as pipelines. In this respect, the Angolan government signed a $5 billion deal with the government of Zambia in 2021, for the construction of an oil pipeline that will link the two southern African nations. The pipeline will enable Angola to supply Zambia with finished petroleum products, strengthening regional petroleum trade.

Low oil output barely enough to cover petrol imports – Nigeria FinMin (Engineering News)

Low crude oil production means Nigeria is barely able to cover the cost of imported petrol from its oil and gas revenues, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed told Reuters on Thursday. Ahmed added in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos that she hoped Nigerian oil production would average 1.6-million barrels a day this year, up from around 1.5-million barrels a day in the first quarter.

Next Africa: A Nation’s Cryptocurrency Gamble Draws Fire (Bloomberg)

The Central African Republic’s adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender and plan to set up a crypto hub has confused donors and angered the country’s neighbors. The nation has a barely functioning economy and is riven by conflict. Only 11% of its citizens have access to the internet and there is very little electricity generation — two pre-requisites for the use of cryptocurrency. The initial announcement of Bitcoin’s adoption — only the second country to do so after El Salvador — drew a rebuke from the regional central bank and concern from the International Monetary Fund. But CAR hasn’t stopped there. The next step is to allow the purchase of land with Bitcoin and create a cryptocurrency economic zone known as Sango — The Crypto Island.

Tunisia Forum for Enhancing Economic Cooperation between Libya, Tunisia and Korea discusses developing trade with the rest of Africa (Libya Herald)

Libya’s (Tripoli-based) Minister of Economy and Trade, Mohamed Hwej discussed yesterday ways to expand the horizons of trade cooperation between Libya, Tunisia and Korea towards the rest of Africa. The Minister indicated that the State of Libya is looking forward to strengthening cooperation with Korea to develop infrastructure, reconstruction, technology and the communications sector and implement investment projects in all sectors, calling on companies and businessmen from Korea to return to complete and resume their work as soon as possible, stressing the keenness of the Ministry of Economy and Trade to provide the necessary facilities to companies Korean and provide a suitable work environment.

African trade and development news

Africa urged to harmonise production processes (Chronicle)

ZANU-PF Second Secretary, Cde Kembo Mohadi has urged African countries to urgently harmonise their production processes leveraging on the continent’s rich natural resources to create wealth so that they are able to compete with developed nations.

In an interview on Wednesday, Cde Mohadi singled out Africa as one of the richest continents in the world, saying it is capable of developing using its own collective resources.

“We need to use our own resources as Africa to develop ourselves so that we are able to compete at the same level with other continents,” he said.

AfCFTA targets 30% trade growth, to create African Customs union – Anatogu (Businessday)

Francis Anatogu, the special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on public affairs, says effective implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement will double intra-African trade which currently stands at 15 percent. Speaking via Zoom at the recent public presentation of the Nigerian Logistics and Supply Chain Industry Report in Lagos, Anatogu, who doubles as the secretary of the national action committee on AfCFTA, said the global supply chain has been disrupted in recent years by the outbreak of COVID-19, Russia-Ukraine war and nationalistic trade policies. According to him, African countries are now in a good position to take advantage of some of these disruptions to grow their supply chain industry.

Launch of Digital Policy Working Group (Afreximbank)

Afreximbank, in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat (AfCFTA), has established a digital policy working group to serve as a high-level platform and point of contact for public-private sector engagement on African Digital policy issues in the context of the rapidly evolving digital economy of Africa.

The working group comprises digital “scale-ups”; mature digital ventures in Africa with clear trade-enabling products and services, operations and business models that transcend a single domestic market and provide services across the continent – working alongside representatives of the AfCFTA and AU member states. The working group will provide AU Member States and AfCFTA State Parties with a direct line of sight to the African digital economy and the opportunities that exist within it, as well as insight into the challenges facing the companies operating in the market.

The launch of this working group will help guide digital and ecommerce policy in the region, informed by the insights and experiences of the venture companies, and leveraging on the relationships established by Afreximbank, the African Union and the AfCFTA. The working group will deepen the relationship between African venture companies and the sovereign nations in which they operate, as well as their supporting multilateral institutions, leading to the continued exponential growth of the African digital ecosystem.

The working group will initially focus on key digital policy areas that hold potential to transform Africa’s digital environment and support African development under Agenda 2063; at the inaugural workshop, the group deliberated policy and regulatory considerations that need to be addressed to accelerate Scale-Up participation in Africa, based on the insights and challenges faced by its African venture founders.

Trade bodies urged to leverage digitalisation (Graphic Online)

Trade promotion organisations (TPOs) have been urged to leverage digitalisation to boost trading across the world. The organisations have also been charged to work hard to increase trade flows to ensure sustainable growth and development.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Dr Afua Asabea Asare, said the world could not wait for the current overlapping global crises of war and COVID-19 and their attendant disequilibrium to simmer down before taking action.

She said digitalisation had been a positive outcome of the pandemic and urged members of the network to consider it as a fulcrum to boost trade.

Afreximbank strengthens support for Coalition for Dialogue on Africa to consolidate collaboration on continental vaccine manufacturing, AfCFTA and other key programmes (Afeximbank)

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has renewed its technical and financial support to the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA). After two years of successful collaboration, the two institutions have embarked on a new three-year partnership.

This support has helped CoDA to propel several initiatives across Africa, including national action on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs), capacity building to implement continent-wide asset recovery through the Common African Position on Asset Recovery (CAPAR), as well as support for the establishment and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This new multi-year funding cycle will enable CoDA to support medium- to long-term actions on these and other issues across the continent.

The multi-year support from Afreximbank is aimed at strengthening the capacity of CoDA to fulfil its mandate of increasing domestic resource mobilization by facilitating actions to reduce IFFs from Africa, supporting economic integration through the holistic implementation of the AfCFTA, and improving people’s lives through support for several developmental initiatives across Africa, including Africa’s ambitions in vaccine manufacturing.

African Union head to push Russia, Ukraine to unblock grain exports (Reuters)

Senegal’s president and African Union chairman Macky Sall said on Wednesday that when he visits Russia and Ukraine in the coming weeks he will push them to unblock exports of grains and fertilizer to avoid widespread famine. Africa is suffering from disruptions in food supply and soaring prices of basic goods and risks “disastrous consequences” if the situation endures, Sall said during a conversation with philanthropist Mo Ibrahim at the Ibrahim Governance Forum. Nearly half of Africa’s 54 countries rely on Russia and Ukraine for wheat imports, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Russia is also a major supplier of fertilizer to at least 11 countries.

If food supply blockages were to continue and there was a famine, Sall said: “The world would not be able to contain the consequences because it would be massive on immigration. It would be dramatic for African countries.”

Study highlights potential export markets for South African, SADC products (Engineering News)

A study, undertaken as part of the European Union (EU) and Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) on trade in goods, has highlighted specific opportunities for various industries to grow and/or diversify their exports and, in the process, help to offset some export risks some industries face. The study, undertaken by market research company Trade Research Advisor, modelled trade opportunities for companies trading out of Southern Africa into the EU, and vice versa, in terms of transportation, economic, commercial and socioeconomic metrics, Trade Research Advisor MD Martin Cameron revealed this week.

“We categorised the outcomes in terms of short-term opportunities, including export promotion opportunities where there are capabilities to export and it is mainly a question of marketing and diversification, and in terms of medium-term opportunities, mainly focused on export development in industries that are less mature in global trade terms.

Companies need to be aware of the opportunities in countries, whether in Southern Africa or Europe, which is what the study aimed to reveal.

“Different regions and their societies also have different tastes, which present additional trade opportunities when companies start delving into individual countries and export opportunities,” said Cameron.

“Trade relies on multiple, overlapping components. Trade is not either/or, but rather and, and, and. To successfully reap the benefits of trade, there must be infrastructure in place, services, a robust and stable legal and regulatory framework, and supply and demand,” he said.

This is key to understand in the African context, as deficient infrastructure to serve the needs of people negatively affects Africa’s economies’ growth by 2% a year. The provision of services is a more important determinant for trade than only where the opportunities lie, highlighted Cameron.

East Africa Business Network marks the dawn of a new era (EIN News)

As the African Continental Free Trade Area AfCFTA work to create a single, continent wide market for goods and services, ushering in reforms to enhance long term growth, the East Africa Business Network (EABN) is accelerating international trade and investment opportunities. “The EABN is focusing on the human to human connection across a global community.” says Mr. Bill Morgan, Vice Chairman of the East Africa Business Network and Avistas CEO & Founding Principal: “As the AfCFTA works to harmonize free trade across the continent of Africa, the EABN formerly known as the East Africa Chamber of Commerce (EACC) continues in its 17th year of facilitating public and private investments and trade between the East African Community (EAC) and the rest of the world to enhance the human condition and quality of life with integrated entrepreneurial endeavors.”

Harmonize domestic taxes to attract investments in the EAC bloc (EABC)

The East African Business Council CEO, Mr. John Bosco Kalisa has urged EAC Partner States to harmonize domestic taxes to attract more investments into the EAC region. Speaking during the Webinar on Domestic Tax Regimes and Proposed measures for 2022/23 Budgets Mr. Kalisa said the Treaty for the establishment of the East African Community obliges the Partner States to harmonize their tax policies with a view of removing tax distortions in order to bring about a more efficient allocation of resources within the Community.”

The Vice-Chairman of EABC Mr. Simon Kaheru, said “Under EAC Customs Union which came into in January 2005, the EAC Partner States agreed to apply harmonized customs duties on products imported from the rest of the world into the EAC region. This is implemented through uniform application of the East African Community Common External Tariff (CET).”

EABC Vice Chairman, Mr. Simon Kaheru applauded the EAC Minister responsible for trade, industry, finance and investment who in April 2022 finally agreed on 35% as the Maximum Rate for the new four-band tariff structure.

Development Partners reaffirm support to the EAC, as the bloc embraces new development strategies (EAC)

The EAC’s quest to strengthen its partnerships and strategically refocus to respond to East Africans’ needs, has today been affirmed by development partners, who committed to support key priorities under the 6th EAC Development Strategy. This follows the 3rd East African Community Development Partners Group (DPG) Forum held at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania, providing a platform for the EAC to share critical priorities anchored in the EAC Vision 2050, the 6th EAC Development Strategy, the Comprehensive COVID-19 recovery plan, and funding needs of the EAC Programmes and Projects.

Kenya GDP growth forecast to trail East African peers (Business Daily)

Kenya’s real GDP growth will next year trail the performance of its East Africa Community (EAC) partners except Tanzania and Burundi, new projections by the African Development Bank (AfDB) show, partly hurt by inflationary pressures. The bank’s newly released annual Africa economic outlook report shows that Kenya’s GDP growth is projected to slow down to 5.7 percent in 2023 from 5.9 percent this year—the third-lowest within the seven-member bloc. The outlook shows that Rwanda will retain the fastest GDP growth in 2023 at 7.9 percent, followed by South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) tied at 6.5 percent, Uganda (6.2), Kenya (5.7), Tanzania (5.6) and Burundi (4.6).

Financial resilience in small states: Lessons from Eswatini (Brookings)

Small states are particularly exposed to the financial impacts of shocks, varying from natural disasters to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and man-made events such as the Ukraine war. The shocks disproportionally and recurrently affect small states due to their peculiarities. They have small populations and economic bases combined with geographically concentrated economies, which makes them particularly vulnerable to shocks. They tend to be geographically isolated, which creates challenges in mobilizing resources to respond to shocks. Furthermore, their growth trajectories tend to rely on few sectors (undiversified) or large neighboring countries. These dynamics highlight the central importance of strengthening financial resilience in small states when driving toward development and poverty alleviation.

Integrate Capital Markets For Faster Economic Recovery, Development – VP Bawumia (The Presidency, Republic of Ghana)

A faster and deeper integration of Capital Markets is crucial if the West Africa sub-region is to recover from the double hits of the Covid 19 pandemic and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, Vice President Bawumia has stated. Speaking at the second edition of the biennial Conference of the West Africa Markets Conference (WACMaC), organized by the West Africa Securities Regulators Association (WASRA) in Accra on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 Vice President Bawumia said such integration would not only facilitate cross-border trade, but also help raise the needed capital for local development. “A well-integrated West Africa Capital Market can accelerate the mobilization of resources for Sub-regional and continental infrastructure needs which is estimated by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to be about $130-$170 billion a year (AfDB, 2019 report). This can be supported or supplemented by funds raised across the region and the continent. “An integrated capital market can also help to attract capital and stem the rapid tide of capital flight from Africa which has hit unprecedented proportions. In this case, capital will begin to work within the continent as bankable projects would be initiated locally,” he explained.

Africa’s Recovery Remains Uneven; More Resources Are Needed - African Development Bank Report (AfDB)

An African Development Bank report released Thursday shows that the institution was pivotal in 2021, delivering timely investments that are helping millions of Africans overcome the unprecedented challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Titled “Returning Africa to its Development Path,” the 2022 edition of the report notes that the Bank Group pressed ahead with its projects in 2021 despite shutdowns, supply chain disruptions, and a global economic slump. Across the continent, the Bank’s investments expanded access to electricity, improved transport, boosted agricultural productivity, fuelled industrialization, and integrated regions.

According to the report, however, economic recovery remains uneven and fragile, even as the easing of Covid-19 restrictions has put many regions of the continent back on a growth trajectory. The report estimates that continued vulnerabilities and new health measures pushed an additional 30 million Africans into extreme poverty in 2021.

But the pandemic, and its far-reaching consequences, is not the only crisis facing the continent today. African countries are also grappling with the climate crisis, insecurity in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, and the impact of the war in Ukraine, particularly its impact on food prices. Investments need to accelerate.

Channel IMF Special Drawing Rights through multilateral development banks, urge African Development Bank Governors (AfDB)

The United Kingdom may channel some of its International Monetary Fund Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to Africa through the African Development Bank, revealed UK Minister for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean Vicky Ford yesterday.

Ford was speaking during a discussion seminar organized by the African Development Bank to advance a push to empower multilateral development banks to act as channels for reallocated SDRs. SDRs are an international reserve asset –not a currency—through which the International Monetary Fund supplements member countries’ official reserves. The seminar—titled Breaking down barriers around the use of SDRs to support Africa’s sustainable development—featured a discussion of a proposal to channel reallocated SDRS via multilateral development banks. Currently, the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust and its recently approved Resilience and Sustainability Trust are the sole channels for SDR reallocation.

Nicolas Kazadi, Minister of Finance of the Democratic Republic of the Congo said: “Now we have a unique opportunity with these SDRs to make a difference, and it is so important because it is not only a matter of development or poverty reduction. It is also a matter of climate challenges, and if we do not make it for Africa, we are all lost.”

Africa records strong recovery in remittances despite high cost (The East African)

Remittances to sub-Saharan Africa grew 14 percent to $49 billion in 2021, the strongest gain since 2018, even as the continent remained the costliest developing region to send money. According to the latest World Bank Migration and Development Brief dated May 2022, aggregate regional remittance costs averaged 7.8 percent between October and December last year. The average cost of remitting $200 from countries in the least expensive corridors amounted to 3.4 percent while costs for the most expensive corridors registered 31.5 percent during the same period, an increase of 12.3 percent from the year earlier. The report titled “A war in Pandemic: Implications of the Ukraine Crisis and Covid-19 on Global Governance of Migration and Remittance Flows,” notes that though intraregional migrants in Africa comprise more than 70 percent of all international migration, remittance costs are high due to the small quantities of formal flows and use of black-market exchange rates.

African nations leading the way on ‘food systems transformation’: Guterres (UN News)

António Guterres said for too long, nutrition, food security, conflicts, climate change, ecosystems and health have been treated as separate concerns, “but these global challenges are deeply interconnected. Conflict creates hunger. The climate crisis amplifies conflict”, and systemic problems are just getting worse. He noted that after more than a decade of improvements, one in five Africans were undernourished in 2020, while 61 million African children are affected by stunting. Women and girls bear the brunt, and when food is scarce, “they are often the last to eat; and the first to be taken out of school and forced into work or marriage.” Mr. Guterres said that UN humanitarians and partners were doing their utmost to meet Africa’s needs amidst crisis, but aid “cannot compete with the systemic drivers of hunger.”

Other “external shocks” were exacerbating the situation, such as an uneven recovery from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, with African countries among the most heavily impacted by grain shortages and rising debt.

Africa coffee industry seeks to succeed without foreign influence (Independent)

African coffee-producing countries have gathered in Nairobi to chart ways of improving the continent’s coffee sector and cushion it from global shocks. These include the effects of pandemics, trade barriers, and market dynamics like unfair taxes and trade restrictions among others. The first G25 Coffee Summit also has the study of Uganda’s production success story top of the agenda, under the theme: “Sustainable Development and Economic Growth in the African Coffee Sector.” This comes at a time when Uganda is in the spotlight for various reasons including achieving a sharp increase in coffee production over the last five years, the decision to withdraw from participation in the International Coffee Organization’s current agreement, as well as the controversial agreement with a foreign company to process and export Uganda’s coffee.

Africa is ‘priority continent’ for India, huge potential to join collaboration in resource exploration: MEA (ANI News)

Terming Africa a priority continent for India, the Ministry of External Affairs on Friday said the continent has a huge potential of joining collaboration in the exploration of Oil and Gas, especially in Western Africa. Dammu Ravi, Secretary (Economic Relations), MEA, while addressing a special briefing on the next week’s visit of Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu to Gabon, Senegal and Qatar said: “West African countries have lots of natural resources like oil and gas and have not been fully exploited. There is a lot of potentials for our companies to join collaboration with Gabon and Senegal.”

African leaders signal support for African Development Bank’s emergency food production facility (AfDB)

African governments and international development institutions have voiced support for the African Development Bank Group’s $1.5 billion emergency food production facility to help avert a looming food crisis across Africa. The Bank Group’s board approved the facility on 20 May. At a virtual meeting convened by the African Union Commission on Thursday, government ministers and development partners commended the initiative, which will boost domestic production of essential grains. Imports of these staples have been hit by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

Green, Social, and Sustainable bonds to serve Africa’s sustainable investment needs (UNECA)

Green, Social, and Sustainable (GSS) bonds market remains a new frontier for Africa that will help the continent build a deeper, resilient and sustainable financing, according to policymakers, regulators, and peer sovereign issuers from across West Africa.

Hanan Morsy, ECA’s Deputy Executive Secretary said, “As an innovative finance instrument, GSS bonds help fill the SDG financing gap. While sharing characteristics with traditional bonds, GSS bonds exclusively direct financing to projects with positive climate and environmental outcomes across energy, transportation, construction, agriculture and water sectors.”

Jean-Paul Adam Director, Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources Management Division at ECA said Africa faces today multiple challenges that include, debt burden and historical high cost of borrowing; recovery post Covid ; climate change related issues; energy and food shortages due to the Ukraine war. These challenges makes it even more necessary for African States to benefit from new ways to raise money from Private Investors in a transparent and efficient framework and at reasonable rates

Global economy news

Exports of intermediate goods see continued growth in fourth quarter of 2021 (WTO)

World IG exports increased by 21 per cent year on year in the fourth quarter of 2021, continuing the upward trend observed throughout the year. However, growth was slower than the 27 per cent recorded in Q3 and the 47 per cent in Q2. The pace of trade in IGs, which range from crops used in food production to textiles and metals needed to produce goods, is an indicator of the level of activity in supply chains.

Asian and African exports of industrial inputs to supply chains increased by more than 24 per cent year on year in Q4, while European exports of inputs grew by 18 per cent.

Weathering a ‘perfect storm’ of cascading crises (UNCTAD)

Climate change, COVID-19, the war in Ukraine – these crises threaten to derail development for 1.7 billion of the world’s most vulnerable people. The international community must take swift, coordinated action now to put the SDGs back on track.

In just two short years, a double whammy of external shocks has knocked global development off track and mired the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda in uncertainty. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, developing countries were left exceptionally vulnerable and exposed – a situation which the war in Ukraine has now tuned into a “perfect storm” of cascading crises. The consequences are worrying, not just for developing countries themselves, but also for the success of sustainable development globally.

Following a robust though unequal economic recovery in 2021, marked by disrupted supply chains and multi-decade rises in inflation, the war in Ukraine caught the world economy off guard, roiling global markets for food, fertilizers, and fuels in which both Russia and Ukraine play an oversized role. This led to historic rises in commodity prices, and a general tightening of global financial conditions.

The challenge facing our international financing architecture today is that it was built primarily to protect the global economy from crises at the individual country level. But faced with the “perfect storm” of cascading crises – including climate change, pandemics, and war – hitting so many developing countries at the same time, the system is limited in how it can offer a systemic, global response that supports all countries along all dimensions.

‘Think resilience’ to protect against climate and other catastrophes (UN News)

More countries must “think resilience”, and urgently adopt and improve early warning systems to reduce risks from an increasing number of disasters across the world, a UN disaster forum concluded on Friday.

DDG Paugam: WTO is actively participating in efforts to preserve global food security (WTO)

There are three lines of action that appear closely aligned with the proposals presented in the EU FARM initiative and the German G7 Global Alliance on Food Security.

The first line of action is about keeping markets transparent. This is extremely important because in the short term, we know that food is there: the question is about physical and economic access, rather than availability.

The second line of action is about keeping markets open. Several initiatives are under way now at the WTO to prepare declarations that could be adopted during our ministerial meeting. Some are plurilateral (such as the FARM initiative). But we also have some Members discussing a multilateral declaration on food security, which appears to be a very real possibility.

Food for all to free for all: Unconcerned WTO make matters worse (Down to Earth Magazine)

As the world hurtles towards another food crisis, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the spotlight has again shifted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its role in impeding the food security concerns of a host of developing countries. A central question that has divided economists, policy makers and humanitarian organisations is whether WTO has been the chief villain of the food crises in the new century. Has its complex and asymmetrical rules on subsidies embedded in its 1995 Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) exacerbated the vulnerabilities of poor developing countries while allowing the developed countries to continue with their lavish grants to farmers and exporters, and perpetuate the distortions it was pledged to reform?

Plastics dialogue discusses MC12 plans, next steps to implement Ministerial Statement (WTO)

Ecuador and China, co-coordinators of the IDP outlined some major developments in international fora in parallel with the IDP, notably the launch of negotiations at the UN’s Environment Assembly (UNEA) in March, which have the aim of reaching a global deal on plastics pollution by 2024.

DDG Paugam pointed out the importance of addressing plastic waste across the full life cycle of plastics, stressing that the initiative generates trade solutions and supports complementary international processes and activities. To that end, transparency is crucial, he said, suggesting that the IDP establish a global plastic value chain portal to monitor plastic trade flows and to share trade-related policies and measures. Many participants expressed strong support for the data portal.

Climate finance for SIDS is shockingly low: Why this needs to change (UNCTAD)

Small island developing states (SIDS) are the most economically vulnerable of all groups of developing countries, according to the Economic Vulnerability Index.

They are particularly vulnerable to natural, economic and health-related shocks beyond domestic control. The growing frequency and intensity of these climate shocks is a direct consequence of being in climate-sensitive areas or seismic zones, as well as the islands’ smallness. From commodities to manufactured spare parts, these states also rely heavily on imports of food and fuel, leaving them at the mercy of price spikes and shortages of essential goods.

For SIDS, enhancing resilience to more frequent and intense natural disasters means mobilizing more domestic and foreign resources for adaptation and mitigation. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has deprived many SIDS of tourism revenues – a crucial source of income for disaster risk reduction. In this context, climate finance is of particular interest to SIDS policymakers because of its role in funnelling resources to building climate-related resilience. However, at present, SIDS have little access to climate finance. Despite being hit hard by climate change while only contributing to 1% of global carbon dioxide emissions, they only had access to $1.5 billion out of $100 billion in climate finance pledged to developing countries in 2019.


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