Building capacity to help Africa trade better

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Local news

AfDB to lead Zim debt clearance roadmap (The Herald)

African Development Bank (AfDB) president Dr Akinwumi Adesina has formally accepted President Mnangagwa’s request to lead Zimbabwe’s debt clearance strategy, which is key for Harare to unlock fresh funding from international financial institutions (IFIs).

The AfDB president met President Mnangagwa at State House in Harare yesterday where he formally informed him that he had accepted a role to champion the debt and arrears clearance process because the region and the continent needed a stronger Zimbabwe.

Solidarity calls on Parliament to remove obstacles to private power generation (Engineering News)

Trade union Solidarity says it has submitted a petition to Parliament, demanding that all regulatory or legislative obstacles to unlimited private power generation be removed as a matter of urgency.

“By 2035, South Africa will need approximately 68 000 MW of private generation just to replace this coal fleet. We therefore have to move much faster just to maintain the current level of generation. For this reason, we urgently need to facilitate and encourage private generation,” Solidarity Research Institute head Connie Mulder states.

Niger Delta stakeholders harp on companies, host communities' cooperation for sustainable development (Tribune Online)

Members of Civil Society Organisation (CSO), community leaders and other stakeholders in the Niger Delta region on Tuesday harped on the mutual relationship among companies operating in the area and their host communities, as a panacea to sustainable development and a lasting solution to security in the environment.

Welcoming participants to the meeting, the convener of the event and Coordinator, Voice of the Earth Initiative (VOTI), Chief Sunday Ajele, said the meeting was organised to ensure that companies, especially the Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc, and its host communities live in harmony devoid of any infringement by the communities and the company on the mutual rights of the parties.

Ethiopia creditors to discuss debt restructuring on Monday (Reuters.com)

Ethiopia's creditors' committee will meet on Monday, a source briefed on the matter said on Tuesday, moving the cash-strapped African country a step closer towards restructuring its debts under a common framework set up by the Group of 20 economies.

The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and others are pushing China and private creditors to accelerate work on debt treatments sought by Ethiopia, Chad and Zambia after glacial progress over the past year and a half.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told Reuters last week it was crucial to jumpstart a process that had failed to deliver a single result thus far, given worsening debt problems facing developing countries and even nations with middle-income economies.

Morocco: African Development Bank Commits €87 Million Loan to Widen Social Protection and Strengthen Health Services (African Business)

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (www.AfDB.org) approved an €87 million loan to implement the Support Program for the Generalization of Social Coverage in Morocco. The primary objective of this operation is to consolidate the foundations of a viable social protection program based on an integrated and inclusive approach. The program will contribute to extending social protection, particularly for early childhood, young people, and the self-employed.

African trade and integration news

New report highlights the leading role of cities in Africa’s regional economic integration (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa)

A new report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) highlights the leading role of cities in unlocking economic gains made available through regional economic integration, particularly under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

Launched yesterday, the report is the first piece of comprehensive research to assess the linkages between Africa’s rapid urban transition and regional trade integration. It seeks to answer several critical questions, including how African cities can benefit from AfCFTA, what strategic investments are needed for cities to drive accelerated regional trade integration and how AfCFTA may transform cities and spatial development across the continent.

In response to these questions, the report provides concrete steps for an increased policy focus on investment in Africa’s cities to realise the full economic potential from AfCFTA, thereby boosting economic growth, reducing poverty and fostering inclusion.

African Development Bank ranks first on Global Aid Transparency Index (African Development Bank)

Publish What You Fund, the global campaign for aid and development transparency, has named the African Development Bank the most transparent organisation in the world.

The Bank’s Sovereign Portfolio now ranks first out of 50 global development institutions in Publish What You Fund’s 2022 Aid Transparency Index, released today with a top score of 98.5.

The African Development Bank achieved the highest score in the Aid Transparency Index’s ten-year history and moved into the top spot from its fourth-place ranking in 2020. The Index is the only independent measure of aid transparency among the world’s major development agencies. The Bank has remained consistently in the ‘very good’ category since 2014. It has consistently demonstrated its commitment to increased transparency and its extraordinary progress over the past 10 years in providing high-quality information and becoming more transparent.

SADC Ministers of Trade review progress on consolidation of the SADC Free Trade Area to liberalise intra-regional trade (SADC)

Member States of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) need to step up efforts to accelerate intra-regional trade by addressing challenges that humper the region’s quest for increased trade in the SADC region.

The Minister urged Member States to address issues that include low supply capacity, limited industrialisation, poor logistics for movement of goods and services, protectionism, poor infrastructure and non-harmonisation and cooperative mechanisms for cross-border infrastructure, imposition of non-tariff barriers including stringent rules of origin, poor implementation of trade commitments, among others.

SADC Executive Secretary, His Excellency Elias Mpedi Magosi underscored the importance of consolidating the SADC Free Trade Area (FTA) which is key to collective efforts to liberalise SADC intra-regional trade in goods and services.

SADC calls for joint sector coordination on pro-employment policies and strategies (SADC)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Joint Sector Ministerial Dialogue on job creation was held in Lilongwe, Republic of Malawi, from 8th to 9th July 2022 to promote joint sector coordination for job creation through coherent and harmonised action on employment and productivity across macro-economic and sectoral policies and strategies. 

The Dialogue was attended by Ministers and Senior Officials responsible for Ministries of Finance and Planning, Industry and Trade, and Employment and Labour; SADC Business Council, SADC Private Sector Forum (SPSF), Southern Africa Trade Union Coordinating Council (SATUCC) and youth organisations. Representatives from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) also participated in the Dialogue. 

Sadc registers progress on trade and finance programmes (Chronicle)

The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) says steady progress is being achieved on its programmes to facilitate industrial development, investment and trade in goods and services among member States.

This emerged out of the Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (TIFI) thematic group hybrid meeting held recently to discuss progress on the implementation of the bloc’s programmes to deepen regional economic integration.

According to a joint update from the Sadc directorates of finance, investment and customs and industrial development and trade, 25 percent of the 64 outputs or deliverables from the TIFI Multi-Year Action Plan 2021-2023 have been completed. This has been aided by support from global partners.

Africa looks to private sector to fund ocean climate action (Star Tribune)

The U.N. says many of the financial climate promises made by richer countries are not being committed to in full, meaning that many African nations are unable to take necessary adaptation and mitigation measures against the effect of climate change.

Following on from Africa's Great Green Wall, which spans across the continent's Sahel region, east African nations are now seeking funds for the Great Blue Wall initiative, which aims to protect marine areas across the coastline. Both blue and green finance refers to funding aimed at preventing environmental damage and combating climate change while creating sustainable ecosystems.

Countries on Africa's west coast are increasingly turning to climate funding initiatives to boost livelihoods of oceanside communities, aid biodiversity and take climate action.

Uganda, South Africa Agree to Expedite AfCFTA to Bolster Post-Covid Economic Recovery Efforts (softpower.ug)

The governments of Uganda and South Africa have committed to enhance political, economic and social cooperation. This is contained in a joint communique issued by Okello Oryem, the Ugandan State Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Dr. Naledi Pandor, the South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, at the Second Session of the Uganda-South Africa Joint Commission for Cooperation held in Kampala.

To achieve sustainable prosperity, the JCC resolved that both countries should cooperate to expedite the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which has become more critical to bolstering economic recovery efforts on the Continent post the Covid-19 pandemic.

The two Ministers also reviewed and exchanged views on the status of bilateral relations and expressed satisfaction with progress achieved in various areas of cooperation between the two countries which are contributing to the alleviation of poverty, elimination of inequality and creation of employment.

Africa Needs $424bn to Recover from Pandemic Devastation, Says Adesina (THISDAY Newspapers)

African nations need $424 billion this year to help them cope with the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Head of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina.

After decades of progress in the continent’s fight against poverty, Covid-19 has now plunged 30 million Africans into “extreme poverty” in 2020, a Bloomberg report stated. Meanwhile, Russia’s war on Ukraine has fuelled inflation and left millions hungry while surging prices along with slowing economic growth are also increasing indebtedness in the region.

The road to COP27: Making Africa's case in the global climate debate - World (ReliefWeb)

The final 2022 Ibrahim Forum Report, '*The Road to COP27: **Making Africa's Case in the Global Climate Debate', *outlines key facts and figures and 15 recommendations for how policymakers, climate leaders and African citizens can articulate Africa's case in the global climate debate.

Commenting on the final 15 recommendations, Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, said: "It is clear that the current climate agenda is failing Africa. When over 600 million in Africa still lack access to electricity, equivalent to twice the total US population, we need to pause and think very hard."

The report concludes with a set of recommendations issued from the Ibrahim Governance Forum debates to inform COP27 preparatory works and decisions, as well as any other global climate-related debates on the way to COP27 and beyond. By taking these recommendations on board, policymakers can ensure that going forward climate commitments take into account the continent's specific context, including the Africa's economic development path, and acknowledge the important role the continent can play globally.

SMEs: British firm unveils $25m Africa-focused trade access programme (New Telegraph Newspaper)

The British International Investment (BII) and INOKS Capital announced first-of-its-kind Africa-focused Trade Access Programme (TAP) to help increase needed liquidity to SMEs and target trade intermediaries in Africa. TAP launched with $25 million capital from the BII.

Africa Business Communities reports that in addition to fostering trade, job creation, local income, and positive impact generation on climate change, TAP will boost economic inclusion by specifically seeking to improve access to finance for women by targeting investments that qualify for the 2X Challenge.

The platform will also support women-owned and led SMEs while also backing climate positive trade, which will help boost productivity across local and vital value chains, increase food security and accelerate sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Adopting Kiswahili as Africa's official language will unite, strengthen continent – Tanzanian Envoy (Nigerian Observer)

Abuja – Dr Benson Bana, Tanzanian High Commissioner to Nigeria on Tuesday, said that the adoption of Kiswahili as Africa’s official language by the African Union (AU) will help unite, strengthen the continent and bridge diversities.

Bana said that the adoption of a working language among African countries will foster the integration of the AU agenda and the realisation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

Global economy news

US Has Cost the World More Than $1.9 Trillion in Climate Damages Since 1990, Study Finds (EcoWatch)

Climate activists have long argued that countries that have contributed the most to the climate crisis owe something to countries that have released relatively few emissions yet still suffer the effects of rising temperatures.

Now, a first-of-its kind study from Dartmouth College backs this argument with hard data. The study, published in Climatic Change, calculates for the first time the financial damages that emissions released by certain nations have caused for others. 

When it comes to responsibility for climate damages, the U.S. leads, having cost other nations more than $1.9 trillion in economic losses related to the climate crisis, The Guardian reported. That’s 16.5 percent of the total economic losses calculated by the study.

Russia Calls on BRICS Nations To Adopt New Payment Methods (teleSUR English)

Russia's Deputy Chairman of the Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, called on BRICS to turn to new payment methods as Russia looks to overcome global dollarization and cope with the euro's loss of value.

He also said that "in the future, it is also possible to establish a new reserve currency for the BRICS countries. The US dollar, euro, and pound sterling are not enough for the modern world."

As virus spreads ‘freely’ COVID-19 ‘nowhere near over’: Tedros (UN News)

Rising COVID-19 cases are not only putting further pressure on already stretched health systems and workers but also triggering an “increasing trend of deaths”, World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told journalists at the regular weekly press briefing on Tuesday.

“The virus is running freely, and countries are not effectively managing the disease burden based on their capacity, in terms of both hospitalization for acute cases and the expanding number of people with post COVID-19 condition, often referred to as long-COVID,” he said. 

He highlighted a disconnect in COVID-19 risk perception between scientific communities, political leaders and the general public, describing it as “a dual challenge of communicating risk and building community trust in health tools and public health social measures like masking, distancing and ventilation”.

Market values are destroying nature: UN report (FRANCE 24)

A major UN report warned Monday that a global economy focused on short-term profit is wrecking the planet and called for a drastically different approach as to how we value nature.

Without this shift, universally accepted goals of sustainable development and greater equity will remain out-of-reach, the science advisory panel for biodiversity, known as IPBES, found.

"The way we understand economic growth is at the core of the biodiversity crisis," Unai Pascual, an ecological economist at the University of Bern and co-chair of a 139-nation meeting in Bonn that approved the report, told AFP.

Commodity swings could pose 'outsize' hit to economy, says G20 watchdog (Reuters)

The G20's financial watchdog said on Wednesday that commodity markets should be closely monitored, since energy and metal prices swings like those triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine potentially pose an "outsize" hit to the global economy.

"The centrality of key energy, metals and food commodities to the functioning of the global economy means that any disruptions to the financing of producers or traders in these markets could have an outsized impact," FSB Chair Klaas Knot said in a statement before a meeting with G20 finance ministers and central bankers in Indonesia.

US, Japan vow joint efforts on Ukraine, trade, food crisis (Devdiscourse)

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Japan's finance minister agreed Tuesday to cooperate in dealing with challenges from the war in Ukraine and promoting free trade, sustainable energy, and food security. Yellen was visiting Tokyo on Tuesday for talks ahead of a meeting of the Group of 20's financial leaders on the Indonesian island of Bali later in the week. Before beginning her meeting with Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki, she stressed the importance of effective sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and said she hoped to gain the support of Japan and other nations in seeking a price cap on Russian oil that would limit funding going to Moscow's military.

A joint statement issued Tuesday after the talks pledged support for Ukraine in coping with its economic challenges. It also said both sides had welcomed efforts to pursue price caps "where appropriate." A price cap would be aimed at curbing the war's impact on gas and energy prices.

G20 regulator to present first global crypto rules in October (UPI News)

The Financial Stability Board, which includes central bankers and treasury officials from G20 countries, is working on bringing global cryptocurrency regulations to the industry by October.

Such regulations have become a necessity due to the recent collapse of the cryptocurrency market, which led to the loss of billions of dollars.

Great Power Conflict Fuels BRICS Expansion Push (The Diplomat)

Soon after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s emphasized the acceleration of the BRICS expansion process at the 14th BRICS Leaders’ Meeting in Beijing in late June, Iran and Argentina announced they had submitted their formal applications to join the group. Meanwhile, the foreign ministers of Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, and other guest countries attended the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting for the first time in May. All these positive actions are the clear indications that the expansion of BRICS is accelerating.

In the new context of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the intensifying Sino-U.S. competition, the confrontation between the East and the West has become increasingly prominent. Both sides, therefore, want to expand the network of friends and partners, thus consolidating their camps. As emerging economies and great powers in the region, the BRICS countries have a strong motivation to absorb other “node” countries with key strategic locations and booming economies to join the camp. The more intense the East-West confrontation, the stronger the impetus for the expansion of BRICS.

Experts call for defining non-personal data before making laws on it (Economic Times)

The Joint Committee of Parliament (JCP)’s recommendations on non-personal data (NPD) and anonymised personal data in last year’s draft Data Protection Bill will not work till NPD is defined clearly, cybersecurity and policy experts said on Tuesday. Most experts who participated in a panel discussion by not-for-profit Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) International said that regulation of NPD when the definition of the term itself was still vague would be premature.

They said proper guardrails must be put in place before access to any NPD could be shared.

G20 host Indonesia hopes for progress in finance chief talks despite war friction (Reuters.com)

G20 finance leaders will meet in Bali this week for talks that are due to include issues like global food security and soaring inflation, as host Indonesia tries to ensure frictions over the war in Ukraine do not blow discussions off course.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine overshadowed a meeting of foreign ministers from the Group of 20 major economies last week, as Russia's top diplomat walked out of a meeting and accused the West of "frenzied criticism".

China's foreign trade with other BRICS countries jumps 14.1% yoy in H1 (Global Times)

In the first half of 2022, China's foreign trade with other BRICS countries amounted to 1.64 trillion yuan ($243.8 billion), up 14.1 percent year-on-year, 4.7 percentage points higher than the overall growth rate of the country's foreign trade, indicating the closer trade ties among BRICS countries, data by the General Administration of Customs of China (GAC) on Wednesday showed.

GAC Spokesperson Li Kuiwen said at a press briefing on Wednesday that since the BRICS leaders met in 2009, China's trade with other BRICS countries has become increasingly closer, with the value of imports and exports growing from 960.21 billion yuan in 2009 to 3.17 trillion yuan in 2021, with an average annual growth rate of 10.5 percent.

Our Oceans Are Sick: The Solution Is More Money and More Protection, Says WWF (Impakter)

“WWF supports states to deliver on their commitments under SDG 14 in a variety of ways, including our support for the designation of new marine protected areas, our efforts to curb harmful fisheries subsidies through the World Trade Organization, and our global campaign for a legally binding treaty to address plastic pollution. We also call on states to finalize an ambitious new High Seas treaty to conserve biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction.

As WWF Director-General Marco Lambertini pointed out, we managed to do “tremendous damage” to our oceans that can only be solved by “eliminating pollutiotn and overfishing and immediately start[ing] to responsibly manage and protect all marine life around the world.” 

Meanwhile WWF Oceans Practice Lead Pepe Clarke reminded us that the Ocean is a “powerful economic engine,” highlighting that “[c]ompanies and investors risk trillions of dollars due to declining ocean health and climate change if business as usual continues.” 

FAO Director: Immediate Efforts Needed to Reduce Global Threats to Agrifood Systems (FoodSafetyTech)

The challenges undermining global food security call for a complex approach embracing investment, policy reforms and better use of resources, Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) told a key meeting of the G20 on July 10.

“Recent global events, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the climate crisis, multiple conflicts around the world and the war in Ukraine, have all heavily affected agrifood systems in multiple ways,” Qu told the G20 Sherpa meeting of senior government representatives.

The war in Ukraine has added to an already challenging situation and could lead to an increase of 13 million more chronically undernourished people this year, and 17 million more in 2023, according to FAO estimates.

The challenges of supply chain regulation – GIS Reports (Geopolitical Intelligence Services AG)

The increasing complexity of global supply chains has raised concerns that some companies, taking advantage of opaque interactions with their suppliers, are indirectly abusing human rights or harming the environment. In the area of corporate governance and “soft law,” attempts have already been made to introduce more due diligence into firms’ decision-making. But recent “hard law” initiatives have gone further, especially in European countries and at the level of the European Union. Such efforts, however worthy of their goals, face significant challenges.

European efforts to police global supply chains are likely to be limited in their effectiveness while jeopardizing economic development.


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