Building capacity to help Africa trade better

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Key Renewable Energy Market Drivers in South Africa in 2022 (Energy Capital & Power)

The need to transition to cleaner sources of fuel in South Africa is made more paramount with the ongoing energy crisis. 

With load shedding significantly impacting South Africa’s economy, a target set by the government to deploy 11.8 GW of large-scale renewable energy capacity by 2030 is driving market interest for investors, independent power producers (IPP) and international energy companies.

Ghana confirms its first outbreak of highly infectious Marburg virus (Reuters)

Ghana has officially confirmed two cases of the Marburg virus, a highly infectious disease similar to Ebola, its health service said on Sunday, after two people who later died tested positive for the virus earlier this month.

"(Ghanaian) health authorities have responded swiftly, getting a head start preparing for a possible outbreak. This is good because without immediate and decisive action, Marburg can easily get out of hand," said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

The two patients in southern Ghana's Ashanti region both had symptoms including diarrhoea, fever, nausea and vomiting, before dying in hospital, the WHO said.

Kenya: UN expert hails historic reparations ruling in favour of indigenous peoples (UN News)

An independent UN human rights expert on Monday hailed a decision by the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, to award reparations to the Ogiek indigenous peoples, for harm that they suffered due to “injustices and discrimination.”

The historic ruling follows a landmark judgment delivered by the Court on 26 May 2017, finding that the Government of Kenya had violated the right to life, property, natural resources, development, religion and culture of the Ogiek, under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Creecy criticises lack of climate finance progress since COP26 (Engineering News)

South Africa’s environment Minister Barbara Creecy has criticised the lack of progress, since COP26, in the area of climate finance support for developing countries, arguing that there has been a failure to promote “adequate ambition”.

Quoting the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change standing committee on finance, Creecy highlighted that developing countries needed between $5- and $11-trillion to meet their climate objectives. However, an Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development report shows that only about $80-billion has been mobilised.

“The only way we can re-establish credibility in financial provision is to set a realistic goal for developed countries to mobilise at least $1-trillion per annum to assist developing countries meet their climate change objectives,” Creecy said at the dialogue, which is being held as part of preparations for the COP27 talks, scheduled for Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, in November.

'Why Nigeria must design export strategy to harness AfCFTA' (Guardian Nigeria)

Speaking in Abuja at a five-day training programme aimed at equipping participants with relevant knowledge, tools and skills required to develop their export business in line with global best practices and in tandem with the AFCFTA, Ojadi explained that the absence of clear-cut guidelines on exports may hinder Nigeria from benefitting maximally from the trade deal when it takes operational.

Nigeria must design to strategy spell out the processes that guide products that are meant for export, a faculty member of the Lagos Business School (LBS), Dr Frank Ojadi has said.

“I was examining the coastal shipping which ought to boost the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and I discovered that high costs in our ports and shipping are contributing to our not being competitive enough to export products. I think that coastal shipping will help in properly placing Nigeria to reap bountifully from the AfCFTA. Infrastructural deficits that are associated with shipping will affect trade going to different parts of the world from Nigeria.”

AfDB Board Approves $134 Million Loan to Boost Local Food Production (Farmers Review Africa)

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group, on Friday approved a $134 million loan for the National Agriculture Growth Scheme – Agro Pocket program in Nigeria to scale up food production and boost livelihood resilience.

The program aligns with the Bank’s African Emergency Food Production Facility and will support Nigeria’s efforts to mitigate the impacts of the war in Ukraine.

NEPC, SMEDAN seal deal to boost visibility of Nigerian goods in West Africa (Businessday)

“Considering the current economic reality of the country occasioned by dwindling price of oil in the global market, there is no auspicious time than now to aggressively promote the non-oil sector more as a way of salvaging our nation’s ailing economy,” Yakusak said.

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate the first West African MSME (WAMSME) Export Opportunities Exhibition. Ezra Yakusak, executive director/CEO of NEPC, said described the MoU as a strategic collaboration aimed at enhancing the visibility of Made-in-Nigeria goods and services within West Africa and the rest of the market.

Somalia president intensifies diplomatic trips in the Horn of Africa (Garowe Online)

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has already visited Kenya and Eritrea as he solidifies ties within East Africa and the Horn of Africa.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud intensified his diplomatic trips in the Horn of Africa just a few months after he took the oath of office, following severed ties in the region by his successor Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed better known as Farmajo.

On Sunday, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud visited Djibouti, one of the troops contributing nations in the right against Al-Shabaab. Currently, Djibouti has more than 2000 soldiers who are helping Somalia to counter violent extremism according to UN statistics.

African trade and integration

Preparations in high gear for the High-level EAC Heads of State Retreat on the EAC Common Market and 22nd Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State (East African Community)

Preparations are in high gear for the EAC Heads of State Retreat on the EAC Common Market and the 22nd Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State scheduled for 21st and 22nd July, 2022 respectively at the Arusha International Conference Centre, in Arusha, Tanzania.

About 300 participants from Partner States, private sector, civil society and development partners are expected to attend both the High Level Retreat and the 22nd Summit.

During their High Level Retreat on the Common Market, the Heads of State are expected to, among other things: take stock of the progress of implementation of the EAC Common Market Protocol; adopt strategic measures to unlock the lags and bottlenecks in establishment of the Common Market; agree on a roadmap for the full realization of the Common Market, and; identify key areas where Development Partners can contribute to the attainment of the Common Market. 

The United Nations and World Bank Explore Developing the Sovereign Green, Social, and Sustainable Bond Market in Africa (UNECA)

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the World Bank co-organized on July 19, 2022, a virtual workshop on the development of the Green, Social and Sustainable (GSS) sovereign bond market in Africa.

Innovative financing solutions are needed for countries across Africa to achieve their ambitious climate investment goals and meet the Paris Agreement commitments. In the context of prudent debt management, GSS bonds can constitute a central part of the financing strategy for sovereigns and subnational entities to fund both mitigation and adaptation investments.

Hanan Morsy, ECA's Deputy Executive Secretary, said, "ahead of this year's COP27 held in Egypt, Africa faces a mixed landscape for achieving climate ambitions and NDCs. We urgently need the 100 billion USD per annum promise to be realized, while we need a new financing target which will mobilize the trillions needed. GSS bonds play a critical role in tapping into resources at the international capital markets to unleash the potential of the green and blue economy in Africa. ECA is supporting member states under various initiatives, such as the Great Blue Wall, the Liquidity and Sustainability Facility, and debt-for-nature swaps, to graduate from the aid dependencies by leveraging market-based innovative finance instruments.

Scaling-up the private sector participation in North Africa (UNECA)

The ECA Office for North Africa will hold on 20-22 July in Tangier (Morocco) a hybrid workshop under the theme: “Scaling-up the private sector participation in North Africa”.

This event will be an opportunity for officials from North African Ministries of finance, Planning & Economic development, private sector, academia and development institution representatives to share their understanding of challenges experienced by the private sector across North Africa, discuss good practices and innovative solutions and draw the outlines of a roadmap to accelerate private sector contributions to national economies.

West Africa's Top Options for Scalable Power Generation (Energy Capital & Power)

West Africa is the largest growing human population in the world and yet every one of its nations is targeting universal electrification in the medium-term. Production must meet and surpass demand for economic growth from energy exports, but for an equitable transition to be achieved, this means matching investments into gas alongside solar and wind power. 

Opportunities within the power generation space, in particular, will be largely driven by the exploitation of low-carbon energy sources, and as such, the upcoming MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power conference – opened by H.E. Macky Sall, Senegalese President and current African Union Chairperson – will offer critical insight into these opportunities.

Through a roundtable forum under the theme, “Financing Electrification within the Energy Transition,” the conference will explore the strategic role played by each of these low-carbon energy sources in improving power generation capacity, formulating a robust west African energy transition narrative ahead of COP 27 this year in Egypt.

African Economic Conference invites researchers to submit papers for 2022 edition (UNECA)

The organizers of the African Economic Conference have issued a call for research and policy papers that focus on the event’s theme: Supporting Climate-Smart Development in Africa.

This year’s conference will be held from December 9–11 in Port Louis, Mauritius. As has been the practice over the years, it will be hosted by the African Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Africa, and the United Nations Development Program.

The call for papers is underpinned by the need to address Africa's vulnerability to climate change through innovative solutions and accelerate investments through green growth strategies.

AfCFTA: Afreximbank backs GAIN to train youths on entrepreneurship (Daily Sun)

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has announced a grant for Grand Africa Initiative (GAIN) a pan-African non-governmental organisation enabling African youths through training, empowerment, mentorship, and advocacy, to train 200 young Africans on entrepreneurship and intra-African trade for a three-month period starting July 2022.

Executive Director of GAIN, Chinwe Okoli, in a statement, on Monday, confirmed that faculty of experts from around the world have been arranged to provide technical advisory and financial lessons to the successful applicants that would participate in the training.

“The programme will also broaden inclusiveness in the implementation of the AfCFTA through interventions that support young Africans, women, and small and medium-sized enterprises.

Supporting post-COVID-19 recovery among African cross-border traders (UNCTAD)

UNCTAD conducted nine six-day training sessions as part of a UN multi-agency project entitled “Global initiative towards post-COVID-19 resurgence of the micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) sector”.

The project was aimed at rebuilding livelihoods and mitigating the impacts of the pandemic.

The training programme entailed dissemination of traders' guides, content on COVID-19 control measures and sessions on strategies for making businesses more resilient.

Tripartite Framework win Accolades at the AU Mid-Year Summit (COMESA)

The Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement that brings together COMESA, East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tripartite Free Trade Area has been hailed as a good model for regional integration. This followed a presentation on the success of the Tripartite FTA at the just concluded African Union Mid Year- Summit held in Zambia, Sunday, July 17 2022.

Among the key highlights was TFTA’s tariff liberalization coverage which is now at 100% and takes into account general, specific and security exemptions provided for under the existing regional economic communities (REC)/ Regional and Multilateral agreements. Further, over 90% of the TFTA list of Rules of Origin have been agreed upon and what remains are the textiles and automobiles, and there is an established mechanism for managing the transition.

Africa: AfCFTA Secretariat Gets U.S.$11 Million Grant to Enhance Effective Implementation (Top Africa News)

The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund has approved an $11.02 million support package to the Permanent Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

"The funding is mainly aimed at strengthening AfCFTA institutions through technical assistance and capacity building. However, more support is required to fund private sector projects and member states' programs," Sebahizi said.

Studies and initiatives will be undertaken to identify new business and economic opportunities for women, to help develop the AfCFTA Women and Youth in Trade Protocol, and to support capacity building and targeted business skills for women.

Rights of migrants to dominate EUI-UCFR Conference in Kampala (pmldaily.com)

Experts from the African Union, Intergovernmental Authority on Development, East African Community and EUI alumni will on Wednesday July 20 meet at high-level event in Kampala discuss the main findings of the forthcoming report on Migration Governance and Migration Diplomacy in Uganda.

According to organizers, on 21-22 July, 25 African experts will participate in an EUI executive training about migration governance in Kampala.

AfCFTA And Equity Join Hands To Deepen Economic Integration (Soko Directory Team)

At the margins of the 41st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union taking place in Lusaka, Zambia, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat and Equity Group have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to deepen the economic integration of the African continent.

The two institutions will work on the private sector economic recovery and resilience stimulus plan, which Equity has seeded with a USD 6 Billion fund focusing on the primary sectors of food and agriculture, extractives, manufacturing and logistics, trade and investments, social impact, health, and environmental investments, as well as a technology-enabled economy to accelerate economic recovery and resilience of the African continent.

The partnership will among others, support the creation of 50 million jobs by 2025 and 5 million SMEs will receive loans to scale and grow, utilizing tools of the AfCFTA Agreement and create additional private sector lending with an envisaged loan book to be directed to agriculture (30%), manufacturing (15%), MSMEs (65%).

Africa: AU Launches Early Warning Platform to Tackle Insecurity (Top Africa News)

The Inter-Regional Knowledge Exchange on Early Warning and Conflict Prevention (I-RECKE) will play a crucial role in preventing conflicts on the continent and will also be tasked to detect and communicate threats to peace, AU Deputy Chairperson Monique Nsanzabaganwa said during the launch of the platform on the sidelines of the 41st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council.

The I-RECKE platform is expected to build resilience and stability on the continent and enhance information sharing among member countries, Nsanzabaganwa said, adding that member countries should invest in their own early warning systems due to the complexity of threats to peace.

AFR100 progress report launched (IPPmedia)

A digital monitoring tool developed by GIS experts to gauge progress has been unveiled. The online platform will be used to see what efforts are being registered in the ecosystem restoration on the entire African continent. AFR100 initiative aims to restore 100 million hectares of degraded forest and landscapes by 2030.

Speaking during the launch Mamadou Diakhite, Acting Head of Environmental Sustainability at the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD said as African countries look for best pathways to build more durable, inclusive and resilient economies, the sixth AFR100 Annual Partnership Meeting provides a unique and timely opportunity to stress that our lives are built on healthy landscapes.

Africa: Gambia to Chair AU Peace & Security Council in August (Top Africa News)

The Republic of The Gambia will chair the African Union Peace Security Council (PSC) in August, according to report.

Under Articles 6 and 7 of the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the PSC, this Policy Organ assumes the continental mandate to spearhead the implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the African Governance Architecture (AGA).

The Gambia will convene eight (8) Sessions principally focused on strengthening the nexus between democratic governance and sustainable peace, security and development. The PSC Sessions will be chaired by H.E. Ambassador Jainaba Jagne, Permanent Representative of the Republic of The Gambia to the African Union.

Terrorists kill 14500 people, displace 5.5m in ECOWAS (The Niche)

Terrorists have killed 14,500 people and displaced 5.5 million others in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the past four and a half years, says former ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Brou.

“First of all, the deterioration of the security situation has caused havoc, not only in the Sahel area, affecting Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and the North East of Nigeria, but it soon expanded to the coastal zone, hitting Côte d’Ivoire, Benin and Togo.

“Terrorist attacks and herds of bandits plunged these countries into mourning, with close to 14,500 dead in four and a half years, threatening the peace of rural population, and forcing people to seek shelter away from their home areas,” he said.

ECOWAS battling food crisis (BusinessGhana)

The Deputy Majority Leader in Ghana’s Parliament and a Member of the ECOWAS Parliament, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, has disclosed that member countries of the regional economic body are currently confronted with an unprecedented food crisis.

According to him, this has rendered about 17 million people in need of immediate assistance and an additional 51 million persons, including women and children, under pressure.

Mr. Afenyo-Markin said though ECOWAS has adopted pragmatic steps to tackle the challenge to the best of its ability, the 51 million inhabitants under food crisis pressure in the region could lapse into a crisis phase.

Global economy

UN and partners meet to address 'critical' state of global food crisis (UN News)

Scaling up climate resilience across food systems is among the actions needed to counter rising hunger and malnutrition, UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid said on Monday, at a special meeting to address the global food crisis. 

Mr. Shahid said as countries implement more sustainable and environmentally responsible food-practices, they must also approach food security as part of a broader multilateral agenda that both recognizes the interconnectedness of today’s challenges, and the futility of trying to solve them unilaterally or in isolation.  

Mr. Shahid also highlighted the need to prioritize food security in the world’s least developed countries, landlocked developing nations, and small island developing states, whose citizens “are typically forced to spend a larger share of their income on basic necessities, including food, and are thus disproportionately affected by rising food prices.” 

UN publishes new guidance on curbing child abduction and other ‘grave violations’ in war (UN News)

The UN’s top official advocating for children caught up in armed conflict issued new guidance on Monday designed to help expert staff on the ground protect children who are abducted, or who suffer other grave violations.

There are six grave violations identified by the UN which serve as the basis for gathering data and reporting, namely the killing and maiming of children; recruitment or use of child soldiers; sexual violence against children; abduction; attacks against schools or hospitals, and finally, denial of humanitarian access.

The guidance can “help inform the understanding of the grave violation”, as well as provide advocacy tools that can be used as part of efforts to end and prevent the abduction of children by parties to conflict.

India and Africa to explore opportunities in defence, maritime security and more at two day conclave (The Financial Express)

India is hosting a Conclave on India-Africa Growth Partnership in New Delhi under the aegis of Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

During the two days meeting which comes amidst the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, both sides will explore ways of further strengthening bilateral ties as well as discuss emerging economic opportunities as African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) gains ground.

Besides bilateral and regional discussions, the focus of the two day event from July 19-20 will be on is going to be on specific areas including Defence, Maritime Security, Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals, Power and Energy, IT / ITES, Infrastructure and Financial Partnerships, Agriculture & Food processing, Power and Energy, Skill Development and Consultancy, and more. Also, during the conclave the possibility of Trilateral Partnerships will be explored too.

Israeli-US relations 'at one of their all-time highs' following Biden visit (Jewish Insider)

As Israel’s government gathered for its weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, two days after the conclusion of President Joe Biden’s inaugural trip as president to the country, Prime Minister Yair Lapid proudly hung a framed copy of the newly signed “Jerusalem U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Joint Declaration” on the wall in the cabinet room.

The declaration, a roadmap for the U.S.-Israel strategic alliance covering issues ranging from the threats posed by Iran to the Palestinian question to shoring up and expanding regional peace, is being touted as the pinnacle of the two-day trip, which also included a meeting with Palestinian leaders in the West Bank.

Reaffirming the “unbreakable bonds” between the two countries and the enduring commitment of the U.S. to Israel’s security, the declaration outlines, among other things, the two countries’ commitments to democracy and “tikkun olam,” repairing the world, as well as a U.S. pledge never to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon and to continue maintaining Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region.

Wanted: $20M to stop environmental catastrophe in the Red Sea (Devex News)

The United Nations says it needs $80 million to prevent an oil spill in the Red Sea potentially four times greater than the Exxon Valdez disaster. It is $20 million short.

Moored 4.8 nautical miles off the coast of Yemen, the FSO Safer is a supertanker built in 1976 that was later converted into a floating storage and offloading facility, or FSO. It’s been abandoned due to the war since 2015, carrying an estimated 1.14 million barrels of light crude oil.

The estimated cleanup cost when it either leaks or explodes is $20 billion. Either of those occurrences is just a matter of time, the U.N. resident and humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, David Gressly, told Devex in an interview in Brussels last month. Fishing communities would lose their income, towns would be exposed to toxins, and the nearby ports of Hodeidah and Saleef — both key to supplying aid to a country with 17 million people in need of food assistance — could be closed.

UN commemorates Nelson Mandela’s ‘fight for a better world’ (UN News)

UN Member States gathered in the General Assembly Hall on Monday to observe Nelson Mandela International Day, a celebration for everyone to take action and inspire change in their communities. 

Abdulla Shahid, President of the UN General Assembly, recalled that he also advocated for democracy, gender equality, the rights of children and young people, and for protecting the environment. 

“Madiba’s fight against apartheid, was in fact a fight for a better world, in which the freedom, justice and dignity of all were respected. He called for peace, social justice, equality and human understanding throughout his life,” he said.

Agricultural trade under strain - Responding to new food security challenges (EBRD)

27 Jul 2022: In the context World Trade Organization’s Aid For Trade Global Review, the EBRD and FAO are co-organising a one-hour online session to discuss the implications of the war on Ukraine for agricultural markets, trade and food security. The event will feature representatives from the private sector, of international financial institutions and the international community, as well as leading experts in the field of agriculture and the global food systems.

Ukraine denounces deadly missile strike as war overshadows G20 meeting (EU Reporter)

The attack ruined Friday's G20 finance ministers meeting in Indonesia, at which the top U.S.- and Canadian officials accused Russian officials of complicity in atrocities.

Ukraine claimed Thursday's (14 July) strike against Vinnytsia (a city of 370,000 inhabitants) was carried out using Kalibr cruise missiles fired from a Russian submarine in Black Sea.

Janet Yellen, U.S. Treasury Secretary, condemned Russia's "brutal" and unjust war and stated that Russian finance officials also shared the responsibility.

She stated that Russia was solely responsible for the negative spillovers to global economies, especially higher commodity prices, by starting this war.

Push for post-Brexit trade deals may threaten UK pledges on deforestation (The Guardian)

A war of words is raging within the government over deforestation and trade, with green campaigners warning that a proposed policy could have dire consequences for efforts to stop illegal logging.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the international trade secretary, is believed to want to relax tariffs for goods including palm oil from Malaysia, a country of top concern over deforestation. The relaxation would be part of a broader push for trade deals with developing countries that the government is pursuing in the wake of Brexit.

The UK’s Environment Act, which was passed last year, makes provision for due diligence when companies import goods, including palm oil, from overseas countries where deforestation is rife.

Examining the intersection of data privacy and civil rights (Brookings Institution)

For historically marginalized groups, the right to privacy is a matter of survival. Privacy violations have put these groups at risk of ostracization, discrimination, or even active physical danger. These tensions have long pre-dated the digital age.

Under modern-day surveillance capitalism, interested parties can collect and monetize online data at an unprecedented scale with little scrutiny or limitation. That is why the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade highlights the urgent and pressing need for comprehensive federal privacy legislation, particularly to reduce the potential for further exploitation and manipulation of individuals who seek fair reproductive rights. Further, Congress needs to find consensus around federal privacy legislation to address other surveillance and data collection concerns, in particular commercial surveillance practices that enable discriminatory advertising, racially biased policing, and the outing or surveillance of historically marginalized groups.

EU foreign ministers weigh up ban on Russian gold imports (The Guardian)

EU foreign ministers are discussing a ban on Russian gold imports, the most significant measure in a limited plan by the bloc to further curb funding for the Kremlin’s war machine.

The EU’s high representative for foreign policy, Josep Borrell, said the ban on Russian gold was “the most important” measure of the latest plan, which is focused largely on “improving the implementation of the already existing sanctions”.

The EU has passed six rounds of sanctions against Russia, but agreeing the last package – an incomplete ban on oil agreed in May – was a bruising experience that revealed stark differences on how far the bloc should go.

Heatwave, Energy Crisis Fuel Europe's Summer of Discontent: Balance of Power (Bloomberg)

Record heat spells are less one-off events than a foretaste of what is to come as long as the world continues to burn more fossil fuels, adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

Yet that is precisely what is happening as a result of President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine. The US is pressing for more oil production to curb gasoline prices inflated by the invasion, while Europe builds liquefied natural gas infrastructure and fires up coal-powered plants in the rush to replace Russian energy supplies.


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