Building capacity to help Africa trade better

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South African president urges stakeholders to examine progress in redressing racialized economy (Xinhua)

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday urged stakeholders to examine areas where transformation has been slow and implementation has been weak as the country reflected on progress in transforming racialized economy.

There are now more than 300,000 black entrepreneurs who own over half of all small businesses in the formal sector in the country, while in 1994, the year when apartheid ended, there were around 150,000 black-owned formal businesses in South Africa, Ramaphosa gave an example of gains in the transformation at the opening of the inaugural Black Industrialists and Exporters Conference in Johannesburg.

There has also been substantial progress on employment equity and the number of black managers in the private sector has more than doubled over the past 20 years, from 125,000 in 2002 to over 350,000 at present, Ramaphosa told more than 1,000 delegates, including officials, entrepreneurs, representatives of labour unions, citing figures of labour force surveys.

SA's consumer price inflation races to 13-year high (Sunday World)

South Africa’s consumer price inflation (CPI) raced to 7.4% in June from 6.9% in May, show Statistics SA figures that were released on Wednesday. This is the highest rate recorded since May 2009 when the rate was at 8%. “The consumer price index increased by 1.1% month on month in June 2022,” said Stats SA.

According to Stats SA, the main contributors to the 7.4% annual inflation rate were food and non-alcoholic beverages, housing and utilities, transport, as well as miscellaneous goods and services.

It said food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 8.6% year on year and contributed 1.5 percentage points to the total CPI annual rate of 7.4%, while housing and utilities increased by 5.1% year on year and contributed 1.2 percentage points.

AfCFTA: 'Lack of export strategy undermines Nigeria's gains' (New Telegraph Newspaper)

The lack of export strategy by Nigeria will deny her the opportunity of reaping maximally from African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), 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. “Coastal shipping will help in properly placing Nigeria to reap bountifully from the AfCFTA. Infrastructural deficits that are associated with

Angola awards $333m contract to Trafigura consortium to improve Congo rail link (Engineering News)

Angola's ministry of transport has awarded a tender to a Trafigura consortium to operate and expand rail infrastructure to speed up commodity imports from Democratic Republic of Congo.

Congo, Africa's biggest copper producer, exports copper, cobalt and other metals in trucks via Tanzania or South Africa, which takes several weeks because of congestion and customs delays.

As part of a 30-year concession agreement, the consortium has agreed to invest $256-million in infrastructure, $73-million in rolling stock and $4.3-million on other activities, Angola's transport ministry said, to improve the Lobito corridor.

South Africa: Finance gaps for local green entrepreneurs need to be addressed (Engineering News)

Local green entrepreneurs (LGEs) are faced with a finance gap in South Africa, with many small, medium-sized and microenterprises (SMMEs) operating in the space seeking funding and support and struggling to find it, economic research firm Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (Tips) sustainable growth researcher Elize Hattingh has noted.

LGEs have the agility to accelerate access to new markets and play a catalytic role in the diffusion and uptake of green innovations, owing to their role as key adopters and testers for radical green innovations in the production and manufacturing of environmental goods, services and technologies – which many established firms view as high-risk and therefore avoid.

Hattingh noted during a July 20 webinar that SMMEs were critical for economic development and job creation, but there should also be acknowledgement of their potential to be vital economic players in driving inclusive and sustainable development.

Nigeria: AfCFTA: NAC to anchor agreement on 8 pillars to boost trade (Daily Sun)

To achieve the objectives of the intra-Africa trade, the National Action Committee (NAC) on African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), has said it would anchor its strategy on eight pillars that would align with the African Union’s framework for boosting the continental trade.

Secretary of the Committee, Francis Anatogu, who made the remark recently also added that in partnership with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and support from Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), the committee has commenced a project to onboard Nigeria SMEs on to its e-commerce platforms focusing initially on three cities of Lagos, Aba and Kano.

He said in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the committee has commenced a project to commercialise agricultural research findings available in the various research institutes across the country as one of the steps to improve yield as well as incentivise research and innovation for agricultural products development for export.

Ghana Supports The Establishment of The African Credit Rating Agency (African Union)

The APRM delegation, led by Dr. Abdoulie Janneh, who is the Vice Chair of the APR Panel of Eminent Persons and Prof. Eddy Maloka, the Chief Executive Officer of APRM Continental Secretariat, met with the Vice-President of Ghana, Hon. Mahamudu Bawumia during their official visit to Ghana. Ghana reaffirmed its support to the establishment of an African Credit Rating Agency. Ghana is already Championing the establishment of the three African Union Financial Institutions - the African Investment Bank (AIB), the African Monetary Fund (AMF) and the African Central Bank (ACB).

The APRM was mandated by the 4th African Union Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration to undertake a study on Financial, Structural and Legal feasibility of establishing an African Credit Rating Agency. The outcomes of this study are scheduled to be presented to the 5th STC meeting, which will be held in Lusaka, Zambia from the 21 - 22 July 2022 for consideration, endorsement and recommendation to the relevant policy structures of the African Union.

Liberia's Agriculture, Health, WFP, Partners launch nationwide rapid food security assessment (Farmers Review Africa)

Liberia’s Ministries of Agriculture and Health, along with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), and sector partners have launched rapid food security and nutrition assessment in urban and rural communities of Liberia. The program which will run for two weeks, will cut across Liberia’s 15 counties. It is part of efforts to assess the impacts of the global crisis on the agricultural production, rural livelihoods, food security and nutritional status of households and communities.

Socio-economic shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine have hampered the already precarious food security situation in Liberia in recent years. According to the 2022 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report, the number of people affected by hunger globally rose to as many as 828 million in 2021, an increase of about 46 million since 2020 and 150 million since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Sub-Saharan Africa bearing the heaviest burden.

Nigeria: Stakeholders Identify Non-oil Exports as Panacea for Economic Rejuvenation at Zenith Bank Int’l Trade Seminar (THISDAY Newspapers)

Stakeholders have unanimously called for support of Nigeria’s non-oil export sector at the seventh annual edition of the Zenith Bank International Trade Seminar with the theme: “Unlocking Opportunities in Nigeria’s Non-Oil Export Business,” which was held yesterday in Lagos as well as virtually.

In his goodwill message presentation, the Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Jim Ovia called for a concerted effort towards diversifying Nigeria’s export base through the promotion of non-oil exports.

UNIDO: FG Should not Take 90% MSMEs Contribution to Nigerian Economy for Granted (THISDAY Newspapers)

The Regional Director of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Mr Jean Bakole, has opined that the current economic situation in Nigeria can be boosted if the federal government takes cognizant of the huge contribution of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises to all business activities in the country.

Speaking in Abuja on the various interventions being spearheaded by UNIDO in the country in recent years, Bakole pointed out that the MSMEs accounts for 96 per cent of all businesses in Nigeria and contributes 50 per cent of the GDP as well as providing over 48 percent of all employment opportunities in Nigeria.

He said, “In the Nigerian economy, the role of the MSMEs is absolutely key. They represent almost 96 percent of the business activities in the country. They are contributing to about 50 percent of the national GDP and account for 48 percent of all employment in the country.

Ghana, Thelo DB Consortium to Sign Agreement for Western Railway Line Project (Top Africa News)

Thelo DB consortium will sign a framework agreement for the transformational Western Railway Line Project with the government.

The signing ceremony will take place on July 25, 2002 during the Ministerial Programme hosted by the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) Secretariat in Accra, Ghana.

Ronnie Ntuli, Chairman, Thelo DB, in a statement issued yesterday said "The Western Railway Line Project will transform Ghana's existing railway infrastructure base into a modern, robust and integrated railway system, with the associated infrastructure to position Ghana's rail network as a leading transport system in Africa."

ZAMBIA: The State wants to mobilise nearly $6 billion for access to water by 2030 (AFRIK)

The government is launching a new programme to secure access to water in Zambia. The “Zambia Water Sector Investment Programme”, aims to mobilise $5.75 billion for the construction of new water supply facilities in the East African country.

In addition to improving water supply by 2030, the programme will create jobs in Zambia’s water sector. Some 200,000 formal jobs will be created through gender-sensitive investments in water security, industrialisation and climate-resilient development.

The programme recently launched in collaboration with the International High Level Panel on Water Investments in Africa is part of the Continental Water Investment Programme (CWIP).

Nigeria: AUDA-NEPAD partners UN to deploy technology to assist smallholder farmers (Tribune Online)

As part of its efforts to contribute towards food security in Nigeria, the African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for African Development (AUDA-NEPAD) has unveiled the Juncao technology which it said would assist Nigerian farmers especially smallholder farmers grow more food, thereby fighting hunger.

The National Coordinator/CEO of AUDA-NEPAD/African Peer Review Mechanism, Princess Gloria Akobundu while speaking at the National Workshop on “Applications of Juncao Technology and its contributions to the achievement of sustainable Agriculture and the sustainable development goals in Nigeria, said the workshop aims to help African countries eliminate hunger and reduce poverty by raising economic growth through agriculture-led development.

The program is in a partnership between AUDA-NEPAD and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).

Youth Expo to be held in Lüderitz (Namibia Economist)

The Namibia Facility Management (NFM) is inviting the youth to the Youth Entrepreneurial Mentorship Expo, taking place at Lüderitz Old Power Station from 27 to 28 July, in Lüderitz.

Under the theme, ‘Youth participation in the Namibian Economy by taking full advantage of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) through Entrepreneurial Innovation’, the expo aims to showcase career opportunities and career guidance tips to inspire the young Namibian people.

African trade and integration

UN summit galvanizes action for development agendas in Africa (UN News)

The development of Africa was spotlighted at a key UN meeting on Wednesday, with attention focused on advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063.

Despite being “rich with human and natural resources and enormous untapped economic and social potential,” General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid told the high-level The Africa We Want dialogue that the continent “still faces challenges” in realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Africa has undergone a dramatic transformation since the end of the colonial era, with many countries struggling post-independence to secure socio-economic development, peace and security.

Press Release Committee of SADC Ministers Responsible for Disaster Risk Management (SADC)

A team, led by Dr. Mubita LUWABELWA, Director for Policy Planning and Monitoring and Evaluation (PPRM) and comprising of the Mr. Khutula SIBANDA, Director for Industrial Development and Trade (IDT) as well as our representative at the African Union, Mr. Jevin Pillay Ponisamy, attended the 41st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union, the 4th Mid-Year Coordination Meeting (also referred to as the second AU Summit) held in Lusaka, Zambia from 14 to 17 July 2022.

Several issues were on the agenda of the 41st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council such as the Member State to be selected to host the headquarters of the African Medicines Agency (AMA) and the ultimate choice was on Rwanda; discussions on phase one and two on the operationalization of the Africa CDC and the financial sustainability of the Africa Epidemics Fund; the mid-term implementation report of the African Union theme of the year for 2022 on nutrition; the appropriate level of funds to be used under the crisis reserve facility of the AU Peace Fund. Elections to different positions were also held during this session.

North Africa: Private sectors have a key role to play in economic recovery, resilience (UNECA)

Tangier, 20 July 2022 (ECA) - The ECA Office for North Africa launched today a workshop on “Scaling-up the private sector participation in North Africa,” in partnership with the Abdelmalek Essaadi University and the National School of Business and Management of Tangier (ENCGT).

This event is taking place in Tangier on 20-22 July with the aim of providing practitioners, policy makers, development institution representatives and academics with a platform to exchange views on policies and best practices on strengthening private sectors’ role in North Africa. In addition, participants are drawing the outlines of a roadmap on this issue while accounting for the country specificities.

“In the current economic context, North African public sectors have very limited room to invest, and for countercyclical policies more broadly. This also underscores the growing need for a higher private sector involvement in greening the economy and in addressing social issues such as poverty and food insecurity. We need to understand what continues to hold the private sector back and challenges related to relatively low growth, limited labour utilization and subdued labour productivity in the region,” said Zuzana Brixiova Schwidrowski, Director of the ECA office for North Africa.

African Development Bank Technologies for African Agriculture Transformation (TAAT) to receive $27 million for emergency production of 120 million tonnes of food (AfDB)

The African Development Bank will release an additional $27.41 million to implement Phase II of its flagship agricultural initiative, "Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation" (TAAT). The goal is to increase farming households' productivity and incomes by giving them access to climate-resilient technologies in 36 low-income African countries, by 2025. The decision to make this new disbursement was taken in Abidjan by the Bank Group’s Board of Directors on Friday 15 July 2022.

"The Bank is well positioned to harness the power of the science, knowledge and innovation needed to catalyse Africa's agricultural transformation through this investment. The Bank already has extensive experience in agricultural development assistance in Africa and this additional funding will help us to consolidate the achievements of TAAT-I," said Beth Dunford, African Development Bank Group Vice President for Agriculture and Human and Social Development.

"TAAT-II will help to address the challenges of strategic and economic diversification and will support implementation of national strategies to boost agriculture and agribusiness to create jobs (green jobs), especially for young people and women," she continued.

Corrections officers at SADC ERM workshop call for strengthened peace-building efforts in Mozambique (SADC)

Peace-building programmes should be strengthened at community level to ensure that everybody participates, and the adoption of non-violent conflict resolution, especially the use of human rights approach, is critical to effectively deal with conflicts. This came out of a five-day training workshop for prisons and corrections services held in Pemba, Cabo Delgado Province in the Republic of Mozambique, to capacitate the officers on how to deal with terrorism conflict in the province. The workshop is part of a series of Southern African Development Community (SADC) initiatives aimed at pacifying the security situation in Cabo Delgado Province which continues to be relatively calm but faces the threat posed by terrorist activities.

The training was held under the SADC Peace Building Support to the Republic of Mozambique being implemented under the Africa Peace Facility, with financial support from the European Union (EU). The SADC Peace Building Support to the Republic of Mozambique complements on-going efforts by the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) which was deployed following the approval of the SAMIM mandate by the Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government on 23 June 2021.

Africa can shift to sweet potato amid wheat shortage (SciDev.Net)

The rapidly rising cost of wheat globally is a cue for African countries to shift attention to sweet potato for their baking industry, says Jan Low, a principal scientist at the International Potato Centre.

The Russia-Ukraine war has triggered a wave of disruption of food supplies across Africa and the continent now faces a shortage of at least 30 million metric tonnes of food, especially wheat, maize and soybeans imported from both countries.

Low says turning to roots and tubers, such as sweet potato, which is widely produced within the continent is good policy because it supports local farmers by providing a market for their product; and if adopted widely, saves governments’ much-needed foreign exchange.

Research shows Western lenders create most of African debt crisis (News Ghana)

In a report released last week, Britain-based charity Debt Justice found that African governments owe three times more debt to Western banks, asset managers, and oil traders than to China, and are charged double the interest.

The new finding came after Harry Verhoeven from the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University, and Nicolas Lippolis from the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford published a new study in May, which said the rise in African debt due to Chinese lending pales in comparison with the debt burden created by private creditors of other countries over the last decade.

The new findings lay bare the absurdity of the so-called “debt-trap diplomacy” that has been for too long touted by Western politicians and propaganda machines in smear campaigns against China, experts have said.

Africa urged to promote innovative financing solutions to realize climate ambitions (News Ghana)

Experts have called on African countries to promote innovative financing solutions to achieve ambitious climate investment goals and meet the Paris Agreement commitments.

The experts made the call during a joint UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and World Bank virtual workshop on the development of the Green, Social and Sustainable (GSS) sovereign bond market in Africa that was held on late Tuesday.

Hanan Morsy, Deputy Executive Secretary of the UNECA, told the gathering that ahead of this year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), which is slated to be held in November this year in Egypt, Africa faces a mixed landscape for achieving climate ambitions and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

How Africa can tame the time bomb that is the ballooning population and improve health (Business Daily)

The growing population in countries with limited resources and low income will result in migration of people and may deprive Africa of highly qualified productive human capital. Internally low-income countries will experience rural to urban migration and this will put pressure on resources.

To stem the rapid population growth and maximise the potential benefits of a favourable age distribution, African countries need to invest in the REEF Framework which entails increased access to reproductive health, equitable education, and sustainable economic freedom and food security.

African countries must aspire to achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education as espoused by SDG 3. To achieve this, Africa should invest in meeting the needs of the furthest behind first.

South Sudan, Uganda hold first ever business forum in Juba (The East African)

South Sudan and Uganda are holding their first ever Joint Business Forum in Juba, seeking to boost trade and investment ties “through industrialisation and infrastructure development”.

The three-day forum and exhibition, which kicked off on Tuesday, has attracted over 200 businesspeople from the public and private sectors.

Uganda says the talks will help to identify ways to enhance investment opportunities and the already vibrant trade relations between both countries and consequently improve the livelihood of their people.

Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) chief executive Stephen Asiimwe says Ugandan businesses are looking to discuss advocacy, and networking, explore new opportunities, showcase products and services, and seek to understand the interventions required to strengthen the trade ties between the two countries.

Impact of G7’s multi-billion dollar plan on Africa’s infrastructure gap (Africa Feeds)

In late June 2022, it was announced at the G7 Summit in Germany that a USD 600 billion lending initiative, the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Initiative (PGII), would be launched to fund infrastructure projects in the developing world, with a particular focus on Africa.

DFIs are increasingly anchoring the infrastructure ecosystem in Africa – serving a critical function for project finance as investment facilitator and a check on capital. DFIs can shoulder political risk and access government protections in a way that others cannot, enter markets others cannot and are uniquely capable of facilitating long-term lending. 

The African Union’s 55 member states have stated that their primary funding needs include support in terms of safety and security on the continent, as well help in implementing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and the massive infrastructure investment it needs to be successful. 

SADC Challenge Fund for Non-Profit Organizations (fundsforNGOs)

In response to the impacts on women arising from COVID-19, the SADC Challenge Fund is now open to support non-profit organizations and women in business associations that are already supporting the capacity building and/or training of women entrepreneurs to improve their skills in business and product development.

The Challenge Fund is implemented under the SADC Project on Industrialization and Women Economic Empowerment (IWEE) and is funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development as part of the CESARE programme.

The aim is to contribute towards increasing the participation of women-led businesses and female entrepreneurs in selected priority sectors and value chains in line with the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap (SISR).

For more information, visit https://www.sadc.int/procurement-opportunities/sadc-challenge-fund-non-profit-organizations-supporting-women-economic.

Union Minister Piyush Goyal emphasizes Need For India-Africa Trade and Investment Agreement (Business Standard)

Union Minister for Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and Textile Piyush Goyal has emphasized upon the need for a trade and investment agreement between India and Africa. India plans to strengthen its partnership with Africa in four areas to fulfil aspirations of both the countries, speaking at the inaugural session of CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India-Africa Growth Partnership, the Union Minister said. First area is solar power, this will help bring clean energy, energy security and will create jobs in Africa. Second is defence trade and military exchanges in Indian Ocean, manufacturing of armoured vehicles and UAVs. Third is physical & digital infra, helping in IT/Consultancy & Project Exports and the fourth one is healthcare & pharma.

He said, we are working to lead the developing world out of food insecurity, efforts are being made to take quality life and prosperity to the people of India and Africa.

Global economy

WHO calls for action to provide migrant and refugee healthcare (UN News)

Millions of refugees and migrants face poorer health outcomes than their host communities, which could jeopardize reaching the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for these populations. 

The warning from the World Health Organization (WHO) comes in its first ever report on the health of refugees and migrants, published on Wednesday. 

It calls for urgent action to ensure people on the move can access healthcare services that are sensitive to their needs. 

“Whether by choice or by force, to be on the move is to be human and is part of human life. Whatever a person’s motivation, circumstance, origin or migratory status, we must unequivocally reiterate that health is a human right for all, and that universal health coverage must be inclusive of refugees and migrants,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director General, in the forward to the report. 

UNCTAD data highlights need to strengthen business ICT statistics (UNCTAD)

As the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation, measuring how businesses are harnessing digital opportunities for economic resilience and sustainable development has become ever more critical.

“As the world becomes more digitally dependent, disparities that put individuals and businesses in developing countries at a disadvantage threaten to accelerate existing inequalities,” said Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD’s technology and logistics division.

“More decisive action is needed to bridge the widening digital and data divides,” she added.  

Sri Lanka economic crisis requires ‘immediate global attention’: Rights experts (UN News)

Greater support must be given to Sri Lanka as the country faces economic crisis and political turmoil, a group of UN human rights experts said on Wednesday in an appeal to the international community. 

“Sri Lanka’s economic collapse needs immediate global attention, not just from humanitarian agencies, but from international financial institutions, private lenders and other countries who must come to the country’s aid,” they said in statement. 

The nine experts expressed alarm over record high inflation, rising commodity prices, power shortages, a crippling fuel crisis and economic collapse, as the country grapples with unprecedented political turmoil.

Items proposed for consideration at the next meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body (WTO)

The WTO Secretariat has circulated a meeting notice and list of items proposed for the next meeting, on 21 July 2022, of the Dispute Settlement Body, which consists of all WTO members and oversees legal disputes among them. The meeting notice is circulated in the form of a document officially called an “airgram”.

Find the meeting notice and item proposal document here.

Global Hub Launched to Eradicate Women's Digital Financial Exclusion and Accelerate Women's Business Ownership (PR Newswire UK)

New Women's Digital Financial Inclusion Advocacy Hub to Champion Equal Access to Digital Financial Services for Women; Initial Efforts to Support Local Coalitions in Indonesia and Ethiopia; as well as Encourage Others to Join the Coalition

NEW YORK, July 20, 2022 -- Women's World Banking and the UN Capital Development Fund today announced the launch of the Women's Digital Financial Inclusion (WDFI) Advocacy Hub, a new global coalition to catalyze collective action to increase women's digital financial inclusion. The coalition aims to close the gender gap in access to digital technology, skills, and digital financial products for women entrepreneurs – particularly in developing countries.

"Three quarters of a billion women around the world are excluded from the formal financial system," said Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women's World Banking. "Imagine the possibilities if those women had equal access to technology, skills, and financial services. The WDFI Advocacy Hub is a groundbreaking global collaboration that will make those possibilities a reality and close the financial inclusion gap."

How record-setting heat waves in cities across UK, US and mainland Europe could punish economies already reeling from inflation (The Conversation)

Hundreds of millions of people struggled to keep cool amid a sweltering summer heat wave as cities across the U.S. and mainland Europe experienced record-high temperatures. In the U.K., thermometers topped 104 Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) on July 19, 2022, the highest ever recorded.

While all this broiling heat is surely punishing on a personal level, it also has significant impacts on the broader economy.

Time is ripe for India to explore trade deal with AfCFTA: Commerce Secy (Business Standard)

With the signing of the world’s largest free trade area–African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)--the time is right for India to explore a trade with the union, commerce secretary BVR Subrahmanyan said on Wednesday.

“The African Continental FTA came into force in January last year. I know it's early years, a lot of it has to get operationalized, I think the time has come for India and Africa to also start talking about engaging in a comprehensive economic partnership or a free trade agreement,” Subrahmanyan said at the 17th CII-Exim Bank conclave.

“Officials (from India) will be engaging with some of your colleagues (from African nations) on trade matters to do that…. We can help each other with raw materials, technologies, manufacturing, ideas and potential investment. We can help each other in education, health, in pharmaceuticals, and we can help each other become part of global value chains. And I think that is something that's very important for both of us. We can do that. There is a great feature for our partnership,” he said.

Indonesia meeting represents chance for G20 to build on WTO progress (The Australian Financial Review)

Strategic competition between China and the United States has made global cooperation much harder. Both countries are the source of global uncertainty, but neither has yet walked away from the WTO or global arrangements such as the G20.

The world’s two largest powers account for about 30 per cent of the global economy, and between them have the clout to undermine certainty about the rules. At the same time, countries representing 70 per cent of the global economy want a rules-based order that constrains the major powers.

The already difficult situation has been worsened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting food and energy crises. Recovery from the pandemic is incomplete, and we’re starting to see what a changing climate looks like.

UN Women and Ant Foundation launch “Together Digital” to empower women entrepreneurs in the digital economy (Business Wire)

UN Women and Ant Foundation, today jointly announced the launch of “Together Digital”, a five-year programme to support women-led micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and empower them to participate and thrive in the digital economy.

“The Together Digital programme will leverage UN Women’s vast expertise in women’s economic empowerment, as well as the Ant Foundation’s wide network and track record in entrepreneurship and digital empowerment,” said Sarah Knibbs, Deputy Regional Director of UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. “We are pleased to enter this partnership with the Ant Foundation, with whom we share a mutual interest in the digital empowerment of women.”

Against this backdrop, the Together Digital programme aims to help narrow the gender gap in access to digital technology, and to support the digital empowerment of women. Through training, access to markets and resources such as funding and knowledge exchange opportunities, the programme will support women entrepreneurs in MSMEs to establish, maintain and expand their businesses in the digital era.

Green Climate Fund Board approves new climate funding, bringing assets under management to USD 40 billion (ReliefWeb)

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board has approved four new climate projects valued at USD 380.7 million in GCF funding and USD 1.0 billion with co-financing, whilst also launching the process for the Fund’s replenishment for the 2024-2027 period. With the newly approved projects, GCF’s portfolio now stands at 200 projects with a total value of USD 10.8 billion in GCF resources, USD 40.3 billion including co-financing.

Held in GCF’s host city of Incheon, the Board meeting was the first to be held in-person in the Republic of Korea since November 2019. During the four-day meeting, the Board also adopted new policies including an adaptation framework that will guide GCF’s approach and scope for providing adaptation support, and a climate rationale policy that will ensure a transparent and consistent approach to climate impact potential for funding proposals.

A formal decision was also made to launch the second replenishment for GCF for 2024 – 2027 (GCF-2). This launch will be followed by consultations on the strategic programming direction for GCF-2 as the GCF-1 programming period (2020 - 2023) ends next year. A pledging conference for the replenishment will be held in September 2023.

President Biden Plans African Leaders Summit Mid-December – OpEd (Eurasia Review)

As a further major step to strengthen relations, President Joe Biden plans to hold African leaders in the White House mid-December. According reports, the U.S.-African summit will discuss the emerging global order, changing geopolitical and economic issues and will also offer enormous funds for various development projects as well as for good governance and human rights.

Under the plan, Washington says the summit will focus on existing challenges, especially those relating to peace and security, food security to climate change and poverty alleviation directions across Africa. 

The high-level dialogue is expected to set the scene for reviewing the opportunities for the United States and African public and private sector leaders, how to strengthen the economic partnership between the United States and Africa related to large-scale investments in key sectors.

Cost of living crisis hits poorest the hardest, warns UNCTAD (African Business)

UNCTAD’s analysis shows that a 10 per cent increase in food prices will trigger a five per cent decrease in the incomes of the poorest families, roughly equivalent to the amount those families would normally spend on healthcare.

As consumers try to reduce their spending, they will pay a high price if they buy cheaper, but unsafe products. The United States reports 43,000 deaths and 40 million injuries per year associated with consumer products, with yearly costs of over $3,000 per capita.

While more developed countries have put in place product safety frameworks, including laws, enforcement institutions, recall mechanisms and communication campaigns, developing countries with weaker systems, UNCTAD said, are less able to regulate the scourge of unsafe products.

Summer steps forward for US and global trade digitisation: Prepare to swoon? (TXF)

Digital trade in the US took what is being described as a big step forward on 13 July when the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) passed several amendments to the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) addressing digital assets, terminology to account for digital records, electronic signatures, and distributed ledger technology, providing rules for electronic negotiable instruments, and clarifying the rules for UCC applicability to hybrid transactions involving both goods and services. The measures still need to be taken up by state legislatures. And that’s the key – it’s a federal solution. 

The issue in the US has been that there has never been a federal solution to the handling of commercial trade documents. “The breakthrough was really last year where the UK secured G7 ministerial commitment, which of course includes the US,” says Chris Southworth, co-chair of the Legal Reform Advisory Board of the ICC Digital Standards Initiative (DSI). “The breakthrough is that the US government has now identified a solution which is the UCC and is now actively progressing on reforming the law to enable those documents to be handled across state boundaries.” 

Ministers of Africa and the Americas hold first summit to enhance cooperation on agrifood issues (Jamaica Observer)

Ministers of agriculture, national senior officials in the fields of environment, science and technology, heads of international organisations and private sector representatives will meet this month during the first Summit of Africa and the Americas, which will seek to enhance cooperation between the two continents on agrifood systems amid global threats to food security.

The summit is being organised by IICA, the African Union Development Agency — New Partnership for Africa's Development (AUDA-NEPAD) and AGRA, who agree that both continents face common challenges in advancing agrifood system transformation and will benefit from sharing of experiences to foster collaboration within the framework of South-South Cooperation.


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