Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Local news

IMF raises South Africa’s growth outlook for 2022, but says global picture tilted to the downside (BusinessTech)

The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest global economic outlook review sounds the alarm bell for a slowdown in global economic growth – but prospects are more positive for South Africa.

Inflation this year is anticipated to reach 6.6% in advanced economies and 9.5% in emerging market and developing economies—upward revisions of 0.9 and 0.8 percentage points respectively—and is projected to remain elevated longer.

The global economy, still reeling from the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is facing an increasingly gloomy and uncertain outlook, the IMF said, with many of the downside risks flagged in the group’s April World Economic Outlook beginning to materialise.

GIPC urges business investment in Central Region (Graphic Online)

The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) has urged investors to capitalise on the Central Region's untapped economic potential to grow their companies and create jobs in the region.

It said doing so would help the local economy, provide jobs and speed up the region's socioeconomic growth.

This was made known during the GIPC's Central Regional Sensitisation tour earlier in the month to show traditional leaders and the metropolitan municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) the importance of making land available for investment.

Steel market embracing need for decarbonisation, says Kumba Iron Ore (Engineering News)

JOHANNESBURG – At a time when steelmakers the world over are taking strong steps to decarbonise steelmaking, Kumba Iron Ore’s high-quality lump and iron (Fe) is highly sought after, which positions the Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed mining and marketing company well in the global fight against climate change.

Simultaneously, steel demand is expected to increase significantly as a result of the massive global transition to renewable energy.

This is because the steel intensity in renewable power infrastructure is 10 to 30 times more than the steel intensity of fossil-based power infrastructure, making steel a vital energy transition ingredient.

Nigeria: NCS draft bill excludes AfCFTA, trade facilitation agreement, as NCMDLCA seeks withdrawal (Daily Sun)

The President, National Council of Managing Director of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Amiwero, has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed to order the withdrawal of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Draft Bill 2022 from the National Assembly.

This is even as he said that the bill does not reflect the Trade Facilitation Agreement (FTA) and African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA).

He said due to the importance of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) to the economy as an instrument that assists the Federal Government to formulate proper trade and fiscal policy direction, the draft bill must be withdrawn, reviewed and redrafted to accommodate the shortfalls of the international conventions, treaties and protocol missing in the draft.

Webb Fontaine Awarded Contract with Benin Government for Implementation of New Customs System in Replacement of ASYCUDA World (PR Newswire)

Webb Fontaine, a leading provider of advanced and innovative trade and Customs services, has announced its Customs Webb solution has been chosen by Benin as their new Customs system, in replacement of ASYCUDA World.

The project strengthens Webb Fontaine's long-standing partnership with Benin Government, who has ambitions to expand and develop into one of the region's most technologically advanced trade environments.

The project continues towards a fully integrated approach to trade, interconnecting all major trade platforms such as the Single Window, the Port Community System, the e-Tracking solution and now through Customs Webb the Customs System. As a central and critical part of the trade environment, it is crucial and urgent for Governments to operate modern and efficient Customs Systems.

President Museveni says Uganda will continue trading with Russia (CGTN Africa)

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday said his country will continue trading with Russia, noting that the East African nation will not be drawn into making decisions against Moscow based on its ongoing military operation in Ukraine.

Museveni made the remarks at a joint press briefing with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at State House in Entebbe.

“We want to trade with Russia. We want to trade with all countries of the world. We don’t believe in being enemies of somebody’s enemy,” he said.

Ghana: Small and Medium Enterprises rally support to compete in AfCTA (News Ghana)

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) exhibiting at the ongoing Central Regional Trade, Tourism and Investment Fair, have called for support to enable them to participate in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Representing about 90 per cent of businesses participating in the Fair, the SMEs in separate interviews with the Ghana News Agency, described the sector as the backbone of Ghana’s economy.

According to the SMEs, the support should focus on innovative trade policies, trade infrastructure, improved capacity, trade information and facilitation, market access for growth and expansion.

Sierra Leone: African Development Fund approves $2 million grant to boost food production (AfdB)

The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund, the concessional window of the African Development Bank Group, has approved a grant of $2 million to boost food production in Sierra Leone.

The program falls under the African Development Bank Group’s $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility, a response to the global food crisis that resulted from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which has deepened existing food insecurity in Sierra Leone.

The program will also benefit rice value chain actors and support the government of Sierra Leone to improve the regulatory environment in order to achieve climate-resilient agricultural development.

Tap into EAC market to increase incomes, manufacturers told (The Star Kenya)

Kenyan manufacturers have been challenged to take advantage of the expanded East African Community market to create more jobs and increase incomes. EAC and Regional Development PS Kevit Desai said with the inclusion of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the market size population has hit 350 million with a turnover of $250 billion.

“This market holds endless opportunities to organisations like Capwell to diversify their manufacturing and, most importantly, to achieve what EAC espouses which is value addition and value chains to ensure the wealth reaches every citizen in their respective countries,” Desai said.

Revenue Shortfall: Nigeria's Economy Is Like A 'Truck Powered With Volkswagen Engine'---Prof Ken Ife (The Whistler Nigeria)

The various fiscal and monetary challenges facing the Nigerian economy has made it to become so inefficient and currently performing sub-optimally, according to finance and economic experts.

Specifically, the depreciation of the naira, the huge debt burden, the revenue underperformance and the country’s over reliance on import is seriously having negative impact on the economy.

The Medium-Term Expenditure Framework Report for 2023-2025 showed that gross oil and gas federation revenue for the first four months of the year was projected at N3.12trn but as of April 30, only N1.23trn was realised, representing a mere 39 per cent performance.

Ghanaian, Dutch Businesses to Explore Business Opportunities (Top Africa News)

A statement issued by the organisers in Accra yesterday said, "This year's objective is to bridge the gap between Dutch investors and businesses and Ghanaian businesses as well as provide an opportunity to know more about the changing trends in e-Commerce, digitalisation, data censoring and knowing the latest products and services in the business technology industry."

The statement said representatives of authorities from both countries would have the opportunity to discuss Netherland-Ghana partnerships, trade and investments.

At least 200 investors, companies, and entrepreneurs would have the opportunity to visit The Netherlands to discuss business opportunities. Slated for September 28 to 30, 2022 this year's Netherland-Ghana Business fair; is under the theme: "Our Digital Future: Ghana beyond 2022".

Kenya seeks Bangladeshi investment in agriculture, ICT (The Business Standard)

Director General of Bilateral and Political Affairs of Kenya Amb Moi Lemoshia has invited Bangladeshi entrepreneurs to invest in the agriculture and ICT sector in Kenya, which will give them access to other African countries since Kenya is a member of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and East African Community (EAC).

"Kenya has a warm diplomatic relation with Bangladesh. Now we want to turn it into a good trade relation," said Lemoshia during a meeting with the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) on Monday.

As the economy of both Bangladesh and Kenya is SME driven, he suggested a collaboration between the two country's SME sectors. He also urged for a strong partnership of private sectors and chamber-to-chamber relations for technology transfer and training.

South Africa: Banking sector continues to progress transformation target, report shows (Engineering News)

Banks continued to meet many of the empowerment and transformation targets set out in the Financial Sector Code (FSC), despite the severe economic contraction of 6.4% experienced in 2020, which reduced opportunities for job creation and inclusive economic growth.

This is according to industry organisation the Banking Association of South Africa’s ‘Transformation in Banking Report 2022’. 

The report points out that, until the South African economy recovers from the years of State capture, maladministration, political uncertainty and a lack of urgent economic reforms, sustainable black economic empowerment (BEE) will be hampered.

African trade and integration

African Development Bank, African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat, Sign $11 Million Institutional Support Grant Agreement (AfDB)

The African Development Bank Group and the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) have signed a Protocol of Agreement for an $11.24 million support package to enhance the Secretariat’s effective implementation.

The signing took place on 25 July 2022, on the margins of the ninth meeting of the AfCFTA Council of Ministers responsible for trade, held in Accra, Ghana.

The AfCFTA Secretariat, currently in phase II of its implementation phase, will benefit from this support package, which aims to boost sustainable intra-Africa trade and to augment the number of participating African member states. The funds are intended to move the African trade integration agenda forward.

AfCFTA secretariat commences pilot trading with seven countries (Guardian Nigeria)

Seven countries, including Rwanda, Cameroun, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius and Tanzania have been selected among countries to start trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) framework in a pilot phase.

The move seeks to test the environmental, legal and trade policy basis for intra-African trade, according to the AfCFTA secretariat.

According to the AfCFTA Secretariat, the initiative seeks to demonstrate that AfCFTA is functioning and send a political message to countries that are yet to submit their provisional schedules of tariff concessions in accordance with agreed modalities.

Africa’s top renewable firm may raise $4bn after takeover (Engineering News)

Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) and Egypt’s Infinity Group plan to raise as much as $4-billion to double the size of a recently acquired business that’s already Africa’s biggest renewable power company.

The two firms agreed to buy Lekela Power last week and are seeking between $2.5-billion and $4-billion from capital markets over the next four years, Samaila Zubairu, AFC’s chief executive officer and president, said in an interview.

The duo are looking to take advantage of a drive by governments to increase access to electricity in Africa, the world’s poorest continent, through the provision of renewable energy from abundant solar and wind resources. Infrastructure-investment specialist AFC, based in Nigeria, and Infinity are buying Lekela from a group led by Actis LLP in a transaction valued at $1.5-billion.

Ministers of Finance conclude discussions on access to finances; debt restructuring and Africa’s credit rating (African Union)

African Union Member States Ministers of Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning, and Integration concluded their deliberations focused on “Improving Africa’s access to Capital: Debt Management and the Rising Influence of Credit Rating Agencies”. The meeting convened under the 5th Ordinary Session of the Specialized Technical Committee made far-reaching recommendations on assessments by Member States, on the state of debt crisis in their respective countries as way of promoting transparency and accountability, which in turn facilitates debt restructuring and reduces vulnerabilities. The Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors further recommended for the establishment of a regulatory institution in Africa in order to strengthen mechanisms on tax transparency, effective and prudential fiscal management, and combating illicit financial flows.

The Ministers reiterated the need to establish an African Credit Rating Agency on the basis of self-sustainability, political and financial autonomy, and adopted the Tax Strategy and the Strategy on curbing Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs). The STC meeting accepted the proposal of Afreximbank and ATIA to be designated as Specialized Agencies of the African Union. The STC requested African Union Member states to ensure a significant proportion of their annual budgets are committed to the financing of industrialisation projects, supported by prudential taxation policies and practices to enhance domestic resource mobilization, to minimise rigidities in credit creation.

IFC invests $9.4bln in Africa's private sector development (ZAWYA)

US-based International Finance Corporation (IFC) has provided $9.4 billion in financing to 36 African countries between July 1, 2021, and July 30, 2022, to develop regional pharmaceutical manufacturing, boost intra-Africa trade and strengthen food security, the fund said in a statement. The investments include $3 billion in trade financing, $2.1 billion for green transition and $861.7 million to increase digital connectivity. In addition, the fund provided $603 million in agriculture financing to strengthen food security. Financing across Africa included short-term finance ($3 billion) and mobilisation ($2.6 billion), with 49 percent of the funds going to low-income and fragile and conflict-affected states.

PEBEC to boost Nigeria-Botswana trade, investment drive (Daily Trust)

The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has said it will work with the Republic of Botswana, to create a favourable business climate for the ease of doing business for more trade investment activities in Nigeria.

The Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business (EoDB), Dr Jumoke Oduwole, stated this on Tuesday, during a virtual trade promotion meeting with private and public business owners in Nigeria and Botswana.

“We have states that are doing incredibly well in attracting and poaching private sector manufacturers. Companies in Botswana would do well to just look at all the companies here and see how we can collaborate particularly as we charge for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),” Oduwole said.

Verify Engineering eyes export market (The Herald)

Technology development agency Verify Engineering, whose medical oxygen plant was opened less than a year ago by President Mnangagwa, is not just supplying Zimbabwean hospitals but has already won contracts in Mozambique, is in advanced negotiations in Botswana and is targeting Zambia and Malawi.

In an interview at the plant in Feruka near Mutare recently, Verify Engineering CEO Engineer Pedzisai Tapfumaneyi said the plant was meeting Zimbabwean requirements and was now pushing exports. “We have started registering our products with organs that guide international trade like Comesa and Sadc and we are also riding on the bilateral agreements which have been done with Zimbabwe,” he said. 

Envoy: South Africa, Nigeria should collaborate for effective implementation of AfCFTA (TheCable)

Thami Mseleku, South Africa’s high commissioner to Nigeria, has called for a stronger collaboration between the two countries for the effective implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

The high commissioner said collaboration between South Africa and Nigeria would go a long way to facilitate the acceleration of development on the continent and would also enhance the implementation of AfCFTA.

“At the moment the main issue for us in Africa is to make the Africa Free Trade agreement work in practice, not just on paper, and for that to happen, the leading economies of Africa should collaborate,” he said.

Africa urged to end reliance on food and pharmaceutical imports (SABC News)

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has worsened commodity price increases. As a result, farmers in Africa face serious fertilizer shortages. Plans are now afoot to avert a famine in parts of Africa. The African Development Bank (AfDB) approved a $1.5 billion financing facility for emergency food production, with the aim of averting a looming food crisis. AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina told Reuters, “Africa should not allow itself to be vulnerable in excessively depending on others, whether it is for vaccines or whether it is for food.”

Angola, Egypt Strengthen Bilateral Cooperation (Energy Capital & Power)

Angola is pursuing improved cooperation with Egypt as the country looks at strengthening trade and investment within the energy, industry and commercial sub-sectors.

Leveraging Egypt’s expertise, particularly within oil, gas, renewable energy and industrial engineering, the southern African country has prioritized foreign investment, intra-African trade and economic diversification. Speaking during the opening of an economic forum between the two countries this month, Angola’s ambassador to Egypt, Nelson Manuel Cosme, emphasized that the country is officially open to foreign investment.

Logistics, fintech combine to address Africa's transport challenges (Creamer Media's Engineering News)

Financial institution Standard Bank has attributed the success of its recent direct minority equity investment into technology-enabled logistics solution Tripplo to its ability as a large, established corporate to work effectively with small, agile start-ups. The bank says this is the key to unlocking value chains, particularly among tech start-ups. Standard Bank says big corporations partnering with start-ups was an untested and undeveloped space, with few models having been developed to date and few examples of successful collaborations.

Tanzania joins Kenya, Uganda tax squeeze on gamblers’ winnings (The East African)

Tanzania has this month introduced a gaming tax on the amount or value of winnings through casinos and sports betting, tightening the noose on gamblers already squeezed by levies in neighbouring Kenya and Uganda.

In changes to its Gaming Act, Tanzania said levies of 12 percent and 10 percent are now applicable on the amount or value of all winnings in casinos and sports betting, respectively joining its East Africa Community partners Kenya and Uganda, which have both already gone hard on gamblers with punitive taxes to discourage the addictive habit.

The move by Tanzania solidifies a trend in which EAC countries are cracking down on gambling addiction through punitive taxation and other regulatory measures.

Global economy

Global Economic Growth Slows Amid Gloomy and More Uncertain Outlook (IMF)

The global economy, still reeling from the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is facing an increasingly gloomy and uncertain outlook. Many of the downside risks flagged in our April World Economic Outlook have begun to materialize.

Higher-than-expected inflation, especially in the United States and major European economies, is triggering a tightening of global financial conditions. China’s slowdown has been worse than anticipated amid COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdowns, and there have been further negative spillovers from the war in Ukraine. As a result, global output contracted in the second quarter of this year.

Under our baseline forecast, growth slows from last year’s 6.1 percent to 3.2 percent this year and 2.9 percent next year, downgrades of 0.4 and 0.7 percentage points from April. This reflects stalling growth in the world’s three largest economies—the United States, China and the euro area—with important consequences for the global outlook.

WTO chief calls on members to work on MC12 outcomes to respond to global trade challenges (Institute of Export)

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) needs to keep building on its successes and guard against complacency following a historic June meeting, according to its director general.

Speaking at a meeting of the General Council, the highest decision-making body of the WTO, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala this week called on the organisation’s members to build on the achievements from the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), held in Geneva in June 2022. She also urged members to step up efforts so that the organisation continues to respond to the challenges facing the global trading system.

The Institute of Export & International Trade attended MC12 and its director general, Marco Forgione, echoed the WTO chief's clarion call. “The outcomes of MC12 were hard-won and it is vital that we continue to build upon these reforms without losing momentum,” he said.

Dubai forms higher committee for future technology and digital economy (The National)

Dubai has formed a higher committee for future technology and digital economy as the emirate continues to boost efforts to establish itself as a global hub for the future economy. The goal of the new body is “to promote Dubai's supremacy in the digital economy globally”, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, said in a tweet on Tuesday. “We are working as a team to enhance Dubai’s position as a global birthplace and research laboratory for future technologies and one of the world’s top 10 metaverse economies, in line with the Dubai Metaverse Strategy,” Sheikh Hamdan, who will be chairman of the committee, said.

Policymakers, businesses stress D-8 PTA implementation (newagebd.net)

Policymakers and business leaders on Tuesday emphasised the implementation of a preferential trade agreement the member countries of the Developing-8 (D-8) signed to facilitate trade and investments among the eight countries.

The D-8, an economic bloc for development cooperation among Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey, was established around the concept of cooperation among major Muslim developing countries across South Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe and Africa.

At the inaugural ceremony of the D8 Chambers of Commerce and Industry Business Forum and Expo 2022 held at the Sonargaon Hotel in the capital Dhaka on Tuesday, policymakers and business leaders said that the D-8 countries should have a consensus on enhanced cooperation to overcome the present global economic crises caused by the Covid pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.

UN and World Economic Forum Behind Global 'War on Farmers' (The Epoch Times)

The escalating regulatory attack on agricultural producers from Holland and the United States to Sri Lanka and beyond is closely tied to the United Nations’ “Agenda 2030” Sustainable Development Goals and the U.N.’s partners at the World Economic Forum (WEF), numerous experts told The Epoch Times.

Indeed, several of the U.N.’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are directly implicated in policies that are squeezing farmers, ranchers, and food supplies around the world.

If left unchecked, multiple experts said, the U.N.-backed sustainability policies on agriculture and food production would lead to economic devastation, shortages of critical goods, widespread famine, and a dramatic loss of individual freedoms.

Lavrov Meets Arab League Leaders In Egypt, Engages In African Tour (Russia Briefing)

Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister, has been in Africa discussing food and fertilizer supplies amongst regional concerns over supply chains impacted by the Ukraine conflict. He has visited Egypt, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, with Ethiopia and Uganda to follow on a trip notable because Russia has made commitments to Africa to discuss these issues while the EU nations have not.

 Bilateral trade between Russia and Egypt has been growing, reaching US$4.7 billion in 2021. An EAEU trade agreement would push that far higher and also allow Egypt easier trade with fellow Islamic nations Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, about to become far more accessible via the INSTC routes through Iran.

While in Cairo, Lavrov met with Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and reiterated mutual interest in invigorating business ties. The Arab League includes Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Dr. Peter Mathuki EAC Secretary General To Be Keynote Speaker Of EABN 17th Annual Trade & Investment (EIN News)

The East Africa Business Network (EABN) is proud to announce the Honorable Dr. Peter Mutuku Mathuki as the Keynote speaker at the 17th Annual EABN Investment & Trade Conference. “We are extremely honored to welcome Dr. Mathuki to the United States and to this year’s annual event” says the EABN’s Founder, Benson Kioko Kasue. “This is our BreakOut year” says Kasue, “we encourage everyone interested to register today and join us as we celebrate the future of business trade, investment and collaborations, September 29th – October 1st 2022 at the DFW Sheraton in Irving, Texas.

Egypt-Serbia bilateral trade nears $80mln in 2021 (ZAWYA)

 The value of the trade exchange between Egypt and Serbia amounted to $79.70 million in 2021, Egypt's Minister of Trade and Industry, Nevine Gamea, announced.

Egypt’s exports to Serbia reached $42.40 million last year, while the Arab Republic imported goods worth $37.40 million from the European country. Moreover, the minister pointed out that items of trade exchange between the two countries included phosphates, vegetables, fruits, plastics, fertilisers, tobacco, machinery, and electrical appliances.


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