tralac Daily News
Millions of boxes of oranges are spoiling in containers stranded at European ports as South Africa and the European Union lock horns in a dispute over import rules, citrus growers have said. South Africa, the world’s second-largest exporter of fresh citrus after Spain, filed a complaint with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) last month after the EU introduced new plant and health safety requirements that orange farmers say threaten their survival. The measures came into force in July as ships were already at sea carrying hundreds of containers full of South African fruit to Europe, resulting in them being held up on arrival, South Africa’s Citrus Growers’ Association (CGA) says. “It’s a complete and utter disaster,” CGA’s CEO Justin Chadwick told AFP by phone. “Food that has fantastic quality and is safe is (just) sitting there -- and this at a time when people are worried about food security.”
The EU rules aim at tackling the potential spread of an insect called the false codling moth, a pest native to sub-Saharan Africa that feeds on fruits including oranges and grapefruits.
Farmers fight on despite lost export markets (Food for Mzansi)
Farmers in South Africa who once relied on Russia and Ukraine as key export markets, are trying their level best to find alternative destinations for their top crops. Exporters are now setting their sights on Africa, where the two countries at war have created potentially lucrative gaps. According to Western Cape fruit exporter and managing director at Riyp, Uzair Essack, more and more farmers – mostly apple, pears, citrus and grape producers – have approached Riyp to help them find new markets.
“A lot of farmers [who exported to Russia and Ukriane] are reaching out to us to handle their exports because we focus on Africa, the Middle East and Ireland. So, those three markets have seen more inflow recently,” Essack says.
South Africa and Botswana have agreed to fund the improvement and extension of rail links between the countries in a bid to boost trade and better connect Botswana to export markets, South African state-owned logistics firm Transnet said on Friday. Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) will collaborate with Botswana Rail (BR) to fix parts of the 126 km (78 mile) rail line between Swartruggens, in South Africa’s North West province, and Mafikeng, on the border with Botswana, helping South Africa’s landlocked northern neighbour get its minerals, including thermal coal, to market. European countries are scrambling to meet their coal needs after a ban on imports of the fossil fuel from Russia, and coal-rich countries like Botswana are looking to cash in on the surge in demand.
“To fast-track implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the development of an implementation strategy is critical as it leverages deeper integration within the framework of AfCFTA to facilitate an expansion of Kenya’s trade and investment in Africa” says Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina, Kenya Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development during the launch of the pdf Kenya AfCFTA Implementation Strategy (4.87 MB) .
Competition From Kenya Causes Sluggish Khat Exports (The Reporter Ethiopia)
Khat exporters in Ethiopia face a business slowdown following a new deal signed between the governments of Kenya and Somalia. Ethiopia had a comparative advantage for the last two years after the Somalia government placed a ban on Khat imported from Kenya, with no reason given during the suspension. A protracted maritime boundary dispute has strained relations, and Somalia has accused Kenya of interfering in its internal affairs. Nairobi has countered by accusing Mogadishu of using it as a scapegoat for its own political and security problems.
Last week, Business Daily reported that Kenya had exported USD 2.2 million worth of Miraa (Khat) within four days after the official lifting of the suspension. While this is a big win for traders in Kenya, the story is different for their counterparts in Ethiopia. “It is now a peak season and we expect exports to grow, not decline, which is happening right now,” said Fahmi Abdulmajid, an exporter of Khat. “In my experience, demand fell by 50 percent from Somalia, which is shocking to say the least. “Ethiopia exported almost USD 392 million worth of Khat during the last fiscal year, exhibiting almost no change from the previous year, though it is USD 100 million higher than the figure registered before Somalia placed a ban on Kenya’s khat.
USAID assists 106 Namibian exporters (Namibian)
THE United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) TradeHub has assisted 106 Namibian firms to engage in business-to-business events with potential buyers, showcase their products, and start new business discussions. According to Jessica Long, United States (US) embassy chargé d’affaires, more than 6 400 qualifying exports from eligible sub-Saharan African countries, including Namibia, have had access to the US market through the African growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).Long was speaking at a stakeholders meeting in Windhoek to reflect on the six-year southern Africa trade and investment hub (Usaid Trade Hub)
She said through the trade hub, the US has helped Namibian firms achieve Agoa and non-Agoa-related exports valued at US$2,7 million (about N$43 million) over the past three years.
The Central Bank of Nigeria has urged the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) to approach the development financing institutions like the Development Bank of Nigeria and Bank of Industry for their funding needs.
This was disclosed by Mr Eboagwu Ezulu, Deputy Director, Financial System Stability Directorate of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), at the first National Stakeholders Conference organised by the Association of Corporate Affairs Managers of Banks (ACAMB) in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) in Lagos.
Mr Eboagwu Ezulu advised MAN to approach the development financing institutions for loans, stating that these institutions were created in collaboration with the apex bank.
“Have we the manufacturing sector approached those entities to utilise the funds available rather than asking the commercial banks? Banks are supposed to approach the CBN on behalf of their customers to solve these problems; the commercial banks lend for credit purposes, and they have the primary responsibility to protect their depositors.”
NIGERIA is undergoing a severe food crisis fuelled mainly by the raging insecurity threats in all parts of the country. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammad Abubakar, has recently admitted this reality, warning that with the current prices of food items, many Nigerians may plunge deeper into poverty if proper measures are not taken. On the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and the state governors lie the responsibility to urgently take measures to stave off famine in the country. Abubakar’s warning is neither new nor an isolated missive. As far back as 2015, such alerts have been raised by many international bodies, NGOs and experts about the imminent danger of this calamity, but the federal and state governments have failed to act with dispatch or mount effective countermeasures.
Nonhydrocarbon sectors in Algeria are expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels in 2022 and trade and budget balances will also show a marked improvement this year, according to the latest edition of the World Bank’s Algeria Economic Update. Issued in French under the title Renforcer la résilience en période favorable (Strengthening resilience in favorable times), the report is part of a series of semi-annual publications aimed at analyzing economic development trends and the outlook for Algeria. The Spring 2022 edition reflects the data and information available as of June 17, 2022.
Supported by increased hydrocarbon production and exports, Algeria’s GDP is estimated to have recovered to its pre-pandemic level in the fourth quarter of 2021. The hydrocarbon sector and a stronger recovery in the services sector were the main drivers of Algeria’s economic growth in 2021. The economic rebound, however, suffered from a drop in agricultural activity and an incomplete recovery in the public manufacturing sector. Job creation also lagged and by the end of 2021, the number of registered jobseekers was significantly higher than the number recorded before the pandemic. Non-hydrocarbon GDP remained 1.6% below its 2019 level and inflation continued its upward trend, in part due to international factors. In response, the authorities have implemented a set of measures to limit the impact of such rising prices on the purchasing power of households, including the introduction of unemployment benefits for first-time job seekers.
On 25 June 2022 during the 9th Council of Ministers Meeting, the AfCFTA secretariat launched two major tools deemed key in accelerating trading under the AfCFTA; the AfCFTA E-Tariff Book and the Rules of Origin Manual. Both were developed with the support of the World Customs Organization and the European Union under the EU-WCO HS and RoO Africa programmes.
The AfCFTA e-Tariff Book contains all the information on the tariff schedules and applicable tariff rates for all of the AfCFTA State Parties structured based on the WCO 6 digits Harmonized System (HS). This tool is a milestone as it will facilitate the publication of information on rates of duty applied by AfCFTA State Parties under their Schedules of Tariff Concessions with several search functionalities, comparison of applicable rates between all state parties and option to download the results, hence making it a practical instrument for trading under the AfCFTA Agreement. This tool will further include key information on AfCFTA RoO and could be further enhanced as one stop platform for all relevant stakeholders.
Business executives from different African trading blocs are set to meet in Kigali next week, to draw strategies through which they can tap into opportunities offered under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) The two-day meeting, according to the CEO of East African Business Council (EABC) John Bosco Kalisa, will bring together traders from the East African Community, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Cooperation (SADC). “As a follow up to the recommendations and action plan from the Accra meeting, the East African Business Council will meet in Kigali along with SADC and COMESA to jointly position themselves in the efforts towards preparing the private sector to benefit from the AfCFTA” Kalisa said.
The blocs’ meeting is to develop a joint position paper on matters detailing the private sector involvement in the implementation of the AfCFTA, develop joint capacity building initiatives for the RECs Business Council members to enhance participation in the AfCFTA initiatives, as well as development of an Action Plan for collaboration between the Councils.
The AfCFTA Hub digital platform was launched on July 8th, 2022 at the Boma of Africa event convened to mark Africa Integration Day. The AfCFTA Hub platform was launched on behalf of AfCFTA Secretariat by the African Union AfCFTA Champion, H.E Mahamadou Issifou, former President of the Republic of Niger and 2020 Ibrahim Prize Laureate. The Boma of Africa was jointly convened by the African Union (AU), the AfCFTA Secretariat, AfroChampions and the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). It was supported by the AfCFTA Hub Network, with support from Afreximbank, MTN, Ecobank, the Village Foundation, IC Publications, Dominion Television and APO.
The launch of the AfCFTA Hub also coincided with the 3rd Anniversary of the entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). The launch event also featured a prize ceremony for a hackathon organised to mark the 3rd Anniversary of the AfCFTA and to demonstrate the benefits of an “AfCFTA Hub” to Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and startups around the continent. The following companies as well as one individual were recognized as finalists at the Hackathon Prize Ceremony.
PAPSS sets platform for single currency (GhanaWeb)
The Pan African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) offers an opportunity for countries in the ECOWAS region to expedite the long-awaited goal of a single currency within the West Africa Monetary Zone, Head of Mission, AfreximBank, Eric Monchu Intong, has said. Mr. Intong, who was speaking on the theme: ‘Trade Finance and Pan African Payment Systems’ at the UPSA Law School-ACCA Africa Trade Roundtable V, said.
“The PAPSS platform offers the opportunity to know the average rate of conversion of cedi to naira over the past decade using the dollar as an intermediary to benchmark the rate to a specific amount. Same criteria must be applied to all other African currencies. This will totally eliminate convergence criteria with the dollar”. This process, he said, will easily renew the interest on the common currency agenda for the West Africa Monetary Zone, allowing the sub-region to easily determine whether to move naturally toward cedi, naira or the CFA, hence, narrowing interests to a single currency.
The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting Africa’s development trajectory. It is exacting a substantial socio-economic toll and putting the survival of half of the continent’s micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) at risk. Four in five African businesses are witnessing a dramatic reduction in sales. As African countries restart their economies and phase out COVID-19 restrictions, the ripple effects of the Ukraine crisis increase daily. The effects are particularly acute in terms of food security, given the continent’s reliance on food imports from the region of conflict. In addition, the rising cost of fertilizers and the impact of climate change are exacerbating food shortages. These shocks have slowed progress towards achieving SDG2, which is zero hunger by 2030.
A 2021 joint publication by FAO, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the African Union titled Africa: Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition indicated that over one-fifth of the continent’s population faced hunger in 2020. That is about 281.6 million people—46.3 million more than the figure for 2019.
Due to current harsh economic realities in countries, the International Monetary Fund is encouraging governments worldwide to subsidize the cost of food and energy for their poor. Such a social intervention presents a huge fiscal challenge for many African countries.
My government attach great importance to SADC regional integration efforts and in particular to all efforts towards creating a strong economic block through the promotion of industrialisation. This was said by the Prime Minister of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) His Excellency Mr. Jean- Michel Sama Lukonde Kyenge, when officially opening the 6th SADC Industralisation Week (SIW) held in Kinshasa, DRC on the 2nd August, 2022. He applauded the SADC Founding Fathers for the strong foundation laid down both at political and socio-economic level for the integration of the region and urged delegates to be resilient and to remain steadfast in the implementation of the resolutions that will emerge from the week-long event.
The SADC Deputy Executive Secretary for Corporate Affairs, Ambassador Joseph Nourrice underlined that the SIW facilitates establishment of partnerships among stakeholders to enhance cooperation and collaboration in the implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063), both at the national and regional levels. He said the event also provides a platform for regional companies, youth and women to showcase their innovations towards industrialisation.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) remains focused on development of infrastructural projects that drive regional integration as outlined in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030. This was said by the SADC Executive Secretary, His Excellency Mr. Elias M. Magosi, during a courtesy call on him by Her Excellency Ms. Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala, Senior Vice President of the African Development Bank Group, on the margins of the meeting of the Committee of Ministers of Finance and Investment and Peer Review Panel, held in Lilongwe, Malawi on 28th July, 2022. The Executive Secretary stated that infrastructure development and industrialisation are key components towards SADC regional integration. He highlighted that development of infrastructure projects such as roads, railway lines, information communication technology, amongst others, are inevitable ingredients to facilitate seamless movement of people, goods and services in order to bring the desired developmental impact
The East African Community (EAC) has officially kick-started engagements with the Republic of Korea (ROK) on a grand economic and social cooperation between the EAC and South Korea. The engagement, in the form of a bilateral cooperation seminar, was held at the Korea Chamber of Commerce (KCCI) in Seoul. This seminar is a follow-up of an earlier bilateral meeting held between the EAC Secretary General and South Korea’s Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania earlier this year. The partnership seminar was convened under the theme: Exploring Economic Cooperation between the ROK and the EAC.
“The expansion of the EAC following the admission of the Democratic Republic of Congo into the Community has not only substantially increased the market population but also the GDP of the EAC, thereby making the region an attractive trade and investment destination,” EAC Director of Trade, Al-hajji Rashid Kibowa added.
Infrastructure development, ICT and the automobile industry, Trade in Services, Human Capital Development and mineral development were highlighted as the core areas for Korea - EAC support and cooperation. These areas were identified taking full advantage of Korea’s cutting-edge digital technology and its thriving automotive- manufacturing industries.
Northern Corridor cited most costly in the world (The East African)
Transporters using the Northern Corridor have been bearing some of the highest costs in the world, reflecting how shortage of arteries is impeding the competitiveness of the East African region to trade. According to a survey carried out by the Shippers Council of East Africa (SCEA), transport costs in the region are estimated at $1.8 per km per container against international best practices of $1 per km per container.” The most expensive route to transport cargo was Kampala-Mombasa at $2.5 per tonne followed by Mombasa-Kampala at $2.17, Dar es Salaam-Kampala $1.17 and Bujumbura-Dar es Salaam at $1.02 per tonne,” the SCEA Logistics Performance Survey 2021 report says.
Ahead of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the UN Climate Champions hosted the “African Roundtable on Initiatives to Accelerate Climate Action and Advance the SDGs” and “Coordination Meeting of the African Group of Climate Change Negotiators and National UNFCCC Focal Persons” from 2-4 August, 2022. The events brought together key stakeholders from both public and private sectors, to showcase both the success stories of private sector investments in climate areas as well as investment-ready climate initiatives in Member States towards ensuring enhanced actualizing enhanced climate action at scale and speed to strengthen African economies and build resilience.
USAID TradeHub facilitates N$43 million worth of AGOA exports over three years (Namibia Economist)
The US Embassy on Wednesday held a meeting with the government and representatives of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to reflect on the past six years of the Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub (USAID TradeHub). The event brought together Namibian manufacturers and exporters to tell about their experiences, successes, and lessons learned in enhancing the flow of trade and capital between Namibia, South Africa, and the United States, especially under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), said US Embassy spokesperson, Perry Stamp, in a statement. The US Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires, Jessica Long stated, “The United States is a proud partner of the private sector in Namibia, particularly firms seeking to explore opportunities in the South African and U.S. markets through the AGOA.”
Last year, the US’s Biden administration announced plans to increase two-way trade and investment between the US and Africa. The starting point was a revamp of the Trump-era “Prosper Africa initiative”. As American secretary of state Antony Blinken visits three African nations – South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda – Kefa Otiso and Francis Owusu provide insights into US-Africa trade relations and what’s being planned to improve them.
In July 2021, the Biden-Harris administration launched the Prosper Africa Build Together Campaign. The idea was to elevate and energise the US’s commitment to trade and investment with countries across the African continent. The revamped Trump strategy includes a targeted, long-term effort to connect American and African businesses with new trade and investment opportunities. Key sectors being targeted are clean energy and climate smart solutions, health, and digital technology. Through the initiative, the US is promising to help drive billions of dollars of investment to Africa and to work towards equitable access to the benefits of trade and investment. It also envisages harnessing the power of small businesses, especially those led by women and members of the African Diaspora.
What should a good trade pact look like? This is a difficult question to answer, given the many possible configurations of a potential trade pact. Nevertheless, we offer two key elements of such a trade pact. First, it should be truly multilateral unlike, for example, the prevailing US-Africa trade agreement, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) – which is a unilateral US government policy. A truly multilateral pact would recognise African leaders as equal partners and ensure that they have an opportunity to properly engage in US-Africa trade negotiations.
Trade between China and Africa grew by 16.6 per cent to US$137.4 billion in the first half of this year, boosted by a recovery in commodity prices, especially oil. China imported goods worth US$60.6 billion from Africa, a 19.1 per cent increase compared with the same period in 2021, according to the latest figures from China’s General Administration of Customs. Meanwhile, exports to the continent increased by 14.7 per cent to US$76.8 billion. However, growth was fastest in the earlier part of the year, with analysts attributing the drop-off to pandemic-related supply chain disruptions including the Shanghai lockdown and port closures.
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has called for cautious optimism following the publication of the third report of the UN Secretary General’s Global Crisis Response Group examining the global impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine The findings of the third report of the UN Secretary General’s Global Crisis Response Group call for cautious optimism. Markets for key commodities are beginning to stabilise – helped significantly by the departure of the first grain shipment from Odesa this week. This is certainly cause for hope. But that must not breed complacency as to the nature of the situation we face.
The evidence set out clearly in the third report shows that the rising cost of food and energy now threatens social, political and economic stability in all regions of the world. Current fertiliser shortages risk precipitating an unprecedented global hunger crisis in 2023, millions risk being pushed into extreme poverty in the coming months and more than 20 countries are at high risk of sliding into default.
Global current account balances—the overall size of current account deficits and surpluses—continued to widen in 2021 to 3.5 percent of world GDP, and are expected to widen again this year. The IMF’s multilateral approach suggests that global excess balances narrowed to 0.9 percent of world GDP in 2021 compared with 1.2 percent of world GDP in 2020.
The pandemic has continued to affect economies’ current account balances unevenly through the travel and transportation sectors as well as a shift from services to goods consumption. Commodity prices recovered from the COVID-19 shock and started rising in 2021 with opposite effects on the external position of exporters and importers, a trend that the war in Ukraine is exacerbating in 2022.
The medium-term outlook for global current account balances is a gradual narrowing as the impact of the pandemic fades away, commodity prices normalize, and fiscal consolidation in current account deficit economies progresses. However, this outlook is highly uncertain and subject to several risks. Policies to promote external rebalancing differ with positions and needs of individual economies.
To feed more people without exacerbating the climate crisis, we urgently need our agrifood systems to become more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable. One way of achieving such an ambitious objective is to leverage the potential of modern, innovative technology. And with all the technologies that have emerged, blockchain is truly one that holds great promise. Born in 2009 as an application for the virtual currency Bitcoin, blockchain is essentially a shared and decentralized database. However, unlike traditional databases, it uses a digital ledger that is simultaneously duplicated and distributed across a network of nodes on computers or servers. As new data comes in, it is entered into a fresh block. Once the block is filled with data, it is chained onto the previous block and the data within it is locked.
There are two key advantages to this distributed ledger technology: Records are immutable, since they are virtually impossible to change or hack; and the decentralized nature of the network means no single person or group controls the data, so fraud is less likely.
Such benefits go well beyond the world of virtual currencies. When it comes to producing food for human consumption, feed for livestock or timber for homes, traceability and transparency ensure that we know that such products come from a safe source or that materials are from a sustainable provider, enhancing food safety and making recalls easier. Blockchain can also facilitate trade and provide greater legal certainty to land tenure systems.
Despite this alarming situation, major oil and gas companies recently reported record profits, which Secretary-General António Guterres, who launched the brief today, called “immoral.” “The combined profits of the largest energy companies in the first quarter of this year are close to $100 billion. I urge governments to tax these excessive profits, and use the funds to support the most vulnerable people through these difficult times,” he said. The GCRG’s third brief recommends that governments find the most effective ways to fund energy solutions, such as publicly funded cash transfers and rebate policies, to protect vulnerable communities everywhere, including through windfall taxes on the largest oil and gas companies. At the same time, the brief urges a transition to renewables.
Six months on from the Glasgow climate talks, countries are struggling to deliver on their Paris Agreement promises.
It had been six months since the COP26 UN climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland; where there had been a renewed sense of momentum for the promises of the Paris Agreement. Glasgow saw the finalisation of the so-called rulebook of the Paris Agreement, and a renewed commitment by countries to more ambitious climate plans, as part of a Glasgow Climate Pact.
But a lot can change in six months, and the diplomats gathered in Bonn have had to navigate the technical climate talks in the background of a deadly cocktail of unfolding events in the real world, including: the invasion of Ukraine; escalating food and energy crises; continuing pandemic reverberations; and a constant barrage of climate change-fuelled extreme weather events in the first half of 2022.
This policy brief provides an overview of recent developments at the Bonn climate talks and explores their relevance to health, and the signals about what we might expect at COP27.
India and Brazil in the Global Multilateral Order (Observer Research Foundation)
India and Brazil are celebrating 74 years of diplomatic relations in 2022. In more recent years, the two countries have elevated their relationship based on a common global vision, commitment to development, and shared democratic values. They established a strategic partnership in 2006, and sought to deepen it in 2020 by agreeing to an Action Plan to Strengthen the Strategic Partnership. Today the two countries work together in various international forums, including platforms such as BRICS, IBSA, G4, G20, BASIC, as well as the United Nations in the wider multilateral context; they engage in summit meetings, high-level visits, and exchanges. Trade and investment between them have grown over the years, as has cooperation in important areas such as bioenergy.
Both countries have a long and robust tradition of engaging in forums in which they have often developed strong and enduring partnerships. Greater knowledge of each other’s actions would allow potential interactions and promote both countries’ interests.