Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Local news

‘SA Agri calls to lift import ban emotional, unbalanced’ (The Namibian)

Namibian government officials have called the recent claim that Namibia and Botswana should remove the import ban on some quota of fresh produce from South Africa an emotional one, and unbalanced. This includes agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein, who said South Africa also has import bans that no one has called on to revoke. This comes after South African farmers, through their representative organisation SA Agri, wrote to their agriculture and trade ministers Thoko Didiza and Ebrahim Patel to claim that Namibia and Botswana were violating the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) agreement by imposing import bans on certain fresh produce.

The two countries started banning the importation of several fruits and vegetables in an attempt to protect and help local producers get access to markets, as well as achieve food security. Schlettwein said the reason why Namibia has an import ban is to promote self-sufficiency.

Zim explores West Africa export market (Chronicle)

Zimbabwe is keen to diversify its export market to West Africa with the national trade development and promotion organisation, ZimTrade, sending its team to explore trade opportunities in Senegal. Building on the earlier mission to explore the Ghana market in the same region, the mission outcome should determine products and services that Zimbabwean companies can export to Western African region. The market exploration is part of the country’s African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) focused efforts on reduced duty trade gains among African states.

“The purpose of the study is to determine Zimbabwean products and services with potential in Senegal, riding on opportunities that have been made available by the African Continental Free Trade Area,” ZimTrade chief executive officer, Mr Allan Majuru, said. “Targeting Senegal as a market is in line with the National Export Strategy, which seeks to diversify our export markets and grow Zimbabwe’s exports to non-traditional markets.”

How Kenya will gain from UK trade pact (Business Daily)

The United Kingdom (UK) has opened a window for Kenyan goods such as apparel and agricultural products to enjoy lower or zero tariffs despite being a lower middle-income economy. The UK this week listed Kenya’s neighbours among them Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda and South Sudan including other 65 developing countries as beneficiaries of a new bilateral trade deal that cuts import taxes on hundreds of products from some of the world’s developing countries to boost trade links. But it left out Kenya since it was upgraded from the group of the least developed countries.

But the new pact under the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS) has allowed the three countries including Uganda which is Kenya’s regional top trading partner, to import goods from Kenya and re-export them duty-free into the UK. Under the deal, Kenya’s neighbours which are classified as least developed countries or LDCs will be able to buy goods in Kenya and export the finished goods to the UK. “This means that LDCs are able to participate in value chains involving materials from 95 countries and still export their final products to the UK duty-free,” said the UK.

Lekki deep seaport set to create 112,000 jobs, berth largest ship in the world – Minister of Transportation (Nairametrics)

The Minister of Transportation, Alhaji Muazu Sambo, has disclosed that the Lekki Deep-Sea Port project would create 112,000 jobs for Nigerians upon its completion. Sambo stressed on the significance of the port as it has the capacity to berth the largest ships in the world. This was made known by the minister while having a chat with journalists on Sunday in Jalingo. Sambo said that the port, which was second in Nigeria after Onne Deep-Sea Port, has the potential to garner more revenues for the country.

He said, “The Lekki deep-sea port project, which is the second after Onne Deep Sea Port in Nigeria is very significant, because the largest ships in the world can berth at the Port. “That means, more tonnage, more cargo, more revenue for the port and for the country, more economic activities. “ And above all, more jobs, like I said, over 112, 000 both direct and indirect jobs will be created as a result of the creation of the Lekki deep-sea port.

Nigeria, India’s largest trading partner in Africa — Envoy (Vanguard)

The Minister of State for External Affairs of India, Vellamvelly Muraleedharan, has said Nigeria is India’s largest trading partner in Africa. This is even as he disclosed that Nigeria/India bilateral trade in the year 2021/2022, had risen to $14.95 billion.

According to him, Nigeria has always been a favourite investment destination for Indian Businesses, with India being the second largest providers of employment in Nigeria. “The large and growing population of Nigeria, its talented youth, the abundance of natural resources, a democratic and business friendly Government and very strong cultural bonds between our peoples have all fuelled the rising economic engagement between both countries.”

Ministry of trade implements National Export Dev Strategy (Ghanaian Times)

The Ministry of Trade and Industry is implementing a National Export Development Strategy, aimed at increasing Ghana’s non-traditional export revenue to US$25 billion by 2029. In this regard, 17 priority products, ranging from automobiles and vehicles, industrial salt and starch, sugar and processed oil seeds to aluminium, iron and steel and pharmaceutical products have been identified for export under the strategy.

According to a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Herbert Krapah, the plan was being rolled out alongside the Export Expansion Programme expected to assist an initial 200 private firms in enhancing their productive capacity for export to the African market.

Morocco’s Startups Bring International Fleet Management Into the Digital Age (PYMNTS.com)

As a key facilitator of intercontinental trade, Morocco plays a critical role in the global logistics space. Home to Africa’s largest port by cargo capacity in Tangier Med, numerous shipping routes connect Morocco to Spain at the only land border between Europe and North Africa. This gives Morocco a unique position in trade corridors between the two regions. While the country’s maritime heritage is among the richest in the Mediterranean, in the modern era, freight networks extend over sea, road, rail and air, with importers and exporters increasingly expecting the seamless movement of goods between them.

Against this backdrop, a number of logistics tech startups have emerged from the North African country in recent years, with many of them specifically geared toward smoothing international shipping and managing cross-border freight transport between Morocco and its trade partners.

African trade and integration 

ICYMI: Ghana, seven others to start trade under AfCFTA (Ghana News Agency)

Ghana and seven other countries will soon start exchanging goods and services under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).  The move is part of efforts to diversify and increase export among African countries through Export Trading Companies (ETCs) while achieving the Continent’s industrialisation drive and make it economically self-reliant.  Mr Herbert Krapa, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry (MoTI), said this at a seminar to sensitise African countries on the role of ETCs in easing intra-African trade under the AfCFTA in Accra on Monday. 

Mr Krapa said: “Actual trading is starting between Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Ghana. In the coming weeks, the dream of our forebears will be off the ground.”  He said the Secretariat had launched the AfCFTA Initiative on Guided Trade to translate all the progress on paper into action to make the continent’s industrial revolution and its ability for self-reliance attainable. 

The Deputy Minister explained that ETCs would make Africa leave no one behind in the regional value chain particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), young entrepreneurs, startups, light manufacturers as well as big industries.  These value-chain players will be providing export and import services, warehousing, transportation, finance, insurance, risk management and market intelligence, around which the free trade area will thrive.   He, therefore, encouraged Governments and private sector players to have the right policy, finance, institutional framework, productive capacity and infrastructure to enjoy the benefits that AfCFTA provided.

China to waive some Africa loans, offer $10bn in IMF funds (Engineering News)

China, the largest government creditor to emerging economies, said it will forgive 23 interest-free loans to 17 African countries and redirect $10-billion of its International Monetary Fund (IMF) reserves to nations on the continent. Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced the cancelations in a meeting last week of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, according to a post on the ministry’s website. It didn’t provide details on the value of the loans which it said matured at the end of 2021, nor did it state which nations owed the money.

Since 2000, Beijing has announced multiple rounds of debt forgiveness of interest-free loans to African countries, canceling at least $3.4-billion of debt through 2019, according to a study published by Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. The canceled debt was limited to mature, interest-free foreign aid loans, with Zambia receiving the most cancellations over that period. However, the vast majority of China’s recent lending in Africa such as concessional loans and commercial loans have never been considered for cancelation, the report added, though some of it has been restructured.

The announcement last week highlights China’s efforts to build ties with developing nations, particularly through its Belt and Road Initiative. The US and China are competing for influence around the world, and Beijing’s announcement comes at a low point in ties between the two superpowers, with tensions rising following a visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this month and Beijing’s support of Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine.

Inside Africa’s pitch at UN climate change conference (The East African)

“Act now” will be Africa’s clarion call at the COP27 as the continent intensifies calls for a just energy transition amid a worsening climate crisis. The “action” is likely to be seen more in the halls and offices of the world’s financing institutions than on the ground, however, as Africa battles with how to finance its energy requirements.E merging details show that African envoys will press heavily polluting, rich economies to offset the continent’s environmental damage from global warming with favourable financing packages.

Studies show Africa is most vulnerable to the effects of climate change with extreme weather like drought and flooding already becoming commonplace on the continent. It is on that premise that African governments want wealthier nations to make big investments in clean technology and infrastructure to support developing countries.

Africa is keen to obtain green technology that can reduce costs and increase competitiveness in the clean energy sector. “Africa must be given adequate time to transition and transform its energy infrastructure. We cannot transform abruptly. We need resources, capacity, technology transfer and finance to power our development,” Harsen Nyambe, the director of sustainable environment at the African Union Commission told Time.

Transforming Africa: Africa Climate Week focuses on partnerships for resilience and energy transition (UNDP)

This year’s Africa Climate Week brings together governments and key stakeholders from across the continent to “explore resilience against climate risks, the transition to a low-emission economy and the partnerships we need to solve these pressing challenges.” With so much at stake, it’s clear that we must make substantial investments and coordinated efforts in building transformative climate actions across Africa. This means advancing integrated holistic solutions that connect the dots between land-use, water management, agriculture and livelihoods, between energy, natural resources, economic growth and social development, and between disaster risk reduction, climate information services and resilience. This is what we call transformative climate action.

The pathway forward starts with people, but also requires resources, political will, policies and coordination to deliver the type of transformative action we need.

Medicine security: Counterfeit medicines undermine Africa’s progress (Businessday)

Counterfeit drugs are a deadly and growing problem globally, particularly in developing countries where supply chain security is limited, undermining progress towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The World Health Organization estimates that one in ten medical products circulating in developing countries are substandard or falsified.

The problem is rife within Africa with dire consequences. Of all the fake drugs reported to the WHO between 2013 and 2017, 42 percent of the reports came from the African region. In March 2019 alone, the WHO raised alerts for fake meningitis vaccines in Niger and fake hypertension drugs in Cameroon. Then, in August, falsified versions of the antibiotic Augmentin were discovered in Uganda and Kenya.

Counterfeit medicines have both health and economic consequences for the continent. They leach money from healthcare systems and kill thousands of people, mostly within vulnerable communities. However, from the counterfeiters’ point of view, this is a lucrative industry, with a global market worth roughly $200bn. Medicine counterfeiting has become an international operation involving many actors across different countries and sectors. It has become more lucrative than trafficking in hard drugs.

TICAD8 Meeting to advance Africa, Japan Cooperation (KT Press)

The eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8) is set to take place from August 27 to 28, in Tunis, Tunisia, and is expected to advance Japan and African countries cooperation. The high-level event brings together Heads of State and Government from Africa, Japan, the United Nations and the World Bank to engage in dialogue on issues related to economic growth, trade and investment, sustainable development, human security, and peace and stability in Africa. The meeting will focus on three themes; achieving sustainable and inclusive growth with reduced economic inequalities; realizing a sustainable and resilient society based on human security, and building sustainable peace and stability through supporting Africa’s own efforts.

Global economy

China’s coastal city Xiamen sees trade with BRICS countries up 20.7 pct (Xinhua)

Trade in goods of east China’s coastal city of Xiamen with BRICS countries reached 47.9 billion yuan (about 7 billion U.S. dollars) in the first seven months of this year, up 20.7 percent from the same period last year, according to the Xiamen Customs.

Xiamen’s exports with BRICS countries amounted to 15.3 billion yuan, while imports reached 32.6 billion yuan during the period, up 28.1 percent and 17.5 percent, respectively, year on year. Xiamen’s imports and exports with Russia, South Africa, and Brazil reached 14.8 billion yuan, 7.3 billion yuan, and 15.7 billion yuan from January to July, up 29.8 percent, 25.4 percent, and 23.3 percent, respectively, year on year.

Major imported goods during the period included metal ore and heavy mineral sand, agricultural products, coal, and lignite, while exports mainly included mechanical and electrical products and labor-intensive goods.

Wheat in developing countries to feel climate change impact (Food Business News)

Climate change could have more of a negative impact on low-latitude countries than on high-altitude countries, further widening the gap between the fortunes of wheat farmers in developed countries and wheat farmers in developing countries, according to research from China published Aug. 19 in the journal One Earth. The researchers developed a climate-wheat-economic ensemble modeling approach in which they looked at the impacts of climate mean conditions and extreme events on wheat yields, price and the global supply chain. The model assessed the impact of 2 degrees Celsius global warming on the global wheat supply and demand chain.

“With this change in yields, the traditional trade position of the wheat market could be deepened, and this may cause the wheat-importing regions located in low latitudes, such as Southern Asia and Northern Africa, to see more frequent and steeper wheat price spikes than wheat exporting countries,” said lead author Tianyi Zhang, an agro-meteorologist with the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the Chinese Academy of Science.

“Agricultural trade liberalization accompanied by protection polices in developing countries would be beneficial for global food security in the threat of climate change,” the researchers said.

Millions Go Hungry: While Billions Worth of Food Go into Landfills (Inter Press Service)

The ominous warnings keep coming non-stop: some of the world’s developing nations, mostly in Africa and Asia, are heading towards mass hunger and starvation. The World Food Programme (WFP) warned last week that as many as 828 million people go to bed hungry every night while the number of those facing acute food insecurity has soared — from 135 million to 345 million — since 2019. A total of 50 million people in 45 countries are teetering on the edge of famine. But in what seems like a cruel paradox the US Department of Agriculture estimates that a staggering $161 billion worth of food is dumped yearly into landfills in the United States.

The shortfall has been aggravated by reduced supplies of wheat and grain from Ukraine and Russia triggered by the ongoing conflict, plus the after-effects of the climate crisis, and the negative spillover from the three-year long Covid-19 pandemic.

Nutrition and climate advocates seek fruitful alliance ahead of COP 27 (Devex)

Nutrition advocates are looking to the upcoming 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP 27, as an opportunity to team up with climate advocates behind the common goal of increasing access to sustainable diets that are healthy for people and the planet.

Integration of food systems into the climate agenda has often focused on agriculture, which is responsible for about one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. This has largely excluded the explicit mention of nutrition, which focuses not only on the sufficient production of and access to food but also on ensuring that it is healthy and affordable.

“If you work on food systems and nutrition, you cannot not work on the environment. That realization has set in for lots of people, including us,” the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition‘s Lawrence Haddad said.

Improving carbon border adjustment mechanisms (CEPR)

Climate change and the adverse effects of the accumulation of plastics in the ocean are global externalities. As was the case with ozone-depleting chemicals, these processes threaten to change the way the atmosphere and the oceans function and the functioning of these ecosystems would be better if a way could be found to prevent climate-laggard nations from acting in ways that undermine the efforts of climate progressive nations to encourage progress in the elimination of these externalities. In common parlance, these undermining processes are defined as ‘leakage’.

In political circles, leakage is said to occur when an increase in an environmental standard causes a decline in domestic production and an increase in imports of a good or service from a dirtier source. Perversely, this can cause a net increase in global emissions and, hence, a worsening the extent of the externality. In the worst case, no progress is made. When it comes to dealing with leakage, however, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has found it difficult to find a solution (Cheng and Ishikawa 2021). In an attempt to find a way to prevent such perverse outcomes, economists have been proposing that global externalities be internalised by requiring importers to pay a levy or charge in a manner that cancels out the competitive advantage that, otherwise, would flow to factories in the laggard country. After considerable reflection in expediting progress in the reduction of greenhouse gases, this is what members of the EU are now trying to do

WFS to Focus on Reshaping Airline Resilience Post-COVID (IATA)

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that the 2022 World Financial Symposium (WFS) will focus on reshaping airline resilience. The event will take place from 19-22 September in Doha, Qatar, with Qatar Airways as the host airline.

Following the greatest shock to aviation in history, the industry is emerging rapidly from the pandemic and government-mandated travel restrictions of the past two years. Industry losses are expected to reduce to $9.7 billion this year from nearly $180 billion in red ink in 2020-21. As travel barriers fall in most regions, very strong demand is supporting expectations for a recovery to pre-COVID-19 traffic levels by 2024, with profitability a possibility in 2023.

At the same time airline debt levels have soared as carriers borrowed to stay aloft during the crisis. And finance departments across the industry will face challenges as the industry achieves its 2050 fly net zero commitment.

“Airlines are resilient. Now is the time to build on the hard work and difficult restructurings of the past two years to seize opportunities coming out of the crisis. Finance will play a vital role in supporting the ongoing recovery while creating a sustainable capital structure to support our ambitious environment agenda,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

What do SMEs stand to Benefit from AML’s Massive Phase II Expansion? (Global News Network)

Operational expansion of corporations and large businesses globally is usually occasioned by diverse and multilayered business interests not just exclusive to profiting. Though profit driven expansions generally occur when businesses seeks additional options to generate more, for large mining concessions like ArcelorMittal, it means protection of business interest for them, and long term investment safeguards, local jobs provision for economic expansion.

When small businesses are empowered to flourish, they mobilize saving and enhance production of goods and services that meet the basic needs of the poor. While estimates vary greatly depending on definitions of SMEs across several countries, recent work by the World Bank suggests that almost 30 per cent of employment in developing countries and Tanzania alike is generated by the informal economy, while an additional 18 per cent is provided by (formal) small and medium enterprises. Together these two groups contribute 63 per cent of GDP in nearly all developing countries.


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