Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Local news

SA must ease market access barriers for optimal trade, says analyst (SAnews)

Until South Africa can find a way of easing market access barriers, the country will not reach the most optimal levels of trade. These are the sentiments of Khaya Sithole, a prominent accountant and economics commentator, speaking during a webinar on the impact of outbound trade shows on SMMES in South Africa. It was hosted by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) in collaboration with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition on Tuesday. The country and the African continent still suffer from a “trade deficit”. “We simply do not do enough trade amongst ourselves. The consequence of [this] is that we are really not cultivating that dividend associated with the type of population sizes that we have,” he said.

Digital future of banking inevitable, imminent, report posits (Engineering News)

Two-thirds of South Africans expect the country’s banks to make a full transition to digital banking within five years, a new report titled ‘The Future of Retail Banking in South Africa’ states. The report was introduced at an event held in Sandton by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in partnership with Discovery Bank. Key findings include that South African retail banking has the potential to become fully digital in just five years if banks provide easy-to-use, secure channels and make human assistance accessible when needed. Moreover, it notes that South Africans are further ahead of the technology curve than their banks.

State bets on shipping, logistics sector to drive regional growth (The Standard)

Kenya’s shipping, transport and logistics sectors have been cited as key catalysts that will help spur the economic fortunes of the East African Community (EAC). This is as the country positions itself to reap big from the entry of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) into the regional economic bloc. The accelerated investment in the intermodal transport systems - majorly road, rail and port infrastructure affirms this strategy as Kenya eyes increased trade and commerce across the region.

Speaking at the Port of Mombasa, EAC Principal Secretary Kevit Desai, who met stakeholders from the shipping, manufacturing, transport, and logistics sectors for an engagement session, said efficiency and competitiveness of port facilities is crucial since they are the engine of the logistics and supply chain sector. The principal secretary anticipated increased demand for the services in the region as the population of the EAC crosses the 300 million mark following the entry of DRC into the trading bloc.

Mombasa firm tackles Kenya’s e-waste menace (Business Daily)

The increasing use of technology has seen thousands of information technology (IT) devices finding their way into Kenya, and with poor disposal, they put lives at risk and contribute to global warming. Though Kenya is a signatory to international treaties regulating and banning the dumping of damaged and end-of-life electronics, it still imports large quantities of these goods that are considered too inefficient to be sold in the country of origin.

After a few months of use, the devices become obsolete, and most users dispose of them at dumpsites without considering the dangers of the e-waste and the risks they will incur if information stored in the devices lands in the wrong hands. Launched in 2019 before Covid-19 struck, Close the Gap Group seeks to make use of e-waste and refurbish devices to create income for young people while conserving the environment.

Kenya generates an average of 3,000 tonnes of e-waste each year from devices such as computers, monitors, printers, mobile phones, fridges, and batteries, said Timothy Wachira, operations manager at the Circular Economy HUB in Jomvu, Mombasa.

First consignment of fresh Avocados from Kenya hits Chinese market (Capital News)

he first consignment of Fresh Avocados from Kenya has hit the Chinese market. Kenya’s Ambassador to China Muthoni Gichohi graced the official hand-over ceremony of the first batch of Kenya’s fresh avocado export to China which also marks the very first export of such avocados from Africa. The event took place in Beijing, China. The Ambassador applauded the efforts made by the two Governments towards this noble achievement.

She affirmed Kenya’s commitment to supporting the business communities in both countries as they look forward to enhancing trade facilitation as well as market access of their products and services to China.

“Kenya aims to export over 100,000 tonnes of avocados. The 1.4 billion population in China is a huge market for Kenya not only for avocados but also for other fresh produce such as mangoes and bananas,” said Dr. Wilfred Marube, Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency.

This journey kick-started in the year 2018 when China hosted the first vibrant China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.

Tanzania economy to expand by 15trn/- in 2022, says FocusEconomics (IPP Media)

The SSA forecast report by the Spain based FocusEconomics shows the Tanzanian economy will also expand to 200trn/- ($81 billion) next year and 222.2trn/- ($87.6 billion) in 2024, with Nominal GDP annual variation (without inflation adjustment) of 13.0 percent and 11.1 percent respectively. The consensus report forecasts real GDP annual growth of 4.9 percent in 2021, 5.3 percent in 2022 and 5.6 percent in 2023.

FocusEconomics economist responsible for Tanzania Marta Casanovas said in a report unveiled to The Guardian yesterday that GDP growth is set to accelerate to one of the strongest rates in the region this year. “The government’s business-friendly stance is driving foreign investments, which will lead to large infrastructure projects, bolstering employment and spending,” she commented.

The economist said the recently approved International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan will also provide support the growth of the economy, which accounts 4.4 percent share of total SSA economy, the fifth largest.

The quarterly economic bulletin for the quarter ending June, published by Bank of Tanzania (BoT) yesterday shows the economy continued to experience spillover effects of high commodity prices in the world, as well as tight financial conditions and monetary policy by central banks in advanced economies.

“These global challenges have been caused by disruptions of global supply chain following the outbreak of war in Ukraine in February 2022,” BoT says. As a result, BoT says in the bulletin, there was an increase in the general price level in the quarter ending June 2022, pushing inflation rate to 4.5 percent in July this year.

Nigeria to develop strategy to boost e-commerce value chain (Voice of Nigeria)

The Nigerian government is currently working to establish a strategy on e-commerce that will boost the growth of the sector. The Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Mr Adeniyi Adebayo revealed this over the weekend in Abuja at a stakeholders dialogue on e-commerce and digital trade policy for Nigeria. The minister stated that there is no better time than now to diversify the Nigerian economy away from the oil sector by building a dynamic, profitable and efficient non-oil sector to reposition the economy on a sustainable growth path.

“Nigeria is yet to fully harness the inherent opportunities in the e-commerce value chain, largely due to inadequate investment, coupled with inadequate information on the opportunities in the sector and the inability of Government to provide the required enabling environment.” “As such, government has identified e-commerce as a major priority programme that will play a critical role in the promotion of commodity trade, especially with the realities of the unprecedented Covid-19 global pandemic,” he explained. “The Federal Government is also committed to developing an e-commerce strategy in line with the Federal Government’s Post COVID-19 recovery plan, to encourage investment in e-commerce value chain,” he said.

Africa’s Biggest Oil Producer Struggles Despite Price Bonanza (Bloomberg)

Nigeria’s economy expanded faster than expected in the second quarter, but its key oil sector is languishing despite booming prices. Output from Africa’s largest crude producer fell to 1.43 million barrels a day in the three months through June, the lowest quarterly production since 2016, according to the nation’s statistics agency. The fifth consecutive quarter of declining output comes as rampant theft and vandalism prevent Nigeria from fully benefiting from the oil bonanza that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

African trade and integration

AfCFTA Secretariat Unveils Required Tools And Instruments For Trade (News Ghana)

The AfCFTA secretariat has revealed that the continent of Africa is now ready to trade under the continental trading policy following the unveiling of the e-tariff book, rules of origin manual and the AfCFTA website on which all necessary information can be accessed to trade under AfCFTA. Speaking to the Single African Market Programme, the Principal Communications Advisor of the AfCFTA Secretariat and spokesperson to the Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Ms. Grace Khoza said “ for the first time we’ve got a website that we ourselves are very proud of, it’s looking very sleek and clean but importantly it’s got the right information that as I indicated will empower each and every citizen on this continent who wants to access and know what we are doing as a secretariat.”

She explained that in addition to the AfCFTA website, tools and instruments such as the e-tariff book, the rules of origin manual and other documents that are intended to facilitate trading like the certificate of origin are all on the website.

Trade Law Centre Holds Masterclass For Senior And Experienced Trade Journalists In Africa On (News Ghana)

Speaking to the Single African Market, Executive Director of Trade Law Center (tralac) said in Line with its mission to build trade governance capacity in Africa, supporting trade and regional integration for just and sustainable development outcomes, at national, regional, continental, and multilateral levels, tralac’s first AfCFTA Masterclass for Selected Senior and experienced Trade Journalists across Africa will make a lot a difference in information sharing across the continent.

“This is the first masterclass for senior and experienced trade journalists across the continent, to have journalists who have been reporting on the AfCFTA consistently for quite some time for not only conversations about the AfCFTA and a catch up with the latest development and in particular the announcement by the council of Ministers at the latest meeting at the end of July on the start of facilitated and guided trade which we expect to begin before the end of September but also in using different media platforms opportunities and communicating across so many different channels,” Ms. Trudi Hartzenberg, Executive Director of the Trade Law Center (tralac) explained.

The selected Senior Trade Journalists on the continent were update on the current state of the AfCFTA among others. The journalists were also taken through methods and tools in reporting on AfCFTA.

Pan-African Payment and Settlement System drives Africa’s banking integration (African Business)

Hopes of greatly boosting intra-African trade rest on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). It is hoped that the initiative will reduce both tariff and non-tariff barriers to African cross-border trade, encourage the construction of much-needed logistics infrastructure and above all, create a new mindset, that potentially huge untapped markets lie on the doorsteps of every African business. The role of the banking sector in this process is often overlooked but it will be a central driver of this change and simultaneously be heavily impacted by it.The AfCFTA is a hugely ambitious undertaking. It seems an obviously attractive concept, given that 54 out of 55 African states have thus far signed the AfCFTA treaty, with only Eritrea yet to put pen to paper.

The AfCFTA came into force in January 2021 but it is important to note that its creation is a process not an event, with national trade and investment policies gradually being harmonised. Universal banking regulations are ultimately envisaged but this will be a long process and governments will be understandably keen to promote and defend the interests of their own domestic banks.

Perhaps the biggest effect of the AfCFTA on the African banking sector is the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS), a centralised payment and settlement system that was launched by Afreximbank with the support of the AfCFTA Secretariat last September.

As a continent-wide platform for processing, clearing and settling intra-African payments, it is designed to enable individuals, businesses and governments to make instant cross-border payments in the more than 40 different African currencies, thereby reducing the need for US dollars and other hard currencies and so, simplifying cross-border trade. Acquiring hard currency can be a particular challenge for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Rethinking maritime trade in Africa (Businessday)

Any maritime nation can use the sea to transport goods and for other civilian purposes such as fishing. More recently, exploitation of resources above or below the seabed has generated significant debate among naval thinkers. When one comes in contact with the term “sea power” for the first time, it may connote military strength at sea. However, this is not entirely true because sea power has both the naval component and economic aspect. It is an aggregate of the nation’s naval force and the maritime industry. From history, most developed countries were founded on sea power.

Like most other developing countries, African nations have raw materials, but they are not seriously engaged in trade with one another and the rest of the world. Perhaps, that is why Africa, with a population of over one billion people and France, where there are just about 65 million people, have almost the same Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Africa has to rely heavily on ships and ports to service its intercontinental trade, but Africa’s shipping and ports do not, in most cases, match global trends and standards. Africa’s minimal integration in world trade within the context of sea power results from inadequacies in its maritime sector, particularly in shipbuilding, human capacity, merchant and fishing fleet, and port facilities.

Skills Gaps Holding Back Open Skies For Africa – Aviation Experts (KT Press)

Aviation experts are currently meeting in Kigali to kick start a process on implementing a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) which has seen a low uptake on the African continent. Primarily, the goal of the SAATM was to fully implement the 1999 Yamoussoukro Decision. This means that all participants agree to lift market access restrictions for airlines, remove restrictions on ownership, grant each other extended air traffic rights (first through fifth freedoms, not affecting cabotage rights), and liberalise flight frequency and capacity limits.

In order to understand the reason behind the delays and challenges in implementing the SATM, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretariat on behalf of other Regional Economic Regions (EAC, IGAD, IOC and SADC) and the European Union (EU) signed a Grant Contribution Agreement amounting to €8million for the Support to Air Transport Sector Development (SATSD) in the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean (EA-SA-IO) Region. The outcomes of the SATSD baseline study and training needs analysis were presented this August 29, 2022 at a validation workshop showing the biggest challenges in implementation of open air space agreement.

Dr. Eyden Samunderu, a leading aviation professional expert said that “One the major findings being lack of investment in specialized and continuous training for aviation staff and many governments are not willing to invest in this”.

How protectionism hurts Africa’s aviation industry (The New Times)

ECOWAS Bank’s West Africa Outlook Pushes Intra-Regional Investment (Energy Capital & Power)

On September 1-2, leading policymakers and dignitaries, investors, analysts and executives will convene at the world-renowned CICAD venue in Dakar for West Africa’s foremost energy forum – MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2022. As this distinguished assemblage of speakers and delegates converge on the Senegalese capital, thoughts turn towards the future of West African energy. The release of the West Africa Development Outlook (WADO) from the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) shines out all the stronger as a science-backed guiding beacon for upcoming discussions and foretaste of the regional agenda that will shape MSGBC 2022’s highly-anticipated keynote sessions and panels.

African countries vow to increase fish production through collaboration (SeafoodSource)

Djibouti-based Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an eight-country trade bloc in Africa comprising of governments from the Horn of Africa, Nile Valley, and the African Great Lakes, is stepping up efforts to synchronize Africa’s sustainable fishing activities to achieve a 3 million metric tons (MT) of production per year, up from the current 1 million MT. Representatives from seven of the eight IGAD members met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, between 16 and 18 August, 2022, under the IGAD Fisheries Coordination Platform. The participants reviewed sustainable fisheries projects in each of the countries, and resolved to improve ongoing country-level measures to support alignment of “the actions promoting sustainable fisheries in the Horn of Africa.”

Ecofish, a EUR 50 billion (USD 50 billion) program promoting the sustainable management of inland and marine coastal fisheries resources in Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, and the Indian Ocean, is currently spearheading several fisheries projects in IGAD member-states – including those on Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, and marine seafood initiatives along the Indian Ocean coastline. In Kenya, Ecofish is involved in a joint WWF project to advance sustainable growth of small-scale fisheries to improve of food security and local livelihoods in coastal Kenya and across East Africa.

Ecofish is also part of an IGAD project that support sustainable utilization, development, and management of fisheries on two transboundary basins of the Baro-Akobo-Sobat River – between Ethiopia and South Sudan and Lake Turkana – that is shared between Ethiopia and Kenya.

UN deputy chief calls for action to deliver sustainable development in Africa (UN News)

In welcoming the UN deputy chief, President Saied spoke of the new era in the world, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, but also in Tunisia, which has a new Constitution that he said will establish greater accountability for all. The President said TICAD has already brought important results for Africa, and there will be much to do to implement agreements reached during this latest edition of the conference.

Ms. Mohammed recalled that the SDGs remain a very relevant framework in this new era, and TICAD has served as an important reminder.

In her remarks, the Deputy Secretary-General called for action to confront what she described as “the cascading impacts of multiple crises” facing the world today. She said recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of the war in Ukraine, the climate emergency and the financial crisis, are placing already vulnerable populations under severe stress. “This ‘perfect storm’ is, in turn, creating a fertile breeding ground exacerbating existing and future conflict and unrest, thus compromising our collective efforts to achieve the SDGs and save lives and livelihoods,” she added.

Ms. Mohammed said countries have an unprecedented opportunity to overcome these challenges and address security and sustainable development in Africa. She underlined the need to accelerate action across three main areas to benefit African economies and achieve the SDGs.

Tokyo International Conference on African Development Partnership Can Help Bring Green Jobs to Continent’s Youth, Women, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Forum (UN Press)

Africa’s Record Private Investment in infrastructure in 2020 sends strong signal, African Development Bank Vice President (VP) tells Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) panel (ZAWYA)

Africa received its highest proportion of private sector investment in infrastructure in 2020, sending an important signal to governments and investors. African Development Bank Vice President for the Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization, Solomon Quaynor, underlined this point during a webinar organized by the African Development Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on 24 August.

Quaynor said the greater private sector investment came as most African governments contended with the Covid-19 pandemic, limited fiscal space and high debt-to-GDP ratios. “Private sector investment into Africa’s infrastructure rose to $19 billion in 2020, representing 23%, the highest since 2016. This counter-cyclical role played by the private sector shows the importance of its growing role in infrastructure financing in Africa,” he said in remarks at the close of the webinar, themed Private Sector Infrastructure Development Opportunities in Africa.

TICAD 8: UNDP-Africa-Japan Impact Report | United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Global economy

Pamela Coke-Hamilton | Four ways to transform Africa-Caribbean trade (Jamaica Gleaner)

on the eve of this historic meeting, Africa-Caribbean trade remains well below its potential. In 2020, not even 0.1 per cent of African exports were destined for Caribbean markets while Africa bought less than one per cent of Caribbean exports. Trade is heavily concentrated in a small handful of products and countries on both sides. In fact, trade between Africa and the Caribbean is less diversified than their exports to any other region of the world.

But with the right opportunities, analysis, and support, this situation can change. Analysis by my staff at the International Trade Centre (ITC) estimates that there is US $1 billion of export potential between the two regions, across goods and services. The figures are startling. In goods trade alone, we found that Africa could boost its exports to the Caribbean by more than 50 per cent in less than five years, potentially exporting $325 million every year. The Caribbean, in turn, could increase its annual goods exports to Africa by almost one-third to reach $264 million. The new market opportunities are spread across several countries and products.

This potential cannot be unlocked without a serious, targeted push on both sides of the Atlantic. Let me suggest four actions that governments and companies on both sides of the Atlantic can take right now.

Communications and Informatics Minister Invites Delegates to Prepare a Ministerial Declaration for Global Digital Future (G20 Presidency of Indonesia)

The Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG) meeting of Indonesia’s G20 Presidency seeks to develop a global digital transformation agenda. Minister of Communications and Informatics Johnny G. Plate identified the alarming reality of digital divide, lack of digital literacy and digital skills, and increasing data leakage. Therefore, he invited all delegates to formulate a declaration to address the challenges of a digital future.

According to Johnny, the economic value of digitalization and the alignment of data flows across national borders to generate new ideas and innovations are fundamental issues. He also hoped that the discussions of this issue will continue in the next presidency.

As the first DEWG forum after the elevation of the Digital Economy Task Force, the Minister of Communications and Informatics stated that there are many opportunities in the digital sector that can be of common concern. “At the same time, we see and identify the opportunities that lie ahead, the economic value of digitization, the alignment of data flows in generating new ideas, and technological innovation. The fact is that DEWG is the first group after the elevation of status from digital economy task force,” he explained.

UNGA77: 5 key things to know about the upcoming General Assembly session (UN News)

With just a few weeks to go until the opening of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, the UN diplomatic community, as well as residents of New York City, are bracing for the annual arrival of Heads of State and Government from around the world, after two years of disruption wrought by COVID-19. Many details are still to be confirmed, but here are five things to look out for between 12 and 27 September.


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