tralac Daily News
South Africa’s coatings sector has warned the government that its future existence will be threatened by allowing African paint, polymers and coatings producers to export products into the country duty-free in terms of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. SA Paint Manufacturing Association (Sapma) chair Sanjeev Bhatt said on Tuesday the sector was shocked to discover that on a few specific tariff headings these product lines could be imported free of customs duty effective from July this year.
he said it appears that – without any consultation with the SA coatings sector or Sapma – the AfCFTA agreement tariff listings were altered to allow African producers to be exempt from duties when offering their products to the South African market. “Such unfair competition would not only threaten sustaining the quality of coatings sold in South Africa – probably at much lower cost – but virtually shut down the local coatings industry with huge job losses,” said Bhatt
SA’s annual mining output falls for sixth consecutive month in July (Daily Maverick)
Gold production declined almost 20% in the 12 months to July, while output for platinum group metals (PGMs) fell 12.2%. Iron ore production was down more than 20%. It all adds up to a decline of 8.4%, considerably worse than market expectations of a 5% contraction. South Africa’s mining industry has long been in a state of decay and decline, and the data so far this year confirm that trajectory. Still, it has not all been doom and gloom. On a monthly basis, production in the sector rose 2.3% in July. And mineral sales rose 4.3% in the year to July. Coal led the way with sales soaring 84.3% – prices for the fossil fuel have sizzled this year, defying predictions that the commodity is on its way to becoming a fossilised relic of our economic past.
The data come in the wake of a shock deterioration in South Africa’s trade balance, which unexpectedly fell into a deficit of R87-billion in the second quarter (Q2).
“Looking ahead, power outages and ongoing logistical constraints will continue to undermine the mining industry. Moreover, regulatory uncertainty, infrastructure inefficiencies and theft sullies South Africa’s attractiveness for mining exploration investment,” Jee-A van der Linde, an economist at Oxford Economics Africa, wrote in a note about the data.
Take advantage of trade treaties, business urged (Chronicle)
THERE is a need to continuously capacitate local industries on how to capitalise on trade agreements to which Zimbabwe is a signatory so as to position the country to realise full economic benefits from such treaties. Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Judith Ncube, said this yesterday while officiating at the ongoing Trade Tariff Conference hosted by Competition Tariff Commission (CTC) in Bulawayo. Running under the theme: “Unpacking Zimbabwe’s Trade Agreements and Benefits that can Accrue to Local Industry,” the conference seeks to enhance appreciation of trade agreements and how these can benefit local businesses.
She said the ambitious policy can only succeed when the country has a proactive and effective private sector that ensures conversion of envisaged trade benefits into reality. “The continuous capacitation of industry with vital information in trade agreements that Zimbabwe is signatory to, is of paramount importance,” said Minister Ncube. “It aids in positioning the country on an advantageous position as you, our local industry, will be able to strategically position yourselves and utilise the trade agreement platforms availed by Government.
The newly sworn-in Kenya president Willam Ruto began his first day in office on a high note, hosting Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud at the State House in Nairobi. “With South Sudan, President Salva Kiir discussed various bilateral agreements and areas of cooperation, including security and regional infrastructure development. We are working with South Sudan in enhancing intra-African trade through the strengthening of the East African Community and other regional economic blocs in the continent.” wrote President Ruto on Twitter.
“We will fast track the implementation of the Joint Commission for Cooperation between Kenya and Somalia. This will boost trade in Miraa and fish and ease movement between our two nations.”
Top 10 foreign policy priorities for Kenya’s new President William Ruto (The East African)
The overwhelming congratulatory messages to Kenya’s new government from leaders of other countries in Africa and globally shows clearly the world’s eagerness to deepen engagements with President William Ruto. But the incoming government should be aware of the enduring maxim of international relations theory that “states pursue their self-interest”, diplomatically referred to as state centrism.
Noting that foreign policy plays a critical role in pursuing national priorities, the following are some of the main foreign policy issues that should take precedence for the Ruto government.
Diplomacy of economic prosperity: The government should deliberately seek to deepen its engagements with states that offer opportunities for economic development and prosperity. There should be a shift from the foreign policy of prestige and politics to one of economic growth. It should look for new partnerships while enhancing existing markets and economic opportunities in the expanded East African Community (EAC).
The new government should support and fast-track the recently launched ‘Kenya AfCFTA National Implementation Strategy’ that seeks to deepen Africa’s trade integration. The aim is to enhance and exploit economic opportunities inherent in intra-Africa trade. The government should seek Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) that are hustler-based. This means business operations that are labour-intensive or provide employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for the unemployed youth.
SGR revenues grow 7.8pc to Sh7.1 billion (Business Daily)
Cargo and passenger revenues from the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) rose 7.8 percent to Sh7.1 billion in the six months to June, extending recovery from the global Covid-19 disruptions. The latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that the passenger train crossed the Sh1 billion mark in a half year period for the first time since the train was launched, boosting efforts for the project to break even.
The cargo service, which mainly subsidises the passenger line, marginally grew to Sh6.17 billion in the six months from Sh6.04 billion in similar period last year. This comes even as the modern rail prepares to take a hit coming from increased competition from the road transporters following President William Ruto’s order to revert port operations to Mombasa.
Tailors, dressmakers to take advantage of AfCFTA (BusinessGhana)
The Bono East Regional Minister, Kwasi Adu-Gyan, has urged tailors and dressmakers to be creative and competitive in their fashion designs and styles to be able to penetrate the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). He said this on Saturday at the First Annual Bono East Regional Conference of the Ghana National Tailors and Dressmakers Association (GNTDA), at Nkoranza on the theme, “clothing Africa beyond, the role of Bono East tailors and dressmakers.”
Mr Adu-Gyan charged the leadership of the GNTDA to organise their members into cooperatives and groups, in order to equip them to take advantage of the numerous opportunities AfCFTA offered. The Regional Minister added that the focus of the association was in tune with the government’s effort to make Ghana self-sufficient and net exporter of commodities, that the country had competitive advantage in.
Nigeria’s plan to commercialise gas burned from its oil fields was at an advanced stage and would help cut 15 million tonnes of carbon emissions from the atmosphere, the petroleum minister said on Tuesday after meeting U.S. climate envoy John Kerry. Africa’s biggest economy, Nigeria is also the continent’s major oil producer. The West African nation has been trying to harness gas belching from its oil fields so it can be exported or used to generate power but has been hobbled by lack of finance.
Kerry said Nigeria’s decisions on curbing gas emissions will impact how other African nations proceed with their own plans. Nigeria has previously said it could be losing $1 billion in revenue annually due to flaring, which also adds to extreme environmental pollution in the oil-producing Niger Delta region.
FG strengthens border control to tackle insecurity, illegal migration (Peoples Gazette)
The federal government has reiterated its commitment to tackling insecurity occasioned by irregular migration and increasing transnational activities across Nigeria’s international borders. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, Afonja Ajibola, said this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.
Mr Belgore said the ministry, through the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), has evolved new ways to improve border control, management, monitoring and protection. The permanent secretary added that such innovations would help confront 21st century evolving challenges that continued to threaten Nigeria’s internal security.
“The importance of border security cannot be overemphasised in view of the rate and significance of transnational crimes. Indeed, this is of global significance due to globalisation and increasing travel. “Accordingly, there has been an increase in transnational crimes from irregular migration to trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants, financial crimes, drug-related offences and transportation of illegal weapons, among others.”
Ethiopia: Ministry unveils new factory prices for cement products (Addis Standard)
The Ethiopian Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration has announced today that it has issued a new cement price regulation to curb the rising price of cement products in the country. The ministry said it has made the decision after it asked cement factories in Ethiopia to make price adjustments to tackle the increasing cost of cement products. However, the prices forwarded by cement factories was too high, promoting the ministry to establish a task force to study production process and come up with price suggestions.
Gebremeskel Chala, the Minister of Trade and Regional Integration, said that due to the lack of cement production, priority is being given to government projects.
Liberia is a fragile, low-income country. Per-capita income remains about a third of the level prior to the civil wars during 1989-2003. After a bout of economic instability, prudent monetary and fiscal policies reduced inflation to just over 5 percent in 2021 and budgets are financed without recourse to central bank credit. Economic growth suffered first from macroeconomic instability and then from the COVID-19 pandemic. Growth rebounded to 5 percent in 2021 and, after a soft patch this year due to Russia’s war in Ukraine, should reach 5-6 percent in the medium term if Liberia taps its clear potential through persistent structural reforms and prudent policies. The government’s resolve will be tested in the runup to the general elections in September 2023.
Dr. Taal made this disclosure on 8th September 2022 during a two-day stakeholder forum aimed at improving free movement of goods across the region.
However, Dr. Taal said West African Region is ahead of other sub-regions in terms of the free movement of people, goods and services. “Most of the challenges encountered are costs incurred by traders, the amount of time spent at borders to get clearance, and external tariffs under ECOWAS customs regulations among others,” Dr. Taal pointed out. ”We are not satisfied for the time being. We want what is what is in the Gambia to be in other African countries. “ he said.
Secretary General Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), Dr Paul Adalikwu has promised to facilitate seamless transit cargo movements from Nigeria’s dry ports to the Republic of Chad.
He also promised to make arrangement for officials of Chad government to visit the proximate dry ports in northern Nigeria as a way of preparing grounds for the promotion of intra African trade in line with the focus of African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA).
Chadian Minister of Transportation, Fatima Goukouni Weddeye described the upcoming Regional Maritime Development Bank as a laudable initiative of MOWCA adding that it will fill the gap of sustainable funding of transport activities that are the backbone of foreign trade. The minister said upon study of the bank’s charter by her ministry’s technical team, an informed decision will be taken on the country’s endorsement of the bank.
Africa looks to aid youth, women in economy (China Daily)
As a trade conference focusing on women and youth drew to a close in Tanzania on Wednesday, African leaders have discussed recommendations to enhance the roles of women and youth in Africa’s economic integration agenda. Among the topics discussed during the African Continental Free Trade Area Conference on Women and Youth in Trade held in Dar es Salaam are the removal of all nontariff barriers, massive investment in human resources and easy access to loans to help increase participation of youth and women in intra-Africa trade.
Speaking at the opening of the conference on Monday, Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan said the creation of one African market will require eliminating unnecessary trade barriers.
African countries must improve their transnational transport infrastructure or risk remaining vulnerable to shocks in global food supply chains, warned experts at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) following the release of the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.
Africa’s food security has been subject to intense scrutiny in the six months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began. While the direct impact of shortages, caused by the closure of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, has been mitigated by substituting its grain for imports from other large southern hemisphere producers including Argentina, Brazil, Australia and India, the indirect effects of disruptions to agricultural supply chains have been far reaching.
“The greatest problem facing African farmers is not that they are too connected to global supply chains, but that their connections to those supply chains are not developed enough”, said IFPRI senior research fellow David Laborde at a press briefing on 13 September.
Global increases in grain prices have not been passed onto farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, who predominantly sell their output to domestic or regional markets.
Spurring intra-Africa remittances (Business Daily)
When we talk about diaspora remittance in Africa, often the first line of thought is persons residing outside the continent, especially in North America and Europe, sending money back to their homeland. But the most overlooked factor is the intra-continent immigrants; that is, persons who are economically active not in their country of birth, but in another country within the continent. Data from the United Nations shows that in 2019, over 21 million Africans were living in another African country, a significant increase from 2015, when around 18.5 million Africans were estimated to be living within the region.
Migration corridors represent an accumulation of migratory movements over time and provide a snapshot of how migration patterns have evolved into significant foreign-born populations in specific destination countries.
The World Bank estimates that intra-African remittances could be around $14 billion a year. Within Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire, Sudan and Uganda were the top remittance senders in the region, sending out a total $2.5 billion in 2019.This makes migration corridors involving Côte d’Ivoire, Uganda, South Africa and Sudan as the remittance hotspots. In terms of remittance channels, the dominant mode of transfers across the region are commercial banks and money transfer organisations (MTOs). The use of pure digital platforms is picking up as remittance channel providers partner up to offer seamless transfer of funds directly from a sender to a recipient at the comfort of their devices.
Africa-Europe must deepen ties – EU Vice President (BusinessGhana)
“Africa and Europe should continue to prepare the future instead of falling back into the past,” Mr Borrell said in an op-ed he authored ahead of his visit to Mozambique and Kenya. Describing Africa as a vibrant continent preparing its future, Mr Borrell said the continent had grown to become the EU’s most reliable partner. He said a quarter of African trade was with the EU, adding that African exports entered the EU duty-free.
“The EU works with African partners on building the continent’s first manufacturing sites for vaccines and we approved at the AU-EU summit a Global Gateway €150 billion investment package. With the European Peace Facility and our training missions, we help strengthen peace and security,” he said.
The future of EU, Africa trade ties (Business Daily)
In her remarks to the Ambassadors, DDG Ellard stressed that international cooperation can work even in the face of a fractious geopolitical climate, as evidenced by the successful WTO 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) in June this year. The outcome of MC12 “defied expectations”, she said. “Our members worked very hard and were able to deliver many significant outcomes.” DDG Ellard emphasized the importance of MC12’s “Geneva Package”, which includes the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies as well as decisions on the COVID-19 pandemic response, food insecurity, the e-commerce work programme and moratorium, and WTO reform. She also stressed the need for the international community to work hard so that these agreements have a real impact on people’s lives across the world. “We cannot rest on our laurels. There is a lot of work to do, and the challenges keep changing every day,” she said.
World leaders to be presented worsening global food insecurity report at UN General Assembly (Farmers Review Africa)
World leaders gathered for the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the US will be presented with a report that analyses the worsening global food insecurity and malnutrition and the challenges faced by the global community.
Ahead of the UN event, the Food Security Information Network (FSIN) drafted a mid-year update of the 2022 Global Report on Food Crises. “By mid-2022, the population facing the three highest phases of acute food insecurity was greater than at any point in the six-year history of the Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC),” FSIN says in its report.
“Our spotlight on global and domestic food prices (see page 14) shows how the cost of food has been rising steadily since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. International food commodity prices were at a ten-year high before the economic shocks of the war in Ukraine. ‘‘Although prices in international markets for staple foods, such as wheat, maize and vegetable oils have returned to pre-invasion levels, consumer food prices remain high and therefore purchasing power is not expected to improve significantly,” FSIN added.
Maritime experts have called for investment in new technologies and modern ships to reduce the impact of shipping and maritime-related activities on climate change in Africa. According to them, African maritime administrations must put regulations in place to drive investment in new technologies and encourage the acquisition of modern ships for greener shipping. Speaking on “new technologies for greener shipping in Africa,” at the 7th International Maritime Business to Business Conference and Exhibition 2022, Tuesday in Lagos, Kunle Folarin, chairman of the Port Consultative Council, observed that the majority of vessels flying African flags were old as they fall within the age of 15 and 25 years.
According to him, this makes ships flying African flags less environmentally-friendly in terms of emissions when compared to vessels registered and flying the flags of most developed nations.
In her address, Oritsematosan Edodo Emore, chairman of Zoe Maritime Resources Ltd, said that the maritime policies of African countries must undergo a paradigm shift from dwelling on individual modes of transport and development in silos to a new strategy that embraces an integrated transport system that takes technology into account.
According to her, African countries must develop their ports, which are a significant part of shipping infrastructure that stimulate trade and generate revenue for the government, and jobs for the populace, to become efficient.
Poorest nations to push on compensation at climate talks (Digital Journal)
The world’s poorest countries say they will insist that the UN’s upcoming climate talks push ahead with proposals for a fund to compensate vulnerable nations for climate-inflicted damage. Ministers and experts from the 46-nation Least Developed Countries (LDC) bloc, meeting in Dakar, said their countries were most exposed to climate impact but least to blame for the carbon emissions that cause it. In a statement issued late Wednesday ahead of the November climate talks, they said that setting up a funding mechanism for loss and damage was of “crucial importance.” They also reiterated a call for “all parties, particularly major emitters” to make swift and deep cuts in carbon emissions, and for rich economies to honour past pledges on climate aid.
The LDC bloc, gathering countries mainly from Africa and Asia, is campaigning in particular for compensation for vulnerable countries which suffer from climate-related damage such as floods and rising seas. It wants the upcoming talks to establish a mechanism to provide funding.
Automation of Ports – Global Supply Chains (Data Science Central)
Ports and ships are the most important node, which altogether comprises the global supply chain’s intricate and complex nexus. About 90 percent of the good travels by ship. Almost 60 percent of global oil trade is carried via sea, while the commodity constitutes 30 percent of all maritime cargo
International trade grew to a record $28.5 trillion in 2021, according to an estimate by UNCTAD – a 25 percent increase from 2020. Recently, Covid-19 Stop-and-Go maneuvers have highlighted the difficulties that modern ports face. It includes handling an overwhelming amount of goods, their corresponding paperwork, and other administrative tasks, congestion, delays, no coordination between terminal operators, and most importantly, the dependency on manpower. In addition to these, environmental issues have taken the front seat. However, technology promises, if not completely resolved, at least to help provide the most optimal solutions to these pressing problems.
Prospects in cross-border e-commerce (Manila Bulletin)
The global cross-border e-commerce market was valued at $578.57 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $2.248 billion by 2026, expanding at a CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of 17.4 percent, based on the data from alltheresearch.com.
This significant uptick in consumer e-commerce activity fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic was sustained in 2021, further to the UNCTAD report, with online sales increasing markedly in value, despite the easing of restrictions in many countries.
Southeast Asia is a hotbed for cross-border ecommerce. It is estimated that by 2023, the region’s cross-border ecommerce gross merchandise value will reach $12 billion, accounting for more than 40% of the total regional E-commerce market.
Based on the Cross-Border E-commerce Awareness and Perception Report by Amazon in 2021, local MSMEs cited the three critical barriers when selling globally. First is the difficultly in managing cross-border supply chains and logistics. Second is the high operating costs in selling overseas via ecommerce. Third is the intense competition from international sellers
Gross domestic product (GDP) in the G20 area fell 0.4% quarter-on-quarter in the second quarter of 2022 after rising 0.5% in the first quarter, according to provisional estimates (Figure 1). The contraction in the G20 area contrasts with GDP growth of 0.4% in the OECD area1 in the second quarter of 2022.
The slowdown in the G20 area in Q2 2022 mainly reflected the sharp contraction in China,2 where GDP fell by 2.6% quarter-on-quarter after rising by 1.4% in Q1 2022. This contraction reflected the lockdowns that were put in place to contain COVID-19 outbreaks. GDP also contracted in India (by 1.4%), in South Africa (by 0.7%) and in the United Kingdom and the United States (by 0.1% in both countries). In India, the main reasons for the slowdown were decreases in government spending and net trade (exports minus imports). In South Africa, the economic recovery of the two previous quarters was undermined by severe flooding in a key manufacturing province. Growth also slowed but remained positive in Saudi Arabia (2.2%), Indonesia (1.0%), Mexico (0.9%) and Germany (0.1%).
A quarter of emerging countries are having a hard time paying their debts, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The global economic situation exacerbated by the effects of the war that Russia is waging in Ukraine, the health crisis and a strong dollar, affect 60% of low-income countries facing debt problems. Tunisia is among those markets that are struggling to repay their debts, like Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Argentina.
The residents of developing countries need pharmaceutical products at least as much as the residents of developed countries. Many new drugs imported by developed countries for non-communicable diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and communicable diseases are patent protected and are not allowed to be made anywhere else without permission, which makes the availability of important drugs difficult in developing countries. Using a sound framework to support local production of pharmaceutical products could go a long way in saving many lives and catalyzing economic development, and capturing more fully the benefits of liberalized trade and regional integration. in developing countries.