tralac Daily News
Export wait times double in South African strike fallout (Port Technology International)
The strike in South Africa is likely to affect the importation of goods critical to the South African economy, finds new analysis from FourKites. Impacts will be seen in the chemical, automotive and components for manufacturing facilities.
FourKites anticipates shippers will look to hold orders being imported into South Africa until the dispute is resolved, causing dwell times to increase and a short-term impact on holding costs for goods.
On the export side, the firm foresees a surplus of inventory as producers may choose to slow production if they already have necessary material, labour and space to store goods. Raw industrial materials such as precious metals and minerals, wine, and produce are the most common exports and will be the most impacted.
Until the dispute is resolved and the backlog of cargo is processed, the strike will also impact West African and East African nations that are leveraging free trade with South Africa.
A wage strike at South Africa’s port and rail operator has crimped about 75% of the bulk minerals typically exported every day from its mines to global customers, adding to a string of setbacks for the company and worsening shipping congestion in the region. Over the weekend, workers from South Africa’s Transport and Allied Workers Union rejected a compromise pay deal aimed at ending the dispute.
Transnet SOC owns and operates 16 terminal operations — including containers, bulk, break bulk and automotive sectors — across seven South African ports. It had plans to draw investment and address declining performance when the biggest union embarked on a strike Oct. 6 that spread as other labor groups joined.
The ongoing strike has staunched the flow of mineral exports at the main harbors to 12% to 30% of their daily averages, the Minerals Council South Africa, a lobby group for the mining sector, reported a week into the strike. Shippers have been unable to move 357,000 tons a day of iron ore, coal, chrome, ferrochrome and manganese onto vessels.
Even if a pay deal is reached, Transnet will need to resolve pre-existing rail issues on its main coal line that delivers the fuel from mines to Richards Bay Coal Terminal, the biggest facility of its kind on the continent.
The South African businesspeople representing 26 companies that will be participating in the Sial Paris International Food Products Exhibition in France this week are relishing the prospects of exporting their products to Europe. The group departs for France on Wednesday, 13 October 2022 with optimism that Sial Paris, where they will be showcasing their products from 15-19 October 2022, will open doors for them to export their goods to France and the rest of Europe.
Italy-SA trade overview 2022/2023 South Africa economic outlook 2022 (Engineering News)
South Africa remains the third largest African economy, behind Nigeria and Egypt, and the most advanced and varied economy across the continent. In 2021, South Africa’s GDP was worth about $420 billion.
The 2021 annual GDP growth rate was 4.9% and the first two quarters of this year have continued the positive trend, with consumer services, manufacturing, trade and agriculture being the main sources of growth. An expansion in consumer spending on products and services boosted the demand side of the economy, but the largest share of growth came from exports and household consumption alongside. As a sector, manufacturing, already the country’s largest sector was the best performing. Additionally, smaller providers of services are diversifying and showing positive results.
Regardless of these positive signs, however, last year’s civil disorder and harsher lockdown restrictions had a severe impact on the economy in Q3, to such a degree that real GDP has not yet regained the level registered in Q2 2021, before the events. Furthermore, South Africa’s employment has taken another definitive step downwards, which is likely to further local demand in the long run.
On a positive note, South Africa’s exports showed remarkable results during the last year, with an increase of 8.5% in the fourth quarter of 2021, driven mainly by precious metals and stones (gold, platinum, diamonds), base metals and motor vehicles, parts and accessories. Imports have also steadily increased, especially in the fields of chemical and mineral products as well as iron and steel.
Maize milling drops over Sh4 billion subsidy debt (Business Daily)
Millers have scaled down purchasing maize amid a cash crisis in the wake of Sh4 billion that the government owes them. The debt, argue the millers, has cut their working capital even as the cost of maize remains high amid diminishing demand for flour.
The processors argue that the consumers’ purchasing power has significantly declined, resulting in a slow movement of flour on the shelf. “Maize remains costly on the market and our capital is tied at the Ministry of Agriculture, this means we do not have enough to purchase more stocks,” said Ken Nyagah, chairperson of the United Grain Millers.
The amount owed to millers results from the Sh8 billion subsidy that was introduced by former President Uhuru Kenyatta to tame the high cost of flour that had topped Sh250 for a two-kilo packet. The scheme lowered the cost of the staple to Sh100 before rising again to Sh200. However, only Sh4 billion was deposited in the escrow account for payment of millers who participated in the subsidy programme.
Lamu port off to slow start as 13 ships dock in a year (Business Daily)
At the time of its official commissioning in July 2021, Kenya’s second commercial port in Lamu was billed as a game-changer in trade. Transshipment involves large vessels docking at the port and redistributing their cargo to smaller ships that serve regional ports. It mainly happens when there is no direct connection between ports. But so far, only 13 ships have docked at the port, with the latest one being the MV Banyas 1 ship which will transport live animals to Oman today.
The slow rise in ship traffic and business at the port has seen the government approach more operators and shippers to market and position the Lamu port as competitive among its regional peers. The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has been on a charm offensive targeting to demystify doubts about the facility’s viability. Lamu port is a key part of the wider Lamu Port South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor, which is being implemented at a total cost of Sh2.5 trillion ($24 billion) and mainly targets transshipment cargo. Lamu Cargo Operations manager Peter Masinde yesterday said the arrival of the Mv Banyas shows the confidence shipping lines have in the facility.
Lamu port is also the anchor facility for the Lapsset project that seeks to create a logistical corridor from the port to South Sudan and Ethiopia. The official added that the port will open dedicated berths to handle specialised cargo as the facility seeks to attract more business from the region.
Kenya-Ethiopia power buy deal to vary after five years (The East African)
Kenya will buy power from Ethiopia at 6.5 US cents per kilowatt for the next five years before it can be allowed to renegotiate. Ethiopian Electric Power (ECC) has revealed a clause in the power purchase agreement that says Kenya Power can only seek a review of the tariff after that period.
Kenya signed a 25-year deal with the Horn of Africa’s nation to start importing electricity from next month in a bid to edge out the expensive power from the national grid and ensure buffers to meet peak demand. The clause allowing tariff renegotiation is a key plank for the State-owned utility to get cheap energy that will then be passed on to consumers in the form of lower bills.
High tariffs charged by independent power producers have squeezed Kenya Power’s ability to lower the cost of electricity.
South Sudan’s oil sector pulls in more deals (The East African)
South Sudan’s oil and related sectors are still attracting enthusiasts in spite of the publicised problems, including on revenue sharing. Two weeks after the South Sudan Oil and Power Conference (SSOP) in Juba, firms have been publicising their deals from the forum meant to drive business and investment in the country’s oil production. Several agreements on financing, oil exploration and production, oil refinery and infrastructural development were inked, according to a prospectus from the petroleum ministry.
South Sudan’s Kush Bank signed a deal worth $75 million with AIS Capital Advisors for power distribution and management. Leonard Mathu, managing director of AIS Capital Advisors, said the agreement will create “a domestic value chain that enables us to control costs, deliver power at stable rates, and without interruption.”
South Sudan is the major oil producer in the East African region but its near-total dependency on the oil has made the resource a curse. Due to fees and obligations owed to oil firms, South Sudan’s 170,000 per barrel production per day means it only earns value worth 50,000 barrels of oil per day, with the rest paying up advance payments or contractual obligations.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Mariam Yalwaji Katagum, yesterday in Cairo, Egypt, insisted that Nigeria remained one of the most attractive investment destinations in Africa, urging investors to take advantage of the enormous economic opportunities thereof. The minister also said Nigeria’s current e-Commerce spending stood at about $13 billion per annum, adding that the figure was projected to rise to about $75 billion in annual revenue by 2025.
She said the market outlook for the country’s e-commerce showed that the number of online shoppers in the country which was at 76.7 million in 2021, was expected to hit 122.5 million by 2025.
FG, manufacturers explore sustainable non-oil export incentives (The Guardian Nigeria)
To improve earnings from non-oil export, the Federal Government and local manufacturers are exploring sustainable incentives to encourage non-oil exporters for improved productivity and export. Indeed, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has assured manufacturers and exporters of the federal government’s resolve to make foreign exchange available for businesses in the country. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, said courtesy of the recent efforts put together by economic managers to address insecurity in the country, in the next few months there would be enough foreign exchange to go around for the business community.
He noted that the theme of the event tagged “Non-Oil Export Incentives in Nigeria – Effectiveness and Sustainability” is apt, saying that Nigeria now more than ever needs to support exports. “Historically the biggest incentive for exporters has been the Export Expansion Grant (EEG). Over the years, EEG has faced several constraints and has changed form several times.
The VP’s speech was delivered by the newly appointed Minister of Trade, Baboucar O. Joof during the maiden edition of a sub-regional trade fair of The Gambia and Nigeria. The exhibition is an initiative of the West African, Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Exhibition (WAMSMEE) and was organised by The Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA), in partnership with The Nigerian High Commission in The Gambia.
The theme for the exhibition is “Ahead of AFCFTA, strengthening West African MSMEs capacity to boost Intra-Regional Trade.”
“The Gambia is in a process of an economic and digital transition. Since the change to democratic government in 2017, the government has not only focused on redirecting and re-structuring the country’s human and material resource base, but we have also directed our vision to boost Inter-African trade and promote values inherent to our beliefs, product and services,” he stated.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry has held a second national engagement forum with textile wholesalers and retailers to discuss the implementation of the Textiles Tax Stamps Policy. The engagement follows an earlier one with importers on May 27, 2022, in Accra. It is part of the preparations for the policy’s launch and implementation before the end of the year.
The goal of the engagement, according to sector Minister, Mr Alan Kyerematen, was to “sensitize and educate the public, particularly industry dealers, on the introduction/implementation of textiles tax stamps as part of the government’s commitment to addressing the challenges of the textiles industry as well as developing the sector to harness the significant gains the sector stands to offer.”
He disclosed that there is an annual demand for African prints of 120 million yards, of which only about 35% (42 million yards) are produced locally. The remaining 65% are imported.
Many Ghanaian producers are failing to register their products to access international marketing potentials. According to the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), exporters can only ship across borders when their products are certified by regulatory institutions. The Authority observed that exporters are challenged in selling overseas when they overlook the essence of following protocols.
“People should not see export as a difficult business. There are things you [exporters] need to do, especially, there are documentations you need to get in place,” the Deputy Ashanti Regional Director of GEPA, Francis Fosu Kwakye, said. He added, “Some need to get their products certified by regulatory institutions like the Food and Drugs Authority or the Ghana Standards Authority. They need to take things step by step. Once they can do that, they are good to go into the international export business.
African states are poised to benefit from harmonised UN tools (IRU | World Road Transport Organisation)
African states are taking the necessary steps needed to improve regional trade, but more obstacles remain ahead. IRU and regional actors discussed proven UN solutions to transport and trade challenges facing the continent.
Public and private sector actors, international organisations and academia recently came together and shared a comprehensive overview of the progress made in making trade and transport more efficient and less costly in Africa. They highlighted issues and opportunities related to regional connectivity, the cross-border movements of goods, drivers and vehicles, as well as the residual impact of the pandemic.
As is the case in many other regions, trade and transport procedures – such as repetitive customs checks, road safety and border congestion – can be dramatically improved to better connect African countries internally and to global markets.
Tatiana Rey-Bellet, IRU’s Director of TIR and Transit, who highlighted the proven track record of available instruments, said, “While African states are very diverse, harmonised, tried-and-tested UN tools can double or triple intra-regional trade, at the very least, as well as significantly reduce transport costs and ultimately lower the price of goods.
Positioning African women for the next big opportunity in the regional and global markets was the focus of the 2nd edition of the Africa Women Trade Conference, AWTC, hosted by the Organisation of Women in International Trade, OWIT, Nigeria which was held in Abuja between September 27-30, 2022.
Some of the keynote speakers harped on solutions to challenges, accessible financing, leveraging on digitization to advance trade and facilitate the integration of African women-owned businesses in regional and international markets and the global value chains.
Youth urged to exploit intra-Africa trade opportunities (The New Times)
The Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Wamkele Mene, has encouraged youth to tap into opportunities offered by AfCFTA, saying that governments can only offer a conducive environment to trade but it’s the youth to conduct the trading. Mene made the remarks during the closing of the fifth Youth Connekt Summit that was attended by over 9000 youth from across Africa.
“AfCFTA is being negotiated by governments, but it is not governments that trade, its entrepreneurs, small medium enterprises that are led by young Africans. Under AfCFTA, young people will be able to create 450 million jobs in Africa, contributing over 60per cent to Africa’s GDP. It is the driver of Africa’s economy.”
Lowering trade finance costs could provide billions in economic benefits in four West African countries, according to a new report released today by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). The report, Trade Finance in West Africa, examined the major barriers to trade finance in the four largest economies of the region – Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal – which face a trade finance shortage of up to $14 billion annually.
The analysis showed that while trade flows have been on the rise in the four countries, their potential remains constrained by limited and costly access to trade finance. Lowering costs and increasing availability of trade finance could boost exports and imports in the four countries by up to $26 billion annually. Most opportunities lie in trade within the Economic Communication of West African States (ECOWAS), trade with other African countries, and with developing countries outside the continent.
Africa in pole position to grow organic food market share (The Exchange)
One of the main reasons why people eat organic food is because they believe it is healthier for them. For this segment of the market, the primary objective is healthy eating. They may also believe that organic food is more nutritious because it is grown in more natural conditions. Organic food is grown without the use of synthetic chemicals, such as human-made pesticides and fertilizers, and does not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
With the new global realignment Africa is poised to tap into the EU organic food market, the continent already has organic food producers. The global organic food and beverages market size was valued at US$188.35 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.0 per cent from 2022 to 2030.
But who makes up the target market for organic products? Is it just a niche group of people interested in healthy eating, or is the target market much broader?
With the new global realignment, Africa is poised to tap into the EU organic food market, Africa already has organic food producers. In 2020, there were nearly 834’000 organic producers in Africa. The countries with the highest number of organic producers were Ethiopia (almost 220’000), Tanzania (nearly149’000), and Uganda (over 139’000).
A financial institution in Mauritius has committed to helping Africa reach its transition and electrification goals. The Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) Ltd, the banking arm of MCB Group, has ambitions to become a more prominent player in the African energy landscape by financing and supporting electrification projects that encourage the use of renewable energy. MCB has recently participated in three landmark projects in Ghana, Rwanda and Nigeria. These projects are crucial milestones in the electrification goals of these respective countries and in their transition from fossil energy to more renewable, low-carbon energy sources.
Soaring inflation, low exports slow economies in East Africa (The East African)
The economic prospects of the East African region remain in dire straits over the continual low exports amid inflation raising the cost of living. A report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says both developed and developing countries are staring at a recession following high inflationary rates that are likely to inflict worse damage than the 2020 pandemic. A global recession will most likely affect EAC exports as well as exchange rates against the dollar, the Trade and Development Report 2022 says.
The growth deceleration in 2022 was expected, as countries used up their idle capacity once vaccine programmes were rolled out and lockdowns eased. A Kenyan economist has warned that the impact is likely to be huge as it would affect the cost of living. “Export potential is likely to reduce because the demand in key destinations has reduced because people are being affected by inflation.”
Former Mandera Senator Billow Kerow warns that should world economies slide into recession, it will have a huge impact on EAC exports. “If the global economy goes into recession, as it is likely to, particularly because of what is happening in Europe, then we have two major impacts for Kenya and the rest of East Africa. First, some exports mainly to Europe, particularly horticulture will reduce significantly,” said Kerow. “Then also exports of tea, coffee and avocado will reduce because recession means demand will go down significantly.”
A new era is reshaping African air travel (Independent)
The launch of a portal to share route traffic data, including on underserved markets, connections and partnership opportunities, is the latest attempt by African airlines to shore up intra- Africa air travel numbers. The route intelligence portal launched this October by the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) to give its 44 operator members access to Africa-specific data and analysis, is seen helping airlines develop more robust post-COVID recovery plans. The portal “will facilitate data-driven decision-making on connectivity opportunities, passenger/cargo capacity, and route profitability to effectively meet the needs of the growing African aviation market,” said AFRAA Secretary General, Abdérahmane Berthé.
The latest development will complement the lobby group’s earlier proposal to create a roadmap for “hop and pick” and implement a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
After two years of port congestions and container shortages, disruptions are now easing as Chinese exports slow in light of waning demand from Western economies and softer global economic conditions, logistics data shows. Container freight rates, which soared to record prices at the height of the pandemic, have been falling rapidly and container shipments on routes between Asia and the U.S. have also plunged, data shows. ”The retailers and the bigger buyers or shippers are more cautious about the outlook on demand and are ordering less,” logistics platform Container xChange CEO Christian Roeloffs said in an update on Wednesday.
“On the other hand, the congestion is easing with vessel waiting times reducing, ports operating at less capacity, and the container turnaround times decreasing which ultimately, frees up the capacity in the market.”
Russia has warned that it might not extend the Black Sea grain initiative next month unless certain demands are met, in a move that threatens to cut off exports from Ukraine under a secured route set up in July by the United Nations. Gennady Gatilov, Russia’s ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, said in an interview with Reuters news agency on Thursday that Moscow had sent a letter to the U.N. with complaints about the deal not being implemented to facilitate Russia’s own fertilizer and grain exports. “If we see nothing is happening on the Russian side of the deal — export of Russian grains and fertilizers — then excuse us, we will have to look at it in a different way,” he said.
The current deal, created in July for an initial four months, allows Ukrainian grain to flow out of ports in the Odesa region. As of October 12, more than 7 million tons of Ukrainian grain had left the country through the secured route, according to the U.N.’s Joint Coordination Centre.
Over the past few months, Ukrainian officials have grown increasingly worried about how long the deal could last as Ukraine continued to successfully ramp up grain exports through its ports in the Odesa region — rebuilding an economic lifeline for Kyiv and critical food supplies for hungry populations around the world. Those fears have now been confirmed.
Ukraine Crop-Deal Talks May Hinge on Fertilizers and Extra Port (SupplyChainBrain)
Russia and Ukraine are both seeking changes to their landmark grain-export deal as part of discussions to extend the initiative beyond the current deadline next month, according to the United Nations.
Russia wants to see a pipeline that transports its ammonia to Ukraine’s Odesa port for shipment reopened as part of the new terms, Amir Abdulla, UN coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative, said in an interview in Istanbul on Oct. 14. Ukraine is seeking to extend the deal by more than year, and include Mykolayiv as a fourth exporting port, he said.
The initial run of the pact — which has revived seaborne grains trade from Ukraine in the midst of Russia’s invasion — is due to end Nov. 19. The UN, which helped broker the deal with Turkey, is intensifying efforts to secure an extension amid heightened tensions between the two sides.
The global recovery is slowing amidst high uncertainties. Hit by multiple shocks, the global economy is facing significant challenges, and the outlook is more difficult than in April and subject to downside risks. More than two years of pandemic, followed by Russia’s war against Ukraine, are weighing heavily on economic activity with significant impact on livelihoods. Inflation is at multi-decade highs, debt is elevated, food and energy security risks are increasing, supply-chain and trade disruptions persist, and financial conditions are tightening, while capital flow and exchange rate volatility have increased. The global economy is subject to increased fragmentation risks. The steep rise in the cost of living is affecting everyone, with the most vulnerable hit the hardest. These developments come on top of intensifying inequality, debt vulnerabilities, and climate shocks. Rapid digitalization brings both opportunities and risks.
In this global context, appropriate domestic policies and intensified multilateral cooperation are essential to safeguard macroeconomic and global financial stability, shore up resilience, limit negative spillovers, and overcome the current food crisis. We will calibrate and coordinate our domestic policies, managing tradeoffs, and bolstering the effectiveness of the policy response, tailored to country-specific circumstances.
We support the IMF’s surveillance focus on timely and granular policy advice to respond to ongoing shocks and uncertainty and strengthen resilience. We welcome the IMF’s policy advice and analytical work on inflation, monetary-fiscal policy interactions, policy spillovers, and risks related to global food insecurity, trade, and safety nets. We support the IMF’s emphasis on inclusive policies. We welcome the IMF’s progress on operationalizing the Integrated Policy Framework, guiding members on the appropriate use of multiple policy tools to deal with shocks and risks taking into account country-specific circumstances and in line with the Institutional View. We look forward to the upcoming reviews of the Role of Trade in the Work of the Fund and of the implementation of the 2018 Framework for Enhanced Fund Engagement on Governance.
Trade is an essential vehicle to enable digital transformation, which relies heavily on access to digital networks and equipment, seamless transfer of data across borders, and movement of skilled workers and knowledge. Policies that aim to increase connectivity, to ease trade restrictions on information and communication technology (ICT) goods, and to lower barriers on digitally enabled services contribute to strengthening the pillars upon which digital trade operates.
In an effort to improve regional and global evidence on policies affecting digital trade, the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) have worked with the OECD between 2020 and 2022 to expand the coverage of the STRI and Digital STRI tools to shed new light on the current state of global and regional regulatory landscapes that affect digital services trade.
This brief provides a summary of the key findings and insights across the three regions covered. The first section introduces the meaning of digital trade and its growing economic importance, followed by an analysis of recent developments on digital trade across the three regions. The subsequent sections describe the STRI tools and present the findings, trends, and preliminary associations between regulatory policies and trade performance.
Botswana leaps in 2022 Global Innovation Index (TechCabal)
Botswana has edged out Kenya in the list of top global innovators as more African countries punch above their weight to come up with ideas and technologies that increase productivity and output. Botswana is now the continent’s fifth most innovative country and ranked among sixteen African countries that improved their global innovation positions, fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Botswana took the biggest leap forward, reaching 86th position, and in so doing overtaking Kenya (88th),” according to Global Innovation Index 2022.
A chapter in the World Intellectual Property Organization’s index titled, ‘What is the future of innovation driven growth?’ shows growing expenditure in education (2nd), human capital and research (51st), new business (4th), ease of access to micro-credit (15) and intellectual property payments (22) as key drivers for the Southern Africa country’s rise.
Mauritius (45) tops the continent’s list, propelled by the highest venture capital deals globally and performs well in trademarks, ICT service imports and new businesses indicators. South Africa (61) takes the second position in Africa, its innovativeness driven by market capitalisation – the highest on the continent. South Africa is also among countries that recorded the fastest rate of global labor productivity growth, between the 1970’s and 2020.
“We need to act boldly and rapidly to confront this reality and turn trade into a fully sustainable economic activity,” Deputy Director-General Jean-Marie Paugam said, noting that the WTO must fully enable sustainability policies. He noted growing efforts at the WTO, including the recently concluded Fisheries Subsidies Agreement, three new initiatives on trade and environmental sustainability, fossil fuel subsidies reform, and plastic pollution, and continuing collaboration with civil society, businesses and secretariats of various multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs).
“Trade policy must support and amplify this global effort. This is a member-driven organization. Members, please drive and drive fast!” the Deputy Director-General said.
DDG Paugam cited a recent WTO analysis that quantifies the commercial and economic value of work in the TBT Committee, in particular discussion of so called “specific trade concerns” that address WTO members’ proposed or adopted regulatory measures. He noted: “Trade concerns raised at the Committee over the years cover an average of USD 2.4 trillion worth of imports per year.” This has helped prevent lengthy and costly dispute settlement cases and allowed regulations to be adapted before they enter into force.
“Trade concerns related to climate change currently represent on average 24% of the measures put on the Committee’s agenda over the past three years. This means that we are discussing issues at the core of the net-zero transition, such as the carbon footprint of solar panels or batteries for electric vehicles.”