Building capacity to help Africa trade better

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Climate Resilience Development Pathways approach seen as key to building climate-ready infrastructure (Engineering News)

The efficacy of South Africa’s climate change mitigation efforts largely depends on how resilience is embedded in infrastructure development and adaptation strategies overall, which the Presidential Climate Commission (PCC) recognises in its Just Transition Framework (JTF). PCC commissioner and environmental organisation WWF South Africa climate portfolio senior manager Louise Naudé deems the Climate Resilience Development Pathways (CRDPs) approach to climate change action as apt for South Africa and its socioeconomic context.

Sars seizes goods worth millions as it takes action against illicit trade (SowetanLIVE)

Millions of rand worth of illegal goods were confiscated in several joint operations conducted through co-ordinated efforts in the SA Revenue Service (Sars) in the past month. One of the operations took place on Tuesday and related to the prevention and detection of cross-border smuggling and non-compliance with customs and excise in the cigarette and tobacco industry. “Sars enforcement teams deployed to the East Rand in Gauteng and supported by the police found a truck offloading raw tobacco, allegedly imported from Zimbabwe, at a warehouse. The team also found a substantial number of boxes with raw tobacco, which had been previously delivered to the warehouse,” Sars said in a statement.

SA open for Spanish business (SAnews)

President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa is greatly encouraged by the number of Spanish companies investing in the country’s economy across a range of sectors. Speaking at the SA-Spain Business Forum in Pretoria, following bilateral talks with his Spanish counterpart President Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón at the Union Buildings, the President said he greatly appreciated the opportunity to meet with business leaders from the two countries. He told the Spanish delegates that South Africa is open for business.

“We want to see higher levels of foreign direct investment by Spanish companies into South Africa. We also want to see more South African companies investing in Spain,” President Ramaphosa said. He the engagement between South and Spain was a valuable platform to improve the balance of trade between the two countries.

“South Africa’s focus is to increase the export of value-added goods and services to Spain. Our focus, in this regard, is on mining equipment and technologies, advanced manufacturing, alternative energy equipment, pharmaceuticals, agricultural products and food processing equipment.

Manufacturers to label GMO-based products (Business Daily)

Manufacturers will have to label products that have more than one percent of genetically modified organism (GMO) content to give consumers a choice on what they want to consume. The National Biosafety Authority (NBA), the agency responsible for regulating biotech products in the country, says the move is not a safety concern but only meant to guide consumers in decision-making. Eric Korir, principal biosafety officer at NBA says it will be mandatory for manufacturers to have labels that indicate that the product is either GMO or non-GMO.

“Labelling is not a safety issue but for traceability of the GMO products in the market, with the label, we will be able to trace them and know where they are placed,” he said. “Secondly, labelling is also done to give consumers a choice. It is there to inform the public that the product is GM and make them decide whether they want to buy it or not.” The official said labelling of GMOs is a requirement by law and there is a regulation on how these products would be labelled once it is cultivated or released into the market.

How Rwanda-Ghana plan to capitalise on AfCFTA (The New Times)

Curtains on the Rwanda-Ghana business forum closed down Wednesday, October 26, as companies from both countries sought to create new trade deals and also strengthen the existing partnerships between private sector and government agencies.

Rwanda’s delegation, made of 26 companies in various sectors, was led by Minister of Trade and Industry, Jean Chrysostome Ngabitsinze, while their Ghanaian counterparts were led by Herbert Krapa, Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry.

The forum, which took place from October 24-26 in Accra Ghana, comes at a time when Rwanda and Ghana were recently announced among a total of seven countries selected to start trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in a pilot phase. The event also builds upon different initiatives implemented over the last three years to deepen economic and trade relations between the two countries.

Nigeria moves towards global competitiveness for prosperity (The Guardian Nigeria)

The Federal Government is developing an effective and sustainable strategic framework for prosperity, wealth and job creation towards enhancing global competitiveness for productivity. The move, government said, was in line with the recommendations of the African Research and Innovation Forum (FARI), which requires Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member states to emplace and popularise inclusive policies to promote Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) with the support of the academies of sciences.

Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Adeleke Mamora, stated this, in Lagos, during a South West dialogue on the establishment and implementation of technology and innovation centres for global competitiveness and productivity by the strategic implementation task office for Presidential Executive Order No. 5. Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Monilola Udoh, the minister said the objectives of the technology and innovation centres was to ensure that products and services are globally competitive, improve on the present understanding of the role of STI in the socio-economic development of the country, towards moving Nigeria from resource to knowledge-based economy; reduction and stoppage of the present Research and Development (R&D) work in done in silos.

He said: “It is the vision of our country under the 2022 STI Policy to have large, strong, diversified, sustainable and competitive economy that effectively harnesses the talents and energies of its people and responsibly exploits its natural endowments to guarantee a high standard of living and quality of life for its citizens by 2030.” The message is clear; that only the best is good enough to achieve our vision and mission for the country.

Nigeria’s Failure to Utilise AfDB’s $244m Emergency Funds for Food Production Worries Adesina (This Day)

The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has called for faster action to avert food crisis in Nigeria, expressing worry that the country was yet to sign and utilise a $244 million funds for emergency food production approved by the AfDB since July 2022, The AfDB President, who spoke virtually, during the launch of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) in Nigeria, yesterday, said it was worrying that despite the approval of $244 million for emergency food production by the AfDB since July 2022, Nigeria was yet to sign for implementation.

This was just as the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo yesterday, at same event, declared that food insecurity could be banished from Nigeria within a decade if certain decisive steps were taken by government

According to Adesina, to help Africa prevent a food crisis from the Russian war in Ukraine, the AfDB launched a $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility, to support 20 million farmers to access climate resilient agricultural technologies and produce 38 million metric tons of food valued at $12 billion.

African trade and integration

Be strategic in taking advantage of AfCFTA - McDan CEO urges businesses (Graphic Online)

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of McDan Group of Companies, Daniel McKorley, has advised businesses in the country to be strategic in taking advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

By being strategic, he said businesses must first study the business terrain of their selected African markets before entering or doing business in the said African market. He said this at the 6th Edition of the Africa Trade Roundtable meeting organised by the University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA) in partnership with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

He said studying the business terrain of an African market before entering it was necessary, given the fact that, business techniques that work in one African country would not necessarily work or be effective in another.

“Before you go into a country to trade, it is extremely important to know the culture of the country, the business environment of the country, the policies that affect business operations in the country, mergers and acquisitions in the country, among other things,” he added.

Sub Saharan organisations demand end to illicit financial flows (IndustriALL)

This was discussed at a regional workshop on IFFs in Accra, Ghana, 24-25 October, which was held with support from FES Ghana and attended by 30 participants from Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, and Zambia.

Although the theme of the regional workshop was “Illicit financial flows in the gold mining sector in Ghana” it was mentioned that Ghana is not the only African country facing IFFs. Giving examples from case studies in Ghana, South Africa and other countries, the experts said IFFs often take the form of capital flight, tax evasion and avoidance, money laundering, concealing of assets, and commercial malpractices like mis-invoicing of trade shipments, and transfer pricing.

Discussions stated that close to $88.6 billion leaves the African continent yearly destined for tax havens in Panama, British Virgin Islands, Seychelles, and other countries mainly for the benefit of developed countries. This huge financial loss is enough to finance nearly 50 per cent of the costs required to meet Sustainable Development Goals targets. Experts at the workshop said this has been confirmed by UNCTAD research which states that IFFs are multiple times more than the foreign direct investment inflows into the continent.

Criminal activities that include illegal markets, corruption, and theft for terrorism financing are also forms of IFFs. According to research, IFFs continue to drain much needed revenue from developing countries in Sub Saharan Africa that could otherwise be used to eradicate poverty, create decent jobs, reduce the high levels of unemployment, and contribute to industrialization.

Vodacom M-pesa expands into 8 new SADC countries (The Herald)

Tanzania’s leading mobile money provider, Vodacom M-Pesa, has today announced an expansion of its International Money Transfer (IMT) portfolio to include 8 new countries from the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) where its customers can send and receive money. The countries include South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Mobile money has grown from a niche product to become Africa’s leading digital payment platform connecting millions across the continent and facilitating international trade and remittances. Vodacom M-Pesa has been at the forefront in terms of facilitating international remittances through its IMT portfolio which connects over 200 countries worldwide allowing Tanzanians to transact across borders.

“The entrant of mobile money in international remittance has not only improved ease of access but also reduced the cost of transfers bringing us closer to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Number 10 thus we applaud this growth in this space and commend Vodacom M-Pesa for paving the way,” said Stargomena Tax, Tanzania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation

New approaches are needed for instant payment systems to reach their potential in Africa (AfricaNenda)

On October 25, 2022, AfricaNenda launched State of the Instant and Inclusive Payment Systems (SIIPS) 2022 report, in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the World Bank. It is the fruition of extensive consultation with a broad range of industry leaders, experts, and digital financial services (DFS) as well as MSMEs and 1,200 consumers in seven countries on the continent.

The first take from the report is that Instant Payment systems (IPS) are on a rapid ascent in Africa: 29 systems have gone live on the continent over the past decade, two new systems on average emerge every year, 21 others are underway. And usage of IPS is growing commensurately. In 2021, the 29 active systems on the continent processed nearly USD 1 trillion and 16 billion in transaction values and volumes, respectively.

Despite those encouraging figures, a lot remains to be done for IPS to fully realize their potential and create opportunities that reach, and benefit underserved low-income and marginalized populations. For that to happen, they need to be inclusive. Inclusive IPS do more than providing the mechanics to process digital push payments in near real-time, 24/365—they are designed to serve the low-income population, the financially excluded, the underserved. This means the system allows consumers to make low value digital payments, at a low cost, on a wide range of channels. Instead of being limited to sending money to family and friends, users can leverage IPS to meet all their payment needs from and to merchants, suppliers, and government.

Unpacking Africa’s FDI Landscape (Engineering News)

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows to Africa have evolved over the past decades and remain crucial to helping the continent get on the path towards long-term sustainability and growth. Investment into key sectors, both intracontinental and from abroad, generates opportunities for employment, market growth, and community development. It is especially important for the transfer of knowledge and technology, the enhancement of competitiveness and entrepreneurship, and the increase of overall productivity in local economies.

FDI to African countries hit a record $83 billion in 2021, according to UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2022. This was more than double the amount reported in 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which heavily disrupted investment flows to the continent. Despite this growth, investment flows to Africa account for only 5.2% of global FDI.

Understanding the FDI landscape in Africa – by examining who invests, why they invest, what they invest in, and the challenges they experience – is imperative to stimulating attractiveness in the market and increasing investment flows to the continent.

Africa Investment Forum: Lusophone Compact continues to drive private sector investment in Africa (AfDB)

The Lusophone Compact is one of many successes that have emerged from the innovative Africa Investment Forum. The compact is a financing platform that provides risk mitigation, financing products and technical assistance to accelerate development of the private sector in Africa’s Portuguese-speaking countries.

The African Development Bank president, Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, says the partnership was “designed with one simple, overarching goal: more private sector and public private partnership investments in Africa’s Portuguese-speaking countries.”

Since its establishment, the compact has continued to grow in scope. In September 2022, during a business and investment forum organized as part of the 5th Luso-Mozambican Summit in Maputo, the African Development Bank and the Portuguese government signed a guarantee agreement for €400 million. Under the agreement, Portugal is providing guarantees of up to €400 million exclusively to African Development Bank-financed projects approved under the arrangement.

As African countries currently face challenging conditions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, Russia’s war in Ukraine and climate change, the Africa Investment Forum is prioritizing the areas of transport, health, energy, infrastructure, and food security. These are the areas the forum finds necessary to dwell on to drive recovery.

Africa Investment Forum: Harnessing Guarantees and Insurance to Close the Continental Financing Gap – The Africa Co-Guarantee Platform Leads the Way (AfDB)

Conference delegates push for digital economy as new driver of Africa’s development (China.org.cn)

Digital technologies hold key to unlocking development in Africa if much effort is put into investing in technology infrastructure, delegates attending the Global System for Mobile Communication Association (GSMA) conference said here on Tuesday. “To ensure that no one is left behind in digital connectivity in Africa, we need to ensure more businesses have access to devices and affordable internet data because digital technologies have the potential to unlock development in Africa,” said Nompilo Morafo, Chief Sustainability and Corporate Affairs Officer of MTN Group at the ongoing GSMA Mobile World Congress (MWC) Africa 2022 which kicked off Tuesday in the Rwandan capital city Kigali.

“We must leverage private sector and government-led projects against civil society’s reach to the communities we seek change for, and we must connect the unconnected one way or the other,” said Paula Ingabire, Rwandan Minister of Information Communication Technology and Innovation. She emphasized that strong collaboration between the private and public sectors will drive Africa’s inclusive digital transformation.

Ruto: Possibility of East African political federation no longer idle dream (The East African)

Kenyan President William Ruto is openly pushing for the establishment of the East African Federation, endorsing an ambitious political formation that has been elusive and mostly avoided by his predecessors but one that hopes to guarantee a big market for regional goods and services and ensure strategic security. “The community is becoming even more tightly connected with infrastructure systems criss-crossing the member countries. The possibility of an East African Federation is no longer a wild imagination or an idle dream. It is no longer a matter of if, it is a matter of when,” Ruto said in his Mashujaa Day address on October 20 in Nairobi.

“In the East African Community, the rigid territorial borders are firmly on the way out as we move towards full integration. Non-tariff barriers have come down and trade volumes have soared,” he added.

A political federation is the ultimate pillar in the East African Community (EAC) integration process, preceded by the Customs Union, Common Market and a Monetary Union in that order. However, each of the pillars has been problematic to implement, leading sceptics to say that the federation may remain a mirage as it is also faces the challenge of competing political systems.

African Energy Chamber Launches ‘The State of African Energy: 2023 Outlook’ (African Energy Chamber)

The African Energy Chamber (AEC) – the voice of the African energy sector – is proud to announce the launch of its newest publication, ‘The State of African Energy: 2023 Outlook,” a detailed report analyzing current, emerging and future oil and gas market trends as well as geopolitical procedures shaping both the global and African oil and gas sector.

With the global oil market suffering combined impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian-Ukraine war, the report provides a detailed analysis of how production and monetization will look like in 2023 for both African-producing countries such as Libya, Angola and Nigeria and global energy companies. As the global oil market volatility continues, the AEC report investigates what this means for African producers and the global market.

According to the AEC report, As COVID-19 subsides, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has and will continue to lead to Brent increasing, with Africa being in a prime position to increase its natural gas output and benefit from an under supplied LNG market and demand from Europe. Owing to the proximity of leading African producers to Europe and existing good trade relations between the two continents, despite total production across the continent declining from 2022 through 2025, Africa is expected to play a key role in meeting global demand.

Meanwhile, Nigeria, Algeria and Egypt lead African gas production and LNG flows in the short-term, with the report providing a detailed outlook regarding production, monetization and LNG developments across Africa’s emerging and already established markets such as Equatorial Guinea, Senegal/Mauritania and Mozambique.

With Africa seeking to attract investments to optimize the development, exploitation and monetization of hydrocarbon resources, including the estimated 125.3 billion barrels of crude oil resources and 620 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves for energy security and economic expansion, and as spending is set to be taken out of Russia and directed to other regions, the report details investment trends across Africa and how trends in Russia and across the globe can shape capital allocation for projects rollout and energy trading across the continent.

What’s more, with Africa eyeing to accelerate exploration investments and activities to boost its oil and gas reserves for a sustainable energy future, the AEC report provides insights on drilling campaigns across the continent and how recent sizeable discoveries, such as TotalEnergies and Shell’s in Namibia, will drive upstream activities in countries such as Mauritania, Senegal, Uganda, Congo, Mozambique, Ghana, Angola and Ivory Coast.

Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) Members Target Accelerated Energy Growth at African Energy Week (AEW) 2022 (ZAWYA)

Opportunities and challenges for Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) member states rose to the forefront of discussions at African Energy Week 2022 in Cape Town on Tuesday, during a panel session entitled, “Powering Up the Heart of Africa: Improving CEMAC’s Capabilities and Coordination to Eliminate Energy Poverty.” The CEMAC region – which comprises Cameroon, Chad, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of Congo – has struggled to coordinate its members and ensure long-term economic growth, fiscal and monetary stability and financing for energy and transport infrastructure.

“Central Africa has five producing countries, with some of the most important hydrocarbon potential in the Congo Basin,” stated H.E. Bruno Itoua.”Because of that, most countries feel that they do not need integration. When you are rich, you are rich enough for your needs and your own population. We have been struggling for integration for a long time. But now, things are changing. We have to face the energy transition. We need to have one single voice – not just for Central Africa, but for all of Africa.”

3 key fronts on which Africa must combat climate change (WEF)

Continental Frameworks on DRR and COVID-19 Recovery Launches as the World Marks the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (AU)

Two key Continental frameworks towards enhancing disaster resilience in Africa have been launched. These include the Africa Institutional and Operational Framework for Multi-hazard Early Warning Systems and Early Action and COVID-19 Recovery Framework for Africa, which were endorsed at the 35th Assembly of the African Union Heads of State and Government that took place in February 2022.

In his speech, President Nyusi passionately called for all stakeholders to work together and combat climate induced disasters. He also noted that Mozambique contributed very little to air and ocean pollution. As Africa, we need to have a united voice on how to collectively address the impact of climate change. He noted that whereas Africa contributes little to climate change, it is the hardest hit by the effects of the changing climate. The DRM Champion also highlighted about his participation at the upcoming Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP27). “We shall be taking a package of climate resilience to further strengthen our call for enhanced disaster preparedness in Africa. As it is, every African should be covered by an effective early warning system”, he stated.

Speaking at the event, H.E. Amb. Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, the AU Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment (ARBE) stated that “the African continent is the most vulnerable to disaster risk”. She emphasised that since 2015, the continent recorded over700 disaster events, which affected over 80 million people and killing over 66,000 people across the continent.

Africa Tourism Partners unperturbed by AU snub (SABC News)

Inviting the African Union (AU) to be part of the Africa Tourism Leadership Forum (ATLF) in Gaborone, Botswana, to look at ways to improve intra-Africa tourism, proved a futile exercise. However, the snub was not going to stop important deliberations that took place at an event that African Tourism Partners (ATP) CEO Kwakye Donkor says was a tremendous success on many fronts. Donkor says getting the private sector apex bodies across the continent under one roof to start collaborating has been one of the key successes.

The Pan-African strategist and expert in areas of tourism development, intra-Africa tourism development has lamented the engagement with the AU ahead of the event, even though he says it was not going to stop the forum from going ahead.”

Tackling challenges: EU unveils plans to promote partnership with Africa (Vanguard)

The European Union, yesterday, launched an ambitious campaign underlining the increasing significance of its long-standing partnership with Africa and how it is transforming lives and inspiring hopes across the continents.

The Africa–EU campaign reflects on some of the initiatives that position the two continents as model, reliable, ambitious and dynamic partners. It also highlights the strength of the partnership, which has brought together peoples and institutions of both continents in pursuit of common goals for a better world.

The Africa-EU Campaign, tagged ‘We See Africa’, runs simultaneously in Nigeria, Cameroon, Congo, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, and builds on the resounding success of a previous one conducted across seven other African countries from 2020-2021.

Africa-Caribbean Trade Mission opens in Accra (MyJoyOnline)

The government of Bahamas has taken a giant step towards establishing business connections between the Caribbean nation and Ghana, where most of its citizens are believed to have been taken from as slaves four centuries ago. An Africa-Caribbean Trade Mission has therefore been established in Accra to facilitate the connection between Ghana and the country which is known largely for its huge tourism industry.

“Ghana has opened its heart to the Diaspora. In fact, it has become the gateway to Africa. The Year of Return, has demonstrated the desire within the Diaspora to re-connect with Africa. I believe that through trade, enterprise, and investment we can build durable partnerships that can increase growth and revenue for Ghanaian businesses, while also providing economic opportunities for Africa’s vast global Diaspora,” he said.

Global economy 

UNCTAD outlines new productive sectors for economic diversification (UNCTAD)

UNCTAD has released a catalogue that, for the first time, identifies over 45,000 potential new products with export potential that can help diversify 233 economies. The catalogue is aimed at informing governments, the private sector and other stakeholders who make up national innovation systems about possible product areas where technology can be used to diversify economies for structural transformation.

Economic diversification is an essential feature of development. The more developed a country is, the more diversified its economy is likely to be, and the higher its technological level. Economic diversification is ultimately the result of innovation. Research shows that structural transformation – the process whereby a sustained period of rising income and living standards coincides with changes in the distribution of economic activity – increases economic growth and competitiveness, moving jobs from low- to high-value-added products.

Investment to tackle climate change falls amid global crises (UNCTAD)

Cross-border investment in climate change mitigation and adaptation is projected to decline in 2022 against the backdrop of a global investment downturn, according to a new report published by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on 27 October. Citing a bleak outlook for global foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2022, the report released in the lead-up to the UN climate change conference COP27 shows the number of new investment projects falling across most industries, notably those tackling climate change. Between January and September 2022, climate mitigation and adaptation sectors had, respectively, 7% and 12% fewer new projects announced, in stark contrast to the previous year’s strong acceleration. Mitigation projects accounted for 94% of international climate investments, whereas adaptation ones continued to lag far behind.

“The shift from fossil-fuel to green investments to support the energy transition risks a setback, due to the loss of momentum in renewables and high oil and gas prices,” the report says.

According to another report published by UNCTAD on 20 October, FDI flows in the second quarter of 2022 reached an estimated $357 billion. That’s a 31% decrease from the first three months and 7% less than the quarterly average of 2021. FDI flows to developed economies were 22% lower in the second quarter, compared to the average of 2021, at an estimated $137 billion.

Anti-Dumping Committee reviews members’ notifications of dumping actions and regulations (WTO)

The WTO’s Committee on Anti-Dumping Practices met on 26 October 2022 to review members’ latest notifications of new, amended or previously reviewed anti-dumping laws and regulations as well as reports on anti-dumping actions.

Members still falling behind on subsidy notifications, committee hears (WTO)

Concerns with delays in the submission of required subsidy notifications by WTO members and incomplete information in the notifications submitted continued to be expressed at the Committee on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, which held its latest meeting on 25 October.


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