Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Local news

UN diplomat advises Namibia to export more finished products (The Namibian)

THE outgoing United Nations (UN) resident coordinator, Sen Pang, believes Namibia should stop exporting raw materials to become self-sustainable. Pang told The Namibian yesterday at State House the country will greatly benefit if it decides to add value domestically and export finished products. “The raw material resources, if instead of exporting them as raw materials and having them further processed to sell as semi-finished or completed products, that would be a great gain for the country,” he said. He said this would also help with Namibia’s over-reliance on imports.

“If we can increase self-dependency to reduce dependency on imports, that would be good. Namibia has rich natural resources and a very productive labour force,” Pang said. Pang’s comments come a few weeks shy of the European Union (EU) and Namibia finalising their deal to export more unprocessed critical raw materials amid its energy crisis.

Nam rice bill at N$22,1 million a month (Namibian)

NAMIBIAN retailers import rice worth N$22,1 million on a monthly basis mainly from India and South Africa, trade data shows. Other countries, such as Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Spain, Botswana and Ghana also supply Namibia with rice, although in small quantities. In some instances, the bill is as high as N$54,2 million, as was the case in February this year.

Although there are small rice projects in the country, such as the Kalimbeza rice project in the Zambezi region, Namibia does not export rice. The Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) this week released trade data for September, showing imports for the month were slightly lower than the average at N$20,1 million.

Overall imports for September came in at N$10,4 billion against an export bill of N$8 billion – resulting in the country’s trade deficit of N$2,4 billion. The NSA says exports increased by 2,3% during the month from N$7,8 billion recorded in August.

Coffee prices decline on low demand, expected surplus (Business Daily)

Coffee prices continue to decline on the back of low demand and a projected surplus of the commodity in the world market occasioned by a better crop in Brazil and Central America.

The Kenyan beverage recorded a decline in the latest sale per 50-kilogramme bag to stand at $189 (Sh22,886) down from $191 (Sh23,111) previously.

Coffee earnings increased by $81 million in eight months to August compared with the similar period in the last crop season as more volumes offered at the auction and high demand pushed up the value of the beverage.

High imports bill widens Z’bar current account deficit (Daily News)

Zanzibar’s current account deficit widened to 314.8 million US dollars in the period ending September this year from 195 million US dollars registered in the corresponding period last year. According to the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) monthly economic review, the development was large, associated with an increase in imports bill that outweighed the impact of an increase in exports during the year ending August. Imports of goods and services rose to 500.7 million US dollars under the reviewed period from 382 million US dollars recorded in the corresponding period last year largely due to increases in imports of intermediate and consumer goods.

Intermediate goods imports rose to 332.1 million US dollars from 188.4 million US dollars mainly due to an increase in imports of industrial supplies, fuel and lubricants particularly white petroleum products as well as food and beverages including particularly edible oil and wheat as compared to the corresponding period last year.

Tanzania exports cashew nuts to US as focus shifts to value addition (The East African)

A consignment of processed cashew nuts from Tanzania to the United States left the country on Monday as the East African nation seeks to move away from exporting raw nuts to value-added ones. The eight-tonne cargo of processed cashew nuts was dispatched to New Orleans, Louisiana via the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam.

While flagging off the cargo, Tanzania’s Deputy Minister for Agriculture Anthony Mavunde said WTH is supportive of the government’s plan to ensure that by 2025, 60 per cent of Tanzania’s cashew nuts are processed locally. Currently, the country processes less than 10 per cent of its cashew nuts, with the remainder being exported raw.

“If our plan succeeds, it will mean increasing new industries and creating more jobs for our youth,” he said.

With Prompt Reforms, Cameroon Can Turn Wealth into a Green and Resilient Future for All – World Bank (World Bank)

Cameroon could reduce its poverty rate five-fold by 2050 from 15% to 3% if it undertakes robust reforms to induce climate-action investments, says the World Bank’s newly released Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR). In addition, robust investments of $58 billion in adaptation and mitigation measures over the next 10 years could bring an additional GDP growth of 1% in 2050.

A business-as-usual approach is not an option. The report estimates that the country’s economy could lose up to 10% of GDP by 2050 if urgent climate adaptation measures are not taken. The CCDR provides specific policy recommendations for making development and adaptation gains in four priority areas: Agriculture, forestry, and land use; cities; human capital; and infrastructure. It identifies governance as a crosscutting reform area.

“We know that the first victims of climate change are the most vulnerable who see their livelihoods severely impacted and their homes affected.” said Abdoulaye Seck, World Bank Country Director for Cameroon. “An additional 1.3 million people could fall into poverty particularly in rural areas if no urgent action is taken to promote rapid, resilient, and inclusive growth.”

African trade and integration

Controversy trails Nigeria’s absence from AfCFTA trading (New Telegraph)

Indications have emerged that some African countries operating under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement have commenced trading under the new trade protocol with Nigeria missing out in the league. With Nigeria’s slow approach to the continental treaty, findings are showing that some products from some African countries are already making their way into Nigerian markets.

Specifically, New Telegraph reliably gathered that some batteries manufactured in Kenya and other products are already flooding different markets in the country, while sources in the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria Export Promotion Group (MANEG) also hinted that some countries in the continent, mostly neighbouring countries with Nigeria such as Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and others have started trading with one another since July 25, this year.

the take-off of AfCFTA in the continent has seen some countries commencing trading under the new trade protocol, while others, including Nigeria, are yet to commence trading. Findings from MAN Secretariat revealed that members were not happy over the delay by the Federal Government in taking a decision on AfCFTA, as they have been waiting patiently to officially join in trading like Ghana, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa and others are already doing.

Meanwhile, a source from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment told our correspondent that the report over the take-off of AfCFTA trading without Nigeria’s involvement could not be true as concluded negotiations on the rule of origin are not yet finalised. But some Nigerian exporters in MANEG hinted that some goods, like the Kenyan batteries were already being exported into Nigeria, while trading has fully commenced in among Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and others.

The committee guiding trading in AfCFTA started trading under the new trade protocol on July 25 in seven nations in Africa. “But where is Nigeria? It is amazing that our neighbours, Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and co, have started trading. “Kenyan batteries just arrived Lagos a few weeks ago. So, why are we not starting? and when is Nigeria going to start AfCFTA?” However, New Telegraph gathered that a clearer picture on Af- CFTA was expected to be known during this month’s African Union (AU) Heads of State meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Need for Speed in Ratifying COMESA Legal Instruments (COMESA)

The need for speed in ratifying and implementing various legal instruments agreed upon in the past was a rallying call during the 25th Meeting of COMESA Ministers of Justice and Attorneys Generals, conducted in Lusaka, Zambia, Thursday, 3rd November 2022. Keynote speakers at the meeting including the Secretary General of COMESA, Chileshe Kapwepwe appealed to the Ministers and the AGs to work closely with the COMESA Secretariat to assist their countries in domesticating the laws that the Council of Ministers has been passing over the years.

“There is a slowness within the Member States machinery that stultifies the process of domestication of COMESA legislation which unfortunately has caused a backlog,” said the Secretary General. “The slowed national processes of not domesticating COMESA legislation have had an adverse effect on integrating the COMESA region.”

She cited the delayed ratification of the Tripartite FTA, which is now three States shy of the 14 State’s ratification threshold for it to enter into force. This is one of her key tasks as the current chairperson of the Tripartite Task Force, to ensure it is attained before the year ends. Hence her appeal to the Member States at the meeting that have not yet ratified the Tripartite Agreement to “expeditiously do so as not doing so is adversely affecting a regional good in delayed trade, investment and services drawdowns for the benefit of the region’s populace.”

Zambia’s acting Minister of Justice Hon. Jack Mwiimbu, who was the Chief Guest stated that as COMESA goes in the era of digital economy, it is important that proper legislation is put in place to ensure the smooth running of the business across the region. This, he notes, is the responsibility of the COMESA Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General. “COMESA is the area and era of creating a digital economy and it is important that we come up with legislation that will spearhead this process and therefore I urge you as you deliberate to ensure that there is speedy implementation of these legislation,” Mr. Mwiimbu said.

CENTRAL AFRICA: Log export ban postponed indefinitely (AFRIK 21)

The UEAC Council of Ministers believes that the countries of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), namely Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, CAR, Equatorial Guinea and Chad, are not yet ready to apply such a measure. “There is a huge fiscal cost (…) Given the context in which we find ourselves, the ministers have considered, rightly or wrongly, but I think rightly, to postpone this decision to a later date,” explains Daniel Ona Ondo, president of the CEMAC commission.

The Gabonese minister mentioned the loss of tax revenue that Cameroon would suffer, for example, if the ban on log exports in the CEMAC zone were to come into force in January. “The implementation of this measure should lead to revenue losses in Cameroon of around 80 billion CFA francs (almost 122 million euros). When this decision was implemented, Gabon lost 75 billion CFA francs (over 114 million euros). Accompanying measures are necessary,” he explains.

Initially scheduled for 1 January 2022, the entry into force of this measure was then postponed to 1 January 2023. The aim of this measure is to increase, secure and develop wood resources. This is an opinion shared by the African Development Bank (AfDB), which is in favour of a process of sustainable industrialisation of the timber sector, in order to capitalise on the various value chains of the resource and generate jobs for young people.

New report reveals Africa is facing a crisis in funding for climate adaptation (African Business)

Africa is facing a critical shortfall in funding for climate adaptation according to a new report, State and Trends in Adaptation in Africa 2022, launched by the Global Center on Adaptation today. The report reveals that cumulative adaptation finance to 2030 will come to less than one-quarter of the estimated needs stated by African countries in their National Determined Contributions (NDCs) unless more funding for climate adaptation is secured.

In 2019 and 2020 an estimated $11.4 billion was committed to climate adaptation finance in Africa with more than 97% of the funds coming from public actors and less than 3% from private sectors. This is significantly less than the $52.7 billion annually to 2030 it is estimated African countries will need.

To increase the volume and efficacy of adaptation finance flows to Africa over the coming decade, the report makes a number of recommendations:

Africa Investment Forum: African investors asked to mobilize more for infrastructure in Africa (AfDB)

At the November 2 opening of the 2022 Africa Investment Forum, panelists called on African investors to increase financing for African infrastructure to make the sector attractive to foreign investors. The panel, ”Mobilizing financial capital: What investment model will attract world capital to Africa?” featured representatives of the African private sector.

Panelists focused on investment models offering the most competitive secured capital commitments and how development finance and capital investment can use mixed financing to make Africa more favorable for investments. This has become critical given the urgent need to better mobilize private capital for high-impact sectors in Africa, such as health infrastructure, to bolster the continent’s recovery in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Panelists highlighted Africa’s infrastructure finance deficit – of roads, energy, rail, gas and oil pipelines, health infrastructure, and education and training, among others. They proposed an array of local solutions for attracting better international capital.

African ports could be strengthened by adoption of smart technology (ITWeb)

With 38 of its 54 states being coastal or island states, it is no surprise that Africa is home to over 100 port facilities, including massive terminals in Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town in the south, and Mombasa and Dar es Salaam in the east, and Lagos in the west. 90% of Africa’s imports and exports travels by sea. The volume of trade through these ports is enormous, with South Africa alone in pre-pandemic 2019 handling almost five million TEU (20-foot container equivalents) with just over 9 000 ship calls nationally.

However, few of these ports operate optimally, lacking a fully integrated rail and road system which enables all of the operational elements to ‘speak’ to each other, and for freight and logistics companies to monitor the progress of their goods. Manually operated loading and offloading at the ports is fraught with potential dangers and delays and the entire sector is therefore failing to extract the most out of what could be a far more lucrative freight economy.

“Ports are where cargo begins and ends it journey,” says Jiang Kaimin, senior marketing expert at Huawei’s customs and port business. “Ports must operate every single day and delays in any part of the process of arrivals and departures, shoreside operations, horizontal transport, yard and gate operations and tractor trailer transport can result in enormous financial loss. In Tianjin, Huawei has used cloud-based centralised dispatching to increase port-wide efficiency.”

Women shortchanged by digital finance (UNECA)

Africa must invest in Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for women and girls, disciplines which would boost their economic empowerment and access to digital finance. Keiso Matashane-Marite, Acting Chief of the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Section, Gender, Poverty and Social Policy Division at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) says women and girls are marginalized economically. Women and girls face deep barriers in financial inclusion because they do not have the requisite skills and knowledge that STEM careers avail.

Ms. Matashane-Marite, speaking at a media briefing to present the results of the African Women’s Report on ‘Digital Finance Ecosystems – Pathways to Women’s Economic Empowerment in Africa’, lamented the many barriers that prevent financial access for women in Africa. The study was done to promote economic empowerment of women and girls.

“Without economic empowerment of women, substantive empowerment of women is an issue,” Ms. Matashane-Marite,” noted, arguing that economic empowerment for women is the right step in ensuring women are empowered in the social and political spheres.

Tapping into Africa’s vast potential to become a leader in the global maritime market (Mail & Guardian)

It has been over a decade since the AU signed the 2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime strategy (2050 AIM) to strengthen the continent’s regional and international partnerships and advance individual countries’ economic well-being. Have the 2050 AIM objectives, such as promoting African vessel ownership, been achieved? The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) in partnership with Mail & Guardian hosted a webinar on 31 October to report on the progress that has been made in the maritime sector over the past 10 years.

Key concerns highlighted by the AU leading up to the adoption of 2050 AIMS included: Africa representing less than 0.9% of global gross tonnage. Huge financial losses due to illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing. Dumping of toxic waste. Environmental crimes such as oil spills. Illegal bunkering. Piracy and armed robbery in eastern and western Africa; terrorism; human, wildlife and drug trafficking. Climate change. Vusi September, Executive of Corporate Affairs for the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), said the objectives of 2050 AIMS are: “Establishing a combined exclusive maritime zone of Africa, engage civil society and all other stakeholders to improve awareness on maritime issues, enhance wealth creation and regional and international trade performance.”

Wenjie Chen on the Latest Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa (IMF)

Economic outlooks don’t come easy in the current environment but the latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa proved to be particularly challenging. Its title Living on the Edge tells part of the story but in this podcast, economist Wenjie Chen walks us through the research behind the new report. Chen is a deputy head in the Regional Studies Division and part of the team of macroeconomists who dissect regional trends to come up with key priorities for policymakers.

Global economy

Climate and Development: An Agenda for Action (World Bank)

Low- and middle-income countries can transition to low-carbon, resilient growth pathways if key conditions are met with international support

The analysis, Climate and Development: An Agenda for Action, compiles and harmonizes results from the Bank Group’s Country Climate and Development Reports, covering over 20 countries that account for 34% of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It shows that investment needs are markedly higher in lower-income countries which are more vulnerable to climate risk, often exceeding 5% of GDP. These countries will need increased amounts of concessional finance and grants to manage climate change impacts and develop along a low-carbon path.

“Achieving climate and development objectives must go hand in hand. Climate action is a key global public good, requiring significant new financing from the global community and mechanisms for inflows,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass, “Well prioritized and sequenced climate actions, strong participation of the private sector, substantial international support and a just transition are critical components for impact.”

Director-General meets with CEOs to discuss improved access to COVID-19 therapeutics (WTO)

The discussions with top executives from producers both of original and generic versions of the main therapeutic medicines were along similar lines to the Director-General’s earlier valuable dialogue with vaccine producers. As with the earlier discussions, the conversation was informal and off the record, to enable an open sharing of experiences focusing on practical solutions.

Participants agreed to keep in touch and to continue to share information, as work continues on a range of fronts to expand and diversify therapeutic production and distribution around the world.


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