Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

COP27 updates

New report: African countries face 34% GDP hit due to climate change even at 1.5ºC of global heating (IOL)

A study published by Christian Aid highlights the devastating economic impact climate change will inflict on the African continent. The analysis in the report, titled “The cost to Africa: drastic economic damage from climate change”, was led by Marina Andrijevic, an economist at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna. By 2050 and 2100 the economies of these countries are still expected to be higher than they are today. This study highlights the amount of damage caused to their GDP by climate change,

Africa: Helping Small Businesses Adapt to the Climate Crisis is Crucial for African Countries #AfricaClimateHope (allAfrica)

Small and medium-sized enterprises are essential engines for growth and play a key role in creating jobs and supporting sustainable livelihoods. Yet, the financing gap for SMEs, particularly in emerging markets, is widening. Climate change has become an increasing concern, especially for small businesses. As the effects of climate change intensify, people around the world are feeling the pressure of financial constraints, greater risk and an increase living costs. These challenges are even more complex in developing countries. Micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are the backbone of Africa’s job creation, economic growth, and development. According to the International Finance Cooperation, MSMEs account for up to 90% of all businesses in African markets and remain one of the main sources of employment. They’re important drivers of employment and entrepreneurship for women, youth and vulnerable groups.

To highlight the contributions of these enterprises, the United Nations General Assembly designated June 27 as the Micro-, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises Day, recognising the important role these enterprises play in sustainable development. However, the majority of businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa are micro-enterprises and they need access to capital for them to thrive and grow.

“So where do we go from here, I would say we need to look at the wider ecosystem. So we look at the market charges, technology, access to finance, legal changes, and requirements of what small businesses really need. A competitiveness assessment tool that has been launched is a very important tool because it looks at what are the necessary mechanisms that need to be put in place for companies to meet their actual current agricultural impact. Pakistan, for example, we’re doing a U.S.$60 million programme with FAO that has actually trained over 40,000 farmers. We’ve also been looking at Ghana, where we’ve actually helped small farmers increase their yield and revenue by 22% overall”, Pamela-Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre said.

Global Leaders Rally Support and Finance for the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program to Tackle Climate Change in Africa (AfDB)

Global leaders on Tuesday rallied around climate adaptation for Africa. They attended the Africa Adaptation Leaders’ Event, convened by African Union Chair President Macky Sall of Senegal, Global Center on Adaptation CEO Patrick Verkooijen, and African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina. The event took place at the global climate summit (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. It underscored the critical need for climate adaptation in Africa and responded to the call for the capitalization of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP).

“This is a pivotal step in the fight against climate change,” African Union Chair President Macky Sall said. “The commitments made by Africa’s partners will give the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program the boost that it needs to transform the development trajectory of the world’s most climate exposed continent. I am confident in the ability of the AAAP to deliver results for Africa.”

Africa marks special day at COP27 with a resolve to tackle climate change relentlessly (AfDB)

These are the climate topics we should be talking about (WEF)

COP27: Why developing countries are not getting their climate finance (Energy Monitor)

Ensuring a sustainable supply of critical raw materials is essential for achieving low-carbon energy transition (UNECE)

The world is in the midst of a deep energy crisis and in need of urgent energy transition. However, this transition cannot happen without massive quantities of critical raw materials (CRMs) needed to deploy the low-carbon technologies required for climate change mitigation and adaptation, said UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, speaking on behalf of all five United Nations regional commissions.

Fossil fuel dependence undermines global health through increased climate change impacts. As a result, millions of people do not have access to the energy they need to keep their homes warm, to preserve food and medication. Reducing the world’s dependency on fossil fuels can only take place through sustainable and responsible production of materials, such as lithium, nickel, copper, cobalt, manganese, graphite, and rare earth elements.

“A standardized and harmonized approach to CRM production focusing on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) aspects at a global level will be key to ensuring the sustainable and secure supply of CRMs,” Ms. Algayerova noted. “Transparent and responsible production of CRMs is also essential to de-risk investments, including those underpinned by climate finance.”

Call for North Sea oil and gas giants to pay ‘meaningful’ climate reparations (HeraldScotland)

Leaders from Western Indian Ocean countries share progress on Great Blue Wall at COP27 (UNECA)

Local news

South Africa’s economy may have turned a corner, but more jobs are needed (Engineering News)

With South Africa’s unemployment rate having improved by 0.6 of a percentage point to 33.9% in the second quarter, Standard Bank CEO Sim Tshabalala has said the country’s economy may well have turned a corner However, job creation remains an urgent priority.

South Africa: Illicit Trade Persists After End of Sales Ban (Tobacco Reporter)

A single pack of 20 cigarettes can be bought for as little as ZAR7, down from ZAR8, which was the lowest price found in the October 2021 study, according to Ipsos. “The latest Ipsos study is irrefutable proof that the unconstitutional lockdown tobacco sales ban created a monster with an insatiable appetite,” said Johnny Moloto, general manager of BAT South Africa. “Criminal manufacturers of tax-evading cigarettes are refusing to give up their control of the South African tobacco market and are pocketing billions in illicit profits that deprive the state of vital revenue and destroy honest jobs.”

South Africa’s ability to manage energy risks approaching a ‘tipping point’ (Engineering News)

South African is close to a tipping point in terms of its capacity to manage energy risks, the fifth and latest edition of the South African National Energy Association (SANEA) ‘Energy Risk Report’ warns. Presenting the report at SANEA’s 2022 conference in Johannesburg, general-secretary Wendy Poulton said that, although some progress had been made over the past year to reduce policy uncertainty, it was both insufficient and too slow.

SA targets greater Kenya trade, investment (Moneyweb)

South Africa plans to prioritize its economic relationship with Kenya to boost trade and investment, Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel said.

Trade between the two countries last year was only R6.5 billion, which was “not sufficient,” Patel said at a business forum in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on Wednesday.

Kenyan Trade and investment Secretary Moses Kuria urged South African companies to invest in private-public partnerships and the East African nation’s special economic zones.

Afreximbank commits to finance projects in Namibia (New Era)

The African Export-Import Bank also known Afreximbank, is keen to work with both the public and private sectors in Namibia in developing a robust pipeline of projects. This it said is premised on the economic importance of Namibia on the African and its dynamic international trade sector.

According to Awambeng, currently, a pipeline of US$85 million for transactions is under consideration by Afreximbank in Namibia, distributed across various sectors including mining, energy and health among others. “It is principally for the above reason that we are here to re-introduce Afreximbank and familiarise the business sector in Namibia to the products and services offered by the bank and to engage actively with the business community,” he said.

Delivering the keynote address, trade ministry executive director Sikongo Haihambo said Namibia is committed to the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), this is demonstrated by the fact that Namibia has already commenced with the awareness creation and will soon commence with the training of potential exporters, implementers including customs officials as part of the implementation process of the agreement. For Namibia to be able to take full advantage of the AFCTA, Haihambo said there is a need to accelerate Namibia industrialisation agenda and diversify the export basket. According to him, these calls for increase productivity, innovation and financial support and Afreximbank is one of the most reliable partners in terms of financial support.

India urges Nigeria to become producing nation (The Guardian Nigeria)

Stakeholders seek economic diversity to boost foreign reserve Consul General of India, Lagos, Chandramouli Kern, has urged Nigeria to leverage on existing structures and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to become a producing nation. “You can make profit and even have a good business sector. But as a country, you cannot grow. There is no need to reinvent the chain. You can put value to the supply chain and cater to Nigeria and Africa. I see a very potent place for Nigeria in the AfCFTA because she has the experience and resources. With partnership with Indian big companies, you can supply to Africa,” Kern said.

The Consul General disclosed this at the African Textile and Apparel Manufacturing and Trade Policy Summit 2022, tagged, ‘Empowering Change: West Africa, the Next Frontier for Apparel Sourcing and Investment’, held in Lagos, yesterday.

“We firmly believe that with concerted efforts from government bodies, relevant organisations, and taking advantage of AfCFTA, the West African apparel sector can revolutionise into a production hub,” Oyemade added.

Private Industries call for introduction of import license (Ghanian Times)

The Private Enterprise Federation (PEF), has called on government to introduce an import license policy to regulate the country’s imports. An import license is a document issued by a national government authorising the importation of certain goods into its territory. Nana Osei Bonsu, Chief Executive Officer, PEF said such a move had become critical as a measure to preserve some of the country’s forex and also prevent the influx of foreign made goods in the country’s markets. Nana Osei Bonsu said the government must do all it could to strengthen the cedi and economy.

“People look at import license as a barrier but it is needed to justify why we have to allow you to spend our foreign exchange to import certain commodities. It is just to find ways to tell the authorities that this is needed in the country but when we have things that are available in volumes and people are still bringing them in and undercutting the price locally it does not enable the local people compete,” he said.

First UK government Standards Partnership Pilot to herald a new era for trade in Africa (BusinessGhana)

The first UK government-backed initiative to use global standards to support a new era for trade in Africa will officially be launched in Ghana today. The Standards Partnership Pilot, which will be led by The British Standards Institution (BSI) in collaboration with and to support the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), is expected to boost trade opportunities between Ghanaian and UK businesses. It will focus on the strengthening of national quality infrastructure organizations and systems in complying with international recommended practices.

The pilot will also help deliver secondary benefits by enabling businesses to build resilient, diversified supply chains with high-quality products and services – resulting in greater choice and lower prices of goods for consumers.

AFCFTA National Strategy Response to enhance Mauritius’s readiness for intra-African trade (Republic of Mauritius)

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) National Strategy Response aiming to enhance Mauritius’s preparedness and readiness for intra-African trade and new market and investment opportunities for African Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), was launched this morning during a workshop, at the Westin Turtle Bay Resort and Spa in Balaclava.

In his keynote address, Minister Ganoo indicated that the agreement establishing the AFCFTA is a potential game changer for African countries adding that since the coming into force of the Agreement on 01 January 2021, much progress has been achieved as regards its ratification and implementation. He underlined that the AFCFTA is a landmark agreement for Mauritius that can provide significant opportunities for SMEs, including women and youth-led enterprises engaged in cross-border trade, to participate in the development of regional value chains and diversification.

The Minister highlighted that the AFCFTA agreement should be implemented through an inclusive approach that creates opportunities for women, youth and SMEs to participate in formal economic spheres. SMEs are the backbone and economic drivers of Mauritius, he said, adding that the agreement will further boost intra-African production, intra-African consumption, and intra-African trade and investment.

He rejoiced that Mauritius being part of the pilot phase of the Guided Trade Initiative together with Kenya, Tanzania, Tunisia, Cameroon, Egypt, and Ghana, has been able to export its first consignment under the agreement. He thus expressed appreciation to the UNECA and the EU for their assistance to Mauritius for the implementation of the AFCFTA.

Zanzibar Can Accelerate Poverty Reduction by Seizing More Opportunities to Diversify its Tourism Sector (World Bank)

Despite substantial improvements in living conditions and a drop in poverty between 2009 and 2019, poverty reduction in Zanzibar has been slow relative to its economic growth.A new World Bank Group report, Towards a More Inclusive Zanzibar Economy: Zanzibar Poverty Assessment 2022, shows while Zanzibar’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita grew at 2.9 percent per year during 2009 to 2019, consumption per adult equivalent grew by only 1.7 percent per year over the same period. The ‘growth elasticity of poverty’, which reflects the extent to which economic growth leads to poverty reduction, was low, although similar to the average of Sub-Saharan Africa and somewhat higher than mainland Tanzania. Despite the relatively high GDP growth, the creation of wage jobs between 2014 and 2019 was limited and unemployment went up from 17 to 19 percent, while inactivity increased, according to the labor force surveys conducted in those years.

Tourism contributes an estimated 27 percent to Zanzibar’s GDP, around 80 percent of its foreign exchange earnings, and an estimated 60,000 jobs. With the COVID-19 crisis, GDP growth in Zanzibar slowed to an estimated 1.3 percent in 2020, driven by a decline in tourism activity. GDP per capita fell by 1.6 percent. Most severely hit was the accommodation and food services sub-sector which decreased by 13 percent. Urban poverty may have increased by almost 2 percentage points in 2020, according to simulations.

COVID-19 Elevated Poverty in The Gambia (World Bank)

The Gambia’s poverty rate has climbed to 53.4 percent largely due to COVID-19 according to The Gambia Poverty and Gender Assessment 2022 report. The report states that before the COVID-19 induced crisis the national poverty rate declined from 48.6 percent in 2015 to 45.8 percent in 2019.Poverty rates remains more of a rural phenomenon – 7 out of every 10 rural dwellers are poor; compared to 3 out of every 10 urban dwellers. However, the larger share of poor people live in urban areas in the more populous Southwest, mainly in Brikama.

“It is important to note that there was significant progress registered prior to the pandemic in improving key indicators of welfare such as school attendance, maternal and child health, and access to water and electricity. The report provides insights to inform the recovery agenda from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as mitigating the spillover effects from the ongoing war in Ukraine,” said Feyi Boroffice, World Bank Resident Representative.

African trade and integration

AGI begins profiling of members to leverage AfCFTA (Myjoyonline)

The Association of Ghana Industry (AGI) has begun profiling its members to leverage the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA). According to its Regional Chairman, Tsonam Akpeloo, the agreement presents enormous benefits to businesses, hence the need to take advantage of AfCFTA and trade competitively, both internally and externally. “What we are doing is that we have created a portal ‘Kadodo Africa’. We profiling Ghanaian businesses that are interested in trading under the AfCFTA”. “It is also to note that there are a lot of fraudsters these days that have taken over the internet. So it is important for us to authenticate the businesses that are willing to do business online.”

Liberia, Guinea, S/Leone Sign Pact to Improve Cross-border Trade, Revenue and Security in the Region (Front Page Africa)

The Customs Department of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has signed an MOU with its Guinean and Sierra Leonean counterparts for mutual administrative assistance to combat customs crimes and boost customs revenues in the three countries. The Customs authorities agreed to foster meaningful and more robust collaborations in facilitating cross-border trade and improved security to attract domestic resource mobilization in the three Mano River Union (MRU) countries.

The MOU contains a chain of immediate actions that seek to strengthen cohesion, solidarity, and cooperation in countering Customs frauds that are detrimental to the economic, commercial, fiscal, social, cultural, or security interests of the three countries. The customs authorities resolved to strengthen cooperation among border officers, improve intelligence sharing, and called on their respective governments to rehabilitate roads and bridges to enhance trade facilitation and boost revenue collection.

The need for customs collaboration among our three countries is imperative…in fighting security threats and revenue frauds,” Liberia’s Customs Commissioner Saa Saamoi insisted during the two-day meeting. Saamoi stressed, “Our borders are extremely porous, and it takes only collaboration among our countries and ports to put revenue fraud under control.”

In his closing statement, Sierra Leonean Customs Chief Abu Martin Kanneh noted that ”The only way we can succeed in fighting cross border crime and illicit trade is to collaborate,”Kanneh described the MOU as the beginning of a new era in the MRU region for customs administrations. He said they would work to help each other in terms of intelligence in tracking down customs-related crimes and protecting revenues.

Afreximbank seeks to ease cross border payments with continental platform (The Africa Report)

In mid-October, the Central Bank of Djibouti joined its six West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) counterparts on the platform: Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. A few weeks earlier, the first daily transactions had kicked off on the Pan African Payment and Settlement System (Papss) setup between Lagos and Accra. First Bank of Nigeria, Stanbic IBTC and GCB Bank were among the participating banks. Did it work?

New year offers new promise after Africa’s economic recovery falters in 2022 (African Review)

High energy and food prices, causing a cost-of-living crisis, tighter financial conditions and persisted supply constraints decelerated growth, leading to stagnating income-per-capita in majority of countries. The overall economic activity, however, masks some regional heterogeneity. Diversified ‘non-resource-intensive’ countries (led by Senegal, Rwanda, and Cote d’Ivoire) are among the more dynamic/resilient economies, growing by 4.6% in 2022, compared to 3.3% and 3.1%, respectively, in oil exporters and other resource-intensive countries (according to IMF data). SSA growth, excluding heavyweights Nigeria and South Africa, is projected to slow to 4.3% in 2022, from 5.1% in 2021, but exceed regional performance.

SSA’s terms of trade (i.e., the ratio between a country’s export prices and its import prices) are still expected to improve in 2022, compared with last year, but significant heterogeneity persists. Oil-exporters can expect an improvement of 16%, while non-resource-intensive countries face a drop of about 4.2% (IMF data).

East African judicial officers discuss ways to harmonize laws in the region (Taarifa News)

The East African Magistrates and Judges are meeting in Kigali to discuss the harmonization of the legal mechanisms in the region as a remedy for the promotion of regional trade among other factors. The Conference themed, “The EAC Courts Efficiency in Adjudicating Emerging Cross Border Issues: Challenges and Strengths” is founded on the recommendation of the 16th EAMJA Conference held in 2018 which came as an enforcement of Article 126(2)(b) of the EAC Treaty that calls on all Member States to harmonize all their national laws pertaining to the Community.

Shedding the light on the harmonization of laws, Rwanda’s Chief Justice said the three day event which kicked off today will embark on the sharing experience and knowledge on the rationale behind harmonizing judicial remedies on cross-border issues, such as commercial-related concerns and human rights issues. “The Conference will analyze the intended actualization of fair competition and consumer protection standards and the impediments at play.” Current issues and challenges in the harmonization of EAC tax systems, such as insolvency of multinational companies and liabilities of corporate governors, are vital topics for judicial debate,” he said.

Uganda seeks to strengthen trade ties with China (Monitor)

Uganda on Wednesday said it intends to strengthen its ties with long-time trade partner, China as officials from the East African nation sought to explore more channels to pursue economic and trade cooperation on a “win-win basis” between the two.

During her visit to the Asian country’s eastern province of Shandong, Uganda’s ambassador to China, Ms Oliver Wonekha listed a number of opportunities her home country offers for profitable investments for the Chinese business community. According to the ambassador, Uganda has grown itself to be a highly stable country over the past 30 years, coupled with having one of the lowest crime rates and most stable inflation rate in East Africa – averaging 4.89 percent.

“Uganda is the most open economy to FDI within the EAC. According to benchmarks from Financial Times Limited, Uganda has an excellent working and living environment. Uganda has a robust young and trainable population. The country’s electricity costs are competitive at 80 per cent of Kenya’s costs, property costs in Uganda are competitive with industrial shed monthly rents in the range of $4-6 per square metre. Large and growing domestic market of nearly 45 million people, strategically located in the heart of Africa with a combine market of population of over 700 million in the EAC and COMESA region. Globally, Uganda has a competitive tax incentive regime,” Ms Wonekha said.

Interview: CIIE presents huge opportunity for Africa to diversify export base - Ethiopian scholar (Xinhua)

Africa should tap into the upcoming 5th China International Import Expo (CIIE) to diversify its export base in China and beyond across the global market, an Ethiopian scholar has said. Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, who served as an economic adviser to the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), told Xinhua in a recent interview that the CIIE presents a rare opportunity for Ethiopian and other African companies to penetrate the market opportunities in China and elsewhere.

The expert, who argued that economic and market barriers have been affecting the development performance and trajectory of Africa’s export-oriented businesses, emphasized the need for African companies to diversify their export portfolio in the international market with the help of the CIIE.

Africa lags behind global average on digital economy (IOL)

Africa needs to recognise that the digital economy comprised various facets that included infrastructure development, applications and skills development and in all these facets, the continent is lagging behind the global average. This is according to African Telecommunications Union (ATU) secretary-general John Omo, who spoke at the Ministerial Forum on Developing Africa’s Digital Economy held in Cape Town yesterday.

The market for infrastructure development in each of the continent’s countries was very small. Transnational business between South Africa, Botswana and the SADC region was much bigger and attracted a lot better global investments

“We need to harmonise as much as possible our laws, regulations and policies for attracting global tech into our sphere. Then ensure the development of infrastructure across borders,” Omo said.

Role of regulators needs to change in digital era, panellists agree (Engineering News)

As the uptake of fourth-generation (4G) communications technologies continues to grow on the African continent, along with early adoption of fifth-generation (5G) technology in some countries, technology companies agree that more enabling regulation is required if Africa is to realise universal connectivity or widescale 5G rollouts. Consultancy and research company Balancing Act CEO Russell Southwood noted during a panel discussion at the Africa Tech Festival, which is being hosted from November 7 to 11 in Cape Town, that mobile technology, such as digital payments, or “mobile money”, and the Internet have had a profound impact on Africa’s development, but greater job creation and economic growth can be unlocked if regulators were to ease up on their intervention.

African Telecommunications Union, African Union and Huawei jointly release “Africa IPv6 Development White Paper” (IT-Online)

The African Telecommunications Union (ATU), African Union (AU) and Huawei jointly released the “Africa IPv6 Development White Paper” today. This first regional Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) white paper on the African continent systematically analyses the development of IPv6 in Africa and shares the IPv6 innovation practices of several top operators in Africa. Launched during the fourth Broadband Africa Forum at AfricaCom 2022 – the continent’s largest ICT conference – the white paper aims to provide guidance and reference for IPv6 technology innovation and development in Africa, thereby accelerating the construction of network digital infrastructure and promoting the development of the digital economy on the continent.

Africa’s huge infrastructure deficit constrains development: Ethiopian president (Xinhua)

Africa’s current vast infrastructure deficit is a big constraint to continental development, Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde said Tuesday. The president made the remarks during the joint opening session of the eighth edition of the African Engineering Week and the sixth Africa Engineering Conference, which is underway in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. “Our continent Africa has a number of priority areas for its development. But there is one that clearly stands above the others and that is infrastructure. Africa has a vast infrastructure deficit. It is a big constraint in its growth,” Zewde said.

Afreximbank Urges African Countries To Prioritize Infrastructure Development (263chat.com)

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) chairman and president, Professor Bennedict Oramah has called for urgent measures towards building adequate infrastructure to support the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement. Speaking at the Botswana Global Expo last week where more than 25 Zimbabwean companies participated, Prof Oramah said, inadequate infrastructure was a major drawback to quick realisation of the desired AfCFTA gains. “Pushing the boundaries towards industrialisation, is critical for Africa’s transformation with focus on harnessing trade and investment opportunities, this also includes building adequate infrastructure capacity that supports standards and quality certification of products from the continent,” he said. Oramah urged the African Continental Free Trade Area to invest more in building trade.

“As the continent pushes towards an integrated free trade market under the historic deal, which came into force early last year and has been ratified by Zimbabwe and several regional peers, the need to bolster infrastructure development has come under spotlight as a key enabler to trade competitiveness,” added Oramah.

The African Development Corridors Database: a new tool to assess the impacts of infrastructure investments | Scientific Data (Nature.com)

The large-scale expansion of built infrastructure is profoundly reshaping the geographies of Africa, generating lock-in patterns of development for future generations. Understanding the impact of these massive investments can allow development opportunities to be maximised and therefore be critical for attaining the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and African Union’s Agenda 2063 aims. However, until now information on the types, scope, and timing of investments, their evolution and spatial-temporal impact was dispersed amongst various agencies. We developed a database of 79 development corridors across Africa, synthesizing data from multiple sources covering 184 projects on railways, wet and dry ports, pipelines, airports, techno-cities, and industrial parks. The georeferenced interlinked tabular and spatial database includes 22 attributes. We expect this database will improve coordination, efficiency, monitoring, oversight, strategic planning, transparency, and risk assessments, among other uses for investment banks, governments, impact assessment practitioners, communities, conservationists, economists, and regional economic bodies.

The First Extraordinary Session to fast-track the Operationalisation of the African Medicines Agency (AMA) (AU)

The Conference of the States Parties (CoSP) to the African Medicines Agency (AMA) Treaty, held its first Extraordinary Session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 3 to 4 November 2022. The meeting deliberated and decided on the next steps in the operationalisation phase of the AMA, following the pronouncement of the Agency’s headquarters host country in the Republic of Rwanda by the 41st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council.

In her remarks during the official opening of the session, H.E. Amb. Minata Samate Cessouma, Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development reaffirmed that the Commission remains resolute in its commitment to providing all the necessary support to the States Parties to the AMA Treaty towards the operationalisation of the AMA at its earliest opportunity. “The impact of falsified, counterfeit and sub-standard products on the morbidity and mortality of the African population is concerning. However, the Commission remains optimistic that this menace will soon be a thing of the past with the impressive progress made in operationalising the AMA,” noted the Commissioner.

Africa’s Dwindling Trade Relations with Brazil Expected to Recover Under Lula (Tekedia)

The Brazilian general election which held on October 2, 2022 declared Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as winner with 50.90% of the total votes against his major contender and incumbent president, Jair Bolsonaro who came closely behind at 49.10% of the total votes cast. The Brazilian left-wing politician and 35th president will again be sworn in as the 39th president of the Democratic Republic of Brazil

We’ll operate open door policy - Trade ministry assures investors (Graphic Online)

A deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Michael Okyere Baafi, has urged members of the India Africa Trade Council (IATC) to support the government’s flagship industrialisation programme, the one-district, one-factory (1D1F). He said the government would always open its doors to investors who sought to set up factories under the 1D1F initiative stressing that “we are willing to give the necessary support to all investors. Mr Baafi was speaking at the maiden IATC Trade summit held in Accra, which was attended by the Global President of the IATC, Dr Asif Igbal.

In his address at the summit, Dr Iqbal admonished businessmen and women to take advantage of international trade liberalisation policies to ensure effective growth of the business communities.

Global economy

WTO Fisheries Funding Mechanism now operational to assist developing countries and LDCs (WTO)

As part of the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies adopted at the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference last June, members endorsed the establishment of a new funding mechanism, in cooperation with relevant international organizations, to accept voluntary contributions to provide developing and least developed country (LDC) members with targeted technical assistance and capacity building for the purpose of implementing the disciplines under the Agreement. With the Fund now operational, donors can begin making their contributions to the Fund.

Asia’s appetite for African crude slows as Ukraine conflict redraws trade flows (Accelerating Progress)

Asia may end the year 2022 with a sharp drop in crude inflows from Africa as relatively higher freight rates, a wider Brent-Dubai spread and increased competition from European refiners looking for alternatives to Russian supplies created hurdles, a trend that is unlikely to change anytime soon, analysts told S&P Global Commodity Insights.

In addition, the plentiful availability of Russian crude at discounted prices -- shunned by many western countries -- prompted refiners in leading consumers in Asia, such as India and China, to snap up as many cargoes as possible, displacing multiple grades of African crudes.

With plentiful options to buy at attractive prices, China, Asia’s biggest oil consumer, aggressively picked up cargoes from diversified suppliers to take advantage of the widespread price volatility. Its crude imports from Africa fell by a sharp 22.6% year on year to 1.06 million b/d in the January-September period, data from China’s General Administration of Customs showed. As a result, the region’s market share fell to 10.7% in the nine-month period, from 13.2% a year earlier.

Russia’s Trade With Europe Is Drying Up, Shifting to China (Bloomberg)

Freight volumes through some of Russia’s largest ports have cratered as a result of the European Union’s economic sanctions against Moscow. This year, the port of St. Petersburg — Russia’s primary gateway for trade with Europe — experienced an 85% drop in container throughput versus the previous year, according to Vincent Stamer, a researcher at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

“There are barely any containers arriving at Russia’s formerly busiest port,” Stamer said in an interview. “That’s because St. Petersburg is so exposed to European trade.”

China decides to grant zero-tariff treatment to 10 LDCs (Global Times)

China will grant zero-tariff treatment to 98 percent of taxable items originating in 10 least-developed countries (LDC), according to a statement released by the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council on Wednesday. Experts said the move will raise China’s imports from LDCs, especially those in Africa, and promote economic and trade cooperation. Effective on December 1, China will waive all tariffs on 98 percent of the related imports from Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, the Kingdom of Lesotho, Malawi, Sao Tome and Principe, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The policy will cover 8,786 items, including agricultural products such as olive oil, cocoa powder and nuts, as well as various chemicals and product materials.

The policy is conducive to opening up with a win-win approach, building an open economy in the world, and helping LDCs to accelerate their economic development, the statement said.

The New Candidate Countries For BRICS Expansion (Silk Road Briefing)

If accepted, the new proposed BRICS members would create an entity with a GDP 30% larger than the United States, over 50% of the global population and in control of 60% of global gas reserves.

The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov has stated that ‘over a dozen’ countries have formally applied to join the BRICS grouping following the groups decision to allow new members earlier this year. The BRICS currently includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

It is not a free trade bloc, but members do coordinate on trade matters and have established a policy bank, the New Development Bank, (NDB) to coordinate infrastructure loans.

Concerning a BRICS expansion, Lavrov stated that Algeria, Argentina, and Iran had all applied, while it is already known that Saudi Arabia, Türkiye, Egypt and Afghanistan are interested, along with Indonesia, which is expected to make a formal application to join at the upcoming G20 summit in Bali.


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