Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

COP27 updates

COP27 draft leaves out pledge to phase down all fossil fuels (Engineering News)

Countries negotiating at the climate summit in Egypt are on track to reject calls for phasing down the use of all fossil fuels, snuffing efforts by India and key developed nations to target oil and gas as well as coal in an overarching deal at COP27.

The Egyptian presidency published the first draft of its so-called “cover decision” and largely kept last year’s pledge made at Glasgow to “accelerate measures towards the phase down of unabated coal power” and phase out fossil fuel subsidies. It also stuck with a commitment to keep global warming to 1.5 ºC. It highlighted that countries are currently falling well short on meeting the climate finance needs of developing countries.

Adapting to a Changing Climate: How Trade and Trade Policy Can Make a Difference (Trade for Development News)

The climate community is now in its second week of talks in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for the UN climate talks, looking to marshal higher ambition towards tackling climate change and the factors that drive it, while encouraging greater efforts and finance towards helping countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and reduce their vulnerability. This is a conversation that cannot stay just within the boundaries of the climate community: it can, and should, bring in actors from other policy fields, including from trade.

Traditionally, the trade policy community’s focus when developing responses to the climate crisis has been on climate mitigation. This usually means looking at how trade policy measures, from unilateral approaches to trade agreements, can help in curbing greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging a move to more sustainable production processes and methods. Liberalizing trade in environmental goods and services, putting in place border carbon adjustment mechanisms to address the risk of climate leakage, and tackling fossil fuel subsidies are all topics that recur in these policy debates and where extensive work has taken place over decades.

While these are crucial conversations, there is much more that trade policy can and should do. Trade can also help governments adapt to the climate change impacts that they are already facing, while building their resilience and preparing for those impacts still to come.

Germany commits €40 million to African Development Bank Group’s Climate Action Window initiative for fragile African states (AfDB)

Germany has committed €40 million to the African Development Bank Group’s Climate Action Window, German State Secretary for Economic Cooperation and Development Jochen Flasbarth has announced. Flasbarth commended the African Development Bank Group for what he said was its relentless commitment to help Africa mitigate and adapt to climate change.

SEATINI makes recommendations on transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy (Independent)

Africa needs to find its own solutions to find a win in transiting from the use of fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. This is the summary of the paper titled; “Understanding of the energy transition from an Afrocentric perspective,” written by Brendah Akankunda, Jane Nalunga and Judith Muvara, from Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI Uganda).

Climate activists continue to discourage the use of fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and oil, arguing that they are a danger to the environment. They encourage the use of renewable energy that is; hydropower, solar and wind which are environmentally friendly.

“Many private energy investors are not interested in investing within the rural areas owing to questions about the rate of return on investment. Without state intervention, such areas may never access electricity despite Africa’s promising potential for the exploitation of a wide range of renewable energy resources for energy production and the provision of energy services,” the paper adds.

COP27 Africa Day - Climate Actions and Africa’s Responses for a Just and Sustainable Transition (AU)

“Implementation of Climate Actions and Africa’s Responses for a Just and Sustainable Transition” was the theme for the Africa Day held on the margins of the ongoing Twenty-Seventh Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

In his remarks, during the high level segment of Africa Day held on 8 November 2022, H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission highlighted climate justice as a key pillar for the success of climate negotiation and frameworks such as the Great Green Wall Initiative; the AU Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan 2022-2032; the Green Recovery Action Plan in shaping the Common African Position.

The African Development Bank President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina highlighted the importance of adapting to climate change to unlock agriculture potential. In this regard he highlighted that the AfDB was scaling-up adaption finance, providing farmers with climate-resilient technologies and providing support to the youth to adapt to climate change.

In his statement, Mr. Antonio Pedro, Acting Executive Secretary for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa called upon all relevant stakeholders to increase green finance flows to Africa by supporting already established green finance facilities by increasing the capital available to regional development banks

Africa’s dash for gas sparks debate at climate summit in Egypt (BBC News)

On Gender Day African Development Bank rallies global support for women to build climate resilience (AfDB)

Former Irish president Mary Robinson headlined a panel discussion to mark ‘Gender Day’ at the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt. She called for a bespoke climate fund to support grassroots women to tackle climate change and build resilience. The African Development Bank organized the session held during COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh under the theme, Gender Sensitive and climate just finance mechanisms. The panelists said facilities tailored to supporting women, who are helping to build climate resilience, must be visible, simple, and easily accessible.

“There is a problem about the visibility, transparency and accountability, and although there is some money floating around, we don’t have a properly dedicated climate fund or a permanent climate fund to support women entrepreneurs in combating climate change,” Robinson said.

Protecting biodiversity is protecting the Paris Agreement (UN News)

The UN Environment Programme ( UNEP ) explains that the loss of biodiversity is already significantly affecting regional and global changes in climate. Four of the key architects of the Paris Agreement, including former UN climate change chief Christiana Figueres, have officially asked world leaders to deliver an ‘ambitious and transformative’ global biodiversity agreement in the upcoming COP15 on biodiversity.

How climate-induced disasters are creating a new dynamic of migration (Down to Earth Magazine)

Which weather characteristics affect agricultural and food trade the most? (Science Daily)

Climate-hit nations have little time to fix food supply, UN says (Engineering News)

Vulnerable countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America have less than a decade to install early-warning systems and diversify the crops they grow before the growing “loss and damage” from climate change outstrips their financial ability to tackle it, a United Nations food agency official said. While “the solutions are all out there,” which also include climate-smart agriculture and information technology to connect with people at risk, governments need to enable an environment where these can “go to scale” and be accessible, especially to the most vulnerable, said Gernot Laganda, director of climate and disaster risk reduction with the World Food Programme.

Local news

Improving Productivity in South African Companies Aids in Decent Employment and Economic Growth (the dtic)

The Work Place Challenge (WPC) Programme makes a direct contribution to the achievement of decent employment through inclusive economic growth. This is according to the Director of Skills for the Economy at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), Ms Shanaaz Ebrahim. She was speaking during the Mpumalanga leg of the milestone workshops for the programme. Ebrahim said the 24-year-old programme has grown to support more than 1 300 enterprises from a mere 46 on inception and has managed to sustain over 50 000 jobs through various interventions.

“It is important for the country to intensify all efforts at dealing with unemployment especially among young people in the country,” she said. She added that government’s Reimagined Industrial Development and Economic Recovery Plan was one of the critical strategies in place to deal with some of the country’s persisting problems of poverty, lack of skills and unemployment.

President Ramaphosa holds bilateral meetings at G20 summit (SAnews)

President Cyril Ramaphosa has concluded his participation in the G20 Leaders’ Summit held in Bali, Indonesia, this week. He was accompanied by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, and Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana

The summit brought together 20 of the world’s leading economies to discuss challenges currently plaguing the world.

According to the Presidency, President Ramaphosa held bilateral discussions with several countries on the sidelines of the summit. “On Tuesday…President Ramaphosa held a bilateral meeting with the President of the Peoples Republic of China, His Excellency President Xi Jinping, where the two leaders affirmed the special strategic relationship between the two countries. The nations committed to grow the blossoming relationship with increased Chinese investment in infrastructure and bilateral trade,” the Presidency said in a statement.

The two presidents also discussed issues of climate change, the BRICS group of countries and support for the African Union to become a permanent member of the G20.

On Thursday, President Ramaphosa and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Mark Rutte, met for a bilateral meeting. President Ramaphosa also met with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong where the deepening of trade relations between the two countries was discussed.

Kenya to lose Sh20 billion in horticulture earnings on biting drought (Business Daily)

Kenya is projected to lose at least Sh20 billion in horticulture earnings this year on the back of drought, lower production and the post-harvest losses brought about by poor handling. Head of Horticulture Directorate Benjamin Tito said the earnings this year would drop to Sh130 billion compared to last year when Kenya recorded an impressive Sh150 billion. The earnings will also be weighed down by the interception of Kenya’s produce due to pesticides exceeding the required limits.

“This year we could be having a shortfall of Sh20 billion in earnings as a result of a number of factors, which include drought,” said Mr Tito. This comes even as Kenya loses an estimated 40 percent of the produce to post-harvest losses, according to the European Union (EU) chief technical officer for Market Access Upgrade Programme (Markup) Stefano Sedola.

“We want Kenya to export more and one of the things that we are doing is to address the issues of interception on Kenyan produce, which we are doing through the Markup programme.

Poor policies discrepancies setback to rail evolution – FG (Daily Sun)

The Federal Government of Nigeria has said that the evolution of rail transport in the country has suffered setbacks owing to irregular policies and discrepancies from the previous administration.

Before the inception of the present Administration, the full implementation of the railway vision plan has always suffered setbacks due to discrepancies in Government policies, inadequate funding of the rail sector, absence of adequate, capable and experienced Private Investors amongst others,

The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, further said that it is only President Mohammadu Buhari’s Administration that has taken railway development as one of its cardinal projects to ensure that it actualises its Infrastructure Development Master Plan.

Construction completed on Nigeria’s $1.5 billion Lekki Deep Sea Port (CNN)

Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial center, has a storage problem. At the West African trade hub’s shipping terminals, projected demand for container space far outstrips capacity. To narrow the gap, the state has embarked on one of the region’s most ambitious infrastructure projects, Lekki Deep Sea Port. Construction of the $1.5 billion port, located east of Lagos city, was recently completed, designed to handle the equivalent of 2.7 million 20-foot-long container units a year.

The port arrives at an important time for Nigeria’s economic outlook. According to the African Development Bank Group, the country’s economy is projected to grow at a decelerated rate of 3.2% in 2022-2024, while the oil sector has contracted amid low production and inflation is close to 17%.

Ondo Port will play vital role in country’s economy – Oyebanji (WITHIN NIGERIA)

Gov. Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti, says the Ondo Sea Port is expected to play a role in contributing significantly to developing the state’s economy and its neighbouring states. Oyebanji who was represented by the Special Assistant (SA) to the governor on Budget and Planning, Mr Oyeniyi Adebayo, said this at the ongoing Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit (NDIS). The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event is organised by the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commision (NiDCOM) in partnership with Nigerian Diaspora Summit Initiative (NDSI).

The fifth edition of the NDIS holding at the Conference Center, Presidential Villa Abuja has as its theme: “Optimising Investment Opportunities for National Development”.

African trade and integration 

AfCFTA – The environmental case for continental Africa free trade area (Sierra Leone Telegraph)

The climate talks (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt this November come at a time when momentum on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is picking up with the recent launch of the guided trade initiative – an initial pilot of eight African countries trading under the treaty’s preferential terms. The AfCFTA seeks to create a single market of 1.3 billion people, with an estimated GDP of $2.6 trillion. According to the World Bank, it could lift 30 million people from extreme poverty. At the same time, in a recent interview with Africa Renewal, Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank, maintains that since COP27 is Africa’s COP, it must address Africa’s climate challenges. From an AfCFTA perspective, what might an African-led response to climate change look like?

To achieve sustainable development, Africa needs to quicken the pace of industrialisation and reduce its reliance on manufactured imports. Studies repeatedly show that the manufacturing sector will be the main beneficiary of the AfCFTA.

Africa accounts for only a tiny share of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions – at below 4% – yet, as acknowledged by the 2022 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, the African continental will be most negatively affected by climate change.

With the dramatic growth of global trade since the 1950s, demand across the world for increased choice and variety of goods and services knows few limits. For instance, air transport for low-value perishable goods has become economically viable.

ECA calls for modernization of the production and use of agricultural statistics to improve food security (UNECA)

The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) hosts a celebration for Africa Statistics Day 2022 on the theme “Strengthening data system by modernizing the production and use of agricultural statistics with a view of informing policies to improve resilience in agriculture, nutrition, and food security on the African Continent.” The event is organized in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Union Commission (AUC), and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN (FAO).

Africa-China Alliance for Poverty Alleviation established to promote China-Africa cooperation on development in the new era (Global Times)

The Africa-China Alliance for Poverty Alleviation was established on November 10, 2022. It is an important platform to promote China-Africa cooperation on poverty reduction and development in the new era as well as share China’s experience in poverty reduction for African countries, which will inject new impetus to promote the building of the China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era. During the inaugural ceremony of the Alliance held in Beijing, the participants discussed topics such as food security, employment and green development under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The delegates unanimously said that eliminating poverty and achieving sustainable development is the common wish of Chinese and African people, and is an important area in the practical China-Africa cooperation.

With the help of e-commerce and other forms of digital information cooperation, China will promote the export of African agricultural products to China, and continue to expand the visibility and reputation of African products through shopping activities, Liu noted.

Global economy 

France insists African Union should have a seat at the G20 table (RFI)

The French president also announced he will hold an international conference in June on a new financial pact with the South, insisting that “we must not ask these countries to support multilateralism if it is not able to respond to their vital emergencies”. This will include taking stock of the reallocation of International Monetary Fund ( IMF ) special drawing rights (SDR) from rich countries to poorer countries.

India pledges ‘inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented’ G20 as it assumes presidency (Arab News)

‘Bridges across digital divides’ needed to boost development, Guterres tells G20 (UN News)

“This calls for more connectivity; and less digital fragmentation. More bridges across digital divides; and fewer barriers. Greater autonomy for ordinary people; less abuse and disinformation”, Secretary-General António Guterres underscored during a session devoted to the theme of Digital Transformation.

From the suppression of free speech to malicious interference across borders, and the online targeting of women, he spelled out that “without guidance and guardrails”, digital technology has “a huge potential for harm”. To counter this, he proposed that during the UN Summit of the Future, in September 2024, governments should endorse a Global Digital Compact for an “open, free, inclusive and secure digital future for all” – with input from technology companies, civil society, academia and others.

G20: Prioritise universal connectivity for all businesses (WEF)

Global flows: The ties that bind in an interconnected world (McKinsey & Company)

Asia–Pacific, including China, is the leading global manufacturing exporter overall and the largest supplier of electronics, but it imports more than 25 percent of its energy resource needs as well as critical intermediate goods. The research is based on a comprehensive assessment of trade (30 global value chains spanning resources, manufactured goods, and services), capital, people, and intangibles flows as well as an analysis of about 6,000 globally traded products.

Ground-breaking report draws first overall picture of global wildlife trade (CITES)

The CITES Secretariat has published the first-ever World Wildlife Trade Report, that gives insights and analysis into the global trade in animals and plants that are regulated under this international treaty. CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and it regulates trade in nearly 40,000 species, worldwide. 183 of the world’s governments (and also the European Union) have agreed to be bound by its terms, that aim to stop international trade becoming a threat to the viability of any species it lists.

The report draws on millions of records, with more than 1.2 million CITES trade permits issued every year. Over 80 pages, it looks into a wide range of trade topics. It is the first report of its kind that is designed to help inform conservation policies and practices for governments, organisations, businesses and trade bodies as well as the media and general public. It will also contribute to CITES’ global vision, which is that by 2030, all trade in listed species should be legal, traceable and sustainable. The report is having its official launch as part of the World Wildlife Conference or CITES CoP19, which is on this month, in Panama, from November 14 to 25.

While commercial international trade in roughly 3% of all species protected by the treaty, namely those included in Appendix I and considered endangered, is generally prohibited, commercial international trade in the rest of the 97% of the species is allowed, provided that all relevant rules are respected. These species, regulated by CITES, include, among others, high value marine fish and timber species. The majority of the nearly 40,000 under its trade control regime is plants.

The report also reveals that positive impacts of well-managed trade in CITES-listed species on traded species include population increase, population stabilization, population maintenance and reduced pressure on wild population. The study also identified a wide variety of socio-economic impacts, ranging from macro-economic impacts such as contributions to GDP, to local level impacts such as Income generation, improved nutrition or strengthened rights. The conservation impacts are deeply intertwined with the socioeconomic benefits that are generated – the latter often providing the incentive for the former.

Why more countries should adopt digitalization to curb illicit trade in endangered species (UNCTAD)

Earlier this year, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on world leaders to end the “senseless and suicidal war against nature”. Technological advancements have now created solutions to help stop this war and improve humanity’s relationship with the natural world. Digital technology exists to help us to know what is happening in the world and making better informed decisions about how-to live-in harmony with our rich but fragile ecosystems.

Take wildlife trade for example. Much has changed since the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) came into force in the early 1970s to prevent the world’s commercially traded wildlife species from becoming extinct. Back then, many people were unaware of many of the species in faraway places, or how their purchasing decisions may have reverberating effects on them.

CITES regulates and controls trade in various species of animals and plants, according to their status in the wild, with strict restrictions against commercial trade in endangered species while allowing a controlled and monitored approach for others. The process to regulate the export or import requires both transparency and rigour at the borders to allow legal trade to proceed while preventing illicit wildlife trade. However, for many countries – exporters and importers alike – border control may still be a human-intensive process and the paperwork to process the transfer of species from one territory to another is done by hand.

As countries implement the national single window approach for trade controls in general, some countries are digitalizing this process. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has also posed challenges for in-person trade processes, which also accelerated countries looking into the automation of trade permitting.


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