tralac Daily News
The South African Poultry Association (Sapa) will have to continue to “take one for the team”, at least for the next 18 months, as the International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) conducts a sunset review of US anti-dumping tariffs, which expire tomorrow
Earlier this month, Itac began a sunset review of the US’s tariffs on concerns by Sapa and poultry producers in the SA Customs Union (Sacu) area.
Itac decided the application had “sufficient evidence and a prima facie case” to justify an investigation on concerns that the expiry of the tariff period without a new one in place could lead to percentage-based, or ad valorem anti-dumping duties such as those applied to other countries.
“This was a last-minute condition imposed by the US for its agreement to an extension of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) trade agreement, which gave many South African industries duty-free access to the US market. For the benefit of these industries and the national economy, the poultry industry agreed to ‘take one for the team’,” Sapa-linked Fairplay said.
South Africa will receive further technical assistance from the UK, to advance the former’s hydrogen economy ambitions, the South African Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology announced on Tuesday. Separately, the UK Government confirmed the provision of this assistance, and that it would be funded by grants. The assistance would be provided through the UK Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transitions (UK PACT) initiative. The expanding hydrogen economy provided growing commercial opportunities, including for UK companies in South Africa. For example, UK company Hive Energy had a £5-billion project to build a solar- and wind-powered green ammonia plant in South Africa.
The Namibian Government in collaboration with the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the United Nations System in Namibia officially launched Namibia’s National Strategy and Implementation Plan for the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) for the period 2022-2027. The Agreement provides an opportunity for Namibia to increase its intra-African exports and enhance the country’s export-led manufacturing and services capabilities.
The Director for Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa (ECA SRO-SA) Ms. Eunice G. Kamwendo gave a regional perspective of ECA support to Namibia in a statement delivered on her behalf by Ms. Olayinka Bandele, Chief, Inclusive Industrialization who also recognised the key role of MSMEs, including women and youth-owned businesses in anchoring export development and growth in Namibia.. She noted that, “by signing the AfCFTA Agreement, Namibia has unlocked access to a market of 1.3 billion people, providing opportunities for local entrepreneurs and to optimize these benefits there is need for the country to address issues pertaining to the removal of tariffs and non-tariff barriers”.
Chief Executive Officer for the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ms. Charity Mwiya added that the Private Sector’s concern is the capacity to compete in continental markets. Women find it challenging to compete in in formal markets. AfCFTA offers hope in building back together, this is a key instrument for building back together, to ensure resilience and drive growth.
The Business community stands to benefit from the launch of the national strategy which is a product of extensive consultations with stakeholders, she added, noting that the effective implementation of the strategy will require all partners and the private sector to pool resources together and critically analyse how women, youth, and grassroots organisations can be in the forefront. Mwiya commended the MIT for taking the sensitization campaigns to the grass roots. She called on the private sector to participate fully and embrace the initiative and “play to win”.
The Bulawayo Leather Cluster in Zimbabwe expects to realise more business value from embracing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) following a capacity building training by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) regional programme on Support to Industrialisation and the Productive Sectors (SIPS). The intervention by SIPS to train small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the leather sector from across the SADC Region sought to equip the SMEs with knowledge to harness the full value of Intellectual Property Rights including trademarks and patents, among others, arising from their innovations.
Bulawayo Leather Cluster secretary-general, Mr Fungai Zvinondiramba, said that while the SMEs have many innovations their IPRs have not been registered and are therefore not fully benefiting from their products. He said the interventions by the SIPS programme will help to strengthen the value chains in the leather sector across the region. Most innovations in various sectors, including the leather industry, are not being protected through applicable intellectual property rights hence full benefits are not being realized.
Ship with 10,000 tonnes of maize imports docks in Mombasa today (Business Daily)
A ship carrying 10,000 tonnes of imported maize will be docking at the port of Mombasa today, coming just days after the State said it will open the duty-free window for the produce. The consignment is getting to the country even before an official gazette notice is released to legally allow imports. Manifest from the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) shows the consignment is onboard an African Merlin vessel. Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria who made the announcement last week, yesterday said the gazette notice will be out this week. Mr Kuria said traders will be allowed to import genetically modified maize and conventional grain.
Zanzibar to pay Thai company $69m for rice bought in 1988 (The East African)
A court has ordered the government of Zanzibar to pay a Thai company $69 million (about TSh159 billion) for rice bought in 1988. If Zanzibar had settled the payment in time, it would have paid $12.9 million (about TSh30 billion) 37 years ago. The Court of Appeal recently quashed a highly questionable ruling of the Registrar of the High Court of Zanzibar who had reduced the bill in 2017 to $5.7 million (about TSh13.1 billion).
Non-oil export sector has performed beyond expectations – NEPC CEO (InfoGuide Nigeria)
Amid efforts by the Federal Government to boost agricultural produce, the country still spends a lot on importation of agricultural products. How can we reduce agric imports, particularly the food element?
It is a fact that the import bill on food and agric products is still high but in recent times we have witnessed a gradual reduction in import and increased local production in produce that consumes high forex for import like rice. Produce like sesame, ginger, hibiscus, have witnessed increased production locally and have driven up our export volume.
We can reduce our import bill on agric produce by adopting a whole new approach in the agricultural sector. We have to introduce deliberate targeted policies geared at increasing our food production. These policies should provide support such as inputs (improved seedlings for increased yield per hectare, approved pesticides/insecticides, etc.), training on adherence to best practices, mechanisation, long-term funding, incentives among others to the farmers and other value chain actors. We have to make agric attractive to the youths by introducing technology, provide infrastructures such as silos, cold storage facilities, guarantee pricing, to ensure that increased production are secured and adequately stored. All these actions will drastically reduce our food import bill.
South Sudan readies for $112.7m IMF emergency funding (The East African)
The South Sudanese government will be receiving $112.7 million in emergency funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help address food insecurity, support social spending and boost its diminishing foreign reserves. This comes after the country’s authorities and the IMF staff reached a staff-level agreement for an emergency financing through the fund’s new Food Shock Window of the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) combined with a programme monitoring with board involvement (PMB).
The team held discussions with the authorities on an existing staff-monitored programme (SMP) and on the authorities’ request for access to emergency financing through the new Food Shock Window to address urgent balance of payments needs.
No country or region in the world has achieved prosperity and a decent socio-economic life for its citizens without the development of a robust industrial sector. Over the years, African leaders have restated their determination to seize emerging opportunities to foster industrial development as an effective, socially responsible and sustainable means towards economic transformation.
Many African countries have over the years experienced an unprecedented growth rate, partly linked to a “commodity-boom” and partly due to sound economic governance. Nevertheless, there has been a subdued industrial supply response to several years of macroeconomic stability. This is ascribed largely to a number of supply-side constraints: the lack of the required industrial capacities and capabilities, inadequate entrepreneurship and institutional support, energy and infrastructure bottlenecks and demand constraints due to the low purchasing power of the vast majority of the population and a low aggregate demand from the public sector.
The African Union is keen to accelerate industrialization. Here is a highlight of some of the areas of discussions at the upcoming Summit on industrialization and economic diversification in Niamey, Niger from the 20th to 25th November 2022.
SHOWCASING strides in Africa’s industrialisation must be at the core of the continent’s efforts to address key structural economic and development transformation gaps. Existing fragilities are already being magnified by value chain disruptions occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic and the prevailing geo-political complications. As part of building the regional transformation momentum, a high-level Africa Union (AU) Summit on Industrialisation and Economic Diversification is being convened this week in Niamey, Niger under the theme: “Industrialising Africa; Renewed commitment towards an Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialisation and Economic Diversification”.
The summit is part of the Africa Industrialisation Week (AIW — 20-25 November 2022), annual commemorative activities. It seeks to highlight Africa’s renewed determination and commitment to industrialisation as one of the central pillars in attaining the continent’s economic growth and development goals as articulated in Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030.
In light of the key and strategic interdependences between industrialisation and the AfCFTA, this week’s summit aims to rally desired political momentum, resources, partnerships and alliances towards an Africa industrialisation drive. “This is along the continent’s resolve to drive structural transformation, built around leveraging Africa’s rich and diverse natural resources while at the same time embracing current advances in technologies, continental and global geo socio-political trends and emergence of tradeable services,” said the AU in a pre-summit brief.
To advance inclusive, resilient, and sustainable industrial development in Africa, he explained that multilateral cooperation is needed – along with bolstered public-private partnerships. “A new financial architecture with greater access to finance and lower cost of capital is key unlocking investments at scale”, flagged the Secretary-General. He underscored the need to “work collectively” to boost entrepreneurship, harness the potential of new technologies, expand opportunities for youth, women and girls, build climate resilience, and foster competitiveness and trade.
Industrial development is critical for sustained and inclusive economic growth in African countries, underscored the UN. By introducing new equipment and new techniques, industry can enhance productivity, increase the capabilities of the workforce, and generate employment. And with strong linkages to domestic economies, industrialization will propel African countries to achieve high growth rates, diversify their economies and reduce their exposure to external shocks – substantially contributing to poverty eradication through employment and wealth creation.
The African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation Support Project, a joint project established and funded by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and the Trade Development Fund (TDFD), today announced a number of project milestone developments and the execution of key activities to support the operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.
In January and February, 2022 consultations were held between ECA, EIF, ITFC, TDFD, and the beneficiary countries to prepare the Joint Project’s Terms of Reference and the implementation schedule of key activities. In the first phase of the project, which runs until June 2023, the approved activities call for the implementation of thirty in-country workshops and the development of insights studies, which are organized into three major categories to support the operationalization of the AfCFTA: Capacity building and sensitization on the AfCFTA Development of information tools on the AfCFTA Development of policy instruments to support AfCFTA implementation
For the people of Africa, it is important to achieve the AfCFTA’s promise of greater and deeper economic integration to attract investment, expand trade, generate better jobs, eliminate poverty, and increase shared prosperity. The successful implementation of the free trade agreement is essential for the fulfilment of this commitment and the Joint Project beneficiary countries of Burkina Faso, Guinea, Niger, Senegal, and Togo must have the capacity, information tools, and policy instruments to effectively implement the AfCFTA.
The Acting Chief Economist at the African Development Bank (AfDB), Professor Kevin Chika Urama, has called on African countries to establish policies that will aid the development of the continent’s minerals.
He noted that Africa has 90% of green minerals that are important for the global energy transition, and 60% of solar radiation potential. Developing these potentials could help the continent to become a relevant player in the global energy transition era. According to him, if African policymakers can establish simple policies such as franchising, it could enable African countries to scale the development of their resources. And this will greatly benefit the continent.
In its 2022 African Economic Outlook, the AfDB pointed out that African countries have strategic presences in critical rare earth minerals used in battery manufacture that are in high global demand.
The Outlook also noted that with adequate policy and financial support, Africa could establish a large, lead-acid, and lithium-ion battery recycling and repurposing value chain. This can happen by organizing and formalizing existing informal capacities, linking regional battery sourcing, and standardizing battery value chains.
Invest in pharmaceuticals, baby food, cotton clothing and automotives, in line with African goals to improve food security, health and tech skills, to kickstart trading under the €2.5 trillion market of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). That’s the key message of a new report, Made by Africa: Creating Value through Integration, released today during the African Union Summit on Industrialization and Economic Diversification in Niamey, Niger. The International Trade Centre (ITC) produced the report, in close collaboration with the African Union Commission and the European Commission.
The report identifies 94 value chains with high potential for sustainable development, with each value chain linking to at least five African countries from different regions. These four sectors emerge as especially promising, including for small businesses, which make up 90% of companies and more than half of jobs worldwide: pharmaceuticals, baby food, cotton clothing and automotives.
ITC data show current intra-African export growth potential to be US$22 billion.
China on course for Africa trade boost, as duty-free access list grows (South China Morning Post)
Nearly a year ago, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda requested that the East African country be allowed to export more products tariff-free to the lucrative Chinese market. China’s trade restrictions made it impossible to export some items, he explained.
“The only new thing now I should insist on is the issue of market access,” he said, urging China to “allow our products to enter their market, quota-free, tax-free... We would like … a broader spectrum of access to the market, without tax and without quantitative limit.”
Last week, that request was granted. From December 1, China will waive tariffs on 98 per cent of taxable items originating in 10 least-developed countries (LDCs), including Uganda and eight other African nations.
The share of Africa’s population connected to digital technologies is growing rapidly. In 2020, almost half a billion Africans—76 percent of the continent’s adult population—had access to mobile phones. A growing share of the continent is also connected to the internet, although often through mobile data networks that have limited bandwidth. Expanding access to digital technologies is opening up vast business opportunities in a continent otherwise characterized by bureaucracy, corruption and state failure. Digital technologies circumvent the institutional failures that have long suffocated business growth and dynamism. Digital platforms that connect service providers with Africa’s consumers are particularly flourishing in sectors as diverse as banking, agriculture, transportation and other services.
These benefits of digital platforms, however, come with a number of challenges that introduce policy dilemmas. One of the challenges is that digital platforms tend to end up with one dominant player, due to the network advantages from joining the largest platform. Like many other businesses with monopoly power, dominant platforms could be tempted to use bare-knuckle approaches to entrench themselves.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to dominate headlines throughout 2022
Discussing the risks posed by the pandemic, as well as the areas of opportunity in the region, Phillip Krueger, RSM South Africa, commented, “In South Africa, the middle market has certainly been significantly impacted by the pandemic. In general, the economy contracted over the last couple of years as a result of consumer fears, as well as lockdown restrictions. This had quite a severe impact on middle market businesses who typically would hold less reserves than larger organisations. With a decline in sales activity or operations halting completely in some cases, many businesses saw their bottom-line figures significantly impacted.
“However, middle market businesses have proven to be resilient, particularly when adjustments to operational activities can be implemented with more agility than larger organisations. So yes, middle market business in South Africa certainly have not been left untouched by the commercial stresses brought by the pandemic, but we have also noticed a far greater rate of recovery in the middle market segment.
Mphile Manana, RSM Eswatini, added, “The COVID-9 pandemic forced governments to impose strict lockdown regulations in Eswatini, which restricted the movement of people and in turn disrupted supply chains. Those businesses which had in-house value chains were not as affected compared to those who relied on an external supply. “In African countries, some businesses, especially retailers that had not already moved to an e-commerce offering, were greatly affected by the lockdown restrictions due to limited movement of consumers. This is in stark contrast to businesses in digitally advanced African countries where online shopping became an alternative for consumers, and their sales increased as a result.
Odirile Setlhoka, RSM Botswana, shares: “As the pandemic evolves, we are experiencing an increased focus on what the world will be like once we come out the other side. Many companies and individuals are eyeing the opportunity for pressing the reset button and achieving something better. “But there are still a lot of uncertainties about how the future will look. There is a risk of recession and deglobalisation which will perpetuate the effects of the pandemic in business and governments. The decisions we make now will therefore shape our future.
Over the last few years, populism, deglobalisation and protectionism has been on the rise. The US and China continuously vie for economic supremacy, both imposing restrictive import and export measures in a shift which is eroding global free trade. Further evidence lies in Britain’s exit from the European Union, causing uncertainty and heightening concerns on insecurity in European policy.
By definition, protectionism is the act of protecting domestic industries’ competitive advantage against the threat of foreign competition. This can be executed through a number of vehicles, such as import quotas, tariffs or by placing other restrictions. While inherently using protectionism to ‘protect’ a country’s industry, there may be some unwanted long-term consequences such as less competitive marketplaces and economic isolation.
Mphile Manana, RSM Eswatini says, “In other countries in Africa, there are laws that state that for a company to invest in their country, the indigenous company should hold at least a 51% shareholding. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which came into effect in January 2022 is aimed at building a single and integrated market on the African Continent. “Full implementation of the AfCFTA would help African countries increase their resilience in the face of future economic shocks and help usher in the kind of reforms necessary to enhance long term growth. The AfCFTA aims to eliminate tariffs on 90% of goods produced on the continent.
“However African markets still need to address the Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) such as import restrictions and quotas that make trade difficult and costly. However, the removal of NTBs is likely to take time as it will require a lot of political will. Some governments may be reluctant to fully support the
Enhancing regional power trade in the horn of Africa (ESI Africa)
Regional power trade in Djibouti, Eritrea and Ethiopia through the Desert to Power Initiative was the topic of discussion at the Africa Energy Market Place.
The African Development Bank Group’s sixth edition of the Africa Energy Market Place (AEMP), focused on Djibouti, Eritrea and Ethiopia under the theme: Delivering Desert to Power in the Horn of Africa – Enhancing Regional Power Trade. AfDB Vice President Dr Kevin Kariuki encouraged participants to leverage the opportunities presented by the AEMP. “The AEMP platform devises a collaborative mechanism and concerted approach to monitoring and implementation of the Country Priority Plans beyond the AEMP event to achieve the desired objectives,” explained Kariuki.
Dr Daniel Schroth, AfDB Director for Renewable Energy, presented the Desert to Power Initiative (and the Bank’s ongoing initiatives in the Horn of Africa countries): “Desert to Power’s robust value proposition for the Horn of Africa countries includes mobilising concessional resources at scale, availing project preparation support and facilitating match-making opportunities with the private sector seizing the energy potential of the three countries present,” Schroth explained.
Wale Shonibare, AfDB Director for energy financial solutions, policy and regulation reminded participants that “the ultimate goal of the AEMP and its policy dialogue with governments is to not only develop implementable actions with the respective countries but to secure commitment of all stakeholders to implement them in the coming years.” The Africa Energy Market Place is a collaborative investment platform created by the African Development Bank as part of the New Deal on Energy for Africa, the transformative partnership to light up and power Africa, in keeping with the Bank’s High 5 strategic priorities.
Combatting cybercrime at the fore of debriefing session on Africa Cyber Surge Operation (Republic of Mauritius)
A debriefing session, following the Africa Cyber Surge Operation organised in Kigali in Rwanda from 18 July to 05 August 2022, is being held in Mauritius from 22 to 24 November 2022. The event is an initiative of the INTERPOL and the AFRIPOL, and has as objective to promote cross-fertilisation of ideas and sharing of best practices with regard to cybercrimes. Participants from 28 countries, namely Kenya, Eritrea, Ghana, Gambia, amongst others, are attending the session.
In his address, DSP Jangi highlighted that the Africa Cyber Surge was a multi-national cybercrime suppression operation focused on identifying cyber-criminal and their network infrastructure, and was aimed at supporting member countries as well as law enforcement agencies in their combat against cybercrime.
He indicated that criminals were misusing new technologies to target people on social networks and online systems, adding that phishing, ransomware and data breaches were examples of current cyber threats.
As the world navigates the polycrisis - climate change, pandemic, the war in Ukraine, economic slowdown, inflation, food insecurity, monetary tightening and debt distress - we need multilateral cooperation and solidarity more than ever.
I will offer an alternative vision for the future of trade. Interdependence without overdependence. Deeper, more diversified, and deconcentrated international markets - or what we at the WTO are calling re-globalization.
If governments are willing to use trade constructively to solve problems rather than amplify them, the WTO can help foster not just supply resilience amid ever more frequent exogenous shocks, but also geopolitical resilience.
Consider the experience with COVID-19. Most people remember the medical supply shortages and export bans early on. Frequently overlooked is that cross-border supply chains subsequently became an engine for manufacturing and distributing masks, personal protective equipment, and later, vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines are made in supply chains cutting across as many as 19 countries. Trying to scale up production within purely national supply chains would have left all countries worse off: production volumes would have been lower, and costs higher.
Trade is critical for access to food, particularly in countries with insufficient water and arable land. One in five calories consumed around the world is traded across borders, according to the FAO and the OECD, and this share has been rising. At this time of rising food and energy prices, trade plays an important role in accessibility and affordability. Put it this way: the recent opening of the Ukraine Black Sea Grain Corridor, and the way it brought prices down, shows us that situations can be more often than not worse without trade.
Trade is also an essential part of a just and ambitious response to climate change, since it is vital for diffusing green technology, cutting the cost of getting to net zero, and helping countries mitigate and adapt.
Deeper and more diversified markets would enhance supply resilience in a world of more frequent exogenous shocks. Reduced concentration in sourcing would make trade harder to weaponize.
We should acknowledge there are tradeoffs - we would lose some of the efficiency gains that come with scale and agglomeration, but we would gain in terms of resilience and adaptability.
To some extent, this would simply extend trends we are already seeing. Firms are already moving to diversify risks by adding sourcing and investment locations. We see evidence that source market concentration is diminishing, even for products like rare earths.
By taking these dynamics further - by bringing countries with good macro environments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America from the margins of global production networks to the mainstream - we can make trade more resilient whilst bolstering growth and poverty reduction.
So what I am saying? I’m saying let businesses manage risks and diversify in a sensible manner, but if governments seek to intervene, to encourage this through subsidies or other incentives, then push for a broader, wider diversification to many more geographies, wherever the investment environment is appropriate. This would contribute to the re-globalization which we seek.
East China’s coastal city of Xiamen, Fujian Province, saw its trade with BRICS countries increase 26.3 percent year on year to hit 76.46 billion yuan (about 10.67 billion U.S. dollars) in the first 10 months of this year, according to Xiamen Customs.
Xiamen’s exports to BRICS countries amounted to 23.44 billion yuan from January to October, up 27.2 percent year on year, and its BRICS imports totaled 53.02 billion yuan, up 26 percent. The city’s imports and exports with South Africa and Brazil maintained rapid growth. Its trade with the two countries reached 11.27 billion yuan and 23.37 billion yuan, up 31.1 percent and 18.8 percent, respectively. Major imported goods during the period included metal ore, mineral sands, coal and lignite, and agricultural products. Main exports included mechanical and electrical products, as well as labor-intensive goods.
Funding a new impetus for G20 goals (The Tribune India)
On December 1, India will assume the presidency of the prestigious G20. Prime Minister Narendra Modi symbolically accepted the presidency from Indonesian President Joko Widodo on November 16 in Bali. The G20 is amidst a critical phase as global dynamics are cleaved. The political and security agenda is overwhelming the real problems that the world faces. India’s strenuous efforts to maintain its strategic autonomy and adopt positions which are now better accepted as constructive give it a unique position to navigate the troubled waters in Europe, Asia and beyond.
This is an important time for India’s presidency because it is the second in a chain of presidencies of leading countries of the global South. India has taken over from Indonesia, will be followed by Brazil under its new President Lula and then South Africa in 2025. This gives India the opportunity to forge a growing alliance of the global South to set the priorities of G20 without being overwhelmed by big-power rivalry.
According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), despite the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic, this bucked previous economic downturn trends. Latest data shows “continued and sustained growth” in intellectual property filings, “driven largely by increases from Asia, with other regions also trending mostly upward”, said WIPO Director General Daren Tang. “IP filing strength during the pandemic showed that people across the world continued to innovate and create despite the economic and social disruptions caused by the pandemic”, he added.
Data published in WIPO’s latest World Intellectual Property Indicators report indicates that innovators filed 3.4 million patent applications globally last year, which was up 3.6 per cent from 2020 – with Asia driving more than two-thirds of requests.