tralac Daily News
R4-trillion needed for South Africa’s hydrogen economy, PIC declares (Engineering News)
South Africa’s State-owned Public Investment Corporation (PIC) stated on Monday that more than R4.3-trillion is required for the development of the hydrogen economy, which it declared positive for people, planet, and client portfolios. The hydrogen investment strategy of the PIC, which has R2.339-trillion worth of assets under management, is aimed at unlocking value.
The administrative costs of exporting fresh and dry produce from Kenya to foreign markets has reduced by 62 percent following the simplification of export trade procedures by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS). The success is as a result of collaboration between the Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade) and the National Trade Facilitation Committee(NTFC) in the simplification of procedures that apply to the export of coffee, tea, flowers, beans, peas, avocados, nuts and oil crops products, cotton, sisal among others.
The Acting Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade) Mr. David Ngarama said the simplification of KEPHIS’ registration procedure has not only impacted the total number of steps involved in the export of fresh and dry produce but has also significantly reduced the administrative burden cost incurred by businesses in the registration procedure from KES 40,197.35 to KES 15, 287.29, thus, saving each business wishing to trade any type of plant products a total of KES 24,910.06.
President Ruto looks East to get Kenya affordable project financing (The East African)
Kenya’s President William Ruto doesn’t like debt. He just wants the government to have enough money. Earlier in November 11, he told a stakeholder’s workshop on pensions in Nairobi that the government will not be borrowing any money at a rate of more than 10 percent from local markets. This drew sharp criticism from money market players who trade in treasury Bonds, who alleged that the government was discouraging lending. Governments borrow locally through treasury Bonds. “I promise you I will not be the president that will continue the journey of taking our country into debt,” President Ruto said. “It is a difficult choice but I don’t see an option out. We are going to rationalise the budget and look at what else we can do,” he added.
Hardly a week later, President Ruto this week travelled on an official three-day visit to South Korea, where he agreed with Seoul to have the latter take on a $1 billion financing of projects including the planned tech city at Konza, 60km southeast of Nairobi. He also Kenya as being ready for investment in trade and green energy.
Fears soar as Kenya dangles imports ban (Monitor)
Kenya’s decision to ban the importation of goods it can manufacture locally—particularly steel and iron products—starting next year – has triggered new anxieties in Uganda. Kenya President William Ruto announced a fortnight ago that his administration is in the latter stages of drafting a policy that will not only ensure available raw materials are exploited but also manufacturers are protected.
“I have instructed the Cabinet Secretary for Trade and his team to work on a policy framework to ensure we increase our industrialisation percentage, which had dropped from nine to seven percent,” President Ruto said while opening Devki Steel Mills, adding that 16 such companies had folded in the past five years, thanks to stiff competition from foreign companies.
A joint working strategy was adopted by the Export Promotion Centre (CEPEX) and the Libyan Export Development Centre for the 2023 year, in a bid to develop intra-trade relations and trade between Libya and Tunisia, said CEPEX. This strategy was outlined in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) inked on Friday between the two sides in Tunis, as part of the implementation of a MoU dating back to June 2013, and the annex to the MoU concluded in 2020.
Thirty-seven of 52 African countries have become more industrialized over the past eleven years, according to a new report from the African Development Bank, the African Union and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The Africa Industrialization Index (AII) report provides a country-level assessment of 52 African countries’ progress across 19 key indicators. The report will enable African governments to identify comparator countries to benchmark their own industrial performance and identify best practices more effectively. The African Development Bank, the African Union and UNIDO jointly launched the inaugural edition of the AII on the sidelines of the African Union Summit on Industrialization and Economic Diversification in Niamey, Niger.
South Africa maintained a very high ranking throughout the 2010-2021 period, followed closely by Morocco, which held second place as of 2022. Rounding out the top six over the period are Egypt, Tunisia, Mauritius, and Eswatini.
Abdu Mukhtar, African Development Bank Director for Industrial and Trade Development, represented the institution at the launch event. He said that while Africa had shown encouraging progress in industrialization over the 2010-2022 period, the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had set back its efforts and highlighted gaps in production systems. “The continent has a unique opportunity to sort out this dependency by further integrating and conquering its own emerging markets.”
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will spur Africa’s industrialisation and deepen regional integration provided the continent institutes supportive policy reforms and foster trade, experts predict.
Speaking at a panel discussion on Industrializing Africa: Renewed commitment to inclusive and sustainable growth, trade and economic experts noted that Africa can leverage the AfCFTA to drive its industrialization and economic transformation by implementing the right trade measures.
The discussion, hosted by the International Growth Centre and the Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa at the London School of Economics and Political Science, was part of events to mark the Africa Industrialisation Week 2022. It explored key questions regarding the industrialisation strategies that different African countries have adopted and on how the AfCFTA will influence industrialization strategies that contribute to poverty reduction and environmentally sound industrial development in Africa.
“There is consensus that one of the key reasons we have the AfCFTA was basically to foster industrialization and transformation of the continent. The questions is how do we do that,” Mr. Karingi told the panel discussion moderated by Mr. David Luke, Professor in Practice and Strategic Director at the Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa.
Africa must diversify its food sources to reduce dependency (The Exchange)
Africa dependency for supply of crucial needs like food must be changed through diversification of sources and investing in its own regional specialization for production of goods and services. The future of Africa should be where the EAC produces this, while ECOWAS produces that and SADC produces…and so on and so forth, the regions must specialize and safety measures put in place to secure production and trade routes to protect against disruptions.
Global value chains have increased inter-connectivity and reliance on each other at a global scale, a reality that is been reversed by trade wars, actual wars pandemic threats and resulting friend shoring.
While the world is still very interconnected and value chains of the goods and services we consume web in and out of multiple countries, trade wars like United States and China, and actual wars like Russia and Ukraine are now deglobalizing the world village.
Accelerating Energy Infrastructure Development in Africa (Engineering News)
By 2050, it’s expected that Africa will be home to 2 billion people. To secure the necessary socio-economic development of such a large population, the focus of the next few decades must be infrastructural transformation. Tapping into the continent’s abundant energy resources necessitates a significant financial commitment, however the opportunities for investors are attractive, and many are taking note.
As carbon-neutral initiatives and environmental protection are top priorities for many African governments, harnessing the continent’s capacity to produce renewable energy will catalyse critical improvements that help to transform Africa into a competitive, industrialised global player.
Road toll charges remain a hurdle to EAC cross-border trade (The East African)
Road tolls have again emerged as hurdles to smooth trade between East African Community member countries as each government charges its own fees on trucks moving into its territory. The region’s business stakeholders are however optimistic that trade in the bloc will increase by 11 percent in 2022-2023 if toll fees and domestic taxes are harmonised to prevent distortion and create a level playing field for businesses. “We are proposing that EAC partner states charge a uniform fee of $10 per 100km on all trucks the way Uganda does,” said John Kalisa, chief executive of the East African Business Council.
“Once collected, the amount should be used for the purpose for which it was intended — that is to repair and maintain the same roads,” he added. Tolls are usually implemented to help recoup the cost of road construction and maintenance, as well as finance other infrastructure projects.
EABC is reacting to complaints by importers who have highlighted the rising cost of doing business in the region occasioned by the varying charges in each member country even as normal cross border trade returns free of pandemic restrictions.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), in collaboration with Namibia’s Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade (MIT), last week facilitated an information sharing and capacity building event on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). The event, which was held at the Windhoek Country Club and Resort, specifically focused on the continental agreement’s Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade.
The session was organised as a follow-up to the launch of Namibia’s National AfCFTA Implementation Strategy and Action Plan for 2022-2027, which was held on Monday, 21 November 2022 at the same venue.
On his part, Melaku Desta, Coordinator at ECA’s African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), speaking on behalf of the ECA, highlighted the trade-related work being done by ATPC and the ECA at large, which he described as a common resource for the continent. Desta also described the major benefits projected to come out of AfCFTA implementation in terms of improved intra-African trade, industrialisation, poverty reduction, and increased welfare. Desta further stressed that, according to ECA research, “intra-African trade in critical industries, including agri-food, services, and manufacturing, are all expected to increase by nearly 40% in 2045, compared to the situation without the AfCFTA.”
Looming global recession sparks fear in East Africa region (The East African)
East Africans are second-guessing what the projected global recession in 2023 could mean for them, given the International Monetary Fund says about a third of the world will be in recession, led by the globe’s largest economies including the US, China, and Europe. The recent growth projections by the international financier puts East African countries’ prospects for this and next year better than the global average, but analysts say the region will not be spared from the coming recession. According to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook report released last month, the global GDP growth rate will fall from six percent last year to 3.2 percent in 2022, further decelerating to 2.7 percent in 2023 as a result of disruptions caused by the eastern Europe conflict.
East Africa’s economy is, however, predicted to grow by averagely 5.2 percent this year, dropping from 6.4 percent last year, but is expected to accelerate to 5.6 percent next year, highlighting a better performance than the rest of the world.
Region abandons pro-GMO arena as Kenya awaits first seed import (The East African)
Kenya stands alone in the region as far as the importation and growing of genetically modified organisms (GMO) is concerned. Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi have all said they are not open to GMOs, and the wider East African Community concurs. On October 4, Kenya lifted a ban on GMOs imposed in 2012, and the country is poised to import 11 tonnes of GMO maize seed, in what the government has justified as a solution to perennial food shortage and drought cycles.
This week, Kenya said the GMO seeds from South Africa are expected in the country from January and will be distributed to farmers including those bordering neighbouring countries.
Let’s leverage digital technologies to achieve economic freedom (BusinessGhana)
Two non-profit organisations have organised a high-level dialogue series on how the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFTCTA) and digital assets could push the country to achieve economic freedom. They are the Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation (ILAPI), in partnership with Wada and Global Policy House, Mr. Peter Bismark Kwofie, the Executive Director of ILAPI, said, “block chain and other emerging technologies should drive innovations that could help reduce inflation and unemployment for investment and trade.”
He called on stakeholders in the country to ensure that the youth and policymakers are educated on the need to leverage technology for development.
The African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank have signed a grant agreement to implement Phase 1 of the Upstream Project for Digital Market Development in Africa. The signing ceremony took place on November 17 at AUC Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The African Development Bank’s board of directors approved the grant of 7 million Units of Account ($ 9.73 million) in September this year. The project supports the AUC’s implementation of digital economy projects to enhance a continental single digital market. It also supports the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa.
The project comes as the backdrop of the Covid-19-induced recession that exposed several gaps in the African digital economy ecosystem. It addresses these gaps. Phase 1 runs from 2023 to 2026. It will focus on three main components namely: digital enablers; digital trade and e-commerce adoption; and support actions. Specifically, the project will help strengthen the frameworks (strategic, policy, regulatory and conceptual) and cross-cutting (gender, climate change and resilience) dimensions for the development of Africa’s digital economy.
Stakeholders in the digital economy ecosystem in Sierra Leone met in Freetown, Sierra Leone from 22nd to 24th November 2022 for a national consultation on the draft new legal and regulatory framework to govern the digital economy in West Africa. The objective of the meeting, co-organised by the ECOWAS Commission and the Ministry of Information and Communications of Sierra Leone, was to solicit contributions and feedback on the draft regional regulatory framework for the digital economy being developed by the ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions.
At the opening of the meeting, Mr. Mawuli Amoa, Program Officer for Telecommunications and Networks highlighted how the digital economy sector is characterized by a fast pace of innovation and continuous enhancement of existing service offerings. He stated that the objective of ECOWAS in ICT is the establishment of a well-secured common digital market, and to achieve this objective, the policies and regulations governing the market need to be harmonised across the region.
He further stated that the approach to regulation of the digital economy in the current era should be collaborative and inclusive, with the involvement of policy makers and regulators in adjacent sector to foster the growth and development of digital services under a fair and enabling environment whiles at the same time protecting the interests of consumers. It is for this reason, he said, that the ECOWAS Commission is undertaking the project for the elaboration of a new harmonised legal and regulatory framework to govern the development of digital economy sector in West Africa, which will address the emerging issues in the sector.
Over 200 delegates led by Ministers in charge of ministries that coordinate implementation of COMESA programmes and activities in the 21 Member States will be in Lusaka, Zambia this week for the annual policy organs meetings. They will be attending the 43rd Intergovernmental Committee and the Council of Ministers meetings from Tuesday 29 November to Thursday 01 December 2022. This is the first physical meeting of the COMESA policy organs since 2019.
The Inter-governmental Committee (IC) which comprises Permanent Secretaries and Principal Secretaries will meet on 29 – 30 November 2022 and will consider reports from sectoral technical committees and COMESA institutions on the status of implementation of regional integration programmes covering trade, investments, industry, infrastructure, gender and social affairs. Also to be addressed are administrative and budget matters.
Policy recommendations arising from the IC meeting will be presented to the Council of Ministers on 01 December 2022 for decision-making.
The theme of the meetings is: Building Resilience Through Digital Economic Integration. It was motivated by the emerging regional and global economic dynamics which have impacted heavily on the COMESA regional integration agenda. Specifically, the aftermath of COVID-19 Pandemic has been the most impactful phenomenon hence the focus on resilience building to cushion economies from future shocks.
The Director of the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Decent Work Team for East and Southern Africa, Dr. Joni Toko Musabayana paid a courtesy call on the Executive Secretary of Southern African Development Community (SADC), H.E Mr. Elias Mpedi Magosi, on 25 November 2022 in Gaborone, Botswana. The two leaders deliberated on a number of issues of interest to the world of work in SADC, including in particular the challenges of unemployment and underemployment across the region.
Dr. Musabayana informed the Executive Secretary that SADC had enabled significant improvements in the labour administration systems of Member States through its key policy frameworks, as well as regional decisions and positions. The regional policies reflected upon during the meeting included the SADC Employment and Labour Policy Framework, the SADC Decent Work Programme and the SADC Labour Migration Action Plan. Through these instruments, it was noted that SADC Member States had successfully put in place wide-ranging measures to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the workplace, including through guaranteeing occupational safety and health and providing fiscal support to protect livelihoods and income security.
The two leaders committed to forge a stronger partnership and agreed to immediately undertake the following steps: To review the SADC-ILO Memorandum of Understanding, entered into in April 2007, in order to include new and pertinent areas of cooperation in line with the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030 and other contemporary frameworks and strategies; To develop joint programmes and projects on decent work and job creation, especially for young women and men; To strengthen the harmonisation of labour policies and laws in Member States, and to expedite the development of the SADC Protocol on Employment and Labour; and To enhance cooperation on labour migration management, by exploring greater cooperation through existing and new initiatives to protect the rights of migrant workers and enhance skills sharing among Member States.
The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund have approved a grant of $6.12 million to help strengthen public finance governance in low-income African countries.
The funding is for Phase 2 of the Regional Institutional Support Project in Public Finance Governance (RISPFG) which will be implemented by two pan-African institutions: the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) and the Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI). The grant, which was formally approved on 3 November 2022, will be distributed as follows: $3.90 million to support the continent’s tax administration reforms and domestic resource mobilisation efforts through support to ATAF and $2.22 million to support budget reforms and strengthen public finance management through CABRI.
Climate change loss and damage fund: Bittersweet win for vulnerable nations (The East African)
The COP27 UN climate talks at the Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt ended with one much applauded achievement: the decision to establish a loss and damage fund to help poor nations cope with natural disasters brought on by effects of climate change. While this is a major achievement that signifies immense progress for climate-vulnerable nations, it could take another decade to be realised. And for those living with the consequences of climate change, it could be too late.
Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty initiative in a statement noted that the reparations agreement failed to address the root cause of loss and damage through agreeing to phase out oil, gas, and coal, which will mean more loss and damage in the future.
It is estimated that the world’s most climate-vulnerable nations have already lost an estimated $525 billion as a result of climate impacts in the last 20 years – and African nations could lose $50 billion annually by 2050. Loss and damage also goes beyond money as the impact of climate change destroy lives, biodiversity and entire cultures.
Francis Atube, a climate change scientist and lecturer at Uganda’s Gulu University, says that if and when the funds are made available, they should be used for direct interventions such as putting up infrastructure for climate change adaptation, including irrigation systems and protection of water sources.
India identifies five priority issues including MSMEs, Logistics for its G20 Presidency (India Shipping News)
India has identified five priority issues – growth and prosperity, resilient global value chains, MSMEs, logistics, and WTO reform – under its G20 Presidency from December 1, 2022 to November 30, 2023. The commerce and industry ministry, which is the nodal agency for the G20 Trade and Investment Working Group (TIWG), is likely to propose a common digital platform for ease of cross-border trade, a legal aid system for developing countries for dispute settlement in WTO, ways to eliminate distortionary non-tariff measures for developing countries and LDCs, and a framework to address crucial issues at the WTO in clearly defined circumstances like the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Issues are evolving and we want a good outcome in G20,” said an official. Establishing an online digital portal that offers integrated trade and business information for market research by MSMEs is another suggestion on which discussions could take place.
“G20 could deliberate upon a possible framework for addressing the issues of global relevance for enabling members to go beyond the general exceptions under the WTO agreements, in very narrow and clearly defined circumstances like the pandemic,” the ministry has proposed.
It has also proposed evolving common principles to facilitate decentralised trading, an inclusive trade action plan that defines clear objectives for driving inclusion in goods and services trade, and evolving principles to ensure food security through remunerative prices of farm goods.
Rail transport regaining its allure on sustainability drive (Business Daily)
Railway transport is a mature industry in the developed world that is experiencing a remarkable comeback after a period of decline. The rediscovered allure of railways is underpinned by its capacity to haul huge volumes of freight or passengers in an energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly way. Rail transport is nowadays being widely used in many countries in the world. Many people prefer railways over road transport because of the increase in the number of accidents and huge traffic congestions. Growth of railway transport is, however, anchored on improved and sustainable railway infrastructure.
n the 21st Century, with the globalisation playing an increasingly important and influential role in societies and markets, development of new transport infrastructures that allow an efficient movement of passengers and goods is of utmost importance. Railway transport has been contributing to the sustainable development of countries, both in terms of economic growth and social development. This type of transport has several advantages over others, mostly related to the fair transportation costs, lower environmental impact and safety.
Additionally, reduction in travel time due to the increase of speed, along with an improvement in passenger comfort, also contribute to the greater competitiveness of rail transport.
BRICS and BRI: China Aims for Strategic Alignment (Observer Research Foundation)
At the 14th Leaders’ Meeting of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries held virtually on 23 June 2022, China dwelt on the issue of expanding the group beyond its five existing members to include more emerging economies. It had first raised the subject during the BRICS Xiamen Summit in September 2017. At a time when China-India relations are at a low point, the proposal has raised concerns in New Delhi. As India deliberates its stance on this contentious issue, it is important to understand China’s approach towards BRICS.
For China, it is the grand strategy that is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that threads its many engagements: BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) where it is not directly a member, the Eurasian Economic Union, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Although BRICS as an entity, has not signed any memorandum of cooperation with the BRI, nor has it ever jointly published any statement of intent about participating in China’s flagship project, in Chinese strategic thinking, the BRI and BRICS are deeply connected.
This brief analyses China’s domestic discourse on BRICS to understand its strategic thinking towards the grouping. It describes the various formats of expansion being discussed within Chinese strategic circles, and China’s modus operandi vis-à-vis other member states to steer BRICS in a direction in line with its interests.