Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Local news

After challenging season, citrus industry moves to mitigate new and old risks (Engineering News)

South Africa’s citrus growers industry has, despite achieving a marginal increase in export volumes for the 2022 season, compared with that of 2021, faced a myriad of challenges during this period, which have negatively impacted on returns and threaten future sustainability and profitability. Therefore, mitigating measures are being pursued by the growers and industry nonprofit organisation the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa (CGA) to safeguard the long-term sustainability and profitability of the industry, its export revenue of about R30-billion a year and the 130 000 jobs it sustains.

Consumer Goods Council of South Africa panellists renew call for specialised unit to fight illicit trade (The Mail & Guardian)

South Africa needs a specialised, independent and well-resourced body to investigate illicit trading. The call was made at a panel discussion hosted by the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa on Thursday. Judge Dennis Davis, chairperson of the Davis Tax Committee, said the number of reports he received about illicit trading was enough to convince him that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was unable to deal with such crimes on its own. The Davis Tax Committee assesses the country’s tax policy framework.

“Unless there is the political will to curb rent seeking and to essentially attack head on [illicit trading], I really worry that the illicit economy will just continue to overwhelm the society,” Davis said.

It is impossible to quantify the exact costs of illicit trade to the economy but according to the Global Financial Intelligence (GFI) report of 2019, South Africa loses about R152 billion a year from illicit economic activity. Carina Bruwer, a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, said South Africa also needed to work with other countries. “A lot of the commodities mentioned today are traded internationally and they are very much part of international organised crime. It’s important for South Africa to start cooperating with other world regions where these commodities are either coming from or moving through.” Bruwer said.

Cabinet approves publication of Green Hydrogen Commercialisation Strategy (SAnews)

Cabinet has approved the publication of the Green Hydrogen Commercialisation Strategy (GHCS) for public comment. The strategy is aimed at ensuring that the country takes full advantage of the opportunities provided by green industrialisation.

Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, said that the Green Hydrogen Commercialisation Strategy will ensure that South Africa becomes a major producer and exporter of green hydrogen. “It contributes towards economic growth and supports the country’s just transition interventions towards the reduction of carbon emissions,” Gungubele said at a post-Cabinet media briefing on Thursday.

SA needs R1.5 trillion for Just Energy Transition (SAnews)

South Africa requires an initial funding of about R1.5 trillion to transition to a low carbon and climate resilient society for the five-year period 2023–2027, says Presidential Climate Commission (PCC) Commissioner Joanne Yawitch. Addressing a hybrid Special Sitting on Understanding the contents of South Africa’s Just Energy Transition Investment Plan (JET-IP) on Thursday, Yawitch said achieving the JET IP outcomes is dependent on the scale and nature of financial support that South Africa can secure from the international community to complement domestic resources.

“South Africa’s dependence on fossil fuels gives rise to a range of climate, energy and transition risks, especially for affected workers, communities, businesses and exporters. “However, embracing new economic opportunities in green technologies can drive industrial development and innovation, leading to a sustainable and resilient future with decent work, social inclusion and lower levels of poverty,” Yawitch said. The JET IP represents the initial building blocks of managing South Africa’s Just Energy Transition and climate response, which will be a managed, phased, long-term process of economic, social, and environmental change.

Kenya gets another sugar imports cover (Business Daily)

Kenya has been granted a nine months extension to limits on sugar imports from regional trade bloc Comesa to enable the country complete reforms that will make its sugar industry competitive, blocking the flow of cheaper sugar from African countries. This marks a sixth time that the country has enjoyed protection against the influx of cheap sugar from the regional trading market. Kenya had been expected to open up fully its market to imports from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) States in 2014 after more than a decade of being allowed to protect its sugar farmers with high tariffs.

The tariffs were scheduled to fall to zero in March 2014, but Kenya has continued to seek extensions, giving more time for it to improve infrastructure and carry out other reforms. Industry players estimate the cost of producing a tonne of sugar at about $900 in western Kenya. The cost is $400 in producing countries such as Mauritius.

GMO jitters hit Kenya horticulture exports to Europe (Business Daily)

European buyers of Kenya’s horticultural produce are raising concern over the country’s lifting of the ban on genetically modified organisms (GMO), forcing exporters to carry out extra certification to confirm that the products have not been enhanced by the technology. Fresh Produce Consortium of Kenya Chief Executive Officer Okisegere Ojepat says the queries they are facing from customers are on whether what they are exporting is still GMO-free. GMO is yet to be fully adopted by the European Union and there have been concerns before from the continent when Kenya wanted to introduce biotechnology flowers to the market.

“We are being questioned to confirm whether what we are selling to our European customers is GMO or non-GMO and we are required to show proof through additional certification,” said Mr Ojepat. He said though GMO is a good technology for boosting food production, politics surrounding it since the lifting of the ban have caused confusion all over.

Freight Forwarders plan on maintaining relevance in turbulent global supply chain (Ghanaian Times)

The Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF) has held its 25th Annual General Meeting in Koforidua, in the Eastern Region, to deliberate on how freight forwarders can maintain their relevance in a turbulent global supply chain. Speaking at the event, the Omanhene of New Juaben, Daasebre Nana Kwaku Boateng III, appealed to freight forwarders to be honest in their dealings with importers and refrain from acts of distortion.

The President of GIFF, Eddy Akrongon his part said in maintaining the freight forwarders’ relevance, efforts should not be spared from venturing into ICT solutions whose dividend would endear freight forwarders’ to the trader.

He appealed to the Minister of Transport to bring to finality some unjustifiable shipping line charges at the ports.

Seychelles to assess national food control system for better public health (Seychelles News Agency)

Seychelles is aspiring to narrow the gap between local production capacity and importation although it still depends largely on imports. Seychelles expects to carry out an assessment of its food control system in the coming months to make it in line with internationally recognised standards.

At the opening of the workshop on Monday, Flavien Joubert, the Minister for Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment, said that such a tool is important especially as Seychelles relies heavily on food imports. “As a small island, we depend on the global food production and distribution system for a significant portion of our food basket. Almost 90 percent of our food commodities are imported including our staple, which collectively accounts to close to 30 percent of our importation bill,” said Joubert.

The minister added that “while we remain aspirational in our intent to narrow the gap between local production capacity and importation, we are also realistic that Seychelles will continue to depend on food exporting countries to contribute towards our food and nutrition security agenda.”

African trade and integration

Key Decisions at the 43rd COMESA Ministers Meeting (COMESA)

COMESA Council of Ministers will engage their counterparts in Member States that have not ratified the Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement (TFTA) to do so as a matter of priority to pave way for its implementation. This was one of the key decisions taken during the 43rd meeting of the Council conducted on 01 December 2022 in Lusaka, Zambia. The action is intended to clear the remaining hurdle to enable the TFTA to enter into force.

The ministers noted that the delay in achieving the 14 States’ ratification threshold has negatively impacting the Member/Partner States in harnessing the potential benefits from international support for the financing of development programmes. It was also constraining resources mobilization efforts by the COMESA Secretariat. So far, 11 States have ratified the TFTA three short of the required threshold of 14 to enable the Agreement to enter into force.

Another decision taken related to the preservation of the jurisdiction of regional competition authorities, especially the COMESA Competition Commission (CCC), considering the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Protocol on Competition.

With regard to the implementation of the COMESA Free Trade Area, the Council urged Member States that have not yet completed the process of joining, to fast track the process as a matter of priority. These are DR Congo, Eswatini, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. The COMESA Secretariat will provide updates to Member States on the Non-FTA Member States status of joining COMESA FTA on regular basis.

AfCFTA: Africa must compete favourably with other free zones, says Buhari (The Cable)

President Muhammadu Buhari says Africa must rise to compete favourably with free trade zones in other parts of the world. Buhari said this on Thursday at the 5th African Union symposium on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Green Industrialisation in Abuja. The 3-day event themed ‘African Special Economic Zones: Engine for Resilience and Accelerator for Sustainable Industrial Value Chains Development’ was done alongside the 7th edition of the African Economic Zones Organisation (AEZO) annual meeting.

Buhari, who was represented by Umana Okon Umana, minister of Niger Delta Affairs, urged stakeholders to critically examine factors inhibiting the growth of free zones in Africa and come up with appropriate strategies to address identified challenges. He stated that the economic zones in Nigeria scheme was to use the export processing zones to promote export-oriented industries. He, however, said the scheme has over the years evolved from a strictly export-oriented manufacturing strategy to a more liberal scheme that allows a greater level of interaction with the domestic economy while simultaneously driving an increase in its level of attractiveness to potential investors.

African Special Economic Zones: Engine for Resilience and Accelerator for Sustainable Industrial Value Chains Development (AU)

The African Union (AU) and the Africa Economic Zones Organization (AEZO) are organizing the 5th African Union Symposium on Special Economic Zones, and the 7th edition of the AEZO Annual Meeting from November 30th to December 2nd, 2022, in Abuja – Nigeria, convened under the theme: “African Special Economic Zones: Engine for Resilience and Accelerator for Sustainable Industrial Value Chains Development.”

African Special Economic Zones are considered as one of the main instruments that stimulate economic reforms, promote quality Foreign direct investments (FDIs), and accelerate industrialization across the continent. According to the African Economic Zones Outlook (Edition 2021), more than 200 SEZs are operational in Africa while 73 projects have been announced for completion in 47 countries. The land dedicated to SEZs is nearly 150,000 hectares while over $2.6 billion has been mobilized in investments dedicated to agro-processing, manufacturing and services.

The AEZO Annual Meeting and the 5th AU Symposium on SEZs will provide guidance on cross cutting issues related to the contribution of SEZs in accelerating sustainable industrial value chain development. This is also aligned to Africa’s Agenda 2063: Aspiration 1: A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.

How special economic zones are helping Africa to industrialise (Supply Management)

Enhancing industrial development one Precinct at a time: the OR Tambo SEZ vision (Forbes Africa)

Nigeria to partner with special economic zones in Africa (Voice of Nigeria)

Renewed commitment towards Sustainable Industrialization and trade: A recap of commitments by leaders at the just concluded Summit on Industrialization (AU)

The African economy is heavily dependent on the production and export of primary products and consequently suffers from the associated risks of this dependence. In the renewed commitment towards an Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization and Economic Diversification at the just concluded Extraordinary Summit on Industrialization and Economic Diversification, and Extraordinary Session on the African Continental Free Trade Area convened on the 25th November 2022 in Niamey, Niger, African leaders were firm on the motive for coherent industrialization and the strong linkages between industrial productive capacity, economic growth, and level of development.

Abundantly endowed with natural resources, including many industrial minerals and agricultural resources, Africa must pay close attention to critical priorities that need to be addressed at national, regional, continental, and international levels to promote the coherent industrial development that includes: natural resources management and development; infrastructure development; human capital development; innovation, science and technology; legal, institutional and regulatory frameworks; and resource mobilization.

H.E. Macky Sall, the President of the Republic of Senegal, and African Union Chairperson 2022, says infrastructure development is inevitable as Africa moves towards increased industrialization. “There is an urgent need to improve our production tools, including energy, digital, logistics and transport infrastructures to support the productivity of our industries.

I also draw the attention of our summit to the need to overcome the procedural and bureaucratic red tape that hinders the preparation and implementation of our projects. On the road to emergence, there must be no time wasted in undue formalities and delays.”

“The pace of industrialization in Africa remains too slow to achieve Africa’s development goals under Agenda 2063. We need to invest more of our national budgets in industrial policy, and significantly increase energy and infrastructure capacity. We must also build stronger links between our universities and the private sector, to promote a culture of innovation that includes our young people,” H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda underscored the urgency for the continent to unite in its quest to accelerate industrialization.

H.E. Moussa Faki, Chairperson of the African Union Commission underlined the importance of political will. He added, “Internally, industrialisation, associated with economic diversification, will upset all public policies to reconfigure them, in accordance with its own requirements, whether in terms of education and training policies, the business climate, standards and compliance, investment, competition, intellectual property and so on. These adjustments, to be made internally, are compounded by the effects, not always happy, of external dynamics. The latter remains decisive for the industrialisation of African countries. It makes it possible to achieve the necessary economies of scale to improve production and exports, attract external financing to compensate for the shortage of domestic savings, integrate into global value chains, strengthen demand for technology transfer, develop intra-African trade, through the various levers offered by the AfCFTA, whose progress I welcome.”

Africa must industrialize: 10 key points that African leaders committed to at the just concluded summit on industrialization and economic diversification (AU)

How boosting intra-African agrifood trade will reap rewards for Africa (African Business)

“Excessive dependence by many countries on imports of basic commodities such as food and strategic agricultural inputs has exacerbated vulnerabilities due to the impacts of the multiple overlapping shocks, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the responses by some countries to restrict trade,” Abebe Haile-Gabriel, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa said on the lack of substantive intra-African trade. “This is not sustainable. It is a trend we must reverse.”

“We are trying to build capacity and bring that value-added to our continent so that we become more self-reliant on food, to have that food security at home,” Poonam Mohun, Head of Non-Tariff Measures Division at the AfCFTA Secretariat, said.

She added that many levels of intervention are needed: government and private sector policies to increase agricultural production and manufacturing levels, increasing value addition through processing, and removing trade barriers so that trade flows smoothly.

EAC leaders urged to adopt single airline, number plate (New Vision)

East African leaders have been asked to “walk the talk” of integration by removing all border tariffs as well as pulling resources, especially if they are to compete with other blocs and continents.

While addressing members of the East African Legislative Assembly yesterday, November 30, 2022, at the International University of East Africa in Kansanga, Kampala, Capt Mike Mukula said the EAC states should come together and develop a common airline, number plate and combined sports teams like the East African football team to represent the block in tournaments like the FIFA World Cup.

Currently, the majority of the East African countries have national airlines, which, according to Mike Mukula, are competing for the same market, which further undermines the integration of the region economically instead of bringing it together.

“We cannot talk about political and economic integration yet we remain competitors in essential services like airlines. The biggest means of moving people is through the airlines. Every country is forming its own airline. This undermines the spirit of East Africa’s economic integration,” he said.

Africa’s last-mile market set to double by 2030 (Engineering News)

The African last-mile delivery market was valued at $1.14-billion in 2021. By 2030 this is expected to reach $2.35-billion, expanding at an annual compound growth rate of 8.45% between 2022 and 2030, says Frost & Sullivan consultant Nomvo Kasolo. Overall, the high-potential areas in the next decade are expected to be through growth in business-to-customer models (by product type), e-commerce (by industry), distributor segment (by sales channel) and parcel services (by delivery type).

In South Africa alone, the revenue generated by e-commerce is expected to reach $7.07-billion for 2022, growing to $14.9-billion in 2027, says Kasolo.

The positive trend in Africa‘s last-mile story could, however, be cut short if challenges in supporting infrastructure and restraints like corruption are not addressed, she adds.

ECA pushes for scaling up local vaccine manufacturing in Africa (UNECA)

Director of the African Centre for Statistics at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Oliver Chinganya, explains the need to increase vaccine supply chains in Africa and advance equitable access to vaccines across the continent. Mr. Chinganya spoke at the first virtual webinar under the “Equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccines in Africa (ECOVA)” project on 30 November 2022.

In his opening remarks, Oliver Chinganya explains, ”the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed our continent’s pre-existing development deficits, but also presented opportunities for an economic and social resilient recovery which reinforces regional integration, coordination and partnership.” He noted that Africa needs to learn lessons from other parts of the world to increase vaccine supply chains, strengthen health infrastructure, and enhance access to finance and credible communication, including vaccine campaigns.

Furthermore, he noted the announcement of local manufacturing expansion in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, as seen in South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco, Ghana and Egypt, demonstrates the capacity and feasibility of vaccine manufacturing in Africa. Vaccine manufacturing in Africa can be enhanced by the establishment of technology hubs, research and development facilities, targeted education intervention to address skills deficit, policy formulation and implements to harmonize regulatory framework provides feasible framework that can be tailormade to Africa’s specificities.

U.S.-African Leaders Summit 2022, to Enhance Cooperation on Shared Global Priorities (AU)

Heads of state and leaders from across the African continent will from 13 to 15 December 2022, converge in Washington D.C., within the context of the United States - Africa Leaders’ Summit hosted by President Joseph R. BIDEN, President of the United States of America. Facilitated by the African Union Mission to the U.S, H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), is expected to lead a powerful delegation to Washington to take part in this important summit.

According to the organizers, the summit aims to serve as a demonstration of the Biden administration’s commitment to the African continent and provide a forum for new joint initiatives between the United States and countries in Africa. According to senior White House officials, approximately 50 heads of state and senior government officials from African countries are expected to attend the summit.

the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit was held in 2014, under President Obama’s administration, announcing and engaging new private sector commitments to invest and partner with African countries on initiatives in energy, financial services, climate change, food security and health care, among other areas. This year’s summit is expected to prioritize similar issues, while placing an even greater emphasis on bilateral trade and investment initiatives. The summit will include new initiatives to increase U.S. engagement with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), as well as initiatives to boost the continent’s recovery from COVID-19, bolster food security and promote investment in infrastructure, health and renewable energy projects, among other priorities.

Africa-US: Commercial ties will shape the partnership in the 21st century (The African Report)

Working together holds the promise of realising the tremendous potential that trade, investment, and commerce offer partners on both sides of the Atlantic — in ways that align with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 blueprint for continental transformation. This includes working with Prosper Africa, technical and advisory support for the African Union’s (AU) implementation of the AfCFTA; the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII); the upcoming US-Africa Business Forum; and the ongoing implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Pakistan in drive to foster stronger economic ties with Africa (IOL)

Pakistan is a country on the rise. According to the latest statistics, the economy of this South Asian country is the 43rd largest in the world, while South Africa comes in at 42. Both countries share a history of colonialism, which makes them ideal partners for possible economic growth.

Qamar, who spoke to The Star in an exclusive interview on the first day of the 3rd Pakistan-Africa Trade Development Conference taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre until Thursday, said there are minimal restrictions and barriers to entry for entrepreneurs wishing to begin their journey in one of the fastest-growing Asian economies.

“This makes our ease of doing business one of the best in the world,” Qamar said. “There is huge potential for trade between Africa and Pakistan, but we need to enhance connectivity with Africa. The opportunities exist between ourselves and Africa in both goods and services sectors such as IT, textiles, construction and the medical profession.

“This is the reason it has become important for Pakistan to ensure that trade relations between us and the continent are strengthened.”

Global economy

Supporting countries to measure the digital economy for development (UNCTAD)

Digitally deliverable services – those supplied remotely using information and communications technologies (ICT) – have helped cushion the COVID-19 pandemic’s blow to services trade. New UNCTAD statistics show that global exports of these services grew from around $3.3 trillion in 2019 to $3.8 trillion in 2021. This growth helped to offset sharp declines in exports of other services during this period. As a result, overall services trade fell by 3.5%, much less than would otherwise have happened. While the pandemic has seen the resilience of e-commerce and the digital economy, it has also laid bare digital and data divides.

“Some countries have huge advantages in a new world of digital trade while others still face great challenges,” said Shamika N. Sirimanne, UNCTAD’s director for technology and logistics. “Supporting all countries to develop the statistics needed to monitor and manage their performance in the global digital economy is crucial to levelling the playing field,” Ms. Sirimanne added.

DG Okonjo-Iweala: “We must move from discussion and reflection to action” (WTO)

“Excellencies, at MC 12 you breathed new life into a multilateral negotiations,” the Director-General told members in her role as chair of the TNC. “If we are serious about sustaining this new life, we must now return in earnest to look at the tasks before us and build convergence on how to go forward wherever feasible.”

Since MC12, members have held brainstorming retreats on how to prepare for the second “wave” of negotiations on disciplining harmful fisheries subsidies and how to break the deadlock in the long-stalled agriculture negotiations. Members also met informally on 10 November to exchange views and ideas on WTO Reform.

Opec to stick or cut output amid plan to cap Russian oil price (The East African)

Major oil producers are expected to stick to their current output strategy or even slash production further when they meet on Sunday in the face of falling prices, a potential Russian oil price cap and an embargo on Russian crude shipments. At their last ministerial session in October the 13-nation Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries headed by Riyadh and its 10 allies led by Moscow, collectively known as Opec+, agreed to reduce output by two million barrels per day (bpd) from November.

Amid fears of economic slowdown, Sunday’s cartel meeting via videoconference convenes ahead of the EU enforcing an embargo on Russian crude shipments from Monday.

“Odds are that the group will reassert its commitment to its latest output cuts,” says PVM Energy analyst Stephen Brennock, adding he would not rule out that they “may even potentially announce fresh cuts” to bolster prices. Since the October meeting, oil prices have been plummeting to their level of early 2022, far from the peaks above $130 a barrel in March after the start of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine.

Beyond the economic gloom, the big unknown in the oil equation currently is Russian oil, as Western nations seek to decouple themselves from Moscow’s energy supplies as fast as possible.

Lower costs, incentives drive heat pump sales to a new record (Engineering News)

Global heat pump sales rose by nearly 15% in 2021, double the average of the past decade, led by the European Union (EU) where they rose by around 35%, global organisation the International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) ‘The Future of Heat Pumps’ report shows. Sales this year are set to hit record levels in response to the global energy crisis, especially in Europe where some countries are seeing sales double in the first half of 2022 compared with the same period in 2021.

Report shows 67% of SMEs globally are struggling to survive (Engineering News)

The World Economic Forum (WEF) and the National University of Singapore Business School say 67% of executives from small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) cite survival and expansion as their main challenges amid warnings of a global recession. Low margins, the challenge of scaling their businesses and expanding to new markets, as well as difficulties with clients and consumers have been cited as main pressure points in a report titled ‘Future Readiness of SMEs and Mid-Sized Companies: A Year On’, which looks at companies emerging from the pandemic.


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