Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

South Africa: Renewables industrialisation plan to be aligned to expected surge in private projects

The newly appointed facilitator of the South African Renewable Energy Masterplan (SAREM) expects a draft document to be completed by mid-2023 and for the final masterplan to be negotiated before year-end. Gaylor Montmasson-Clair has also indicated that the industrialisation plan will be adjusted to the emerging reality that private rather than public procurement is likely to underpin a significant portion of future demand. Appointed SAREM facilitator by Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe in December, Montmasson-Clair tells Engineering News that significant progress has already been made in researching specific industrialisation opportunities linked to South Africa’s public procurement of renewable energy and storage.

That document sets an aspirational target to progressively localise 70% of the components used in solar photovoltaic and wind projects procured under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) by 2030, as well as a goal of localising 90% of the balance of plant by that same date.

Kenya and South Africa are working to address trade barriers: where to start (The Conversation)

Trade volumes between Kenya and South Africa have always been minimal compared to each country’s engagement with its other major trading partners. But in recent years, leaders of the two countries have been taking steps to stimulate trade. South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa was on the same mission late last year when he addressed the Kenya-SA Business Forum in Nairobi.

What are the major imports and exports between South Africa and Kenya? Paul Odhiambo: Kenya’s exports to South Africa (in 2020) included gold, soda ash and cut flowers. In 25 years, the exports of Kenya to South Africa increased at an annualised rate of 0.49%, from US$30.7 million in 1995 to US$34.6 million in 2020. Kenya also unveiled its plans to start exporting meat to South Africa from December 2022. South Africa exported US$513 million to Kenya in 2020. The main products exported from South Africa to Kenya were coal briquettes, delivery trucks and semi-finished iron. Over the last 25 years, South Africa’s exports to Kenya increased at an annualised rate of 2.94%, from US$249 million in 1995 to US$513 million in 2020. The two countries have rarely traded in services with each other.

Vietnam – South Africa trade hoped to take strides: Ambassador (VietnamPlus)

Trade between Vietnam and South Africa is expected to further expand on the basis of the current solid foundation, Vietnamese Ambassador to the country Hoang Van Loi has said. In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency, the diplomat said Vietnam is likely to boost its export of farm produce, ceramics, furniture, and consumer goods, and it will import fresh fruits, coal, minerals, and chemicals from the African nation.

He noted that Vietnamese enterprises are exploring opportunities to not only import goods from South Africa but also take into account the possibility of investment in production and taking advantage of raw materials and preferential tax policies for producing export goods. Two-way trade between Vietnam and South Africa in 2022 hit 1.3 billion USD. Loi said that there is an ample room for Vietnam and South Africa to further strengthen economic, trade and investment cooperation.

Kenya risks sugar crisis on shortage in global market (Business Daily)

Kenya might fail to secure stocks of sugar at the international market even with the opening of duty-free imports owing to high prevailing global prices and a shortage of the commodity world over, a move that will keep the cost high on the shelves. Sugar Directorate head Willis Audi says the cost of sugar in the global market remains high and this may hinder imports. The government opened an import window in December that would see traders ship in 100,000 tonnes of sugar outside of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) region to curb an imminent shortage that has pushed up its cost.

“We are not sure if there is that sugar in the market and if it is there, the prices might be higher and this may impact imports,” he said. Last year, traders struggled to ship in the quota Kenya had been allocated by the Comesa, bringing in 115,000 tonnes against the required 180,000 tonnes by the end of last November.

Non–oil Exports Rose to $4.8bn in 2022 (Voice of Nigeria)

Nigeria’s non-oil exports grew by 39.91 percent in 2022 to $4.820 billion, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council NEPC revealed on Friday. Semi-processed/manufactured products made up 36.61 percent of the exports beating Agriculture’s 30.12 percent volume of non-oil exports, while precious stones made up 17.06 percent, and others 13.21 percent.

This was revealed by the Executive Director/CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Ezra Yukusak, during the presentation of the non-oil export performance for the year 2022 in Abuja. According to the NEPC boss, figures were retrieved from various Pre-shipment inspection agents appointed by the Federal Government under the Pre-shipment Inspection Act, of 2004.

Yakusak noted that the country’s non-oil export record for 2022 reached its highest since the establishment of the NEPC 47 years ago, acknowledging export intervention programmes by the NEPC over the years. He said, “About 214 different products ranging from manufactured, semi-processed, solid minerals to raw agricultural products were exported in 2022.

AfCFTA to boost Nigerian exports by 15% – Buhari (Nairametrics)

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will increase Nigeria’s exports by more than 15 percent in fishery, textile, leather, wood and papers, metals, electronics, vehicles and transport equipment. African leaders must also build the requisite infrastructure and also actively promote productive employment and a decent workplace, to explore the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

This was disclosed by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari at the ninth African Shippers’ Day with the theme: “African Continental Free Trade Agreement: A Veritable Platform for African Shippers’ to Mainstream into Global Trade,” on Monday in Lagos.

Poor quality agric export rejection costs Nigeria $700m (The Niche)

Nigeria has suffered $700 million loss over rejection of agricultural produce export to Europe alone, according to African Export-Import Bank (Afrixembank) Board of Trustees (BoT) Chairman Benedict Oramah. But he disclosed at the commissioning of the Africa Quality Assurance Centre (AQAC) in Sagamu, Ogun State that Afrixembank is addressing the problem. “Due to poor quality over $700 million worth of agro-produce are rejected from Europe alone. “About 76 per cent of exports from Africa are rejected annually. We are working with a lot of organisations to create the framework for the harmonisation of standards across the continent,” he disclosed.

A new era for global business and investment in Africa (WEF)

The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was established in 2018 to provide opportunities for the world to benefit from the continent’s economies and businesses.

A new report from the World Economic Forum, AfCFTA Secretariat and Forum partners provides tools and strategies for leveraging the new trade area’s opportunities. Four sectors – the automotive industry, agriculture and agro-processing, pharmaceuticals, and transportation and logistics – were analyzed in the report as they are expected to accelerate in production and trade volumes under the AfCFTA.

Africa’s free trade on track, more efforts needed (Africa Renewal)

It’s the second year of business on Africa’s biggest trading platform – the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) - and it isn’t going to be business as usual in the continent’s single biggest trading bloc. Expectations are high and a new push by African ministers may have just provided the AfCFTA with the much-need impetus. It’s also expected to top the agenda at the African Union Heads of State and Government Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, early this year. Critically, the new year provides an opportunity to reflect on the journey so far, and also look ahead.

So far eight countries—Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania and Tunisia—are already participating in the AfCFTA’s Guided Trade Initiative (GTI), representing five regions across the continent.

The AfCFTA, an opportunity for Africa’s youth to accelerate trade and industrialization (UNECA)

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is an opportunity for young people to accelerate Africa’s industrialization and economic transformation through entrepreneurship, youths say, calling for an enabling policy framework. Through its Youth Protocol, the AfCFTA recognises that young people can play a critical role in the achievement of the free trade zone by initiating youth-led initiatives in agriculture, financial technology, IT and in the creative industry.

AfCFTA: Buhari urges Africa to diversify boost trade (SUN)

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged African countries to expand and diversify their participation in international trade to explore the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). Buhari made the call at the ninth African Shippers’ Day with the theme: “African Continental Free Trade Agreement: A Veritable Platform for African Shippers’ to Mainstream into Global Trade,” on Monday in Lagos. Buhari said that the participation of African countries in international trade would create wealth, generate employment and reduce poverty.

The turning point for Africa’s air cargo (Logistics Update Africa)

Africa closed out 2022 with remarkable achievements in driving air transport liberalisation, harmonisation of air services agreements and harmonisation of air transport economic regulation. This unprecedented turn-of-events has raised strong hopes across the continent and viewed as a prelude to more outstanding achievements in air transport liberalisation and aviation development in 2023.Africa has in recent years sought to establish a workable and updated framework to actualise unfettered air transport market access within Africa for African airlines, and for the benefit of Africa’s economy.

Liberalisation in Africa had continually stalled since the concept was established by Africa’s top political leaders as a Declaration in 1988, which was firmed up as the Yamoussoukro Decision (YD) in 1999. Africa has painstakingly rejigged the YD liberalisation framework under a new implementation mechanism called the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) which was launched by the African Union (AU) in January 2018 in Addis Ababa. Towards the end of 2022, the SAATM, with the approval of the AU, was fitted out with updated and improved vital instruments including the dispute settlement mechanism and competition rules which were previously lacking in the YD and largely caused stagnation of the YD. With this, Africa is set to implement its liberalisation under the SAATM.

African eLogistics Platforms Improve Fragmented Supply Chains for B2B Firms (PYMNTS.com)

Africa’s e-Logistics platforms are expanding across the continent looking to streamline cross-border supply chains. In a region of 17 landlocked countries embedded in long and often complex supply chains, the continent faces a number of unique logistical challenges. Companies like Ghanaian startup Jetstream, which announced Tuesday (Jan. 10) that it secured $13 million in a pre-Series A funding round, are looking to tackle those inefficiencies by digitizing African logistics networks and connecting importers, exporters and freight companies.

In addition to the more pure-play logistics startups that have arisen in recent years, fully integrated end-to-end supply chain platforms are also proving popular. B2B marketplaces have developed digital solutions that take much of the hassle out of juggling multiple suppliers and distributors by creating Amazon-style eCommerce and delivery platforms for businesses.

Instead of businesses having to shop around with multiple suppliers and having to stay on top of their various delivery partners, the new generation of B2B eCommerce platforms are simplifying procurement processes for African companies while looking to add value with the addition of payment and credit services.

A PYMNTS study, “New Payments Options: Why Consumers Are Trying Digital Wallets” finds that 52% of US consumers tried out a new payment method in 2022, with many choosing to give digital wallets a try for the first time.

African trade encouraged by improved 2023 country risk outlooks (Trade Finance Global)

PANGEA-RISK CEO Robert Besseling anticipates some positive risk trends in Africa in 2023. Indeed, African economies will exceed global growth averages on the back of resilient commodity prices. Distressed debt will be treated to avoid chaotic default scenarios, while more foreign investment will return as diverse investors seek higher yield. Moreover, maturing democratic systems ensure that socio-economic grievances will increasingly be aired in the political arena, i.e., at elections, rather than on the street.

EAC to set up regional central bank this year (The East African)

A decision to set up the East African Monetary Institute — the Central Bank of East Africa — will be made this year, a key establishment required in implementing a single currency regime. East African Community (EAC) Secretary-General Dr Peter Mathuki said the Council of Ministers is expected to plan on the location of the EAMI this year. Over the recent past, member states have been jostling to host the EAMI, each angling to avail themselves of the massive potential to attract foreign capital and become the region’s financial hub.

“The EAMI will be in place this year in what will allow us to harmonize member states’ fiscal and monetary policies, then in about three years we will have a common currency in place,” he told journalists last week. The single currency will ease business and movement of persons within the region, which would achieve the bloc’s goal of becoming as envisioned in the Common Market Protocol.

EAC startups raised $1.2 billion in 2022 – Report (Garowe Online)

The startups within the Eastern African region raised $1.2 billion in 2022. This is a 115 percent increase compared to 2021 when startups raised $600 million. Current data from The Big Deal reveals that this is a huge milestone as the region reached the $1 billion mark for the first time resulting in its revenue share for continental funding more than doubling from 12 percent in 2021 to 26 percent in 2022.

Kenya occupied the second position in the continent as start-ups raised a record $1 billion from international investors in 2022. Nigeria retained position one with $1.1 billion (Sh148.1 billion) while Egypt came in third place with $818 million ($101.2 million) and South Africa $548 million (Sh62.9 billion).

Africa Carbon Markets Initiative builds on momentum from COP27 (New Business Ethiopia)

Today, the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI) announced 13 action programs. Steering committee members, made up of African leaders, CEOs, and carbon credit experts, met at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week to build on early momentum and set out further ambitions.

ACMI was inaugurated in November 2022 at COP27 with a bold, long term-ambition for the continent – to reach 300 million credits retired annually by 2030. This level of ambition would unlock $6 billion in income and support 30 million jobs. By 2050, ACMI is targeting over 1.5 billion credits annually in Africa, leveraging over $120 billion and supporting over 110 million jobs.

Vaccine manufacturing in Africa — strategies to achieve the 2040 vision (Businessday)

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has set an ambitious target to manufacture 60% of Africa’s routine vaccine needs by 2040. The African Union and Africa CDC therefore launched Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM), planning an investment of $1.3Bn to develop the vaccine industry on the continent. Considering this, concerted efforts are being made by the Africa CDC to translate this ambitious 2040 goal into a strategic roadmap with workable solutions for the development of vaccine manufacturing in Africa.

In recent years, the impact of Covid-19 and Africa-specific outbreaks have resulted in increasing conversations among African and global public health leaders on the need for Africa to become self-reliant by providing its own vaccine supplies. Other factors have also contributed to this sense of urgency. One factor is the strong rise in demand for vaccines, as the African population continues to grow rapidly despite persisting gaps in immunisation coverage.

New technologies have led to a growing economics in support of local vaccine manufacturing. In the last few years, fast pace technology innovations, such as small scale disposable technologies, high-density bioreactors, and innovation in fill-and-finish, seen at every step of the bio-manufacturing workflow, are reducing vaccine production costs. Another critical factor is the deepening political and regulatory support. The last few years have seen an increase in political commitments in steering the local vaccine manufacturing agenda. Continental initiatives, such as AfCFTA and integration of vaccine markets across the continent, are improving.

6 steps to expanding health product manufacturing in Africa (WEF)

From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa has remained among the last in line to access necessary medical supplies and tools — from personal protective equipment and diagnostics to treatments and vaccines.

Limited local manufacturing means that many countries were, and continue to be, reliant on imports. These challenges are not new — the pandemic merely highlighted the continent’s long-standing, inequitable access to lifesaving medical products. Vaccination rates in Africa are still far too low.

As a result, concerted efforts are underway to strengthen Africa’s capacity to develop and produce health products that meet its needs. Several countries already have capabilities in vaccine and drug manufacturing and fill and finish capacity — the steps that follow production, such as filling syringes, labelling, packaging and quality inspection. But there remains a significant gap to close.

Chinese imports could undermine Ethiopian manufacturing – leaving women workers worst off (The Conversation)

China is now the African continent’s largest trading partner, accounting for US$254 billion in 2021. It’s also the main country of origin for African manufacturing imports, providing 16% of Africa’s total in 2018. In most African countries the influx of Chinese products has become a major concern because of the implications for industrialisation. A flood of cheaper Chinese products could set back Africa’s infant or domestic industries. Domestic manufacturers that couldn’t compete would be forced to exit the market and would not create jobs. There are serious implications for the continent’s economic development, because industrialisation is widely seen as critical to improving living standards. There are also concerns about the impact Chinese manufactured exports are having on wages in importing countries.

45TH Session of the Permanent Representatives Committee Speech of H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat Chairperson of The African Union Commission

The present session that opens now will remain marked by the issues of the day that continue to considerably impact the Continent, among which are the COVID-19 pandemic, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and its impacts on multilateralism and food security.

The completion of the Institutional Reform of our Union must further engage our attention. The adoption, through you, of the First phase of the Transition Plan and the Financing Strategy of the new Departmental Structure of the Commission made it possible to provide the Commission with a managerial team selected according to the new evaluation rules established by the Executive Council.

In view of the Institutional Reform, we should take note of the establishment of our new structures, in particular the African Medicines Agency (AMA) which supplements the architecture of health systems on the Continent. Added to this is the African Humanitarian Agency, whose full operationalisation will respond to the numerous needs provoked by all manner of natural disasters and the multiple ongoing conflicts on the Continent.

Africa seeks bigger US trade slice for Agoa to make sense (The East African)

African countries may need more trade privileges with the US even as Washington reviews the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) meant to expand what the continent will export. At the end of the US-Africa summit in December, Washington pledged to renew Agoa, bringing clarity to uncertainties that had befell exporters from countries such as Kenya.

But now experts say the narrow view of Agoa should be expanded to allow them to export more goods and hence benefit more countries that are able to make a diversified list of goods.”Agoa has to be expanded in two ways; expanded in its product coverage and in terms of country coverage,” said Melaku Desta, Coordinator of the African Trade Policy Centre, UN Economic Commission for Africa.

It offers almost 6,500 products duty-free access to US markets. Many of these exporters are small and medium enterprises, enterprises that can grow by leveraging Agoa to their benefit. As of December 31, 2022, only 36 sub-Saharan Africa countries are eligible for the Agoa.

US delists Burkina Faso from its Africa trade preference program (The North Africa Post)

The United States has dropped Burkina Faso from its trade preference program citing deep concerns over “unconstitutional change” in government in the West African country, according to a statement by the office of the US Trade Representative (USTR). The USTR’s office said Burkina Faso had failed to meet the requirements of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) statute and would be given “clear benchmarks” for a pathway towards reinstatement to the trade program, adding that Washington would work with Ouagadougou.

The United States had halted nearly $160 million in US aid to Burkina Faso after determining the ouster of President Roch Kabore in January 2022 constituted a military coup, triggering aid restrictions under US law.

The Making of an African-European Energy Trade Route (The Maritime Executive)

In the past year, there has been a significant shift in European energy policy triggered by Russia’s war in Ukraine. With Europe moving swiftly to reduce dependency on Russian gas imports, finding new sources has been imperative. Indeed, with European and US sanctions on Russian exports, a new energy era is in the offing. As the Western world implements its new oil cap policy on Russian crude, 2023 heralds a partitioned global oil market.

Traditionally, oil and gas has freely flowed around the world, guided by the usual market forces of supply and demand. However, there is now an apparent division between the East and the West in energy supply. Russia is now directing most of its energy to India and China. On the other hand, the U.S, the Middle East and some shipments from Africa are helping to plug the energy gap in Europe.

In an interview with the Financial Times last week, Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said the EU should look to Africa as a new source for its energy. Descalzi believes that a Europe-Africa collaboration on energy matters offers a better option or replacing Russian imports than the U.S market.

“Africa offers potential for a new south-north axis connecting the continent’s abundant renewable energy and fossil fuel sources with the energy-hungry markets of Europe. We don’t have the energy, they have the energy…There is a strong complementarity,” commented Descalzi. Reflecting this shift, Eni has intensified its focus on African energy resources over the past year. When the Italian government sought to replace over 20 billion cubic meters of gas it previously imported from Russia, Eni quickly looked to its African partners for extra deals.

Trade partners see red over Europe’s green agenda (POLITICO)

The EU’s green ambitions are, for its trading partners, turning into a case of the road to hell being paved with good intentions.

Developing nations, especially, worry that Brussels is throwing up trade barriers in its pursuit of climate neutrality and sustainable food production. To them, it looks like all the EU can export is rules that will hold back their own economic progress.

The EU’s ambitions to become climate neutral by 2050 — its so-called Green Deal — herald a huge economic transformation for the world’s largest trading bloc. Now that the Green Deal is being translated into actual legislation, developing nations are waking up with a hangover of its effects.

The EU’s carbon border levy is the latest, and most symbolic, measure to upset the EU’s trade partners. The idea is that producers importing carbon-intensive products into the bloc will have to buy permits to account for the difference between their domestic carbon price and the price paid by EU producers.

Global trade faces a stagnant decade lagging the world economy (Moneyweb)

International trade will grow more slowly than the global economy over most of the next decade as the war in Ukraine reshapes strategic alliances and alters the flow of cross-border commerce, a new report says. World trade’s annual expansion rate will average 2.3% through 2031, compared with an increase in global gross domestic product of 2.5% on average each year over the same period, according to forecasts from Boston Consulting Group. Trade largely tracked the growth rate of world GDP during the decade preceding the pandemic. So the report predicts the worst stretch of stagnant globalisation since the World Trade Organisation was established more than a quarter century ago. “After nearly 30 years of a comparatively secure trade environment, we are in the midst of a new East versus West dynamic, with a US- and EU-led community and a China-Russia counterpart, along with the potential emergence of a third grouping of non-aligned nations,” said Nikolaus Lang, a BCG managing director and a co-author of the report.

Here’s how to stimulate and sustain supply chain resilience (WEF)

Businesses looking to optimize their global value chains have always had to find a way to circumvent trade tensions and bottlenecks. Most recently, there has been a shift towards reshoring operations to increase resilience while decreasing transport costs to meet the growing demand for locally-made products and faster delivery times. But public and private entities would be mistaken in believing that trade will find a way to flow. As our research with Economist Impact shows, more than half of the cargo owners say tightening monetary policy due to rising inflation will make imports and exports contract in 2023.

The global cargo community is all set to converge at air cargo Africa 2023 (Engineering News)

The continent of Africa offers limitless opportunities for trade and commerce due to rapid economic growth, rising middle class population, and expanding domestic demand. Against this backdrop, Messe Muenchen India brings the sixth edition of air cargo Africa, a leading trade fair for the global air cargo community. This platform provides the international air cargo industry with an opportunity to explore and strengthen business connections in the African continent through knowledge-rich conferences, discussion forums, and an exciting awards night.

In keeping with the latest challenges in the sector as well as existing opportunities, this edition of air cargo Africa will focus on increasing digitalisation of cargo operations, emerging technologies in logistics operations, track-and-trace solutions for a wide range of products, regulatory and policy-level discussions to improve cross border trade, and many other topics. This year the theme of air cargo Africa 2023 is ‘Move and deliver fast and fresh, better and bigger – Africa is ready’. The STAT Times Awards night on 22 February 2023 will felicitate industry leaders who have outperformed against all odds.

Review of Maritime Transport 2022: Navigating stormy waters (UNCTAD)

COVID-19, the war in Ukraine, climate change and geopolitics have wreaked havoc on maritime transport and logistics, clogging some ports and closing others, reconfiguring routes, extending delays and pushing up shipping costs.

Ships deliver over 80% of world trade, so disruptions in ports and on shipping lanes mean food, energy, medicine and other essential items don’t reach those in need. Businesses are left without supplies. And prices for producers and consumers soar. Although delays have improved and dry cargo rates are coming down, maritime transport – and thus world trade – remains vulnerable. The industry must invest now to shore up its resilience to future crises and climate change.

UN highlights need for enabling legal environment for FTAs (The Manila Times)

The United Nations said that there is a strong need for developing countries to create an enabling legal environment for electronic transactions, as digital trade and cross-border e-commerce become increasingly crucial components in trade deals, according to a legal expert. “E-commerce is increasingly being recognized and promoted in global and regional free trade agreements (FTAs) through provisions for adopting an enabling environment,” Secretariat of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (Uncitral) legal officer Luca Castellani explained in his presentation on “Uncitral legal instruments for e-commerce and paperless trade.”

“An enabling legal environment for digital trade can be established through adopting treaties and harmonizing national laws based on uniform legal standards,” Castellani pointed out. “These uniform legal standards may have global coverage, such as the Uncitral legislative texts, or regional, such as the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Data Privacy Pathfinder and APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules.”

A Missing Middle or too much Informality? (World Bank Blogs) (World Bank Blogs)

In the quest to identify plausible explanations for the gap in total factor productivity (TFP) between advanced and developing economies, recent studies have focused on cross-country differences in the size distribution of firms

A rooted conjecture is that the size distribution of firms in developing countries exhibits a missing middle, reflecting market frictions and policy distortions that discourage production at an intermediate scale. However, the literature evaluating this hypothesis has not been conclusive.

We argue that the missing middle is an elusive concept. A binary existence statement arguably obscures the relevance of the matter. In that sense, we take a step back from the controversy and uncover three key findings. First, we find evidence of missing middle in the distribution of employment shares. Second, the preponderance of informal firms is the main driver of the missing middle. Third, the missing middle does not arise at entry.

Low-carbon product demand presents opportunities for early-movers (Engineering News)

Many low-carbon products will likely be in short supply over the next decade, warns a new report from global body the World Economic Forum (WEF) and management consulting company Boston Consulting Group (BCG). “This decade presents the opportunity to see a massive scale-up of climate solutions and the creation of large markets for low-carbon materials, products and services,” says WEF head of climate change Antonia Gawel.

Heading BRICS Is an Opportunity and a Risk for South Africa (Bloomberg)

South Africa’s chairmanship of the BRICS club of nations has come at an opportune time. There’s fierce competition between the world’s powers for influence on the continent.

Already the country has set out its stall. The ruling African National Congress wants the group to be expanded and relations between the BRICS nations and the African Continental Free Trade Area member states strengthened. President Cyril Ramaphosa said this week that other African nations will be invited to the summit he will host this year.

‘SA should advance agri trade as Brics chair’ (Food for Mzansi)

With South Africa now in the driving seat of the Brics grouping of nations, the nation’s farming hotshots are hopeful that this also presents an opportunity to advance agricultural trade. This, after President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday said that South Africa will use its role as the 2023 chair to advance the interest of Africa as a whole. Other African nations will be also invited to the Brics summit in South Africa later this year.

Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo told Food For Mzansi that as the Brics chair, South Africa has an ideal opportunity to influence the agenda and advance the agricultural trade interests of the country. “China and India are some of the key markets South Africa is interested in. They are growing economies, with large populations. We will be pushing our fruits, beef, and wine interests in these markets. “South Africa’s agriculture sector is export-oriented. We already export half of what we produce in value terms. So, as we push expansion in production domestically, we will be pushing our export interests in platforms such as Brics,” he said.

A Double BurdenA Double Burden: The effects of food price increases and currency depreciations on food import bills (UNCTAD)

The price of food has increased everywhere, reaching historic levels in 2022, as stated by the Global Crisis Response Group. This is a challenge for food security globally, but particularly for net food-importing developing countries. And unlike in previous food crises, they now face a double burden. They not only pay higher prices for the food they import, but the price increase is exacerbated by the depreciation of their currency vis-à-vis the US dollar. This erodes the fiscal space that many developing countries need to face the concomitant challenges of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis, and the climate emergency.

World Bank: Recognizing and tackling a global food crisis

A combination of factors—including greater poverty and supply chain disruptions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, and high commodity prices—has increased food and nutrition insecurity. Urgent action is needed across governments and multilateral partners to avert a severe and prolonged food crisis.

For most countries, domestic food prices have risen sharply in 2022, compromising access to food—particularly for low-income households, who spend the majority of their incomes on food and are especially vulnerable to food price increases. Higher food inflation followed a sharp spike in global food commodity prices, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. At the same time, food availability is declining. For the first time in a decade, global cereal production will fall in 2022 relative to 2021. More countries are relying on existing food stocks and reserves to fill the gap, raising the risk if the current crisis persists. And rising energy and fertilizer prices—key inputs to produce food—threaten production for the next season, especially in net fertilizer-importing countries and regions like East Africa.

Globally, food security is under threat beyond just the immediate crisis. Growing public debt burdens, currency depreciation, higher inflation, increasing interest rates, and the rising risk of a global recession may compound access to and availability of food, especially for importing countries. At the same time, the agricultural food sector is both vulnerable and a contributor to climate change, responsible for one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. And agricultural productivity growth is not staying ahead of the impacts of climate change, contributing to more food-related shocks. For example, an unprecedented multi-season drought has worsened food insecurity in the Horn of Africa, with Somalia on the verge of famine.

Transforming agrifood systems requires changing policies, mindsets, and business models (FAO)

The UN Food Systems Coordination Hub (the Hub) convened today a virtual dialogue between the Food Systems National Conveners and the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu. Attended by over 200 participants, the dialogue welcomed Ministers for Agriculture and high-level national officials. “We can turn the tide through the transformation to more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient, and more sustainable agrifood systems,” Qu told representatives from around 100 countries.

The officials came together to share their efforts and ideas in planning and implementing their national pathways for agrifood systems transformation to reduce hunger, poverty, and food loss and waste, protect biodiversity and tackle climate change.

“To achieve the ambitious, transformative changes required, we need to change policies, mindsets, and business models, and each of you must take the lead in this,” the FAO DG underscored.

Global flour trade to match recent low, IGC says (BakingBusiness.com)

With significantly lower import totals projected to occur in Africa and South America, the International Grains Council (IGC) forecasts global wheat flour trade in marketing year 2022-23 to match the recent low of 13.8 million tonnes (wheat equivalent) recorded in 2020-21 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. If realized, it would be 300,000 tonnes lower than the previous year and 200,000 below the IGC’s estimate in October.

“Amid difficult economic conditions and with elevated prices for wheat-based products seen hampering consumer demand, updated trade statistics showed slower-than-anticipated deliveries to (sub-Saharan Africa) through October-November last year, with downward adjustments incorporated for Angola, Benin, and Ghana,” the IGC said. At 1.8 million tonnes, projected aggregate deliveries to the region would be the lowest in at least 12 years, the IGC said.

The persisting regional gaps in gender equality (UNCTAD)

Over the years, developed economies have reinforced their leading position. But some developing countries have made significant progress on gender equality.

UNCTAD’s Inclusive Growth Index shows that, while economic and social inequalities between women and men persist everywhere, the gaps between countries and regions are wide. The index is a relative measure of gender equality taking the best performer, Iceland, as a reference. The position of regions relative to each other has not changed much in the last two decades, though developed economies as a group have reinforced their leading position.

Africa remains the least gender equal region. But the region’s average hides stark differences. Rwanda, Ethiopia and South Africa score above the median for all countries. A dozen developing countries have made significant progress, climbing more than 10 spots. Seven of them are in sub-Saharan Africa.


Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel +27 21 880 2010