tralac Daily News
Niger’s political landscape is broadly stable, but the country continues to face daunting development challenges against a backdrop of fragility, which are exacerbated by a decade of conflict in the Sahel and exposure to climate shocks. Low rainfall in 2021, pushed an estimated 4.4 million people into acute food insecurity this year. Russia’s war in Ukraine added to food, petroleum, and fertilizer price pressures. Economic growth is projected to accelerate from 1.4 percent in 2021 to 7.1 percent this year, driven by private investment and the recovery in agriculture. While debt vulnerabilities have increased, the updated DSA deems debt as sustainable, and the risk of external and overall debt distress is still rated “moderate”.
The African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank Group have a concluded a technical session on how to conduct an upcoming joint study on driving development in Africa. The goal of the study, titled Key Actions to Drive Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development in Africa, is to identify key actions that will allow Africa to rise and remain at a growth level of 7% GDP.
The meeting, held from 12 -13 January 2023, brought together global experts in economic development theory and practice.
Acting Chief Economist and Vice President for Economic Governance and Knowledge Management of the African Development Bank Group, Professor Kevin Chika Urama told participants that Africa needs a new path to inclusive growth and sustainable development over the next three to four decades if the continent is to transition from low to high-income status.
He told the experts that Africa has the potential to achieve these goals and has a lot of strategies and policies to achieve them but has not been able to sustain growth rates at the levels required to sufficiently create decent jobs for citizens and achieve the structural transformation required to eradicate poverty in countries.
Despite the many challenges - structural, governance and sectoral issues that need to be addressed- Urama remains optimistic that the study results, backed by the leadership of the African Union Commission and the Bank Group, will lead to the desired outcomes. “There are several examples of successes in Africa and elsewhere to draw on as case studies to inform actionable, implementable, and transformative recommendations from the study,” Urama said.
African heads of state and government together with development partners will gather in Senegal to strategically map plans to unlock Africa’s food-producing potential and position the continent to become a breadbasket to the world. President Macky Sall of Senegal, and Chairperson of the African Union, will host the three-day Dakar II Food summit from 25 January, with the African Development Bank Group as co-host.
The agenda of the Summit whose theme is, Feed Africa: Food Sovereignty and Resilience, is the improvement of Africa’s food nutrition and security; leveraging the continent’s huge agricultural resources; boosting international trade, expanding market share, and production and processing value addition. The continent is home to a third of the world’s 850 million people living with hunger.
With the removal of barriers to agricultural development aided by new investments, Africa’s agricultural output could increase from $280 billion per year to $1 trillion by 2030.
The Horticulture Directorate has opened a two-week window for the export of off-season mature avocados following the closure of exports in November last year. The move is to allow farmers and orchards that have mature avocados to export the fruits within the issued time frame. Head of the directorate Benjamin Tito said the survey conducted in the first week of January showed that there is at least 10-35 percent of mature avocado in the east of Rift and 10-30 percent in the west of Rift, which needs to be exported.
The main season for the export of avocado starts on March 15 this year, and this has compelled the regulator to offer relief to exporters who have ready fruits.
The exporters are required to apply to the directorate for field inspection and approval before harvesting. The move is aimed at curbing the export of immature crops that have previously had a negative impact on Kenya’s export markets, risking a ban on the country’s produce.
Global steel prices have increased 29.5 percent in three months amid declined production indicating a spike in the cost of constructing houses and other infrastructure.
This comes amid a slowed global crude steel production, especially in China, which is the top-producing nation at 52 percent of international output, and the leading import source market for Kenya.
The rise is expected to increase costs for developers, home buyers and infrastructure projects while further bogging down the construction sector, according to the Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK).”That means an increase in the cost of construction, which is transferred to the end user as our rates suffer because of international prices. It could also affect projects such as affordable housing and infrastructure unless the government waives some of the costs,” said Patience Mulondo from AAK.
Kenya remains a net importer of raw steel mainly from China and India with local companies manufacturing various finished products.
The price of wheat is expected to remain high following a sharp decline in the production of the commodity in Ukraine, one of the world’s top exporters. Production of grain in Ukraine has dropped to 65 million tonnes in the latest crop season from 108 million tonnes a year earlier, according to an official.
The decline, according to officials, has been attributed to a number of factors including high prices of fertiliser and war that interrupted farming activities.
The prices of wheat globally had shot to a high of $540 at the peak of the war between the two countries last year as the grain supply was cut short with the closure of the Black Sea corridor- a major grain route for grain to the world market. However, a United Nations-brokered deal saw the corridor opened in June with another extension issued in November, a move that helped to ease global prices that have now settled at $370 a tonne.
The official said that it is important for the corridor to remain open even with the ongoing aggression because of the key role that it plays in the world’s food security.
The Sh3 billion rehabilitation of the Kisumu inland port has started paying dividends following the start of MV Uhuru 1 wagon ferry operations, which is eyeing the Uganda petroleum trade. With a capacity to ship over a million litres of fuel to the landlocked country, the historic vessel built in 1966 has rekindled the fortunes of Lake Victoria as a viable transportation route.
The vessel, which was officially relaunched by former President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2019 can make up to 10 round trips in a month.
The port has also been equipped with forklift trucks, mobile cranes and tractor-trailers ready for imports and exports business.
Members of the private sector in Africa have called for the completion of negotiations on schedule of tariff offers, finalisation of work on Rules of Origin, full operationalisation of the Pan African Payment Platform and the speedy resolution of all outstanding issues germane to the effective implementation of Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). They made the call yesterday at the Lighting of the Africa Trade Torch for the implementation of AfCFTA, held in Zambia and other member state countries simultaneously.
The President of Pan-African Manufacturers Association (PAMA), Francis Meshioye, called for support for the African Union and AfCFTA Secretariat in the quest to evolve strategic approaches that will ensure trading in the AfCFTA corridor stimulates inclusive development in Africa through a strategic framework.
The framework is expected to facilitate inflow of investment into the continent, ensure upscaling of trade in manufactured goods through improved industrial capacity, as well as inclusion of women, youth, innovation and technology development in the implementation roadmap.
Others include addressing macroeconomic environment, poor competitiveness and dearth of trade facilitation infrastructure prevailing in many African countries, deliberate development of industrial inputs to reduce the intensity of reliance on the global supply chain, intentionally bringing down all the historical physical borders in Africa, facilitating peaceful co-existence and security of lives and property, as well as effective support for all organised private sector organisations in Africa.
He said the private sector plays a critical role in transforming trade in Africa, even as he affirmed their commitment to the seamless operationalization of AfCFTA.
As we begin 2023, we must be brutally honest. Our world faces a series of difficult and deeply intertwined challenges. Rising poverty, widening inequalities, a persistent pandemic and a looming global recession.
Food, energy and cost-of-living crises exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. Mounting sovereign debt and a morally bankrupt global financial system that undermines recovery in so many developing countries. Climate chaos, biodiversity loss, conflicts and human rights abuses. And a world that continues to deny women and girls their fundamental rights across every walk of life.
First, we need to re-energize the global economy through massive support to the developing world. Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals has been thrown dramatically off-track. Rescuing the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals] means ensuring that developing countries receive massive support to reduce poverty and hunger, and invest in systems like health care, education, social protection, gender equality and renewable energy.
Second, we need real, credible and ambitious climate action. Reminders of the climate emergency are everywhere. Floods, droughts, wildfires and heatwaves have struck countries across the world, hitting the poorest and most vulnerable hardest.
So, 2023 must be focused on two goals -- justice and ambition. We need justice for those who did so little to cause the crisis. An important step towards justice -- thanks in great part to the leadership of the [Group of 77] -- was the decision at COP27 [twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change] to establish a loss and damage fund.
Justice means turning this decision into effective reality. Justice means the delivery of the $100 billion commitment by the developed world. Justice means a clear and credible road map to double adaptation finance. Justice means a successful second replenishment of the Green Climate Fund. And justice means ending the war on nature and supporting developing countries in protecting the ecosystems and species that call them home.
2023 must also be focused on ambition. Ambition to close the emissions gap. And ambition to phase-out coal and accelerate the renewables revolution.
And for that, developed countries must provide -- together with international financial institutions and the private sector -- the financial and technical assistance that is needed to help major emerging economies accelerate their renewable energy transition.
And third -- we need to use the many global gatherings this year to re-energize progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
The UN-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative signed last July along with a Memorandum of Understanding, aimed at suppling markets with food and fertilizer amid global shortages and rising prices exacerbated by the Ukraine war, has now allowed 17.8 million tonnes to reach millions in need worldwide.
The critical food supplies, mostly from farms in Ukraine heavily disrupted by the continued fighting in the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion last year, have reached 43 countries since August – more than 40 per cent of them low and middle-income nations, the initiative’s Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) said in a Note to Correspondents on Wednesday.
In December, exports through Ukraine’s Black Sea ports rose to 3.7 million metric tonnes, up from 2.6 million in November, and in just the last two weeks, nearly 1.2 million metric tonnes have left port. “However, unfavourable weather conditions both in Odesa ports as well as in Turkish inspection areas have curbed some movements in the last week”, the JCC said.
To date, China has led the way in terms of receiving exports through the grain deal mechanism, based in Turkey’s largest city - the gateway to Asia and Europe, Istanbul. Spain has been the second most common destination, with Türkiye itself, third. Nearly 44 per cent of the wheat exported has been shipped to low and lower-middle income countries – 64 per cent to developing economies, the JCC reported.
The US has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia to strengthen electric vehicle (EV) battery value chains. Under the terms of the MoU, the US will support the commitment between the DRC and Zambia to develop jointly a supply chain for EV batteries.
The MoU, signed during the US-Africa Leaders Summit in December, supports the DRC’s and Zambia’s goal of building a productive supply chain, from the mine to the assembly line, while also committing to respect international standards to prevent, detect and take legal action to fight corruption throughout this process.
The DRC produces more than 70% of the world’s cobalt, and Zambia is the world’s sixth-largest copper producer and the second-largest cobalt producer in Africa. These resources, and this commitment to cooperation, are crucial components of the urgently needed global energy transition.
Principal Policy Advisor of the Economic Commission of Africa, Joseph Atta-Mensah has called for the removal of the VISA requirements among African countries. According to him, the free movement of people on the continent is necessary to propel the economic growth of Africa. Mr Atta-Mensah called for this rectification when discussing the topic ‘Africa Prosperity Dialogues: All you need to Know” on Accra-based Asaase Radio.
Mr Atta-Mensah further urged business owners in Ghana to embrace the newly-established African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which has its office situated in the country.
The East African Community (EAC) has issued a new date for the setting up of its monetary body that will spearhead the single currency project. This time around the regional organisation said the East African Monetary Institute (EAMI) is to be established this year.
EAMI will be tasked to pave the way for the single currency economy in the seven nation economic bloc. The region now plans to have a single currency regime in four year’s time, as revealed by the EAC boss, Dr Peter Mathuki.
Although the single currency is set for adoption in four years, EAMI will be in place this year “to allow us to harmonise member states’ fiscal and monetary policies.”
The single currency is one of the projects earmarked for implementation under the East African Monetary Union Protocol. It is aimed to ease business and movement of persons within the region as envisioned in the Common Market Protocol.
After connecting the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean through the admission of DR Congo, the East African Community (EAC) is now eyeing one of the longest coastlines in Africa. The drive to admit Somalia into the bloc aims to bring under control the Horn of Africa coast line that is abundantly rich in fisheries.
Somalia’s long Indian Ocean/Red Sea route that links the EA region to the Arabian Peninsula is seen as a vibrant economic zone. “It will bring immense benefits for the EAC through the exploitation of Somalia’s blue economy resources such as fish,” said the EAC secretary general, Peter Mathuki.
India to play crucial role in technology sector in G20 (Rising Kashmir)
India has a crucial role to play in its G20 presidency in the technology sector. As a country with a strong focus on technology and innovations, it has a significant role to play in bridging the digital divide. Harsh Shringla, India’s Chief Coordinator for G20, earlier said the principle of data for development will be an integral part of the overall theme of India’s presidency of the group of the world’s developed and emerging economies.
Shringla said that it was important to focus on the benefits that technological progress and evidence-based policy can provide when it comes to expanding access to healthcare and nutrition.
As G20 president, India now has the opportunity to extend its digital revolution to low and middle-income countries, which still face a significant digital divide.
East African Community, ASALs and Regional Development CS Rebecca Miano has called for new and bold ideas to tackle the drought that has continued to hit various parts of the country.Miano spoke during a high-level meeting organised by the National Drought Management Authority and USAID to develop phase two of the ending drought emergencies strategy.The meeting brought together local and international experts from various sectors to come up with a strategy to address the perennial drought problem in Kenya and the region.
The experts are expected to come up with strategies and a framework to address drought emergencies going into the future.
This report provides an assessment of whether and how multilateral platforms could bring meaningful improvements to the cross-border payments ecosystem. It was written by the Bank for International Settlements’ Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) in collaboration with the BIS Innovation Hub, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. The report analyses the potential costs and benefits of these platforms and how they might alleviate some of the cross-border payment frictions. It also evaluates the risks, barriers and challenges to establishing multilateral platforms and explores two paths for their evolution. The analysis is based on a stocktake, conducted by the CPMI, of existing and potential multilateral platforms as well as bilateral discussions with existing platform operators.