Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

SA mining output tanks 9% in year to November as power and other woes bite (Daily Maverick)

On an annual basis, the 9% fall in South African mining output in November points to an overall contraction in output for 2022. The Minerals Council SA, the main industry group representing mining companies, said last week that it estimated South African mining production declined 6% last year.  November marked the 10th consecutive monthly annual output decline in the sector, and it was the first month since June in which mineral sales fell on a yearly basis. Annual mineral sales had been rising, even as output fell, because of prices and time lags between output and sales. 

Wine export volumes hold up despite port challenges, cost pressures (Engineering News)

The main reason for the decline in export volumes year-on-year is shipping constraints at the Port of Cape Town, particularly during what had been an extended period of adverse weather conditions, which prevented ships from docking during most of April. The two-week strike at Transnet’s operations in October last year also hampered wine export volumes.

The South African wine industry exported 368-million litres of wine, valued at R9.9-billion, in 2022. Exports were 5%, or 20-million litres, lower than in 2021. The value of exports in 2022 was also lower compared with R10.2-billion worth of wine exports in 2021. However, Wines of South Africa (WoSA) deems it positive that export value only decreased by 2.4%, while the rand per litre on the whole showed marginal growth as producers navigated rising costs, shipping challenges and shortages in the supply of packaging goods.

Tanzania registers record $63 million diamond exports (The East African)

Tanzania diamond exports increased significantly to $63.1 million (Sh147.46 billion) by November 2022, the Bank of Tanzania has revealed.This is more than seven times of the $8.4 million (Sh19.63 billion) export value that was recorded in the year to November 2021. The good performance has been attributed to the country’s diamond producer Williamson Mines which is currently under suspension.

Rwanda’s economy to grow at 7.8 percent in 2023 – AfDB (The New Times)

The Ministry of Finance implied that the economy grew by 6.8 percent in 2022. In a report on Africa’s Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook released on January 19, the continental development bank says Rwanda will lead economic growth in the region mainly due to higher infrastructure spending.

2023 Economic Outlook For Nigeria (Business Post Nigeria)

In conjunction with the IMF/World Bank annual meetings, forecasts released at the July World Economic Outlook in 2022 projected Nigeria’s inflation to fall to 17% and an increase in its Gross Domestic Product GDP by 3.4% in 2022 and 3.2% in 2023. Reprojected in October’s World Economic Outlook, Nigeria’s GDP is projected to drop to 3.2% in 2023, with a difference of 0.2% in the July 2022 projection. The IMF estimates that by 2023, Nigeria’s inflation will have decreased to 17% from a projected 19%.

According to the African Development Bank Group (AFDB), growth will slow, averaging 3.2% from 2022 to 2023, because of the continued low oil production and rising insecurity. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine, rising food, gas, and diesel costs, and continuous supply disruptions are all anticipated to play a part in keeping inflation high in 2022 at 16.9% and above pre-pandemic levels in 2023.

While oil exports are anticipated to slightly increase and capital inflows to rebound, an expected positive oil price shock on exports may be substantially outweighed by a poor output effect caused by lower oil production, which is fueled by inadequate infrastructure and increased insecurity.

Trade policies for the low-carbon transition need to take into account least developed country structural features (UNCTAD)

Increasing the share of manufactured goods in total exports would be beneficial to least developed countries (LDCs), but achieving industrial growth remains elusive. This goal can be jeopardized by the increasing use of trade policy measures to achieve climate or environmental goals. While these goals are legitimate, uncoordinated measures by systemically important traders can have adverse consequences for LDCs.

To attenuate them, these traders should adopt special measures to help LDCs adapt to the evolving international regulatory scene. LDCs should invest more on upgrading their productive capacities and intensify trade with regional markets.

The Utilization of Trade Preferences by COMESA Member States (UNCTAD)

Governments are increasingly negotiating Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and mega-regionals to create and expand market access for their economies. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is the latest attempt in the region. Only recently, Governments have realized the importance of using utilization rates to monitor the effective use of FTAs by their firms. The utilization of trade preferences is an instrument to measure how firms effectively use an FTA. As such, it is an essential tool that assists policymakers and administrations in establishing the effectiveness of trade agreements; and firms to realize the extent of the missed trade opportunities.

This study stems from a long-standing relationship between the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the UNCTAD Secretariat in trade and trade facilitation.

It aims at shedding light on one important aspect of regional integration, namely, the effective use of the trade preferences provided by free trade agreements (FTAs) such as the COMESA FTA and other preferential trade arrangements (PTAs) granted by QUAD Developed countries1 such as AGOA, EBA, and GSP preferences.

Morocco targeting 50% renewable use by 2030, PM tells Davos (The Rahnuma-E-Deccan Daily)

Morocco has “become a leader” in sustainable development and is targeting 50 percent reliance on renewable energy by 2030, the country’s prime minister has told a Davos forum. Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch said during a special address on Wednesday: “Renewable energies now account for 38 percent of our energy mix, and our ambition is to reach 50 or 52 percent by 2030.”

Morocco’s strategic position “gives it a place of choice in the value chains of the world,” he said, adding that the country “has one of the most abundant and cheapest resources in the world, which will help in the development of green hydrogen (and) will also play into the de-carbonization of the world.” WEF President Klaus Schwab described Morocco as “a brick in the connection between nations of the world” through its location in Africa, the continent with the fastest growth worldwide.

UK signs export finance deal with Egyptian construction titan in boost to post-Brexit trade with Africa (CityAM)

UK Export Finance has agreed a post-Brexit deal with one of Egypt’s biggest construction and engineering firms, Hassan Allam Holding, to increase cooperation across Africa. 

The agreement aims to secure investment into the UK, to promote cooperation on financing projects and encourage trade between the UK and Africa.  UKEF has up to £2bn available to support projects in Egypt, as Britain looks to spread its wings after leaving the European Union and trade globally.

Tim Reid, chief executive of UKEF said it “has supported projects in Egypt and across Africa that have transformed local infrastructure and supported livelihoods. We want to build upon these achievements, and this partnership will help us to identify future opportunities in the region where UK exporters can bring substantial benefits.”

AfCFTA is key in cushioning African LDCs from external shocks, says ECA’s Karingi (UNECA)

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is supporting regional trade integration through the African Trade Exchange Platform (ATEX), a platform enabling bulk procurement of commodities. Speaking at a session on integrating regional trade during the regional consultation on LDC5 for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in Africa and Haiti, ECA Director for Regional Integration and Trade Division, Mr. Stephen Karingi, highlighted the importance of trade within the LDCs of which 33 are in Africa.

“Mirroring Africa more broadly, the LDC’s largely import manufactured products and export goods low along critical value chains like fuel products, ores and metals, and food items,” Mr. Karingi said, expressing concern that current trade patterns have exposed African LDCs to commodity price volatilities and global shocks.

The ATEX trade platform has been established on the back of the establishment of the AfCFTA, which, if fully implemented, is set to accelerate industrialization in Africa and increase the value of intra-African trade by 400 percent and the share of intra-African trade to 26 percent by 2045. This is compared to the share of intra-African trade which was at 15 percent in 2020.

SADC continues to encourage Member States to ratify the Protocol on Industry (SADC)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) aims to achieve regional integration and eradicate poverty within the Southern African region and to attain these goals, Member States must work together for effective results on common problems and issues. Industrial development is at the centre of SADC’s regional integration agenda alongside competitiveness and market integration. The Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP2020-2030)’s endeavour has to strengthen this position by ensuring that industrialisation-related initiatives are front-loaded. The SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (SISR 2015-2063) also aims to promote SADC’s economy and deepen regional integration through structural transformation.

 As of December 2022, only five Member States had ratified, namely Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Seychelles, and Mauritius. The success of the Industry Protocol depends on the involvement of all SADC Member States to take advantage of the economies of scale that accompany a high number of Member States involved in executing activities associated with the Protocol.

Non-ratification of AU treaties slows down Africa flagship projects' implementation (The East African)

After many years of adoption, several treaties negotiated and agreed upon at African Union (AU) level remain on paper amid lack of required threshold of ratifications by the member States to pave the way for their domestication and subsequent implementation.Lack of political will has also been singled out as the reason treaties and decisions adopted at continental level cannot enter into force or are not binding in many countries, definitely denying millions of people across the continent a chance to claim rights enshrined in these policy frameworks.

Africa’s economic growth to outpace global forecast in 2023-2024 – African Development Bank biannual report (AfDB)

Africa is set to outperform the rest of the world in economic growth over the next two years, with real gross domestic product (GDP) averaging around 4% in 2023 and 2024. This is higher than projected global averages of 2.7% and 3.2%, the African Development Bank Group said in Africa’s Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook report for the region, released in Abidjan on Thursday.

With a comprehensive regional growth analysis, the report shows that all the continent’s five regions remain resilient with a steady outlook for the medium-term, despite facing significant headwinds due to global socio-economic shocks. It also identified potential risks and called for robust monetary and fiscal measures, backed by structural policies, to address them.

In remarks during the launch, African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said the release of the new report came at a time when African economies, faced with significant headwinds, were proving their resilience.

“With 54 countries at different stages of growth, different economic structures, and diverse resource endowments, the pass-through effects of global shocks always differ by region and by country. Slowing global demand, tighter financial conditions, and disrupted supply chains therefore had differentiated impacts on African economies,” he said. “Despite the confluence of multiple shocks, growth across all five African regions was positive in 2022—and the outlook for 2023–24 is projected to be stable.”

African Governments urged to provide investment incentives to reduce the cost of basic foodstuffs in the continent (EAC)

African countries have been asked to provide investment incentives to businesses operating in the agribusiness, green and blue economy in order to reduce the soaring costs of basic foodstuffs coupled with rising inflation in Africa. African Governments have further been urged to facilitate access to capital and crowd-funding to support SMEs in Africa, through the use of Government Guarantee Funds (GGFs) and Privately Driven Guarantee Funds (PDGFs) including subsidizing agricultural production for key sectors such as cereals, vegetable, and palm oil to reduce the costs of production to enhance global competitiveness.

“The economic prospects for Africa in 2023 look promising, Africa is coming out as resilient and is bound to transform the three major sectors of economic activities into a much more sustainable economic model; the extraction of raw materials (primary), the manufacturing sector (secondary) and the service industries (tertiary sector),” he said.

As Kenya, Tanzania battle for logistical superiority, inland EAC countries benefit (The Observer)

Before Kenya and Tanzania realise the fruits of their economic competition for the East and Central African logistics market, the inland countries are the major beneficiaries sooner than later.  The two coastal countries have in recent years intensified efforts to improve their infrastructure networks, both hard and soft, targeting landlocked countries in Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan, and more recently, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Ugandan imports account for more than 25 per cent of Mombasa's transit cargo business, while South Sudan's imports take another 9 per cent. However, Kenya's Mombasa port is poised to lose a big chunk of the trade volume attributed to South Sudan, as Juba pursues alternative routes. 

Here's how Africa can get back on the growth trajectory (WEF)

Could Africa be on the cusp of another long stretch of growth? Perhaps. The last sustained stretch took place in the first part of the 21st Century. Since then, the continent has experienced growth in fits and starts, with changing priorities, shifting bilateral alliances and global ‘polycrises’ coming into play.

All things considered, the 54 nations on the continent, despite a well-documented list of setbacks, hold the capacity to develop while shielding their populations from socioeconomic shocks. But what will it take? And what stands in the way?

WEF Day 3 report: Guterres' plea, trade not aid and Africa's jobs conundrum - African Business (African Business)

On the third day of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, the secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres, called for deeper global cooperation and a greater role for the private sector as the world grapples with a period unprecedented crises. 

Guterres said the world faces “a category five” storm of challenges that need urgent action. These include the risk of recession and economic slowdown, rising inequality, the cost of living crisis –especially for women and girls – and the disruption in global supply chains. Other challenges highlighted by Guterres are rising inflation, interest rates and debt levels that are straining the economies of poorer countries.

These challenges are compounded by accelerating climate change and the lack of preparedness for a future pandemic, even as the last one, Covid-19, still lingers.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which he said was in violation of international law, has also added to global turmoil, increasing the uncertainty around food and energy security, trade and nuclear safety. All these problems are interlinked, he said, adding that “it will be difficult to find solutions at the best of times and when the world is united, but these are not the best of times and the world is far from united”.

Once dominated by aid, discussions around developing Africa now focus to a much larger extent on investment – even when they feature high profile representatives of aid organisations. A panel discussion examined how investment and aid can be best deployed into frontier markets, and the roles that aid organisations can play in collaboration with governments and the private sector.

The hesitation that some investors have about Africa has been attributed to the policy environment in the continent. However, according to Vera Songwe, many countries in the continent have now adopted the reforms necessary to support investment. “Frontier markets are the most profitable these days but because of the perception of risk, they look difficult to break into,” she said.

Samaila Zubairu, who said many countries have made structural changes to their economies and are now ready to absorb capital investments. However, capital remains elusive to many frontier economies. The approach of the AFC, he said, has been to support the provision of infrastructure that

5 step-guide to shape the future of global industrial strategies (WEF)

It goes without saying that 2022 was a challenging year on many fronts. Climate change, wars and conflicts, hunger and a global energy crisis following hard on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the poorest suffering the worst impacts.

These challenges are all symptoms of long-term, underlying megatrends. We are seeing threats emerge at an unprecedented scale and pace. Meeting these challenges head-on will require all the resources at our disposal.

For a successful transition to a more stable and resilient global economy, we need more than simple, short-term “emergency measures”. Accelerating progress towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 9 – encompassing industry, innovation and infrastructure – has never been more crucial and requires a new way of thinking about industrial strategies.

Trade and Climate: EU and partner countries launch the ‘Coalition of Trade Ministers on Climate' (European Commission)

the European Commission, EU Member States, and 26 partners countries will launch “The Coalition of Trade Ministers on Climate”, the first Ministerial-level global forum dedicated to trade and climate and sustainable development issues. The Coalition will foster global action to promote trade policies that can help address climate change through local and global initiatives.

The Coalition aims to build partnerships between trade and climate communities to identify the ways in which trade policy can contribute to addressing climate change. It will promote trade and investment in goods, services and technologies that help mitigate and adapt to climate change.

A prominent element of the Coalition's agenda is to identify ways in which trade policies can support the most vulnerable developing and least developed countries that face the greatest risks from climate change.

G20's Think 20 summit concludes with Bhopal Declaration (The Siasat Daily)

The two-day Think 20 convention which was being held under the aegis of G20 concluded in Bhopal on Tuesday. Conclusion of the convention was marked by issuance of the Bhopal Declaration and a review of the last ten declarations of G20 as well. The key recommendations of the Bhopal Declaration include the need for development transformation to support transitions towards ‘Global South and Global Governance for LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment), and responsible consumption.

The subjects related to trade, triangular cooperation, climate change, environment, financing, sustainable development goals, inclusive model for development, changing geo-political scenario etc. dominated the various sessions of the two day Think 20 meeting organised under the aegis of G20.

In the plenary session 5, South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE), Nepal Chairman Dr. Posh Raj Pandey threw light on the adverse impact of changing geopolitical, geo-economic environment on trade and value chain.

Advanced technology, reducing the cost of communication and transport systems along with universal access to digitization will be helpful in empowering the value chain, said Pandey. He also stressed on South-South, North-South triangular cooperation.

Oluseun Andrew Ishola, from Centre for Management Development (CMD), Nigeria was of the opinion that promoting global business in a participatory environment rather than a competitive one is the need of the hour.


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