tralac Daily News
International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, believes that the experience Greece has acquired over time in green power resources would be of immense value to South Africa as the country diversifies its own energy.
This comes as government announced a series of interventions aimed at solving the country’s worsening power crisis and expanding electricity availability to ease the ongoing load shedding.
According to some reports, Greece relies on a range of sources for electricity, with no one source accounting for more than 50%. In August of 2022, the non-profit online publication NPR said natural gas and renewable sources, such as wind and solar, accounted for the most power.
Pandor also spoke about shipbuilding, which is at the heart of the Greece economy and ranks as the world’s largest ship-owning nation.
Minister Baboucarr Ousmaila Joof, while speaking to the members of the press who accompanied him on the tour, said: “I feel proud of being a Gambian and I think that is the thing we need to support. The government in whatever forms will make sure it supports the local or domestic producers and create jobs.”
Minister Joof described the visit as another great day that signals a lot to him in terms of the potential to create jobs in this country and also to address food security. “Because a lot of what we eat is connected to flour which we know the raw materials are not available in the country yet.”
President Muhammadu Buhari says the newly inaugurated Lekki Deep Sea Port and the Imota Rice Mill are projected to generate economic benefits valued at 200 billion dollars. He spoke on Monday night at a State Dinner in his honour during his two-day official visit to Lagos State to commission landmark infrastructure projects undertaken by the State Government and the private sector, MRS Holdings Limited.
According to him, the projects will create more than 300,000 direct and indirect jobs adding that these labour-intensive projects, which will contribute to job creation in the country, fit well with his Administration’s plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
He expressed delight that the alignment between Lagos State and the Federal Government, since 2015, has more than delivered the dividends of democracy for the good people of the State.
Through various policies, legislation and executive orders, we have worked very hard to facilitate private enterprise in Nigeria. ‘‘The results of this can be seen in the many thriving businesses across Lagos State, in manufacturing, oil and gas, creative industries, services, digital economy and many more, creating tens of thousands of jobs and economic opportunities for Nigerians. ‘‘I have no doubt whatsoever that posterity will be kind to us on account of these landmark projects and successes,” he said.
New data released by the Central Bank of Kenya reveals that the country’s diaspora remittances rose by 8.34 percent to $4 billion in 2022. This now places diaspora remittance as the second top earner of foreign currency closing in on exports, which brought in $5.8 billion worth of foreign currency in the same period.
Tea still remains the top leading export for Kenya, having earned the country a whopping $1.2 billion in 2022 last year. Horticulture followed closely at $901 million, chemicals $521 million, coffee $301 million, and petroleum products $77 million.
The creation of the diaspora state department by President William Ruto’s administration is meant to boost diaspora relations for Kenyans.
Botswana has made use of its wealth to build a robust social welfare system in the country, providing free education to its citizens and availing reliable health care. The mere existence of diamonds, however, is not the secret to Botswana’s miraculous growth. Oduetse Motshidisi, CEO of Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority says the role of Botswana’s institutions made the definitive difference in the country’s success. “Our institutional strength and legitimacy assures that there is proper governance, rule of law and most importantly, stops corruption and other activities that are harmful. The institutional structure and the resilience of those institutions and their ability to withstand challenges and threats makes a great difference,” he says.
Apart from mining, Botswana also relies on tourism and agriculture.
“Early this year, we imposed a two-year import ban on horticultural products. Now tomatoes, ginger, garlic, potatoes are locally produced and it is encouraging how people have responded to the ban,” states Fidelis Molao, Minister of Minister of Agriculture, Development and Food Security. “The agricultural sector currently contributes 2% to the GDP. The sector is undergoing transformation and there are a lot of opportunities. We are targeting communities who seem to be low on the economic ladder because agriculture is a major employer for these groups of people,” mentions Professor Julius R. Atlhopheng, CEO of National Agricultural Research and Development Institute.
The Port of Maputo achieved a new handling record in 2022, registering growth of 20% over 2021. The total volume handled last year was 26.7-million tons, compared with 22.2-million tons in 2021. This growth reflects the efficient use of rehabilitated berths 6, 7, 8 and 9, inaugurated in May last year, and the implementation of 24-hour operations at the Lebombo/Ressano Garcia border in April.
“The port has definitely been reaping the fruits of the major infrastructure developments performed in the last four years,” says Maputo Port Development Company (MPDC) CEO Osório Lucas.
“The decision of the government of Mozambique to establish a 24-hour border operation has also positively impacted the whole Maputo Corridor. “Paired with the investments made by the port in systems, including system integration with entities such as Customs and Km4, which contributed to the improvement in efficiencies, we have registered this growth in port volumes.”
Heads of African Investment Promotion Agencies, businessmen and women as well as academia will meet in Accra on Wednesday, January 25, to strategise on how African nations can add value to natural resources through Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to boost their economies and create jobs. The discussions will be held during the First Assembly of African Investment Promotion Agencies (AAIPA) meeting at the Kempinski Gold Coast City Hotel, Accra. This will take place alongside the Africa Prosperity Dialogue series, to discuss ways to enhance economic growth and transformation of the continent.
The GIPC Boss noted that even though Africa had many natural resource endowments, including lithium, bauxite, and gold, and with 70 per cent of the world’s arable lands, it was still a small player in terms of global FDI attraction with only 5.2 per cent.
“We need to take advantage of the AfCFTA for wealth creation on the continent. If you look at the 480 major companies in Africa generating a billion dollar per year, most of them are multinationals and so we need indigenous ones to grow and create jobs for the teeming youth in Africa,” Mr Grant said.
He lamented the low percentage of intra-African trade, hovering around 18 per cent, and urged African leaders to leverage on the huge population of the continent; 1.4 billion, for wealth creation.
Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have validated the implementation modalities of the Green Pass – an initiative meant to attest conformity to specific Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) requirements as the region promotes small scale cross border fish trade.
COMESA Secretariat is implementing the Green Pass Project under the EU funded Small-Scale Cross Border Trade Initiative (SSCBTI), with a pilot on fish originating from Luangwa District in Zambia and traded across several borders, including the DRC through the Kasumbalesa border post.
To date, the Secretariat has implemented different activities of the project which includes establishment, procurement and commissioning of a mini-lab facility at Luangwa Border post. The lab contains rapid test kits, weighing scales, a container office and IT equipment.
They have also conducted capacity building of SPS and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Regulatory Authorities for the DRC, Zambia, Zimbabwe and fish traders on risk-based food safety and self-regulation.
During the workshop, SSCBTI Project Team Leader Mr Tasara Muzorori made a presentation on the Simplified Trade Regime Programme under which the Green Pass Initiative is being implemented. He gave a highlight of the main objectives of the STR which includes enabling small scale traders to benefit from preferential tariffs of the free trade regime of COMESA, simplifying trade and customs processes and helping in bringing the informal trade into formal trade among others.
“The STR is a good programme and we commend Member States for embracing the Green Pass initiative which aims at facilitating and fast-tracking small-scale cross border trade across with minimum disruptions. Through this initiative, there is a reduction to overall trading costs for small scale traders, through simplification and consolidation of SPS/TBT measures and border verification procedures,” Mr Muzorori added.
Trade experts from seventeen countries under the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Agreement met in Nairobi, Kenya on 23rd and 24th January 2023 for the Tripartite Trade Negotiation Forum (TTNF) were they reviewed progress made on various thematic areas needed to make the TFTA operational and unlock enhanced trade and investment opportunities. This is intended to benefit the 29 COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Member States.
The 21st Meeting of the TTNF discussed matters from the previous conference which included the exchange of tariff offers, signature and ratification of the TFTA Agreement, the Tripartite Resource Mobilisation Strategy, establishment of the Simplified Trade Regime and the study on trade in services.
High on the agenda was the need for Member/Partner States to re-commit themselves to the full operationalization of all the three pillars of the Tripartite namely; Market Integration, Infrastructure Development and Industrial Development.
Speaking during the opening of the meeting, Principal Secretary in Kenya’s State Department for Trade Mr Alfred K’Ombudo commended the eleven countries that have ratified the TFTA and urged the others to do the same.
“This year, let us ensure that we achieve the necessary signature, ratifications, and exchange of tariff offers. Let us consolidate our efforts toward the implementation of trade facilitation instruments and create room for businesses to trade and the private sector to invest,” said Dr Christopher Onyango, Director of Trade and Customs at COMESA Secretariat. He used the opportunity to commend the African Development Bank (AfDB) for its financial support to the Tripartite programme.
Ghana is leading Anglophone West Africa scoring 66.0% in the 2022 digital competitiveness index, according to Digital Foundation Africa’s survey According to the survey, Ghana topped other African states including Cote D’Iovire, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Niger amongst others, by implementing good policies to enhance its digital sectors. The second country in line is Carbo Verde with 65.5%, followed by Nigeria which ranked third with 65.0%. Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania were ranked the worst digital competitive West African states.
A statement issued by Digital Foundation Africa said, “The Index measures, access and rank which of the West Africans states is implementing, adopting while using good policies among other uses of digital services while mapping the growth of its digital development sectors for socio-economic transformations”.
Airlines are constantly developing innovative ways to drive partnership benefits and African airlines should be no exception. The partnership options available are diverse and sometimes complex, involving increasingly integrated structures that require careful consideration and upfront due diligence. The extent to which African airlines have progressed along the partnership continuum varies.
The economic growth, tourism and intra-African trade potentials are good new traffic opportunities in the intra-African air transport market. Trade and tourism support air transport, and efficient services generate additional tourism development. In other liberalised markets, intra-regional trade led to increased traffic.
Trade and air transport have a symbiotic relationship and are closely linked. Air transport and trade sectors are modest within Africa. Policymakers have adopted the SAATM and AfCFTA as flagship programmes; stakeholders need to work smart to boost these sectors.
Air transport is among the priority services sectors selected as the subjects of the first round of liberalisation under the AfCFTA trade-in services negotiations. A well-functioning air transport service sector also delivers positive effects on intra-African passenger travel that is likely to spark growth in education, healthcare, and tourism services.
The UK Minister for Development and Africa will emphasise the importance of the UK working with African countries to grow economies and boost food security, on a 2-day visit to Senegal, starting today (Tuesday 24 January). Arriving in Dakar, Andrew Mitchell will hail the important relationship between the UK and Senegal, a country, with huge economic potential.
Representing the UK at the Dakar 2 Feed Africa Summit, an African-led initiative, the Minister will listen to African leaders talk about the causes of rising food insecurity and hear their vision for accelerating agricultural transformation, with the aim of maximising the UK’s impact in alleviating food shortages across the continent. The UK is working with regional organisations like AGRA, Regional Economic Communities and the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to help strengthen food trade in Africa.
Economic development is crucial to tackling challenges like food insecurity and climate change and on his visit Mr Mitchell will explore opportunities to expand UK investment into the country to make a real and lasting positive impact. The UK-Africa Investment Summit in 2020 announced 27 deals worth over £6.5 billion from across Africa. It also announced £9 billion worth of investment decisions.
During his visit, he will see the impact of such investment to date, including a $1.7 billion partnership between British International Investment and DP World which features a new container port at Ndayane, Senegal’s largest onshore investment. The port will enable the creation of over 20,000 new jobs and help unblock barriers to greater economic growth.
German Development Minister Svenja Schulze on Tuesday outlined Germany’s overarching development policy vision for the African continent. Berlin aims to work with national governments and organizations to address challenges that could lead to mass migration, new conflicts and pandemics, and higher global carbon emissions.
The development minister said that, with the continent’s young, rapidly growing population, the core of Germany’s new strategy should be job creation. Schulze praised Africa as an emerging continent, rich in wind, sun, and mineral resources, with a population that would rise to 2.5 billion by 2050 with just under half of Africans being under 20 years old. As such, she said, some 25 million jobs need to be created each year.
The EU regularly exports large quantities of poultry meat to West African countries. These exports have been criticized for harming importing countries in West Africa and exacerbating poverty there. The reason: Cheap imports depress the local price of chicken, making life difficult for local smallholders.
Researchers at the Universities of Bonn and Göttingen have now used the example of Ghana to calculate the effects that would result if the country were to significantly increase its import tariffs for poultry meat or even stop imports completely.
The EU mainly exports chicken parts in large quantities to various West African countries, including Ghana. “The topic is much discussed when it comes to poverty, international trade and Europe’s role for the agricultural sector in Africa,” says Prof. Dr. Matin Qaim of the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn.
The researchers calculated what the effects would be if Ghana were to significantly increase its import tariffs for poultry meat or even stop imports completely. The result: Domestic prices would, in fact, rise. If imports were stopped, local producers would get over a third more for selling their chicken – though most households in Ghana would not benefit.
Coinciding with the final days of the 2023 World Economic Forum, which was aptly themed “Cooperation in a Fragmented World”, the Africa Collective event aimed to identify concrete means of cooperation between attendees. The Collective convened a cross-section of over 80 key decision-makers from international and African corporations and pan-African governmental agencies to discuss how regional integration efforts, including the AfCFTA, are propelling opportunities in Africa..
H.E. Wamkele Mene said: ‘The African Continental Free Trade Area enables deeper value chain generation in Africa and makes the continent a larger, more relevant counterparty for international trade.’
Iain Williamson, CEO of Old Mutual Group said: ‘Let’s all be aware of the big prize that an integrated regional market represents. Even if the path may be difficult, there are quick wins and milestones to take right away.
The African Development Bank Group’s Acting Chief Economist and Vice President for Economic Governance and Knowledge Management, Professor Kevin Chika Urama, shares his thoughts on the inaugural Africa’s Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook report, released on Thursday 19 January.
The new biannual publication aims to provide African policymakers, global investors, researchers, and other development partners with an incisive, timely, evidence-based evaluation of the continent’s recent macroeconomic performance and short-to-medium-term outlook amid dynamic global economic developments.
Like other world regions, Africa continues to face overlapping shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change-related impacts, rising geopolitical tensions, supply chain disruptions and the tightening global financial conditions impacting key macroeconomic indicators.
Africa’s Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook Report responds to a critical need for timely information to help decision-making in a context of heightened global and regional uncertainties.
Global macroeconomic conditions have recently become uncertain, with persistent multiple shocks that make policymaking and investment decisions challenging. With these global shocks and their interaction with prevailing pockets of domestic and regional risks, the need for regular diagnosis and targeted policy actions to address their impacts on African economies is critical.
All member countries of the G20 group of economic powers seem to be buying into the idea of restructuring Ghana’s debt, alongside the Paris Club, a group of officials from major creditor countries, which is taking the forefront in setting up a creditor committee for the aforementioned objective. This step forward follows Ghana’s request for a debt restructure under a G20 Common Framework, a framework founded to aid low-income countries. Ghana’s petition for the debt restructure under the G20 Common Framework came last week, effectively making it the fourth country after Chad, Ethiopia and Zambia to do so.
This framework was created in 2020, following the global pandemic, and allows a streamlined process of coordinating creditor governments to restructure the debts of low-income countries.
It was recently reported that the country’s producer price index dropped by a whopping 25.9% in December, following the country’s currency revaluation against the dollar in the same month. Also in the same month, Ghana had introduced a debt swap program which was lauded as intuitive, and shortly after secured a staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund for a $3bn relief fund.
Let’s all become the champions the ocean needs. Let’s end the ocean emergency and preserve this precious blue gift for our children and grandchildren,” urged the UN chief. The Secretary-General was speaking from the Ocean Science Centre Mindelo, in São Vicente
For the UN Secretary-General, the Summit was also an opportunity to sound the alarm: “The ocean is life. The ocean is livelihoods. And the ocean is in trouble.” The UN chief explained that some 35 per cent of global fish stocks are over-exploited, global heating is pushing ocean temperatures to new heights, fueling more frequent and intense storms, rising sea levels, and the salinization of coastal lands and aquifers. “Meanwhile, toxic chemicals and millions of tons of plastic waste are flooding into coastal ecosystems – killing or injuring fish, sea turtles, seabirds and marine mammals, making their way into the food chain and ultimately being consumed by us,” Mr. Guterres stated. According to UN estimates, by 2050, there could be more plastic in the sea than fish.
DDG Paugam outlined the WTO’s pivotal role in opening up trade and strengthening the global trade environment. The WTO rulebook promotes market transparency, which is a “must-have to alleviate pressure on prices,” he said. The WTO is committed to keeping markets open and limiting trade restrictions to the extent possible, he added.
“If restrictions need to be implemented, dialogue with the affected countries, especially the most vulnerable ones, is essential to find solutions. The WTO Committee on Agriculture provides an effective forum for these discussions,” he said.
Rising trade tensions between the U.S. and the European Union, two of the most important global leaders when it comes to climate policy, could undermine key climate initiatives of both governments and make it harder for the world to put the brakes on climate change. The two have clashed over the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act’s requirements that products be made in America to receive certain U.S. subsidies. The EU recently announced plans for its own domestic-only clean technology subsidies in response.
The U.S. and EU also now have competing carbon tariff proposals, and these could end up undermining each other.
More than half (52%) of global commodities business intelligence company CRU’s clients in the metals and mining industries expect global gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by no more than 1% this year, according to its yearly macroeconomic survey of clients, which polled global clients from the metals and mining industries in December. The outlook is bleaker than CRU’s forecast for global GDP growth in 2023, which sits at 1.6%.
The main risks identified are closely related to each other, with energy prices driving inflation and the Russia-Ukraine war contributing to higher energy prices.
Notably, the impact of climate change this year and a further deterioration in US-China relations has slipped down the list of threats in the view of those in the metals and mining industry, with only 11% and 4% citing these issues as downside risks.