tralac Daily News
The year 2023 offers an opportunity for SADC to consolidate its development agenda and the gains made towards regional integration to positively impact the lives of citizens, including peace and security. The previous year opened the way for southern Africa to emerge from the devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic in the two years before.
With the threat of the pandemic still hanging, the Member States of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) continue to take measures to minimize its impact, while forging ahead with their integrated agenda for development.
South Africa says it appreciates the European Union’s (EU) continued support of the development cooperation aligned to the National Development Plan (NDP) and the backing it received during the COVID-19 pandemic and the creation of the local mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub.
“This support and partnership enhance Africa’s own capacities,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, said on Friday. These were Pandor’s opening remarks during the 15th South Africa-European Union Ministerial Dialogue, currently underway in Pretoria.
Egg prices to increase on shortage, expensive imports from Uganda (Business Daily)
Consumers are paying more for eggs as the price of the commodity shoots to a high of Sh450 a tray from Sh380 in November, amid scarcity and expensive imports from Uganda. The sharp rise in cost has been attributed to a scarcity in production due to rising demand from consumers. Kenya Poultry Farmers Association said the shortage had been occasioned by the high cost of feed in the last two years and a rebound in demand after the easing of the Covid-19 pandemic, which had impacted negatively on purchasing power.
In Uganda, where Kenya gets the bulk of imports to stabilise the local prices, the cost of a tray has shot from Sh205 in December to Sh308 currently, making it difficult for Kenyan traders to procure stocks there as they will have to incur another cost in transport, making it expensive when it gets to the country.
President William Ruto and President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique said the two countries will prioritize agricultural value addition, especially in the tea, sugar and coffee sectors.
President Ruto emphasized the importance of regional blocs in the facilitation of the movement of goods and people. The President expressed the need for all member countries of the East African Community (EAC), Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to ratify the Tripartite Alliance which brings together the three regional blocs.
“This will provide an improved framework for trade and investment without unnecessary hurdles,” President Ruto said.
Zimbabwe expanding grain storage capacity (World-Grain.com)
The government of Zimbabwe said it plans to spend more than $275 million over the next three years to build new Grain Marketing Board (GMB) silos and renovate and modernize older silos to serve increased grain production, which is anticipated to reach 3 million tonnes for 2022-23.
The Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR) has a storage capacity of 500,000 tonnes, and the government intends to raise it to 1.5 million tonnes. Zimbabwe, a landlocked nation of 16 million people in southern Africa, currently has 12 silo plant sites with a total holding capacity of 751,000 tonnes.
Zimbabwe achieved a record wheat harvest of over 375,000 tonnes in 2022. GMB also can store bagged maize and other grains under canvas, as it has done in the past. Besides maize, there are high expectations of a large harvest of traditional grains, the government said.
The Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA), has developed a Seed Information System which will be used to measure performance of the COMESA Seed Trade Harmonization Implementation Plan (COMSHIP).
The COMESA Seed Information System (COMSIS) will give an opportunity to seed companies with varieties on the COMESA Variety Catalogue to know about business opportunities and market their products in the Member States. For sustainability, all companies using the platform will be required to contribute to the running of the COMSIS software.
The region has had the challenge of lack of timely availability of improved seeds and other planting materials at affordable prices both of which are critical for increased productivity for farmers.
The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and Afreximbank announced the development of the African Trade Exchange Platform (ATEX), a digital business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-government (B2G) tool to boost trade in Africa. A statement by the Economic Commission for Africa on Friday explained that ATEX would help boost intra-African trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The statement added that the Platform was developed in partnership with the African Union and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat.
They added the AfCFTA was expected to impact countries differently, based on their existing comparative advantages, all African countries would benefit and ensures gender policy is mainstreamed in the national AfCFTA implementation strategies, which is collaborating with African nations for AfCFTA implementation strategies.
IMF boss in Kigali to discuss climate change financing for EA (The East African)
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva will on Wednesday join a roundtable discussion on climate change financing with East African finance ministers and governors of central banks in Kigali, Rwanda. Ms Georgieva was expected to arrive in Kigali on Tuesday evening from Zambia.
Her visit to Rwanda comes a few weeks after her board approved $319 million in concessional funding to support climate change mitigation policies under its new policy support instrument under its Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST) making it the first African country to access the funds.
On December 14 during a panel discussion in Washington about RST, Georgieva underscored the need to support emerging markets and developing countries to transition into low-carbon economies and become climate resilient.
The private sector is recognized as an indispensable stakeholder in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), especially given its ability to catalyze sustainable economic development and job creation. “Africa’s private sector accounts for80 percent of total production, two-thirds of investment, and three-quarters of credit, and employs 90 percent of the working-age population,” said Stephen Karingi, Director of Regional Integration and Trade at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
Speaking during the opening of a three-day Africa Prosperity Dialogues on 26 January in Ghana, Mr Karingi called on captains of trade and industry to “own and drive the implementation of the AfCFTA by supporting their governments but also by holding them to account.”
Press spotlights call on African leaders to deepen intra-African trade, others (Journal du Cameroun)
The call by Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia on Africa’s political and business leaders to develop signature solutions needed to deepen intra-African trade, spur impactful investments and bring prosperity to the continent is one of the leading stories in the Ghanaian press on Friday. The Ghanaian Times reports that the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has charged Africa’s political and business leaders to develop signature solutions needed to deepen intra-African trade, spur impactful investments and bring prosperity to the continent.
Opening the maiden edition of the Africa Prosperity Dialogues (APD), at Adukrom, in the Eastern Region yesterday, he pointed out three main areas that needed attention to bring Africa’s desired transformation.
They are smart investments in critical infrastructure, unleashing of productive capacities across the continent, and mobilisation of finance and investments to bridge the infrastructure gap and generate sustainable growth.
The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) is set to host the First Annual Assembly of African Investment Promotion Agencies to promote intra-Africa trade. The event, which focuses on: “The Role of Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) in Facilitating Intra African Trade”, is scheduled for tomorrow Wednesday, January 25, at the Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City in Accra.
In a Statement, the GIPC said: “Heads and representatives of the invited African Investment Promotion Agencies along with colleagues from the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA), economic and political leaders will explore the critical role Investment Promotion Agencies play in boosting intra-African trade.”
“There will be further discussions on the emerging opportunities the AfCFTA continues to present and how various development actors can leverage them to facilitate trade on the continent and boost socio-economic development,” it said.
The Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) has urged governments of the ECOWAS countries to give policy priority to programmes that will promote pro-growth economic policies and enhance institutions to enable economic growth. The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Dr Sidie Mohamed Tunis in an address at the closing of the parliamentary seminar on Sequencing ECOWAS Monetary Cooperation Towards Single Currency, with the theme: “ECOWAS Common Currency and the Inter Bank Payment System as Promoters of Regional Trade,” holding in Bissau, Guinea Bissau, argued that such policies will translate to a reduction the economic dependency of the region.
Payment Systems Glitches: ECOWAS Intra-regional Trade Drops By 10% (Leadership News)
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the bloc founded to promote cooperation and economic integration in West Africa has reported a 10 per cent drop in trade volumes within the region. Lawmakers in the regional parliament representing over 400 million people blamed the lack of a single currency among ECOWAS member countries and efficient payment systems as the main drivers for the overt trade deficits.
Speaker of the ECOWAS parliament, Dr Sidie Mohamed Tunis, stated this at the first 2023 parliamentary seminar on Sequencing ECOWAS Monetary Cooperation Towards Single Currency, with the theme: “ECOWAS Common Currency and the Inter Bank Payment System as Promoters of Regional Trade,” holding in Bissau, Guinea Bissau.
EU, India pledge support to drive FDI to Lagos Free Zone (The Guardian Nigeria)
The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Shri G. Balasubramanian, and the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria and the ECOWAS, Ms. Samuela Isopi, have pledged their support to drive Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the Lagos Free Zone (LFZ). Balasubramanian, during an official visit to Lagos Free Zone, expressed satisfaction with the quality of infrastructure and investments in the Zone. He stated that the Zone has the potential to change Nigeria’s economic landscape by attracting more foreign direct investments and pledged to share the message of the unique opportunities available in the Zone with Indian companies in Nigeria and abroad.
“The Zone offers investors a unique opportunity, especially in tax benefits and exemptions. Nigeria is the giant of Africa, and there is a great opportunity to be explored within the Zone. Lekki Port, on its own, is a fantastic facility that will change how business is done in Nigeria. Of course, it will attract a large number of businesses and a large number of containers to be handled,” he said.
On 26 January, WTO members discussed consumer protection in the first of a series of dedicated discussions to be held this year under the Work Programme on Electronic Commerce. Members recognised the importance of consumer protection in enhancing trust in e-commerce, shared experiences and highlighted the challenges they face in this area.