Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Citrus growers call for urgent WTO intervention to ensure oranges can be exported to EU (Engineering News)

Industry organisation the Citrus Growers Association of South Africa (CGA) has called on global body the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to urgently establish a panel to adjudicate on the False Coddling Moth (FCM) regime governing the importation of South African oranges to the European Union (EU).

CGA has written to Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel to call for the establishment of the WTO panel, because, if the issue is not resolved before the 2023 export season starts, growers could face hundreds of millions of rands in losses, putting the future sustainability of the entire industry at risk, says CGA CEO Justin Chadwick.

The call follows after a stalemate was reached between the South African government and the EU after the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) lodged a dispute at the WTO in July. Consultations since then have not made any progress.

Namra collects N$18,44 billion through customs (The Namibian)

NAMRA collected about N$18,44 billion in customs and excise duties during the 2021/2022 financial year.This is made up of N$3,6 billion from operations and N$14,7 billion from the Southern Africa Customs Union (Sacu). This was said by Namra commissioner Sam Shivute when he addressed the International Customs Day celebrations at Oshikango yesterday.

All customs officials contribute to pillar one, objective one of Namra, which is to optimise revenue collection through improved compliance, Shivute said. “As the essential employees at the borders, our customs officers are responsible for facilitating legitimate international trade, as well as collecting taxes and ensuring the safety and security of the country. “They are the unsung heroes of Namibia,” he said.

Morocco's Industrial Exports Reach MAD 360 Billion in 2022 (Minister) (MAP)

Replying to an oral question at the House of Councillors on "The outcome of the 2014-2020 Industrial Acceleration Plan", Mezzour recalled that the volume of industrial exports had not exceeded 160 billion dirhams in 2013, before the Plan was launched, highlighting a progression of about 200 billion dirhams in 9 years.

This Plan has achieved a "very positive" outcome by exceeding its goal of creating 500,000 jobs, said the Minister, adding that this scheme has, in addition, to create integrated industrial ecosystems, support competitiveness, strengthen the confidence of Moroccan and foreign investors in the Moroccan industry and enhance the Kingdom's attractiveness as a destination for industrial investment.

In response to another question on "Strengthening trade with African countries," Mezzour said that the volume of trade with African states would reach more than 65 billion dirhams in 2022, noting that these exchanges have more than quadrupled during the period 2001-2021, from 10 billion dirhams to 46 billion dirhams in 2021.

‘Stronger institutions key to mitigating uncertainties, inappropriate policy choices’ (The Guardian Nigeria)

An economist, Bismarck Rewane has stressed the need to strengthen the nation’s institutions and accelerate implementation of developmental programmes to enable the country to record meaningful growth this year.

Rewane, while addressing participants at the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) 2023 Macroeconomic Outlook held in Lagos, said that weak institutions pose a significant drag on the nation’s economic growth, noting that building stronger institutions in Nigeria would help mitigate uncertainties supported by appropriate policy choices that would engender rapid development across sectors.

Digital Banking in Nigeria is on the rise in 2023 (The Guardian Nigeria)

Like e-commerce, digital banking has exploded globally since the pandemic. So much so that experts project digital banking users to reach over 3.6 billion globally by 2024.

Nigeria was recently named Africa’s digital payments leader, and the country’s banking sector is also the most digitized in the continent. According to a 2022 press release, Nigeria recorded 3.7 billion real-time payments in 2021, earning the sixth spot among countries with the biggest real-time payments markets. This would not have been possible without Nigeria’s advanced financial technology structure and the support of the public and private sectors—which continues to strengthen their collaboration for 2023 and beyond.

With New Deep Sea Port, Nigeria’s Focus Turns to Better Road, Rail Connections (VOA)

Nigerian authorities have hailed the launch of a deepwater seaport in Lagos they say will create 300,000 jobs and reduce shipping bottlenecks. While the new port is expected to reduce losses due to congestion, shipping industry experts say Nigeria's poor roads and rail connections to ports also must be improved. The launch by President Mohammadu Buhari during his two-day visit this week to Lagos signaled his government's effort to grow Nigeria's economy through infrastructural development.

The 1.5-billion-dollar, Chinese-built Lekki Deep Sea Port sits on 90 hectares of land in the Lagos Free Trade Zone -- the biggest port by size in West Africa.

Authorities say ships docking at the port could be up to four times the size of vessels at the state's Tin Can and Apapa ports. They expect it will ease delays and congestion at ports and increase earnings by up to $360 billion in coming years.

ECA affirms support for Ethiopia’s trade policy agenda (UNECA)

The Economic Commission for Africa - a think tank with specialist expertise in African and international trade policy - has recommitted to helping Ethiopia’s trade policy agenda that aims to foster industrialization and sustained economic growth. Although Ethiopia remained outside the regional and global trading regimes for a long time, this is now changing. Not only has Ethiopia ratified the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), it is also negotiating its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

“The political resolve to be part of these regional and global trade regimes is clearly there, but it has not been matched by the technical capacity to translate this political will to concrete outcome,” ECA Director, Regional Integration and Trade Division, Mr. Stephen Karingi, said at a Roundtable on Multi-partner Support on Trade Policy to Ethiopia organized on the 24th of January by the British Embassy in Addis Ababa in collaboration with ECA.

Rising number of EAC bloc members now a concern (The Citizen)

Speakers at a special session of the regional Assembly called for more elaborate plans before admission of new members to the bloc is made. It was argued that the EAC in operation today was modelled on the topology of three original states; Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. “There was no critical planning for expansion,” said Kenneth Bagamuhunda, the former EAC director general of Customs and Trade.

He told a special sitting of the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) that there should not be any haste for admitting new members. This, he said, will enable regional leaders to avoid admitting countries that have “no or weak compatibility with EAC.” Mr Bagamuhunda, who retired last year after serving the organisation for 18 years, argued that there should be a clear mechanism for expansion.

Ease of China travel ban a welcome relief for East African tourism (The East African)

China’s decision to simultaneously lower restrictions for Covid-19 and resume regular international travel is being seen as a possible silver lining in East Africa’s quest to revamp its tourism industry. Traditionally reliant on the West and each other, East African countries were specifically hurt during the Covid-19 pandemic as travel restrictions slowed down visits. The pandemic also hurt the region’s desire to expand tourism markets beyond the traditional sources, and China had been one of the identified new market.

Beijing announced it will be permitting overseas group tours beginning February 6, selecting Kenya for a trial phase.

In the East African Community, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda already offer a single tourism visa, which would allow the Chinese visitors to tour these countries without additional immigration requirements.

IGAD Says Regional Integration Path to Prosperity (ENA)

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu said regional integration is the surest path to prosperity, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a speech the Executive Secretary delivered at the 3rd State of the IGAD Region, today in Mombasa, Kenya, appreciated the abundant political will and commitment of the IGAD region to resolve conflicts and disputes through peaceful negotiation and dialogue.

For the IGAD region, the surest path to peace is to deliver progress and prosperity through regional integration and unity, he said.

COMESA withdrawal has not affected TZ, DRC trade relations (Daily News)

EXISTING trade barriers between Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have no relations with the country’s withdrawal of its membership from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Ambassador Mbarouk Nassor Mbarouk informed the National Assembly on Tuesday that various customs challenges between Tanzania and other countries have continued to acquire solutions day after day.

He was responding to a question posed by Momba Legislator, Ms Condester Sichwale (CCM), who wanted to know the country’s plan of reinstating its membership in COMESA, taking into account the challenges facing Tanzanian traders who want to grasp market opportunities in other countries, citing an example of the Congolese one.

The deputy minister indicated that before withdrawing from its membership, the country was certified there would not be any adverse effects from its decision.

Maritime sector can propel Africa’s economic development – Ayorkor Botchwey (Ghana News Agency)

Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, says the maritime sector has a great potential to propel Africa’s economic growth and development.  She said the importance of developing Africa’s maritime sector could not be overemphasised as it was a key driver of economic growth, requiring maritime organisations to devise appropriate strategies to make it viable.   

“We are aware of the enormous contribution of the maritime industry to our economies, especially as the most cost-effective way of transporting large amounts of goods over long distances,” the Minister said when she addressed the 17th Extraordinary Session of the General Assembly of the Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA). 

Madam Ayorkor Botchwey therefore appealed to Member States to ensure that MOWCA continued to contribute positively to the growth of the industry, saying despite the strides made in the sub-region, more efforts were required to ensure that Africa’s Maritime Industry was at par with those of developed nations.  

Dakar 2 Summit: Partnership to deliver technologies to farmers to feed Africa – says Adesina (AfDB)

Africa’s push for food sovereignty and resilience depends on investments and partnerships, African Development Bank Group president Akinwumi Adesina said on Thursday at the Dakar 2 Food Summit a food summit in Senegal. Speaking during a panel discussion on Building Multilateral partnership and financing support, Dr Adesina outlined how the bank was using technology to spur agricultural productivity in various African countries.

“Today we have the technologies to feed Africa; We need to  put them into the hands of the farmers. The technologies are working and we have to deliver them at scale,” Adesina told the panel, moderated by Daouda Sembene, CEO of Africatalyst, a global development advisory firm.

Adesina highlighted the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), which he said had significantly increased wheat yields in Ethiopia and Sudan. The Bank is rolling out  Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones which are designed to transform Africa’s agricultural sector.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and African Risk Capacity advocate for women's engagement in climate action and disaster risk reduction (African Business)

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has joined efforts with the African Risk Capacity (ARC) Group to integrate gender dimensions in climate action and disaster risk management and reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa.A new agreement signed today consolidates the ongoing partnership between FAO and ARC which has already demonstrated solid results in awareness-raising and data-generating efforts. The outlined areas of cooperation for the five-year agreement include advocacy and awareness-building, technical mutual support, and resource mobilization.

"This collaboration holds the promise of hope for millions of African women who struggle with social and economic discrimination in climate action and related decision-making processes. While much remains to be done to achieve gender equality in the sector, our combined efforts will be a leap into a better future for the most vulnerable groups in our region," said Abebe Haile-Gabriel, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa.

Global growth will be weak in 2023 before rebounding next year: IMF (UN News)

The IMF estimates growth at 2.9 per cent this year, falling from 3.4 per cent in 2022 and reaching 3.1 per cent in 2024. This represents a slight adjustment, 0.2 percentage points, from its World Economic Outlook (WEO)  forecast in October.

“Growth will remain weak by historical standards, as the fight against inflation and Russia’s war in Ukraine weigh on activity,” said Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, the Fund’s Chief Economist, in projections published on Monday.  He added that this outlook “could represent a turning point, with growth bottoming out and inflation declining.” 

Economic growth proved surprisingly resilient in the third quarter of 2022, the IMF said. 

Latest Global Findex Data Chart 10 Years of Progress in Financial Inclusion (World Bank)

At a recent Policy Research Talk, World Bank Lead Economist Leora Klapper presented key findings from the Global Findex 2021—a nationally representative survey of adults that has taken place roughly every three years since 2011 and quantifies financial account ownership and usage in economies around the world. Initially delayed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Global Findex 2021 captured data from more than 128,000 adults in 123 countries—bringing the global total of survey participants to more than half a million adults since 2011.

In the aggregate, the Global Findex 2021 shows much cause for celebration among financial inclusion advocates. Since the first Global Findex survey in 2011, the share of adults worldwide with a financial account rose from 51 percent to 76 percent. In developing economies, account ownership

India’s G20 presidency priorities in trade and correcting supply chains (Observer Research Foundation)

The G20 brings the world’s major economies accounting for more than 80 percent of world GDP and 75 percent of global trade to an international forum. While the world is still dealing with the nightmares of the pandemic, it is confronted with geopolitical havoc. And it is at this juncture that India has assumed the G20 presidency. For the first time in the history of G20, the troika is with the developing world—Indonesia, India, and Brazil. The troika has an opportunity to build a strong and lasting agency for the developing world. How the Indian presidency handles the economic impact of both these crises along with managing the strangled cords of relationships across borders will be quite crucial. India in its presidency has the responsibility to lead the world to economic recovery which is just and equitable. To that end, this paper aims to understand India’s priorities as a G20 president with respect to trade and correcting supply chains.

Renewed Engagement Across All Sectors Crucial to Realizing Sustainable Development Goals, Speakers Tell Economic and Social Council Partnership Forum (United Nations)

Renewed broad-based engagement, reinvigorated political commitment and revitalized partnership across all sectors of society are needed to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, speakers told the Economic and Social Council today at its annual Partnership Forum.

Through unprecedented, bold global partnership, the international community must radically raise its ambitions, reverse extreme poverty, relieve debt burdens and render its harmonized support to people and communities at risk of being left behind, she stressed.  For their part, Governments must not only ensure the active participation of all stakeholders, but also leverage their knowledge and resources to truly foster transformative, game-changing partnerships.  With the half-way point of the 2030 Agenda only seven months away, the Partnership Forum provides the first opportunity to rally all partners; hear all voices and views; and put the world back on track for people, planet and peace, she pointed out.

Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, in a pre-recorded message, also underscored that 2023 is a pivotal year for the 2030 Agenda, urging the international community to wake up to the current existential moment.  While all must rise up to this historic occasion and the opportunity presented by energy, food, digital and social transitions, success can only be possible if everyone works together and if key partners demonstrate the necessary leadership, ambition and action, she emphasized.

Speaking for the African Group, the representative of Senegal noted that Africa will have the world’s largest and most youthful workforce by 2050.  Deliberate policy strategies, as well as inclusive, transparent and accountable multi-stakeholder partnerships, are needed, he stressed. 


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