Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Coal industry can innovate to contribute to energy transition (SAnews)

Mineral Resources and Energy Deputy Minister, Dr Nobuhle Nkabane, has called on the coal industry to find innovative ways for coal to contribute to the transition from a high to a low carbon economy. Nkabane was speaking at the 18th annual Southern African Coal Conference in Cape Town.

“There are other technologies such as mixing fossils with green sources such as ammonia. Give us concrete scientific solutions in defence of the future of coal so that our political stances are not seen as a void of facts,” Nkabane told delegates..

The Deputy Minister said while renewable energy will continue to be procured by government, coal still remains key for Eskom’s baseload.

Govt to reopen Kenya-Somalia border in Mandera (Capital News)

Plans for the reopening of the Kenya-Somalia border in Mandera are nearing conclusion, with the renovation of the Customs Border Control Point set to begin soon. This follows a series of high-level consultations between the two countries with the intent to advance new spheres of shared interests, particularly cross-border trade and regional security.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has intimated that the move is one of the strategic interventions that will be deployed to curb illicit cross-border trade, including smuggling of goods, illegal firearms, counterfeits, and drugs.

“Our border with Somalia has been closed for about ten years,” the CS said of Mandera Border Control Point, which ceased activity in 2012. “The governments of Kenya and Somalia have agreed to designate a border point to facilitate legal movement of people and goods for the benefit of the people of Mandera and Bula Hawa,” he added.

Group Urges Nigerian Government To Adopt ‘Maputo Protocol’, Protect Women, Girls’ Rights For Development (Sahara Reports)

A non-profit organisation (BAOBAB) for Women’s Human Rights, has called for the protection and promotion of the rights of women and girls across Nigeria and Africa for rapid development on the continent.

The group urged the implementation of “Maputo protocol”, an international human rights instrument established by the African Union and that took effect in 2005. According to Adidu-Lawal, the ‘Maputo protocol’ was an African legal instrument that protects the lives of women. Speaking further, she said that the instrument looked at culture, religion and practice peculiar to Africans to build the capacity of women.

Bangladesh, South Africa discuss ways to boost trade, investment (The Daily Star)

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam has said Bangladesh and South Africa have common socio-economic development objectives and there are huge potentials to boost trade and investment. He observed that visa waiver agreement for diplomatic and official passport holders and agreement on avoidance of double taxation between Bangladesh and South Africa will facilitate contacts and increase trade and investment between the two countries.

The state minister had bilateral talks with Deputy Foreign Minister of South Africa Candith Mashego Dlamini in Pretoria on February 3 and discussed areas of cooperation. Referring to his meeting with the Business Unity South Africa which took place on Thursday, Shahriar Alam said the organisation has shown interest in working with Bangladeshi chambers.

He expressed hope that with mutual efforts, bilateral trade between Bangladesh and South Africa may be enhanced to one billion dollars.

Angola harnesses the potential of its creative industries (UNCTAD)

Angola has more than 450 firms operating in the cultural and creative field with an annual turnover of more than $662 million, according to the country’s National Institute of Statistics. But these figures don’t cover informal activities, which have high significance in Angola’s cultural and creative industries.

To help the country harness its cultural and creative industries, UNCTAD conducted a workshop in the capital Luanda from 30 January to 1 February for public and private stakeholders to discuss how to improve economic activities in these industries to provide greater opportunities for entrepreneurs and creators, particularly young people.

“Angola’s cultural and creative industries can generate income for artists and creators, families and the state, if the sector is developed further,” said Domingas Monte, Director of the country’s National Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries.

EU threatens to blacklist Kenya over grand corruption (The East African)

The European Union has threatened to blacklist Kenya over corruption and money laundering, revisiting an old problem Nairobi has struggled to contain.EU Ambassador to Kenya Henriette Geiger said Kenya’s reluctance to curb corruption and money laundering could scare off investors. She told a media briefing over the upcoming European Union-Kenya Business Forum with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance on Thursday, February 2 that Nairobi may also face restrictions.

“For us, we think that to fight corruption is in the best interest of Kenya because maybe this is the single most determinant of investment. And also, Kenya is on the watchlist for money laundering,” said Ms Geiger.”If Kenya is not making an effort, it will be blacklisted and that has a lot of very negative consequences. The most important one is that investors are shying away.”

IFC Partners with Nigeria’s Union Bank to Support Trade, SMEs (IFC)

To boost access to finance for smaller businesses in Nigeria and to support increased trade, IFC today announced a partnership with Union Bank of Nigeria Plc to help the bank expand lending to hundreds of businesses operating in critical sectors in the country, including food, healthcare, manufacturing, and services. IFC's $30 million loan will allow Union Bank to increase trade financing and working capital lending to Nigerian businesses, including those whose cashflows have been strained by recent disruptions in global and local markets.

Spain, Morocco Say Feuding Days Are Over as Europe Courts Africa (Bloomberg)

The Spanish and Moroccan governments vowed to deepen diplomatic and trade ties, drawing a line under years of bitter disputes that threatened to undermine security and energy interests.

Concluding his two-day visit to the Moroccan capital, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced more than 20 agreements, including an 800 million-euro ($880 million) credit line to bolster investment in a country he describes as a “gateway into Africa.”

EBID Announces $130m Facility To Bridge W/Africa’s Trade Financing Gap (Leadership)

The ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) has announced a dual-currency trade finance credit line totaling around $130million, marking the first time it has secured funding support from the African Development Bank (AfDB). The funds will be used primarily to enhance food security and strengthen agricultural value chains across West Africa, the AfDB said in an announcement issued this week.

The AfDB is providing $50million and €50million to the three-and-a-half-year facility, while the People’s Bank of China is providing a further US$30million through the Africa Growing Together Fund – a facility sponsored by the Chinese central bank but administered by the AfDB.

The AfDB’s head of trade finance, Lamin Drammeh, said, working with the EBID should help improve access to trade finance in the Ecowas region, which encompasses 15 West African countries.

The trade finance gap in Africa – measured as the gap between demand and supply for financing facilities across the continent – is believed to total around US$81bn per year, with SMEs and domestic companies facing the greatest difficulty in accessing support, the AfDB said.

Central African States Fail to Honor Timber Export Ban (VOA)

Officials say most member states in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, CEMAC, have failed to honor a ban on raw timber exports that was enacted last year to conserve forests and create jobs by locally processing wood.

The six member countries of the Central African bloc agreed to ban raw timber exports starting in January 2022. The ban is aimed partially at combating climate change by protecting forests from excessive logging. However, an online meeting of CEMAC forestry and finance ministers Thursday found that only Gabon and the Republic of Congo have suspended the timber exports to China and other Asian countries. Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad and Equatorial Guinea have not.

Cameroon’s finance minister, Luis Paul Motaze, said Cameroon needs the tax money from the exports, which earned the country $127 million last year. He said a study conducted in 2022 by CEMAC shows if central African states stop raw timber exports, they will lose one percent of their gross domestic product. That is not healthy for a community that wants to develop, Motaze said, adding that local industries do not have the equipment for transforming timber into a variety of finished products.

The deadline for implementing the ban was initially pushed back to January 2023 to give the CEMAC countries more time to comply. Motaze suggested the bloc push back the deadline again to 2025 so countries have more time to invest in wood processing equipment and in training workers.

Will a global circular economy help or hurt Africa? (Brookings)

In Davos, many of the assembling elites had circular economy on their mind and lips, and the program was replete with its implications. “Circular economy” is a concept described by its supporters as the biggest economic opportunity since the industrial revolution. They peg its scale at $1 trillion by 2025 and $4.5 trillion by 2030.

As both an economic means and an end, circularity is about “designing waste out of the system.” According to its proponents, by reusing resources, repurposing end-of-lifecycle items, recycling garbage, refurbishing the broken, and rewiring the torn, we can build a more sustainable world reset from the current course of depleting nature at rates unprecedented in millions of years.

It is estimated that if circularity gathers steam, global consumption of new materials could be reduced by 32 percent in 15 years and by 53 percent in 30 years. On the other hand, business as usual will see the human population increase by 20 percent by 2050 but waste expand by a far more staggering 70 percent.

Considering Africa’s status as one of the most marginalized continents, circularity is expected to have massive positive impacts.

AfCFTA: Ambitions of free trade must move beyond talk (The Africa Report)

For two days in the gorges of Ghana’s Akuapem mountains, government officials from across Africa, business leaders and trade policy experts discussed and agreed on terms for accelerating the trade objectives of the AfCFTA at the inaugural Africa Prosperity Dialogues.

The secretary-general of AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene, says progress has been steady but recent geopolitical events make it an urgent imperative for hastened actions. “Africa’s challenges are opportunities… It should be a matter of concern to us as Africans that a country of 43 million people was feeding a continent of 1.3 billion people so when we are in a geopolitical context that we are in today and we are not able to import grains from this country, we suffer a food insecurity crisis,” he said. Mene added: “The private sector creates jobs, not governments, not the AfCFTA secretariat. Collectively it is our job to establish the requisite investment climate so that African businesses can take advantage.”

Okonjo-Iweala: Africa lags behind in global digital export (The Nation)

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said that the African continent currently lags behind in global export of digitally delivered services. Okonjo-Iweala noted that the continent counted for less than 1 percent for global export of digitally delivered services export in 2021.

The director-general made this known virtually at the First National Digital Economy Conference, organised by the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) with the theme “Promoting A Vibrant Digital Economy; A Catalyst For Economic Growth”.

While noting that the young population are are digitally sarvy, she stated that Nigeria and Africa have a chance to grow through digitalisation. She said: “We must do more to develop the tech sector, this goes beyond digital infrastructure. There is a lot beyond regulation, the government can do more to facilitate the growth of the tech industry. 

UN Economic agency to help accelerate industrialisation efforts by African states (The Standard)

The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) says it is streamlining its operations to support member states accelerate industrialization and economic diversification which are key to Africa’s development. ECA Acting Executive Secretary, Antonio Pedro, said the ECA is working on delivering on its mandate to foster regional integration and promote international cooperation for Africa’s development.

“Our countries need adequate financing, sufficient energy, the right infrastructure mix, agricultural and food systems that are resilient to external shocks and climate mitigation measures that reduce the impact of climate change,” Mr Pedro said.

Downward slide in global food prices continues: FAO (UN News)

Price indices for vegetable oils, dairy and sugar drove the January decline, the UN food agency said, issuing two new reports on food production expectations. The FAO food price index fell 17.9 per cent below its all-time peak, reached in March 2022 following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The downward pricing trend was helped in part by a pivotal agreement signed in July to unblock Ukraine grain exports amid the ongoing war.

Tracking monthly changes in the global prices of commonly traded food commodities, the latest index averaged 131.2 points in January, falling 0.8 per cent since December. FAO reported small price decreases on its latest meat and sugar indices.

The world lacks an effective global system to deal with debt (UNCTAD)

There is an alarming tendency among the international community to regard debts in the developing world as sustainable because they can, after some sacrifice, be paid off.

The pandemic, cost of living crisis and rising interest rates have brought them to a point where they can only pay their debts by way of austerity or foregone investment in the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Their debts are sustainable in that they can be repaid, but unsustainable in every other way.

Furthermore, this full-blown development crisis with debt distress at its core also threatens a new lost decade for much of the world economy.

In 2021, developing countries paid $400bn in debt service, more than twice the amount they received in official development aid. Meanwhile, their international reserves declined by over $600bn last year, almost three times what they received in emergency support through the IMF Special Drawing Rights allocation.

Scaling up plastic substitutes is key to tackling pollution (UNCTAD)

The world traded about 369 million tonnes of plastics in 2021 – enough to fill over 18 million trucks. The queue would wrap around the globe 13 times. Since less than 10% of all plastics produced have been recycled, most of the products in those trucks will end up littering our streets and flooding our seas. But nature abounds in sustainable materials like bamboo, sand, banana plants and algae that could be used to make eco-friendly versions of the straws, shopping bags, bottles, food wrappers and other plastic products we consume daily.

According to research by PEW, plastic substitutes could cut global plastic waste by around 17% by 2040 – about 63 million tonnes less, or 3.5 million fewer trucks in the queue. “Besides the benefits to the planet, the shift offers economic opportunities,” said Henrique Pacini, an UNCTAD economist working on trade and environment issues. “But countries and companies have to work together and across borders to scale up production and reduce trade barriers,” Mr. Pacini said.

Members address development dimension of WTO reform agenda (WTO)

Following the opening session on 2 February, members had the opportunity to brainstorm in four smaller breakout groups. Members were asked how they view development in the WTO, how the opportunities in the WTO system can help members achieve their development objectives, and what challenges need to be addressed to ensure that all members are in the position to achieve these objectives.

“When developing countries prosper, this creates a huge opportunity for all, developing and developed, because you have more meaningful trade partnerships, and more meaningful strategic cooperation,” Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told the members. “Let’s take this issue and let’s turn it into a positive that can help us move forward in this organization.”

The Prolongation of BRICS: Impact on International World Order and Global Economy (Modern Diplomacy)

BRIC, coined by an economist Jim O’Neil in 2001 as an acronym for the four countries like Brazil, Russia, India and China. South Africa joined in 2010 and this organization turned into BRICS. The prime goal of BRICS was to the formation of the diplomatic and economic assistance framework, and the challenges to western influence in the global economic order. The Western cordially welcomed BRICS with the earnestness. The BRICS, five major emerging economies, together represent about 26% of the world’s geographic area, inhabitant of 2.88 Billion people which is about 42% of the world’s population and accounted for a quarter of the global GDP. The enlargement of BRICS was talked on June, 2022 at the groups summit which took place in Beijing. The 2023 summit will take place in South Africa.

If Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Argentina, Turkey become the member of BRICS, it will enormous impact on the World order and global economy.


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