Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Maritime Chamber wants to contribute more to South Africa’s economic recovery (Engineering News)

Industry organisation the Maritime Business Chamber has written an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa seeking to advise government on how the maritime sector can contribute to the country’s economic recovery. Chairperson Unathi Sonti writes that South Africa has, since 2013, been working on a strategy for the sector, including an integrated maritime development framework and industrialisation programme for the country, which includes Operations Phakisa and the current process of the Oceans Economy Master Plan.

The letter states that South Africa’s maritime sector has not yet realised the R177-billion estimated contribution it could make to the country’s gross domestic product.

The letter highlights the chamber’s belief that the implementation of the South African Maritime Charter has the potential to generate revenue of R56.3-billion.

Ugandan exports to Rwanda flourish on food supplies, raw materials (The East African)

Rwanda’s appetite for imports from Ugandan grew to a record $60.55 million in the fourth quarter of 2022 from $15.64 million in the first nine months to September as Kigali turned to her regional neighbours for food supplies and raw materials. Latest Bank of Uganda trading data shows exports, which had stagnated in single-digit millions of dollars between January and September 2022, grew to an average of $20 million monthly between October-December.

Highlights published in the East African Cross Border Trade Bulletin by the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG) show that Rwandan authorities were under pressure to provide adequate food and also ensure sufficient supply for raw material, especially for breweries.

Kenya and the United States have concluded the first phase of their trade talks (Business Insider Africa)

The five days of negotiations for the free trade agreement are expected to produce results, according to the delegation from Kenya, led by Trade Principal Secretary Alfred K’Ombudo.

“During the meetings. the two sides exchanged views on the key concepts to be addressed on almost all of the areas outlined in the 141h July, 2022 joint statement announcing the initiative,’ a statement from the ministry reads in part. The Partnership aims to boost investment, enhance regional economic integration in Africa, and advance sustainable and inclusive economic growth for the benefit of workers, consumers, and businesses (including micro, small, and medium-sized firms).

Kenya, TZ court cases block tonnes of GMO maize seeds (Business Daily)

Four court cases have blocked the release of 11 tonnes of genetically modified maize seeds that were to be made available to farmers this planting season. The BT maize seeds had been planned for release to farmers by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) in the months of March and April. Developed by KALRO in its laboratories, the maize seeds that were to be availed at a subsidised fee had been undergoing testing in confined field trials in the country for years.

The orders barred the government from importing, transacting, distributing and growing GMOs.

The petitioners are challenging the constitutionality of the Cabinet decision to remove the ban in October last year without public participation as required by law. Several traders have approached NBA with requests to import GM products into the country, including a consignment of GM white maize from South Africa. The regulator, however, froze the requests until after the determination of the court cases.

Tanzania Economic Update: Universal Access to Water and Sanitation Could Transform Social and Economic Development (World Bank)

Since its Water Sector Development Program (WSDP) got underway in 2006, Tanzania has made significant progress improving the access of thousands of citizens like Mama Kashilila to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services. Against a backdrop of low coverage and slow progress in the sector during the Millennium Development Goals era, which ended in 2015, the country has renewed its commitment to expanding access for its population by fully adopting the ambitious Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) sector targets, which the UN has set for 2030.

The National Panel Survey (NPS) 2020/2021, released in January 2023, shows that since the NPS 2014/2015, four in every 10 households have gained access to improved sanitation (up from two-and-half households), and half the population now has access to clean water in the rainy season and two-thirds during the dry seasons.

Reflecting on the importance of the progress made, as well as remaining gaps, the authors of the 18th Tanzania Economic Update Clean Water, Bright Future: The Transformative Impact of Investing in WASH, just published by the World Bank, argue the country stands to gain much more by pushing to deliver the goals of its third, by far most ambitious WSDP phase (WSDP-3, 2022–2026), whose financing requirements are estimated at $6.5 billion.

“The devastating consequences of inadequate access, versus the benefits gained, make such an investment highly cost-effective,” said Nathan Belete, the World Bank’s Country Director in Tanzania. “Achieving WASH goals can support the jobs agenda while mitigating the adverse effects poor water and sanitation have on workforce productivity. And they’re crucial for Tanzania to achieve its objectives for inclusive growth and property reduction.”

Digital Economy Can Boost Eswatini’s Development and Enhance Service Delivery (World Bank)

The digital economy offers Eswatini a range of opportunities to improve economic development and enhance public and private services, highlights a World Bank Digital Economy Diagnostic for Eswatini that launched today. The report provides an assessment of the five pillars of Eswatini’s digital economy comprising digital infrastructure, digital platforms, digital financial services, digital skills, and digital entrepreneurship. The Digital Economy for Africa (DE4A) is part of the World Bank’s support for the Africa Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa, which aspires to see every African person, business, and government digitally enabled by 2030.

“Climate smart agriculture will benefit farmers, who represent 70% of Eswatini’s population, by increasing the productivity of their lands and enhancing their livelihoods. Implementing the recommendations of the Digital Economy Diagnostic for Eswatini would make a tangible contribution to the development of Eswatini’s economy,” says Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, Country Director for South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Eswatini.

The Digital Economy Diagnostic for Eswatini seeks to support government institutions and stakeholders by taking stock of the current state of the digital economy and provides recommendations for further development. This was achieved through an assessment of the five foundational pillars of the digital economy in Eswatini, based on consultations with relevant public and private stakeholders.

Tanzania loses Sh3.3 trillion annually to illicit trade (The Citizen)

Despite adopting measures to combat illicit financial flows (IFFs), Tanzania loses an estimated $1.5 billion annually in revenue to trade-based money laundering (TBML), a deprivation of the country’s much-needed tax revenues. This is according to a policy memo published by Global Financial Integrity (GFI) and its allies, indicating that if not addressed, TBML has adverse effects on economies and societies as it perpetuates criminal activities such as illicit wildlife trade, bribery, corruption, and tax evasion.

Director for Taxpayer Services and Education of Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Mr Richard Kayombo said: “We’ve designed various measures to reduce or deter the said illicit trade. This includes and not limited to cooperating with law enforcers in curbing the matter,”

According to him, in the awareness campaign, TRA sensitises the need for businesses within the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), to make use of a free trade area committed, amongst other things, to eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers amongst its members.

“This means that goods originating from Tanzania and destined for any of Sadc or EAC member states, enjoy no tariff rates and no or reduced quantitative restrictions at destination countries. The same applies to goods imported into the country from other Sadc and EAC member states,” he reassured.

Push for local processing and consumption of cocoa intensifies (MyJoyOnline)

The 2023 National Chocolate Week Celebrations has been launched with a renewed purpose to empower artisanal cocoa processors to take advantage of the new incentives within the consumption campaign to become more competitive to meet market demands.

Launching the celebrations at the Accra Tourist Information Centre, the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah acknowledged that the cocoa industry plays a significant role in stabilising the local economy, hence the need to intensify efforts aimed at boosting local production, processing, and consumption.

Eswatini bans trade in copper for scrap as rampant theft affects service providers in region (News24)

Scrapyards in Eswatini were this week instructed to stop trading in copper as the government moved ahead with plans to ban the export of such commodities. The temporary ban is a stop-gap measure by the government to contain “theft cases of copper cables and copper-based infrastructure, vandalism and malicious damage of millions worth of public utilities infrastructure”.

Khumalo said there would be strict surveillance at all ports of entry and exit, particularly trucks. Copper theft is a regional crisis, with syndicates targeting the mining, transportation and telecommunications industries. Copper prices soared over the past decade, with the commodity almost tripling in value since 2015.In South Africa, copper cable theft costs the economy between R5 billion and R7 billion annually, according to estimates by the Chamber of Commerce.

Farmers’ income set for record numbers (The Citizen)

Farmers’ incomes increased by 13 percent over the just ended season, as attempts to improve data collecting outweighed a drop in output from some key products. In an effort to improve data collection, the government has added sugarcane and grapes to the list of crops sold through cooperative unions, while also including beans on the list. Earnings are likely to rise further in the 2022/23 season, given the trade season for some produce, such as cashew nuts and coffee, is still ongoing.

At the same time, in 2022/23, other crops such as sesame have been sold through cooperative unions in some regions such as Lindi, Mtwara, and Ruvuma, while they have been exchanged through normal channels in others.

Official data from the ministry of Agriculture gathered by the Tanzania Cooperatives Development Commission (TCDC) show that farmers earned Sh1.752 trillion in the 2022/23 as compared to Sh1.553 trillion garnered in the 2021/22 season.

the growth occurred despite low volumes and incomes recorded for key cash crops such as cashew nuts, coffee, sesame, and sisal traded through cooperative unions in the 2022/23 season.

Manufacturing sector growing slower than in other EAC states – PBO (The Star)

The manufacturing sector in Kenya has been growing slower than in other countries in the East African Community region in the last decade, Parliamentary Budget Office has said. PBO said the sector has been growing faster in neighbouring countries although manufacturing in Kenya is widely recognised as the largest in the region.” The implication of such a trend, combined with increasing cheap imports from Asian countries in the region is that the market share of Kenya’s manufacturing exports in those countries may be declining,” PBO said in a report.

It said the lacklustre performance of the sector has been attributed to a combination of factors. It named the reasons as poor quality of labour, high cost of transport and electricity, and lack of access to affordable finance (mainly by SMEs) among others.

Parliament ratifies Convention on Cross-Border Cooperation (BusinessGhana)

Parliament has adopted the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs on African Union Convention on Cross-Border Cooperation Niamey Convention to promote cross-border cooperation, ensure peaceful resolutions of border disputes and would promote and ease free movement of persons and goods.

The Niamey Convention is designed to promote cross-border cooperation in six core areas, which are: Mapping and geographical information sharing; Socioeconomic development; Cultural activities and sports; Security, especially combating cross-border crime, terrorism, piracy, and other forms of crime; Demining of borders and Institutional development.

The Niamey Convention aims to facilitate the peaceful resolution of border disputes at both local and international levels. It also seeks to promote effective and efficient integrated border management to serve as a catalyst for development and economic growth among Member Countries.

The Niamey Convention is indicative of the African Union’s recognition of the important role that good border governance plays in ensuring peace, security and sustainable development.

Nigeria Missed Gains Of High Oil Price – IMF (Leadership)

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has concluded the Article IV consultation with Nigeria, as it observed that the country missed the gains of rising oil prices. It warned that the country’s oil sector faces downside risks from possible production and price volatility. The Executive Directors agreed with the thrust of the staff appraisal as they welcomed the broadening of Nigeria’s economic recovery but noted that the opportunity to reap the benefits from higher global oil prices was missed.

Directors therefore highlighted the need for bold fiscal reforms to create needed policy space, put public debt on sound footing, and reduce vulnerabilities.

In the medium term, Directors recommended modernizing customs administration, rationalizing tax incentives, and raising tax rates to the levels of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) .

FG says Nigeria has 46 of the 240 Free Trade Zones in Africa (Nairametrics)

The Federal Government has revealed that Nigeria houses 46 of the 240 Free Trade Zones (FTZ) in Africa, citing that the number could increase further as more states apply for FTZ licenses. This was disclosed by Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, the Managing Director of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA).

The NEPZA chief said 30 of the 46 FTZs in Nigeria are currently functional. He also responded to claims that Akwa Ibom state had difficulties obtaining a license, emphasising that they never applied for one.

Economic Impacts of Covid-19 and Policy Options in the Seychelles (AfDB)

This report presents an in-depth assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy of the Seychelles, focusing especially on the pandemic’s effects on the key productive sectors of the economy: fishing, tourism, and manufacturing sectors. The report focuses on the short-run and the medium-run impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and examines the potential of two different government policy responses in fostering the longer-term recovery and resilience of the Seychelles economy through an exploration of their aggregate and sectoral impacts.

Africa needs pro-poor and inclusive recovery efforts to foster economic transformation (UNECA)

Following the multiple financial, health, and climate crises affecting Africa, countries should accelerate inclusive recovery efforts to boost economic growth, the Economic Commission for Africa’s Acting Executive Secretary, Mr. Antonio Pedro, has urged. Speaking at a press briefing ahead of the 55th Session of the Economic Commission for Africa Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (CoM 2023), Mr. Pedro said the impact of the shocks caused by COVID -19, the war in Ukraine and climate change have pushed more people into extreme poverty and have increased inequality worldwide.

“Africa is falling even further behind, with the continent now accounting for the highest proportion of the world’s poor of any region globally,” Mr. Pedro warned, emphasizing that the growing number of newly poor and vulnerable people makes it harder to close the gap between the rich and the poor.

“Recovery efforts must be pro-poor and inclusive, with a view to fostering a new social contract that offers equal opportunity for all,” he said, adding that, “It is important that our growth does not leave anyone behind and if we do so then the social contract that is key to have stability and prosperity will be completely disrupted.”

Experts urge African leaders to take strong climate change action (The East African)

As African leaders gather next week for the African Union summit under the theme ‘Acceleration of AfCFTA Implementation’, experts are urging that climate change and the energy crisis to be placed at the centre of the free trade talks. They argue that AfCFTA (African Continental Free Trade Area) presents an opportunity for Africa to be a dynamic force in the global arena and investing in renewable energy sources can provide access to affordable energy while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports that energy poverty levels in Africa are at an alarming rate, with over 70 percent of the population living without access to electricity.

IEA also notes that energy poverty is particularly high in rural areas, where only 20 percent of the population has access to electricity. This lack of access to electricity has a direct impact on poverty levels as families are unable to generate income or engage in small-scale businesses that require power.

Taking stock of America’s flagship trade programme for Africa (The Economist)

Of America’s top 30 imports from AGOA-eligible countries, 20 would enter tariff-free anyway, according to the UN. Those include precious metals, diamonds, cocoa, vanilla and coffee.

The important exception is clothing, which ordinarily attracts tariffs as high as 32%. Here AGOA gives African exporters an edge. Manufacturers in the poorest African countries are exempt from tariffs even if they use fabric made elsewhere. In Lesotho, Madagascar, Kenya and Ethiopia, hundreds of thousands of workers stitch materials shipped from Asia into clothes for American consumers.

2nd High-level Meeting of the OPEC-Africa Energy Dialogue concludes (OPEC)

The 2nd High-level Meeting of the OPEC-Africa Energy Dialogue took place today, 12 February 2023, in Cairo involving leading energy partners from across the African continent. In a follow-up to the highly successful inaugural Dialogue held on 2 June 2021, OPEC hosted the second meeting with the African Union, the African Petroleum Producers’ Organization (APPO) and the African Refiners and Distributors Association (ARDA) to conduct open and transparent discussions on key energy-related topics relevant to Africa and its energy industries.

“The opportunities for the continent will be significant in the years ahead, but there will undoubtedly be a great number of challenges in store as this industry continues to evolve towards a lower-carbon future,” OPEC Secretary General, HE Haitham Al Ghais stated. “This complex and double-sided reality is what makes global energy cooperation and events such as this one of dire importance.”

Ghana hosts World Trade Centres Association General Assembly in April (Graphic Online)

The 53rd WTCA General Assembly, which will be held in Accra from April 23 to 28, will be the first to be hosted in Africa in the over 50-year history of the WTCA, a global network of 300 business organisations in more than 100 countries.

The global event is expected to be one of the biggest gatherings of business executives, investors, financial institutions, international trade organisations, policy makers and entrepreneurs on the African continent.

On the theme: “Towards African Economic Integration and Enhanced Global Presence”, the assembly will foster global collaborations among the various WTCs, as well as create trade and investment opportunities for businesses and countries.

Women, girls wary of AU free trade cross border pact (Africa Science News)

Ahead of the African Union Summit of Heads of Government and State slated to discuss African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), leading African women and girl specialists have raised concerns about the impact the pact may have on women and girls who trade across borders.

At the 39th Gender Is My Agenda (GIMAC) Youth Summit event Sunday, February 12, women and youth warned that the African free trade area pact may further marginalize women and girls.

“We need to operationalise AfCFTA, make it practical by removing the systemic and structural barriers, and start challenging the trade regimes that make it impossible to navigate the borders. Our focus as women in trade should not be just on cross-border trade but also on the macro level systems we need to engage central banks, customs unions, and the office of the registration among other partner stakeholders. ACFTA shouldn’t just be looked at in one economic dimension but the social, political, and environmental aspects matter as well,” said Memory Kachambwa, the Executive Director, of The African Women’s Development and Communications Network.

West Africa Oil and Products Imports Facing Structural Shifts (Hellenic Shipping News)

The looming completion of West Africa’s Dangote refinery is expected to have a significant impact on crude and product tanker flows to the region. Already though, a shift is expected due to the fact that EU exports of products is about to decline, due to the Russian oil ban.

In late 2022, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) reported that the refinery is nearing completion, being 97% commissioned, whilst many media outlets suggested that the scheduled start-up date is in Q1 2023. In contrast, the IEA currently expects the refinery to fire up around mid-2023, but the agency also acknowledges that further delays cannot be ruled out due to the sheer size and complexity of the single train refinery.

An increase in crude imports into Lekki will signal that the start date is approaching fast; however, so far this has not been witnessed despite the speculation”.

DDG Ellard discusses benefits of multilateralism, risks of unilateralism, WTO reform (WTO)

DDG Ellard discussed the role of international organizations in delivering for the global public good, addressing challenges of the global commons, and providing a more enduring, equitable and cooperative basis for democratic global governance rather than unilateral action.

DDG Ellard elaborated on the risks to the multilateral system from unilateral action and reshoring of supply chains. She also highlighted the related concerns expressed by developing countries, such as being left behind in an industrial or green subsidies race.

“Multilateralism is alive and well,” she emphasized. “And it is especially needed in times like these, when the existing global international order is under threat and the temptation for unilateral action is high,” she concluded.

DG Okonjo-Iweala highlights importance of trade cooperation at new carbon mitigation forum (WTO)

“To keep the world pulling together on climate action, advanced, emerging, and developing economies will need to find ways to coordinate across divergent national policies. Coordination in turn will rest on data and shared understandings about the impacts of different policies. That’s why this forum matters,” DG Okonjo-Iweala said at the launch event, at the invitation of the OECD.

Singapore submits formal acceptance of Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies (WTO)

Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said: “Singapore’s formal acceptance of the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies is an important step towards its entry into force. It adds to the diversity of economies needed for the collective effort to uphold ocean sustainability worldwide. As a stalwart supporter of the multilateral trading system and an active participant in both the fisheries subsidies negotiations and ongoing discussions on trade and environment, Singapore once again leads the way in highlighting the importance of global cooperation and ensuring the WTO is responsive to the challenges of our time.”

Five agencies issue joint call to address food and nutrition security crisis (WTO)

Joint Statement by the Heads of the Food and Agriculture Organization, International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group, World Food Programme and World Trade Organization on the Global Food and Nutrition Security Crisis

Globally, poverty and food insecurity are both on the rise after decades of development gains. Supply chain disruptions, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, financial tightening through rising interest rates and the war in Ukraine have caused an unprecedented shock to the global food system, with the most vulnerable hit the hardest. Food inflation remains high in the world, with dozens of countries experiencing double digit inflation. According to WFP, 349 million people across 79 countries are acutely food insecure.

This situation is expected to worsen, with global food supplies projected to drop to a three-year low in 2022/2023.(1) The need is especially dire in 24 countries that FAO and WFP have identified as hunger hotspots, of which 16 are in Africa.(2) Fertilizer affordability as defined by the ratio between food prices and fertilizer prices(3) is also the lowest since the 2007/2008 food crisis, which is leading to lower food production and impacting smallholder farmers the hardest, worsening the already high local food prices.

To prevent a worsening of the food and nutrition security crisis, further urgent actions are required to (i) rescue hunger hotspots, (ii) facilitate trade, improve the functioning of markets, and enhance the role of the private sector, and (iii) reform and repurpose harmful subsidies with careful targeting and efficiency. Countries should balance short-term urgent interventions with longer-term resilience efforts as they respond to the crisis.

G20 gives India opportunity address global challenges (Sunday Observer)

The Union Finance Minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman has said that India’s ongoing presidency of the G-20 grouping is a unique opportunity to strengthen the country’s role in the world economic order when countries across the globe are facing various challenges.

Presenting the budget for the fiscal year 2023–24 in the Lok Sabha, Sitharaman said India is steering an ambitious, people-centric agenda to address global challenges and facilitate sustainable economic development.

Global Supply Chain Forum 2024: Transport, logistics and trade facilitation for trade-driven development (UNCTAD)

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Government of Barbados will organize the first Global Supply Chain Forum in Barbados from 5 to 8 March 2024.

The high-level forum responds to the need to tackle ongoing and future supply chain challenges, covering issues such as financing, sustainable and resilient transport and logistics, trade facilitation, transport connectivity, digitalization, food security, transport costs, climate change adaptation and


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