Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

TRACIT calls for improved measures to combat illicit trade in South Africa (AJOT)

A new study by the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (TRACIT) shows that illicit trade is one of the biggest threats to stability and economic growth in South Africa. While the country has taken steps under President Cyril Ramaphosa to root out illegal trade and associated activities like corruption and money laundering, the scope and depth of the illicit economy poses a significant threat to the health and wellbeing of South African citizens and a persistent drain on the overall economy.

European Union seeks more trade deals with Kenya (ZAWYA)

The European Union has opened trade talks with Kenya to tap opportunities in agriculture, green energy, infrastructure and technology. According to Martijn Boelen, EU trade counsellor and regional trade adviser, the forthcoming EU-Kenya Business Forum dubbed “Trade and Investment Opportunities in Kenya” will focus on trade opportunities. “We want to open up to show that it is not all about Valentine’s Day and flowers. It is not all about avocados and mangoes. There are so many products that Kenya can bring to the world,” said Mr Boelen ahead of the forum that is jointly organised by the EU, its member states, European Business Council and the Kenya Private Sector Alliance. “We are underestimating the value of Kenya. So my appeal is to let this huge export and import imbalance die. Kenya can stand tall as the gateway to Africa,” he added.

Kenya’s textile industry to benefit from bilateral trade (The Standard)

The Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industry has developed a model for an ideal industrial park to be duplicated in all counties. The project is earmarked to cost Sh100 million in a wider project that the government has started which will see every county develop industrial parks beginning this financial year. While on a visit to Egypt, Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria said Kenya is focused on increasing her share of the manufacturing sector.

Botswana ratifies pan-African trade deal (Mmegi Online)

The AfCFTA is the world’s largest free trade area developed under the auspices of the African Union (AU) to enable the free flow of goods and services across the continent. It is estimated that the AfCFTA has the potential both to boost intra-Africa trade by 52.3% and also boost the continent’s trading position in the global market.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi signed onto the AfCFTA in 2019 making Botswana the 51st of 54 African nations to agree in principle to the continental trade deal. Since then Botswana has been hammering out the modalities of the deal to ratify it, negotiating as a member of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU).

By the end of January, Botswana was one of 10 AfCFTA signatories still to ratify the deal, as local negotiators bargained over tariff lines for goods as well as rules of origin for the automobile industry, textiles, clothing/apparel, and edible oils.

‘Obscure rules may hurt Nigeria’s gains from AfCFTA’ (The Nation)

Implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement without concluding some of its critical elements, particularly the determination of the Rule of Origin (RoO), will hurt manufacturers and the economy, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), has said.

Giving an update on Nigeria’s readiness for the implementation of AfCFTA, which commercial trading kicked off on January 1, 2021, the President, MAN, Otunba Francis Meshioye, said RoO under the AfCFTA was very fundamental in ensuring that “we are able to minimise or eliminate dumping”.

Comesa may consider Kenya Airlines, South African Airways deal a merger (The East African)

Kenya Airways’ partnership with South African Airways will be treated as a merger on the back of the effect that the joint venture will have on competition in the region, the Comesa Competition Commission (CCC) has said. The national carrier operates in countries that are members of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and is bound by the regional watchdog’s treaty and will be forced to notify CCC of an impending merger. The two carriers, which want to form a pan-African airline, have many times denied that they are merging, terming their deal a partnership by using their existing assets.

SADC convenes Payment Systems annual regional conference (SADC)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s Payment Systems Subcommittee under the SADC Committee of Central Bank Governors (CCBG) convened its annual regional conference in Windhoek, Republic of Namibia, on 13th and 14th February 2023 to deliberate on developments in the regional payment systems ecosystem, and most importantly the impact of digitisation on initiatives to enhance financial inclusion and integrity.

Among others, the conference considered progress on the implementation of the SADC-Real Time Gross Settlement System (SADC-RTGS) renewal programme. The main objective of this programme is to modernise the settlement system in a manner that promotes efficiency and effectiveness. The renewal journey will also minimise risks to the payments ecosystem by leveraging technological developments in order to extend the availability of digital services to all sectors of society for the benefits of the Region. The total number of transactions settled on the SADC-RTGS as at the end of January 2023 was 2,834,860 representing a value of ZAR10.97 trillion. Banks drawn from 15 Member States participate in the system and the total number of participating banks, including central banks as participants, is 89.

36th AU Summit urges Member States to double the spirit of Pan-Africanism, Solidarity and Brotherhood by accelerating the operationalization of the AfCFTA (AU)

Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) converged began holding their 36th Ordinary Session today 18th February 2023 at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Addressing the Assembly, H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat began by paying tribute to President Macky Sall of Senegal, for his numerous achievements during his mandate as Chair of the Union. He stated that the 36th AU Summit is taking place at a time when the international context is marked by worrying uncertainties, fueled by geopolitical conflicts, fragmented economic governance, with unforeseeable consequences for Africa. “Over the past three years, global economic growth has lost momentum and inflation is rising higher rates…. Faced with such a situation, it is imperative that our Member States decide, with determination, in their economic and development choices.

Sustain minimum growth rate of 7-10% of GDP to achieve inclusive growth and sustainable development in Africa, experts say at AU Summit (AfDB)

Experts examining an ongoing study of key factors underlying development in Africa on Friday, emphasized the need for the continent to sustain annual growth rates of at least 7-10 percent over the next 40 years if Agenda 2063 is to be met. The session, organized by the Africa Union Commission and the African Development Bank, was held on the sidelines of the 36th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa. The study on Key Actions to Drive Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development in Africa, was commissioned by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat and African Development Bank President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina.

The study will undertake a deep analysis of Africa’s growth trajectory and identify key actions for Africa to double its growth rates from the current level for the next 40 years. Agenda 2063, set by the African Union, is Africa’s roadmap and master plan for transforming the continent into the global powerhouse of the future.

African leaders declare support for African Development Bank’s food summit outcome, call for urgent implementation (AfDB)

African heads of state and government have endorsed the outcomes of the recent Dakar 2 Summit on Food Sovereignty and Resilience, hosted in January by the African Development Bank Group and the government of Senegal, calling for global support for its immediate implementation. In a resolution read at the end of the 36th African Union summit on Sunday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, they described the Dakar 2 Food Summit as important and timely to address rising food prices, disruption in the global food supply, and worsening of food insecurity in Africa.

The leaders said: “The Country Food and Agriculture Delivery Compacts developed at the Dakar 2 Summit convey the vision, challenges, and opportunities in agricultural productivity, infrastructure, processing, value addition, markets, and financing that will contribute to the acceleration of the implementation of the African Union’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program.”

Africa requires a collective effort to transform the continent’s agrifood systems and end malnutrition, QU Dongyu tells AU Summit (FAO)

The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu today called for a collective sustained effort, political will and renewed commitment across the African continent, and globally, to transform agrifood systems and deliver better nutrition.

“It is now more crucial than ever to support vulnerable communities with multiple and innovative solutions to build their resilience and transform agrifood systems to deliver better nutrition,” he told the gathering attended by over a dozen of African heads of state and government, and high-level officials from international organizations including UN agencies and development banks.

UNCTAD reiterates commitment to Africa at continental summit (UNCTAD)

UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan reiterated the organization’s commitment to supporting African countries while attending the 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union held on 18 and 19 February in Addis Ababa.

Ms. Grynspan, who joined UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the summit, discussed with delegates from various countries and organizations how UNCTAD can contribute more to the realization of the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to expand economic opportunities across Africa and address individual countries’ priorities.

She said UNCTAD will continue to support African countries to cope with ongoing multiple and interrelated crises. While they are still recovering from the health and socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ripple effects of the war in Ukraine have fuelled a cost-of-living crisis that is affecting many people.

Despite challenges, Africa ‘poised for progress’ – Guterres (UN News)

Mr. Guterres praised the many African Union (AU) initiatives aimed at bringing about this vision for the continent – including Agenda 2063 a blueprint for the Africa of the future, and the Decade of Women’s Financial and Economic Inclusion – and the decision to focus on the African Continental Free Trade Area at the Summit which, he said, represents a “truly transformative pathway to job creation and new sources of prosperity for Africans, especially for the youth”.

Nevertheless, the UN chief did not underestimate the “enormous tests” Africa is facing, crises that are “greater than any in our lifetimes”, and demanded action.

CSD on EU-Africa trade and investment relations (European Commission)

The aim of this meeting is to discuss with EU civil society the latest developments in EU-Africa trade and investment relations and exchange views on EU trade and investment policy in Africa.

The Trade Policy Review Communication published by the European Commission in February 2021 confirmed the importance of Africa in the EU’s trade policy. It proposed to enhance further sustainable trade and investment links, both between the EU and Africa and in Africa itself, while also strengthening existing regional integration processes.

The Joint Declaration signed at the margins of the European Union-African Union summit held in Brussels in February 2022 presented a joint vision for a renewed partnership between Africa and the EU. It provided an important occasion to strengthen our joint trade and investment agenda, in particular through the adoption of the Africa-Europe Global Gateway Investment Package. EU and African Union leaders also underlined their commitment to multilateralism.

Chair reports positive outlook for fisheries subsidies negotiations, readies ‘fish weeks’ (WTO)

“In all, I held more than 30 bilateral sessions, and they were uniformly positive in tone. Delegations expressed great enthusiasm to fully re-engage, and to work hard to fulfil the mandate that we received from ministers at MC12,” Ambassador Gunnarsson said at the meeting of heads of delegations. His consultations were held on 8-15 February with delegations representing individual members and groups of members about how to organize work for the second wave of fisheries subsidies negotiations, he explained.

Guterres calls for G20 to agree $500 billion annual stimulus for sustainable development (UN News)

So far, the global financial system has failed to effectively cushion the impacts of current crises impacting the Global South the most: the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the ongoing climate emergency. “Today’s poly-crises are compounding shocks on developing countries – in large part because of an unfair global financial system that is short-term, crisis-prone, and that further exacerbates inequalities,” warned UN Secretary-General António Guterres, marking the launch of the SDG Stimulus.

Trade has been a powerful driver of economic development and poverty reduction (World Bank)

Trade has multiple benefits. Trade leads to faster productivity growth, especially for sectors and countries engaged in global value chains (GVCs). These links allow developing countries to specialize in making a single component, like a keyboard, rather than a finished product, like a personal computer. GVCs give them access to foreign technology, know-how, and investment. Trade eases the diffusion of technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support adaptation – such as solar panels and wind turbines or drought-resistant seeds. Consumers enjoy a greater variety of goods and services at lower cost, though some firms and workers in individual sectors may see their livelihoods at risk through increased competitive pressures.

Despite these benefits, globalization is under fire. Critics blame it for the loss of manufacturing jobs in advanced economies, environmental degradation, and disruptions to supplies of vital goods like vaccines. These concerns, combined with geopolitical tensions, are prompting major players to raise barriers to trade and investment and to subsidize the domestic production of goods deemed essential and strategic. In 2022, many countries reacted to disruptions of food supplies from Ukraine by restricting exports of wheat, corn, and other foods. This tit-for-tat cycle only drove prices higher, briefly threatening a global food crisis.

India to press for fair access to logistics at G20 meetings (Mint)

Fair and equitable access to logistics for developing nations in international trade will be a top agenda item for New Delhi during its G20 presidency, after shocks to global supply chains from the covid-19 pandemic and Ukraine war drove freight rates to record levels last year.

“We have seen that shipping lines are dominated by western countries and shipping containers are with China. We will be taking up accessibility-related issues for developing nations. Logistics should be fair, accessible and equitable. We will focus on how to decrease the logistics costs,” a senior government official said. Exporters said they faced severe problems post-covid as overseas freight rates jumped as much as 300-350% from pre-covid levels. Moreover, the lack of containers during the supply chain disruptions caused major challenges.

DDG Ellard discusses WTO success, need for reform, relevance to addressing climate crisis (WTO)

DDG Ellard emphasized there are grounds for optimism about the future of the multilateral trading system after the successful conclusion of MC12. Members managed to reach meaningful outcomes on most of the issues before them, except for agriculture, she said. Most notably, members added a new binding agreement — the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies — to the WTO rulebook.

However, DDG Ellard emphasized that there is a lot of work ahead of MC13 set to take place in February 2024, including agricultural reform, the second wave of negotiations on fisheries subsidies, whether to extend the MC12 TRIPS Decision on COVID-19 vaccines to diagnostics and

Substantial services trade liberalisation occurred during 2022, but imposition of new barriers in many key sectors demonstrate the need for renewed efforts to open markets, OECD says (OECD)

Governments enacted substantial services trade liberalisation in 2022, underpinned by actions to improve business operations in domestic markets, advance regulatory transparency and ease remaining hurdles on business travel after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The global regulatory environment for services trade was dynamic with an increase in the volume of regulatory changes compared to 2021, reflecting countries’ continued efforts to address various global economic challenges.

Positive developments were counter-balanced, however, by a range of new services trade barriers, including on foreign companies’ ability to provide services locally, limitations on the movement of people and increased control on foreign investments, according to new analysis from the OECD.


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