Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Ministers welcome 2023 Budget (SAnews)

Government Ministers have welcomed the 2023 Budget Speech, saying Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana did his best to extricate the country from an economic conundrum. “The conditions under which the minister had to work were extremely toxic but he has done his best,” Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, told SAnews. “He doesn’t have to mention department by department but we have our letters of allocation. The main thing for the Department of Home Affairs in the letter of allocation is to increase the border guards at the border gates,” he said, in reference to the newly established Border Management Authority (BMA).

In this regard, National Treasury in the 2023 Budget Review document, an annexure in Minister Godongwana’s speech, said R3.3 billion would over the next three years be allocated to setting the BMA’s wheels in motion.

Govt aims to stimulate renewables investment with R9bn in tax incentives, reworked bounce-back scheme (Engineering News)

South Africa’s 2023 Budget includes tax incentives worth R9-billion to support businesses and households invest in renewable energy, including rooftop solar, in a bid to offset the impact of intensifying power cuts.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said the decision to incentivise renewables investments had been taken to enable customers to alleviate pressure on the grid, but also stressed that it was not an open-ended incentive.

He announced that the tax incentive available for businesses to promote renewable energy would be temporarily expanded beyond its current design, which allowed businesses to deduct the costs of qualifying investments over a one- or three-year period, creating a cash flow benefit in the early years of

Namibia tables bigger fiscal budget for 2023/24 financial year (China.org.cn)

Namibian Minister of Finance and Public Enterprises Iipumbu Shiimi on Wednesday proposed an 84.6 billion Namibian dollars (about 5.7 billion U.S. dollars) budget for the financial year 2023/2024. Speaking at parliament while tabling the national budget speech, Shiimi said the earmarked amount includes 2 billion Namibia dollars in development projects funded outside the State Revenue Fund and 10 billion Namibia dollars in debt servicing costs.

According to Shiimi, 2023/2024 national budget is anchored on three fiscal pillars of pro-sustainability under which it aims to reduce the budget deficit, pro-poor by providing support for the poor via various social safety nets, and pro-growth by optimizing economic growth.

On the revenue front, total collections of 74.7 billion Namibia dollars are estimated for the financial year 2023/24, about 16.5 percent higher than the revised estimates for the financial year 2022/23, he said, adding that the significant boost to revenues stems from an upward revision in receipts from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) customs pool to 24.3 billion Namibia dollars, around 6.4 billion Namibia dollars higher than the previous estimates.

Donated clothes an environmental disaster in disguise for developing world (RFI)

As much as one third of the clothing sent from the wealthy west to developing countries every year may be ending up as landfill. Unwearable polyester garments are little more than “plastic waste in disguise,” according to a report on Kenya by the Changing Markets Foundation. Kenya is the destination for 900 million pieces of used clothing every year.

Much of the clothing shipped to the country is made from petroleum-based materials such as polyester.When the clothes cannot be used, they end up burning in landfills near Nairobi, exposing waste pickers and local residents to toxic fumes.Tonnes of textiles are also swept into waterways, eventually breaking down into microfibres which enter the foodchain.

“More than one in three pieces of used clothing shipped to Kenya is a form of plastic waste in disguise and a substantial element of toxic plastic pollution in the country,” the report by the Changing Markets Foundation says.

Rwanda Economic Update: Nature-based Tourism Holds Tremendous Economic Potential (World Bank)

The Rwandan economy continued to achieve strong growth in 2022 despite global headwinds and an unprecedented increase in food prices, according to the 20th edition of the Rwanda Economic Update report.

Rwanda’s GDP grew by 8.4 percent in the first three quarters of 2022, after reaching 11 percent in 2021. Growth was spurred by the services sector, especially the revival of tourism, leading to the improvement of employment indicators to levels similar to those at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

However, rising food prices may have exacerbated poverty and food insecurity, according to the Rwanda Economic Update. The increase in international commodity prices, related to the war in Ukraine combined with the poor harvest in Rwanda, have led to substantial increases in energy, transport, and food prices, with urban inflation rising to 21.7 percent in November 2022. Rising food prices particularly affected the poor, who devote a large share of their spending to food and appear to have faced higher food inflation than richer households did. Measures adopted by the government to mitigate the effects of inflation over the past year include an increase in subsidies (primarily on fuels, fertilizers, seeds, and public transit), increased spending on social protection, and increases in teachers’ salaries, as well as government contributions to school feeding programs.

‘Seize industrial park opportunities’ (The Herald)

With African countries pursuing the ambitious industrialisation agenda through the establishment of Common Agro-Industrial Parks (CAIPs), the private sector should ride on the “goodwill and strategic intentions” already shown by some Governments, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza said last week.

Zimbabwe and Zambia are jointly exploring various value chain possibilities through the establishment of a CAAPs, focusing on cotton, maize, wheat, rice, soya beans, sugar, livestock, leather as well as dairy.

With support from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the sub-regional office for southern Africa, milestones achieved to date include the development of a detailed roadmap and action plan, a pre-feasibility study on the proposed CAIPs between the two countries and a study on the regulatory and policy framework.

East Africa: Tanzania and Burundi ordered to adopt EAC bloc’s roaming rates (Ecofin Agency)

Since 2014, East African Community member countries have been implementing measures to harmonize roaming rates. Four countries have implemented the measures. They are namely Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and South Sudan. The East African Community (EAC) Sectoral Council on Transport, Communications, and Meteorology has ordered Tanzania and Burundi to harmonize their roaming rates with community standards by August 30, 2023. The two countries are required to present the tariff harmonization status at the next EAC Heads of State Summit.

Push for Universal Energy Access: Joining Hands to Accelerate the Pace of Electrification in Africa (World Bank)

A presidential roundtable on the side-lines of the 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union has called for the acceleration of financing for energy access in Africa with clear targets and steps for ensuring the achievement of universal energy access by 2030.

In her opening remarks H.E. Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy accentuated that energy is a bedrock for the success of every development sector and thus increased effort is required in ensuring affordable and reliable access. Dr Amani stated that “Africa’s key priorities and initiatives including industrialisation, AfCFTA, agricultural development, food security, poverty alleviation, job creation and regional integration, as well as the achievement of the SDGs, are all dependent on modern and universal energy access and services.”

The African Single Electricity Market (AfSEM) was noted to be a key strategic element of facilitating energy access and enhancing energy security in Africa and, therefore, the AU Member States, regional economic communities and their specialised institutions were urged to play their part in facilitating its operationalisation.

China’s strong partnership can help Africa deliver AfCFTA (Capital News)

African Union leaders have concluded this year’s Summit with a rallying call to expedite the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

One of Africa’s enduring international partners in the economic development domain is China. During the AU Summit, Chinese leader Xi Jinping sent congratulatory message; reaffirming Beijing’s readiness to work with the Africa in generate enduring development. Already, China is Africa’s largest trading partner and third largest foreign direct investor. Chinese firms have been key in setting up the base to realize many of the AfCFTA aspirations; contributing over 20% to Africa’s economic development over the last decade.

Africa has long struggled with inadequate infrastructure, which has impeded its growth and development. China’s development experience, particularly in infrastructure development, could help Africa become more integrated, prosperous, and peaceful. As of 2021, China had invested over $150 billion in infrastructure projects in Africa, making it the continent’s largest infrastructure partner.

African countries face significant funding gaps in infrastructure development, with estimates suggesting that the continent needs up to $170 billion annually to meet its infrastructure needs. China’s approach to infrastructure financing, which emphasizes concessional loans, grants, and infrastructure investment funds, could help African countries mobilize the required resources for infrastructure development. China could also share its experience in public-private partnerships (PPPs) in infrastructure financing, which have been used extensively in China to leverage private sector resources for infrastructure development.

China’s development experience in regional integration could help Africa overcome its fragmentation and achieve greater economic integration. African countries could learn from China’s experience in regional integration and apply it to the AfCFTA.

African leaders urge continent to strengthen political will toward achieving continental nutrition targets (AfDB)

Heads of African Union member states have called for more commitment and accountability in Africa’s effort to achieve continental and global goals for nutrition ahead of the 2025 World Health Assembly Nutrition target deadline. The leaders took part in a nutrition-themed side event during the 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union

The event was held on Friday 17 February, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho Samuel Ntsokoane Matekane. Its theme: “Progress and Achievements in Addressing Malnutrition in Africa: Accountability for results in achieving continental and global targets for nutrition,” centered on long-lasting measures to curb malnutrition and food security on the continent.

African Union: future role in BRICS+ and G20 (Modern Diplomacy)

On January 23, 2022, Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, announced Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was embarking on a new tour of Africa. During the week, the high-ranking Russian delegation paid a visit to several countries on the continent: South Africa being the traditional “mainstay” of Russia’s foreign policy in Africa, the continent’s smallest kingdom of Eswatini, the Russia-friendly Portuguese-speaking Angola, and the little-known Eritrea, which was once even under Russian sanctions. That said, Moscow did not hesitate to announce the terminal point of the visit, the specifics of the secretive Eritrean statehood probably playing a part here.

Amid preparations for the second Russia–Africa Summit and Economic Forum, which is anticipated in St. Petersburg in July 2023 after repeated postponements, Moscow needs to not only embrace a constructive agenda for the discussions but also ensure a high representativeness of their participants—all that in a more challenging geopolitical situation than it was in 2019.

Fight against illicit financial flows (IMF)

Illicit financial flows refer to the movement of money across borders that is illegal in its source (e.g. corruption, smuggling), its transfer (e.g. tax evasion), or its use (e.g. terrorist financing).

Illicit and tax avoidance related financial flows (ITAFF) can have a significant impact on the economic stability of a country and the global financial system. They can drain foreign exchange reserves, distort competition, inflate prices for real estate and other assets, lower tax receipts, and reduce government revenue. They divert resources from public spending and can cut into the capital available for private investment. Illegal flows also can encourage further criminal activity, undermine the rule of law, erode trust in public institutions, and threaten a country’s political stability. In addition, ITAFF can have a negative impact on the broader economy, with potential spillovers into other economies, including by deepening inequality and weakening social cohesion across and within countries.

What is being done to combat ITAFF? For decades, the IMF has played a key role in international efforts to combat these opaque and often destabilizing transfers. It also has longstanding concerns with flows that are not strictly illegal but are associated with tax avoidance.

Policy priorities for the G20: One earth, one family, one future (IMF)

At a time of heightened uncertainties for the global economy, India’s strong performance remains a bright spot. So, it’s fitting that Group of Twenty finance ministers and central bank governors will gather in Bengaluru this week.

This will be another challenging year. But it could represent a turning point—with inflation declining and growth bottoming out. Indeed, while our latest projections show global growth slowing to 2.9 percent this year, we anticipate a modest rebound to 3.1 percent in 2024.

One year into Russia’s war, a key global food security deal hangs in the balance (POLITICO)

“The grain deal is absolutely critical for the response to the food crisis,” said WFP economist Friederike Greb. There was already a “toxic mix” of factors — from climate change to debt — driving hunger before the war. The world cannot now afford another spike in food prices, she told POLITICO, making it vital to extend the deal.

Russia claims that most Ukrainian cargoes have headed to Europe and other rich countries; not to those in Africa and Asia bearing the brunt of the global food crisis.

With the deal up for renewal March 19, rhetoric is escalating on both sides — as Ukraine seeks greater access to world markets and Russia pushes back against Western sanctions that it says are to blame for rising food insecurity.

Trade thoughts, from Geneva, by DDG Anabel González (WTO)

Policymakers and businesses are increasingly wary about the risks of economic interdependence. Securing supply chains, avoiding over-dependence on too few (or “unfriendly”) suppliers, and ensuring continued access to goods in critical sectors have become top-of-mind, as have strategies to accelerate the transition to net zero carbon emissions.

In this increasingly complex landscape, the world needs a system to tackle challenges of the global commons, diffuse trade conflicts, and tap into new growth opportunities. Only a revitalized World Trade Organization (WTO) can serve this purpose. Contrary to misguided views of the WTO as an irrelevant outfit or a strait jacket that obstructs the pursuit of legitimate national goals, the WTO matters. Now, more than ever.

Of course, reforming the WTO will not be easy, but it can be done. The global trading system has confronted challenges before, and governments have found ways to reinvent it. We owe this in no small measure to the trading system’s flexibility.


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