Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

International Trade Centre Launches Toam in Seychelles for Facilitating Trade (All Africa)

Seychelles' private sector can now report the obstacles and challenges it encounters through a digital platform called the Trade Obstacles Alert Mechanism (TOAM) platform launched on Tuesday.

TOAM is an international initiative of the International Trade Centre (ITC), developed in collaboration with public and private institutions at the national and regional levels.

Headquartered in Geneva, the ITC is a multilateral agency which has a joint mandate with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the United Nations (UN) through the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Export: Nigerian SMEs need to be positioned for global market –Solarin (Daily Sun)

“Export for survival will continue to be a cliche till we become more deliberate about positioning Nigeria’s small and medium Enterprises (SMEs) for the global market.”

Founder of Dasun Integrated Farms Ltd and DIFL Nigeria, Bosun Solarin, made the remark during the Talking Trade and Investment Global February webinar with the Theme: Creating a sustainable Non-Export-Driven-Economy: What Nigeria Must Do.

Solarin noted that Nigeria cannot  continue to do things the same way and expect different results, adding that as a nation, we must act with sustainable strategies to realise a better Nigeria we hope for, one that is driven and flourishing based on non-oil export.

Ugandan investors decry continued restrictions in cross border trade (The Independent Uganda)

Ugandan entrepreneurs have questioned the willingness of the political leadership of the East African Community-EAC to make the region one trading bloc and investment destination, as challenges to cross-border trade persist.

The investors, mainly manufacturers, say they cannot ably trade across the region despite assurances by the EAC leadership and the national governments about abolishing non-trade barriers.

This comes as the business community in the region prepares for the East African Procurement Forum and Business Expo at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds from March 23rd to 26th.

Botswana’s diamond trade is expected to depreciate due to reduced demand (Business Insider Africa)

In 2022, the total mining production increased by 8.2%. Although Botswana is the continent's biggest producer of diamonds, this year's improvements in copper and coal will not make up for the fall in this commodity.

About the majority of Botswana's diamonds are produced by Debswana, a joint venture between the government of Botswana and De Beers, a division of Anglo American Plc (AAL.L). In 2022, production increased by 8% to 24.1 million carats. Trading in diamonds increased 41% in the last year, with Botswana also benefiting from Western consumers avoiding Russian stones as a result of its invasion of Ukraine.

Botswana anticipates that the production of diamonds would fall by 1% in 2023 and that growth in the diamond trade will decrease to 7% from 41% in 2018.

Egypt's net foreign assets decline by $1.7bln in January (ZAWYA)

CAIRO - Egypt's net foreign assets (NFAs) declined by 160.2 billion Egyptian pounds in January, likely due to debts maturing and importers clearing backlogs from ports.

NFAs deteriorated to a negative 654.43 billion Egyptian pounds from a negative 494.3 billion at end-December, central bank data showed.

This works out to a decline of $1.70 billion using end-of-month central bank exchange rates, according to Reuters calculations. The central bank allowed the Egyptian pound to depreciate by nearly 24% in January.

Training helps more women in least developed countries benefit from trade (UNCTAD)

Women drive trade in least developed countries (LDCs), with many running small businesses across borders. But they face security risks and significant constraints in accessing productive and financial resources.

To help more women in these countries benefit from trade, UNCTAD trains policymakers on how to design and implement policies that tackle gender inequalities. It also trains academicians and representatives of civil society and the private sector so they can better contribute to this cause.

The online courses equip them with the knowledge to analyse the two-way relationship between trade and gender, and to formulate gender-equitable policies.

“This training has reinforced my desire to support women’s leadership and participation,” said Namizata Binaté-Fofana, one of the 104 participants who took the latest online course on the links between trade and gender.

Namibia, Zambia to revive joint trade committee (The Namibian)

NAMIBIA and Zambia have agreed to revive the joint trade and investment committee (JTIC) to strengthen bilateral cooperation on trade, trade-related and investment matters.

The agreement came after the minister of industrialisation and trade, Lucia Iipumbu, held consultations last week with her Zambian counterpart, Chipoka Mulenga, to explore export market opportunities, and to strengthen existing bilateral cooperation between the two neighbouring countries.

According to a statement issued by ministry spokesperson Elijah Mukubonda, Iipumbu visited Zambia from 21 to 24 February for consultations with Mulenga on trade, industry and investment.

“The meeting was instrumental in supporting and collectively driving the enhanced trade relations agenda between the two countries,” the statement says, adding that the ministers reached agreements on trade relations, as well as the implementation of policies for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

Trans-Sahara Highway: Niger section almost complete (CCE News)

The Trans-Sahara Highway, linking West Africa to North Africa from Lagos to Algiers, has entered its final construction phase.

The 9,400-kilometer road is critical to establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area.

The African Development Fund, the African Development Bank Group’s concessional lending window, is one of the key financiers.

In Niger, the junction between North and West Africa, cross-border traffic is increasing following the construction of the Farié bridge. The Bank Group’s project manager in Niger, Albéric Houssou Olaya Cestmir, speaks about this pan-African integration project.

Trademark, Tony Blair Institute join hands to boost intra-Africa trade (The East African)

Pan-African cross-border trade promoter Trademark Africa and its subsidiary Trade Catalyst Africa (TCA) have entered an agreement to work together with governments adviser Tony Blair Institute (TBI) to accelerate cross-border trade on the continent.

The three non-profit organisations signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Monday agreeing to combine efforts in helping accelerate the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Facilitating trade development on the continent, they said, could hasten the gains of AfCFTA, which include lifting at least 30 million people from poverty by 2035 as intra-Africa trade grows by over 50 percent.

US apparel imports from Africa at $3.49 bn in 2022 (Fibre2Fashion)

Trousers and shorts were the dominant products among the total apparel imported by the US from the African continent in 2022. In the country’s total imported garments worth $3.491 billion, trousers and shorts grabbed a share of 45.20 per cent, valued at $1.578 billion. Jerseys, shirts, T-shirts, and innerwear were the other top five products. 

The imports of trousers and shorts jumped more than 55 per cent in the last two years after a decline in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. US’ imports of trousers and shorts slipped 14.21 per cent to $1.014 billion in 2020 but bounced back up by 32.88 per cent to $1.347 billion in 2021. Inbound shipments from African countries further jumped by 17.09 per cent to $1.578 billion in the recently concluded year 2022, according to trade data obtained from Fibre2Fashion’s market insight tool TexPro. 

The Third Edition Of The AmCham Business Summit On US – East Africa Trade And Investment To Be Held In March 2023 (Africa.com)

The third edition of the AmCham Business Summit – the premier U.S. – East Africa trade and investment forum – will be held on 29-30 March 2023, in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Summit will provide a strategic platform for enhancing two-way trade and investment between the United States and the East Africa region.

The Summit will be the first high-level event on the continent following the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit and comes when the United States and Kenya have just concluded a productive first round of talks on the U.S. – Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP). The Summit is expected to drive new ideas on re-energizing the region’s economy through two-way trade and investment with the United States.

Goods barometer declines further, hinting at fourth quarter trade slump (WTO)

World merchandise trade growth appears to have lost momentum in the fourth quarter of 2022 and is likely to remain weak in the first quarter of 2023, according to the latest WTO Goods Trade Barometer issued on 1 March. The overall barometer index continues to point to weakening trade growth in volume terms after falling to 92.2, down from 96.2 in the previous release and well below the baseline value of 100.

The Goods Trade Barometer is a composite leading indicator for world trade, providing real-time information on the trajectory of merchandise trade relative to recent trends. Barometer values greater than 100 signal above-trend trade volume while values less than 100 suggest that goods trade has either fallen below trend or will do so in the near future. The barometer index (represented by the blue line above) also finished below the merchandise trade volume index (represented by the black line), which stood at 106.6 in the third quarter thanks to resilient exports in Europe and the Americas. Preliminary data suggest that the merchandise trade index will follow the barometer index down once quarterly trade volume statistics for the fourth quarter are released.

US will continue partnering with India to promote transparent, rules-based trading system: Biden administration (Financial Express)

The United States will continue to partner with India to tackle shared challenges, build resilient supply chains, and promote a transparent and rules-based trading system for market economies and democracies, the Biden Administration said Wednesday. The United States and India share a dynamic and important trade and investment relationship, the US Trade Representative said in its President’s 2023 Trade Policy Agenda.

In 2021, the two countries relaunched the Trade Policy Forum (TPF), which had not met since 2017, it said, adding that India and the US convened the 13th meeting of the TPF in Washington in January last year. “Our governments discussed the tremendous potential for growth between our economies and how we can work together to bring a positive impact to working people in both countries,” it said.

“The United States will continue to partner with India to tackle shared challenges, build resilient supply chains, and promote a transparent, rules-based trading system for market economies and democracies,” the USTR said in its India section of the report. According to the USTR, throughout 2022, the US engaged with India on an ongoing basis in response to specific concerns affecting the full range of the bilateral trade relationship.

GCC bilateral trade with Asia to surpass advanced economies by 2028 (Consultancy-me)

Bilateral trade between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Asia will accelerate in the coming years, and is set to reach $578 billion by the end of this decade as Gulf economies increasingly pivot to the fast-growing East.

According to new research by UK-based think tank Asia House, two-way trade between the GCC and Asian markets will grow at almost 6% per year over the next decade, in the process seeing the East surpass the GCC’s trade value with advanced economies by 2028.

“Rapidly expanding ties between the Gulf and Asia are creating a fundamental global shift that will have far-ranging implications for international trade, business and politics. The investment corridor is growing in both directions and across various industries, including oil and non-oil sectors,” said Freddie Neve, an Associate at Asia House and co-author of the report.

Applications now open for WTO Training Course on Trade and Gender (WTO)

The WTO will hold an in-person training course on trade and gender for government officials from 2 to 5 May 2023 at its headquarters in Geneva. The course aims to help government officials develop trade policies that promote gender equality and integrate gender considerations in their work. It supports the work of the Informal Working Group on Trade and Gender on seeking to increase women’s participation in global trade. The deadline to submit applications is 15 March 2023.

The WTO Training Course on Trade and Gender conducted in English, will assist participants in improving their knowledge of the trade and gender nexus and the role of the WTO on this issue. At the end of the course, participants will be able to utilize trade and gender concepts and tools in the analysis and development of trade policies.

The programme is built around lectures, discussions, group exercises and interactive brainstorming in eight live training sessions over four days. The course forms part of the WTO's 2022-2023 Biennial Technical Assistance and Training Plan.

EU, US ag leaders discuss plan to thwart Russian control of Ukraine grain trade (Agri-Pulse)

Exports of Ukrainian corn and wheat that supplied Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the European Union all but halted a year ago after Russia invaded the country, closing down Black Sea ports. 

Now, there is a scheme to lessen the impact if those ports are closed again, European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski tells Agri-Pulse.

Ukrainian Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskyi has proposed that Western allies build dedicated rail lines to allow Ukrainian farmers to ship corn and wheat directly to ports in Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, where ships can take the grain all over the globe, according to Wojciechowski, who said he discussed potential U.S. involvement during meetings last week with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.


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