Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

South Africa is exporting more food. But it needs to find new growth frontiers (The Conversation)

South African agricultural exports were up for the third consecutive year in 2022, reflecting favourable production conditions and higher commodity prices. The export numbers for the full year have not yet been published.

The major export crops continued to be maize, wine, grapes, citrus, berries, nuts, apples and pears, sugar, avocados, and wool.

These products have been the drivers of exports over the past couple of decades. In particular, fruit and wine have increasingly become the leading export products. These have driven a rise in the value of agriculture (and agro-processing) exports, which have averaged 11% of the South Africa’s overall exports, up from 9% in the decade before.

South Africa now exports roughly half of its agricultural produce in value terms. Citrus, table grapes, wine and a range of deciduous fruits dominate the export list. Increasingly, we are seeing the encouraging uptick in beef exports.

South African trade moves away from air cargo as ocean rates tumble (The Loadstar)

South Africa is set to see a shift from air freight as importers and exporters eye tumbling sea freight rates and improved ocean reliability. The automotive industry in particular will rely less on air, delegates heard at last week’s Air Cargo Africa event in Johannesburg.

“The market has been very volatile,” explained Renaj Moothilal, executive director of South Africa’s component manufacturer association, NAACAM. “The component market depends on a globally integrated value chain. You can’t have 99% of components, you need 100%.

“In the past, we’ve moved mostly by sea freight, but over the [pandemic] years, we’ve had a huge uptake towards air. Sea had issues. We’ve seen a 60% to 70% increased use of airfreight over the last three or four years.”

But he added: “The component sector is cost-sensitive, and cost will always be a key decision driver. But to avoid being the cause of an assembly line shutting down, the use of aircraft became a lot more prevalent.”

Duty-free sugar imports dock at port of Mombasa (Business Daily)

Consumers may see the price of sugar come down in the coming days as the ships carrying the first consignment of the duty-free sweetener docks at the port of Mombasa. Imports of the commodity would normally attract a duty of 50 percent. A ship manifest from the Port shows that the first ship will arrive on Tuesday with a second one docking on March 1.

These are the first consignments of duty-free imports to get to the country after the government gave a waiver for maize, sugar and rice last year.

The government opened an import window in December that would see traders ship in 100,000 tonnes of sugar outside of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) region to curb an imminent shortage in the country that has pushed up the cost of the sweetener to Sh312 for a two-kilo packet.

Kenya imports hit Sh2.5trn on costly fuel, foodstuff (Business Daily)

Kenyan importers spent an equivalent of three-quarters of the country’s annual budget to bring in goods from abroad, hurting job opportunities for growing skilled youth and exerting pressure on the shilling against major global currencies. Expenditure on imports rose 16.21 percent to Sh2.49 trillion on the back of the increased cost of importing fuel and food, official data collated by the Central Bank of Kenya shows. The import bill is equivalent to 73.45 percent of the Sh3.39 trillion original budget for the current year ending June.

Elevated import bill against a narrow basket of export goods helped widen the country’s goods trade deficit by 15.26 percent last year.

The trade deficit – the gap between merchandise imports and exports – rose to Sh1.62 trillion in 12 months through last December from Sh1.41 trillion the year before. Kenya has over the years struggled to narrow its goods trade deficit partly due to reliance on traditional farm produce exports such as tea, horticulture and coffee despite pledges by successive governments to expand the basket of merchandise and incentivise exporters who add value to produce.

Namibia to pocket oil billions after 2030 (New Era)

Oil and gas exploration in Namibia are the talk of the global town, following significant discoveries in the offshore Orange Basin last year, which is creating expectations of massive future government oil revenue. But a leading Namibian wealth management outfit said Namibia will only reap the rewards of these discoveries in a few years. Oil majors have in the meantime stepped up their exploration activities in Namibian waters.

This past weekend, Upstream, a reputed news source, reported that “Shell looks to have a third significant oil discovery on its hands in Namibia’s red-hot Orange basin play, and could make an announcement within hours or days”.

Producers urged to increase production to curb trade deficit (Daily News)

THE Office of Chief Government Statistician- Zanzibar (OCGSZ) has released the monthly balance of trade statistics showing that the international trade deficit increased in January this year compared with the corresponding month last year.

“Balance of Trade (BOT) showed a deficit of 118.5bn/- in January this year, increased by 76.5 percent compared to the corresponding month of 2022 and by 30.3 percent compared with the previous month. Trade ratio decreased from 9.5 percent in December 2022 to 6.9 percent in January this year,” said Mr Bakari Khamis Kondo from OCGSZ.

“Total exports of goods by Standard International Trade Certification (SITC), food and live animals was down with 7,1bm/- last month compared to December last year 7.4bn/- and the 24.7bn/- for the corresponding month- January 2022,” Kondo explained.

He said that India led the top five trading partners for exported goods in January this year, accounting for 64.3 percent of the total value of exported goods. Beverages and tobacco export followed, but it also dropped from 84.7bn/- in December last year to only 3.1bn/-

Namibia, Botswana sign historic border crossing deal (New Era)

Namibia and Botswana on Friday signed a historic agreement that will see the citizens of both countries using only their national identity documents to cross their borders. Namibian President Hage Geingob and his Botswana counterpart Mokgweetsi Masisi signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) at the Trans-Kalahari/Mamuno common border in the east of Namibia.

The launch is the first of its kind in southern Africa. In signing this agreement, the two countries are following the objectives of the SADC Protocol on the Facilitation of the Movement of Persons Treaty, which encourages the free movement of people within the region. The treaty is yet to be fully implemented across theregion.

Why Nigeria’s trade deficit depressed to $20mln in November 2022 — Report (ZAWYA)

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in its monthly economic report (MER), said Nigeria reported a trade deficit amounting to $20 million in November 2022, which was as a result of lower export receipts from crude oil due to the decline in crude oil prices at the international market. This was a 60-percent dip month over month from $50 million in October 2022.

According to the CBN report, Nigeria recorded a 6.2 percent month-on-month decline in imports to $4.35 billion in the same period. The decline is attributed to the decline in the import of petroleum products to $0.89 billion from $1.24 billion in October. Non-oil imports, on the other hand, increased by 1.7 percent to $3.46 billion, up from $3.41 billion in the previous month.

Non-oil imports accounted for 79.5 percent of total imports, while oil constituted the remaining 20.5 percent.

America lists trade deal with Kenya on its 2023 agenda (Business Daily)

President Joe Biden’s administration has prioritised the proposed bilateral trade pact with Kenya in its agenda this year ahead of the September 2025 expiry of the duty- and quota-free deal.

Washington expects to “make rapid progress” in negotiating 11 pillars of the proposed US-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP), which will replace the two-decade-old Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

“In 2022, we kicked off ambitious initiatives with Taiwan and Kenya to deepen our trade and economic relationships with both partners, and we aim to make rapid progress on both initiatives in 2023,” the Office of the United States Trade Representative wrote in the 2023 Trade Policy to the Congress on March 1.

Could a poultry meat import ban in Africa hurt local households? (Poultry World)

Cheap imports of chicken – mainly coming from the European Union and to a lesser extent from the USA and Brazil – have increased rapidly over the last 20 years, receiving a lot of attention in public debates about trade liberalisation, food security, and poverty. On the one hand, developing countries may benefit from cheap imports, which help to keep domestic prices low and thus improve poor people’s access to nutritious foods. On the other hand, cheap imports of chicken have long been criticised for hurting the local poultry production sector, including smallholder farmers.

“The topic is much discussed when it comes to poverty, international trade and Europe’s role in the agricultural sector in Africa,” says Prof Dr Matin Qaim of the Center for Development Research at the University of Bonn.

Researchers at the University of Bonn and the University of Göttingen used the example of Ghana to calculate and better understand what would happen if the African country were to significantly increase import tariffs (50%) for poultry meat, or to even stop poultry meat imports altogether.

Should Ghana significantly increase its import tariffs for poultry meat, domestic prices would rise. If imports were stopped altogether, local producers would get over a third more for selling their chicken. However, the researchers note that according to insights, most households in Ghana would not benefit because prices for consumers would also increase. “And there are significantly more consumers than poultry producers,” explains lead author Isabel Knößlsdorfer of the University of Göttingen.

Africa should build battery metals value chain to capitalise on its mineral resources (Mining Weekly)

The world must decarbonise its growth models and shift to renewable energy sources to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, the United Nations’ (UN’s) Sustainable Development Goals and Africa’s Agenda 2063, UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) acting executive secretary Antonio Pedro has said.

Speaking during a panel discussion on ‘Building a regional battery mineral value chain in Africa’ earlier this week, he said the shift to renewable energy sources was a resource-intensive path that required greater production of a variety of minerals – many of which are found in Africa – that are central to decarbonisation efforts.

“We have clear opportunities not only from the global green mineral boom, but also from our domestic achievements, such as the African Continental Free Trade Area to facilitate the development of regional value chains for these green economy products,” said Pedro.

He also noted that several innovative financing mechanisms had been developed to support initiatives such as the battery and electric vehicles (EVs) value chains.

Post-Covid recovery spawns new face of East Africa tourism (The East African)

In their post-Covid recovery plans, East African countries are promoting regional tourism while tapping emerging tourist markets such as China.

Cruise, adventure, culture and sports tourism are niche products expected to spur growth in the sector as countries seek to reduce over-reliance on traditional source markets in Europe and the US, whose economic crisis and travel restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns in 2020 brought the sector to its knees, with massive job losses.

“To revamp the sector, our focus from 2023 will include developing strategies that will impact a wider population thus improving Kenyans livelihoods. This will include promotion of regional tourism to enhance performance of the African markets and development of niche products such as cruise tourism, adventure tourism, culture and sports tourism,” said Peninah Malonza, the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Tourism.

Creation of single currency will help successful implementation of AfCTTA - GITFiC (Ghana News Agency)

The Ghana International Trade Finance Conference (GITFiC), has stated that the creation of a single currency is essential to the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area-AfCFTA. “Although there are doubts due to the Euro crisis and the failure to establish the single currency in WAMZ by the deadline, it is still timely and relevant. With the introduction of the single currency, these nations will have the possibility to resolve their myriad monetary problems.

It said West African countries currently faced serious externally-created monetary problems that none of them could resolve on their own and where international monetary cooperation mechanisms perform insufficiently.

“Such is what is currently happening to the currencies of Member States, after a three year Global Pandemic. In order to win the public’s full support and make policy decisions related to the adoption of the single currency that would unavoidably include lifestyle adjustments and adaptations on their side, it is crucial to broadly inform the populace of the project’s stakes.”

National Experts meet to discuss the AfCFTA Protocol on Women and Youth (ECOWAS)

The ECOWAS Commission, in collaboration with the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, organised a virtual regional meeting on 16 – 17 February 2023 on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Protocol on Women and Youth, in preparations for the negotiations.

In his opening remarks on behalf of the Minister for Trade and Industry of the Republic of Guinea Bissau, the Chair of the meeting Mr Júlio COLONIA, Chief Negotiator and Director of Trade Agreements’ Section

highlighted that women and youth constitute an important part of the West African population, and as such they have a role to play in making the AfCFTA a reality. He stressed the fact that half of the African population is young and therefore the AfCFTA Protocol on Women and Youth promises a better future for the continent.

PAP President Charumbira pushes for quick implementation of Africa free trade area (The Herald)

Pan African Parliament (PAP) President Chief Fortune Charumbira has jolted the legislative continental body’s committees to prioritise review of their work plans and ensure that activities, aimed at facilitating the accelerated implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), take precedence.

Speaking today during a PAP Bureax meeting in Midrand, South Africa, which is the seat of PAP, he noted that speedy implementation of AfCFTA would engender socio-economic transformation on the African continent.

“The Committee Sittings are going to be held under the African Union Theme for 2023, “The Year of AFCFTA: Acceleration of AFCFTA Implementation.” At the recently concluded AU Summit, the major concern was the slow implementation of commitments made by Member States to the actualization of the AFCFTA. The PAP thus had a pivotal role to play collectively at the continental level and as PAP Members at the national level, to ensure that Member States are held to account for the commitments they make towards the implementation of AFCFTA.”

The Common Africa Agro-Parks (CAAPs) Implementation to Boost Acceleration of the AfCFTA and Promote Continental Agro-Industrialization and Integration (AU)

The African Union Commission – through its Departments of Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment (ARBE); and Economic Development, Trade, Industry and Mining (ETIM) hosted a successful investor round table on the Common Africa Agro-Parks (CAAPs) Initiative at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Jointly organized by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), and the Africa Export, Import Bank (Afrexim bank) the event took place on 17th February 2023 in the margins of the 36th Ordinary Session of the African Union. A CAAPs Steering Committee meeting was held on the 16th February.

In her welcome remarks at the investor round table, H.E. Amb. Josefa Sacko, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment (ARBE), acknowledged all CAAPs program partners that were present during the roundtable and for the commendable actions taken by each institution. She emphasized that in the context of The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the CAAPs program has the potential to transform the continent’s agriculture and boost the continent’s integration through trade and industrialization.

‘‘Implementing the CAAPs is no longer an option, and we shall not allow any distraction to the realization of this important vision of Africa’’.

Africa’s sustainable growth hinges on science, technology, and innovation (UNECA)

Achieving the ambitious targets of the 2030 and 2063 Agendas requires leveraging the power of science, technology, and innovation (STI) to fight multidimensional vulnerabilities so Africa can move from crisis to sustainable development. During a session on STI at the Ninth African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development , experts emphasized the crucial role of STI as a key driver and enabler for ensuring economic growth, improving well-being, mitigating the effects of climate change, and safeguarding the environment.

They also underscored the need to strengthen national and regional STI ecosystems by fostering innovation, promoting entrepreneurship, and investing in research and development.

The experts highlighted that despite advances in STI, significant gaps remain in bridging the scientific and technological divide between developed countries and Africa. The highly uneven global distribution of scientific capacity and access to knowledge threatens to derail the goal of leaving no one behind, which is the central and transformative promise of Agenda 2030.

Fresh commitment, investment needed to achieve SDGs in Africa (UNECA)

Africa needs a paradigm shift to deliver sustainable development by making a fresh commitment and increasing investment to realize the SDGs, the Economic Commission for Africa’s Deputy Executive Secretary and Chief Economist, Hanan Morsy, urged African states. “A big part in our quest to deliver the SDGs, we need a new paradigm, we need to accelerate action and we need to deliver green and inclusive recovery from the impact of multi crises, which have beset the world,” Ms. Morsy said in closing remarks at the 2023 African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) which ended on 2 March in Niamey, Niger.

Analyses by the ECA show that Africa will need around $438 billion of adaptation funding by 2030. Apart from the threats of climate change, security threats were also undermining efforts to make lasting development progress.

EAC and ESAMI to partner on capacity building on regional trade issues (EAC)

The EAC Secretary General Hon. (Dr.) Peter Mathuki and the Managing Director of the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute (ESAMI), Dr. Martin Lwanga, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing a framework of collaboration in jointly developing training and capacity-building activities in trade-related areas, in a bid to foster greater business development and enhance the region’s competitiveness. The partnership between ESAMI and EAC will further undertake to provide training programs in all trade and trade-related areas of interest to the EAC and within the capacity of the Trade Policy Training Centre in Africa (TRAPCA).

TRAPCA is one of the centers of ESAMI, which was established in 2006 as a result of collaboration between ESAMI, the Lund University of Sweden, and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). It has a mandate of building and enhancing capacity in trade policy matters in the developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa among others, covering areas such as trade in goods, trade in services, SMEs and MSMEs, e-commerce, trade and environment, trade and gender and trade facilitation with a view to building a pool of East African experts within the Secretariat and officials from the Partner States.

Implementation of the €8m Regional ICT Programme Reviewed (COMESA)

The Steering Committee of the programme on Enhancement of Governance and Enabling Environment in the ICT sector (EGEE-ICT) in the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, and the Indian Ocean region (EA-SA-IO) meeting began today in Nairobi, Kenya to review the programme’s performance, since it was launched two years ago.

The eight million euros programme aims at enhancing the governance and enabling environment in the ICT sector in the EA-SA-IO region. It supports the review and development of regional policy and regulatory frameworks in a harmonized manner, thus contributing to enhanced competition and improved access to cost effective and secure ICT services. The four-year programme is funded by the European Union.

The Principal Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communication, and Technology and the Digital Economy in Kenya Eng. John Tanui opened the meeting. He urged countries in the region “to seize the significant socio-economic opportunities that digital technologies offer.”

DDG Zhang calls on international community to redouble efforts to improve welfare of LDCs (WTO)

At the meeting of the UN Secretary-General with UN principals, DDG Zhang underscored how trade can improve economic welfare in LDCs. “We have a shared responsibility to redouble our efforts and find ways to improve the lives of 1 billion people in LDCs before the end of the decade,” he said. Highlighting the key outcomes achieved by WTO members at the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) held in June 2022, he said: “MC12 outcomes directly contribute to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Doha Programme of Action for LDCs - from the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies to steps for addressing food security to ensuring access to vaccines.”

“Integrating LDCs more fully into the global economy is at the heart of LDC5. We can bring about transformative changes in the lives and livelihoods of more than a billion people living in the 46 LDCs by harnessing their trade and investment potential,” said Rabab Fatima, High Representative and Under Secretary-General of UN-OHRLLS.

On 5 March, the WTO co-organized a session entitled: “LDC trade development: towards new frontiers” with the UN-OHRLLS and the EIF.

Inequality of access to resources and opportunities hinders development, says Seychelles’ President (Seychelles News Agency)

The potential for least developed countries (LDCs) and small island states (SIDS) to have rapid growth and development could be realised if they had equal access to resources and opportunities, Seychelles’ President Wavel Ramkalawan said in a plenary session on Sunday. Ramkalawan was speaking at the 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) in Doha, Qatar.

“Seychelles has graduated to the high-income status, however, our presence here is a sign of solidarity, regional and global support for our fellow SIDS and Africans and a strong expression of seeking greater standing and cooperation. No state should be punished for progress. Let not the so-called graduation be another hurdle in meeting the needs of our people and its communities,” he said.

AfCFTA would revive economies of LLDCs and SIDS (Ghana Business News)

The fundamental role of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in overcoming the peculiar challenges faced by Africa’s Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) was highlighted in Harare at a high-level event jointly organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS).

Coordinator of ECA’s African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC), Mr. Melaku Desta underscored that LLDCs and SIDS can often be differentiated by the specific challenges they face, but are also confronted with many common challenges, particularly those related to the economic, social, and environmental factors that are global in scale.

Mr. Desta further stressed that all six of Africa’s SIDS and 15 of the 16 African LLDCs have ratified the AfCFTA, as a sign of their readiness to leverage the opportunities offered by the AfCFTA.

Buhari seeks duty-free market access for least developed countries (The Guardian Nigeria)

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on developed and developing nations to grant duty-free and quota-free market access for products originating from the world’s 46 least-developed countries to ensure their integration in regional and global value chains.

The president strongly criticized the current structure of the global financial system which places an unsustainable external debt burden on the most vulnerable countries.

The Nigerian leader challenged developed countries, civil society actors, the private sector, and the business community, to partner with the LDCs in order to provide necessary resources and capacity to deliver development outcomes in the economic, social, and environmental aspects of the 2030 Agenda.

On trade issues, the president said: “It is important to put in place modalities to facilitate transit cooperation, transfer of technologies, and access to global e-commerce platforms, as they are critical for the integration of LDCs into the regional and global value chains and communications technology services.

UNCTAD calls for urgent global action to support the world’s 46 least developed countries (UNCTAD)

The world’s 46 least developed countries (LDCs) are being hit the hardest by multiple crises including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate crisis, growing inequalities, rising debt burdens and economic shocks.

The LDCs face the challenge of high debt costs while having inadequate liquidity to provide essential services. In the last decade, debt service costs in LDCs have jumped from around 5% in 2011 to over 20% today.

To address this, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is rallying global action to help these countries build resilience to economic shocks and safeguard their hard-won development gains.

UNCTAD is calling for effective debt relief and international support to build stronger productive capacities as the basis for economic and export diversification and a just, balanced and sustainable low-carbon transition in these nations.

UNCTAD supports LDCs to access the benefits of the global economy, promoting structural transformation, fostering economic and export diversification, building links to global and regional value chains and supporting a new development strategy for these countries to be able to graduate from LDC status.

No more excuses; Guterres calls for ‘revolution of support’ to aid world’s least developed countries (UN News)

Three years after the world began its epic struggle against COVID-19, the least developed countries (LDCs) – already grappling with severe structural impediments to sustainable development and highly vulnerable to economic and environmental shocks – have found themselves stranded amid a rising tide of crisis, uncertainty, climate chaos and deep global injustice.

“Systems are stretched or non-existent – from health and education to social protection, infrastructure, and job creation. And it is only getting worse,” Secretary-General António Guterres told the Fifth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries, known as LDC5, taking place in the Qatar capital from 5 to 9 March.

He said that the global financial system, created by wealthy countries to serve their own interests, is extremely unfair to LDCs, who must pay interest rates that can be eight times higher than those in developed countries. “Today, 25 developing economies are spending over 20 per cent of government revenues solely on servicing debt,” said the UN chief.

In the face of such deep challenges, the UN chief stated that the LDCs “need a revolution of support” across three key areas.

Why the least developed countries need urgent action (UNCTAD)

LDCs are characterized by limited productive capacities and multiple structural constraints to tackle today’s polycrisis that can have disproportionately damaging effects on their economies. It comes when the 46 LDCs are sharply hit by multiple crises: geopolitical fragmentation, a pervasive climate crisis, high inflation, rising debt, poverty and hunger.

Investment flows to least developed countries affected disproportionally by global crises (UNCTAD)

Investment Promotion in LDCs: A Needs Assessment (UNCTAD)

Global Business Community Launch New Generation of Partnerships for Least Developed Countries

LDCs: We must ensure that low carbon transitions don’t harm poor countries

UN delegates reach historic agreement on protecting marine biodiversity in international waters (UN News)

“This action is a victory for multilateralism and for global efforts to counter the destructive trends facing ocean health, now and for generations to come,” said the UN chief in a statement issued by his Spokesperson late Saturday evening just hours after the deal was struck at UN Headquarters in New York, where tough negotiations on the draft treaty have been under way for the past two weeks.

Already being referred to as the ‘High Seas Treaty’, the legal framework would place 30 per cent of the world’s oceans into protected areas, put more money into marine conservation, and covers access to and use of marine genetic resources.


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