Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Stainless steel sector well-positioned to supply African markets, despite loadshedding challenge (Engineering News)

The biggest hurdle stainless steel production and fabrication faces to date is loadshedding, with this challenge overriding all previous issues and leading to diminishing staff safety, motivation, productivity and increased living costs, and contributing to a visible decline in apparent consumption during 2022, says industry organisation Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association (Sassda) executive director Michel Basson.

“This is the time to rethink what we do and how we do it. The energy issue might be an opportunity to make the industry more energy efficient and less energy dependent,” he adds.

Zimbabwe Accedes to Afreximbank’s Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA) Establishment Agreement (Afreximbank)

The Republic of Zimbabwe became the sixth signatory to the Establishment Agreement of the Fund for Export-Development in Africa (FEDA), the development impact-oriented subsidiary of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). The Agreement was recently signed by His Excellency Dr. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. This accession marks another significant step forward in Afreximbank’s efforts to mobilize its Member States to sign and ratify the Establishment Agreement of FEDA. It also demonstrates the growing support for FEDA as a new multilateral development platform.

Following the announcement of its first close of US$ 670 million in September 2022, FEDA continues to build momentum for strategic interventions on the Continent.

Angola 2022 Article IV Consultation (IMF)

Angola achieved macroeconomic stabilization amid a very difficult environment in 2020 and growth began to recover in 2021. The recovery picked up pace in 2022, aided by high oil prices. President João Lourenço was reelected in August 2022. Angola continues to face significant challenges, including debt vulnerabilities and the need to diversify the economy as oil production declines over the long term. The authorities’ reform agenda, including their upcoming 2023–27 National Development Plan, is focused on these challenges.

Ghana seeks economic cooperation with Angola (Angop)

Ghana ambassador to Angola, Mavis Esi Kusorgbor, said Sunday in Luanda that she is determined to translate the political will of the leadership of both countries into the implementation of viable initiatives for mutual economic benefits. Speaking to ANGOP, ahead of Ghana’s 66th independence anniversary to be marked on March 06, the ambassador said the government and people of Ghana are determined to contribute to boost global sustainable development through solid policies.

Egypt’s exports to African markets planned to hit $15B (EgyptTpday)

Egypt plans to increase its exports to Africa to reach up to $15 billion in the upcoming years by training Egyptian exporters on how to deal with the African markets, identifying the markets’ needs and increasing the exporters’ access to African markets. Despite their great potential, Egyptian exporters are faced with a lot of challenges when expanding to African markets, like the absence of banks providing credit facilities and long shipment period for goods, which can reach up to four months.

As a result, Egypt has established six logistics centers – out of 12 – in six African countries (Kenya, Morocco, Mauritius, Nigeria, Zambia, and Algeria) to facilitate access to African markets.

All Set For The Maiden Ghana Automotive Summit 2023 (Peacemfonline)

The Automobile Assemblers Association of Ghana will host its maiden Automotive Summit on the 20th of March 2023, at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC) Grand Arena. The theme for the summit; ‘Creating A New Economic Backbone for Ghana and The Sub-Region,’ will present the opportunity for leading experts and industry professionals in the sector to discuss the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities in the automobile industry. The summit will concurrently run along an exhibition of over 20 vehicle models locally assembled in Ghana by the members of the AAAG.

Côte d’Ivoire validates its diagnostic study and action plan on Public-Private Partnership for Infrastructure Financing (UNECA)

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), in partnership with the Office of the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Côte d’Ivoire and the National Steering Committee for Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) of Cote d’Ivoire, organized this day in Abidjan, a validation workshop of the diagnostic study of Côte d’Ivoire on PPPs in infrastructure.

Scheduled for March 6-7, 2023, this workshop, which brings together representatives of ministries in charge of Planning and Development, Budget, Transport, the National PPP Steering Committee and the private sector aims to examine the findings of the scoping study on PPPs in infrastructure in Côte d’Ivoire, raise awareness and guide the debate on PPPs in infrastructure and their financing modalities in Côte d’Ivoire, and then develop an action plan for a short and medium term intervention.

Cote d’Ivoire’s diagnostic study and related action plan are part of the ECA’s “PPP for Infrastructure Financing” project, an initiative aiming, among other things, at increasing the number of infrastructure projects financed by Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and accelerating infrastructure development in Africa. Six (6) African countries are involved in this process, namely Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire.

Platform urged to scale up its support to African countries (New Business Ethiopia)

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed called on developing Africa’s common positions on emerging issues in support of the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Africa Union’s Agenda 2063. She made the remark during a meeting of “heads of regional UN entities across Africa to accelerate the collective delivery of strategic results at the regional level by providing more transformative support to Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams in 54 countries on the continent”.

During three hours of in-depth dialogue, the Deputy Secretary-General emphasized the urgent need for a course correction to rescue the SDGs and the AU Agenda 2063. “We are totally off track with the SDGs, and we were already off before COVID-19. The pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the cost-of-living crisis all exacerbated the situation,” she said.

Just Energy Transition must consider Africa’s needs (SAnews)

Africa must be given the space to transition from high carbon usage to low carbon at a pace and cost that it can afford, says Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe. The Minister was speaking at the Africa Energy Indaba held in Cape Town on Tuesday.

“Their voice [African people] on the Energy Transition must be heard. That is the voice that says, energy production in Africa must be aligned to Africa’s socio-economic development. This means that there must be a balance between energy demand for socio-economic development and energy supply that is premised on low carbon emissions.

“Differences about the pace, scale and how to balance the transition will always exist, however, as African leaders, we are duty bound to act with determination to resolve the intricate problems that beset our continent without the encirclement pressure to please others first. We must be pragmatic in our approach to a low emissions future,” he said.

African-made renewable energy products could benefit continent – SAIEE (Engineering News)

Although Africa is going through an “unavoidable” energy transition, South African Institute of Electrical Engineers president Prince Moyo believes the continent can “leapfrog” the trajectory of Western nations if it finds ways of making renewable energy components on the continent. Speaking at an Energy Day event organised by power systems developer Hitachi Energy Southern Africa on March 7, he said the future of electricity development was heading away from industrial users, and towards being more energy efficient and renewable energy information systems instead.

Moyo said key lessons could be learnt from fellow Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) bloc countries, especially China and India, in terms of long-term planning. He explained that both China and India are rapidly developing because they prioritised long-term electricity generation and now have the generation base to power large industries.

ITU data in special edition of ‘Facts and Figures’ show a decade of halting progress on connectivity for the world’s poorest (ITU)

The digital connectivity divide separating the globe’s least developed countries (LDCs) from the world as a whole shows no sign of narrowing. In fact, it is widening on key factors, according to ITU’s Facts and Figures: Focus on Least Developed Countries. While the share of the population in LDCs using the Internet has increased since 2011 from 4 per cent to 36 per cent, about two-thirds of the LDC population remains offline. LDCs also still face numerous barriers to meaningful connectivity, including lack of infrastructure, affordability, and skills. Although no single figure can capture all aspects and complexities of the digital divide, the gap between LDCs and the world in the share of people using the Internet has actually increased from 27 percentage points in 2011 to 30 percentage points in 2022.

New trade report: Improving food security in least developed countries (ITC)

Trade can increase the availability and affordability of food in least developed countries (LDCs), where more than 60% of people deal with food insecurity – twice as much as in developing countries, and six times as much as in developed countries. In the context of increasing global instabilities, a new report by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the lead United Nations agency supporting least developed countries highlights trade policy options to help them work towards sustainable, trade-led development, in the face of crises.

ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton and Rabab Fatima, High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), launched the LDC Trade Report 2023: Improving Food Security today during the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) – a conference that takes place once a decade – this time in Doha, Qatar.

Ms. Coke-Hamilton said: “Least developed countries continue to depend on commodity exports almost twice as much as other developing countries, and they continue to be more vulnerable to global instabilities. We as the global community have to do more, and we have to do better. This joint report with OHRLLS highlights concrete policy actions we can take to make a difference for them.”

LDC5: UN conference calls for more inclusive and fair digital transformation in world’s least developed countries (UN News)

On Monday at the Fifth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5), a series of roundtable discussions saw global leaders, civic actors and UN officials confront two of the most fundamental hurdles facing LDCs: how to make better use of science, technology and innovation (STI), and how to promote structural transformations that can help overcome the real impediments faced by those on the margins of society.

STI plays a critical role in LDCs’ efforts to drive poverty eradication, transition to sustainable development and become globally competitive. However, these vulnerable countries are often unable to reap the full economic and social benefits of technological development due to structural constraints, as there are significant disparities between LDCs and other countries.

DDG Ellard: We need to make trade work for women (WTO)

The global economy is not gender-neutral. It is estimated that women represent 39% of the global workforce worldwide, and their earnings are on average between 10 and 30% lower than those of men. In addition, women spend two to ten times more time on unpaid household work, and this burden increased significantly during the Covid-19 pandemic. Moreover, the pandemic has had a disproportionately adverse effect on women’s labour market outcomes. Women lost more than 64 million jobs in 2020, a 5% loss, compared to a 3.9% loss for men.

Trade is also not gender-neutral. There is evidence that women face higher obstacles than men in accessing the global market and the economic opportunities created by trade. Women entrepreneurs face higher trade costs than men, which prevent them from trading internationally. In particular, women face greater barriers to finance, higher costs of doing business, and more limited access to information and markets. Such structural challenges in the global economy prevent women from fully reaping the benefits of trade. As a result, only 1 in 5 female-owned small businesses is exporting.

Investment facilitation talks advance work towards finalizing negotiating text (WTO)

The co-coordinators of the negotiations, Ambassador Sofía Boza of Chile and Ambassador Jung Sung Park of the Republic of Korea, reported on their consultations with groups of members in various configurations. In those consultations, participants reiterated their support for the April “sunset approach” — the need to set a deadline to discard issues in the Annex which do not have wide support and therefore are not seen by participating members as “fit” to be part of the future IFD Agreement.

DG Okonjo-Iweala: Delivering meaningful outcomes at MC13 “not beyond our reach” (WTO)

In addressing the first General Council meeting of 2023, the Director-General said leaders, ministers and other stakeholders she met during her recent outreach appealed to the WTO to “work towards delivering further results for the benefit of people around the world — with MC13 being a key opportunity to do so”.

The Director-General also noted the discussions which took place at the 28 February meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee, where several members cited the need to avoid overloading ministers’ plates with outstanding issues at the last minute. “This means we must now prioritize a few issues and build as much convergence on them as possible,” she said. “If we sustain the positive spirit from last week's meeting over the next 10 months, then delivering meaningful, quality outcomes is not beyond our reach.”


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