tralac Daily News
The International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) has provided an update on an investigation it is leading into the alleged dumping of new pneumatic rubber tyres used in motor cars and on buses and lorries, originating in or imported from China. Itac gazetted a notice of the investigation in January.
The application was lodged by the South African Tyres Manufacturers Conference (SATMC), representing its members – Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear and Sumitomo. These firms account for all domestic production of these products in the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) region.
The investigation was initiated after Itac determined that there was prima facie evidence that the products were being imported into Sacu at dumped prices, causing material injury and threatening to cause material injury to industry in the Sacu region.
South African economy sinks below pre-Covid levels (The East African)
South Africa’s economy tumbled below pre-pandemic levels in the last three months of 2022 as record power shortages hit activity, official data showed Tuesday. The gross domestic product of Africa’s most industrialised country contracted by 1.3 percent in the fourth quarter, worse than expected by analysts. “After rallying in the third quarter of 2022 ... GDP fell below pre-pandemic levels,” said the national statistics agency StatsSA. The economy had expanded by 1.6 percent in the July-to-September period.
Growth in Africa’s most industrialised country was weighed down in the final quarter by unprecedented levels of power outages.
The trade and finance sectors were the biggest drags to the economy’s growth between October and December, with exports decreasing by 4.8 percent. Mining agriculture and manufacturing also slumped.
South Africa’s economy was badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, which amplified joblessness and poverty in one of the world’s most unequal countries. Economic growth had slowed for about two years.
Nigeria must build capacities to attain economic transformation, says expert (The Guardian Nigeria)
Senior Special Adviser to the President of Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Prof Oyebanji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, has advocated that Nigeria and other African countries must embark on building and developing national productive capability to attain economic transformation.
Oyelaran- Oyeyinka, who is also a development economist, stated this while delivering a lecture titled: “Building innovation capabilities for economic transformation in a post-pandemic world”, at the maiden NigeriaLics conference hosted by the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
“The failure to properly diversify the economies made most poor countries suffer hardships during the pandemic. All mineral-dependent economies suffered the most during the outbreak of COVID-19,” he said.
Ghana exports 31,922mt fertiliser in 2022 (Ghanaian Times)
Ghana exported a total of 31,922 metric tonnes (mt) of fertiliser in 2022 compared to 1,244mt in 2021, the 2022 Fertiliser Trade Statistics have revealed. The statistics also stated that out of a total of 486,203mt imported last year, 459,513mt were consumed by farmers as compared to 239,062mt and 242,334mt imported and consumed respectively in 2021.
He said there were shortage of fertiliser in those countries and also they did not have the raw materials to produce the fertiliser blends, “so they had to fall on us to supply to them.”
Kenya Dairy Board suspends milk powder imports ahead of long rainy season (Capital Business)
Kenya Dairy Board (KDB) has suspended the importation of milk powder to cushion local producers ahead of the long rainy season of March to May. The directive will apply to all importers in the country. KDB’s decision comes at a time when milk producers across the country expect high yields with the start of the rain.
“The board has temporarily suspended the issuance of these import permits until further notice,” KDB managing director Margaret Kibogy said in a statement seen by Capital Business. “We will however continue to monitor the production and demand for milk and milk products in the country and advise the government accordingly,” Kibogy added.
Guinea-Bissau has the highest proportion of natural wealth per capita in West Africa. However, poverty remains widespread, with high levels of inequality and increasing rural-urban disparities, while human development indicators remain among the lowest in the world, and low access to basic services contribute to exclusion and marginalization.
The structure of the economy in the country has barely changed in the last two decades and is almost entirely dependent on a single crop of cashew, which accounts for 90-98% of total export earnings. Agriculture accounts for more than 45% of GDP and employs 80% of the labor force, mainly women. The poorly diversified economy makes the country highly vulnerable to global shocks and adverse climatic conditions.
The Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) His Excellency Mr Elias M. Magosi has reiterated SADC’s commitment to the advancement of gender equity in innovation and technological change and to the empowerment of all women and girls in the SADC region.
While recognising that advancements in digital technology offer immense opportunities to address development challenges, H.E. Magosi said it is regrettable that the opportunities of the digital revolution present a risk of perpetuating existing patterns of gender inequality, with growing inequalities becoming increasingly evident in the context of digital skills and access to technologies, whereby women are left behind as the result of this digital gender divide.
In order to promote Women’s empowerment, address gender stereotypes, and explore how to embrace equity, the SADC Executive Secretary underlined the importance of implementing the provisions of SADC instruments that seek to elevate women’s participation in innovation and digital technologies.
Through its chairship, South Africa will work with its BRICS partners to advance the African agenda for growth, development and integration and to advocate for the needs and concerns of the Global South. President Cyril Ramaphosa echoed these sentiments while updating Parliament on state capability for economic recovery and the fight against crime on Thursday in Cape Town.
South Africa is chairing the BRICS group of countries in 2023 under the theme: “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism”.
“We are focusing in particular on opportunities that will generate economic growth on the continent, particularly through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and infrastructure,” the President said.
With US making ‘game changing’ moves, China steps up African economic ties (South China Morning Post)
China is again increasing economic support for Africa after decades of building infrastructure and extracting minerals to match a new US bid for influence on the continent that depends heavily on foreign help.
President Xi Jinping said in a mid-February message to the 55-member state African Union that China was willing to “enhance cooperation” and “facilitate coordination” in international and regional affairs. Chinese state media reports have noted agriculture, trade and more infrastructure as priorities from 2022 onwards.
The African Development Bank and the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) have officially launched a three-year support project to improve regional coherent and coordinated response to illicit financial flows. The project will help African stakeholders actively engaged in stemming such flows to improve domestic revenue mobilization in African countries.
The launch of the African Financial Integrity and Accountability Support Project (AFIAP) took place at the African Union headquarters on 7 March. The project aims to improve regional coordination of combating illicit financial flows and the oversight and accountability of public finances, for optimal revenue mobilization and management in African countries. It will support the coordinated implementation of recommendations of the High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows and the implementation of joint strategies and initiatives related to international taxation.
Africa must target to increase its share of the total global seed trade value through easing barriers to the movement of quality seed between countries on the continent and to those outside. The call was made at the just-ended 23rd African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA) annual congress which was held recently in Dakar, Senegal.
“Listening to various speakers, some three major lessons came out of the meeting. Africa must up its game to claim a bigger stake in the trade sector, we are not worth the 2 percent contribution we currently contribute,” AFSTA spokesman Aghan Daniel said. “Two, governments must ease seed movement across the continent. Three, seed companies in Africa must confront climate change henceforth.”
“We need a favourable regulatory policy environment to trade – including a simplified process of variety registration, affordable DUS trials and a favourable business environment to do business. We also need to strengthen regulation and enforcement of intellectual property rights and plant breeding,” said Dr Kulani Machaba, president of AFSTA.
Africa’s development suffers as West prioritises aid to Ukraine (The East African)
Africa is bearing the brunt of the war in Ukraine and remains ill-prepared to deal with the shocks linked to the crisis, including rising food and fuel prices as well as limiting access to critical imports such as wheat, fertilizer and steel. The war in Ukraine is consuming immense resources from the West and there is increasing pressure on international and multilateral institutions to channel more funding to reconstruction of Ukraine, which is likely to affect the flow of development finance that African countries urgently need.
“The Ukraine situation has turned things more less upside down. We are probably going to be hit hardest; still difficult at the moment,” Rwanda President Paul Kagame told a press conference on Wednesday. He noted that many of Africa’s development partners are now focused on the war in Ukraine.
Horn of Africa (HoA)countries have agreed to support shared infrastructure projects to boost free trade. Speaking in Nairobi on Wednesday at the 15th Roundtable meeting of Finance Ministers, exchequer chiefs from the six countries led by Kenya’s Njuguna Ndung’u committed to finalising mutual infrastructure projects in the next five years. ”Trade is a game of numbers. We have close to 200 million people market, dense human resources and plenty of natural resources. It is time we bring this to the continental business table,’’ Njuguna said.
Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia and Eritrea agreed to relook at their individual trade agreements and identify areas of collaboration to ease the cost of doing business for their traders while capitalising on gains originating from diverse markets.
African countries on Wednesday marked International Women’s Day with a call to bridge the gap in women’s and girls’ adoption of digital technology in order to include African women in the modern labor force. This year, International Women’s Day focuses on celebrating women driving digital innovation and technological advancement.
While giving her statement to mark the day, Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Africa, said in the African health sector women can be innovators and contribute to transforming the health of all people on the continent.
“According to a 2021 report by the Association of Mobile Operators, inadequate infrastructure, lack of digital skills for the internet and information communication technologies, and gender-related barriers around access to and control over resources are the main obstacles to meaningful connectivity for women and girls,” Moeti said.
She pointed out this challenge can be addressed by creating awareness about the digital gender divide, advocating for policies and legal frameworks to keep women and girls safe and promoting women’s participation in science and information communication technologies.
Many women producers, processors and traders in the agri-food sector in Africa face challenges when working in the informal sector, complying with legal requirements, and accessing market information, training, and finance, among other issues. This month, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) under its SheTrades Initiative launched the second phase of its programme: Empowering women and boosting livelihoods through agricultural trade: Leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Spanning four countries – Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria and South Africa –, the programme was developed in 2021 to promote women’s participation in the AfCFTA and increase their access to capacity building and higher-productivity activities, capitalizing on the new opportunities in regional trade created by the AfCFTA agreement.
African leaders have made the case for increased investment in technology and innovation to accelerate the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The 9th Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD), held in Niamey Niger, from 28 February to 2 March, was to follow-up and review progress made on achieving five selected SDGs on clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; industry, innovation, and infrastructure; sustainable cities and communities; and partnerships for the Goals. The meeting also formulated key messages on accelerating the implementation of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
A post-Forum statement - The Niamey Declaration on accelerating the inclusive and green recovery from multiple crises and the integrated and full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, of the African Union called on governments to invest in science and climate observations systems to trigger changes to meet the SDGS.
The Prime Minister will host a UK-African Investment Summit in London on 23-24 April 2024. The Summit will bring together Heads of State and Government from 24 African countries with British and African business leaders. It will strengthen UK-African partnerships to create jobs and growth, supporting British and African talent in sectors such as finance and technology, and promote women entrepreneurs.
During the next two years, faster economic growth is expected across Sub-Saharan Africa than the global average. And as the world faces the stark and shared challenge of climate change, the UK is working with African countries to support them to mitigate and adapt to its effects, recognising Africa’s abundant potential for renewable energies of the future.
The war in Ukraine sent shock waves throughout the global economy, in particular through trade disruptions of food and fertilizers from two of the world’s main breadbaskets, Ukraine and the Russian Federation. This left millions of people in developing and least developed countries at the frontline of a food and price crisis.
In July 2022, two agreements were signed: one is the memorandum of understanding between the United Nations and the Russian Federation to facilitate the unimpeded access for their food and fertilizers exports to global markets. The second is the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI), signed by the Russian Federation, Türkiye, Ukraine, and witnessed by the United Nations to allow the safe export of grain, fertilizers and other foodstuff from Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea.
These agreements have helped to bring down the cost of food, stabilize global markets and keep them open.
However, this progress is fragile and price pressures remain. While food prices have gone down from their all-time high at the start of the war, they remain high compared to pre-crises levels. Moreover, currency depreciations prevent many developing countries from benefiting from global price decreases, and, in the most severe cases, prices have even gone up. Additionally, as is so often the case, the most vulnerable bear the brunt, particularly women.
The Trade Forum for Decarbonization Standards: Promoting transparency and coherence in the iron and steel sector brought together officials and business leaders from many of the world’s largest steel-producing economies for a dialogue on coherent and transparent standards in accelerating the global scale-up of low-carbon steelmaking.
Speaking at the Leaders’ Conversation at the start of the Forum, Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala noted that the iron and steel sector alone accounts for around 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions, with 70% of global production of primary steel relying on carbon-intensive blast oxygen furnaces.
Decarbonization standards will be key in enabling the steel sector to become carbon-neutral, yet this effort is being undermined by policy fragmentation and incompatible carbon standards – with at least 20 different standards alone, each with different underlying methodologies, the DG noted.
The theme for International Women’s Day, 2023, aptly chosen by the United Nations, is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”. Within this domain, digital entrepreneurship can be a powerful avenue for women’s inclusion in the digital economy with new business opportunities, efficiency gains and better access to markets and global value chains.
While the digital economy is a very broad category, according to the International Finance Corporation, women could add over $300 billion to e-commerce markets alone in Africa and South-East Asia between 2025 and 2030.
There are three key advantages that e-commerce offers to women. First, it offers lower barriers to entry than traditional brick-and-mortar businesses. This means that women entrepreneurs can start their businesses with lower start-up costs and without the need for a physical storefront, which can be a significant advantage.
Secondly, it can enable women entrepreneurs to reach customers all over the world. Women entrepreneurs can leverage this global reach to expand their customer base and grow their businesses beyond their local markets. Birame Sock, an entrepreneur from Senegal, has taken advantage of this opportunity as founder of Kwely, an online B2B wholesale sourcing marketplace for products made in Africa. The online platform gives buyers around the world access to quality and unique products made in Africa that meet international standards.
And thirdly, it offers a degree of flexibility in terms of work hours and location. Women entrepreneurs who may have caregiving responsibilities or mobility constraints can greatly benefit from digital technologies.
Despite these opportunities, women entrepreneurs are much less represented in the digital economy than men. This gap translates into missed economic opportunities and may aggravate existing gender inequalities.
In the roundtable entitled “Enhancing the participation of LDCs in international and regional trade”, DDG Zhang noted that market access opportunities, policy flexibilities and targeted trade support are among the steps that WTO members have taken to help LDCs become more active players in global trade. He encouraged LDCs to remain focused on their trade interests as the global trading landscape evolves.
President of Burundi, Évariste Ndayishimiye said: “While LDCs continue to face many challenges, progress has also been made to create an enabling environment for their integration into global trade. It is clear that we need more actions from all stakeholders if we are to achieve the goals we set in the Doha Programme of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
“Although we’ve made some progress, the recent crises we’ve experienced from the pandemic to the war in Ukraine, to the existential threat of climate change have set us back,” DG Okonjo-Iweala said, pointing to data on the increase in poverty, the impact on women and girls, and estimates that gender parity will take more than a century to achieve. “I am really concerned we are sleepwalking into potential world conflict,” she said.
“This discussion is happening at a critical time,” President Lagarde said. “Geopolitical tensions and the fragmenting of world trade are threatening to roll back decades of advances in women’s economic empowerment. Since the great financial crisis, the global economy has been hit by a series of unprecedented shocks.” It is more important than ever, in this global climate, to ensure trade flows are unimpeded, the two leaders said.
The second Meeting of the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) under G20 India Presidency concluded today in Hyderabad.
During the Plenary, the GPFI members discussed and agreed on the way forward for important deliverables for the year including those on Digital Financial Inclusion, SME Finance. A dedicated workshop was also organised for the development of GPFI Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP) 2023 which will guide the financial inclusion work under G20 for 2024-26.
A Symposium on Digital Innovations in Payments and Remittances was also organised on March 6, 2023 on the side lines of the GPFI meeting for both G20 and non-G20 countries.