Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

‘EU is putting draconian measures on South African citrus’ (SABC News)

The Citrus Growers Association of South Africa has requested Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel to urgently convene a panel of the World Trade Organisation regarding restrictive and expensive measures imposed by the European Union to export oranges.

This is over an insect found in Sub-Saharan Africa that the EU deems potentially dangerous for its citrus growers. South African producers say they’ve implemented some of the best measures in the world to prevent this from happening.

The European Union insists that South Africa must cool and store its oranges for 20 days before exports. This requirement is because of the False Codling Moth. Stringent measures are employed by South African growers to prevent any of the insect larvae to spread. These measures are deemed highly effective by international standards. However, the additional measure of cooling and storing, which is not ideal for oranges, will add over R1 billion into costs to be able to export to the EU.

The Citrus Growers Association of South Africa says these measures are unfair and are not in line with the guidelines of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

South Africa Has Plans in Place to Safeguard Food Supply Amid Power Crisis (BNN Bloomberg)

South Africa’s government has contingency plans in place to safeguard key food-production facilities against an escalation in power cuts that are already at record levels, the nation’s agriculture minister said. Africa’s most industrialized economy has been subjected to rolling blackouts, known locally as loadshedding, since 2008 because state power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. has been unable to meet demand from its old and poorly maintained plants. The problem has escalated since last year, raising concerns that food security is at risk.

While a total collapse of the national grid is highly unlikely, measures have been taken to ensure abattoirs can continue operating and animal vaccines are protected, Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza said in an interview at Bloomberg’s Johannesburg offices on Monday.

“There is a plan in place already,” to deal with a situation whereby outages are increased and 8,000 megawatts of generation capacity or more is cut from the grid, she said. Longer-term, the government is looking at how best to further assist farmers who want to install solar panels and batteries to reduce their reliance on the grid, according to the minister. Financing could be made available from existing institutions such as the state-owned Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa and the Industrial Development Corp., she said.

DTIC’s new energy one-stop shop to include ‘unblocking teams’ to speed up electricity investments (Engineering News)

Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel reports that an energy one-stop shop to speed up the regulatory processes required for private investment in electricity generation has been established and is being managed by InvestSA.

In a presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, Patel reported that the one-stop shop had been established in line with the Energy Action Plan (EAP) to tackle loadshedding, which has since been declared a state of disaster. “The one-stop shop will assist power-generating companies navigate the different processes that apply in law and decrease turnaround times by assisting investors to submit applications through a single-window process to obtain all necessary government approvals,” Patel reported.

Some of the department’s staff had already been redeployed to the one-stop shop and further recruitments would be made from outside of the department after the start of the new financial year on April 1.

Minister Pandor to co-chair SA-Tanzania Bi-National Commission (SAnews)

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, will on Wednesday co-chair the South Africa-Tanzania Ministerial Bi-National Commission (BNC) with her Tanzanian counterpart, Dr Stergomena Tax, in Pretoria.

The BNC will, according to the department, reaffirm and deepen the warm and cordial bilateral relations that exist between the two countries. “It will evaluate the progress of implementation of commitments made during the inaugural session of the BNC, assess and evaluate the progress of all outstanding decisions and commitments as well as joint projects.” In addition, the meeting aims to agree on new areas of cooperation and further enhance cooperation within the framework of the BNC.

South Africa and Tanzania have similar aspirations with strong cultural and historical ties. These ties present opportunities for strengthened bilateral cooperation in many areas including trade, investment, local beneficiation, agriculture, industrialisation, energy, and mining. There are also opportunities in the value chains of commerce, agriculture, road, and rail.

R66bn worth of component exports at risk from move to EVs, but it’s not all bad news – Naacam (Engineering News)

Catalytic converters, engine parts, engines, clutches/shaft couplings, silencers/exhausts and ignitions/starting equipment are the component groupings most at risk from the global move to electric vehicles (EVs), as they are not required in these types of vehicles, says National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (Naacam) executive director Renai Moothilal.

These components are also not required within EVs, but their manufacturers’ existing capabilities offer them the opportunity to pivot and join the EV supply chain.

In 2021, automotive component exports from South Africa increased by 27% to a record R69.2-billion, up from R54.5-billion in 2020. Catalytic converters, at R35-billion, comprised 50.4% of total automotive component exports from South Africa, followed by engine parts, tyres and engines as the biggest categories. In total, the yearly South African component exports at risk amount to R66-billion, says Moothilal.

‘Africa not a dumping ground for used EU vehicles’ - Legacy (The Citizen)

The Legacy Motor Group has called for greater restrictions on the importation of what is calls “unfit European vehicles” into Africa and indeed, South Africa. Echoing sentiments made by the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) almost three years ago, the group’s chairman, Mpho Dipela, said while the majority of the continent’s assembled vehicles principally originate from South Africa and Morocco, imports continue to dominate other nations.

In 2020, Naamsa remarked that an estimated 300 000 grey import market vehicles, mostly from Japan, frequent South Africa’s roads at a loss of R3.8-billion per annum to the country’s tax coffers.

“Grey imports have a negative impact on the automotive ecosystem because they rob the fiscus of the much needed tax revenue; they hurt job creation; they aid criminal activity; and undermine road safety initiatives,” Naamsa said at the time.

“To put into perspective, the monthly average new vehicle market for 2020 is 28 500 units. Grey imports represent an extra months sales per annum, which represents 7.5% of total market and would be the third largest brand in South Africa by volume”.

SEC endorses PAPSS to boost intra-African trade, foster capital market diversification (Businessamlive)

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said that the implementation of the Pan-African Payment Settlement System(PAPSS) will boost intra-African trade and foster diversification within the capital market. Okey Umeano, head, office of the chief economist of SEC disclosed this recently while addressing newsmen in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.

PAPS was developed by African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), and launched in January 2022 in Accra, Ghana, with the objective to boost intra-African trade by transforming and facilitating payment, clearing and settlement for cross-border trade across Africa.

PAPSS enables instant payments across African borders in local currency. Its three core processes are instant payment, pre-funding, and net settlement. With this new system, businesses will no longer need to convert local currencies to foreign currencies before they can make purchases across the continent, significantly reducing the amount of time it will take to complete a transaction. PAPSS will make and process payments within two minutes.

Prior to the implementation of PAPSS, over 80 per cent of African cross-border payment transactions are processed in the United States but have their recipients in other regions. The Asia-Pacific and Europe, the non-Eurozone regions account for a combined 52 per cent of where the payments are eventually transferred, compared to only 17 per cent for Africa. That posed multiple challenges, ranging from payment delays to operational inefficiencies and compliance concerns for the disparate regional payment systems.

Revenue Service Lesotho (RSL) Launches e-payment, e-taxation platforms (ZAWYA)

The Revenue Service Lesotho launched e-payment and e-taxation which gives the clientele a platform to pay taxes online and e-file their tax returns. These e-services are aimed at broadening the use of technology and easing tax payments across the country.

The Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Dr Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane commended RSL for this initiative, saying it is wise for the country to also fit in the fourth industrial revolution for economic growth. Dr Matlanyane said SACU revenue has been declining for some time, saying this means fewer resources for financing the national budget hence the country needs to make plans to depend on itself for financing the budget.

The RSL Acting Commissioner General, Mrs. ‘Mathabo Mokoko said in collaboration with the stakeholders in the finance and economic industries they are striving to improve and provide easy methods of tax payments and e-filling for their clients.

Kenya set to get share of Sh130m e-mobility cash (Business Daily)

Kenya is one of the seven African countries set to benefit from a Sh129.3 million ($1 million) grant from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to boost the shift to electric mobility. The credit line from Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) —AfDB’s special fund for renewable energy— will go to the private sector to fund the designing of business models for electric vehicles and help develop a bankable pipeline of e-mobility projects.

Kenya is one of the countries in Africa spearheading the shift to clean electric transport in a bid to curb pollution of the environment through the use of diesel and super-powered transport.

Liberia and UK commit to strengthening trade (The New Dawn Liberia)

Liberia and the United Kingdom have highlighted the key role of the private sector as a catalyst in advancing trade and investment between the two countries. The Minister of Africa of the United Kingdom, Andrew Mitchell and Commerce and Industries Minister of Liberia- Madam Mawine G. Diggs, held discussions on broadening trade with Liberia and the United Kingdom.

Speaking at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in London, Minster Mitchell recounted the continuing partnership between Liberia and the United Kingdom in promoting democratic governance.

Minister Mawine Diggs reflected on the strategic importance of the UK Liberia relations and how it continues to impact varying aspects of the two countries.

Nigeria Needs To Transform Current Food Systems – FAO (Leadership News)

For Nigeria to attain food self sufficiency, the country’s current food systems need to be transformed to help her achieve Sustainable Development Goals agenda, not only through production technologies but also entrenching sustainable and inclusive food systems in the structure of governance and administration.

This was part of the conclusions reached by the organisation as contained in the recently released Nigeria Food Security Assessment profile.

They noted that the current food systems are unable to fulfil their purpose of providing nutritious and healthy food for all and contributing to enhanced livelihood opportunities in an environmentally sustainable way.

‘Focus more on policies that will tackle infrastructure deficit’ (The Guardian Nigeria)

Experts have stressed the need for the new administration to focus more on policies that would help tackle the nation’s huge infrastructure deficit, especially the issue of power, as well as maximise potential in leveraging African Continental, Free Trade Agreement opportunities (AfCFTA) to alleviate poverty.

Speaking on Nigeria’s economic outlook at a press briefing in Lagos, an independent tax and business advisory firm, Andersen, said Nigeria has continued to lag behind meaningful economic indexes owing to failure to adequately address its infrastructure challenges.

With the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP), $2.3 trillion is the investment required to close the infrastructure gap in Nigeria from 2020 to 2043.

Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, had also stated that the Reviewed National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (2020-2043) and the National Development Plan 2021-2025 estimated the current nation’s infrastructure stock to be between 30-35 percent of the GDP in 2020 against 20 per cent of the GDP recorded at the inception of this administration in 2015. This is still a far cry from the estimated target of 70 per cent envisaged in 2043.

Botswana, Zimbabwe to Discuss Eliminating Use of Passports (VOA)

The presidents of Botswana and Zimbabwe are to discuss scrapping passport requirements between their countries to allow for the easier flow of people and goods.

Addressing ruling party supporters over the weekend, Botswana’s president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, said he will soon meet his Zimbabwean counterpart, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to discuss the issue. Botswana reached a similar deal last month with Namibia, and Masisi said he also plans to discuss the issue with the Zambian president.

“Don’t think by opening borders, we will open for criminal elements,” he said. “Criminals will be caught as we will be using advanced technology.”

Zimbabwe miners call on Mnangagwa to lift export ban on lithium (Miningmx)

LITHIUM stockpiles in Zimbabwe have grown to two million tons after the Southern African country imposed an export ban on the battery material in December, said Bloomberg News. Now Zimbabwe’s mining sector is calling on President Emmerson Mnangagwa to review the ban which is harming local producers, the newswire said citing a letter written by Henrietta Rushwaya, president of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation.

“The unexpected ban has prejudiced standing off take agreements between miners and international buyers, some of whom had taken loans from their respective countries to trade in these minerals,” Rushwaya said in the letter to Mnangagwa.

The ban has impacted small- and medium-scale miners, but it’s not clear how much lithium is contained in the stockpiled ore, said Bloomberg News.

Oil marketers to pay for fuel imports in Kenyan shilling as shortage looms (Business Daily)

Local oil companies will pay for oil imported on credit through a government-to-government deal in Kenya shillings to ease pressure on the local currency that continues to hit new record lows every week.

Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Davies Chirchir said on Monday that the government signed a deal last week with Saudi Aramco to supply Kenya with diesel and super for the next six months, while Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) will deliver three cargoes of super petrol every month.

Saudi Aramco is the world’s biggest oil producer and it recently bought US motor oil and lubricants group Valvoline, giving it a local presence locally in Kenya. The third player selected by the government to participate in the fuel import deal that technically shelves the current open tender system hailed for bringing transparency in the oil business in Kenya is the Emirates National Oil Company Group (Enoc).

“The product will now be paid for in Kenyan shillings and this will ensure the dollar is available for other sectors of the economy,” Mr Chirchir said adding that the importation through government to government shall be centrally coordinated by his ministry.

Europe’s inflation cuts Sh12bn horticulture income (Business Daily)

Kenya’s earnings from horticultural exports reduced by 9.7 percent in 2022 on the back of elevated inflation in main markets amid weaker currencies, data shows. Revenue from horticultural sales abroad amounted to Sh120.26 billion last year from Sh133.23 billion in the prior year, provisional export statistics indicate. The decline came in a year when the average price growth in the Eurozone — a group of 19 countries which use the euro as a common currency — climbed to 8.35 percent compared with 2.4 percent a year earlier.

Kenyan exporters had complained that the runaway inflation was eroding consumer purchasing power in the Euro area and the UK, the main destinations for cut flowers, fruits and vegetables.

Kenya sets sights on special maize imports deal with Zambia farmers (Business Daily)

Nairobi will next month sign contracts with farmers in Zambia to grow maize exclusively for export to the Kenyan market as the government seeks to lower the cost of the staple, with the first consignment under the agreements expected in August. Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi said they have finalised the deal that has seen Kenya allocated at least 50,000 acres of land for growing maize in the current planting season.

The CS said the deal with the South African State has been informed by lower cost of production in Zambia and favourable weather.

Kenyan small-scale importers protest new KRA tax plan (The East African)

Importers of consolidated cargo will now be required to pay taxes based on transaction value, in a new directive by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) that increases the cost of doing business and retail prices.

The directive means that items such as second-hand clothes and household goods, which end up in open-air markets such as Gikomba and Nyamakima in Nairobi, will now attract import duty, value added taxes (VAT), excise duty, Import Declaration Levy, and Railway Development Levy.

The move is also expected to affect cargo volumes on the standard gauge railway from Mombasa to the Kenya Railways Corporation (Boma Line) Transit Shed in Nairobi, which was gazetted in 2021 as a facility to deconsolidate cargo.

EAC proposes flexible US market access under Agoa plan (The East African)

The East African Community (EAC) wants the US government to make the rules governing access to their market more flexible under the planned renewal of the African Growth Opportunity Act (Agoa).

The regional bloc, during its Council of Ministers Ordinary meeting held in February, made four new proposals to the Joe Biden administration to expand Agoa and make it more effective should the US Congress hasten its renewal before the 2025 expiry date.

The proposals come in the wake of plans by the American Chamber of Commerce Kenya (AmCham), a network of American and Kenyan businesses, to hold its third edition of the Business Summit on US-East Africa Trade and Investment in Nairobi later this month.

7 continental priorities region’s business community presented to AfCFTA boss (The New Times)

Rwanda on March 10 signed a host agreement with the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the Afreximbank for the $10 billion Adjustment Fund aimed at supporting all initiatives geared towards the implementation of the AfCFTA.

The fund is expected to serve as a vehicle for mobilizing funds, develop and operate a compensation facility aimed at mitigating the short-term impact of tariff revenue losses of state parties.

The launch was hosted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vincent Biruta, together with the Minister of Trade and Industry, Jean Chrysostome Ngabitsinze, Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice President of the Intra Africa Trade Bank, Clare Akamanzi the CEO of Rwanda Development Board, Dennis Karera, the EABC Vice Chairperson, Francoise Mubiligi, the Chairperson, Rwanda Private Sector Federation, and many other senior of officials from both the government and the private sector.

The East African Business Council (EABC) is the regional apex body of private sector associations and corporates from the seven EAC countries. According to the EABC, the continental priorities presented to the AfCFTA Secretary General include:

Anchoring AfCFTA trade policy to industrial policy (Enhanced Integrated Framework)

The Secretary General of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, His Excellency Wamkele Mene, has identified four challenges holding back intra-African trade: market fragmentation, small-sized economies, lack of industrial capacity, and the continued exportation of primary commodities to traditional markets in the Global North. At their core, these challenges are interrelated and point to the importance of promoting a more active industrial policy, together with the ongoing trade policy effort at the heart of the AfCFTA. This is particularly key for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) situated in Africa.

The industrial policy does not mean manufacturing policy. The scope of industrial policy includes industries such as tourism, agriculture, mining and IT-based services, as well as the coordination of key enabling sectors like energy, finance and telecoms.

Industrial policy is the most important of all economic policies because it is the only one that can bring coherence across the many disparate set of economic policies that governments have. It is also the only economic policy that deliberately targets the restructuring of the entire economy toward inclusive growth. Monetary, trade and fiscal policies are all important, but cannot play this leadership and coordination function.

H. E. Mene has also alluded to another critical ingredient for AfCFTA’s success: the direct involvement of the heads of state. For decades now, the African value-adding private sector has been clear that the most important condition it needs is policy coherence from governments, so it can plan accordingly and not face too many curve balls that disrupt their plans.

So, for AfCFTA to meet its ambition and African LDCs to flourish, it’s time to unlock the transformative power of trade-oriented industrial policy in Africa so heads of state can coordinate governments and let the value-adding private sector and inclusive markets do their job in accelerating intra-African trade and the continent’s industrialisation and economic transformation.

Africa’s new free trade area will see agriculture surge (WEF)

Agriculture accounts for roughly one-third of the African continent’s GDP, provides a livelihood for 50% of the population and feeds hundreds of millions of people on the continent and beyond every day.

The key role that agriculture plays in the continent’s economy is only set to grow in strength and size under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, struck in February 2021 and now in full swing.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Insight Report on the deal — AfCFTA: A New Era for Global Business and Investment in Africa — the free trade area, one of the world’s largest by number of people and economic size, is projected to host 1.7 billion people and oversee $6.7 trillion in consumer and business spending by 2030.

According to the Forum’s report, agriculture has exceptional potential for increasing intra-African trade, meeting local demand, accelerating GDP growth, creating new jobs and improving inclusivity due to upstream and downstream linkages.

It will increase value addition, meet new local demand and bring smallholder farmers — who are responsible for 80% of Africa’s food production — into wider supply chains. Opportunities abound in the AfCFTA for new investment in agro-processing, in particular.

90% Tripartite Region NTBs resolved — Comesa (The Chronicle)

A total of 716 out of 796 non-tariff barriers (NTBs) registered in the online reporting system implemented by the three regional economic communities, Comesa, East African Community and the Southern Africa Development Community have been resolved. Barriers behind the border, such as unwarranted technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phytosanitary measures are equally prevalent.

“NTBs evolve over time, hence become a single most hindrance to intra-regional trade and an easy option to deter or restrict trade,” said Dr Onyango, quoted in a recent Comesa report. “They, therefore, require persistent vigilance and commitment by all stakeholders, especially members of the national monitoring committees.”

As the tariff walls come down in the global and regional trading arena, he noted that NTBs continued to thrive and emerge in different forms in the tripartite region.

Technology trends reshaping the future of logistics in Africa (The Africa Logistics)

Over the past two years, the global logistics industry has been adversely affected by unprecedented supply chain disruptions, ranging from port closures to high freight costs, material and staff shortages, and geopolitical crises. These challenges have exposed supply chain vulnerabilities and highlighted the need for built-in resilience and adaptability.

To succeed in the year ahead, logistics operators must use the tools and technologies available to anticipate and overcome sources of disruption, such as oil price fluctuations and geopolitical tensions. Here are the top five trends that the industry needs to be aware of:

Competition Committee of ERCA met in Praia to review the draft Directive on Consumer Protection, Manuals of Procedures and the ECOWAS Competition Information System (ECIS) (ECOWAS)

The ECOWAS Consultative Committee on Competition (CCC) held its 6th meeting to review the Draft ECOWAS Directive on Consumer Protection and various instruments from the 06th to 09th March 2023, in Praia, Republic of Cabo Verde.

The meeting brought together Members of the ERCA Consultative Competition Committee (CCC) and Consultants to review the draft ECOWAS Directive on Consumer Protection prior to the submission to the meeting of ECOWAS Ministers of Trade and Industry (ECOMOTI) for validation. The Committee also had the opportunity to consider the presentations from consultants on the draft Manuals of procedures and Forms on the Community Competition Framework as well as ECOWAS Competition Information System (ECIS) which are necessary instruments to facilitate the implementation of the mandate of ERCA on promoting competition and protecting the rights and interests of consumers within the ECOWAS region.

The Meeting reviewed and validated the draft ECOWAS Directive on Consumer Protection and agreed that written comments from CCC Members on the draft Manuals, Forms and ECIS should be transmitted to ERCA no later than 15 April 2023 to finalise the said instruments before the next CCC meeting.

SADC Senior Officials meet ahead of Council of Ministers meeting (SADC)

The Standing Committee of Senior Officials of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) kicked off their meeting on 13 March, 2023, ahead of the meeting of the Council of Ministers scheduled to be held on 18-20 March, 2023 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Council of Ministers meeting will be held under the 42nd SADC Summit Theme, which is; “Promoting industrialization through agro-processing, mineral beneficiation, and regional value chains for inclusive and resilient economic growth”. The theme takes into account the urgent need to enhance the roll out of SADC industrialization and market integration programmes as contained in the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030.

Among the key issues on regional integration and development, the Ministers will discuss the overall Status of the Implementation of Council and Summit Decisions; Status of Implementation of the Prioritised Intervention Areas for the Theme of the 41st SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government; Status of the Implementation Plan of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (2020-2030) and Operationalization of The SADC Humanitarian and Emergency Operations Centre (SHOC).

Serenity at seas crucial for trade and commerce across SADC, says SA Navy chief Monde Lobese (IOL)

The 29th annual meeting of the Standing Maritime Committee (SMC) of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has been concluded in Cape Town, and was hosted by the South African Navy.  The vision of the SMC is to promote peace and prosperity in the SADC region through maritime cooperation.

Addressing the auspicious event, Chief of the South African Navy, Vice-Admiral Monde Lobese said unlike popular narratives, naval forces are not only needed at times of war. He highlighted that even landlocked nations in the region enjoy the benefits of having proficient naval capabilities in the region.

“Navies are not only there to protect our countries in times of war and conflict. In times of peace, our navies must ensure that there are no threats posed to the free flow of trade. I don’t have to remind our land-locked brothers of SADC that even their commerce and trade flows through the harbours of their coastal neighbours,” he said.

The US has gotten the day to day right in Africa policy. Time to think bigger (Atlantic Council)

The three-day US-Africa Leaders Summit in December brought together high-level delegations from forty-nine African countries and the AU, along with business and civil society leaders. The summit was part of an overall new Africa strategy authored by Judd Devermont, the special assistant to the president and senior director for African affairs at the National Security Council.

The strategy has returned US-Africa policy to the basics, including consistent high-level diplomatic engagement between US and African leaders—and US President Joe Biden pledged at the summit to continue to make that engagement a priority.

The Biden administration is thus far making good on this promise. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield have already made official visits to the continent in 2023. Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Ghana, Tanzania, and Zambia from March 26 to April 1, and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo will visit the continent this summer.

Devermont has long argued for this type of consistent, high-level engagement, and it is refreshing to see it operationalized.

African financial institutions will continue to fund fossil fuel projects on the continent (Engineering News)

While Africa is part of the global transition to low carbon energy, the consumption of oil and gas on the continent will increase, at least in the short term. So observed Standard Bank executive energy & infrastructure coverage: East Africa Maina Kigundu at the African Refiners and Distributors Association conference, at the Century City Convention Centre in Cape Town, on Tuesday.

The decarbonization plans of international corporations were affecting investment in Africa. There was decreasing investment in the oil sector, but increasing investment was likely in the liquified natural gas (LNG) sector, he reported.

The Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) would continue to fund fossil fuel projects in Africa, assured AFC senior investment associate Shayo Olumide, speaking at the same conference. The AFC was totally African-owned and funded and had total assets of $10.5-billion. So far it had invested in 36 African countries. “We’re focused on African industrialization,” he stressed. Its five main focus areas were heavy industry; power and renewables; natural resources; transport and logistics; and telecommunications.

Trade and Investment: the current crises are generating opportunities (UNECA)

The Faculty of Legal, Economic and Social Sciences of Souissi, Rabat concluded on March 10 the 14th International Colloquium of Rabat (9-10 March 2023) under the theme: “Trade and investment in a context of crises”.

Key messages included the fact that the current “poly-crisis” i.e. multiple, ongoing crises (geopolitical; health, climate, food and energy-related) are currently redefining the very foundations of resilience and generating a window of “poly-opportunities” for national economies. As a result, decision-makers are currently faced with an opportunity to reorient growth so as to make it greener and more inclusive, accelerate investment in new technologies and integrate more value chains to speed up their own development while helping secure global trade and supply for the rest of the world.

The construction of an integrated and united economic space such as the AfCFTA in Africa is becoming imperative given the deep impact of recent changes such as COVID-19 or the Russia-Ukraine crisis on the global and regional environment, including through the rise in trade tensions and the reconfiguration of supply chains.

Making trade work for climate change mitigation: The case of technical regulations (UNCTAD)

Climate change law instruments - in particular, the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement - constitute the legal framework within which States set emissions reduction targets and adopt climate mitigation measures to achieve the global target of limiting the increase in global average temperatures to “well below” 2°C.

This legal framework leaves countries free to decide which measures they employ to achieve their targets. However, international trade law - and, in particular, the rules and principles of the WTO - determines when and how States can adopt a measure that potentially impacts international trade, even if such a measure is primarily aimed at tackling climate change.

With a quarter of global CO2 emissions directly or indirectly linked to the production and distribution of traded goods and services (World Bank, 2021), trade-related measures can play an important role in promoting climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Climate change-related trade measures have a significant potential of reducing GHG emissions and are increasingly being adopted. Recent discussions on combustion engine bans or carbon border adjustments have highlighted the far-reaching implications of these instruments.

Plastics Dialogue participants brainstorm on MC13 outcomes, welcome US co-sponsorship (WTO)

The ambassadors of three coordinating members-- Ecuador, China, and Australia-- highlighted the positive spillover effects of the Dialogue, noting it has brought together officials from various members in the fields of trade, environment, customs, and industry. They emphasized the Dialogue’s objective of supporting other significant international initiatives in this area, particularly the ongoing multilateral negotiation process at the UN Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee where participants are seeking to achieve a legally binding instrument by the end of 2024 to put an end to plastics pollution.

The ambassadors encouraged active participation from all participants in shaping the outcomes of MC13, emphasizing the need to incorporate developmental elements and establish a plan for providing capacity building and technical assistance to developing members, in particular small island developing states (SIDS) and least developed countries (LDCs).

Members share experiences on environmental regulations, standards for climate and plastics (WTO)

Two thematic sessions were held together with the Committee meeting. The first thematic session on regulatory cooperation between members on plastics regulation provided an opportunity for members to share experiences and good practices in plastics regulation and policy, which aim to minimize plastics waste leakage and plastics pollution, while encouraging trade and innovation.

While discussing national and regional perspectives, the session also addressed international developments to minimize plastics pollution and plastics waste in the environment and considered how these efforts may necessitate future international cooperation.

The session also highlighted key TBT principles for efficient cooperation such as transparency, public consultation, the use of international standards, the use of data and technical information, technical assistance, development considerations, and the national quality infrastructure that underpins these systems.

The second thematic session on regulatory cooperation between members on climate change focused on the role of regulatory measures in contributing to members’ strategies for tackling climate change.

Fragmentation one of the biggest risks faced by global economy, says UAE minister (The National)

Geographical and economic fragmentation is the greatest danger the global economy faces today and is prompting the drafting of new policies to boost economic integration, Abdulla bin Touq, the UAE’s Minister of Economy, said on Tuesday.

Addressing the Confederation of Indian Industry Partnership Summit 2023 in New Delhi, Mr bin Touq said economic fragmentation was expected to cost the world dearly because “the greater the fragmentation of trade, the greater the economic costs”.

We believe that it is absolutely necessary to address the economic challenges of our times and build a more sustainable and prosperous future for all,” he said.


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