tralac Daily News
Egypt’s trade deficit plunges 54% YoY in December 2022: CAPMAS (ZAWYA)
Egypt’s trade balance deficit dropped by 54% year on year (YoY) to $1.93 billion in December 2022, compared to $4.20 billion in the same month of 2022, according to a press release published by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) on March 14th.
The value of Egyptian exports slipped by 2.7% YoY to $4.18 billion in December 2022 from $4.29 billion, the CAPMAS added. The decline in exports’ value was driven by lower value of some goods, including crude oil, petroleum products, plastics, and ready-made garments that dropped by 45.1%, 41.2%, 31.4%, and 4.8%, respectively.
Indonesia plans to expand export markets to Africa (VietnamPlus)
Africa has a huge potential of becoming a destination for Indonesia’s manufacturing exports, besides its traditional markets such as the US, the EU, or China, according to the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin). Although its purchasing power still falls behind other traditional export markets, Africa is also promising in terms of market size growth and trade competition. Not many exporters have entered the African market, and the continent’s trade barriers are not as sophisticated.
Speaking at a conference on March 14, Kadin deputy chairwoman Shinta W Kamdani said that Indonesian exports can enter and compete in Africa, particularly manufacturing products as African countries generally lack basic manufacture.
Panel unpacks how tech is influencing successful farming ventures (Engineering News)
As the world undergoes a revolution towards greener and more digitalised technology, and the need to feed almost ten-billion people by 2050 looms, there is consensus from experts speaking at Africa Agri Tech 2023 that farmers need to equip themselves with knowledge and plan for the future.
Industry body BerriesZA CEO Brent Walsh said the agricultural industry was at a critical point across the value chain, which necessitated farmers understanding their operations from land preparation to transport, and knowing what may impact on profitability under certain scenarios, over both a five-year and ten-year period.
He explained that the agricultural landscape had evolved to placing much more emphasis on relationships with stakeholders and what could help to shape and influence the ‘ideal’ operation.
Trade and Industry programmes boost economic performance (SAnews)
The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic) has tabled in Parliament its 2022/23 quarter three report, which highlights efforts made to help businesses navigate economic pressures and the persistent load shedding.
Minister Ebrahim Patel on Tuesday presented the report to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Trade, Industry and Competition. The presentation took note of global economic developments such as commodity price fluctuations and inflation, while providing insight into South Africa’s own economic position.
Patel particularly noted the impact of load shedding and outlined efforts made by the dtic to address this urgent and important issue.
The dtic’s efforts include a R1.3 billion energy resilience scheme facility to support companies affected by load shedding; promote investment, cut red tape and establish an Energy One-Stop Shop, managed by InvestSA. The dtic has also made interventions to improve energy efficiency and to implement an energy resilience scheme, among others.
Power cuts are hurting small businesses in South Africa - but sharing resources and equipment might be a solution (The Conversation)
Worldwide, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are seen as the backbone of a thriving economy. They make up a substantial portion of the total number of companies and are estimated to contribute over 87% of all jobs globally.
A recent World Economic Forum report showed that major disruptions affect the value chain of SMEs significantly more than they affect larger enterprises. Disruptions, such as COVID-19 and geo-political tensions, often lead to failure among these businesses.
In South Africa, an example of a significant risk to SMEs is the acute shortage of power. Power outages mean that they can’t operate. No production or trade is possible, and inventory is damaged. The enterprises can’t plan and execute their operations effectively, or meet the demands of their customers. They can lose revenue and customers.
South Africa’s acute power shortages are likely to go on for some time. But we believe that the concept of the sharing economy holds promise to minimise disruptions.
Experts call for policy review to grow Kenya’s trade (The Star)
Kenya needs to address existing obstacles that hinder regional business in order for its trade sector to achieve full potential, according to policy researchers. Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) says the concentration of goods and services to a few varieties and export markets has limited the trade sector’s performance.
KIPPRA Executive Director Rose Ngugi in the brief says the state will need to finalise the implementation of the Medium-Term Plans (MTP’s) on proposed trade flagship projects that are still lagging.
This, she says, will include the construction of one-tier markets that are yet to be completed, including mapping out all the products exported to and imported within African to boost trade performance.
“To enhance trade performance and achieve economic resilience it is imperative to strategise in taking advantage of the opportunities brought by operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and other trade agreements,” said Ngugi.
Kenya suspends ban imposed on powder milk imports (The East African)
Kenya has suspended a recent ban on the importation of milk powder into the country “to allow for the Dairy Industry (Import and Export) Regulations 2021 to apply accordingly”.
The Kenya Dairy Board had on March 6 announced an indefinite suspension of milk powder imports in move seen as protecting processors and farmers from lower prices since the milk powder imports could lead to a glut in the market since the anticipated seasonal rains are expected to significantly boost local milk production and reduce the need for imports.
But in a statement dated March 14, 2023, Kenya’s Agriculture and Livestock Development Permanent Secretary Harry Kimtai announced the suspension of the ban on the milk powder imports.
“Take note that the importation of products under the East African Community (EAC) protocol refers to good being imported from outside the East African Community, while good traded within the EAC are referred to as transfers,” Mr Kimtai said.
Entrepreneurship Policy Review - Uganda (UNCTAD)
The Entrepreneurship Policy Framework and Implementation Guidance aims to support developing country policymakers in the design of initiatives, measures and institutions to promote entrepreneurship. It identifies policy objectives and options in the form of recommended actions, and proposes checklists, case studies and good practices. It also offers a user guide and methods for policy monitoring and evaluation, suggesting a set of indicators to measure progress.
Uganda has a number of well-crafted policies and strategies that describe actions to be taken to promote the development of entrepreneurship and MSMEs.
The National Entrepreneurship and MSMEs Strategy (NES) engaged a holistic approach and examined a variety of ways to create and nurture the synergies between the different pillars of UNCTAD’s Entrepreneurship Policy Framework (EPF); Uganda’s MSMEs Policy of 2015; and the National MSMEs Strategic Plan 2016/2017-2020/21.
Mauritius: Pre-Budget Consultations 2023-2024 kickstart today with representatives of the Confederations of Trade Unions (Republic of Mauritius)
The first Pre-Budget consultative meeting in the context of the forthcoming Budget 2023-2024 with representatives of the Confederations of Trade Unions was chaired, this afternoon, by the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr Renganaden Padayachy, at the Conference Room of the Ministry, in Port Louis.
The President of the NTUC, Mr Narendranath Gopee, highlighted that discussions with the Finance Minister focused on the Statutory Bodies Act and the need to be more transparent on the contracts allocated by Government.
Economic Diversification Away from Oil is Crucial for the Republic of Congo’s Long-Term Growth and Prosperity: World Bank Report (World Bank)
Economic diversification away from oil is crucial for reversing recent economic setbacks in the Republic of Congo and put the country on a pathway to long-term prosperity, says the World Bank in its latest Country Economic Memorandum report on the country. The cost of over-reliance on oil has been painfully apparent in the past decade. A seven-year recession, induced by the end of the last oil-boom cycle, has led to a dramatic drop in income per capita, shrunk the size of the economy and weakened long-term growth prospects. While oil prices have surged more recently, returning Congo’s economy to growth in 2022, the current development model is unlikely to deliver sustainable economic growth and productive jobs going forward.
Attaining sustainable development in Congo urgently requires efforts to diversify national assets, focusing on stronger institutions, development of human and physical capital, and a more balanced exploitation of natural resources, says the report, titled Congo’s Road to Prosperity: Building Foundations for Economic Diversification.
GCB Bank completes first Pan-African Payment and Settlement System client transaction in Ghana (Myjoyonline)
GCB Bank Plc, one of the largest banks in Ghana, on 8 March 2023 announced it successfully completed the first Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) client transaction in Ghana. The transaction involved a Ghanaian incorporated entity initiating a supplier payment from GCB in Ghana Cedis to a beneficiary in Nigeria who received the payment in Naira instantly. This innovation revolutionalizes the way Ghanaian individuals and businesses trade with the rest of Africa.
Uganda urges the West to end NTB to boost trade with Africa (Garowe Online)
Uganda’s Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa has asked the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) member states to remove all Non-Tariff Barriers [NTB] saying that they are a hindrance to the entry of goods, especially from developing countries. While addressing the 146th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Manama, Bahrain, Tayebwa listed bottlenecks that are hampering the growth of some member states
“Sometimes your supermarket shelves are empty when we have fruits, vegetables, and other agricultural products rotting in our countries,” he said. Currently, the IPU comprises 178 member parliaments and 13 associate members. Tayebwa challenged the developed world to work with developing countries to add value to their products.
Kenya expects further trade ties with China (China Daily)
Trade relations between China and Africa are expected to see a further rise this year, with the easing of the COVID-19 pandemic, the head of the International Chamber of Commerce-Kenya said. Julius Opio, director of the chamber, said there are many opportunities for both Africa and China to enhance their trade relations this year and beyond, following further relaxation of COVID-19 policy in China that will facilitate international personnel exchanges.
In addition, the disruption of logistics over the last three years has created shortages of critical goods, so it is an opportunity for China to consider setting up manufacturing units in Africa.
He said Kenya, for instance, the biggest economy in eastern Africa, has the capacity, skills and sufficient energy to run factories and that it can become the hub to re-export products across Africa. “That way, it becomes a win-win situation whereby we create more jobs in Kenya at the same time importing materials from China for local assembly and manufacturing,” he said.
Sectors such as electronics, information technology, hospitality, renewable energy and agriculture offer huge China-Africa trade opportunities this year.
Nigeria, Japan deepen partnership as trade value hits $10bn annually (Daily Trust)
The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Hajiya Saratu Umar, has reiterated the federal government’s effort to partner with the Japanese government to explore areas of business partnerships to deepen the investment drive of both countries.
Speaking on the rationale behind the visit, the Japanese ambassador noted that Nigeria has been a strategic business partner as the value of trade volume between the two countries now stands at $10 billion annually with expectations that the figure will rise in the coming years.
He said: “Nigeria’s trade volume with Japan has reached 10 billion dollars, and it is growing, which is why we are visiting to reiterate our partnerships and build on it especially after the recently held Nigeria Japan business forum which provided a very good opportunity to forward business relationships.
EU slams Algeria’s barriers on trade with Spain (The North Africa Post)
Head of EU Diplomacy Josep Borrell called, on Monday during his two-day visit to Algiers, for a solution to Algeria’s barriers on trade with Spain, introduced in June 2022.
“The barriers introduced [by Algeria] to trade with Spain, since June 2022, must find a solution,” said the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission.
Since last June, the European Commission has “regularly expressed its concern about the trade implications” of Algiers’ decision, “in particular the blocked shipments from Spain.
“Trade policy is an exclusive competence of the EU” and therefore Brussels “is ready to take action against any measure applied against a member state,” stressed Miriam Garcia Ferrer, spokeswoman for the European Commission for Trade, in a recent statement to the Spanish news agency Europa Press.
Business and trade between Spain and Algeria have been blocked since last June.
Kenya Asks EAC To Harmonize Legal Framework To Promote Aquaculture Trade (Kenya News Agency)
Kenya has called upon other East Africa Community States to consider harmonization of the legal frameworks, that would ensure smooth movement of aquaculture products across the borders.
In a speech read on her behalf by Fisheries and Blue Economy Secretary, Lucy Obungu, during the official opening of the second Eastern African Regional Aquaculture Conference and Exhibition, at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, the Principal Secretary (PS), Ministry of Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs, Betsy Muthoni Njagi, said the engagement of the East African countries should ensure seamless flow of goods and professional services in the region.
Afreximbank makes Case for Infrastructure Investment at African Refiners & Distribution Association (ARDA) Week 2023 (APO Group)
While the need to transition to a cleaner energy future is a global priority, Africa’s energy poverty challenges require strong and immediate solutions, of which investment in infrastructure to strengthen energy supply and access is predominant. In line with this, Rene Awambeng, Global Head and Director, Client Relations at pan-African multilateral financial institution the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) delivered a presentation during this year’s edition of the African Refiners & Distributors Association – taking place from March 14-17 in Cape Town.
The presentation, under the theme, ‘Financing Infrastructure Projects to Accelerate Africa’s Energy Transition,’ tackled emerging trends across the African energy sector, with Awambeng making a strong case for increased infrastructure investment with the aim of accelerating the continent’s energy transition.
Road to COP28: African negotiators convene in Nairobi for climate policy talks (The Standard)
Negotiators from over 33 African countries are meeting in Nairobi to reflect on COP27 outcomes and develop a common African position on climate action pertaining to agriculture and gender for COP28. The meeting, convened by the African Group of Negotiators Experts Support (AGNES) for the next four days aims to define policy solutions to tackle the ongoing climate crisis in Africa, which is compounding food insecurity on a continent already severely afflicted by hunger and malnutrition.
The African Group of Negotiators and other African voices have been pushing for agriculture to be formally recognised in the UNFCCC negotiation process.
Horn of Africa ministers seek private sector backing for projects (The East African)
Finance ministers from the Horn of Africa are seeking ways to attract more private sector backing for projects in infrastructure, energy and technology, to better build economic resilience as drought and inflation bite.
The leaders met under the Horn of Africa Initiative (HoAI) in Nairobi this week and agreed to develop a “comprehensive” private-sector engagement strategy, which is expected to be tabled at the next meeting in October.
This is projected to help bridge the existing funding gap that has slowed down the implementation of the initiative’s priority areas: infrastructure development, trade and economic integration, building resilience and human capital development.
Kenya’s Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u, who chaired the closed-door ministerial meeting, said private sector finance will enable the execution of the region’s projects in infrastructure, energy, digital markets, trade and economic integration.
Africa must lead the charge on tackling poverty (UNECA)
Africa must lead the charge in mobilizing domestic resources to recover from multiple economic and social crises which have deepened poverty and widened inequality on the continent, Acting Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Antonio Pedro, has urged, warning that Africa risks missing the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Africa currently leads in global poverty,” Mr. Pedro told participants at the 41st meeting of the Committee of Experts that kicked off today, ahead of next week’s Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Mr. Pedro cautioned that without bold financial and climate action, Africa will be locked into a poverty trap. With more than half of the world’s poor – 54.8 per cent in 2022 being in Africa, the continent had overtaken South Asia with 37.6 percent, while the COVID-19 outbreak had pushed 62 million people into poverty in just one year, with an additional 18 million estimated to have joined their ranks by the end of 2022.
The Africa we want: a roadmap out of poly-crises for policy makers (UNECA)
The confluence of shocks – the cascading impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and severe natural disasters – have eroded Africa’s development gains, resulting in a staggering 149 million previously non-poor Africans now facing the risk of falling into poverty.
The growing number of new poor and vulnerable people is making it harder to close the gap between the rich and the poor. Moreover, Africa currently accounts for the largest share of the world’s poor. This inevitably has a far-reaching impact on achieving the sustainable development goals and the vision of the Africa we want.
The crisis, however daunting, presents an opportunity for the African ministers of finance, planning and economic development assembling in Addis Ababa from 15-21 March 2023, to make concerted efforts on providing concrete solutions. The theme, fostering recovery and transformation in Africa to reduce inequalities and vulnerabilities, should yield long term actions to move the continent forward on a path of prosperity.
Two African banks stake $16 billion in oil, gas projects (The Guardian Nigeria)
About $16 billion is being invested in oil and gas projects across Africa by the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the African Finance Corporation (AFC). This was disclosed yesterday at the ongoing African Refiners and Distribution Association (ARDA) conference in Cape Town, South Africa.
This is coming as stakeholders at the conference urged Africans to keep funds within the continent to finance the over $190 billion yearly energy investment needed on the continent.
Of the banks’ investment, $15 billion of the funds is being invested by Afreximbank while AFC already invested over $800 million with additional over $200 million expected to be finalised.
Afreximbank Boss To Speak On Economic Growth (Economic Confidential)
The President and Chairman Board of Directors of African Export-Import Bank, Professor Benedict Oramah, will lead discussions on critical issues that will give further insights into the economic transformation of Africa at the 2023 Annual Lecture of The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.
Scheduled to hold on March 29, 2023, the theme of the lecture which will hold in Lagos is, “Unlocking the Constraints to Africa’s Economic Transformation: Insights into the Power of Capital.”
According to a statement by the CIBN, the institute intends to keep members of the public constantly abreast of topical economic issues and policies of government at the national and international levels.
African Development Bank and partners invest $618 million in Nigeria’s digital and creative industries (AfDB)
The African Development Bank and partners on Tuesday launched a new Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) programme.
The initiative, with investments totalling $618 million, will attract direct investments in more than 200 technology and creative start-ups and provide non-financial services to about 450 digital technology, small and medium enterprises. With a potential to generate $6.4 billion into the Nigeria’s economy, iDICE is expected to create 6 million new jobs for young Nigerians.
Afreximbank, EIB unveil €200m pharmaceutical financing scheme for sub-Saharan Africa (The Independent Uganda)
The European Investment Bank (EIB), the world’s largest multilateral bank, and Afreximbank, the pan-African multilateral financial institution, have joined hands to finance healthcare and pharmaceutical manufacturing projects across sub-Saharan Africa in an attempt to strengthen health resilience on the continent.
Afreximbank and the EIB will each provide €100 million new investment to update and expand public healthcare facilities and enhance production of safe, affordable and effective medicines across sub-Saharan Africa.
The new Africa health financing initiative, part of the European Union Global Gateway initiative, has been designed by health, financial and technical experts from EIB and Afreximbank to unlock crucial investment to improve access to local healthcare and scale-up production of medicines essential to tackle deadly diseases such as cancer, HIV, malaria and tuberculosis.
We’ll explore options to enhance continent’s aviation industry – ECA (New National Star)
The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) will collaborate with partners in the aviation industry to explore all options to enhance the sustainability of the continent’s aviation industry.
Acting Executive Secretary of the ECA, Antonio Pedro, in a statement issued on ECA’s website, said this while speaking on the Sustainable Development of Air Transport in Africa.
According to him, for the air transport industry in Africa to recover from its various shocks and remain sustainable, partnership will be key.
African seed sector players call for favourable regulatory policies (Modern Ghana)
As part of its efforts to help increase the resilience and profitability of African farming in the face of climate change and other challenges, African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA) last week concluded its 23rd African Seed Trade Association annual Congress in Dakar, Senegal, to which discussed regional and international seed issues.
The congress came at a time when experts fear that climate change will worsen existing inequalities within the global trade systems, and the seed sector will not be spared.</p><p>The objectives of this congress, being a gathering of top seed traders and producers traditionally cover a wide spectrum of issues in the seed value chain.
Africa pays the price as China and Russia jostle for its resources (The East African)
Analysts say China and Russia are bolstering their presence in Africa to tap its rich natural resources, amid grave warnings from UN agencies the world’s poorest countries face accumulating crippling debts.
“One out of every three major infrastructure projects in Africa is built by Chinese state-owned enterprises, and one out of every five is financed by a Chinese policy bank,” said Paul Nantulya of the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies, an academic institution within the US Department of Defence.
“Russia, a key arms exporter to Africa, is also making forays into the continent through mining projects granted to the Wagner private paramilitary group,” Nantulya said.
Chinese envoy refutes allegations of “debt trap” in Africa (Xinhua)
Xue Bing, Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Affairs of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Tuesday refuted the groundless cliche that China is creating a “debt trap” in Africa, calling it a narrative trap instead. Addressing media here in the Ethiopian capital, the special envoy said Africa’s debt burdens should not be blamed on China.
Data from the World Bank last year showed that among a total of 696 billion U.S. dollars in external debts in 49 African countries with accessible data, three-quarters are held by multilateral financial institutions and commercial creditors, the lion’s share of Africa’s debts; while 35 percent are owed to Western private lenders, nearly three times of the total obligations to China, he said.
EU needs to strengthen cooperation with Africa on trade in services - ECFR study (The North Africa Post)
Trade in services is critical for improving the competitiveness of African economies and improved trade in services with African countries could help the European Union diversify its supply chains, strengthening resilience and reducing dependencies on China and other Asian countries, according to a new policy brief published by the Brussels-based European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).
Services are largely missing from Europe’s trade and development cooperation agenda with Africa, which is almost exclusively focused on commodities and other primary goods — despite the growing importance of services in the global economy. Yet the services sector has now outstripped the primary and secondary sectors in their contribution to African output, making up more than half of the continent’s GDP.
A stronger services trade between the EU and Africa would allow European multinationals to near-shore their production processes and diversify away from Asia-focused supply networks. Improved trade in services would also allow the EU to influence regulatory models across various sectors.
Europe eyes Africa as ‘future source of cheap green hydrogen’ (The Independent Uganda)
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in March 2022 set off a rush for gas resources worldwide, Europe picked Africa as an alternative supply market for natural gas, European energy ministers and other political leaders toured North African countries and gas initiatives in both East and West Africa received renewed support.
Now, Europe is setting its sight on Africa’s yet-to-be-developed green hydrogen industry, in what appears to be an early race to build up clean energy resources, part of a major, continued transition away from fossil fuels.
Digital technology new source of discrimination against women: Guterres (UN News)
The town hall with representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) was held as part of the annual session of the UN Committee on the Status of Women (CSW), which meets in New York every March. Its latest two-week session - known as CSW67, which runs through Friday - is focused on the theme of innovation, technological change, and education in the digital age.
Mr. Guterres noted that digital technology – the product of an industry that is predominantly male - represents a new source of discrimination and bias. “Rather than presenting facts and addressing bias, technology based on incomplete data and badly-designed algorithms is digitizing and amplifying sexism – with deadly consequences,” he said.
The gender digital divide is fast becoming the new face of gender inequality, he continued. Online spaces are not safe for women and girls, as they have been attacked, targeted, or denigrated on the internet.
UN deputy chief warns of faltering progress towards SDGs (UN News)
“Let me be frank: we are not doing well. Our progress towards the SDGs has faltered and even gone into reverse on some important targets and Goals, leaving many behind,” she said in opening remarks to the Arab Forum for Sustainable Development (AFSD) in Beirut, Lebanon.
“Let me be frank: we are not doing well. Our progress towards the SDGs has faltered and even gone into reverse on some important targets and Goals, leaving many behind,” she said in opening remarks to the Arab Forum for Sustainable Development (AFSD) in Beirut, Lebanon.
She highlighted how the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the “triple planetary crisis” – climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution - have affected lives and livelihoods.
Working group on small business approves work program, issues a call for papers (WTO)
The approved work program will hinge on five main pillars: promoting MSMEs’ access to information; building capacity to promote greater inclusion of MSMEs in international trade; providing policy guidance; implementing the December 2020 MSMEs package; and engagement with the private sector.