Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Eswatini trade pact to be extended by five years (Taipei Times)

President Tsai Ing-wen and Eswatini Prime Minister Cleopas Sipho Dlamini agreed to extend a bilateral economic cooperation agreement to 2028, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Dlamini said he would soon arrange for his country — Taiwan’s sole diplomatic ally in Africa — to renew cooperation with Taipei during talks with Tsai and Premier Chen Chien-jen, the person said.

The two countries signed their first bilateral agreement in 2008 with a term of 10 years, which in 2018 was replaced by a five-year agreement.

The agreement is to include pledges by the Kingdom of Eswantini to continue supporting Taiwan’s bid to join international organizations, and for Taipei to facilitate the African nation’s economic development, the person said.

South Africa to make local content in procurement compulsory (Supply Management)

South Africa’s government has announced plans to tighten legislation to ensure government procurement favours local suppliers.

Cathrine Matidza, director of fleet procurement at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, told a webinar that current legislation – which makes local content requirements optional for state organs – was temporary and would soon be replaced.

She said the government was working on legislation to ensure mandatory procurement of locally-produced and manufactured products in some sectors of the economy.

A constitutional court decision last year overturned South Africa’s 2017 preferential procurement regulations and scrapped mandatory local content requirements for organs of state.

Joint Communiqué on the State Visit and 2nd Bi-National Commission by Her Excellency, Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of the United Republic of Tanzania (South African Government)

At the invitation of His Excellency, Mr Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, Her Excellency, Dr. Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, paid a State Visit from 15 to 16 March 2023 to Pretoria, the Republic of South Africa.

The Presidents also exchanged views on the Agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) and the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) between the South African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East African Community (EAC) and how these instruments when ratified could bring economic benefits.

The two Heads of State participated in a Business Forum held under the theme Forging a New Deal between South Africa and Tanzania Towards High Levels of Trade and Investments”. The Forum brought together Businesspersons and representatives from the Private Sector to discuss trade and investment opportunities in the two countries. The two sides, inter alia, emphasised the importance of expanding trade and investment activities in order to drive bilateral strategic engagement forward and the need to address any barriers to trade

Nigeria’s call for inclusive G20 (The Sun Nigeria)

The recent call by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, for the permanent membership for Nigeria and the African Union (AU) in the Group of 20 nations, (G20), is a step in the right direction. The minister, who made the call in New Delhi, India, during the 1st Foreign Ministers’ Meeting under India’s Presidency of G20, also called for a reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, for more participation by member states.

Onyeama anchored the demand on the fact that as the largest economy in Africa, with stable and uninterrupted democratic governance, Nigeria is eminently qualified to become a permanent member of G20 in the nearest future.

According to him, Nigeria attaches significant importance to the G20 as the premier forum for global economic cooperation and its role in shaping and strengthening global architecture and governance on all major international economic issues and other fields that are of concern to members and the world at large. He, therefore, expressed the desire of the country to work closely with the G20 and its members to address issues of concern in the world, including the need to develop digital health solutions; vocational training and technology transfer to the South. Other areas of interest, Onyeama pointed out, included digital finance and financial inclusion in developing countries; holistic approach to debt burden, climate change and post-pandemic recovery measures.

IATA Signs Deal To Enhance Ground Safety At Mauritanian Airports (Simple Flying)

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Afroport Mauritanie yesterday signed an agreement to enhance the safety of ground operations in Mauritania.

The agreement is aimed at two critical global standards; the IATA Ground Operations Manual (IGOM) and the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO).

“The commitment of Afroport Mauritanie to IGOM and ISAGO will help further Mauritania’s social and economic development with safer ground operations. Lower adoption rates for global standards rank high among the factors limiting the benefits that aviation could deliver in Africa. This agreement is a great example for airports across the African continent to follow.”

Aviation has the potential to make an essential contribution to the economic growth and development within Africa. It is crucial now more than ever as the aviation industry has almost fully recovered from the pandemic and as stakeholders campaign for the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Enough wheat for eight billion loaves of bread shipped to Africa from Ukraine since last year (News24)

Ukraine shipped enough wheat to developing African countries last year to bake eight billion loaves of bread, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday. He was speaking in Ethiopia before he travelled to Niger to complete his African visit.

The wheat was shipped under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which was agreed upon between Ukraine and Russia to allow grain passage to other parts of the world during the war between the two countries. The United Nations (UN) brokered the deal.

He said: Over four million metric tonnes of wheat have gone directly to developing countries as a result of that initiative – that is the equivalent of eight billion loaves of bread. Millions rely on the Black Sea Grain Initiative. It cannot be allowed to lapse.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, African countries have been exposed to rising fertiliser and food prices. In contrast, aid has decreased, with some channelled to Ukraine. That showed the world that Africa needed a long-lasting solution to its food security issues.

Addressing multiple shocks can turn around Africa’s economic growth (UNECA)

Africa’s economic growth is projected to rise slightly to 3.9% after a considerable decrease to 3.6 per cent over the past year in 2022, says an overview report of recent economic and social developments in Africa by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

Presenting the report’s analysis at the ongoing Experts meeting ahead of the 55th Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Adam Elhiraika, ECA Director, Macroeconomics and Governance Division centred the complex economic and financial picture on the confluence of shocks that slowed down the global economy. These include the COVID-19 pandemic impact, the rise in prices fueled by the conflict in Ukraine and extreme weather patterns.

“The result is that Africa currently accounts for the largest share of the world’s poor, with 149 million previously non-poor Africans now facing the risk of falling into poverty,” he said.

In spite of economic growth recovery, Africa still needs to curb poverty and social inequality (UNECA)

With slower economic growth and high inflation, many African countries continue hardly to strengthen the continent’s development after experiencing a series of severe and mutually reinforcing shocks. Mr Adam Elhiraika, Director of the Macroeconomic Policy Division at ECA explained that the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ukrainian war and resultant food and energy hurdles, rising inflation, debt tightening, and natural disasters brought some serious developmental challenges on the continent such as poverty and inequality rates and lack of decent jobs.

According to ECA, in 2022 an additional 18 million new poor emerged in Africa. The continent had more than half of the highest proportion of the world’s poor at 54.8 per cent. This is alarming because 546 million people were living in poverty last year, which is more than half of the continent’s population.

IRU charts hope on surmountable road transport challenges with trade unions (IRU)

IRU’s Secretary General has outlined solutions to key challenges facing the road transport sector at the global road transport trade union conference held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Starting with the Covid-19 pandemic, several crises have struck the road transport industry in recent years, leading to supply chain instabilities and exacerbating other long-standing challenges, such as excessive border queues.

IRU Secretary General Umberto de Pretto addressed some of these key issues at the global road transport trade union conference,

One of the most critical issues facing the road transport industry is the shortage of drivers. IRU’s 2022 driver shortage survey found that unfilled commercial driver positions are continuing to increase at alarming rates across the globe.

Central Africa Calls for Investments to Counter Impact of Russia’s War (VOA)

Central African economy ministers are calling for investing in energy and farming as Africa’s poorest region struggles to recover from natural disasters, armed conflicts, and fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Heads of state from the six nations of regional bloc CEMAC meet Friday to discuss the challenges.

Economy and integration ministers of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, CEMAC, say most of their 55 million civilians live in abject poverty that has only been made worse by the last few years of global troubles.

President of CEMAC Daniel Ona Ondo said the ministers’ meeting strongly recommended huge investments in agriculture and energy to end over dependency on imported food and petroleum products from Russia and Ukraine.

AFRICA CDC hosts lead partners of Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM) for review of vaccine manufacturing ecosystem in Africa (AfDB)

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) hosted its lead partners at a meeting on the sidelines of the Africa Health Agenda International Conference 2023 held in Kigali, Rwanda.

The meeting, which took place from 9-10 March, was dedicated to identifying a clear set of annual objectives and deliverables for the Partnership for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM) in 2023.

The Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing was established by the African Union, under the Africa CDC, in 2021, to enable the African vaccine-manufacturing industry to develop, produce, and supply over 60 percent of the total vaccine doses required on the continent by 2040, up from less than 1 percent. PAVM’s vision is to build manufacturing capacity to produce at least 1.5 billion vaccine doses per year by 2040.

“Safeguarding Africa’s health can only be achieved through our ability to manufacture the health products we need on the continent. The new public health order outlines it well in its Pillar 2: Expanded Manufacturing of Vaccines, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics to democratize access to life-saving medicines and equipment,” said Dr. Ahmed Ogwell, Acting Director of Africa CDC.

ARDA Week: Cleaner Fuels, Vehicles will Contribute to Emission Reduction (Energy Capital & Power)

Marietta Harjono, Inspector-General of the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT), presented a study which focused on the fuel exports and used vehicles in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at the African Refiners & Distributors Association (ARDA) Week in Cape Town on Wednesday.

“We believe that oil companies and traders should supply cleaner fuels with the compliance of the policy rule that the ILT has published,” she said. She further emphasized that countries that implement these regulations are likely to receive younger and better vehicles which in turn benefits air quality, road safety and overall health and environmental well-being.

Africa’s trade potential for resilience in the face of unprecedented shocks (Maersk)

Global trade has recently experienced unprecedented shocks as the world grapples with the consequences of Covid-19, protracted geopolitical conflicts, and rising energy costs.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), African nations were some of the hardest hit by the food crisis caused by protectionist policies implemented by exporters after the Ukraine-Russia conflict began. As a net food importer, the continent saw specific commodity prices rise by as much as 70% in some nations, with the IMF reporting that global food commodity prices rose by 23.1% in 2021.

Furthermore, according to the World Bank, global oil prices surged as several large oil companies stopped operations in Russia causing a demand increase for oil and gas coming from the Middle East and OPEC.

What’s the Africa global trade situation?

Despite economic shocks, the continent is still a source of several key global trade commodities that can support trade resilience. Africa, according to the United Nations, is home to 30% of the world’s mineral reserves, 12% of its oil, and 8% of natural gas. As home to 65% of the world’s arable land and 10% of renewable fresh water, Africa has also been a significant agricultural producer exporting fresh produce to the Middle East, Europe, and beyond.

African Economies in a Multipolar World | by Anzetse Were (Project Syndicate)

Governments, businesses, and citizens are navigating a global economic slowdown and levels of inflation not seen in decades, and Africa is no exception. Economic scars from the COVID-19 pandemic, supply shocks from the Russia-Ukraine war, and severe droughts in the Horn of Africa have created significant economic strain. Africa’s public debt is approaching the unsustainably high levels of the early 2000s, and the substitution of low-cost long-term multilateral debt by private funds has driven up debt-servicing costs.

But it is not all doom and gloom. While startup funding declined globally in 2022, African startups had accumulated more than $4.85 billion by December – a 4.75% increase from the previous year. This partly reflects Africa’s increasingly dynamic digital economy, which is expected to grow sixfold by 2050, from an estimated $115 billion to $712 billion. African countries have also managed the COVID-19 pandemic fairly well, owing to a rapid and coordinated response, and it was South African researchers who quickly identified the soon-to-be-dominant Omicron variant in late 2021.

Perhaps most important, Africa-China economic relations are now maturing and entering a new phase, after having grown immensely over the past two decades. Looking ahead, Africa-China economic engagement will be influenced by four factors: Africa’s public-debt distress, China’s changing approach to development finance, a deepening focus on soft power and diplomatic relations on both sides, and the changing composition of African economic interests.

Mozambique, Sierra Leone shows importance of peace for globalisation (Africa Aviation News)

The latest DHL Global Connectedness Index (GCI) rebutted the notion that a major retreat from globalization is underway and highlighted the 10 countries where global connectedness increased the most from 2001 to 2021 which included Mozambique and Sierra Leone.

“Mozambique and Sierra Leone exemplify the importance of peace and security for global connectedness. Both countries experienced a marked rise in connectedness following the conclusion of civil wars,” it reads.

“The latest DHL Global Connectedness Index data clearly debunks the perception of globalization going into reverse gear,” John Pearson, CEO of DHL Express, concludes. “Globalization is not just a buzzword, it’s a powerful force that has transformed our world for the better. By breaking down barriers, opening up markets and creating opportunities, it has enabled individuals, businesses and entire nations to flourish and thrive like never before.”

Green technologies: Coherent policy action needed for developing countries to reap the benefits (UNCTAD)

Green technologies – those used to produce goods and services with smaller carbon footprints – are growing and providing increasing economic opportunities but many developing countries could miss them unless national governments and the international community take decisive action.

UNCTAD’s Technology and Innovation Report 2023 published on 16 March warns that economic inequalities risk growing as developed countries reap most of the benefits of green technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and electric vehicles.

“We are at the beginning of a technological revolution based on green technologies,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan said. “This new wave of technological change will have a formidable impact on the global economy. Developing countries must capture more of the value being created in this technological revolution to grow their economies.”

While Transforming the World, Digital Technology ‘Can Only Do Half the Job’ Without Women, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Round Table Event (UN)

Women hold up half the sky — but men still rule the digital world. It is time to change this outdated reality, starting with four areas for action. Unless we close the digital gender gap, women will be left farther behind as societies reap the benefits of technological advances.

Women entrepreneurs are already pushing the frontiers of innovation. We must support them and unleash their full power if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Closing the digital gender divide and fostering inclusive innovation will not only benefit women and girls. Exclusion hurts everyone.

It is estimated that women’s exclusion from the digital world has taken $1 trillion from the gross domestic product (GDP) of low- and middle-income countries over the past decade. This lost productivity translates to billions of dollars in lost taxes and investments in public services.

The LDC graduation pathway must not disrupt overall sustainable development, says UN deputy chief (UN News)

LDCs are assessed using three criteria: income per capita, human assets and economic vulnerability. Countries that meet two of the three LDC criteria become eligible for graduation from the category. They may also qualify if the GNI per capita of the country is at least twice the graduation threshold ($2,444) in two consecutive reviews. 

Today, the category comprises 46 countries. So far, six countries have graduated from LDC status between 1994 and 2020.  Sixteen others are on path to graduation and the Doha Programme of Action, or DPoA – which aims at removing structural obstacles to comprehensive growth and sustainable development – sets the aspirational goal of 15 additional countries – many of them African countries that have yet to attain the graduation criteria. 


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