Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

RC: How to boost Tanzania’s exports to India (The Citizen)

Local exporters have been advised to add value to their products instead of selling them in raw form. Raw exports not only fetched lower prices in the international markets but were vulnerable to unpredictability of price fluctuations. “The more we trade raw items, the more vulnerable we remain to the unpredictability of price fluctuations” said the Arusha Regional Commissioner John Mongella.

He raised the concern during a business symposium organised by Tanzania India Business Forum (TIBF) in collaboration with other business stakeholders here on Saturday.

19 new regulations on electrical appliances import, manufacture takes effect Nov 2 (Ghanaian Times)

The Energy Commission will from effective Novem­ber 2, 2023, begin enforce­ment of the 19 new regulations on the importation and manufacture of electrical appliances and renew­able energy products in the country. This is in line with its mandate under Act 541 passed by Parliament to prevent 20 electrical appliances that do not meet the minimum energy-efficiency performance stan­dard (MEPS) requirements from entering into the country.

The Director of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency at the Commission, Mr Kofi Agyarko said the new regu­lations were to promote effective use and conser­vative of energy in the coun­try and mitigate related climate change. According to him, the move followed a year’s grace period given to the importers and dealers after the law was passed to transition to dealing in products that mee

Trade minister plans to reduce cost of goods clearance at ports (The Point)

He also said his ministry had engaged shipping agencies and other stakeholders to address price hikes in the country.

“We conducted meetings with shipping and clearing agencies alongside other relevant stakeholders within the value chain with a view to discussing and identifying measures to minimize cost of clearance at the ports,” Minister Joof said.

“One of the key outcomes of these meetings was the identification and scheme lining of services provided by shipping agencies including the terminal and line point handling charges. In this regard the ministry wrote to shipping agencies to streamline their charges based on services they provide to conform to international standards.”

Nigeria pursues a new air cargo roadmap (Africa Aviation News)

Nigerian government is accelerating the country’s air cargo competitiveness by setting up specific committees involving leaders from public and private enterprises to build and operate airports with modern cargo infrastructure.

In a bid to bolster air cargo traffic and infrastructure in Nigeria, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) recently set up committees to tackle the major barriers that have continued to retard air cargo development in Nigeria. Experts believe several drawbacks in Nigeria’s air cargo value-chain have put the country at a potentially disadvantaged position in Africa’s unfolding free trade market called the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, emphasised the importance of the committees, saying Nigeria should now focus on strategic air cargo development to address deep-rooted challenges that resulted in Nigeria still importing more than it exports. Air cargo has remained significantly low compared to cargo carried by road transportation in Nigeria despite air cargo potentials in the country.

Trade in services to begin under AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative (The New Times)

Trading of services across the continent will begin in the next phase of the Guided Trade Initiative this year, said Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The initiative launched in July 2022, sought to test the environmental, legal and trade policy basis for intra-African trade in a pilot phase that involved eight countries namely, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Tunisia, Tanzania and Rwanda.

According to Mene, the exercise was a success and about 96 value-added products were traded among selected countries. They include air conditioners manufactured in Egypt, Ceramic tiles from Ghana, coffee from Rwanda, among others.

As the Secretariat looks to expand the number of participating countries, meaning those that domesticated the customs requirements to engage in trade under the AfCFTA, Mene said that the services will also be added in the continental trade.

“We have been directed by certain heads of states and governments to expand the scope of the guided trade initiative to include the service sector. That is the objective for this year.”

“This is a critical step to a full operationalization of the AfCFTA,” he emphasized.

Protocol on Digital Trade to be finalised by June 2023 AfCFTA Secretariat (GhanaWeb)

The African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat has hinted that a protocol meant for digital trading activities will be finalised by June this year. According to Roslyn Ngeno, who is a Senior Investment Expert at the Secretariat, the protocol on digital trade can help unlock the full potential of the free trade pact which can benefit African economies, enhance competitiveness and improve digital inclusion efforts.

“The protocol is envisioned to align our objectives to promote and facilitate trade among members countries under the AfCFTA. The implementation of the protocol will be achieved by establishing clear coherent, transparent, harmonised rules, common principles and old standards for digital trade in order to creating a fair, open, predictable, secure and trustworthy digital trade environment for businesses and consumers”. “We are pleased to report that the negotiations toward the development of the Protocol on Digital Trade have commenced with it expected to be finalized in June 2023.” Roslyn Ngeno made this known when she read a speech on behalf of AfCFTA Secretary General, Wamkele Mene at the third edition of the Mobile Technology for Development Conference held in Accra.

Factors behind EAC region’s 4.5 percent economic expansion (The Citizen)

The services sector and industry played a key role in 4.5 percent growth in the East African Community (EAC) bloc last year. Continued public investments and easing of the global supply chain and Covid-19 related constraints were other contributing factors.

This emerged during the just-ended meeting of the 26th meeting of the EAC Monetary Affairs Committee in Bujumbura, Burundi. The meeting, which was attended by the central bank governors, was told that the economic performance of the region remained strong last year.

A GDP growth of 4.5 percent was recorded in 2022 which was supported by a strong growth of the services and industry sectors.

Africa should invest in people-centered strategies to accelerate economic recovery (UNECA)

Africa – pummeled by a combination of crises – should swiftly invest in and implement people-centered strategies to mobilize financial resources and accelerate continental economic recovery, Economic Commission for Africa, acting Executive Secretary, Antonio Pedro has urged.

Opening the ministerial segment of the 55th Session of ECA’s Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Mr. Pedro said Africa was at the center of global sustainability transitions, such as decarbonization of production systems, electrification of transportation infrastructure and accelerated use of renewable energy, which he said should underpin Africa’s recovery from the multiple crises.

“We need to adopt measures to mitigate economic and social vulnerability, reduce economic inequality, foster inclusive and resilient growth and accelerate poverty reduction in Africa,” Mr. Pedro, told participants and stressed that Africa needs a people-centered development model that integrates poverty and inequality reduction into national and regional development strategies.

Reducing poverty and inequalities will need inclusive economic policies (UNECA)

Africa needs inclusive economic policies that promote sustainable growth while reducing poverty and inequality, Deputy Executive Secretary and Chief Economist of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Hanan Morsy urged, underlining pro-poor policies as the cornerstone of recovery of the continent.

Noting that Africa was “facing a perfect storm of overlapping and recurring crises” of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and climate change,” Ms. Morsy said that these crises have exacerbated poverty and inequality, which were already significant before the pandemic.

“There is an urgent need to foster a development model centered around people and to mainstream poverty and inequality into national and regional development strategies,” Ms. Morsy said in a presentation introducing the theme, “Fostering recovery and transformation in Africa to reduce inequalities and vulnerabilities” of the 55th Session of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development whose ministerial segment opens in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia next week.

SADC Council of Ministers discuss programmes, policies and interventions to consolidate regional integration and development (SADC)

The Council of Ministers of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) met on 18-19 March 2023 in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo to deliberate on issues aimed at consolidating regional integration, cooperation and development.

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

On his part, the Chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers, His Excellency Didier Mazenga Mukanzu, Minister of Regional Integration and Francophonie of the DRC called on Member States to redouble their efforts to eliminate all forms of obstacles that hinder SADC’s efforts towards achieving the priorities outlined in the RISDP 2020-2030, particularly in the areas of infrastructure in support of regional integration and industrial development and market integration. He said the removal of these obstacles will enable increased intra-regional trade, job creation and the improvement of the living standards of the people.

Achieving the Vienna, Doha Programme of Action through structural transformation in Africa (UNECA)

Practical and innovative ways to accelerate inclusive economic transformation in Africa took center stage in a session to review progress and set a new agenda in the implementation of the Doha and Vienna programme of action in Africa at the expert’s segment of the 55th Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning & Economic Development.

Presentations by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) highlighted that despite a greater emphasis on both programmes of action in building productive capacity, boosting agriculture, food security, trade, good governance, and development, most African countries which form the majority of the LDCs have made only limited headway in transforming the structure of their economies to achieve sustainable development.

Intergovernmental Committees of Senior Officials and Experts: A forum to discuss Africa’s challenges (UNECA)

As part of the Experts meeting of the 55th Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Director of the Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa, Eunice Kamwendo made a presentation on Thursday on the Intergovernmental Committees of Senior Officials and Experts organized in 2022 by the five Sub-Regional Offices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

After presenting the themes, major discussion points, key issues raised and recommendations of the Intergovernmental Committees of Senior Officials and Experts organized by the five ECA Sub-Regional Offices, Eunice Kamwendo cited some of the key interventions of these offices in terms of support to the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the development of national plans, and analytical and planning tools.

AFC Boosts Petroleum Refining In Africa With $800m (Leadership News)

The African Finance Corporation (AFC) has deployed about $800 million towards supporting Africa’s refinery sector with an additional $210 million in its near-term pipeline. Cumulatively, the AFC and the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) are investing about $16 billion in oil and gas projects across Africa.

Global head, Client Relations at Afreximbank, Rene Awembeng, said the company’s oil and gas portfolio exceeds $15 billion with a healthy pipeline across the entire continent.

Awembeng, made the disclosure at the ongoing African Refiners and Distribution Association (ARDA) conference in Cape Town, South Africa.

At the conference, stakeholders called for retention of funds within the continent to finance the over $190 billion yearly energy investment need of the continent.

Members continue discussion on TRIPS Decision extension to therapeutics and diagnostics (WTO)

Under paragraph 8 of the Ministerial Decision on the TRIPS Agreement, WTO members had agreed to make a decision before 17 December 2022 on whether to extend this Decision to cover the production and supply of COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics, confirming members’ right to override the exclusive effect of patents and provide greater scope to take direct action to diversify production of these products through clarifications of existing flexibilities and a targeted waiver over the next five years.

Given that consensus was elusive on the extension, the TRIPS Council decided in December last year to recommend to the General Council to postpone the deadline for such a decision. The General Council on 19 December 2022 agreed to this recommendation and resolved to return to the question of the duration of the extension at its next meeting, held on 6-7 March 2023, where members again agreed to keep the issue open for discussion while substantive discussions continue in the Council for TRIPS.

African Union sustainable funding strategy gains momentum (AU)

At the Extraordinary Summit of the AU held in Niamey, Niger July 2019, the Executive Council adopted the AU budget for the year 2020 at US$647.3 million. Following reforms initiated in the programme planning and budgeting process, the 2020 budget reflects a significant reduction of over US$30 million, compared to the 2019 budget.

The budget reduction further demonstrates an enhanced process of domestic resource mobilisation and stringent measures applied such as the decisive actions taken to address issues of low execution of AU projects and activities; identifying undetected wastages and instances of over-budgeting by departments or organs; as well as ensuring full compliance with the AU financial rules and regulations to ensure the prudent use of these resources to meet the development needs of the continent. The budget also reflects a commitment to strengthen a results-based budget, which enables the AU to improve the credibility of its budget, strengthen financial management capacity and accountability and demonstrate value for money and results to its Member States.

UN Forum concludes with urgent call for nations to scale up development cooperation to better support the most vulnerable (United Nations)

The 2023 Development Cooperation Forum concluded today at the United Nations headquarters in New York with an urgent call from Member States, international organizations and civil society to scale up development cooperation for the world’s most vulnerable people. Over 1.2 billion people are living in countries vulnerable or severely exposed to food, energy and financial shocks, according to UN estimates. Innovative and bold recommendations and solutions were proposed for supporting countries and groups facing ongoing challenges posed by an uneven COVID-19 pandemic recovery, the cost-of-living crisis, and the complex consequences of climate change.

“At a time when we need development progress more than ever, the Sustainable Development Goals are issuing an S.O.S.,” said UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed. “Our collective response must involve a major transformation in development cooperation. This transformation should better protect the most vulnerable, especially during crises. It should invest in people. And it should ensure that development cooperation addresses not just urgent needs today but also the needs of tomorrow.”

National roadmaps can help countries to pursue SDGs (University World News)

There is a need for greater investment in research and development (R&D), including the work done by higher education institutions, as well as for the promotion of science and technology-led innovation ecosystems in the world’s least-developed countries, which should link science, technology and innovation (STI) to socio-economic priorities and sustainable development.

The call for increased investment in R&D, one that is frequently heard at high-level policy discussions, was repeated during a round table discussion on 6 March themed, ‘Leveraging the power of science, technology and innovation for the sustainable development of LDCs’. It was part of the 5th United Nations Conference in Doha, Qatar, on the least-developed countries (LDCs).

It comes against a backdrop in which the state of STI in the least-developed countries appears somewhat gloomy.

Black Sea Grain Initiative extended (UNCTAD)

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, signed in Istanbul on 22 July 2022 to resume vital food and fertilizer exports from designated Ukrainian seaports, has been extended. A note to correspondents from the Office of the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General announced the extension on 18 March.

“The initiative allows for the facilitation of the safe navigation for the exports of grain and related foodstuffs and fertilizers, including ammonia, from designated Ukrainian seaports,” the note said.

Economic outlook: slightly more optimistic but fragile, says OECD (OECD)

On the back of improved business and consumer confidence, declining food and energy prices and the re-opening of the Chinese economy, the OECD’s latest Interim Economic Outlook projects global growth to reach 2.6% in 2023 and 2.9% in 2024. “The outlook today is slightly more optimistic than our previous forecasts, though the global economy remains fragile,” OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann said. “Some key risks, such as persistent large-scale energy and food market disruptions have been mitigated for now, however Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, persistence in services inflation, financial market turbulence, and the steady decline in underlying growth prospects, could be sources of further disruption. More targeted fiscal support and structural reforms to revive productivity growth will be key to optimising the recovery and long-term growth prospects.”

DG Okonjo-Iweala: WTO can advance sustainable development goals by delivering results at MC13 (WTO)

The Director-General spoke at the presentation of the 30th Global Trade Alert (GTA) report “Must Do Better: Trade & Industrial Policy and the SDGs.” The report explores the incidence of trade policies on selected SDGs, drawing upon evidence from thousands of trade, investment, industrial and other measures.

“We can be proud of the WTO’s record on SDG targets directly related to the work we do here,” the Director-General said, noting that the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies reached at the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) last June directly addresses SDG Target 14.6 on prohibiting certain harmful fisheries subsidies while the MC12 Decision on TRIPS and COVID-19 vaccines is in line with SDG Target 3.3.b on access to affordable essential medicines and vaccines. Likewise, the 2015 Nairobi Ministerial Decision prohibiting the use of export subsidies and equivalent measures contributes to SDG 2.2.b on enhancing agricultural productive capacity in developing and least developed countries.


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