tralac Daily News
TFR achieves record volumes on manganese export line (Engineering News)
Transnet Freight Rail’s (TFR’s) Cape Corridor has achieved a ten-year record on its Manganese Hotazel–Port Elizabeth export line, achieving 9.8-million tonnes in the 2022/23 financial year. The entity has more than doubled the corridor’s total capacity, increasing progressively from 4.9-million tonnes in 2012 to 9.7-million tonnes in 2023, it says.
The investment in the capacity expansion enabled TFR to gradually increase its manganese volumes performance through capital expenditure projects; an increase in slot capacity; investments in rolling stock capacity; and an increase in the number of employees.
Bill seeks refunds, repairs for defective goods (Business Daily)
Kenyan consumers will have the right to reject goods and obtain refunds, or compel manufacturers to repair or replace faulty and poor-quality products if Parliament approves changes to the law aimed at protecting buyers from substandard products.
The proposed law seeks to empower consumers to return goods within a week of delivery if they are defective, unsafe, not of merchantable quality, or were not examined by the suppliers before delivery. The Bill further seeks to shift the burden of proof to a supplier of goods.
West Africa Crude Oil Exports Dropped Again in 2022 (Hellenic Shipping News)
West Africa crude oil exports kept falling during 2022, continuing the downward trend of the past few years. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Banchero Costa said that “2022 turned out to be a very positive year for crude oil trade, despite the surging oil prices and risks of economic recession. In the full 12 months of 2022, global crude oil loadings went up +8.7% yo-y to 2,050.1 mln tonnes, excluding all cabotage trade, according to vessels tracking data from Refinitiv. This was well above the 1,886.3 mln tonnes in Jan-Dec 2021, but slightly below the 2,110.5 mln tonnes in the same period of 2019”.
“West Africa as a region is the third largest exporter of crude oil in the world, after the Arabian Gulf and Russia. It accounts for 8.3% of global seaborne crude oil exports. Total crude oil loadings from West Africa in the 12 months of 2022 declined by -2.2% y-o-y to 170.7 million tonnes, according to revised vessels tracking data from Refinitiv. This extends a negative trend now seen for a number of years. In 2021, exports from West Africa declined by a sharp -14.0% y-o-y to 174.6 mln tonnes. In 2020, volumes had also declined by -9.2% y-o-y to 202.9 mln tonnes, from the recent peak of 223.4 mln tonnes in 2019. In terms of individual countries, the biggest exporters in the region are Nigeria and Angola. Nigeria exported 65.5 mln t in 2022, down -9.2% y-o-y. Volumes from Nigeria have been dramatically declining in recent years from the 72.2 mln t in 2021, the 86.7 mln t in 2020 and the 97.9 mln t in 2019. Angola exported 58.4 mln t in 2022, up +5.6% y-o-y from 55.3 mln tin 2021. Volumes however were still well below the 61.6 mln t in 2020 and the 67.1 mln t in 2019”, Banchero Costa said.
How new Rwanda-Australia trade, investment body will boost ties (The New Times)
The Australia-Rwanda Trade and Investment Council (ARTIC), a new body formed during the Australian leadership retreat in Brisbane from March 24 to 25, aims to strengthen relations between Australia and Rwanda by building mutually beneficial links in business, education, and culture. The council which is composed of business and community leaders, plans to use Rwanda as a conduit to broader opportunities throughout Africa.
The Australia-Rwanda Trade and Investment Council will continue to foster mutual opportunities in business, education, and culture, and provide learning opportunities to address the current challenges facing the world.
Climate-Smart Agriculture Key for Nigeria’s Resilient Economy — AfDB (Tribune Online)
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has said that Nigeria can build a climate-resilient economy by adopting climate-smart agricultural practices and low-cost but effective technologies.
The technologies include water harvesting and small-scale irrigation techniques, land and water conservation and management strategies, and minimum or zero tillage agriculture with high net returns to farmers.
This is contained in the Bank’s “Country Focus Report 2022 Nigeria: Supporting climate resilience and a just energy transition “, a copy of which was obtained by the Nigerian Tribune in Abuja.
According to the report, “The African Economic Outlook 2022 estimates of the Climate Resilience Index (CRI) show that in 2010–2019, Africa was the least climate-resilient region in the world, with both the lowest median (28.6) and mean (34.6) CRI scores, well behind Europe and Central Asia, the regions most resilient to climate shocks.
“During the same period, Nigeria was moderately resilient as compared to other African countries, with a CRI score of 26.8. Although Nigeria suffers from multiple climate change effects, manifested through rising temperatures and periodic droughts and flooding, with implications for agricultural productivity, food security and electricity generation, the country has made some progress in reducing its vulnerability.
Ghana has declared intentions to maximise gains from the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) through strengthening of commercial ties with Kenya. As a result, it is planning to establish an Export Trade House (ETH) next month in Kenya as part of measures to promote trade relations between the two countries. It will be positioned at a central location where Made-in-Ghana products can be shipped, displayed and distributed in Kenya and other countries in East Africa.
The World Customs Organization (WCO), under EU-WCO Origin Africa Programme funded by the European Union (EU), and in partnership with the Southern African Development Community (SADC), conducted a validation workshop on the alignment of the SADC Rules of Origin to the 2022 edition of the Harmonized System (HS).
The workshop, which took place from 20 to 23 March 2023, in Johannesburg, South Africa, follows a request by SADC to align its rules of origin. The EU-WCO RoO Africa Programme has provided two preceding technical assistance workshops to update the SADC rules of Origin from the 2002 to the 2022 version of the HS. This process is considered a significant and important step towards the implementation of the SADC Protocol on Trade.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Alcides Monteiro, Senior Programme Officer, Customs, and Task Manager of the EU-SADC Trade Facilitation Programme at the SADC Secretariat, highlighted the importance of the SADC Protocol on Trade and informed that the non-alignment of SADC list of rules to the latest HS version has caused implementation problems for economic operators and customs authorities. Goods had to be classified twice for purposes of customs clearance, collection of import duties, and origin determination. The technical support from the WCO through the EU-WCO Rules of Origin Africa Programme was of high relevance and required to align the rules of origin to the HS 2022 edition.
The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) on Thursday held its first engagement with government agencies and private sector representatives in Namibia as part of a series of activities aimed to promote trade facilitation and logistics across the region.
The event was organized by the Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA), with a particular focus on the implementation of the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Program.
Speaking at the event in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, SACU Executive Secretary Thabo Khasipe explained that the AEO program aims to provide private sector companies with benefits such as faster goods clearance, supply chain optimization, lower costs of cross-border trade, prioritized treatment at the border, and mutual recognition arrangements.
“Trade facilitation and logistics have been prioritized as a key component of our strategic plan, with a focus on industrialization as the overarching objective,” Khasipe said, adding that the AEO Program has two components: compliance and safety and security where the SACU has been implementing the compliance component in phases, with the initial phase focused on developing the tools and frameworks required for an AEO Compliance Program.
He stated that as of March 23, all SACU member states have established and are implementing their respective AEO Compliance Programs using the minimum standards and criteria and procedure manuals developed at the regional level. The AEO program will be implemented across the SACU region.
E-waste rise in EA worries tech providers, linked to public health issues (The East African)
Tech stakeholders and authorities in the region are worried that rising e-waste could bring the unintended health problems to people as items are disposed of in local dumping sites.
At a regional workshop on sustainable management for e-waste, stakeholders in the information communication and technology (ICT) sector heard that there are insufficient facilities to ensure safe disposal of obsolete electronic gadgets, making them a serious environmental concern.
“There are a few e-waste collectors or companies engaged in collecting the used components in local communities in EAC member states with Tanzania and Kenya taking the lead,” said East African Communication Organisation (EACO) Chairperson Juma Osoro, an autonomous entity of the regional bloc that brings together national ICT regulators, operators and services providers.
DR Congo ripe for business, say East African captains of industry (The East African)
Business leaders from East Africa say that the Democratic Republic of Congo is ripe for business following commitments by Kinshasa that it is reviewing regulations to ease doing business in the country.
Executives who spoke at the inaugural Nation Media Group East African Business Conference and Trade Fair in Kinshasa at the end of the week expressed optimism with the reforms that the Felix Tshisekedi administration has instituted to facilitate investment in the country that has suffered decades of political uncertainty.
In his keynote address at the event, Congolese Government Spokesman Patrick Muyaya assured investors of the changing investment climate in the country, noting that the time had come for Congo to be defined by other issues than violence.
WHO warns global economy to slump if SSA doesn’t cut trade costs (The East African)
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) will need to cut trade costs by at least half to reinvigorate global trade which has been in decline since mid-last year, the World Bank has warned.
The lender said world economy growth rate is set to slump to a three-decade low if nothing is done urgently to boost productivity, labour supply, ramp up investment and trade, and harness the services sector.
In a report assessing the long-term implications of the Covid-19 pandemic and Russian invasion of Ukraine on the global economic growth rate, the World Bank said cutting trade costs in regions where they are highest could boost international trade and bolster the globe’s economic growth.
The Sectoral Council noted the focus of the next five years Implementation Action Plan of the Strategy as strengthening the competitiveness of priority regional value chains to boost intra-EAC trade and Leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and Global Value Chains (GVCs) for export growth and rapid Industrial Sector Transformation; utilization of local sourcing/procurement; supporting the private sector and SMEs resilience for accelerated growth and recovery.
The 38th Extra Ordinary Meeting of the Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (Ex-SCTIFI) dedicated to Industrialization concluded over the weekend in Kilimanjaro, United Republic of Tanzania. The five-day meeting from 28th March to 1st April, 2023 considered the progress of the reports of the implementation of the directives in the sector, Cotton, Textiles and Apparel (CTA) Strategy; Leather & Leather Products Strategy and Automotive Industry Action Plan.
Furthermore, shifting to Green Industrialization Pathways and anchoring sustainability to achieve SDGs and green growth; Improving Policy Coordination and Building Capacity for Industrial Policy Management; Optimizing Infrastructure & Logistics Networks for Spatial Industrial growth and Agglomeration; and Strengthening collaboration in R&D, Technology Tranfer and adotion of Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies among others.
Transformative change is underway in the African automotive industry as trade begins under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The continent’s auto industry, valued at $30.44 billion in 2021, is expected to grow to $42.06 billion by 2027 — a nearly 40% increase in value. According to a new report by the World Economic Forum, AfCFTA: A New Era for Global Business and Investment in Africa, much of this growth can be serviced by local companies within the newly established free trade area.
International companies have found success in the automotive industry by partnering with African countries, signaling that the automotive sector is ripe for new and increased investment strengthened by the AfCFTA.
Across the continent, there is an average annual demand for 2.4 million motor cars and 300,000 commercial vehicles. This domestic demand — which is rising due to the continent-wide increase in disposable income, strong growth of the middle class and rapid urbanisation — is currently being met primarily by imported used vehicles.
Africa’s vision for its people is that of a continent where girls and boys reach their full potential and men and women contribute equally to the development of their societies. Aspiration 6 of Agenda 2063 envisions an Africa whose development is people-driven, especially relying on the potential of its women and youth. Promoting gender and youth mainstreaming on the continent is essential for an inclusive Africa where the voices and concerns of 75% of the population that constitutes of women and youth, are heard and welcomed at decision-making tables.
However, for decades, African women and youth have been trapped in cycles of poverty due to several underlying factors including unequal access to education, factors of production, restricted market access; underpaid or unpaid labour; harmful cultural practices; violence against women and girls and limited legal protection from gender inequality practices entrenched in the society amongst others.
As the meeting of experts and industry Ministers from ECOWAS member States for the validation of Regional Standards, Technical Regulations for lead in paint ECOSHAM wrapped up on Thursday, 30th March 2023 in Banjul, the Gambia Hon Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration, and Employment has disclosed that despite the major strides made toward deepening Intra-ECOWAS trade, trade levels are still very low.
Hon Baboucarr Ousmaila Joof, delivering his opening statement at the forum said the reasons for this are multifaceted but have their root cause in the energy sector, and “they range from inadequate infrastructure, low levels of industrialization and productive capacity, poor implementation record of protocols and existing agreements, high cost of doing business, lack of access to trade and market information, high levels of informal trade – particularly, informal cross-border trade, among others.”
He noted that the technical meeting of experts thoroughly examined and validated several documents for the development of standards for off-grid solar products and PV mini-grid and revision of ECOSHAM document as well as regional harmonization of Standards on THC 01 Agro-products, THC 02 Food Products, THC O3 Chemical Products and THC 09 Informational, Communication Technology.
FAO, ECOWAS, EU partner to boost fishery production (The Nation)
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Economic of West African States (ECOWAS) and the European Union have collaborated to boost fishery production. This was made known during a meeting with experts to discuss and draw a road map for the utilisation of the results to adopt a sustainable management of the fisheries resources of the ECOWAS maritime domain.
FAO Representative in Nigeria and ECOWAS, Fred Kafeero, who was represented by the Head of FAO Nigeria, Northeast Office, Mr Al Hassan Cisse, said the state of fisheries in the ECOWAS region is complex and varies depending on the country and the sub-region. He noted that fish which a source of income for millions of people faces enormous pressure and threats of overexploitation; illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing; poor management practices that cripples the progress towards sustainable fisheries; especially the Small-scale fisheries sector, the back-bone of fishing communities.
African countries should institute effective debt management strategies to boost economic growth and avoid falling into the debt trap, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Director for Macroeconomics and Governance Division, Adam Elhiraika, has urged.
Opening a peer learning workshop on debt management strategies for member states being held in Lusaka, Zambia from April 3- 6 2023, Mr. Elhiraika said debt management was a challenge for African countries as debt becomes a significant source of funding for their economic growth and development.
“However, this provides an opportunity to effectively enact budgetary protection for various events more apparent in the foreseeable future,” Mr. Elhiraika said, adding that, “Efficient and effective debt management will allow debtor countries to take action to avoid the legacy of ‘too little, too late’ sovereign debt management and restructuring.”
Mr. Elhiraika said in the past six decades, every global recession has led to a rise in global government debt and over the past decade, many countries in Africa have increased their public debt levels. Most of the current public debt was accrued during the fiscal years of 2020 and 2021, when countries took on debt to deal with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A timely regulatory overhaul of Africa’s fledgling electricity sector will attract private sector investment and ensure energy security on the continent, stakeholders meeting at an electricity dialogue, have agreed.
More than 600 million Africans have no access to electricity and Africa generates only 4% of the global energy. Despite vast opportunities in the development of the electricity sector in Africa, there is low private sector investment in energy infrastructure and service delivery, participants at the recent High-Level Public-Private Dialogue on Private Sector Investment in Electricity and Infrastructure Development in Africa, heard.
“Advancing electricity market regulatory improvement and reform is a significant part of the solution towards de-risking investment in Africa’s energy infrastructure,” Mr. Hailu, an energy policy expert at ECA Private Sector Development and Finance Division, said, emphasizing that credible regulatory framework and policy remained key instruments for member countries striving to crowd-in private capital in their electricity markets via generation, transmission, distribution, and off-grid system development.
Unity eludes Southern Africa over Russia’s war (GIS Reports)
It has been almost 14 months since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Kremlin expectations of a quick victory in its “special military operation’’ proved wrong, yet the world is no closer to finding a way to end this conflict and persuading Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw his troops. Unfortunately, Southern African states with 380 million of the continent’s 1.4 billion people are among those that consider themselves powerless to stop the bloodshed. They cannot even unify around a single position.
The war has created divisions in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a trade and economic union of 16 countries. The initial position adopted by SADC member states has been nonalignment, with some countries mildly condemning Russia while calling for an end to the conflict through negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv.
IATA launches new Africa-focused initiative (Engineering News)
The global representative body for the airline industry, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), on Monday afternoon launched its Focus Africa initiative, to help the continent’s commercial aviation industry achieve its potential. Currently, Africa is home to 18% of the world’s population, but African airlines account for only 2.1% of global air passengers. Further, during this century, Africa will lead the world in terms of growth in working age populations. By 2100, Africa‘s working age population is projected (by the United Nations) to reach just over 2.5-billion, which will not be far behind that of Asia.
Africa’s travel market is open and booming. This is a sentiment expressed by an estimated 600 exhibitors at this year’s World Travel Market Africa in Cape Town, South Africa. This after the industry sustained serious damage due to Covid-19. The meeting saw a 35% increase compared to last year, said Carol Weaving, Director of Reed Exhibition Africa.
Africa’s travel market is open and booming. This is a sentiment expressed by an estimated 600 exhibitors at this year’s World Travel Market Africa in Cape Town, South Africa. This after the industry sustained serious damage due to Covid-19.
One of the hot topics on Africa’s growth is intra-Africa trade. For travel and tourism, destinations like Seychelles believes that it will act a catalyst to wider growth for expanding the country’s popularity.
Egypt’s Minister of Trade and Industry Ahmed Samir has held an extensive meeting with a delegation from the African Export-Import Bank, headed by Executive Vice-President Kanayo Awani, to discuss the bank’s current and future projects and initiatives in the Egyptian market.
The minister said that coordination is currently underway with the bank to host Cairo for the third edition of Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) 2023 next November, added that the ministry is keen to provide all possible support to come up with this important event in a manner that befits Egypt’s position in the heart of the African continent.
Samir explained that the exhibition aims to enhance intra-trade between various African countries and highlight investment opportunities available in the continent.
The US dollar has been the official currency for international trade for years now. However, in recent times there has been talk of creating a new currency in an attempt to dump the dollar and push back against American hegemony.
This de-dollarisation has received a boost in recent times, especially after the Russia-Ukraine war began last February. And last week, this movement received further impetus when Alexander Babakov, the deputy chairman of the State Duma, was quoted as saying that the BRICS nations are in the process of creating a new medium for payments — established on a strategy that “does not defend the dollar or euro”.
Taking this forward, the BRICS collective — made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — are also mulling creating a new currency to facilitate trade. It is reported that the new financial agreement could be seen as soon as in August when the countries meet for their annual summit in South Africa.
If the BRICS nations do go ahead with their plan and come up with a new currency, it could help stabilise their economies. For an investor in BRICS countries, it would mean increased consumer confidence. This would lead to an uptick in spending and economic growth.
The Eastern and Southern Africa Management Institute (ESAMI) is a pan-African management development institute owned by ten member governments. The Chair in Tanzania will seek to help the East African Community overcome impediments to trade growth and development.
This year’s activities at the Training Centre will focus on issues of relevance to least-developed countries in Africa, including utilization of trade preference and their impact on the development of regional value chains; e-commerce; and trade remedies.
“As a continent, we appreciate the value of using evidence-based research in synthesising strategies and policies to mitigate the unique challenges that our region and countries face,” Tanzania’s Deputy Minister for Investment, Industry and Trade, Mr Exaud Silaoneka Kigahe
After 15 years of negotiations, UN member states agreed on landmark new treaty on 4 March to protect marine biodiversity on the high seas. The treaty will be formally adopted soon.
When it enters into force, the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) agreement will address biodiversity loss and ecosystems degradation due to climate change impacts, pollution and unsustainable use. It must be ratified by 60 member states to enter into force.
The treaty will particularly benefit developing countries, which had initiated the negotiations to regulate, among other things, the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from activities with respect to marine genetic resources. These have a significant potential for research and development in the biotechnological, pharmaceutical, foods and cosmetic fields.
Taking account of women’s perspectives is crucial not only to raise awareness of the challenges they face in terms of gender equality but also to achieve sustainable peace through trade in fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAs), said Deputy Director-General Xiangchen Zhang on 31 March. Delivering opening remarks at a webinar titled “A trade for peace perspective on women’s empowerment in FCAs”, DDG Zhang stressed that the WTO’s Trade for Peace Programme can offer a platform to discuss concrete actions in support of women entrepreneurs and businesses in these countries.