tralac Daily News
Small Businesses Must Strive into Becoming Sustainable and Competitive Entities — Deputy Minister Gina (the dtic)
While it is the mandate of government to promote the establishment of small businesses, it is equally important to stress that government wants those businesses to develop into sustainable entities that will compete against traditional corporations and multinational companies. This was said by the Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina, during the business forum which took place in Ga-Segonyana, Kuruman in the Northern Cape.
Gina acknowledged that while Small Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) may be categorised at that scale, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) has the vision to see them grow into bigger businesses and create more employment.
She further urged participants to take advantage of the opportunities presented to them and to utilise the information shared at the forum to improve their businesses. She expressed the dti’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurs and ensuring their growth and success.
New plans set to stimulate the revitalisation of industrial parks in SA (the dtic)
A new National Industrial Parks Implementation Framework will be developed, to support the revitalisation of industrial parks across all spheres of government.
This is one of the key resolutions coming out of the two day National Industrial Parks Summit held at the Centre for Science and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria. A technical task team comprising key stakeholders will therefore be put in place to develop the new implementation framework.
The Director of Regional Industrial Development at the dtic, Mr Thami Klaasen, says delegates have agreed in the main that industrial parks can no longer operate uncoordinated manner, it is important that they are transformed into dynamic sites which provide enhanced services.
“Some critical measures needed to revitalise the parks include integrating eco-industrial development, resilience approaches, stewardship and 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) modalities designed to improve business operations and provide a more attractive environment for investment,” he said.
In addition, Klaasen says other key resolutions taken at the summit include the establishment of a rapid response team to urgently resolve bottlenecks confronting high priority parks, and to also assess future development areas.
Energy crisis and climate change must be tackled together (SAnews)
In his weekly newsletter, President Cyril Ramaphosa says government is determined to tackle both the energy crisis and climate change together.
“The country is faced with both an electricity crisis and a climate crisis, which we must tackle together. Our position is clear and principled: it is possible for us to prioritise our immediate energy needs without jeopardising our climate commitments, and we are determined to do so.
“In fact, we must accelerate the pace of investment in new renewable electricity generation as an important part of the plan to overcome load shedding,” the President said on Monday.
South Africa set up for record oilseed exports (World-Grain.com)
South Africa is reaching the limit of local oilseeds crushing capacity as its soybean plantings continue to surge, leading to the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) to project a record 800,000 tonnes of oilseeds (soybean and sunflower) exports in its latest Global Agricultural Information Network report.
South Africa has experienced an upsurge in oilseed plantings over the past 20 years with a near nine-fold expansion in soybean area. FAS Post Pretoria sees this growth trend in soybean plantings continuing in marketing year 2023-24 with area and total oilseed production reaching a historically high level of 1.8 million hectares and nearly 3.6 million tonnes, respectively.
Soybean production is projected to reach 2.76 million tonnes from 1.18 million hectares planted, while the sunflower seed harvest could reach 810,000 tonnes from 600,000 hectares. The country is expected to ship 750,000 tonnes of soybeans and 50,000 tonnes of sunflower seeds overseas.
“In the past, South Africa’s trade in oilseeds was generally limited, as the bulk of production was destined for local crushing and trade was directed to oils and meals,” the FAS said. “However, with the surge in the local production of oilseeds leading production to exceed crushing capacity, South Africa has become a net exporter of oilseeds.”
SA, UK Ministers to share expertise in infrastructure projects (SAnews)
Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Sihle Zikalala, together with United Kingdom Trade Envoy Andrew Selous, have met to cement relations between the two countries.
The two countries are expected to share experience, expertise and best practices in the prioritisation, financing, procurement and management of infrastructure projects.
The UK Trade Envoy and his delegation met with Zikalala and Deputy Minister Bernice Swarts on Friday to extend the already existing partnerships that will see the two countries ramp up infrastructure development trade relations.
“The renewal and consolidation of these trade relations, which are detailed in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the two countries, will contribute towards improving South Africa’s capacity to deliver infrastructure projects and to attract investments.
Congo’s landlocked oil lacks options as Total says pipeline full (Engineering News)
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) vision of earning billions of dollars in revenue from dozens of landlocked oil blocks will remain distant without a connection to a lone export route to be operated by TotalEnergies.
Over the last decade, Congo has watched eastern neighbor Uganda discover and develop significant oil fields while some of its own most promising resources were left untouched. Now, the country risks missing out on the best chance to bolster its petroleum industry if it can’t secure access to the planned East African Crude Oil Pipeline that will connect landlocked reservoirs to global markets.
FG seeks removal of Nigerian products from Chinese Protocol Lists to boost exports (Nairametrics)
The Nigerian Government on Sunday officially requested the removal of Nigerian agricultural produce from the Chinese Protocol Lists in order to increase Nigeria’s non-oil exports and boost Nigeria’s trade with China. This was disclosed by Ezra Yakusak, the MD/CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) on Sunday. The Chinese Government officials revealed that Nigeria is now designated a “Country of Honour” by China.
Yakuzak said he appreciates the new designation for Nigeria and called for the reconsideration of the ban of some Nigerian products from China into Nigeria, in the collaboration which is exported to boost non-oil earnings and develop technology transfer between both countries, adding:
“We are aware that some goods have been placed on protocol lists here in China, goods from Nigeria, specifically, chilli pepper, peanut and other products. “We are urging you to reconsider removing those goods from the protocol list so that we would have the opportunity of exporting the goods with China.”
Global competitiveness: Over 30 taxes choke industries in Nigeria as FG plans 18 more (Vanguard)
Manufacturers have lamented that the multiplicity of taxes, levies and fees have continued to hamper the competitiveness of the Nigerian manufacturing sector in the global space.
Against the backdrop of the advent of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), this even puts Nigerian manufacturers at a disadvantage with their African counterparts, with the nation’s corporate tax rate at over 30 per cent well above the global average at 23.37 per cent and African average at 27.6 per cent.
AU Member States, RECs and partners deliberate on harmonisation of road transport regulatory frameworks in Africa (SADC)
A continental workshop organised by the African Union Commission (AUC) in partnership with the European Union (EU)-funded Tripartite Transport and Transit Facilitation Programme (TTTFP) is being held in Johannesburg, South Africa, to examine the harmonisation of Africa’s road transport regulatory frameworks.
The workshop, which began on the 18th and will end on 21st April 2023, is intended to assess progress on the harmonisation and implementation of Vehicle Load Management (VLM) in Africa, exchanging best practices on policies and standards while soliciting realistic proposals for a continental VLM strategy.
“Road transport facilitates roughly 80% of trade on the continent, and demand is expected to rise significantly in the coming years, aided by AfCFTA, which is why we need to increase the efficiency and capacity of transportation infrastructure and services for the movement of goods and people within and beyond borders,” he said.
This, in turn, will stimulate economies by allowing African enterprises to expand and enter new markets, increase productivity, generate jobs, accelerate industrialisation, and contribute to the achievement of Agenda 2063 aspirations, goals, and objectives.
WTO Director-General Okonjo-Iweala to visit Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya (WTO)
In Côte d’Ivoire, the Director-General will meet with President Alassane Ouattara and members of the government. She will also take part in the ECOWAS Ministerial Round Table on the theme “Implementation of the results of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference, and success for MC13 - the role of ECOWAS WTO member countries”.
“I am very much looking forward to my visit to Africa. Africa is a vital part of the membership of the WTO. I look forward to strengthening our partnership with countries in the region,” the Director-General said ahead of her trip. “African economies have taken major steps towards economic integration over the last few years at a time when the global trade landscape is changing rapidly. We must make sure we all work together to help our members in Africa take advantage of the opportunities offered by re-globalisation.”
EAC commends African Development Bank for the financial support on COVID-19 response in the region (EAC)
The East African Community has commended the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the support extended to the region that facilitated the bloc’s regional COVID-19 response efforts. The AfDB support was directed towards the set up of coordination systems for testing; test results verification; training of health workers and procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), test kits and laboratory consumables.
Speaking on behalf of the EAC Secretary General, Hon. (Dr) Peter Mutuku Mathuki during a workshop of Technical Working Group on Communicable and non-communicable diseases held in Moshi, Tanzania, EAC Director Social Sectors, Dr. Irene Isaka acknowledged the contribution of the AfDB as a game changer in the implementation of the EAC COVID-19 Regional Recovery Plan.
She disclosed that the COVID-19 pandemic hit the region hard, with an estimated output loss of between US$37 and US$79 billion. This led to reductions in household income and business disruption of supply chains for tradable goods and services especially in the aviation, tourism and hospitality industries, where entire sector value-chains were rendered dysfunctional, added Director.
Regional businesses hurting in Sudan fight as situation worsens (The East African)
Sudan was already a delicate case, living through a stalled transition and a bad economy. But at least business was running and the country was still connected to the outside world, with its borders open, and airspace a popular air route.
But all this may go up in smoke, depending on how the warring parties, the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary unit, Rapid Support Forces (RSF) see it.
The security and stability of Sudan is important for business, lying between Suez Canal and Bab el Mandeb, it also borders North Africa, the Sahel and Central Africa. A busy shipping lane in the Red Sea and Port Sudan’s play a huge role as a corridor for trade for countries like Chad and South Sudan.
For Sudan, it is not just the port of business with the outside world that matters. Its airspace is among the largest aviation territories on the continent, making it a useful route when going to or from Europe.
“The ongoing unrest has forced Kenya Airways to suspend its flights to and from Khartoum, a further blow to the loss-making airline. The violence could also have a spill-over effect on Kenyan businesses operating in South Sudan, given that the country exports its oil via Port Sudan,” said Dr Peter Mwencha, a senior regional adviser at CUTS International.
AfCFTA: Remove visas, reduce customs process to ease logistics (The East African)
The umbrella bodies of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) private sector have called for the removal of visas and reduction of custom processes to ease movement of goods within the African continent.
The African Business Council (AfBC) that brings together regional economic communities (RECs) decried inconsistent and inadequate freight and logistics at the borders saying they have long hindered intra-African trade.
African countries are facing high custom delay periods due to visa challenges, shortages of paved roads upon which freight can be transported and a higher loss of goods due to limited cold chains compared to other regions globally.
“This is an opportunity for our continent to leapfrog as we recover from the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic and the geo-politics. It is equally an opportune moment to galvanize the continent from the extra-continent dynamics and start looking for home-grown solutions,” said Dr Nsanzabaganwa.
“As we say, goods move with people. This idea of taking more than three days waiting for a visa application at the border is killing intra-trade. As members of the African Business Council, we want African countries to eliminate visa applications at the border and reduce the amount of time it takes to fill in custom paperwork,” said John Kalisa, the chief executive officer at the East African Business Council, a member of the ABC representing the East African Community (EAC).
Private sector crucial to overcoming Africa’s critical investment gaps – African Development Bank (AfDB)
The African Development Bank Group’s governors will address three strategic challenges when they meet next month for the group’s Annual meetings, the group’s Secretary General Vincent Nhemielle said during a news conference held on April 20.
The challenges confronting Africa in the coming year are: financing a low carbon development path that delivers growth and inclusivity and the continent’s climate goals; placing climate adaptation at the heart of economic policies; and unleashing Africa’s potential to address food insecurity and feed itself, he said.
The conference took place to give participants an idea of the agenda of the Annual meetings, which will be held in Egypt, from 23-26 May.
Implementation committees are moving the African free trade area from talks to action (WEF)
A fully implemented African Continental Free Trade Area would transform economies, raise African gross domestic product by 9% and reduce poverty by 50 million. It could also be a catalyst for further changes and attract investment from within Africa and beyond. However, these benefits depend on finalising the negotiations, which, compared with the case for other trade agreements, have gained much momentum – and, crucially, on the full implementation of all the provisions and associated instruments.
There are roles for both the public and the private sectors. We first discuss the role of the African public sector in implementing the AfCFTA through the formation and operation of National Implementation Committees (NICs), based on a new AfCFTA–ODI paper. We will then discuss the role of private sector action to support the AfCFTA, following recent WEF meetings and publications on the AfCFTA. There is much scope for aligned action to make a change in implementation this year.
African govt’s should crack down on illicit trade to increase tax revenue – study (The North Africa Post)
As 93% of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the Global South are “drowning in debt, according to a new research from ActionAid, experts warn that illicit trade greatly exacerbates this budgetary disaster, which in turn robs governments of massive amounts of tax revenue while undermining medical, environmental and economic health.
In a recently published report, SICPA West Africa exposes the scale of the illicit trade plaguing the health, energy, and food sectors, concluding that anti-fraud traceability systems are essential “in building an economy of trust,” that Africa needs to achieve its inclusive and sustainable development transitions.
Aside from food, the African sector most critical for the continent’s sustainable development, energy, is also gravely impacted by the scourge of illicit trading. According to the SICPA report, $133 billion worth of fuels is either stolen, illegally refined and imported or otherwise falsified globally, with Africa on the frontlines. Tackling rampant illicit trading in Africa’s health, food and energy sectors is thus an urgent priority.
Develop Own Market For Oil, Gas, APPO Charges African Countries (Leadership News)
As the global push for energy transition away from fossil fuels gather momentum, the African Petroleum Organization (APPO) has re-emphasised the need for the continent to develop the market for it’s oil and gas resources in order to address the prevalent energy poverty
APPO secretary general, Omar Farouk Ibrahim, said the future of the African petroleum industry lies in the hands of Africans and so must develop its own market.
“On the challenge of markets, for our oil and gas., we believe that the coming into effect of, AFCFTA. provides an excellent opportunity to work on developing cross-border and interregional energy infrastructure.” He revealed that the organization will soon launch its African Energy Bank.
UK commits £4m to address lack of cold chain in Africa (Engineering News)
The UK has committed to providing developing countries with £4-million to drive down harmful emissions from outdated air conditioning units, cooling refrigeration and cold supply chains.
In sub-Saharan Africa, smallholder farmers contribute 80% of food produced. About 37% of all food is lost between production and consumption, and almost 50% of fruits and vegetables are lost mainly owing to improper cold chain management.
“This funding will help developing countries play their part in tackling climate change and communities across the world with storing food and medicines more efficiently, as well as support farmers to increase their productivity,” said UK Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey.
Hungary will sign EU’s Africa-Pacific trade deal after amendments, says minister (Reuters)
Hungary will sign a trade and development deal between the European Union and African, Caribbean and Pacific states after it was promised amendments it sought, the Central European country’s foreign minister Peter Szijjarto said on Wednesday. Hungary’s green light allows for the ratification of the accord with 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries which was agreed by EU negotiators in December 2020 to set up a legal framework for cooperation on trade, aid and migration.
Hungary has been blocking the resolution on the deal since May 2021 saying it could increase migration and “force gender ideology” on the country.
Szijjarto said Hungary had now received assurances that issues such as education, sexual rights and labour market regulation will remain under national authority.
WTO members deepen discussion on e-commerce moratorium (WTO)
WTO members on 20 April shared perspectives on the current practice of not imposing customs duties on electronic transmissions. In the fourth of a series of dedicated discussions held this year under the Work Programme on Electronic Commerce, members highlighted the need for more exchanges on issue of the e-commerce moratorium, focusing in particular on its definition, scope, and implications on developing countries.
World Leaders Lay Foundation for Reforming International Financial Architecture, Expediting Socioeconomic Progress, as Financing for Development Forum Concludes (UN)
Expressing grave concern over recent shocks that are threatening sustainable development worldwide, the Economic and Social Council concluded its Financing for Development Forum today with the adoption of an outcome document aimed at reforming the international financial architecture in order to adapt to global economic changes and expedite progress towards realizing the Sustainable Development Goals.
Adopting the text — titled “Follow-up and review of the financing for development outcomes and the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (document E/FFDF/2023/L.1) — by consensus, delegates said that it has laid a constructive foundation for further action.
“In the face of the multiple and interlinked global crises, we must meet the moment and embrace change by taking immediate measures to scale up efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda”, Heads of State and Government stated through the outcome document. Recognizing the crucial role of inclusive and sustainable industrial and business development, and reiterating the importance of international cooperation, they reaffirmed the need to promote quality infrastructure in developing countries and explore innovative approaches to coordinate, scale up and channel public and private finance.
Further acknowledging that domestic resources are generated by economic growth and an enabling environment, world leaders recommitted to strengthen revenue-administration capacities through modernized, transparent and progressive tax systems and policies.