Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

SA Committed to Speedily Finalising Electric Vehicle Policy – Deputy Minister Gina (the dtic)

The Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ms Nomalungelo Gina says government is committed to finalising with speed, the development of South Africa’s Electric Vehicle Policy, working with all critical industry players.

She was speaking at the grand opening of the Daimler Truck Southern Africa (DTSA) headquarters in Centurion, Pretoria. The 11 hectare newly refurbished campus not only serves as headquarters, but accommodates a training centre, used and new vehicle retail facilities, in addition to a fully fledge dedicated Daimler Truck Financial Services company.

The new premises came as a result of R190 million pledge made by the company at the 4th South African Investment Conference in 2022. The investment amount was split between Centurion Campus and improvements at the company’s East London plant.

“Our approach of working with the industry associations like the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) on this policy framework will continue to the end. We all feel the pressure to move with speed so that we are not overtaken by other markets still at their foundation phase, like us. We all agree that the maturity of our South African automotive sector locates it at a vantage point to be part of the leaders in EVs, including component manufacturers. We therefore appeal for partnership and cooperation as we increase our speed to finalise strategic policy areas,” she said.

South Africa expects post-Covid increase in emissions, following 20-year decline to 2020 (Engineering News)

South Africa‘s net greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions decreased marginally by about 0.8% between 2000 and 2020, the eighth National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report (NIR), released by Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy on April 26, shows.

Net GHG emissions in carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent were 446-million tonnes in 2000 and declined to 442-million tonnes in 2020.

However, in the period between 2017 and 2020, net GHG emissions declined by 5.9%, primarily as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Power generation; transport; industrial fuel use; fugitive emissions from processing of fuels; livestock and waste management are the biggest sources of GHG emissions in South Africa.

Egyptian-African trade exchange hit $2.117bln in Q1 2023 (ZAWYA)

Trade exchange between Egypt and the markets of the African continent amounted to about $2.117 billion during the first quarter (Q1) of this year, MENA News Agency reported on April 26th, citing the Egyptian Trade and Industry Minister Ahmed Samir. The minister added that Egyptian exports to African markets reached $1.611 billion, while imports amounted to $506 million.

Samir said that the ministry is currently working to achieve economic integration among the countries of the African continent to overcome obstacles that may hinder joint trade movement.

Namibia: Locals to fund most of current year’s deficit (The Namibian)

The government this year intends to borrow over 70% of its N$10,08 billion funding requirement from the domestic market, which will largely be sourced from pension funds and the banking industry.

The Bank of Namibia late last week released the borrowing calendar and strategy for the country for the 2023/24 fiscal year, which shows that the year’s funding requirement will be sourced through a combination of domestic market funding (N$7,37 billion) through different debt instruments covering the short, medium and long term.

The 2023/24 fiscal strategy estimated a budget deficit balance of N$9,1 billion, which is further expanded by N$937 million. The remainder (N$2,70 billion) will be financed by external borrowing through external lenders.

Kenya, Botswana explore ways of deepening relations for mutual benefit (KBC)

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua Monday held bilateral engagements with the President of the Republic of Botswana Dr Eric Mokgweetsi Masisi at the Office of the President in Gaborone.During their meeting, the two parties discussed a number of issues aimed at deepening relations for mutual benefit of their people.

Key among the issues was inter-state agreements to increase trade volumes under the frameworks of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AFCFTA), Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement, among others.

Zimbabwe: US$101m investment jump starts industry (The Herald)

At least US$101 million was invested into Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector, with companies expanding their capacities by up to 30 percent in 2022, a Cabinet minister has said.

This saw capacity utilisation increasing to 63 percent from 56 percent in 2021 while shelf occupancy of locally manufactured goods has increased to about 80 percent, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza said while addressing the International Business Conference Session at the ongoing Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo.

The conference was held under the theme “Glocalisation: Celebrating Zimbabwe’s Success and Unlocking Economic Growth Opportunities”. Zimbabwe’s context of ‘glocalisation’ strategy entails combining ‘globalisation’ and ‘localisation’. Export of manufactured goods increased by 12,9 percent from US$324 million in 2021 to US$366 million in 2022.

Nigeria: African Development Bank and Africa Fintech Network sign $525,000 grant to strengthen development of fintech in Africa (AfDB)

The African Development Bank has signed a $525,000 grant agreement with Africa Fintech Network (AFN) for the setup of the Africa Fintech Hub, an online portal that will serve as a one-stop shop for all fintech activities in Africa. The agreement was signed on 4 April 2023.

The Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI) will provide funding and technical assistance to the Africa Fintech Network to host and manage the African Fintech Hub. The hub is a digital platform that will enable fintech associations across Africa to pool resources and knowledge, strengthen relationships and partnerships, as well as showcase the work of fintech on the continent, including those which are female-led or owned.

Egypt’s exports to Sudan increase by 12.4% in 2022 despite economic challenges: FEDCOC (ZAWYA)

Chairperson of Supply and Internal Trade Committee at the Federation of Chambers of Commerce Matta Bishai said that Egypt is keen on stabilizing the situation in Sudan, added that Egypt’s exports to Sudan have increased by 12.4% over the past year on an annual basis, according to data issued by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics.

Bishai noted that the Egypt’s exports to Sudan amounted to approximately $929.2m in 2022, compared to $826.8m in 2021, explaining that there is an opportunity for Egypt to enhance its exports to Sudan and African countries, especially in light of road infrastructure that Egypt has developed to link and enhance its trade with countries of the African continent.

Malawi minister calls for enhanced regional integration to address energy hurdles (Capital Radio Malawi)

Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola is challenging African countries to trust in their own human capital such as engineers when addressing challenges affecting the sector. Speaking at the 9th edition of Mozambique Mining and Energy Conference and Exhibition, Matola hinted that it is time to encourage regional integration while also focusing on developing local solutions within member countries .

“Such collaborative efforts are necessary since common problems cannot be resolved independently without proper cooperation among African countries,” Matola said.

World Trade Organisation (WTO) Commends Ghana’s Digitalisation Agenda and Establishment of a National Vaccine Institute (ZAWYA)

The Director General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has commended Ghana’s robust and visionary efforts to digitalise broad aspects of the country’s economy and the entire E-commerce architecture describing it as the future of trade.

Describing digital trade as the “wave of the future”, DG Okonjo-Iweala, said such vibrant activism by countries like Ghana has informed the WTO to begin negotiating an E-commerce agreement that will decide the rules of digital trade.

Interacting with the President, Dr Ikonjo-Iweala said, “total global trade is about 31 trillion dollars. Of that, goods/merchandise trade is 25 trillion and services at 7 trillion. Within that services, digital services trade is growing the fastest, at about half of it, which is 4 trillion. And it’s growing rapidly at 8 percent per annum compared to the goods trade.”

As a result of this encouraging trend, she continued, “we are thinking that this is an area where our countries can benefit, and when we look, Ghana, as we mentioned to the Hon Minister in the morning, seems to be doing well providing some digitally traded services and professional services in business outsourcing.”

How EAC member states lost $79 billion to Covid-19 pandemic (The Citizen)

The East African Community (EAC) bloc lost between $37 billion to $79 billion in revenue due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been revealed.

The pandemic led to reductions in household income and disruptions of supply chains of tradable goods and services, a senior EAC secretariat official has said. Most affected areas were the aviation, tourism and hospitality industries, whose value chains were rendered dysfunctional.

“The Covid-19 pandemic hit the region hard,” said the EAC director of Social Sector Dr Irene Isaka at the end of a technical meeting on disease control. The pandemic, she said, also highlighted several structural and health systems challenges which called for strengthening of the key pillars of regional health systems.

CEMAC suffered a 17.9% drop in the prices of energy exports in Q1 2023 (Business in Cameroon)

The prices of energy products exported by Cemac countries during the first quarter of 2023 fell by 17.9% QoQ, the Composite Commodity Price Index (ICCPB) published by the Central Bank Beac showed.

The decline, Beac points out, is due to a rather gloomy global oil and gas market. “The price of an oil barrel fell by 7.3% over the period reviewed, after an 11.6% reduction in the previous quarter. In addition, the prices of natural gas shrunk by 37.6%, compared with 29.1% previously. Between Q4 2022 and Q1 2023, oil prices fell from $85.3 to $79 per barrel and gas prices from $28.6 to $17.9 per MMBtu of gas.

Beac found many reasons behind this price drop. They include the abundance of global supply, coupled with the strong dynamic of Russian exports, and the tightening of monetary policies in many countries, which is weighing on demand and exerting downward pressure on prices since the end of 2022.

Population dividend primes Africa for digital economy (The Chronicle)

AFRICA must leverage its huge population dividend to advance digitalisation and boost Intra-African trade, a vital component for economic growth, Smart Africa director general and chief executive officer, Mr Lacina Koné, said yesterday.

He said a wide range of international organisations and partners such as the Africa Union, the World Bank, the United Nations, the International Telecommunications Union and Smart Africa are positioned to support the development of digitalisation in Africa, but African integration remains so far limited.

“Intra-African exports are merely 16,6 percent of total exports, compared with 68,1 percent in European Union, 59,4 percent in Asia and 55,0 percent in America. “Additionally, Africa is the continent with the lowest internet penetration rate at 39 percent of the population, compared to a global average of nearly 60 percent. “What’s good about a digital market size of 1,4 billion people, if half of this market does not have access to the internet? It becomes a digital market of 700 million people,” he said.

Communication MoU to spur Africa’s digital growth (The Chronicle)

THE Smart Africa and African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariats today signed a memorandum of agreement in Victoria Falls that seeks to enhance collaboration in information, communication and technology to develop a Single Digital Market for Africa under the AfCFTA.

Smart Africa Director General and chief executive officer, Mr Lacina Koné and Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA Secretariat Wamkele Mene signed on behalf of the two institutions.

The agreement will see them cooperate mainly in the areas of technical support to the development and implementation of the AfCFTA Protocol on Digital Trade, cooperation in work related to digital transformation and promotion of digital financial inclusion.

Connect Africa Symposium roars to life at ZITF (The Chronicle)

ALL is set for the Connect Africa Symposium being held today on the sidelines of the 63rd edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo. African Continental Free Trade Area secretary general His Excellency Wamkele Mene is expected to deliver the keynote address.

The symposium is running under the theme: Unlocking Africa’s Potential: Innovation, Competitiveness and Sustainable Development.

The symposium will also cover issues to do with collaborations, a sustainable approach to development aid where Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development Minister Dr Anxious Masuka is expected to present.

EABC urges EAC states to reduce cost of digital tax stamps (The Independent Uganda)

The East African Business Council (EABC) has called for a review and reduction in the cost of the Digital Tax Stamp system, which has been implemented in the region to improve revenue collection on excisable goods. The regional body is urging the East African Community states, through the revenue authorities, to take quick action to reduce Digital DTS costs by reviewing existing DTS contracts with a view to reducing the high excise stamp fees imposed on manufacturers.

This follows a recent EABC analysis that showed that despite the solution provider of DTS being the same across the region, the cost of the stamp differs significantly in each country.

The stamp fee is an additional to the excise duty tax payable under the country’s respective Excise Act – which EAC claims is equivalent to double taxation for manufacturers.

Boosting international trade – How SWIFT payments empower SMEs for AfCFTA (MyJoyOnline)

In today’s globalised world, the need for swift and secure payments of goods and services has become more important than ever. SWIFT payments have emerged as a reliable and efficient way to make payments within and across borders, and they have become a preferred option for many consumers and businesses alike.

SWIFT stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication and is a network that connects banks and other financial institutions across the world. The network provides a secure and reliable platform for the transfer of funds between banks, making it a popular choice for international payments for goods and services. SWIFT payments, therefore, refers to an international messaging system used by banks and other financial institutions to securely exchange sensitive payment instructions related to international trade and money transfers.

Payments made through the SWIFT network typically take only a few hours to complete, depending on the banks involved and the time zones. This is significantly faster than traditional methods of making payments across borders, which could take several days or even weeks to complete. The speed SWIFT payments come with is a sure way to enable our local SMEs receive and send money quickly for goods and services and increase trade volumes, free up time previously lost while waiting to confirm payments.

This can be crucial for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) that operate in fast-paced environments where quick access to capital can be the difference between success and failure. For instance, a shoe manufacturing house in Accra was to buy raw materials from a leather manufacturer in Kenya, it would be able to make payment for the leather instantly on the SWIFT platform. The leather manufacturer in Kenya would receive payment into its bank account, thereby skirting currently common delays – freeing up time to respond quickly to the order from Accra.

World Food Forum 2023 will champion youth leadership in agrifood systems transformation to accelerate climate action (FAO)

The World Food Forum today officially unveiled its theme for 2023: “Agrifood systems transformation accelerates climate action” and launched its activities for the year culminating in a series of global events, competitions and actions taking place from 16-20 October at the Rome headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

“Last year, one in ten people went to bed hungry, while nearly 3.1 billion people survived on starchy staples because they could not afford fruits and vegetables. Two in three children do not have enough nutrition to grow to their full potential. Countries can take concerted action to reverse these grim trends by transforming their agrifood systems harnessing its immense potential for positive impact reducing poverty, hunger and inequalities. At the same time they can choose pathways of transformation of their agrifood systems that minimize the trade-offs to our environment, biodiversity and climate,” said Máximo Torero, FAO Chief Economist and Chair of the FAO Youth Committee, in his opening remarks. He emphasized that transforming agrifood systems is a central part of the global climate solution, and young people are the heart of it as they act “as the inheritors of these challenges, but also as innovators and advocates for change.”

Climate change is impacting on the global challenge to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Currently, agrifood systems account for one-third of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, 90 percent of global deforestation and 70 percent of water use globally, and are the single greatest cause of terrestrial biodiversity loss, putting pressure on food value chains. Food is also the single largest category of material placed in municipal landfills and we lose or waste enough food to feed 1.3 billion hungry people every year.

More Objective Credit Ratings Could Save Billions for African Countries’ Development (UNDP)

African ministers, development actors and research institutes gathered on 14 April in Washington DC, on the margins of the 2023 World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, to discuss the impact of credit ratings on the cost of development finance in Africa. At this meeting, organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution and AfriCatalyst, they raised the need to review international financing systems and particularly the determination of sovereign credit ratings for African countries, where data is often missing or of poor quality.

The event was centered around a new study by UNDP which shows that African countries could save up to US$ 74.5 billion if credit ratings were based on less subjective assessments. This, in turn, would enable them to repay the principal of their domestic and foreign debt and free up funds for investments in human capital and infrastructure development.

Better Migration Policies Can Help Boost Prosperity in All Countries (World Bank)

Populations across the globe are aging at an unprecedented pace, making many countries increasingly reliant on migration to realize their long-term growth potential, according to a new report from the World Bank.

The World Development Report 2023: Migrants, Refugees, and Societies, identifies this trend as a unique opportunity to make migration work better for economies and people. Wealthy countries as well as a growing number of middle-income countries—traditionally among the main sources of migrants—face diminishing populations, intensifying the global competition for workers and talent. Meanwhile, most low-income countries are expected to see rapid population growth, putting them under pressure to create more jobs for young people.

“Migration can be a powerful force for prosperity and development,” said World Bank Senior Managing Director Axel van Trotsenburg. ”When it is managed properly, it provides benefits for all people — in origin and destination societies.”


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