Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

United Republic of Tanzania; 2023 Article IV Consultation IMF)

Spillovers from the war in Ukraine and shortfalls in rainfall stalled Tanzania’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite fuel and fertilizer subsidies, inflation has picked up in recent months, approaching the Bank of Tanzania’s target. External balances deteriorated significantly last year due in large part to spillovers from the war in Ukraine.

US partners with Kenya in Trade, Investment (Capital News)

Foreign and Diaspora Affairs CS Dr. Alfred Mutua has encouraged Kenyans to apply for jobs in the United States of America (USA). Dr. Mutua said the US is setting up a framework to allow Kenyans to apply for jobs and to get work visas on time.

“The United States is working on modalities to speed up visa processing at the Nairobi embassy to reduce the long waiting times,” he said. The CS is in Washington DC in United States of America attending a bilateral session for negotiations on the Kenya-United States of America Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership accompanied by the Cabinet Secretary for Investment, Trade and Industry Moses Kuria and other senior government officials.

He said the two countries have agreed to partner in the areas of trade and investment for job creation and visas for youth empowerment, health, food security, climate change, regional peace and security.

Kagame in Tanzania in effort to improve trade ties (The Citizen)

Tanzania and Rwanda are on the move to push forward new trading strategies as both countries’ leaders agree that the current value and volume don’t reflect the scope of resources available.

Tanzania is among Rwanda’s top importers at $154.93 million, behind only China, whose imports were valued at $197.58 million as of 2021, according to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda. The value of goods and services re-exported from Rwanda to Tanzania as of 2021 was tabled at only $1.58 million at the end of 2021.

“We have agreed to improve the communication and transport networks, such as the ports of Dar es Salaam and Tanga, where Rwanda is among the major customers,” she said.

Federal Govt Raises Import Tariff On Rice, Wheat (Leadership News)

The Federal Government has revised Import Adjustment Tax (IAT) for Implementation of ECOW CET (2022-2026), raising tariffs on importation of rice as well as wheat. The 2023 revised document, raised tariff on rice packing of more than 5kg or in bulk and in packing of 5kg or less to 60 per cent from 50 per cent.

Similarly, importation of wheat or meslin flour now attracts 70 percent tariffs as against 50 in 2022-2026 ECOWAS CET. This was stated in a document by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed.

The document titled ‘Revised Import Adjustment Tax (IAT) for Implementation of ECOW CET (2022-2026), 2023 fiscal policy measures, according to reported by BusinessDay.

Nigerians q1 non oil export hits 1 345b (The Nation Online)

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) said put the country’s non-oil exports in the first quarter (Q1) of this year at S$1.345billion. Its Executive Director/CEO, Dr Ezra Yakusak disclosed this at the presentation of the Q1 progress report on the non-oil export performance for this year in Abuja, stating that a total of 167 products were exported during the period under review.

Yakusak said products exported ranged from manufactured, semi-processed, solid minerals and raw agricultural commodities adding that just like last year, Q1 also showed that Nigerian products are gradually shifting from its traditional export of raw agricultural commodities to the export of semi-processed and manufactured goods.

He noted that in the 2022 non-oil export performance which was presented in January 2023, the Council recorded the highest export value since it was established 47 years ago. The sector recorded a significant milestone as the non-oil export trade worth $4.820 billion was recorded for the year, representing an increase of 39.91per cent over 2021 export value.

Africa Trade barometer report shows promising growth in trade – Stanbic IBTC (The Nation Online)

Stanbic IBTC Holdings, a member of Standard Bank Group has shared some of its latest findings from the Africa Trade Barometer report 2022 released recently. The report, which assesses key economic indicators in Africa highlights several noteworthy developments across 10 African countries.

According to the report, Nigeria is placed eighth out of the ten countries on the Africa Trade Barometer (ATB) after dropping one position (sixth to seventh place) on the Qualitative Trade Barometer (QTB) rankings and gaining two places (10th to eighth position) on Survey Trade Barometer (STB), which was driven mainly by directional improvements in the trader’s financial behaviour.

Nigeria’s economic growth has largely recovered after the 2020 recession (primarily brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic). The projected economic growth (3.2% in 2022-2024) is average.

The report also identified an increased trade openness across the continent. Various regional and multilateral agreements have facilitated this positive trend, reducing trade barriers and improving market access. Nigerian firms have become more optimistic about prospects for importing and exporting, a significant increase in importing and a directional increase in exporting.

“The Africa Trade Barometer report 2022 identifies several positive developments, challenges, and how to scale up a business in Nigeria’s trade sector. These developments demonstrate the country’s resilience and potential for growth and should encourage investors to explore opportunities in the region,” Head, Business and Commercial Clients, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Remy Osuagwu, added.

Africa CDC hosts the Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM) Forum (Africa CDC)

Her Excellency the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa opened the Partnerships for African Vaccines Manufacturing (PAVM) Forum at the African Union Commission Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The Partnerships for African Vaccine Manufacturing (PAVM) was established by the African Union (AU), under the Africa CDC, in 2021 to deliver a bold goal: 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. The Continental Framework for Action (FFA) was developed and endorsed during the 40th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council and lays out the key interventions required to enable the development of a sustainable vaccine manufacturing industry in Africa.

The PAVM Forum saw the participation of the African Union Member States, African Manufacturers, National Regulatory Agencies (NRAs), Partners and donors with an objective of providing updates on the Progress achieved under the PAVM Initiative, a thorough review of the eight bold programs, highlight new priorities, outline areas for continued collaboration and support, and interact with member states, manufacturers, funders, and other partners on their priorities.

Harmonised methods for informal cross border trade data collection critical in monitoring intra-African Trade (UNECA)

Informal cross border trade in Africa is known to be large and an important contributor to the livelihoods of millions of Africans but there are no agreed methods to accurately measure it, experts said at the first physical meeting of the Task Force on developing a harmonized methodology for Informal Cross-Border Trade Data Collection.

“Understanding the scale, magnitude and characteristics of Informal Cross-Border Trade (ICBT) will be instrumental in accurately monitoring intra-African trade, as well as the development of appropriate economic policy,” said Melaku Geboye Desta, Coordinator of the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), at the opening of the meeting of the Task Force in Kampala, Uganda.

EAC grain traders meet (Kenya News Agency)

Stakeholders trading on cereals in the East African Community region have converged in Kenya for a two day meeting to brainstorm on issues affecting the sector in the wake of acute deficit of the commodity.

The meeting that has brought governments officials, farmers and the business community from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi , Botswana, Zambia and DRC are set to propose ways of unlocking the bottlenecks and come up with interventions that will promote seamless grain food trade across the re to spur development.

Speaking during the forum ,East African Grain Council (EAGC) Gerald Masila said that trading in the region is mostly informal with approximately two-thirds of food trade done through informal channels.

Zambia to Host the 22nd COMESA Summit in June (COMESA)

The Government of the Republic of Zambia has announced that it will this year host the 22nd COMESA Heads of State and Governments Summit on 8 June in the capital Lusaka. The Summit will be preceded by the Meeting of the Committee of Ministers of Foreign Affairs on 6 June and the COMESA Business Forum and Exhibition on 7 June 2023.

The Summit follows the COMESA Policy Organs meetings of the Intergovernmental Committee and Council of Ministers which were held in Lusaka in December 2022.

Zambia’s Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Hon. Chipoka Mulenga and Secretary General Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe revealed this on Tuesday 25 April 2023 in Lusaka during the signing ceremony of the Agreement for the Hosting of the COMESA Heads of State and Government Summit. The meetings shall be held at the Kenneth Kaunda wing of the Mulungushi International Conference centre.

African Development Bank advocates for strengthening the role of multilateral development banks beyond financing (AfDB)

On the occasion of its Annual Meetings, to be held from 22 to 26 May 2023 in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, the African Development Bank Group plans to highlight the role that multilateral development banks could play in building a new development architecture beyond the financial.

The importance of this subject stems from the fact that multilateralism is currently facing significant challenges, including in responding to climate change, conflict, social fragility, and pandemics. International organizations should maximize their resources by engaging governments, the private sector, and other stakeholders to bring about meaningful change. If this is not done, less-developed economies could become more vulnerable.

From a development-financing perspective, a vital issue to be addressed at the Annual Meetings is reducing the current level of concentration of policy instruments and promoting inclusion and better coordination among multilateral development banks.

Harness diaspora resources for development, Buhari urges African countries (Tribune Online)

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged African countries to harness human and material resources of the DiasporaThis, he said, would enable them to become forces to be reckoned with in regards to sustainable development of their homelands, regional bodies, and national governments.

Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo made call in his keynote address at the Global African Diaspora Symposium (GADS) which was held in Abuja.”This could be done through remittances, medical missions, educational visits, tourism, investments and enterprises, among others.

Commodity Prices to Register Sharpest Drop Since the Pandemic (World Bank)

Global commodity prices are expected to decline this year at the fastest clip since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, clouding the growth prospects of almost two-thirds of developing economies that depend on commodity exports, according to the World Bank’s latest Commodity Markets Outlook report.

The drop in prices, however, is expected to bring little relief to the nearly 350 million people across the world who face food insecurity. Although food prices are expected to fall by 8% in 2023, they will be at the second-highest level since 1975. Moreover, as of February this year, annual food price inflation is at 20% globally, the highest level over the past two decades.

“The surge in food and energy prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has largely passed due to slowing economic growth, a moderate winter, and reallocations in the commodity trade,” said Indermit Gill, the World Bank’s Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Development Economics. “But this is of little comfort to consumers in many countries. In real terms, food prices will remain at one of the highest levels of the past five decades. Governments should avoid trade restrictions and protect their poorest citizens using targeted income-support programs rather than price controls.”

Small business group appoints new coordinator, discusses digitalisation, finance and standards (WTO)

The Informal Working Group on Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) on 26 April discussed the benefits of digitalisation for small business, the role of intellectual property rights in facilitating small business access to finance, and how MSMEs deal with sustainability standards.

The Group on the G20’s work on MSMEs’ access to information, finance and markets.

The Group appointed Ambassador Matthew Wilson of Barbados as its new coordinator. The outgoing coordinator, Ambassador José Luís Cancela (Uruguay), drew attention to the achievements of the Group, particularly the 2020 package of recommendations aimed at helping small businesses trade internationally.

He also highlighted the establishment of databases of MSME provisions in trade agreements and in trade policy reviews and the Trade4MSMEs platform, which provides a gateway to MSME trade information. “This is an impressive number of deliverables and I know that the Group will continue to explore new areas of work and to think outside of the box on what it can do going forward,” he said. “The MSME Group is now at 98 members, covering roughly 90 per cent of global trade, and I know that the spirit of inclusivity and openness will bring others on board,” he added.

Director-General Okonjo-Iweala urges ECOWAS to harness trade for sustainable growth (WTO)

Dr Abas Jalo, Minister of Trade and Industry of Guinea Bissau and Chair of the meeting, stressed the need for ECOWAS member countries and the WTO to focus on implementing the outcomes of the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) and to engage in a dialogue on how African member countries can best contribute to the success of the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) to be held in Abu Dhabi in February 2024.

The Director-General highlighted the potential for West Africa to benefit from reglobalization and the diversification of global supply chains. The war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted risks linked to excessive concentration in global supply networks. This could provide opportunities for supply chain investment in West Africa, she added.

WTO members praise value of capturing lessons learned from COVID-19 pandemic (WTO)

At a meeting of the Committee on Market Access on 26-27 April, WTO members adopted a document reflecting lessons learned from trade in COVID-19 related goods and indicating practices members might want to consider in the event of future emergencies. Members were updated on the notification of quantitative restrictions (QRs) and addressed a high number of trade concerns.

The Committee document on lessons learned ( G/MA/409 ) is the result of the six experience-sharing sessions held since March 2022 where members exchanged information and practices on the measures they implemented on trade in COVID-19 related goods within the mandate of the Committee. The Chair of the Committee, Kenya Uehara, echoed “the general sentiment that the Committee on Market Access (CMA) experience-sharing sessions on trade in COVID-19 related goods have been very useful for members to better understand how we have collectively reacted during this unprecedented situation and also how we could do better in the future.”

DDG Ellard urges parliamentarians to deepen support for WTO, ratify Fisheries Agreement (WTO)

The second strand of ongoing work on fisheries is continuing negotiations to resolve the outstanding issues that could not be agreed at MC12, which include disciplining subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, along with appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least-developed Members. To the contrary, now that the Agreement is concluded, WTO Members are engaged in two parallel processes to carry the work forward.

More members will expand BRICS’ influence (Chinadaily.cn)

The appeal of the BRICS organization is more evident than ever before. Reportedly, 19 countries from around the world have expressed an interest in joining the group as members or observers.

Over the past 10 years, BRICS has grown in success and its influence has been widely recognized. Joining it means more opportunities for development.

The multilateral development bank established by the BRICS members, the New Development Bank, headquartered in Shanghai, is a meaningful platform for BRICS and other countries to make better use of their financial resources to address development deficits, reducing their dependence on the US dollar and providing them more financial autonomy.

As such, an expanded BRICS means greater international influence and a bigger say in global rule-making for developing countries.

It is projected that the BRICS countries will collectively contribute about 32.1 percent of the world’s economic growth this year, compared with the G7’s 29.9 percent. The International Monetary Fund predicts that the two figures will become 33.6 percent and 27.8 percent respectively by 2028 when BRICS’ share in the world’s gross domestic product will reach about 35-40 percent and that of the G7 about 27.8 percent.

These are the world’s biggest trading blocs (WEF)

Rising levels of world trade have been a powerful means for countries to promote economic growth, development and poverty reduction, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“Policies that make an economy open to trade and investment with the rest of the world are needed for sustained economic growth. The evidence on this is clear,” the IMF says. “No country in recent decades has achieved economic success, in terms of substantial increases in living standards for its people, without being open to the rest of the world.”

However, trade has been dented by the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic aftershocks.

“There is a widening chasm between the prospects of advanced economies and developing and emerging economies that had previously counted on globalization-enabled growth,” says the overview for the World Economic Forum’s 2023 Growth Summit.


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