Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Mining explorations breach N$1.3 bln (New Era)

Exploration in 2022 continued with its upward trajectory, breaching N$1.3 billion in real terms. This was shared by the Chamber of Mines 2022 report, shared by Hilifa Mbako as the outgoing president.

Mbako, during the chamber’s annual general meeting on Wednesday, added that after many interruptions and delays during Covid-19, the chamber was able to provide their input in the Minerals Bill.

The mining sector continued to uphold its commitment to supporting local suppliers and spend approximately N$16.823 billion on goods and services from Namibian registered businesses. As a proportion of total procurement spent by the sector, 74% was spent on local businesses.

SA agri products gain foothold abroad (SAnews)

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister, Thoko Didiza, says efforts to improve market access for South African products on the international markets are bearing fruit.

Presenting the department’s R17 254 348 billion budget for the 2023/2024 financial year on Tuesday, Didiza said in June 2022, the country signed the Protocol of Phytosanitary Requirements for the export of soybean from South Africa to China.

In August last year, SA also successfully negotiated the lifting of a ban on South Africa’s wool and other cloven-hoofed animals’ skin products with China.

SITA looking to bolster digitalisation of borders, travel in Africa (Engineering News)

Border management agency SITA sees considerable potential for South Africa and Africa to leapfrog legacy deployments and adopt digital solutions at borders to streamline travel and transport in the region; however, there are some constraints as it looks to engender this.

This was indicated by SITA government and industry relations director Andy Smith, speaking during a SITA borders management media briefing and roundtable discussion, in Johannesburg, on May 9.

Smith indicated that efforts to deepen the company’s reach in the region came as flagship initiatives in the region progressed, including the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the Free Movement of Persons Protocol.

In terms of the former, Smith outlined that this presented an opportunity to reach upwards of two-billion consumers. Moreover, AfCFTA was projected to lead to a 25%, or $36-billion, growth in intra-Africa trade between now and 2040.

Moreover, Smith said that there was also an opportunity to increase intra-African travel and cargo, with this openness of free movement to be grounded in security.

“The only way we’re going to do that is through digitalisation and technology. Technology can help sway the process, it can help combat certain elements of corruption, which is obviously a challenge of certain borders as well. We’re excited to work with Africa on this,” he highlighted.

Imports from China, India surge as cash-strapped consumers seek cheaper cars (Engineering News)

The domestic new-vehicle market saw a surge in imports from India and China last year, with buyers increasingly opting for cheaper imported cars than those made in South Africa. India led the import market in 2019, with 106 000 units coming to South Africa, with China at number six, at 11 443 units.

Nine of the biggest-selling cars and light commercial vehicles in South Africa were made locally in 2019.

The newly released 2023 Automotive Export Manual, published by the Automotive Industry Export Council (AIEC), shows that imports from India surged to 165 910 units last year, ensuring it remains in the top spot as South Africa‘s biggest vehicle import market by volume.

The FDI landscape in Kenya in 2023 (Investment Monitor)

Over the past few years, Kenya’s foreign direct investment (FDI) landscape has been darkened by the inauspicious clouds of Covid-19, political unrest, uncompetitive returns and comparatively high perceived levels of public sector corruption. More recently there have been reports of nationwide protests and demonstrations, led by former Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition Raila Odinga, which have disrupted the country’s economy and caused social unrest. Spurred by mounting frustrations about the high cost of living and poor employment prospects, and fortified by a historic distrust of the country’s democratic institutions, Odinga has alleged that Kenya’s general election in August 2022 – in which he was narrowly beaten by President William Ruto – was blighted by irregularities.

The country’s dwindling FDI profile appears to reflect its unstable political and economic climate. According to UNCTAD’s Investment Report 2022, between 2019 and 2021, Kenya’s flow of inward FDI decreased year on year from $1.1bn (Ks150.36bn) in 2019 to $717m in 2020 to $448m in 2021, continuing a general pattern of decline since 2010. The number of greenfield investments also shrunk by nearly 60% over the same three-year period, from 95 in 2019 to 39 in 2021. This decline in foreign investment deals bucks a trend seen elsewhere in east Africa, where average FDI inflows increased by 35% between 2019 and 2021, to a total of $8.2bn.

Value of Kenya exports to Tanzania tops EAC growth (The Citizen)

Kenya’s total exports to Tanzania posted the biggest growth among all East Africa Community(EAC) destinations in terms of absolute value last year, underlining the gains of a reset in the relations between the two countries.

Data by the newly released Economic Survey 2023 shows that Kenya exported goods worth TSh1.14 tillion to Tanzania last year compared to TSh911 billion in 2021— a Sh236 billion jump which was the highest among all other EAC destinations.

“Exports to Tanzania grew by 25.9 percent to TSh1.14 trillion in 2022 on account of increased exports of iron and non-alloy steel,” the survey said. ​​​​​

Kenyan manufacturers had in recent years protested “discriminative” duties and non-tariff barriers such as double inspection of goods for standards by Tanzania, which had made supplies such as meat, milk, and related products to the neighbouring country uncompetitive.

Kenya’s sugar retail prices remain high despite duty-free imports (The East African)

Duty-free sugar imports, which were allowed into Kenya from January, have failed to cool off high retail prices.

Data from the Sugar Directorate indicates that the volumes imported between January and March were 93,000 tonnes against 46,000 in a similar period last year. The sharp increase in import volumes was on the back of the waiver on duty to allow the shipping of cheap commodities to address a shortage that has kept prices high.

Duty-free import of sugar is part of a wider government plan to lower the high cost of goods.

Locally, production has been inhibited by diminishing cane supply on the farms. The shortage of cane has seen millers grapple with the little available, pushing the price of a tonne of the commodity from Ksh4,584 ($33.58), which is the recommended price by the sugar directorate, to Ksh5,250 ($38.46).

The diminishing supply of cane to factories, which has cut down on production activities, saw the total sugar bagged in the review period decline by 26 percent to 49,761 tonnes. The decline in production will compel consumption due to low supply in the market.

Rwanda Horticulture Products Exhibited In Sweden (Taarifa Rwanda)

Rwanda is showcasing an assortment of made in Rwanda horticulture products at the ongoing # SWEACC23 Business & Investment Forum in Sweden.

According to NAEB, last week (Apr, 29 – May, 5) Rwanda horticulture export volume was worth 338.5MT that fetched U$ 630,636 with major destinations including; DRC, UAE, UK, Netherlands, Germany, and Nigeria.

The country is looking to expand its horticulture products export footprint through tapping in opportunities at the Swedish-East African Chamber of Commerce Business & Investment Forum in Stockholm.

Spain ready to strengthen trade with Tunisia (ZAWYA)

Spanish Secretary of State in charge of Trade, Xiana Mendez, underlined, on Monday, her country’s willingness to intensify the volume of trade between the two countries.

In a statement granted to TAP, she recalled that the volume of trade between Tunisia and Spain has recorded, in 2022, a record figure, reaching 1.9 billion euros. The objective is to exceed this volume and diversify bilateral trade, Mendez said.

The Minister stressed the importance of developing tripartite cooperation between Tunisia, Spain and the African and Maghreb markets (Libya, Algeria, and Sub-Saharan Africa).

Ben Rejeb also stressed the importance of developing cooperation relations between the two ministries in charge of trade, which can be concretized through a bilateral cooperation agreement allowing to benefit from the Spanish competencies in several fields.

Priority for Guinea: Improving the Status of Women and Girls (World Bank)

Women and girls in Guinea face significant barriers to accessing the same opportunities as men, according to a new World Bank report, Unlocking Women’s and Girls’ Potential: The Status of Women and Girls Relative to Men and Boys in Guinea”

Guinea, ranked 182 out of 191 in the United Nations Development Program’s Gender Inequality Index in 2021, is one of the most unequal countries in the world in terms of gender. The economic consequences of this inequality are all the more alarming given that almost half of the rural population remains below the poverty line.

The lack of investment in human capital increases the risks of poverty among women. Overall female labor force participation in Guinea remains below the Sub-Saharan African average, with women’s employment characterized as informal and vulnerable. Women also appear to be disadvantaged in terms of access to and ownership of productive assets and finance.

Cabo Verde: IMF Staff Completes 2023 Article IV Consultation (IMF)

“Cabo Verde’s performance under the program is solid. The economy rebounded strongly in 2022 growing 17.7 percent, the primary deficit narrowed to 1.9 percent of GDP, the debt-to-GDP ratio declined, the current account improved, and international reserves were adequate to protect the currency peg. The authorities used monetary and fiscal policy to support the recovery and cushion the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable.

“Real GDP growth is projected to moderate to 4.4 percent in 2023 as export growth normalizes. Inflation is projected at 5.2 percent in 2023, as fuel and food prices decline. The current account deficit is expected to widen in 2023 as exports of goods and services, tourism, remittances, and foreign direct investment slowdown from levels recorded in 2022.

“Despite the challenging global economic environment, Cabo Verde continues to make good progress in its objective to protect vulnerable groups and foster higher and inclusive growth.”

Reform needed to fund biodiversity in developing nations (SAnews)

Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy has called for significant reform of the global financial system and of multilateral development banks to fund developing countries’ biodiversity and climate change initiatives.

Addressing the 5th Global Conference on Biodiversity Finance in Cape Town, the Minister said South Africa’s biodiversity is not only a national and cultural asset but is also a source of economic prosperity through the sustainable use of a wide variety of plants and wildlife.

“Mechanisms such as debt for biodiversity swaps, payment for ecosystem services, as well as greater availability of grant financing and concessional loans must be considered in the context of achieving sustainable financing mechanisms for developing countries. Neither our biodiversity nor our climate change objectives can be achieved by Global Environmental Facility (GEF) funding or by further loans to developing countries, the majority of which are already heavily indebted,” Creecy said on Tuesday.

According to research conducted in 2017 (and updated in 2022), some of the many ecosystem services provided by natural ecosystems in South Africa could be valued at R275 billion per year (R325 billion in 2022).

African Trade And Investment (Africa.com)

Africa is gearing up for a new era of trade and investment, with a focus on collaboration, creativity, and the digital economy. Representatives from three World Trade Center (WTC) locations including WTC Cairo, WTC Addis Ababa, and WTC Abuja, highlight the trade prospects and challenges facing Egypt, Ethiopia, and Nigeria in 2023.

Mr. Farag El Mahrouky, Head of Marketing and Customer Service Department at WTC Cairo points out that Egypt is looking to focus on collaboration and communications in 2023, with a keen emphasis on improving trade services.

At the end of 2022, Egypt successfully concluded its first trade agreement under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), thanks to a collective effort by stakeholders to eliminate export barriers. This landmark deal facilitated the export of food products from Egypt to Ghana and laid the foundation for future trade exchange activities in the region.

As a signatory of the AfCFTA, Mr. Rateneh Fassil, CEO and Managing Director of WTC Addis Ababa, sees the continued growth of regional and continental trade integration as a major opportunity for growth and recovery, especially in the areas of infrastructure, education, and health.

He points out that the story of abundant opportunities for growth, prosperity, and decreased trade deficit is not obvious when looking at the current number of intra-African trade dwindling at only 14%. However, the comparative advantages of the various economies across the borderless AfCFTA market bodes well for this story to be developed.

According to Ms. Wuraola Onigbogi, Trade Services Manager at WTC Abuja, Nigeria is taking a holistic approach to 2023, recognising the importance of creativity, digital trade, and maintaining relationships with clients.

The country’s revised 2023-2027 trade policy places a strong emphasis on e-commerce and digital payments, and Nigeria is eager to take advantage of the increased access to cheaper goods and services offered by the AfCFTA.

Afreximbank has to leverage AfCFTA to transform Africa by 2050 – Moghalu (TheNiche)

Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof Kingsley Moghalu, has said that the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) must zero in on the various aspects of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) so that, combined with its role and operations, it can bring about the needed continental transformation by 2050.

He described the establishment of AFCFTA by member states of the African Union as “a watershed development in Africa’s contemporary and future positioning in world trade.” Moghalu noted that going forward he believes the continental trade agreement would provide an enabling environment for the work of Afreximbank that would be far more powerful than was the case in the past 30 years of the bank, without prejudice to the bank’s significant achievements.

National Consultations for drafting of Constitution for the EAC Political Confederation resumes in Kenya (EAC)

National consultations for the drafting of the Constitution of the East African Community (EAC) Political Confederation resumed in Mombasa, Kenya with the launch of 20-day long public hearing sessions across the country.

Speaking at the launch, the Cabinet Secretary for East African Community, Arid and Semi-Arid Lands and Regional Development, Ms. Rebecca Miano, said that national stakeholders’ consultations on the Political Confederation was a crucial engagement in the context of the Community’s efforts towards promoting popular participation, which in turn, will inform the policy decision to be made.

South-South trade agreement holds key to more sustainable and inclusive growth (UNCTAD)

At the end of 2022, Brazil ratified commitments under the Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries (GSTP), rekindling international interest in the trade agreement, now just one ratification away from entering into force. The GSTP’s 42 members from Africa, Asia and Latin America are home to 4 billion people and represent a combined market of $16 trillion – about 20% of global merchandise imports.

“There is now a window of opportunity for the GSTP,” UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General Pedro Manuel Moreno said on 8 May at the opening session of the UN Trade Forum 2023, which focused on the agreement.

The GSTP promotes trade among developing countries – also known as South-South trade – by cutting tariffs on the goods they import from each other. Such cuts reduce a product’s final price for consumers, making it more competitive. UNCTAD estimates that if GSTP members implement the tariff cut commitments of the latest round of negotiations – known as the “São Paulo Round Protocol” – they could boost their collective prosperity by about $14 billion.

“South-South trade – for a long time just an aspiration – has become one of the main forces responsible for growth and development over the last two decades,” said Rubens Ricupero, a Brazilian economist and former UNCTAD secretary-general.

Trade between developing countries has increased by an average annual rate of 9.8% since 2000, hitting $5.3 trillion in 2021. During the same period, world trade grew at a slower 5.5%. Mr. Moreno highlighted that strong results were also seen for products with high added value. In 2021, he said, South-South trade accounted for nearly 60% of developing countries’ high-tech exports.

European Parliament supports duty-free trade with Ukraine for another year (Ukrinform)

At a plenary session in Strasbourg, the European Parliament voted by a majority in the first reading to extend duty-free trade with Ukraine for another year, starting June 6, 2023.

The European Commission has proposed to extend trade liberalization measures for another year, starting on June 6, 2023. Such an extension of economic support for Ukraine is necessary in view of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the fact that in June 2022 Ukraine was granted candidate country status.

The EU further deepened the rules for trade liberalization with Ukraine under the bilateral Association Agreement and approved regulatory rules on temporary preferential trade regime on May 30, 2022. These regulatory rules entered into force on June 4, 2022, and will remain in force until June 5, 2023.

The trade liberalization measures, which were extended for another year, starting from June 6, 2023, by the European Parliament today, provide for the temporary abolition of all customs duties, in accordance with Article IV of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and in accordance with the rules of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. These rules apply to two categories of products: fruits and vegetables, which are subject to the system of entry price control, and agro-industrial goods and agricultural products subject to tariff quotas.

Global Report on Food Crises: Number of people facing acute food insecurity rose to 258 million in 58 countries in 2022 (FAO)

The number of people experiencing acute food insecurity and requiring urgent food, nutrition and livelihood assistance increased for the fourth consecutive year in 2022, with over a quarter of a billion facing acute hunger and people in seven countries on the brink of starvation, according to the latest Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC).

The report finds that around 258 million people in 58 countries and territories faced acute food insecurity at crisis or worse levels (IPC/CH Phase 3-5) in 2022, up from 193 million people in 53 countries and territories in 2021. This is the highest number in the seven-year history of the report. However, much of this growth reflects an increase in the population analysed. In 2022, the severity of acute food insecurity increased to 22.7 percent, from 21.3 percent in 2021, but remains unacceptably high and underscores a deteriorating trend in global acute food insecurity.

Economic shocks have surpassed conflict as the primary driver of acute food insecurity and malnutrition in several major food crises. Cumulative global economic shocks, including soaring food prices and severe disruptions to markets, undermine countries’ resilience and capacity to respond to food shocks.

The measure of world food prices rose in April for first time in a year (FAO)

The benchmark index of international food commodity prices rose in April for the first time in a year, amid increases in world quotations for sugar, meat and rice, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported today.

The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of commonly-traded food commodities, averaged 127.2 points in April 2023, up 0.6 percent from March. At that level, the Index was 19.7 percent below its level in April 2022, but still 5.2 percent higher than in April 2021.

“It is important that we continue to track very closely the evolution of prices and the reasons for increases in prices. As economies recover from significant slowdowns, demand will increase, exerting upward pressure on food prices,” said FAO Chief Economist Maximo Torero.


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