Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

South Africa: African Continental Free Trade Area Awareness Workshop Goes to Gauteng (The Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition)

The Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition (the dtic) and the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) are pleased to announce the upcoming workshop on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The event is scheduled to take place at Constitutional Hill in Gauteng on Monday, 5 June 2023, as part of a nationwide series of workshops.

Following the successful inaugural workshop in KwaZulu-Natal last week, this workshop aims to engage with the private sector, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), women-owned businesses, and youth-owned export ready businesses.

Angola to Accelerate Job Creation and Growth in Private Enterprise, with Focus on Lobito Corridor (World Bank)

Angola aims to accelerate economic diversification, private investment, and jobs by creating more favorable business conditions for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), with support from the World Bank. Approved this week by the World Bank Group Board of Directors, the $300 million Accelerating Economic Diversification and Job Creation Project will benefit an estimated 12,000 firms, creating direct and indirect jobs as a result of project activities, and help Angola transition from an oil-driven and state-led development model to a private sector-led model that is also inclusive and climate resilient.

The project aims to increase private investment and climate-resilient growth of MSMEs in non-oil value chains, particularly in the Lobito corridor which has the potential to play a central role in Angola’s economic diversification and transformation.

Govt in push to grow manufacturing, President Ruto announces (Capital News)

The government will focus on select value chains to grow manufacturing to create jobs, President William Ruto has said. The President said the identified value chains have significant untapped industrial potential and will create thousands of jobs. “We see leather, pyrethrum, cotton, textiles and apparel, pharmaceutical, edible oils as value chains whose industrialisation will hasten the attainment of our vision for national economic growth and transformation,” the President said.

ECOWAS is working with four areas to industrialize – Dr Ojoku (Ghana Business News)

To industrialize and strengthen intra-African trade, Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) is working around four thematic areas, Dr Kenji Ojoku, has announced. He said the 40-year plan, which began in 2010 to 2030 is also geared towards reducing importation of goods outside the sub-region.

Dr Ojoku who stated this in a two-day seventh Ghana International Trade and Finance conference (GITFiC) in Senchi in the Eastern Region on zoom said the plan if well executed could reduce import bills of member countries.

Speaking on Trade and healthy investment on the theme: “Actualising Africa’s Industrialization agenda in the era of AfCFTA: The role of Africa’s Small and Medium scale enterprises:The ECOWAS perspective, Dr Ojoku named the four areas as: Agro-Industry and Agro-business, Constructional Industry, Automotive Industry and ICT.

Reimagining economic growth in Africa: Turning diversity into opportunity (McKinsey & Company)

Africa is home to the world’s youngest and fastest-growing population, burgeoning cities, and bold innovations in everything from fintech to clean energy. With its population expected to nearly double to 2.5 billion people by 2050, the continent presents myriad opportunities for robust, inclusive growth that harness its rich natural resources and abundant human potential to increase prosperity not only in Africa but around the world.

Improving and increasing the productivity of all sectors must power Africa’s economic growth going forward. The continent is blessed with a young and vibrant population, rich natural resources, thriving cities, and emerging innovations, all assets that can be enlisted to enhance output and add value. Increasing digitization, developing talent, collaborating more regionally, supporting more business champions, and building green businesses are just some of the ways Africa can increase productivity.

The world needs a thriving Africa to make the transition to net zero, lessen the emerging impact of demographic decline, and give the continent its rightful place in global commerce and trade. Achieving sustainable growth from a foundation of strong productivity will increase African resilience and spread well-being and prosperity across the continent.

What Africa needs to achieve its digital economy potential (The Citizen)

Africa’s digital economy is expected to be worth $712 billion by 2050. However, for this to happen, the continent must invest more in digital infrastructure, business-friendly settings, education and youth motivation.

Currently, Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is $3.1 trillion, with digital contributing approximately $200 billion, but stakeholders believe the continent has enormous potential to become the heart of the digital economy in the future years. Agritech, manufacturing, fintech, logistics, e-commerce, and automation through the use of artificial intelligence across all economic activities appear to be fuelling that rise.

During the inauguration of Africa’s largest tech and start-up exhibition (Gitex Africa), Moroccan Head of Government Aziz Akhannouch said Africa is a continent with a lot of young people, and its economy can be developed through the use of digital technology.

“Africa is a continent with the potential to be a leader in benefiting from the digital economy. We have a lot of talent and enough resources; what we need is to make sure our young people are well skilled, well incubated, and care about them, along with making good use of our natural resources,” said Mr Akhannouch.

He said infrastructure is the key to development, and in that case, the digital economy needs suitable infrastructure and the promotion of innovation, as well as a friendly business environment to attract more investors.

Can African countries collaborate on an e-car? (Quartz)

Africa’s key auto hubs, South Africa and Morocco, have hinted at mega and giga factories in their electric cars bid to remain relevant and tap a fast-rising global market. Mineral-rich countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia, and Mozambique are also eyeing the market with big intentions of becoming major suppliers of electric vehicle batteries.

For these countries to competitively bid for a major stake in the global electric vehicle market, industry experts say they should form regional value chains to cut cross-border trade costs and barriers to investments.

Cliffe Dekker Hofmyer corporate and commercial practice director, Margo-Ann Werner says there is a full appreciation that Africa is a mineral-rich continent and that the e-mobility sector could rely on the various diverse types of minerals accessible within Africa. Establishing manufacturing nodes across the continent and leveraging on the AfCFTA, she said could result in a range of benefits including cost-effectiveness in the production of electric car batteries.

“So, it’s about establishing those sort of regional relationships between countries to achieve a collective benefit for all,” said Werner during the webinar on What we need to do to make e-mobility a reality in Africa.

Kenya commits to becoming Africa’s gateway to free trade (The Star)

Kenya has committed to becoming the preferred gateway to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Speaking during the Kenya International Investment Conference on the prospects of unlocking the continent’s gateway, state department for Investment promotion PS Abubakar Hassan said the country is well positioned and focused on becoming more investor-centric.

“In terms of investor package, Kenya has an attractive package that is robust, youthful, affordable, well-educated, highly skilled and creative,” Hassan said. He added that last year, the country was ranked as the most innovative nation in the continent by the World Economic Forum, a remedy to a positive impact on business and society at large.

“We need local and regional supply chains hubbed by a country with diversified capabilities. In Africa, Kenya suits that bill. Kenya has the best logistic and infrastructure development support,” Equity Bank Group Managing Director and Group CEO James Mwangi said.

He added that Nairobi has an international diversity of communities making it a rainbow when it comes to doing business. Due to this diversified business landscape, he notes that Kenya serves as an excellent gateway to the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Involving civil society actors in the implementation of the AfCFTA in Burkina Faso (UNECA)

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) organized a national consultations workshop for civil society actors on the content of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) strategy, in Ouagadougou from May 31 to June 1. The objective of this meeting with civil society actors was to inform them on the key orientations of the National Strategy for the implementation of the Agreement in Burkina Faso, and in particular the flagship actions of the action plan.

In his speech at the opening ceremony of the workshop, Souleymane Ouédraogo, Director of Trade at the General Directorate of Commerce in Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Industrial Development, Trade, Handicrafts and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, asserted that “Civil society players are in a way the citadel for giving advice, to ensure that public interventions in particular can meet the needs and expectations of consumers, of the population quite simply”.

“These actors are essential, and it’s really important that we involve them so that the implementation of the AfCFTA is inclusive, taking into account our reality and the diversity of our populations,” he said.

New payment platform for Africa (Advanced Television)

African pay-TV operator MultiChoice Group, payments platform specialist Rapyd and venture capital firm General Catalyst have unveiled a joint venture aimed at developing an integrated payment platform for Africa. The joint venture will operate under a new company, called Moment.

Moment will offer expanded payment infrastructure for businesses across Africa to help them collect and make payments easier, quicker, and more affordable in any manner that their buyers or suppliers prefer. The aim is to transform the African payments landscape by making digital payments more accessible and reliable for domestic, cross-border and global payments.

The long-term plan is to provide the infrastructure for pan-African payments for the 44 million small businesses operating on the continent. It is also to turn the 90 per cent of retail transactions that are currently taking place in cash, into digital payments. Moment aims to make digital transactions more accessible to the 350 million consumers that are underbanked or not banked at all.

Africa warned against ‘ditch the dollar’ calls (The Citizen)

African countries have been cautioned about a suggestion by President William Ruto of Kenya, urging them to ditch the US dollar. Analysts say that although the idea was good, it was hardly practicable given the current level of economic development on the continent.

“Before we jump on that train, we have to develop our economies,” said a business consultant. He said the suggestion by the Kenyan leader came at a time when African countries relied heavily on transacting business in the US currency.

Early this week, President Ruto asked the African leaders to take the first steps towards ditching the globally bullish US dollar. This, he said, can be done by signing up to a pan African payments system to facilitate trade within the continent; technically ditching the dollar. But Mr Kashamba said the suggestion will have to wait until African economies are freed from the grip of major economic giants like the US.

Mr John Bosco Kalisa, the executive secretary of the East African Business Council (EABC), emphatically said the suggestion was long overdue. “Our currencies (in Africa) have lost value because they are not supported by productivity,” he said when reached out for comment. However, he cautioned that before Africa begins a journey to a single currency, “we need to enhance our level of productivity and investments within our economies.”

Sahel region: African Development Bank to extend nearly $1m in gender-based grants to boost opportunities for women-led businesses (AfDB)

The African Development Bank’s Gender Equality Trust Fund will provide a $950,000 grant to the Africa Small and Medium Enterprise Business Linkages Program in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. The grant, which will supplement an earlier $3.9 million financing grant from the Bank’s Transition Support Facility, is expected to bolster 1,400 women-led enterprises and contribute to the region’s economic resilience and social cohesion.

“We are excited to extend the impact of the program that will reach more than a thousand women entrepreneurs across the Sahel region,” said Malado Kaba, the Bank’s Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society. “We believe one key to building resilient African societies is the inclusion of women in economic development. The program’s wide range of business-related training and coaching – in addition to increasing access to finance - will go a long way toward reaching that goal,” she added.

Experts call for strong approach to understanding blue economy (Tanzania Daily News)

A call has been made to have a strong scientific approach to understanding the Blue Economy so as to ensure long-term prosperity for all Tanzanians. The call was made over the weekend at the stakeholders’ workshop here in Dodoma ahead of the UN World Oceans Day this week.

Available statistics show that sectors related with Blue Economy contributed a total of 7.7 billion US dollars to Mainland Tanzania’s gross value added (GVA) in 2020.

The workshop was meant to discuss research results of the project “Socio-Economic and Ecological Assessment of the Blue Economy in Tanzania 2022: Application of UNECA’S Blue Economy Valuation Toolkit”.

World Environment Day brings solutions to plastic pollution into focus (UN Environment)

Individuals, communities, civil society, businesses and governments around the world today marked World Environment Day with a focus on solutions to plastic pollution, with official celebrations held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, with the support of the Netherlands. The focus on solutions to plastic pollution this World Environment Day is particularly timely, following the recent conclusion of a second round of negotiations on a global agreement to end plastic pollution in France.

“Plastic is made from fossil fuels – the more plastic we produce, the more fossil fuel we burn, and the worse we make the climate crisis. But we have solutions,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in his World Environment Day message. “We must work as one – governments, companies, and consumers alike – to break our addiction to plastics, champion zero waste, and build a truly circular economy.”

Humanity produces over 430 million tonnes of plastic annually, two-thirds of which are short-lived products that soon become waste. While the social and economic costs of plastic pollution range between $US300 to US$600 billion per year.

According to a recent UNEP report, Turning off the Tap, plastic pollution could reduce by 80 percent by 2040 if countries and companies make deep policy and market shifts using existing technologies.

Statement by the Executive Secretary of SADC, H.E Mr. Elias M Magosi on International Day for the Fight Against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (SADC)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) joins in the commemoration of this year’s International Day for the Fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing which falls on 5 June 2023, with a call for urgent actions to address IUU fishing in the SADC region to be taken/implemented. This includes better monitoring and control measures, such as tracking vessels, implementing stronger regulations, and increasing collaboration between governments and other stakeholders.

FAO Food Price Index declines in May (FAO)

The benchmark index of international food commodity prices declined in May amid significant drops in quotations for most cereals, vegetable oils and dairy products, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported.

The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of commonly-traded food commodities, averaged 124.3 points in May, down 2.6 percent from April and as much as 22.1 percent below the all-time high reached in March 2022.

World trade in cereals in the 2023/24 marketing season is forecast at 472 million tonnes, near the 2022/23 level, as increased traded volumes of coarse grains and rice (January-December 2024 trade for rice) are foreseen to offset an expected decline in global wheat trade.

World Bank Food Systems Resilience Program Expands to Include Support to the African Union Commission, Comoros, Kenya, Malawi, Somalia, and Tanzania (World Bank)

At a time when food systems in Eastern and Southern Africa continue to be battered by multiple shocks, the World Bank is expanding its support for food security and food systems resilience to benefit an additional 2.8 million people. The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors approved $903 million in International Development Association (IDA) financing for Comoros ($40 million), Kenya ($150 million), Malawi ($250 million), Somalia ($150 million), Tanzania ($300 million) and the African Union Commission ($13 million) as part of the second and third phases of the Food Systems Resilience Program (FSRP) for Eastern and Southern Africa.

“The addition of five countries responds to the ongoing demand for long-term solutions offered by the Food Systems Resilience Program. Studies demonstrate that proactive investments in building resilience not only pay off but also minimize the costs of disaster relief and recovery. As more countries are expected to join, we’re grateful that our board has agreed to increase the overall envelope for the entire FSRP program from $2.3 billion to $2.75 billion,” said Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa.

How Africa’s food systems forum 2023 will unleash economic opportunities, investment potential (Tanzania Daily News)

Tanzania is set to host the highly anticipated Africa’s Food Systems Forum 2023 Summit in Dar es Salaam this September. This prestigious event will not only position Tanzania as a hub for agricultural innovation and sustainable food systems but it will also unleash significant economic opportunities and attract valuable investments.

The Africa’s Food Systems Forum 2023 Summit will emphasise the importance of value addition and agro-processing in promoting sustainable food systems. Tanzania, with its vast agricultural resources, can leverage this opportunity to develop and expand its agro-processing industries.

Value addition initiatives, such as food processing, packaging, and preservation, will not only enhance the value of agricultural produce but also create a robust agribusiness ecosystem and contribute to export diversification.

The Africa’s Food Systems Forum 2023 Summit will highlight the role of technology and innovation in transforming agriculture and promoting sustainable food systems. Tanzania, with its growing digital landscape and emerging technology startups, can seize this opportunity to showcase its innovative solutions in precision agriculture, farm management systems, market linkage platforms, and data-driven decision-making. This will not only attract investments in agri-tech but also accelerate the adoption of modern practices and improve productivity in the sector.

Africa has technology and innovation to achieve zero hunger – AfDB head Adesina at Africa Agribusiness and Science Week (AfDB)

Africa has the necessary partnerships and technologies to eradicate hunger, said African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina.

What is needed is action including robust financing, Adesina said Monday during the opening session of the 8th Africa Agribusiness and Science Week (AASW) in Durban, South Africa. “We must pull together the best of science, technology, and innovations to drive a more productive, efficient, and more competitive agricultural system,” Adesina told an audience of stakeholders in agriculture and agribusiness research and innovation in Africa.

Africa needs to leverage its potential, including science, and be proactive rather than reactive to shocks, she said. She urged the continent to take advantage of its youthful population and immense natural capital. “Let us unlock the potential we have… We should feed Africans and we should feed the world,” AUC Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture Ambassador Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko said.

Adesina said African food systems have the potential to unleash $1 trillion in value over the next seven years.

Agricultural Market Information System: detail (AMIS)

While agricultural prices have declined over the past 12 months, food price inflation remains high. FAO's food price index, a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities, is down 20 percent from year-ago levels. Yet, double-digit food inflation rates are reported in many countries around the world. Food inflation remains elevated in part because of the strong US dollar, which has kept commodity prices high in local currencies, and because post-farmgate costs such as energy, transportation, and food manufacturing costs, which account for a large share of the retail price, remain high due to core inflationary pressures. The poor suffer the most from high food prices as they spend high shares of their incomes on food and have weak capacity to cope with price shocks.

How the US can support the African trade that matters for the continent’s goal of economic transformation (USAPP)

Trade relations between the US and Africa have centred on Congress’s ‘Africa Growth and Opportunities Act’ (AGOA) since 2000, designed to foster the continent’s economic development and prosperity via preferential access to American markets. Yet in the last decade African trade with the United States has stagnated at much the same levels as it was when the Act was passed.

Though no public announcement has yet been issued, and policy could change, US trade policymakers hinted at a US-Africa summit in December 2022 that AGOA will be renewed before it expires in 2025.

A more discerning critic, able to overlook the fact that most of the fall in US-Africa trade is from the displacement of African oil imports with US shale oil since 2011, might still critique the capacity of AGOA to ‘diversify sources of growth in sub-Saharan Africa’. ‘Economic diversification’ is one of the priority areas of the African Union Agenda 2063 and is perceived by many African countries to be critical to their sustainable development. Non-mineral fuel exports from Africa to the US have grown since 2001 but, at around $10 billion annually, are only about equivalent to annual US aid-for-trade disbursements to the continent.

New UN reports aim to avert continued social, economic and environmental ‘breakdown’ (UN News)

Reforming the global financial system, moving beyond Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of economic progress, and addressing technology challenges are crucial to achieving a more just and equitable future for all, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday.

He was speaking at UN Headquarters in New York, where he presented three new policy briefs on these themes to Member States.

“They touch on some of the most serious challenges we face – challenges that may determine whether we are able to achieve the vision of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, or whether we continue towards a future of continued social, financial, political and environmental breakdown,” he said.

The briefs are intended to inform discussions ahead of the crunch SDG Summit in September, marking the midpoint towards achieving the Goals, and the related Summit of the Future next year.

Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meet to Foster Cooperation for Resilient, Inclusive, Green and Digital Economies (The Commonwealth)

The 2023 Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting (CTMM) opened today at Marlborough House in London. The meeting, being held on the 5th and 6th of June, brings together trade ministers from across the Commonwealth to discuss and deliberate on key issues related to trade and investment.

The theme for this year’s CTMM is ‘Delivering a Common Future: Cooperation for Resilient, Inclusive, Green and Digital Economies.’

In her opening speech, Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC welcomed the Trade Ministers and highlighted the significance of their gathering. “We are here because we share a common vision: to achieve US$2 trillion in intra-Commonwealth trade by 2030. We gather in a time of change and challenge. All of us are tightly bound by a tangled knot of crises spanning global systems: A world living with the social, political and economic consequences of COVID-19, crippling debt, rising inflation and high interest rates, spiralling costs for food and energy, tremors of instability and conflict and the increasingly harsh impacts of climate change. In isolation, each of these challenges is grave and serious, but they interconnect, entwine, and worsen one another, threatening our collective well-being.”

India: BRICS Now An Established Part Of Global Geopolitics & Trade (Silk Road Briefing)

The BRICS group of nations is no longer an alternative to other international associations, but a bulwark of global politics, External Affairs Minister of India Subrahmanyam Jaishankar stated on Friday (June 2).

“BRICS is no longer an ‘alternative,’ it is an established feature of the global landscape. The message of reform that BRICS embodies must permeate the world of multilateralism,” Jaishanker said, adding that “The Friends of BRICS strongly support UNSC reform. BRICS is not only an expression of multipolarity but of the many and diverse ways of meeting international challenges.”

The BRICS group of nations seeks to build “a fairer, inclusive and open international architecture with sustainable development at its core,” he stated. “Creating resilient and reliable supply chains are central to ensuring that no one is left behind,” the foreign minister stressed.


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