Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News
Photo credit: Chris Kirchhoff | MediaClub South Africa

SA’s logistics chain in ‘desperate’ need of PPPs – SAAFF (Engineering New)

Port and rail parastatal Transnet and government cannot “go it alone” to repair South Africa’s strained logistics network, says South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF) CEO Dr Juanita Maree.

“Our current ports and rail model is, at best, archaic compared to international standards, while it also fails the country’s socio-economic growth and development goals.”

Maree says South Africa “desperately needs” a public-private partnership (PPP) model that will create jobs and attract “much-needed” investment in the logistics sector and the economy.

SA’s strong exports surprisingly narrowed current account deficit (The Citizen)

South Africa’s strong exports narrowed the country’s current account deficit in the first quarter of 2023, declining to a seasonally adjusted and annualised deficit of R66.2 billion or 1% of GDP. The narrowing surprised economists as it follows the steep deficit of R155 billion (2.3% of GDP) in the fourth quarter of 2022.

According to data released by the Reserve Bank (Sarb) today, South Africa’s trade surplus widened from R34.2 billion in the fourth quarter to R103 billion in the first quarter as the value of goods exports increased more than that of merchandise imports.

The shortfall on the services, income and current transfer account narrowed for a third consecutive quarter to R169 billion from R190 billion in the fourth quarter. The Sarb says the smaller deficit emanated from a smaller deficit on the services account, while the deficits on the primary and secondary income accounts increased.

Namibia exported goods worth N$218m to Kenya in five years (Windhoek Observer)

Namibia exported goods to a value of N$218.7 million during the period 2015 to 2022 to Kenya, Namibia Statistics Agency has revealed. Statistician General, Alex Shimuafeni said on the demand side, Namibia imported goods amounting to N$89.2 million from Kenya over the same period. The statistics on Kenya was part of the NSA’s comment on the intra-Africa trade that looked at Namibia’s trade with Kenya.

The NSA commented that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want. It is a high ambition trade agreement, with a comprehensive scope that includes critical areas of Africa’s economy, such as digital trade and investment protection, amongst other areas.

The NSA further said during April 2023, Namibia imported goods amounting to N$ 4.3 billion from the rest of Africa with goods valued at N$0.1 million being sourced from Kenya, whereas, on the supply side, the country supplied Africa with goods worth N$ 4.2 billion during the month under review with N$1.9 million of goods destined to Kenya. The export basket to Kenya mainly comprised of alcoholic beverages.

AfCFTA holds promise for SA exports, but implementation roadblocks remain (Engineering News)

While the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement presents a significant opportunity to access a larger market for South Africa‘s exports and the local manufacturing sector, industry organisation Manufacturing Circle executive director Philippa Rodseth highlights the need for extensive work in terms of implementation.

Speaking during Creamer Media’s local manufacturing-focused webinar, she mentioned ongoing discussions and negotiations relating to trade bloc and tariff agreements as some of the challenges that needed to be addressed.

“From an industry perspective, manufacturers need to be more proactive and well informed about the agreements and opportunities within the regional value chain,” Rodseth noted, stressing the need to understand South Africa‘s trade interests, both in terms of exporting products and defending against imports.

To do this, she suggested that South Africa‘s manufacturing industry “work towards providing valuable insights to South African trade negotiators and find ways to address nontariff barriers”.

Sinimbo embraces African free trade e-commerce (New Era)

The inclusion of a digital trade protocol within the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) should minimise many already existing challenges across the continent. This can significantly contribute to poverty reduction through the employment as well as e-commerce training and capacity building.This is according to deputy trade and minister Verna Sinimbo who shared these sentiments in London this week during a two-day Commonwealth trade ministers meeting.

“The e-commerce will decrease transportation costs for trade deliveries by removing tariff barriers and will upgrade digital infrastructure by establishing more reliable payment solutions and improving internet access across the continent,” Sinimbo explained.

She added that due to the complexity of e-commerce, it overlaps with many areas of trade and law, such as consumer protection, data protection, intellectual property rights, competition policy, tax-related issues as well as regulation on online dispute settlement.

Angola committed to AfCFTA accession process (Angop)

Angola remains committed to the process of accession to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), ANGOP learnt on Thursday. The country’s engagement was announced by the director of the Legal Office for Exchange of the Ministry for Trade and Industry, Anatólio Domingos.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of AfCFTA Secretariat’s visit to the Trade and Industry Ministry, Anatólio Domingos said the country needs to reach 90 percent of liberalisation of certain products to achieve this goal.

“After the completion of the work, he said, the proposal will be submitted to AfCFTA secretariat division for verification. After a positive response, it will be forwarded to the minister before being submitted to the Cabinet Council for approval,” he explained.

In terms of products and services to be exempted from the customs tariff, Domingos said there are 5,417 tariff lines. For immediate liberalisation, the agreement requires 90 percent of the lines.

Final Communiqué of the 22nd Summit of the COMESA Authority of Heads of State & Government (COMESA)

The Twenty Second Summit of the COMESA Authority of Heads of State & Government was hosted in physical format at Mulungushi International Conference Centre, Lusaka, Zambia on 8 June 2023, under the theme: “Economic Integration for a Thriving COMESA Anchored on Green Investment, Value Addition and Tourism”. The Authority reached agreement in the following trade-related areas, among others: the COMESA Free Trade Area; COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Arrangement; Promotion of Movement of Persons, Labour, and Services; Infrastructure Development; and Agriculture, Industry and Private Sector Development.

COMESA SG Outlines Key Achievements on Regional Integration (COMESA)

Secretary General Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe presented detailed report on key developments and achievements recorded in the past year in the COMESA region under the market integration and physical integration pillars.

Presenting her State of Integration Report to the 22nd COMESA Heads of State and Governments Summit, the SG revealed that under trade liberalization, membership to the COMESA Free Trade Area remained at 16 states with the four countries the DR Congo, Eritrea, Eswatini and Somalia at different stages of full liberalisation.

“There was significant increase in COMESA’s trade globally and within the region above the pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels. The value of COMESA’s total exports to the world significantly increased by 56% from US$ 100 billion in 2020 to US$ 156 billion in 2021. The sectors that contributed to this increase were manufactures, fuels, ores and metals and food,” she said.

Report on the State of Integration of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)

This report highlights developments and status of the regional integration process in COMESA since the 21st Summit held in November 2021, Cairo, Egypt. The report covers key achievements, challenges & constraints and proposed way forward.

Within the period, the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a considerable blow to economies in the region. Food insecurity increased, export revenues shrank, tourism sectors collapsed, while healthcare & social protection requirements ballooned, even as the pandemic eased. In addition, the conflict in Europe exacerbated budgetary pressures on prices of food, fuel and fertilizer with increase in debt burdens.

However, COMESA continued implementation of various programmes under the 2021-2025 Medium Term Strategic Plan whose key pillars include: Market Integration, Physical Integration/Connectivity, Productive Integration, and Gender and Social Integration.

Building investment partnerships in ECOWAS and COMESA regions (News Ghana)

The International Trade Centre (ITC), in collaboration with the COMESA Business Council and the COMESA Regional Investment Authority, are promoting trade and investment between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) regions.

As part of the West Africa Competitiveness Programme (WACOMP) implemented by ITC, a joint networking event manifested investment opportunities in targeted sectors and value chains, while fostering stronger partnerships between the two regions.

‘In the face of increased competition to attract international businesses, West African countries arguably have a strong card to play. To the extent that investors are well aware of all of these positive developments, international businesses ready to settle in the region will undoubtedly enjoy great returns, while being part of a collective journey towards greater economic and social vibrancy and the emergence of a dominant economic player in Africa and beyond.’ Akadiri Aminou, CEO, Federation of West Africa Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FEWACCI)

Ruto says AU member states will benefit more from stronger union (The Standard)

President William Ruto has called for reforms at the African Union (AU) to unite the continent. Ruto said he had discussed this with legislators of the Pan African Parliament and emphasised the need to adapt the AU to present realities.

“To ensure that the African Union performs at the level of its aspirations, it will be necessary to make sure that it empowers itself with sufficient capacity. Otherwise, African Solutions, Agenda 2063, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, and the Young, Clean Green Continent of the Future will never be a reality,” he said.

“Member states must consider donating power to AU in trade, regional and global security matters as well as other areas that Africa can benefit from engaging together rather than individually,” he said.

African Union Retreat on Institutional Reforms and the second decade of Agenda 2063 kicks off (AU)

The African Union Retreat on Institutional Reforms and the preparations of the second decade of Agenda 2063 is currently underway in Kigali, Rwanda.

the retreat will discuss the second ten-year plan of Agenda 2063 that spans from 2024 to 2033. The Agenda 2063, adopted in January 2015, embodies the aspirations of the African people and is operationalized through 5 ten-year implementation plans, with the first plan spanning from 2014 to 2023. The implementation of the second decade of Agenda 2063 will be focused on acceleration, building on the first decade that focused on convergence. Valuable lessons learned from the first decade of Agenda 2063 have been captured in the biennial progress reports and the evaluation of the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan, among other documents, which in turn informed the design of the successor ten-year plan. Key among the revelations was the perception widely held by African citizens that Agenda 2063 is as relevant to the Continent’s development discourses as it was in 2013.

Financing the reforms and Agenda 2063 remains a top priority. Prof. Manasseh Nshuti, Rwanda’s Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Charge of East African Community, underscored the urgency for the African Union to realize its vision for reliable and predictable financing mechanism stating, “the Union’s reliance on external partner funding demands sincere discussions to achieve operational autonomy progressively. Since the Kigali Summit of 2016, AU Member States fully fund the organization’s operating budget. However, the continued dependence on external partners for program budget and peacekeeping operations defeats the Johannesburg decision to achieve 75%, and 25% Member States funding. These shortcomings raise questions about our commitment to peacekeeping operations and conflict prevention.”

Continent livestock project seeks to grow production and trade (The Standard)

Africa’s lifeblood is largely dependent on livestock farming, providing livelihoods, food security, and income opportunities for its populace. At the heart of recognising this immense potential was the African Union’s Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) that since 2017, embarked on a journey with the Sustainable Development of Livestock for Livelihoods in Africa (Live2Africa) project. This transformative initiative was poised to revolutionise the livestock sector, fostering sustainable development and empowering communities across the continent.

Live2Africa focused on addressing the key challenges faced by livestock farmers, improving productivity, enhancing market access, and promoting environmentally friendly practices. Now coming to its end the project that was majorly funded by AU member states and the European Union, focussed its activities aligned with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 development goals. According to Dr Nick Nwankpa, the acting Director of AU-IBAR, leveraging partnerships with governments, research institutions, and local communities, the project was a success.

India is open to negotiate trade agreement with Africa: Goyal (The New Indian Express)

India has expressed interest in negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) with Africa with an aim to boost economic ties between the two regions. This was stated by commerce and industry Minister Piyush Goyal during his interaction with fifteen ambassadors from several countries of the African region here on Thursday.

“India is open to FTA negotiations bilaterally or individually with African countries or Africa as a whole,” he said. India would act as a trusted partner to expand trade, commerce, business, investment and opportunities with Africa, he said. In such agreements, two or more trading partners either significantly reduce or eliminate customs duties on the maximum number of goods traded between them.

IATA joins forces to strengthen Focus Africa (Airlines)

Focus Africa will strengthen aviation’s contribution to Africa’s economic and social development and improve connectivity, safety and reliability for passengers and shippers. It will see private and public stakeholders deliver measurable progress in six critical areas: safety, infrastructure, connectivity, finance and distribution, sustainability and skills development.

“Focus Africa is all about establishing a coalition of partners committing to pool their resources and delivering a set of African air transport solutions that let the continent, its people and economies play a greater, more meaningful and representative role in the global economy. The combined contributions of AFCAC and AASA will be critical to Focus Africa’s success. Africa accounts for 18% of the global population but less than 3% of global GDP and just 2.1% of air passenger and cargo transport activity. With the right interventions those gaps will be closed, and Africa will benefit from the connectivity, jobs and growth that aviation enables,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

Financing Climate-Resilient Infrastructure in Africa (ThinkTwenty (T20) India 2023)

Amidst rapidly escalating climate crises, there is an urgent need to enable African countries to remodel existing financial infrastructure with the aim of strengthening climate resilience and developing green infrastructure. As the world scrambles towards decarbonisation, the G20 nations, which represent the largest source of wealth, with 85 percent of global GDP, are well equipped to support vulnerable countries.

This Policy Brief proposes three mechanisms whereby the G20 can support African countries: providing grant funding and technical assistance to the Programme for Infrastructure Development for Africa (PIDA) to increase the number of high-quality bankable projects and mobilise financiers; strengthening the coordination of climate financing from the G20 countries to the continent; and unlocking financial technology and entrepreneurship to mobilise financing for bankable projects. This Brief further recommends that the G20 should use its technical capacity, financial muscle, and convening power to put African countries on the path towards climate resilience.

On World Oceans Day, DG Okonjo-Iweala welcomes EU acceptance of fishing subsidies agreement (WTO)

The European Union this week deposited its instrument of acceptance of the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, marking a major development towards the Agreement’s entry into force. The EU’s instrument of acceptance was presented to Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in Paris on the side lines of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Ministerial Council Meeting by Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell of Sweden, which currently holds the Presidency of the Council of the EU; European Commission Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade Valdis Dombrovskis; and European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius.

“On this day when the international community comes together to celebrate and protect our ocean, I urge more WTO members to ratify the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies so it can enter into force, and start delivering sustainable benefits for marine fisheries, as soon as possible. I also call on all WTO members to continue and deepen their engagement in the second wave of fisheries subsidies negotiations, so that a successful conclusion can be reached at our 13th WTO Ministerial Conference next February in Abu Dhabi.”

Strong and effective WTO a vital tool for building economic resilience — DG Okonjo-Iweala (WTO)

Speaking to a ministerial gathering at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris on 7 June, Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said a strong and effective WTO is a vital tool for building resilience in an increasingly shock-prone global economy. She called for a strategy of “re-globalization” which would build greater resilience by bringing more marginalized countries and communities into the global economic mainstream.

In her address, the Director-General noted that “shortages and bottlenecks of the past three years have exposed genuine vulnerabilities in the way supply chains are organized.”

“A better path to resilience lies in deeper, deconcentrated and more diversified global chains, achieved by bringing more countries and communities from the margins of the global economy to the mainstream,” she told ministers. “At the WTO, we are calling this ‘re-globalization’.”


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