Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Namibia takes control of its resources as it bans the export of unprocessed vital mineral (Business Insider Africa)

The country’s Ministry of Information also disclosed that only trace amounts of the listed minerals would be allowed to be exported with the mines minister’s agreement.

Namibia is a major supplier of uranium and gem-quality diamonds, but as the globe switches to renewable energy sources, interest in its battery metals is rising. In line with the EU’s desire to lessen its reliance on China for essential minerals, Namibia and the EU reached a deal last year to provide rare earth minerals to the latter.

Zimbabwe, a different producer of lithium in Africa, barred the export of lithium ore in December and only permitted the shipment of concentrates. Zimbabwe has stated that it wants the nation’s lithium miners to strive toward producing battery-grade lithium locally and that it may eventually levy a tax on lithium concentrate exports.

African Continental Free Trade Area Awareness Workshop Goes to Mpumalanga (The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition)

Buisnesspeopole in Mpumalanga will get an opportunity to learn more about the export opportunities that are presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This will happen during the Mpumalanga leg of the awareness workshops on the implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement. The workshop will be hosted by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), in partnership with the Mpumalanga Growth Development Agency (Mega) at the Capital Hotel, in Mbombela on Thursday, 15 June 2023 from 09:00.

This will be the fourth in a series of workshops that the department is rolling out throughout the country from May-July 2023. The inaugural workshop took place in KwaZulu-Natal on 25 May 2023. Another was held in Gauteng on Monday last week, while the Limpopo leg took place in Polokwane yesterday. All the workshops received positive reviews from businesspeople who attended the sessions. They welcomed the progress and benefits that the AfCFTA will afford the private sector once implemented.

US lawmakers call for S.Africa to lose summit over Russia ties (Reuters)

A group of U.S. lawmakers is calling for a U.S.-Africa trade summit planned for later this year to be moved from South Africa in response to what they said was the country’s “deepening military relationship” with Russia.

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and other senior officials, they also suggested South Africa is in danger of losing its benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) - Washington’s flagship trade programme. South Africa is due to host the AGOA Forum in Johannesburg, a meeting of African leaders and U.S. officials to discuss the future of the programme, which is slated to expire in 2025.

South Africa’s exports to the U.S. under AGOA reached nearly $1 billion in the first three months of this year, making it the second biggest beneficiary of the programme after Nigeria.African nations are seeking to extend AGOA, which grants qualifying countries’ exports preferential access to the U.S.

National Logistics Crisis Committee to tackle transport emergencies in parallel to reform agenda (Engineering News)

The National Logistics Crisis Committee (NLCC) will adopt a two-pronged approach to addressing the rail, port and road crises currently undermining growth and job creation in South Africa, whereby several urgent interventions will be pursued in parallel to a reform agenda with longer-term implications, including the opening of rail and port networks to private operators.

The Presidency’s project management office head Rudi Dicks tells Engineering News that government and business have already agreed to jointly support the workstreams that will be formed under the NLCC, the final terms of reference for which are likely to be signed off later this week.

South Africa’s transport network holding economic growth back (Engineering News)

South Africa‘s transport modalities – all of them – are currently unable to support greater economic growth in the country. So warned South African Association of Freight Forwarders CEO Juanita Maree, addressing the forty-fifth Annual SAPICS Conference in Cape Town on Monday.

“Supply chain is more about problem solving” than anything else, she pointed out in her introductory remarks. It was “not one [transport] modality above another modality”. All were equal. But, currently, in South Africa, the roads were overused.

“There’s too many trucks on the road,” she stated. For just one example, there were 1 800 trucks driving on the N4 route from Gauteng province to Mozambique’s capital and port city of Maputo every day. But the road was not designed for such a level of heavy traffic.

This heavy dependence on road transport is the result of the severe deterioration of the country’s railway network. And South Africa’s own ports being extremely inefficient.

Uganda sets 25% tariff on imported refined sugar (Monitor)

Local sugar manufacturers can now breathe a sigh of relief after the government set a 25 percent tariff on refined sugar imports. Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Assistant Commissioner for Trade Irene Muliika announced the new tariff in a June 7 letter to Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA).

According to Ms Muliika, the import tariff is as per the East African Community (EAC) raw material duty remission scheme for 2023/2024. URA said this represents a compromise position that protects local producers of industrial refined sugar while also leaving the door open to imports for any user that requires it for technical reasons.

This is against the total ban on imports that had been proposed earlier. The 25 percent duty is in line with most other finished products produced in Uganda.

Museveni banks on oil, exports in bullish economic growth forecast (The East African)

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni has given his most optimistic view of the economy yet, projecting it to grow at an average of 6.5 percent to seven percent per annum in the next five years, banking on manufacturing, increased oil and gas activities, and exports growth — all pegged to the recovering regional and international markets, low inflation, and support to small scale enterprises.

This will push the country’s GDP to $55.2 billion by the end of the 2023/24 financial year — up from the current $49.4 billion — which translates into $156.76 billion in purchasing power parity terms, and take the country’s GDP per capita to $1,186, from $1,096 in the current financial year.

Despite slow recovery of some key sectors like tourism from the Covid-19 effect, the World Bank said in December last year that Uganda is returning to its pre-pandemic path to growth, with economic recovery boosted by the strong performance of the services and industrial sectors, buoyant private consumption, and an uptick in private investment.

the Ugandan leader took issue with the slow pace of infrastructure growth in the key sectors of the economy, particularly energy and which are supposed to power the country’s industrialisation agenda with lower tariff for manufacturers.

GRA clarifies upfront payment policy for VAT at Ports (The Business & Financial Times)

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), recently announced the introduction of an upfront payment of 12.5% on the customs values of VAT registerable imports at the various entry ports of the country.

However, the Ghana Revenue Authority has clarified that this is not a new tax, but a tool to ensure VAT compliance among importers of goods.

Speaking with Kennedy Mornah on the Eye on Port TV program, officials of the Ghana Revenue Authority indicated that the primary goal of this measure is to ensure that importers of VAT-taxable goods register.

An Assistant Commissioner and the Office manager at the Nima Taxpayer Service Centre, Mr. Joseph Fiadzo said, “the policy is aimed at roping in more taxable persons, in that, the taxpayer who is faced with the situation of upfront payment at the port, once he has registered, we will be able to know his channel of distribution and get others into the tax net.”

“We have some groups who have registered for VAT and charging VAT. Other importers will bring goods into country and will not charge VAT. If we go to the market, buying the same category of goods from these separate traders, they will cost differently,” a Senior Revenue Officer at the Spintex Taxpayer Service Center, Felicia Omotayo Owusu added.

Rwanda, AUC Sign Agreement To Establish African Medicines Agency (Heritage Times)

The Rwandan government and the African Union Commission (AUC) have concluded plans to establish first ever African Medicines Agency with headquarters in Kigali, Rwanda. On 10th June, Rwanda signed an agreement with the African Union to host the headquarters of the African Medicines Agency in Kigali.

The signing comes just a few days after the Rwandan authorities officially agreed to host the AMA’s headquarters on their territory.

According to the AUC, creation of the African Medicines Agency is part of the African Union’s strategy to reduce the continent’s dependence on pharmaceutical products supplied by foreign countries. Africa imports 97% of the pharmaceutical products it needs.

Part of its duties will be to regulate and harmonize this market on the continent, encourage production in Africa and counter the traffic in counterfeit medicines.

Gold output up 32% as country returns to top spot (The Business & Financial Times)

Domestic gold production went up 32 percent from 2.8 million ounces in 2021 to 3.7 million ounces in 2022, propelling the country to the summit as Africa’s largest producer of the precious yellow metal.

The increase, the Ghana Chamber of Mines (GCM) explains, is attributed to a combination of fresh output and expansion of production at existing large-scale mines.

Production from the large-scale sector rose from 2.7 million ounces in 2021 to 3.1 million ounces in 2022, representing an increment of 13 percent – the highest in history, with the small-scale sector accounting for the remainder.

Meanwhile, the recent upturn in export of diamonds persisted in 2022 with an expansion in the volumes from 54,174 carats in 2021 to 82,252 carats in 2022. On a year-on-year basis, the volume of diamond exports improved by 52 percent.

Cocoa prices surge as El Niño threatens production amid Ivory Coast supply concerns (The Business & Financial Times)

Cocoa prices experienced a further rally last week, due to growing concerns about the potential impact of an El Niño weather event on global cocoa production.

Last Friday, cocoa prices reached their highest level in a month for nearest-futures contracts, building on the gains observed on Thursday due to worries about the El Niño weather event. It is worth noting that cocoa prices soared to a 12-year high in 2016 when a previous El Niño event caused a drought that severely affected global cocoa production.

This is particularly significant as the Ivory Coast, the world’s leading cocoa producer, is already facing a decline in supply.

Reduced supply from the Ivory Coast is another factor supporting cocoa prices, as reported by Barchart – a platform that monitors the Cocoa Futures Market.

Liberia: Executive Order 119 should produce fruits (The New Dawn Liberia)

President George Manneh Weah issued Executive Order 119 last week Thursday, June 8, imposing surcharge on a few imported goods or raw materials to protect domestic manufacturers and stimulate economic growth. The Executive Mansion in Monrovia says Executive Order 119, which takes immediate effect, seeks to solidify gains realized under Executive Order 103 and stimulate growth in the Liberian economy.

Government says this is her way of recognizing the need to provide incentives for domestic job creation as envisaged under Pillar 2 (Economy and Job) of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) by protecting local businesses from unfair competition and international brands of locally manufactured goods.

ICC prioritises support for SMEs within AfCFTA (The Business & Financial Times)

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is prioritising support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on the continent to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), its Secretary-General, John Denton, has said.

Mr Denton, speaking to the B&FT in Accra during an official working visit to Ghana and sub-Saharan Africa, said the Chamber is working with its ICC Regional Centres of Entrepreneurship (CoEs) on the continent to prioritise and prepare SMEs to harness greater participation in the AfCFTA with emphasis on promoting cross-border trade.

Already, the ICC has built capacity for several women-led businesses in Africa with recent programmes, partnering UPS, Tralac and West Blue Consulting. The Chamber also hosted an open innovation for several startups in Nigeria, Kenya and the World Food Programme innovation accelerator in East Africa.

Well-built cities, services could rekindle African economies (The East African)

African governments will need to ramp up investments in urban infrastructure and the service industry to help revive the economic growth needed to eradicate absolute poverty.

As Africa’s population continues to grow fastest in the world, a new report by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) shows that, despite positive signs at the start of this century, Africa’s economies took a different turn in the second decade and might get into a deeper plunge if nothing is done now.

Compared to other emerging economies like India and China, Africa’s GDP grew at a relatively slower pace between 2000 and 2019 and even slower over the last decade.

“Gaps in infrastructure and skills, along with relatively high hurdles to conducting business, low levels of intracontinental trade, and dependence on natural resources, were obstacles to Africa’s growth,” said the report. Due to these hurdles, Africa’s GDP in 2019 was $400 billion less than what it could have been had the economy continued to grow at the same pace it did in the 2000 – 2010 period.

To reignite growth, MGI argues Africa needs to focus on improving the productivity of the service industry, which is emerging to be the largest employer not only in emerging markets, but across the globe.

Private sector pushes harmonised taxation to ease cost of business (The East African)

The private sector in East Africa has added its voice to the debate on the un-harmonised proposed tax increments in partner states ahead of the reading of the financial year 2023/24 budgets. Most of the taxes have not been harmonised across the region thereby likely to lead to a high cost of doing business.

Of those proposed in the Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda budgets, the only one that has been harmonised is the income tax, at 30 percent. The rest, including value added tax (VAT), vary in their application, a factor that impacts cross-border business.

Eritrea rejoins east Africa trade and security bloc IGAD after 16 years (Africanews)

Eritrea says it is ready to work toward “peace, stability and regional integration after it rejoined the East African bloc, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Monday. It comes nearly 16 years after the politically isolated state pulled out of the bloc.

The east African nation led by 77 year old Isaias Afwerki who has ruled for three decades, had suspended its IGAD membership in 2007 after a string of disagreements. One of them was the bloc’s decision to ask Kenya to oversee the resolution of a border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Powering up southern Africa (African Review)

With southern Africa experiencing a serious power deficit which is taking its toll on economic productivity, multiple initiatives are underway to alleviate the crisis

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is seen as a country with massive hydroelectric power potential to mitigate the crisis currently experienced in multiple countries in southern Africa. The Zambian-based Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) has significantly invested in the construction of a second power interconnector line to DRC that will increase transmission capacity from 260MW to 550MW to address electricity challenges in Zambia and the sub region.

African countries should go into partnerships whenever undertaking power projects in order to adopt sustainable solutions and speed up implementation processes. Zambia is on the right path as it has already embraced the concept of integration as evidenced by the estimated US$5bn Batoka hydro power project, which is being undertaken in conjunction with Zimbabwe, while other projects in the North of the country are being considered in partnership with DRC.

African business leaders chafe at obstacles to trade (eNCA)

More than four years ago, African countries gave the ceremonial push to a deal to scrap internal trade barriers -- a historic scheme that would create a continent-wide single market worth trillions of dollars. But African business leaders say cross-border trade remains entangled in customs duties, administrative hurdles and varying national regulations.

Costs and delays are hampering African corporations fighting to compete with low-cost rivals, they say.

Its secretary-general, South African trade expert Wamkele Mene, told the Africa CEO Forum that “fragmentation” in the continent’s market had worsened in the past decades. “Every African activity has been negatively impacted by this fragmentation,” he said.

The problems are having an impact on African companies competing with developing-country counterparts facing lower or even zero hurdles.

Brazil’s Lula eyes trips to Africa to boost trade, diplomacy (Engineering News)

Brazil is seeking to mend ties with Africa, largely ignored by the Bolsonaro administration, as the government prepares for two rounds of official trips to the continent.

Besides repairing diplomatic relations, Brazil wants to widen its economic footprint in Africa as it sees trade and business potential in the region, in line with the Brazilian government’s South-South integration agenda.

G20 Development Ministers’ Meeting (UNCTAD)

The 2030 Agenda, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, is not just a set of targets. It is a promise we made to ourselves and to future generations. It is the last collective roadmap in a world that is more polarized than ever, a world in desperate need of solidarity and multilateralism.

If we do not save SDGs today, there will be nothing left to save us tomorrow. And yet, we will fail to save them, if we don’t quickly take action. We cannot act as if failure is an acceptable option. The SDGs are simply too big to fail.

Cascading crises have set us back. A cost-of-living crisis has disproportionally hit developing countries and the most vulnerable. By nearly every measure, we are moving backwards. Backwards on ending poverty. Backwards on hunger. Backwards on women’s rights. And backwards on development, with only 12 per cent of the Sustainable Development Goals on track.

The UN SDG Stimulus plan calls for three things to widen countries’ fiscal space for development and foster sustainable investments: first, massive lending increases from multilateral development banks, leveraging private resources; second, a multilateral answer to growing debt distress, so that no country is forced to either service their debt or serve their people; and third, strengthening the global financial safety net.

Security in digital economy a global challenge: Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar (Deccan Herald)

Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Monday said that security in the digital economy is a global challenge and a partnership approach is needed to tackle it. He was addressing G20 delegates at the Global Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) summit at the third Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG) meeting here in Maharashtra.

“The digital economy security is neither a domestic issue nor a domain in which selective cooperation is enough,” said the Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology. He asserted that a common understanding must be devised to improve the domestic, legal, technical, and economic aspects of security in the digital economy.

“With the rise of health tech, fintech, e-commerce, artificial intelligence, and Internet of Things companies, businesses now hold large data sets that hold sensitive and personal data of consumers. Sectorally, most cyber crimes are reported in the financial services sector, followed by the healthcare sector.

UK exports in last decade worse than any G7 country except Japan (The Guardian)

Britain has endured the worst exports record of any member of the G7 besides Japan over the last decade, according to a new analysis that will raise pressure on the government to reconsider its post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.

As most of the world’s other major seven economies have rebounded from the pandemic, export growth has remained sluggish in the UK at a time when businesses trading with the EU faced extra red tape and costs as a result of the country leaving the bloc.

Figures from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) show that the UK’s goods and services exports had a value of £813bn in 2012 and rose by just 6% to £862.6bn by 2021.

That compares with the double-digit increases enjoyed by Canada (10.2%), France (16.1%), Germany (22.7%), Italy (15.9%) and the US (13.8%). The EU’s 27 member states as a whole enjoyed a 29.1% increase in the value of their exports in the same period.

From rule-taker to rule-maker: Africa in the changing world order (ECFR)

African countries have long been discontent with the existing multilateral system, which they joined as rule-takers from a vast colonial territory under the domination of various European powers. There is much in the history and contemporary experiences of African partnerships with the West that the countries of the continent are right to be uncomfortable and even outraged about, including perceived Western political, economic, and cultural imposition, double standards, and conditional support. Today, Africa boasts 55 member states of the United Nations, vast natural resource endowments, an overwhelmingly youthful population, and strong prospects of becoming the next pole of global economic growth, making it well placed to be a joint rule-maker.

Many African leaders are looking east to China, India, Russia, Turkey, and other (re-)emerging powers, large and medium, for partnership. Zimbabwe was the first to officially espouse a “Look East Policy”, which it adopted in 2003 when the United States and the European Union imposed sanctions against the government’s alleged assault on human rights and the rule of law, and began to work closely with China as a strategic, economic, military, and political partner. However, Harare is far from alone in its resolve to consciously diversify relations away from the West by cultivating them with countries of the east, especially China. China is now Africa’s biggest trading partner, with $117.51 billion worth of imports from the continent and $164.49 billion of exports to it in 2022.

Some commentators argue that Africa is already suffering the consequences of engaging in a more competitive multipolar world without clarity of vision and purpose. Various centres of power, from the EU and the US, to India, Turkey, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates, are competing for the continent’s natural resources, markets, and military bases. As they seek avenues to plug African countries into their global geopolitical schemes, the region is becoming fragmented, undermining its capacity for coordinated collective action.

However, despite the slow pace so far, it is not too late for the continent to play a robust and autonomous role in defining the rules of a new world order.


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