Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

South Africa extends ban on scrap-metal exports by six months as it seeks to curb theft (Engineering News)

South Africa extended a ban on scrap-metal exports by six months as the government tries to combat theft and vandalism of public infrastructure.

Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel also ordered the International Trade and Administration Commission of South Africa to not accept or process any applications for export permits for ferrous and non-ferrous waste and scrap metal, according to a notice published in the Government Gazette on Thursday.

The theft and export of copper cables has had a severe impact on the economy and been a major contributor to power cuts and disruptions on rail lines. The ban was first proposed in August to combat illicit trade in these materials and was approved by cabinet in November.

Trade portal to bridge information gap among exporters (Monitor)

Information gap in the market has been listed as one of the challenges frustrating Ugandan exporters, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives.

Addressing exporters of fresh fruits and vegetables in Kampala on Wednesday, Ms Mary Amumpaire, the ICT officer at the Ministry, however, said a trade portal developed by the ministry can be used to relieve the exporters such frustration.

“The trade information portal ensures access to information needed to streamline the export process and fill the information gap,” she said. The portal, she argues “Is a platform providing access to fully transparent practical step-by-step guides to license, pre-clearance permits and clearance formalities for the most traded goods in and out of Uganda.”

South Sudan releases Ugandan maize, trucks one month later (Monitor)

The State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Henry Okello Oryem, has said the South Sudanese authorities have released maize and trucks from Uganda, a month after they were blocked at the border. 

Mr Oryem yesterday told Daily Monitor: “Our embassy continued to engage them [South Sudan government] and our lorries have all been released and they have come back to Uganda since Wednesday. They were forced to come back with the maize and their consignment, but we wonder why because UNBS [Uganda Bureau of Standards] has got higher standards than theirs.”

The South Sudan National Bureau of Standards (SSNBS) impounded 62 trucks loaded with maize grains, maize flour, and wheat on May 15 on allegations of failing to pass the test for contamination with aflatoxin. Ugandan traders and officials protested the move. 

Tunisia sees huge potential for enhancing trade, investment ties with China (Xinhua)

Tunisian trade officials and business leaders on Thursday highlighted the huge potential for enhancing the North Africa country’s trade and investment relations with China.

“This would be possible and achievable given the potential in the fields of green technology, renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, construction and infrastructure, health, tourism and technological and digital innovation,” Salma Elloumi, first vice-president of Confederation of Citizen Enterprises of Tunisia (CONECT International), told a Tunisia-China economic and commercial meeting held in the Tunisian capital of Tunis.

“We should also explore the possibilities of increasing professional exchange between Tunisian and Chinese companies,” Elloumi said.

Statistics presented during the meeting showed that the trade volume between Tunisia and China reached about 763 million U.S. dollars in the January-April period in 2023, an increase of 12.5 percent from the same period last year.

Jalel Tebib, director general of the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (FIPA), noted that China is Tunisia’s 4th largest commercial partner in the world and its largest partner in Asia. In 2022, China was Tunisia’s second largest supplier, he added.

São Tomé and Príncipe Accedes to the Establishment Agreement for Afreximbank’s Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA) (Afreximbank)

The Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA), the development impact-focused subsidiary of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), has announced that Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe has become the latest country to sign the FEDA Establishment Agreement.

The accession to the agreement, achieved under the guidance of Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada of São Tomé and Príncipe, demonstrates the country’s support for Afreximbank’s efforts to broaden FEDA’s effectiveness by mobilizing its Member States to sign and ratify the FEDA Establishment Agreement and to support the organization’s impact investing objectives.

New memberships broaden the scope of FEDA’s interventions and underpin the Fund’s dedication to its mission of delivering long-term capital to African economies with a focus on industrialization, intra-African trade and value-added exports.

4 more countries sign up for $25bn Nigeria-Morocco pipeline project (Vanguard)

Four more countries have signed up for the 5,000Km Nigeria-Morocco gas pipelines project estimated to cost about $25 billion to construct.

The project which is an extension of the West African Gas pipeline now has 13 countries on board. The new countries which signed a memorandum of understanding at the ECOWAS Secretariat on Friday are Republic of Benin, Guinea, Liberia and Ivory Coast.

They join Nigeria, Morocco, Ghana, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Togo and Mauritania for the multi-billion dollar pan-African project expected to deliver about four billion cubic feet of gas daily when fully operational.

AfCFTA provides opportunity for companies to export to all of Africa-Manake (News Invasion)

The Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry, Beauty Manake, says the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is an opportunity for local companies to export and expand their market within the African continent following the agreement to eliminate trade barriers in order to boost intra-Africa trade.

Manake said this while paying a courtesy call to the management of Chloride Exide Botswana (CEB) in Phakalane yesterday.

For her part, the Acting Director of the Department of Trade Development, Johanna Segotlong, said Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) and Financial Assistant Policy had contributed tremendously to the success of CEB locally by securing work permits for the Company’s skilled battery manufacturing, engineering and financial personnel.

She added that more importantly, through the export promotion of CEB’s products into the SADC market, the policy will enable the Company to become a predominately export based company over a short period.

India’s economic focus in Kenya pivots, as Asia eyes the market potential of East Africa’s 312 million people (Business Insider Africa)

Asian countries are expected to boost their investment in Kenya during the next years, according to the United Asian Network, the organization that unites all Asian nations. India would target the bigger EAC region, which has an estimated market of 312 million people, with its increasing investments.

Speaking on the sidelines of the week-long conference commemorating 75 years of India’s independence, UAN Chairman Bimal Kantaria said they will assess the contribution from a variety of angles. As a result, Asian countries will be able to plan their investments in a way that will have the biggest impact.

“Over the next five to ten years IT is going to be very important, service industry, agriculture, millet, and some of these big investments that we are talking about are going to be the future of India’s investment into the country,” said Kantaria.

India has become Kenya’s third-largest trading partner, according to the Economic Survey 2023. According to the report, India is the third-largest source of imports, although the value of items sent to Kenya fell to Sh230.9 billion last year from Sh250 billion the year before. The majority of the trade volumes sent to Kenya throughout the year were valued at 69.1% of their value from the Asian continent.

East African budgets for 2023/24

EAC finance ministers table 2023/24 Budgets (The East African)

East African Community (EAC) countries expect overall national government spending to rise in the upcoming financial year (July 1 to June 30).Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda are to present their 2023/2024 budgets before their respective parliaments on Thursday. According to the EAC Treaty, finance ministers of the partner states read their budgets simultaneously, under a common theme. 

The exemptions are Burundi, South Sudan and latest entrant the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kenya’s National Treasury and Planning Cabinet Secretary, Njuguna Ndung’u, a former central bank governor, will present his maiden Ksh3.6 trillion ($25.75 billion) budget for 2023/24, a 6.5 percent increase from the Ksh3.38 trillion ($24.18 billion) the previous year.

In Tanzania, the Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr Mwigulu Nchemba, will read his third budget of $19.23 billion (Tsh44.38 trillion), up seven percent from Tsh41.48 trillion ($18 billion).

Uganda’s $13.9 billion (Ush52.74 trillion) budget is being presented by Finance minister Matia Kasaija who has held the post since March 2015. The government has increased its spending plan by Ush4.606 trillion ($1.2 billion) from Ush48.13 trillion ($13 billion) in 2022/2023.

Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana Rwanda’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, appointed in 2018, is presenting a Rwf5.03 trillion ($4.4 billion) budget. Kigali has increased its spending plan by 5.6 percent from Rwf4.67 trillion ($4.1 billion) the previous fiscal year.

Manufacturers handed mixed bag in ‘Hustlers’ budget (People Daily)

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Prof Njuguna Ndung’u budget offered a mixed bag of goodies for local manufacturers and investors eyeing Kenya with a raft of proposals that will cushion some but hit others hard.

The CS proposed an extension of the exemption to locally purchased machinery for used by pharmaceutical companies to be exempt from VAT on importation. He however proposed the introduction of excise duty on imported sugar at the rate of Sh5 per kilo excluding the sugar imported or purchased locally by registered pharmaceutical manufacturers for use in the manufacture of pharmaceutical products.

State slashes tax on imported rice, wheat to increase supply (Nation)

The East African Community (EAC) has allowed Kenya to reduce import duty levied on rice and wheat to rates below the bloc’s common external tariff to help address the high food prices in the country.

Rice imported from countries outside the region will now be subject to a custom duty of only 35 per cent, instead of the 75 per cent charged under the EAC common tariff, while wheat from outside the region will be taxed at 10 per cent, instead of EAC’s rate of 35 per cent.

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u said the move will help meet the domestic demand of rice and wheat in efforts to bring down the high food prices Kenyans are currently grappling with.

IMF, World Bank fingerprints on Kenya’s $26bn Budget (The East African)

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u on Thursday read his first Budget speech that had fingerprints of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, a signal that President William Ruto is keen to implement the stringent conditions that came with loans from the Bretton Woods institutions. The 129-page Budget speech sought to explain the motivation behind the far-reaching revenue

Agro-industrialisation budget boosted (Monitor)

Uganda’s agro-industrialisation programme has received a boost with government increasing allocations from the Shs1.449 trillion last year to Shs1.787 trillion in the 2023/24 budget read yesterday by Finance minister Matia Kasaija.

The increase means the sector will account for 3.37 percent of the total Shs52.7 budget.

Following government’s shift to programme-based-budgeting in 2021, agriculture was allocated a cumulative total of Shs3.1 trillion; Shs1.67 trillion in 2021/22 and Shs1.453 trillion in 2022/23. In 2021/22, attention was focused on projects aimed at increasing commercialisation and competitiveness in agricultural production and agro-processing. These included; developing commodity value chains between farmers and the market; building regional warehouse storage capacities; providing affordable long-term agricultural financing and insurance and development of infrastructure to enable the private sector take advantage of export market opportunities.

The government plans to transform Uganda’s agriculture through agro-industrialisation, one of the programmes in 2021/25 NDP III. The objective is to increase total export value of processed agricultural commodities from; $935 million in 2020 to $2.7 billion; increase the agricultural sector growth rate from 3.8 to 6.0 percent, among others. 

Ms Kirabo said the planned focus on agro-industrialisation should ensure access to credible inputs like seeds, acaricides and pesticides. “Let us stop looking at the increased figure. We should dig deep. Each year the population grows at 3.2 percent, meaning those are more mouths to feed. Does the increment cater for that?... Countries like our neighbour in Kenya know their staple food is maize flour and in their budget they already know what amount of grain they will import which is not the case with our budget,” she said. 

Museveni roots for value addition in agriculture (Monitor)

President Museveni looked the picture of health as he appeared on Zoom yesterday to rally Ugandans behind the push for value addition which will make Uganda’s exports more competitive on the world market. This policy shift will help the country claw back billions lost to trading in unprocessed goods, he enthused.

Speaking after Finance minister Matia Kasaija had read the 2023/2024 national budget, Museveni states: “The Import substitution value of these industrial products is about $3.6 billion and they are bringing into the country as export earnings $1.6 billion,” he said to the audience gathered at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds.

Mr Museveni said desired levels of growth will be achieved through collective action, with lawmakers and other leaders getting behind wealth creation initiatives like Emyooga and the Parish Development Model. 

Rwanda abolishes customs tax on imported electric, hybrid vehicles (Xnihua)

Rwanda has abolished import taxes on electric vehicles, as well as vehicles that utilize both electricity and petroleum products (hybrids), including electric motorcycles, to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles and contribute to a cleaner and greener future, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning Uzziel Ndagijimana has said.

“To expedite the adoption of electric vehicles and mitigate emissions associated with petroleum-based transportation, imported electric cars, hybrid cars, and even imported electric motorcycles will be exempt from customs taxes,” the minister said Thursday while presenting the 2023-2024 fiscal year budget to the Rwandan parliament.

In a related development, Ndagijimana announced that the government has decided to charge lower customs duties compared to those imposed at the East African Community (EAC) level on a wide range of imported commodities such as rice, sugar, cooking oil, and fish, to make these important and essential goods more affordable for Rwandans.

Regional MPs call for action as EAC faces high trade deficit (The New Times)

The East African Community (EAC) is grappling with a significant trade deficit, with its import bill far surpassing its export revenues, according to data from the bloc.

This concerning situation highlights the urgent need for increased efforts to boost economic output and improve the livelihoods of its citizens, as emphasized by members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

During the EALA plenary on June 13, the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, Ezéchiel Nibigira, presented the budget estimates for the EAC’s financial year 2023/2024. He disclosed that the total trade within the EAC had increased by 13.4 percent, reaching $74 billion in 2022 compared to $65.2 billion in 2021.

However, Nibigira further revealed that the region’s total exports to the rest of the world amounted to $20.1 billion in 2022, while its imports from the rest of the world exceeded $53.8 billion. These figures indicate that the EAC is predominantly a net importer, resulting in a high trade deficit.

Exploiting natural gas can be a win-win for both Africa and Asia – Experts (AfDB)

Against the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and its impacts on food and fuel prices worldwide, representatives of the private and development sectors attending an online conference organized by the African Development Bank expressed consensus that exploiting Africa’s natural gas resources offered benefits for both African and Asian countries.

The African Development Bank’s Asia External Representation Office and its African Natural Resources Management and Investment Centre jointly organized the event, titled “A New Vision for Africa: Asia-Africa Cooperation on Natural Gas.

It aimed to spur exploration of the challenges facing global natural gas markets, including inadequate long-term investments, climate change risks and energy security concerns.

Nosizwe Nokwe-Macamo, Executive Chairman and Founder of Raise Africa Investments Pty Ltd, raised the issue of energy poverty in Africa. She said: “we have challenges on the supply side, and we’ve got huge challenges as well on the demand side.” She emphasized the urgent need for reliable and affordable energy sources.

Dr. Vanessa Ushie, Acting Director of the African Development Bank’s African Natural Resources Investment and Management Centre, called for a balancing of short to medium term opportunities for Africa to meet rising energy demand from Asia, against longer term climate change and energy transition risks. “Africa needs to move on the value chain. This is our strategic approach for all commodities, including natural gas.” She also underscored the importance of exploring inclusive and sustainable long-term solutions that are of benefit to both regions.

Food and fertilizer trade to Africa may be hampered, depending on the decision Putin makes (Business Insider Africa)

A team of African leaders is set to visit Ukraine and Russia starting this week to bring Russia’s 16-month-long war to a conclusion, and Putin has stated that he intends to discuss the Black Sea grain agreement. According to a draft framework paper seen and reported by the American news agency, Reuters on Thursday, African leaders may potentially propose to Putin an “unconditional grain and fertilizer deal.”

The Russian president, on Tuesday, noted that Russia was considering withdrawing from the Black Sea grain effort, which the United Nations and Turkey negotiated in July of last year because its grain and fertilizer supplies are being hampered. The agreement might expire on July 17.

According to Vincent Magwenya, spokesperson of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy agree on the “importance of grain deliveries to Africa for the alleviation of food insecurity.”

In remarks to reporters on Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his hope that the discussions between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of Africa would result in “a positive outcome with regard to the Black Sea initiative, as well as with regard to the efforts that we are making for the exports of Russian food and fertilizer.

Although Russia’s food and fertilizer exports are not subject to the harsh sanctions the West has placed on it because of the war, Moscow claims that limits on payments, logistics, and insurance present obstacles.

Africa endowed with productive marine ecosystems to spur Blue Economy (KBC)

Experts now say Africa’s ecosystems, teeming with a robust biodiversity, are well placed to ensure realization of the aspirations of growth in the continent’s Blue Economy industry especially as envisaged in the African Union Agenda 2063.

The acting Director of the African Union – InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) Dr. Nick Nwankpa says that the African continent is well endowed with productive ecosystems to provide resources for sustainable livelihoods, food security and wealth.

Speaking at the Knowledge Fair organised by the ECOFISH Programme in partnership with the African Union InterAfrica Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), AU-IBAR official noted that despite the crucial role that ecosystems play in socio-cultural and economic development, Aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems are highly threatened by unsustainable exploitation and “other practices that risk continued supply of ecosystem services.”

With the blue economy concept coming in to promote the sustainable use of aquatic resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and the enhancement of aquatic ecosystem health, AU-IBAR says that the African continent has instituted various efforts towards developing the various sectors of the blue economy with the Africa Blue Economy Strategy (ABES) as one of the measures aimed at realizing the envisaged goals.

The strategy themed “Developing a sustainable blue economy; increasing momentum for Africa’s Blue Growth”, has the objective of guiding the development of an inclusive and sustainable blue economy that becomes a significant contributor to continental transformation and growth through: “advancing knowledge on marine and aquatic biotechnology; environmental sustainability; the growth of Africa-wide shipping industry; the development of sea, river and lake transport; the management of fishing activities on these aquatic spaces; and the exploitation and beneficiation of deep-sea minerals and other resources.”

Barbados to host first global supply chain forum in May 2024 (UNCTAD)

UNCTAD and the Government of Barbados will hold the first Global Supply Chain Forum in the country’s capital, Bridgetown, from 21 to 24 May 2024.

Government officials, business leaders and experts will explore how to promote development through sustainable and resilient transport and logistics, improved connectivity and trade facilitation.

“To help resolve the current cascade of global crises and prepare for the future, we need shipping and supply chains to be more efficient, more resilient and far greener,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan said. “Strong, resilient and predictable supply chains will be critical to help developing countries manage the ongoing impact of the poly-crisis,” said Matthew Wilson, ambassador of Barbados to the United Nations in Geneva.

He said the forum will offer countries a platform to create solutions that support climate change adaptation, food security and economic growth.

Trillions Wasted on Subsidies Could Help Address Climate Change | World Bank Report

Trillions of dollars are wasted on subsidies for agriculture, fishing and fossil fuels that could be used to help address climate change instead of harming people and the planet, a World Bank report says.

The report, Detox Development: Repurposing Environmentally Harmful Subsidies, says global direct government expenditures in the three sectors are $1.25 trillion a year—around the size of a big economy such as Mexico. To subsidize fossil fuel consumption, countries spend about six times what they pledged to mobilize annually under the Paris Agreement for renewable energies and low-carbon development.

The report notes that government subsidies of $577 billion in 2021 to artificially lower the price of polluting fuels, such as oil, gas, and coal, exacerbate climate change, and cause toxic air pollution, inequality, inefficiency, and mounting debt burdens. Redirecting these subsidies could unlock at least half a trillion dollars towards more productive and sustainable uses.

Pricing emissions from shipping: Where should the money go? (World Bank Blog)

The backbone of worldwide trade, international shipping moves more than 80 percent of global trade by volume. As a result, international shipping accounts about three percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Unless shipping moves to zero-carbon fuels and innovative technologies to green its energy footprint, the latest estimates suggest that carbon emissions will grow by 90-130 percent by 2050, as compared to 2008 levels.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), a UN agency, aims to cut those emissions as soon as possible, with a goal of halving them (as compared to 2008 levels) by 2050. Member states are currently revising shipping’s climate ambition to set a course consistent with the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement. 

To do that, the IMO is focusing on energy efficiency, new zero-carbon fuels and technologies, and ways to make these changes cost effective and equitable for countries. Putting a price on carbon emissions is one way to do that. A carbon tax sets a price on carbon and can help reduce GHG emissions and generate revenue. Estimates show that, in shipping alone, putting a price on carbon could raise $40 to $60 billion dollars each year between 2025 and 2050.

A climate finance goal that works for developing countries (UNCTAD)

After years of failing to meet climate finance commitments, the new climate finance goal under discussion this week in Bonn is critical, but without supporting reforms of the global financial architecture we risk repeating past mistakes.

This goal will replace the climate finance commitment set in 2009, which aimed to mobilize $100 billion per year for developing countries by 2020. The $100 billion commitment, which in any case has not been met, will expire in 2025.

It’s commonly understood that the $100 billion goal is a fraction of what is needed to support developing countries to achieve climate goals in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

In the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s recent analysis of financing needs, developing countries require at least $6 trillion by 2030 to meet less than half of their existing Nationally Determined Contributions.

UNCTAD outlined four priorities at an event entitled “Options for Scaling Climate Finance” co-hosted with the German development agency GIZ and The Energy and Resources Institute at the Bonn Conference on 6 June.

Top MDBs collaborate to accelerate the circular economy (The Manila Times)

THE world’s leading Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) are stepping up their cooperation to promote the circular economy. The banks announced their combined effort at the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF2023) in Helsinki.

“Until now, financing for circular economy projects has remained marginal. Now we want to change that. Developing the capacity and tools for the proper assessment of circular economy investment will require collaboration between financial institutions. The financing of innovation is particularly important to support the emergence of circular economy solutions,” said Ambroise Fayolle, vice president of the European Investment Bank (EIB).

It is difficult for a single company to gain financing because, in the circular economy, value is created in value chains made up of several companies. Companies may also use new business models or technologies that investors consider risky.

The MDBs that agreed during WCEF2023 to tighten their cooperation aim to increase the share of impactful circular economy projects in their financing. Banks see the potential of the circular economy in achieving economic success in their target countries and in improving the ability of economies to respond to unexpected challenges and changing circumstances.

Members address financial inclusion, transport and logistics during services week (WTO)

WTO members discussed transport and logistics services, as well as financial inclusion, at two events organized on 13 and 14 June under the aegis of the Council for Trade in Services and the Committee on Trade in Financial Services respectively. They reviewed exemptions to the WTO’s most favoured nation (MFN) principle at a dedicated Council meeting on 12 June as well as other issues. A webinar organized on 13 June as part of the “Simply Services” series looked at the impact of decarbonization on transport services.

In the Services Council, members also addressed implementation issues from the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) related to WTO reform and pandemic response, the Least-Developed Country (LDC) Services Waiver — which seeks to boost the participation of LDCs in services trade — and the E-commerce Work Programme. Also under consideration were various concerns reiterated by members regarding measures affecting trade in services.

High-level panel urges action on triple planetary crisis at Trade and Environment Week (WTO)

Trade policy must be urgently and collectively wielded to address the triad of environmental problems posed by climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss, a high-level panel of speakers said at the fourth edition of Trade and Environment Week held on 12-16 June at WTO headquarters in Geneva. The week featured 18 sessions centred around the theme of collective approaches in addition to a meeting of the WTO’s Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE).


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