Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

SA tyre manufacturers commit to carbon net-zero by 2050 (Engineering News)

All four of South Africa‘s local tyre manufacturers have committed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Bridgestone South Africa, Continental Tyre South Africa, Goodyear South Africa, and Sumitomo Rubber South Africa – all members of the South African Tyre Manufacturers Conference (SATMC) – say they are making a collective effort to mitigate climate change.

“Climate change impacts us all and we are all demanding real action from each other,” says SATMC managing executive Nduduzo Chala.

“We are proud that SATMC and its member companies have responded to this call to take action with a range of measures aimed at reducing emissions, using energy responsibly, and cementing a circular economy to reduce and eliminate waste.”

Export: NQC promotes global awareness for goods production (Tribune Online)

The National Quality Council (NQC) is promoting stakeholder awareness of the implementation and adherence to specified standards required for the production of goods globally. This initiative aims to reduce the high rate of rejections faced by Nigeria in the international market.

Aboloma mentioned that countries like America, Europe, Asia, and some African nations that have promoted harmonized quality infrastructure are reaping the benefits with a significant influx of foreign exchange from unhindered exports.

According to a statement by Bola Fashina, the Chairman stressed that the NQC would promote industry access to affordable and globally acceptable conformity assessment services. The goal is for Nigerian-made products to be marketed under the motto: “Tested once, certified once, and accepted everywhere.”

Tunisia: Food trade deficit shrinks in May (ZAWYA)

Tunisia’s food trade deficit fell to TND 487.4 million in late May against TND 838.1 million during the same period last year, data released by the National Observatory of Agriculture (French: ONAGRI) show. This is due to higher olive oil exports (+ 29%) against a drop in grain imports (-16.3%) despite a faster growth in the imports of bran (+23.8%) and sugar (+126%).

The coverage rate of imports by exports stands at 85.6% against 76% during the first five months of 2022, knowing that Tunisia posted an 8.8% rise in the value of food exports compared to a 3.4% decline in the value of imports 4%.

Grain imports account for 54.7% of all food imports until the end of May 2023, against 63.2% during the same period last year. Purchases mainly include wheat (TND 1076 million), that is 58.3% of grain imports.

Business booms in Uganda, Rwanda border towns after controls lifted (The East African)

The business community at Katuna and Cyanika border posts in Kabale and Kisoro districts, respectively, have expressed joy after Rwandan authorities lifted travel restrictions on their nationals crossing into Uganda. The chairperson of the business community at Katuna border post, Mr Franko Korinako, yesterday said cross-border trade is now booming since the Rwandans freely cross into Uganda.

Although the Rwandan borders with Uganda were reopened in March last year after being closed for three years, Rwandan nationals were not being allowed to cross into Uganda unless they had paid Rwf5,000 Rwandan (about Ush15,000 - $4.37) each for a Covid-19 PCR test, something that many ordinary citizens could not afford. The Rwandans had also been stopped from buying household and food items from Ugandan border markets.

“The revival of cross-border trade between Uganda and Rwanda will not only boost the trade but also strengthen the social interactions that had been banned,” LC3 chairperson for Chyanika border post, Mr Erasmus Sanyu said.

EALA passes motion to expedite EAC single currency (The New Times)

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) on Wednesday, June 21, passed, with amendments, the motion to urge the Council of Ministers and partner states to use local currencies in all transactions in the East African Community (EAC) so as to boost regional trade.

MP Odongo George Stephen (Uganda) argued that “by passing this motion, the Assembly will have helped the EAC to boost volumes of trade and services among EAC partner states, promote and give confidence to the local community to participate in inter-country trade, and save billions charged as exchange fee by third party.”

He added that it would be a precursor of the EAC single currency in line with the EAC Monetary Union.

SADC reviews progress on implementation of initiatives enhancing Financial Inclusion in the Region (SADC)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Financial Inclusion Subcommittee has reviewed progress on the implementation of Financial Inclusion initiatives in the Region, including the development of the new five-year SADC Strategy on Financial Inclusion and Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Access to Finance at its ordinary meeting held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 13th to 15th June 2023.

The Draft Strategy on Financial Inclusion and SMEs Access to Finance envisages an inclusive, stable and innovative SADC financial system that empowers individuals and businesses to access and use domestic and international capital and to contribute to industrialisation, inclusive growth and resilient, and sustainable economic well-being. This vision contributes to the overarching SADC Vision 2050 for a peaceful, inclusive, competitive middle to high income industrialised Region, where all citizens enjoy sustainable economic well-being, justice and freedom.

The meeting deliberated on the Draft Financial Inclusion Gender Action Plan which provides strategic direction to Member States in realising the objectives of the SADC Strategy for Financial Inclusion and SMEs Access to Finance.

Standard Bank and PAPSS Partner to Enhance Cross-Border Payment Across Africa (BusinessGhana)

Standard Bank of South Africa Limited and The Pan African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate settlement of cross-border transactions of the Group, including the transactions of all their subsidiaries through PAPSS. The MoU was signed on Monday, 19 June 2023 during the opening ceremony of the 30th Afreximbank Annual Meeting (AAM) held in Accra, Ghana

PAPSS is financial market infrastructure that provides a secure and efficient channel for processing cross-border payments, ensuring speed, affordable cost, and reliability in order to facilitate intra-African trade.

By leveraging the capabilities of PAPSS, Standard Bank affiliates in more than 20 countries, will streamline and expedite the transfer of funds while ensuring transparency and compliance under the Regulators supervision. Additionally, the partnership aligns with the African Union’s vision of promoting intra-African trade and economic integration through enhanced financial connectivity. By leveraging their combined expertise, Standard Bank of South Africa and PAPSS are poised to contribute to the growth and development of the African economy.

Africa energy forum opens in Kenya (New Era)

The 25th edition of the Africa energy forum opened in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi Tuesday with delegates renewing the call for greater uptake of clean sources of energy to secure a climate-resilient future for the continent. Kenyan president William Ruto opened the forum that has gathered senior policymakers, industry executives, investors, researchers and innovators to discuss energy security in Africa.

Ruto said securing a greener, prosperous and resilient future for Africa calls for the optimal harnessing of the continent’s vast renewable energy sources like hydropower, geothermal, solar and wind. He said that by investing in cross-border energy projects, African countries will bridge the access gap that has stifled industrialization, poverty alleviation and social cohesion.

The four-day forum, held under the theme, ‘Africa for Africa’, will focus on strategic themes including scaling-up renewables uptake, breaking down barriers to green energy transition and positioning Africa as a hydrogen powerhouse.

African Union Commission and the Republic of Rwanda Convene the Second Extraordinary Session of the Conference of States Parties to ‎the African Medicines Agency (AMA) Treaty (AU)

The African Union (AU) Commission, in collaboration with the Government of the ‎Republic of Rwanda, is convening the Second Extraordinary ‎Session of the Conference of States Parties (CoSP) to ‎the African Medicines Agency (AMA) ‎Treaty from 19-20 June 2023 ‎in Kigali, Rwanda. The effective operationalisation of AMA is envisioned to enhance the capacity of State ‎Parties and the African Union (AU) recognised Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to ‎regulate ‎medical products and technologies to improve access to quality, ‎safe and ‎efficacious medical products on the continent.‎

“‎A more robust, harmonised drug regulatory environment, including ‎cooperative commercial authorisation of medicines developed by African ‎pharmaceutical companies, as envisioned by the AMA, is an integral part of a ‎well-functioning ecosystem for health vital to health security, universal ‎health coverage, and healthy populations.‎.. The AMA can help grow Africa into a resilient manufacturing powerhouse ‎bringing African solutions to impeding socioeconomic challenges, which will ‎boost the Africa ‎Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), unifying AU ‎Member States‎. I encourage collective effort from all AU Member States to operationalise AMA,” noted H.E. Amb. Minata Samate Cessouma,‎ Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, African Union Commission.

Least developed countries striving to embrace Fourth Industrial Revolution (UNESCO)

Growth in least developed countries in scientific publishing on cross-cutting strategic technologies such as artificial intelligence & robotics, energy, bioinformatics and materials science outpaced that of more developed countries between 2011 and 2019, according to the UNESCO Science Report (2021).

Least developed countries are embarking on the same transition to ‘green’ and digital societies as more developed countries, in order to achieve their development goals, including poverty reduction and universal access to energy and Internet. This dual transition is a vital element of their industrialization strategies but LDCs face a major challenge in keeping up with the rapid pace of technological progress.

Carry-over effects of Covid-19 worsen Africa’s debt repayment, says head of AFDB (News24)

The president of the African Development Bank Group (AFDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, says Africa’s external debt will, by next year, have gone up by 2.65% due to the carry-over effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. He was speaking to The Paris Club, a group of officials from key creditor countries tasked with finding coordinated and long-term solutions to debtor countries’ payment challenges.

So far, Africa’s external debt is R20.163 trillion (US$1.1 trillion), and by next year, the projection by the AFDB is R20.71 trillion.

Over the past 10 years, the structure of Africa’s debt has changed dramatically. “While bilateral debt represented 52% of total debt in 2000, this declined to 25% by 2021; commercial debt’s share of total debt increased from 17% in 2000 to 43% in 2021. “This trend was spurred by the very low global interest rates, with investors looking for yields in emerging markets,” said Adesina.

Macron hosts Chad, Gabon leaders ahead of ‘Summit for a New Global Financing Pact’ (Africanews)

French President Emmanuel Macron received, Wednesday (June 21), his counterpart from Chad, Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno for talks, on the eve of the so-called summit for a New Global financial Pact. Restructuring debt and reducing poverty by getting the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals targets back on course will top the agenda.

Financial leaders will participate as well as activists from around the world. All, will seek ways to overhaul the world’s development banks like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank and help them operate in the face of the climate crisis which has further fragilized developing nations.

Experts are expected to announce Thursday that the pledge to provide poor nations with $100 billion in aid each year to tackle global change is estimated to be met for the first time this year. First made in 2009 and reaffirmed at the 2015 Paris climate summit, the promise had never been fulfilled.

Financial system must evolve in ‘giant leap towards global justice’: Guterres (UN News)

Speaking at the Paris Finance Summit, Mr. Guterres said many African States were spending more on debt repayments than on desperately needed healthcare, and that over 50 countries were either in default or “dangerously” close to it.

The UN chief called for a debt relief mechanism that supports payment suspensions, longer lending terms and lower rates to make borrowing more affordable for poorer nations, as well as increased access to liquidity for developing countries via the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Rights. Mr. Guterres also repeated his urgent call to end fossil fuel subsidies and increase climate adaptation funding for vulnerable countries.

“Taken together, these steps would help to beat poverty and hunger, uplift developing and emerging economies, and support investments in health, education and climate action,” he said, stressing that the measures would enable a “giant leap” towards global justice.   

UK announces climate partnerships with Africa and the Caribbean (GOV.UK)

Speaking at the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact in Paris today (22 June), UK Minister for Development and Africa Andrew Mitchell will announce that UKEF has started discussions with 12 partner countries in Africa and the Caribbean to add Climate Resilient Debt Clauses (CRDCs) to its new and existing loan agreements.

The clauses allow governments to delay their debt repayments and free up resources to fund disaster response and recovery, with the first UK-led CRDCs expected to go live in the coming months.

Minister for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell, said: Developing countries face painful trade-offs between rebuilding their communities and making debt repayments in the wake of climate shocks. The partnerships with Africa and the Caribbean I’m announcing today are a milestone towards reducing these pressures, with Climate Resilient Debt Clauses providing relief for those countries hit hardest by extreme weather events. Allowing for a temporary pause in debt repayment is important because it gives affected communities the breathing space they need to focus on the urgent task at hand: recovery.

IMF Managing Director Remarks at the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact (IMF)

FAO set to support implementation of landmark treaty for conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity on high seas (FAO)

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has welcomed the approval by UN member states of a landmark legally binding agreement, under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in international waters, covering nearly two-thirds of world’s ocean.

FAO is set to support its Members in implementing the accord, often referred to as the “High Seas Treaty”, on safeguarding Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ), which has been under discussion for nearly two decades and was approved at an intergovernmental conference in New York on 19 June after 5 negotiating sessions.

Annual Renewable Power Must Triple by 2030 (IRENA)

In the first volume of the World Energy Transitions Outlook (WETO) 2023 released today, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) identifies the way forward to immediately course correct the 1.5°C climate pathway. The report calls for raised global ambition in renewables deployment, enabled by physical infrastructure, policy, and regulations, and underlining institutional and workforce capabilities.

The WETO 2023: 1.5°C Pathway positions electrification and efficiency as key transition drivers, enabled by renewable energy, clean hydrogen, and sustainable biomass and tracks implementation across all energy sectors. According to the latest edition, some progress has been made, mainly in the power sector with record additions in global renewable capacity of 300 gigawatt (GW) in 2022. However, the gap between what has been achieved and what is required continues to grow.

More ambitious renewable energy targets are needed; the world must add an average of 1,000 GW of renewable power capacity annually by 2030, as well as significantly increase the direct use of renewables in end-use sectors. With the first Global Stocktake concluding at COP28 in the UAE, WETO provides much-needed clarity on priority actions in the coming years.

The State of Commodity Dependence 2023 (UNCTAD)

A country is dependent on the export of commodities (or “commodity-dependent”) when its merchandise exports are heavily concentrated on primary commodities. The source of commodity dependence can be linked to a country’s persistent or structural conditions, such as its resource endowment and factor composition, institutional framework, geographic situation, history among other factors.

It is important to monitor and analyse the evolution of commodity dependence, as this dependence has been found to have negative implications, in different ways, for a country’s welfare and development.

First members to formally accept Fisheries Subsidies Agreement urge others to follow suit (WTO)

“The Agreement is a tangible leap forward in the race to preserve our ocean and its precious living resources. However, the Agreement’s benefits will take hold only when WTO members implement its provisions,” Deputy Director-General Angela Ellard said in her opening remarks, noting that formal acceptances from two-thirds of all 164 WTO members need to be secured for the Agreement to enter into force.

“We are aiming to secure this agreement’s entry into force by the 13th Ministerial Conference next February in Abu Dhabi. This urgency is for the sake of ocean sustainability, which is an important matter for all WTO members. Indeed, all of our members depend on a sustainable source of fish and on a healthy ocean ecosystem, whether they boast a long coast or whether they are landlocked,” DDG Ellard said. “The good news is that we have received 10 instruments of acceptance and therefore are about one-third of the way there.”

DDG Zhang calls on least developed countries to “strategize on their trade priorities” (WTO)

“We are well aware that LDCs’ participation in global trade remains below 1 per cent,” the Chair of the Sub-Committee on LDCs Ambassador Erik Brøgger Rasmussen (Denmark) stressed. “It is our shared responsibility to map out what more the international community can achieve to support a greater integration of LDCs into the multilateral trading system. An evolving trading landscape opens new horizons, offers new trade opportunities and brings new hope for people living in LDCs and beyond,” he said.

DG Okonjo-Iweala to business leaders: We must push for re-globalization and reform (WTO)

Rising geopolitical tensions and the constant crises of recent years — the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, climate shocks and the resulting disruptions to trade — have sparked questions about whether the multilateral trading system still works, the Director-General told the gathered business leaders.

“My answer is: Yes, the system works. Yes, parts of it need to be fixed. We need to fix what needs fixing. We don’t need to throw the baby out with the bathwater,” she said. “The WTO has made things better for business,” the Director-General said, citing the Information Technology Agreement eliminating tariffs on almost USD 3 trillion worth of trade, the Government Procurement Agreement opening up more than USD 1.7 trillion in annual public contracts to competition from firms in participating members, and the Trade Facilitation Agreement cutting red tape and making it cheaper and faster to move goods across borders.


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