tralac Daily News
New European Union pest control rules will cut South Africa’s orange exports to Europe by 20% this year, threatening thousands of jobs, the Citrus Growers Association (CGA) has said. The new measures imposed by the EU last June require enhanced cold treatment for citrus exports due to concerns over False Codling Moth, a pest commonly found in sub-Saharan Africa, and Citrus Black Spot.
“Current estimates are that around 20% of oranges produced for Europe will not be shipped this year because of the new regulations,” CGA president Justin Chadwick said in a statement. “This means that approximately 80,000 tons of oranges might not make it to European supermarket shelves,” he said.
South Africa is the world’s second largest citrus exporter after Spain and sold 32% of its oranges into the European market last year, according to the country’s Perishable Products Export Control Board. The CGA wants South Africa to discuss the new pest regulations at a joint meeting of African Union and EU agriculture ministers to be held in Rome on June 30.
Electricity Minister Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has, on behalf of the South African government, signed a joint declaration for the planned establishment of a South African-German Hydrogen Task Force that will help to drive the commercial viability of green hydrogen projects, industry and infrastructure in both countries.
German Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck signed the declaration on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany during a bi-national commission held in South Africa this week.
Central Bank set to be sole regulator of all payment systems (Namibia Economist)
To address uncertainty and inefficiencies in the national payment system regulations, the Minister of Finance and Public Enterprises, Hon Iipumbu Shiimi introduced the Payment Systems Management Bill in parliament this week to repeal the Payment Systems Management Act (Act 18 of 2003) as amended.
He added that as a result, the Central Bank began its legislative review of the Payment Systems Management Act in 2017, which included efforts like consulting payment legislation from other jurisdictions, engaging the national payment system industry, and consulting both the World Bank and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) during 2020 and 2021 for input and guidance regarding the Bill.
In addition, the finance and public enterprises minister acknowledged that the national payment system was mainly characterized by bank institutions, albeit noting that ‘non-banks’ known as ‘fintechs’ are “increasingly” providing digital and electronic payment in the national payment system, Shiimi said in the National Assembly this week when tabling the Bill.
“Given this dynamism, the need to introduce enabling, flexible and robust legislation was apparent to embrace innovation, promote competition and manage risk in the ecosystem. In addition to this, several significant gaps and shortcomings were identified in the existing legislation, which is salient in enabling the Bank to effectively regulate and oversee the national payment system,” Shiimi affirmed, adding that the proposed legislation will put the Bank in a position to promote regional and continental payment system integration and harmonize SADC payment system laws.
Regional NGOs warn Kenya on EU trade deal (The Independent Uganda)
Eastern and Southern African trade promotion organisations are pushing for the rescinding by Kenya of the recent agreement with the European Union to implement the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between them. They say the deal pauses “imminent danger” to the integration of East Africa and the continent as a whole, as well as the ongoing trade initiatives like African Continental Free Trade Area.
The Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute, SEATINI, Uganda, SEATINI Southern Africa and Akina Mama Wa Afrika say Kenya’s move to implement the deal will have far-reaching impacts on the region and continent. SEATINI Uganda Executive Director, Jane Nalunga says Kenya should have first pushed EAC governments to put in place measures that would respond to the outstanding issues.
PM Ngirente, EU delegation discuss trade partnership (The New Times)
Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente held a meeting with the European Union (EU) delegation, at his office on June 27 and discussed various areas of partnership to boost trade and investments.
Speaking to the media, Doens pointed out that the meeting with Prime Minister was the opportunity to take stock to make a joint assessment of what happened over the past two days in the EU- business forum held in Rwanda for the first time.
Rwanda has a strong health agenda and aims to attract EU investors interested in value addition. This is largely due to the government’s clear agenda, knowledge of its strengths, and strong implementation capacity. The one-stop center further facilitates doing business in Rwanda, making it a favorable investment destination for EU investors, he added.
Customs: Seychelles adopts REX for exports to EU from July 1 (Seychelles News Agency)
A new self-certification system called the Registered Exporter System (REX) will go live in Seychelles as of July 1 for goods originating from the island nation to the European Union countries. According to the manager of classification, valuation and rules of origin in the Customs Division, Gerda Cesar, this is a system that will replace the EUR.1 which is currently being used.
“This means that all exporters who send their products to European countries such as Belgium and France and were using the EUR.1 certificate to benefit from the reduced taxations except for those sending products to the UK, will also use this as proof that their products originate from Seychelles,” explained Cesar.
President Ruto to ban imported shoes in 2 years (Capital Business)
President William Ruto will ban imported shoes in two years to support the local leather industry that has been facing cheap products from abroad. Instead, the Head of State said that the country will use its own skins to make the products.
He said that the country’s leathers were being given to dogs while the country was buying alternatives from abroad at exorbitant prices between Sh20,000 and Sh40,000.
To support the industry, the Government has allocated nearly Sh2 billion for the treatment of cowhide to improve the local supply chain. This, he said, will increase earnings for farmers who sell their hides at throw-away prices.
The economy of the Central African Republic is projected to return to growth this year after stalling in 2022. Heavy flooding and severe shortages of fuel took a heavy toll last year on the economy and people, who experienced high levels of acute food insecurity, says the latest edition of the World Bank’s Central African Republic (CAR) Economic Update.
Economic activity in CAR may see a modest rebound over the medium term, with growth projected at 3.6% in 2024 and 2025, provided that fuel supply in the domestic market improves and the security gains continue. This outlook is driven by anticipated higher international prices of timber, CAR’s main export, owing to a rebound of global demand, particularly from China.
The report focuses on much-needed reforms on fuel subsidies, which have surged globally as international oil prices began rising in late 2020, reaching new heights in 2022 amid the war in Ukraine. In CAR, fuel subsidies represented about 0.5% of GDP and accounted for nearly 6% of domestic revenues and 6.3% of tax revenues in 2022.
“A well-designed fuel subsidy reform should include a robust mitigation package that offers targeted support to the most vulnerable segments of society,” explains Pierre Mandon, co-author of the report.
The new administration has initiated critical reforms to address macroeconomic imbalances. This window of opportunity could have a transformative impact on the lives of millions of Nigerians and establish a solid foundation for sustainable and inclusive growth.
The removal of the petrol subsidy and foreign exchange (FX) management reforms are crucial measures to begin to rebuild fiscal space and restore macroeconomic stability, and the opportunity should be seized to take further, necessary policy reform steps, says the latest Nigeria Development Update (NDU). The June 2023 edition of the NDU, titled “Seizing the Opportunity”, adds that it is critical to implement a comprehensive reform package that encompasses a range of complementary measures, including a new social compact to protect the poor and most vulnerable, to maximize the collective impact on growth, job creation, and poverty reduction.
The volume of Egypt’s foreign trade hit $58.559bn in the first half of the fiscal year (1H FY) 2022/23, according to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE). Imports accounted for $37.054bn, while exports totaled $21.505bn.
The CBE’s monthly report said that trade exchange between Egypt and its top 14 trading partners, which accounted for 62.9% of the total volume of trade exchange, amounted to $36.821bn. Of this, $22.211bn were exports and $14.61bn were imports.
The UAE ranked first as Egypt’s top trading partner, with a volume of trade exchange of $4.873bn. China was second with $4.114bn, followed by the US with $4.040bn. Saudi Arabia was fourth with $3.550bn, and Turkey was fifth with $2.686bn.
The trade balance in fisheries products recorded a surplus of TND 83.2 million in the first four months of 2023, down 19.4% compared with the same period in 2022, according to data from the National Observatory for Agriculture (ONAGRI) published on Monday. The value of exports of fishery products fell slightly by 3.7% in quantity to 10.3 thousand tonnes and by 3.6% in value to TND 200.5 million at the end of April 2023, compared with the same period last year.
The most commonly exported species are fish, crustaceans, preserves and semi-preserves. Tunisian exports of fishery products are spread over 37 destinations, including Italy, the leading importer (accounting for 35.5% of total exports), followed by Libya (19.4%), the United Arab Emirates (13.7%) and Spain (9.7%).
The People’s Republic of China has pledged to strengthen cooperation with the East African Community (EAC) in capacity building, trade, infrastructure development and other fields.
The Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania and the EAC, H.E. Chen Mingjian, said that China as the world’s largest developing country was highly optimistic about promoting economic growth not just in the EAC but on the entire African continent.
Amb. Mingjian said that China would remain a staunch and strong supporter of EAC on development matters, and reaffirmed her country’s desire to strengthen collaboration and solidarity with the Community for the mutual benefit of both parties.
How scramble for food is affecting regional trade (The Citizen)
Cereal traders in eastern, central and southern Africa are finding it increasingly difficult to conduct business as countries employ new tactics to restrict exports and protect their citizens against looming hunger. There were complaints from Ugandan traders last week after they learnt that Tanzanian authorities, through the Agriculture ministry, had temporarily suspended the issuance of rice and maize export permits.
The suspension is in line with a government circular that took effect on June 13, 2023. The circular seeks to enable the government to take stock of the availability of cereals and food processing during the 2023/24 financial year. Tanzania has also issued new directives aimed at formalising trade in food crops for the benefit of the government, farmers and foreign traders.
Agriculture minister Hussen Bashe said recently that the directives, which include the issuance of maize export permits, do not target any neighbouring country and that the government expected traders to comply.
MOWCA, Afreximbank begin talks on ship financing (The Guardian Nigeria)
The Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA) has commenced talks with Afreximbank on ship financing and procurement of other maritime assets for African investors and maritime stakeholders. After a virtual bilateral meeting between MOWCA and Afreximbank, both organisations agreed on the need to expand maritime business opportunities and strengthen the planned Africa-wide cabotage regime to boost investments and generate jobs.
According to Secretary-General, MOWCA, Dr. Paul Adalikwu, seaborne trade is dominated by the giant shipping lines from Europe and Asia, noting that the only profit Africa makes is the registration fees of the vessels in some member states and port fees when they call to discharge cargoes leading to capital flight. He said for the objectives of AfCTA to be realised, there must be African-owned vessels plying the continent.
He further indicated that shipping needs modernisation of African ports with intermodal connectivity, such as rail, road, pipeline and inland waterways, as well as the development of dry ports to solve the problem of likely congestion.
The Africa to Asia trade route has experienced a significant boost in cargo demand recently, but concerns have arisen over potential logistical problems caused by conflict in Sudan.
“Our monthly statistics show there is sufficient capacity to support the increasing air cargo demand in recent months,” said Bojan Wang, an IATA economist in the industry analysis unit.
A source at Ethiopian Airlines (ET) told The Loadstar: “We have enough capacity to connect and serve Africa and Asia via air and sea-air modality logistics services. However, in the future, partnership options [potentially with Chinese operators] will be reviewed in line with the prospect business growth and the change in the overall macro-economic environment.”
But even with demand between Asia and Africa showing positive trends, there are concerns about political instability in places like Sudan, that might create logistical problems.
“Sudan’s air space is closed and supply chains have been disrupted in the region,” said Mr Wang. “Sudan is among the largest producers of grain harvests in Africa, and the conflict might undermine efforts to boost wheat production there. As observed in Ukraine, the conflict in Sudan will likely force air cargo carriers to suspend or modify operations, causing knock-on effects to supply chains.”
Looking ahead, the most important challenge, and opportunity, is to significantly increase Africa’s share in global trade and air cargo activities, including balancing inbound and outbound cargo. This was a hot topic at the TIACA regional summit in Kenya last week.
To face the unprecedented new global challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the spotlight has turned to the importance of the private sector in building resilience in transition states and in particular, the crucial role of supporting micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
Indeed, the latter have seen their already pre-existing fragility aggravated by the consequences of the health crisis. It is now clear that promoting an enabling environment for MSMEs is crucial for economic recovery, poverty reduction and long-term stability. Efforts are now being made to empower SMEs, especially those owned or created by women and/or young people, in order to harness their potential for job creation, stimulate innovation and strengthen local economies, and thereby pave the way for a more resilient post-pandemic era on the African continent.
Between 2020 and 2022, the Transition Support Facility (TSF), a disbursement mechanism designed to help countries consolidate peace, build resilient institutions, stabilize their economies and lay the foundations for inclusive growth, funded projects addressing the imperative of building resilience in more than 10 African states in transition, countries where the main development challenge is fragility
Sitshengisiwe Ndlovu found her calling in supporting women small traders during her previous work as a customs officer in her native Zimbabwe. She met many women who made a living out of small-scale cross-border trade and came to understand their challenges first-hand. For example, they often lack knowledge in trade procedures and applicable duties and taxes, exposing them to fines and confiscation of goods. Such barriers, if left unaddressed, risk the survival of these micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
The annual MSME Day marked on 27 June spotlights the contributions of small businesses to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. According to the World Bank, these enterprises represent about 90% of businesses globally and create 70% of formal jobs in emerging economies. This year, the focus is on galvanizing MSMEs worldwide by supporting women and youth entrepreneurship and resilient supply chains.
Developing country leaders rallied in Paris, highlighting the urgency for reform of the global financial architecture to counteract economic, environmental and social adversities, and to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Predictable, affordable and sustainable financing is critical to allowing African countries to get back on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Acting Executive Secretary, Antonio Pedro, said at the Sustainable Debt Coalition event organized on the margins of the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact in Paris.
The Sustainable Debt Coalition, launched by the Government of Egypt at COP27, aims to address critical financing challenges faced by emerging markets and developing economies, particularly the debilitating impacts these have on climate action and development. It introduces a fresh consultation pathway that intersects debt, climate, and developmental concerns, fostering dialogue for innovative solutions.
India has climbed eight places in the annual Gender Gap Report, 2023, and now is in the position of 127 out of 146 countries in terms of gender parity, which was 135 last year. The recently released 17th edition of this report by the world economic forum (WEF) evaluates gender parity On the basis of four key markers of the index – The Global Gender Gap (GGG) index measures and tracks the economic participation, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment of a nation.
This year by crossing 64.3 percent of its overall gender gap, India opens its window of opportunities in the global sphere.
An analysis of the Initiatives that India has taken all through its journey to reduce gender gap in social, economic and political life could give an explicit picture of development master plans. The “Mahila Shakti Kendra” scheme aims to empower rural women by providing skill development opportunities and avenues for employment. However, the country is lagging behind in economic participation and opportunity, with only 36.7 percent parity.
UNCTAD released on 27 June the fifth edition of its annual SDG Pulse, a global reference for tracking progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
This year, the report’s “In-Focus” section looks into the costs of achieving the SDGs to identify where financing is most needed and to help better target efforts.
The data shows that the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the climate crises are having a devastating effect on progress towards the SDGs. “We’ve reached the halfway mark of the 2030 Agenda, and multiple global crises are battering our economies, societies and the planet,” said Anu Peltola, who leads UNCTAD’s statistics work. “It’s more important than ever for policymakers to have timely and reliable data and analysis to guide their decisions.”
Members presented three new submissions on domestic support to the agricultural sector — which is widely seen as a priority in the talks by WTO members because of its impact on the ability of producers to compete fairly in global markets.
The African Group reiterated its call for caps on domestic support that exceeds the “de minimis” threshold, which is defined as a share of the value of agricultural production and set at different levels for developed and developing economies. They also proposed limiting some types of support which is currently classified as “green box” — meaning it is allowed without limit so long as it does not cause more than minimal distortion to trade and production.
Citing 2022 data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, DDG Zhang noted that the share of South-South trade in world trade has expanded from 17 per cent in 2005 to 28 per cent in 2021. Its value has increased by approximately 50 per cent since 2019. South Asia and East Asia have witnessed growth of over 65 per cent and Latin America of about 45 per cent.
Encouraging South-South and triangular cooperation partners to use the Aid-for-Trade platform to share their experiences, expertise and good practices, DDG Zhang called on members to seize “this opportunity to forge long-term collaboration, exchange best practices, and develop innovative solutions that will shape a brighter and more prosperous future for all.”
The new chair of the TBT Committee, Anna Vitie (Finland), drew attention to a new WTO brochure highlighting the work of the TBT Committee in 2022. “Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement: 10 key results from 2022”.
Members stressed that, with various regulations on such emerging digital technologies currently being developed at national or regional levels, it is important to consider the crucial role of international standards in addressing regulatory fragmentation. At the same time, given the nature of accompanying issues such as privacy, the limits of harmonization via international standards was also recognized.
Members highlighted the important role of the TBT Agreement and the TBT Committee in ensuring regulatory harmonisation via international standards or when this is not possible, in promoting coherence and avoiding unnecessary trade restrictions.
China deposited its instrument of acceptance for the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies on 27 June, affirming its support for the historic agreement for ocean sustainability as the world’s leading marine fishing producer. Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala received the instrument from Commerce Minister Wang Wentao in Tianjin, China ahead of the World Economic Forum’s 14th Annual Meeting of the New Champions.
DG Okonjo-Iweala said: “I am delighted to welcome China’s formal acceptance of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. As the world leader in marine fish catch, China’s support for the implementation of this agreement is critical to multilateral efforts to safeguard oceans, food security, and livelihoods. By curbing harmful fishing subsidies worldwide, we can together forge a path towards a legacy of abundance and opportunity for generations to come.”