tralac Daily News
Summit to share practical advice to start and grow road freight SMEs (Engineering News)
Industry body the Road Freight Association and industry collaboration platform the Transport Forum of South Africa have announced that the first small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) Road Freight Summit will be held on October 24 and 25.
The summit will provide practical advice and see industry experts, regulators and academics share best practices with road freight entrepreneurs and SMEs to assist in building and growing their businesses. The summit's theme is resilience and sustainability, business consultancy RSH founder and MD, and summit convenor Florence Musundwa said in a June 30 webinar.
Logistics and transport consultancy Gecko Group economist Sheina Gokool reminded attendees of the central role SMEs play in providing employment, highlighting that SMEs employ more than 80% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa and that they will be central to growth and creating more jobs.
She also highlighted that digitalisation is helping SMEs to scale-up much faster and leading to more startups. Technology-driven advancements and plug-and-play design are at the forefront of the agenda, she said.
The East African Community (EAC) has maintained silence on a recent trade deal by Kenya and the European Union. Officials of the Secretariat could not comment on the agreement inked this week in Nairobi and witnessed by President William Ruto. The deal means Kenya has bypassed the fellow EAC member states in implementing the stalled Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the two sides.
An agreement on the same reached by the EAC and the EU in 2014 after years of negotiations was subject to approval by all countries. It later stalled as other EAC member states declined to endorse it even as Kenya – then the only middle income country – signed and ratified it.
During the inking of the agreement on Monday, Kenya said that it was not bypassing its fellow member states in the bloc this time around.
A Tanzanian scholar based in the US, Prof Richard Mshomba, said the “go-it-alone” measure taken by Kenya was enough sign of the existing cracks in the EAC. “It has revealed, very clearly, that the EAC is not a genuine customs union,” he said, noting that Kenya has also reached a bilateral EPA agreement with the UK. “These bilateral arrangements would not be possible in a real customs union,” said the economics don teaching at La Salle University in the US.
A wealth of opportunities unveiled in Tanzania’s mining sector (African Mining Market)
About a month ago, the Tanzania government signed contracts worth approximately $1 billion (USD$667 million) with three Australian companies to mine graphite and rare earths. The deal, which was signed with Evolution Energy Minerals, Ecograf and Peak Rare Earths, constitute a part of Tanzania’s endeavours to progress negotiations on mining and energy projects that have experienced significant delays.
On her visit to Tanzania, Vice President Kamala Harris, announced plans to enhance trade and investment with Tanzania, with the goal of strengthening connections with a continent where China and Russia exert growing influence.
The strengthening of ties with Australia, as well as efforts to enhance trade and investment with the United States, showcases Tanzania’s commitment to attracting global investors and expanding economic opportunities.
Supported by abundant resources, adherence to international mining standards, and participation in regional trade agreements, Tanzania is well-positioned to achieve its aspirations and foster sustainable growth in the mining sector.
Nigeria’s Intra-African Trade Drops by 12% to N842.6bn in Q1 (Economic Confidential)
Nigeria’s intra-African trade has continued to underperform expectations despite the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as the trade value fell Year-on-Year (YoY) to N842.6 billion in the first quarter of 2023 (Q1’23) 11.95 percent down from N956.93 billion in Q1’22.
However, more than three years after the AfCFTA kick-off, Nigeria’s trade value with other African countries in relation to its total foreign trade remain low.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report on the Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics for Q1’23, showed that at N842.6 billion, Nigeria intra-African trade represented just 6.99 percent of its total foreign trade (N12.047 trillion) in Q1’23. This is against the 7.4 percent contribution to its total foreign trade (N13.001trillion) in Q1’22.
On a Quarter-on-Quarter basis, Nigeria’s trade value with other African countries also declined by 24.87 percent to N842.6 billion in Q1’23 from N1.122 trillion in Q4’22.
Ethiopia applies to join BRICS bloc of emerging economies (The East African)
Ethiopia has made an official request to join the BRICS bloc of emerging economies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
“We have applied for membership and we expect BRICS to give us a positive response to the request we have made,” Foreign ministry’s spokesperson Meles Alem said on Thursday. He added that Ethiopia would continue to work with international institutions that can protect its interests.
“As a country that has been a founding member of global institutions like the AU and the UN, and as we seek to guarantee our national interests, it is important to join blocs like BRICS,” he said. Ethiopia, with the second highest population in Africa, is one of the continent’s fastest-growing economies, according to the International Monetary Fund.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for the five member states of Southern Africa Customs Union (Sacu) to discuss the diversification of their economies to increase intra-Africa trade and deepen integration.
Speaking at a Sacu summit in Swaziland yesterday, Ramaphosa said the states were positioned to use their collective revenues to support industrial capacity and infrastructure development within the union.
“We cannot be content that Africa’s share in global trade is a mere 3%. This customs union should contribute to substantially increasing the African trade in goods and services.
“We will achieve this if we have clearly articulated programmes, sufficient resources, a robust governance framework and a commitment to executing the strategic plan,” he said.
TIACA Regional Event Africa highlights African air cargo market potential, challenges (Africa Aviation News)
The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) recently concluded its third regional event, the TIACA Event Africa which was held on June 19-21st with delegates declaring the event was successful in its aim to bring the local air cargo community and international delegates together to discuss the intricacies of doing business to/from and within Africa. The event was held in Nairobi and was hosted by Kenya Airports Authority.
TIACAs first regional event in Africa, held in Nairobi, brought together 200 delegates from across the industry to discuss issues that affect the African air cargo market and gave insight into how to do business within Africa.
“We were pleased to have such great support from the Kenyan government, African Airlines Association (AFRAA), our host Kenyan Airports Authority and our many sponsors, as well as the membership, the industry, and its leaders. The event’s success is vital to uniting the air cargo industry by bringing the international community together to discuss, debate, and network in regions throughout the world,” Steven Polmans, Chair, TIACA said.
African banking groups embrace PAPSS (IT-Online)
PAPSS, the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System, has announced the signing of Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with five African multinational commercial banking groups: Access Bank Group, Ecobank Group, KCB Group, Standard Bank Group, and UBA Group.
These significant partnerships aim to revolutionise the settlement of cross-border transactions across Africa, leveraging on the vast network of subsidiaries and representative offices across major economic centres across Africa.
The signature of these MOUs signifies a big step forward in the pursuit of seamless cross-border trade payments throughout the almost 40 countries covered by the banks. The broad collaboration between PAPSS and African commercial banks will pave the way for enhanced efficiency, transparency, and reliability in intra-African settlement.
African companies told to expand intra-regional trade in manufactured goods (Ghana Business News)
Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a former Commissioner of the African Union Commission, has charged businesses in Africa to grow intra-continental trade in finished goods.
“We need to trade in our own goods… so that in 50 years [when Agenda 2063 is due], we will be able to celebrate free trade and say, I can drive from Cape Town to Cairo and from Djibouti to Senegal.”
Dr Dlamini-Zuma was speaking at a ceremony held by the Secretariat of the (AfCFTA) in Accra in her honour to championing the AU Agenda 2063 and gender equality.
“Trade is not about raw materials; our colonisers did that and they continue to want to buy raw materials from us. That’s ill, and should stop. It’s something we must work at and fast,” she said. “Ninety per cent of our goods are transported across the Mediterranean. Who is in control of these processes?” she quizzed, adding that “this is something we must look at.”
“When we export raw materials, by the time it’s turned into a finished good, it’s probably 10 times or more expensive than the raw materials, and sometimes when they come back, most of us can’t afford them,” Dlamini-Zuma said.
She, therefore, urged businesses to shore up efforts to change such a situation, while encouraging governments on the continent to create the enabling environment for the success of AfCFTA.
Transforming Africa’s Food Systems: the challenges and opportunities (Africa Renewal)
The role of special envoys of the AU is primarily to tackle a critical issue for which the AU needs support. This is the first time the AU is designating a Special Envoy specifically dedicated to food systems.
We could enter a post-Ukraine war era that will be characterised by a crisis in food systems. Leaders must not only establish the food systems but should also ensure their effectiveness in achieving desired outcomes The market has witnessed an unfavourable evolution, and African countries are suffering the consequences of that war. We have observed shortages of vital resources such as fertilisers, seeds, wheat, etc. The crisis and our response to it have revealed a lack of co-ordinated efforts.
The first reason for appointing a Special Envoy is to ensure preparedness for such a crisis, even as we anticipate more crises in the future. The second reason relates to the many initiatives addressing food systems issues in Africa. We have some complexity in terms of initiatives, and this complexity necessitates better management and coherence. Without proper co-ordination, Member States and their stakeholders may struggle to comprehend the direction we are heading in. The third reason, closely linked to the previous two, pertains to resource mobilisation.
US DFC to lead delegation to US-Africa Business Summit (Engineering News)
US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) CEO Scott Nathan will lead a high-level US delegation to the US-Africa Business Summit, to be held in Gaborone, Botswana, from July 11 to 14.
The event is hosted by the Corporate Council on Africa and the government of Botswana and is indicated to build on the momentum of the successful 2022 US-Africa Leaders Summit.
To mark the six-month milestone after the conclusion of the summit held in December 2022, the delegation will draw attention to how the US is delivering on high-profile government and private sector commitments, including the Digital Transformation with Africa (DTA), a signature initiative of the Biden-Harris administration.
Japan underscores Africa trade ambitions with stake in ATI (Global Trade Review)
Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (Nexi), the Japanese export credit agency (ECA), has made a US$14.8mn equity investment into the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI), as the Asian country aims to strengthen its presence in the continent.
ATI is a pan-African institution that provides political risk insurance to companies, investors and lenders interested in doing business in the region. Among its shareholders are 21 member countries, and institutional backers including global insurer Chubb, India’s Export Credit Guarantee Corporation and UK Export Finance. With the investment, Nexi becomes the multilateral credit insurer’s 13th institutional shareholder.
ATI says it now expects to support “many more” Japanese manufacturers, traders, exporters and financial institutions seeking market access across Africa in the coming years.
“We are confident that as Japan expands its FDI and footprint into Africa, its membership in ATI will not only improve our institution’s capacity to support trade and investment across the continent, but will also attract more Japanese investment seeking business opportunities in Africa’s 1.2 billion-strong single market under the African Continental Free Trade Area,” says ATI chief executive Manuel Moses.
Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries and Landlocked Developing Countries issue call for action to accelerate agrifood systems transformation and collectively build resilience (FAO)
Ahead of the 43rd session of its biennial Ministerial Conference (1 – 7 July), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) today hosted a High-Level Ministerial Event called Transforming agrifood systems to increase resilience and achieve the 2030 Agenda - Harnessing the potential of Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries and Landlocked Developing Countries.
The meeting proposed the establishment of a Ministerial network for Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries and Landlocked Developing Countries (SIDS, LDCs and LLDCs) with technical support from FAO. This would share experiences, knowledge and collectively build resilience to climate change and disasters, resilience to food insecurity, the Blue Transformation roadmap and secure investments and access to finance in order to scale-up transformation of agrifood systems – especially in the face of the impacts of the climate crisis.
The FAO Director-General made it clear that FAO is ready to further strengthen its support to SIDS, LDCs and LLDCs. To address the climate crisis, for example, Qu stressed the need to “prioritize climate-resilient agricultural practices,” which includes using resilient crop varieties; increasing productivity while reducing greenhouse gas emissions; implementing sustainable and adapted soil, water and land management systems; and developing science-based tools for evidence based decision-making.
Participants also took the opportunity to seek further information on individual notifications submitted by members concerning tariff quota administration, special agricultural safeguards, domestic support and export subsidy notifications as well as notifications in the context of the NFIDC Decision . Members heard updated analyses on food markets and the prospect for global food security from the World Food Programme (WFP, G/AG/GEN/221 ), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO), the International Monetary Fund(IMF) and the World Bank Group.
FAO will co-lead the Clean and Healthy Oceans initiative together with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), in a strategic partnership with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the UN educational, science and cultural agency UNESCO.
“Together, we can turn the tide on pollution for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life,” said FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu.