Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

TNPA publishes Port Development Framework Plans outlining R13bn of investments (Engineering News)

The Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has published Port Development Framework Plans that stipulate how R13-billion will be invested in South Africa‘s commercial seaports over the next five years.

With these investments, the TNPA aims to create capacity at the ports, as well as ensure the long-term sustainability of the port system.

The framework plans followed a robust public participation process and will be used to guide port infrastructure development in the short and long term. The plans will be continuously reviewed to ensure they remain relevant and in line with international best practice.

New import rules put pressure on Kenyan car buyers (Pulselive Kenya)

In response to Kenya’s application to raise the duty under the common external tariff, the EAC Council of Ministers has given the green light, exacerbating the challenges faced by the automotive sector due to a depreciating currency.

This move, which marks an increase from the current 25 percent duty, will lead to double-digit price hikes for various imported vehicles, including those used for transportation, racing cars, station wagons, and vehicles designed for ten or more passengers.

Consequently, cars imported into Kenya will now come with a higher price tag compared to regional counterparts such as Uganda and Rwanda. The raised customs duty, once implemented, is expected to translate into approximately a 14 percent overall increase in the cost of importing vehicles.

Edible oil manufacturers fault move to reduce tariffs on imports (Nation)

Edible oil manufacturers have faulted a move to reduce tariff on finished oils coming from outside East Africa from 35 per cent to 25 per cent, saying it will create an unlevel playing field for businesses that have invested heavily in the sector.

Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) edible oils sub-sector says the tariff should have been retained at 35 per cent, as opposed to the new rate set by the East African Community’s (EAC) Common External Tariff (CET), which is low by 10 percentage points.

“We thank the government for continuing the stay of application of the tariff on ready-made refined imported oils from outside EAC and Comesa at 25 per cent or USD500/MT whichever is higher in the EAC CET. The ideal would have been to retain this at 35 per cent as this is under the category of finished goods,” the sub-sector stated yesterday.

Lowering of the tariff comes barely weeks after the Ministry of Trade and Industrialization wrote to Treasury asking for the rate to be lowered to 10 per cent.

Govt finalises plan to regulate tea industry (Nile Post)

Government has developed a policy to regulate the tea industry and to address challenges affecting the tea sub sector in the country.

The ministries of agriculture and their trade counterparts developed the National Tea Policy to guide tea production, processing and to support diversification of products of tea being produced.

The policy that awaits to be submitted to the Cabinet focuses on improving access to quality agro-inputs including tea seedlings, fertilizers and herbicides, enhancing the use of modern technologies informed by research and extension services.

It also seeks to institute measures to improve harvesting, post-harvest handling and value addition, strengthening the infrastructure for the tea industry including establishing factories and other requisite machinery, improving access to affordable power supply, financial and insurance services, enhancing market access, advocacy, education, information and communication services among others.

Once approved, the tea policy will be developed as a commercial enterprise and an instrument to fight poverty through gainful agricultural employment where more investments shall be made at the lower stages of the value chain and majority of the tea stakeholders are engaged to ensure they are employed gainfully in ways that elevate household incomes and alleviate poverty.

Nigeria’s wheat production seen rising 42% (Businessday NG)

Nigeria will see a 42 percent rise in wheat production between July 2023 and 2024 owing to a competitive guaranteed price agreed between farmers and millers, a recent United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grain report said.

The report stated that the Flour Millers Association of Nigeria (FMAN) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Wheat Farmers Association of Nigeria (WFAN) to purchase wheat at a competitive price.

Meanwhile, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture considers intercropping an effective system for increasing wheat production. As a result, farmers are increasingly adopting the rice-wheat intercrop system in northern Nigeria as traditional dry-season rice farmers switch to cultivating wheat and rice on the same plot of land.

Port deal exposes Dar inefficiencies as Dubai takes over ports (The East African)

Inefficiencies and lack of capacity to manage port facilities amid growing business has forced Kenya and Tanzania to seek the help of DP World, the Emirati logistics major which has a firm grip on the African market.

The Dubai-based company is seeking the greenlight to manage seven berths in the Dar es Salaam port and at the same time run the Mombasa Special Economic Zone, deals that would give it massive presence in Eastern Africa.

In Tanzania, the deal has brought to the fore the inefficiencies at the port of Dar – which the government acknowledged – with officials hoping that DP World could help it triple revenues from the facility to $11.2 billion over the next decade and double cargo traffic to more than 47.57 million tonnes by 2032.

Ethiopia to enact law normalizing informal cross-border trade along Djibouti, South Sudan borders (Addis Standard)

The Ethiopian government is taking strides to acknowledge and regulate the longstanding informal cross-border trade occurring along the Djibouti border. The Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration is currently introducing a law with the goal of formalizing the informal trade activities that have been existing along the border between these countries.

Kasahun Gofe, state minister of Trade and Regional Integration said on Tuesday that the ministry is currently engaging representatives of regional trade bureaus to collect inputs before the soon enaction of the law. According to him, the law will have irreplaceable role in making basic consumables accessible for the community living along border areas.

The development comes eight years after the signing of the Ethio-Djibouti border trade protocol in 2015. In January 2023, a delegation from Ethiopia, led by Kasahun Gofe, visited Djibouti to discuss the primary export items that would be allowed under the border trade agreement.

The China-Africa Trade Biennale bears fruitful results (Africanews)

The third China-Africa economic and trade expo on the theme of common development for a shared future concluded on Sunday in Changsha city, with 10.3 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of projects signed.

“The economic and trade cooperation between China and Africa has been expanding from traditional trade and engineering construction to digital, green and financial fields. In particular, the import of agricultural products from Africa shows great cooperation potential. All of these have strongly promoted the high-quality development of economic and trade cooperation between the two sides,” shared Wang Dong, deputy head, Department of Western Asian and African Affairs, Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

The four-day event has attracted over 100 000 visitors and resulted in 74 cooperative projects, a first in the expo’s five-year history, according to statistics from the organizing committee.

China is Africa’s largest trading partner and its fourth-biggest source of investment. Official data show that bilateral trade between China and Africa totaled 282 billion U.S. dollars in 2022.

“Free trade area could counteract Zim sanctions” (The Sunday Mail)

Unity, innovation and deepening intra-African trade has the potential to counteract the impact of Western sanctions on Zimbabwe, Ethiopia Civil Service Commission chairperson Dr Mekuria Haile has said.

“We no longer need to focus on the economic sanctions imposed on countries like Zimbabwe.

“Zimbabwe is doing great in food production, wheat and cattle. The import substitution on wheat is due to good interventions by the Government,” said Dr Haile.

“Once you are successful in increasing and improving agricultural productivity, and achieving food self-sufficiency, those issues from foreign influences can be managed.”

The continent, Dr Haile said, has immense potential to engage Western countries as equal partners. “We should focus on what benefits us, utilising our natural resources — water and good climate. We need to encourage young people to be in the public service, engaging in high-value production. “Once we reach that level of competitiveness, using our comparative advantages of land and other natural resources, they will negotiate with us,” he said.

Kagame urges sense of urgency in implementation of AfCFTA (The New Times)

President Paul Kagame has requested African leaders to move with a sense of urgency in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to boost economic value on the continent.

He was speaking during a televised conversation dubbed ‘Ask the President’ on the national broadcaster, on Tuesday, July 4, where he got to answer some of the national key concerns across different sectors.

With the operationalization to establish a unified market of 1.3 billion people and a GDP of around $3.4 trillion in 2021, the AfCFTA is poised to become the world’s largest free trade area with 55 member states. However, some of the important protocols of rules of origin have not yet taken shape while about 47 countries have ratified their instruments of AfCFTA agreement.

United States and Africa: increased engagement regarding trade creating opportunities in the African free trade area (ZAWYA)

There was more good news for the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement in December 2022, when a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the United States (US) Trade Representative and the AfCFTA Secretariat at the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit (Summit) in Washington DC. The MoU covers expanded engagement between the two regions and intends to “promote equitable, sustainable, and inclusive trade; boost competitiveness; and attract investment to the continent.”

It was also announced at the Summit that US intended to invest USD 55 billion in Africa over the next three years, and that USD 15 billion would be deployed in “two-way trade and investment commitments, deals, and partnerships that advance key priorities, including sustainable energy, health systems, agribusiness, digital connectivity, infrastructure, and finance.”

Trade between the two regions is steadily rising. At the Summit, the Biden Administration noted that since 2021, the US has assisted in closing more than 800 two-way trade and investment deals worth around USD 18 billion across 47 African countries. In addition, the value of private investment deals from the US into Africa since 2021 is valued at USD 8.6 billion. The US focus on increased engagement and continued, trade and investment in Africa has clearly already led to an increase in trade and investment opportunities in both regions.

Towards a UN Global Digital Compact: ECA to gather insights for an open, inclusive, and secure digital future (allAfrica.com)

As part of the efforts to ensure inclusive global digital development, a regional review meeting on Africa’s Contributions towards the Global Digital Compact will take place from 4-5 July 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. Organized by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)’s Digital Centre of Excellence, the meeting aims to provide a platform to propose and review Africa’s contributions to the Global Digital Compact by bring together representatives from government institutions, policymakers, private sector entities, and civil society organizations.

The United Nations recognizes the immense potential of digital technologies in transforming societies worldwide while acknowledging the need for international cooperation to effectively harness their benefits and mitigate their risks.

The UN Secretary-General’s proposal to establish the Global Digital Compact outlines the principles of fostering an open, free, and secure digital environment. To lead the intergovernmental process on this Compact, Rwanda and Sweden have been appointed as Co-facilitators. As part of the consultative process, the UN seeks input from individuals, organizations, and entities worldwide, aiming to gather diverse perspectives and shape a comprehensive agreement.

This review meeting presents an opportunity for Africa to actively participate in shaping a more inclusive and equitable digital future. By collaborating with diverse stakeholders and incorporating African perspectives, the continent is expected to contribute significantly to the development of the UN Global Digital Compact.

Africa50 invests in infrastructure worth over $6.6 billion in six years (AfDB)

In just six years of operation, Africa50 has invested in critical infrastructure with a total value of more than $6.6 billion, African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said on Monday during the Africa50 Infra Forum and General Shareholders Meeting in Togo’s capital Lomé.

Prominent African and global institutional investors attending the meeting signed subscription agreements and letters of intent to commit funds to the $500 million African Infrastructure Acceleration Fund—the first private vehicle infrastructure platform launched by Africa50.

President Gnassingbé said: “There is a huge need for infrastructure across the continent, and this is indeed a condition for development. Without roads, bridges, airports, hospitals, schools, power, communication networks, and water supply, there is indeed no possible development in Africa.”

Africa focuses on trade investment risks (The Nation Online)

African finance ministers, institutional investors, multilateral agencies, financiers, insurers and experts are expected to explore trade and investment risks in the continent and proffer ways to mitigate risks and stimulate the economy.

At an Investor Roundtable scheduled for Rwanda, public and private sectors experts will discuss Africa’s trade and investment risks under the theme: Re-thinking Risk. Enabling Finance. This is coming against the backdrop of the continent’s economic fallout stemming from the COVID-19 scourge, the negative consequences of Russia – Ukraine war, and climate change.

The roundtable is part of the annual general meeting of African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) holding in Kigali, Rwanda, between Wednesday and Friday.

Chief Executive Officer, African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI), Manuel Moses, said several countries have emerged from the global headwinds with a huge debt load, putting them at a risk of debt distress.

Reforming the Global Debt Architecture (UNECA)

One in five people globally live in countries that are in debt distress or at risk of it. Two-thirds of low-income countries – most of them in Africa – fall into this category, while eight of the nine countries currently in debt distress are on the continent.

A confluence of factors has created this mounting debt crisis. With booming populations and massive infrastructure needs, coupled with the declining availability of official development assistance and concessional financing, African governments took advantage of historically low interest rates in the 2010s and borrowed heavily from international capital markets and China. Consequently, debt stocks more than doubled between 2010 and 2020.

In 2024, African countries will spend around $74 billion on debt service, up from $17 billion in 2010. Two states – Ghana and Zambia – have already defaulted, while Chad and Ethiopia are in restructuring talks.

Efforts to remedy this situation have been made more challenging by the increased complexity of the creditor landscape. The G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), which paused debt payments for eligible countries between May 2020 and December 2021, provided some temporary relief. The G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatments, a process through which low-income countries can request debt restructuring, was then established in November 2020 to complement the DSSI. While Chad, Zambia, and Ethiopia requested relief under the Common Framework in early 2021, Ethiopia still has not had its debt restructured. Chad concluded a tentative arrangement at the end of 2022, and Zambia reached a debt restructuring deal only last month. Given these delays, the Common Framework has not lived up to expectations. As one policymaker put it, “It is neither common nor a framework.”

DBSA celebrates 40 years of development impact, regional integration (Engineering News)

Development finance institution (DFI) the Development Bank of Southern Africa is celebrating 40 years of delivering progress through critical infrastructure that transforms livelihoods, while sustaining and growing emerging economies.

“Over the years, the bank has extended its presence in the infrastructure value chain, building its capability to not only prepare and finance projects, but to also deliver them. From 2002 to 2022, the DBSA, through its infrastructure build process, has built and refurbished 726 schools, completed 404 health facilities and 456 social houses.

Currently, the DBSA is working on an infrastructure project pipeline worth more than R155-billion across its various divisions. “We recognise the changing dynamics and emerging challenges facing Africa. We are committed to embracing innovation and technology to drive digital transformation, enhance project delivery, and improve the efficiency of our operations.

“Additionally, sustainability will remain at the core of our investments, ensuring that our projects contribute to a greener, more inclusive future,” DBSA CEO Boitumelo Mosako highlighted.

UN Regional Commissions’ webinar on measuring illicit financial flows, 27 June 2023 (UNECA)

More than 100 participants from across the globe met virtually today to share their experiences in measuring and Curbing Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs). Africa, being at the fore front of the efforts of curbing IFFs building from the legacy of the AU-ECA High Level Panel on IFFs, was well represented in the webinar

The United Nations has set aside funds to support the estimation of IFFs and to advance appropriate policies to be put in place by governments to deal with these flows under a new Development Account project (DA 15) “Measuring and Curbing Illicit Financial Flows”. Key deliverables of this project are the production of estimates of illicit financial flows and evidence- based policy responses to effectively curb them. This project will be implemented by regional commissions and the IFFs measurement custodian agencies, UNCTAD and UNODC.

African Union Takes Significant Steps Towards Establishing a Common African Position on the Application of International Law in Cyberspace (AU)

The African Union Commission on International Law (AUCIL) has been tasked with preparing a draft AU statement on the application of international law in cyberspace, vide Communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.1120.1 (2022) adopted by the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (PSC) on 9 November 2022.

The African Union (AU) recognizes the ever-changing nature of the digital realm and its impact on peace, security, and development. As a result, the AU emphasizes the need for Africa to actively participate in the process of defining the rules of international law in order increase Africa’s voice, influence in shaping global norms and frameworks governing cyberspace and safeguard its interests.

The AU Member States have initiated a cooperative endeavor to formulate a Common African Position (CAP) on the topic at hand. In this regard, the CAP is still going through consultations among Member States and experts and will be at a later stage considered by the PSC and the AU Policy Organs. This noteworthy accomplishment will serve as a testament to Africa’s commitment to addressing the difficulties and possibilities presented by cyberspace, as well as its dedication to upholding international law in this quickly evolving domain.

53rd SADC PLENARY ASSEMBLY SESSION: Samia roots for food security (Tanzania Daily News)

President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Monday offered the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states tips of becoming food secure.

Dr Samia, who speaking shortly before opening the 53rd Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum further underscored the importance of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), blue economy and conservation agriculture with a view of building resilience and making the regional economic bloc food secure.

“We have come up with a raft of measures, yet we fall short of implementing them, it is high time we get back to the drawing board and put them to good use for food production,” urged the president.

FAO Director-General calls for seizing opportunities to transform agrifood systems (FAO)

In his speech to the Conference, QU Dongyu highlighted that global agrifood systems are continuously facing shocks from different dimensions, and emphasized that FAO and its Members should not only focus on the challenges, but also “find opportunities and take action to move forward.”

Transformative actions and robust solutions are needed “so we can move forward into a world of better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind,” the Director-General said, citing the Four Betters that he has embedded in various reforms, initiatives and programmes implemented since first taking FAO’s helm in 2019.

Report shows many G20 export restrictions remain in place, including on food and fertilizers (WTO)

“The trade disruptions caused by the shocks of the past three years have pushed economic security to the forefront of policy discussions. Yet what we have seen over this period is that open global trade, anchored in the multilateral trading system, is a powerful force for economic security, enabling WTO members to better produce and access food, medical supplies, and other essentials,” said WTO Director-General Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

“It is welcome that G20 economies have been taking more steps to facilitate imports, underscoring how trade is a tool to push back against inflationary pressures. I call on them to show leadership by continuing to reduce the number and trade coverage of export restrictions, particularly on food, feed and fertilizers, to help dampen the price volatility that makes life harder for people around the world.”

New report looks into boosting developing countries’ participation in services trade (WTO)

In her opening remarks, DG Okonjo-Iweala said: “The future of trade is services, digital and green — and it must be inclusive. This new publication translates that conviction into a call for action. It documents how services trade has become a key ingredient in our members’ growth and development strategies … including by helping countries diversify and expand their export baskets, making them more resilient to external shocks.”

While heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, services trade remains the most dynamic component of world trade. Digitally delivered services have grown at the fastest pace, well ahead of the growth of trade in goods. Services also generate more than two-thirds of GDP globally and represent 50 per cent of the world’s workforce in 2021. In value added terms, services account for 50 per cent of world trade.

The publication — entitled “Trade in Services for Development” — looks at how developing economies can fully share in the benefits that services trade brings to their economies and step up their development prospects.

World Economic Situation and Prospects: June 2023 Briefing, No. 172 (UN)

While economic prospects remain subdued, the global growth slowdown in 2023 will likely be less severe than previously anticipated, mainly due to improved household spending in the United States and the European Union, the recovery in China, and no reversals to the earlier forecast for India. Global growth is now projected to slow from 3.1 per cent in 2022 to 2.3 per cent in 2023 (up from 1.9 per cent forecast in January)

The slightly improved global growth outlook for 2023 primarily reflects upward revisions in the major developed countries and China

Global trade is expected to remain under pressure in the forecast period. The baseline scenario projects that the volume of global trade in goods and services will grow by 2.3 per cent in 2023, slightly higher than the previous forecast of near zero growth. This upward revision reflects improved GDP growth projections for the world’s largest economies. However, the lingering effects of COVID-19, rising geopolitical tensions, and monetary tightening will continue to hold back global trade, although supply chain constraints and high shipping costs have eased. Trade in services experienced faster growth than trade in goods, supported by further recovery in travel and tourism sectors. International tourism is set to consolidate its recovery in 2023, backed by pent-up demand, particularly from Asia and the Pacific as destinations and markets open up. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimates that international tourism arrivals could reach 80 to 95 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in 2023.

Leaders Call for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Global Cooperation to Revitalize Growth (World Economic Forum)

More than 1,500 leaders from around the world came together at this important juncture for the global economy to signal their shared interests in advancing dialogue, innovation and collaboration to revitalize growth.

The world faces low growth, high costs of living, increasing geopolitical fragmentation, widening inequality and the growing effects of the climate and nature crises, as well as the continuing repercussions of the pandemic on industry, society and trust. These converging crises have created heightened levels of uncertainty and raised questions about how to build an economy that works for all. Leaders called for a new approach to “re-globalization” and urgency in reviving cooperation for shared challenges.

“This is the big opportunity to look at those areas, those regions, those countries that were left out of the first wave of globalization,” said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General, World Trade Organization. “Let us look at those areas that are friendly to investment and see if we cannot decentralize and diversify supply chains so that we bring these areas into world trade … to spur global growth.”

Emerging technologies, entrepreneurship and innovation offer hope to overcome threats, drive economic growth and raise living standards.

6 ways to boost consumer trust in online platforms (UNCTAD)

UNCTAD estimated in April 2022 that 60% of internet users shopped online following the start of COVID-19, compared to 53% in 2019. Top consumer-focused e-commerce platforms increased their sales value by 63% from 2019 to 2021. But consumer trust in the digital market remains fragile. A joint survey by UNCTAD and its partners found prevalent user distrust of the internet. Digital platforms have increasingly contributed to the distrust, pushing some consumers to reduce online purchases, financial transactions and social media use.

 ”Online platforms have become central to online consumption. However, consumers are concerned about false or incomplete information and misleading advertising, unsafe online products, data protection and inadequate dispute resolution,” said Teresa Moreira, head of competition and consumer policies at UNCTAD.


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