Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Court reaffirms non-compliant imported goods not allowed to enter SA (SAnews)

The National Consumer Commission (NCC) has welcomed the decision by the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, reiterating that non-compliant imported Clothing, Textile, Footwear, and Leather (CTFL) goods cannot enter the Republic.

The NCC said the proliferation of non-compliant clothing, textiles, footwear and leather imported goods destroys the South African textile industry. During the last financial year, the Commission issued more than 50 non-compliance notices to importers of CTFL goods. Non-compliant goods to a value of just above R18 million were either returned to the country of origin or destroyed.

The High Court also confirmed that the Commission is within its mandate to exercise its power bestowed to it by the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) by issuing a Compliance Notice where an investigation by the NCC revealed that the consignment does not comply with the provisions of the Act.

“I want to remind importers that it is their responsibility to ensure that their goods do comply with the CPA. Where the goods are non-compliant, we will not hesitate to issue non-compliances instructing Importers to either return non-compliant goods to the country of origin or destroy them,” Mabuza said.

Namibia’s economic outlook: Managing global change and taking advantage of new opportunities (Namibia Economist)

Like many other countries, Namibia is faced with a challenging economic environment created by global macro changes. The immediate financial outlook for Namibia is examined in this article. Additionally, the potential that green hydrogen as an emerging business provides, as well as the current changes in the oil industry.

The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and increased domestic revenue have been the main drivers of Namibia’s public financing’s spectacular rebound. As a result of the increased revenue, the government can spend more money and no longer faces contractionary pressure. The budgetary outlook is becoming more stable as deficits gradually decline. The prospect for increased exports, mining output, and oil exploration are boosting inbound investment.

Tanzania secures $195m budget support from EU (The East African)

Tanzania has signed three grant agreements valued at 179.35 million euros ($195 million) with the European Union to support budget operations. President Samia Suluhu, who witnessed the signing ceremony in Dodoma on Tuesday, said the grants would accelerate the implementation of development programmes in the country.

“The money will be used to promote policy changes and industry growth in the blue economy, finance for growth, gender equity, green energy, and smart cities, as well as the renovation of rural roads in the southern highlands region,” she said.

The money, he said, is expected to contribute to the implementation of the Global Gateway, the new EU strategy to boost smart, clean, and secure links in the digital, energy, and transport sectors and to strengthen health, education, and research systems worldwide.

Kenya on the move again as economy reverses 7-straight falls (The East African)

Kenya’s economy has reversed seven straight back-to-back quarterly growth declines after pulling out of a prolonged electioneering period and a season of jobless growth defined by elevated inflation. The latest official numbers show that the economy in the three months to March posted the fastest growth in the last four quarters, defying the high cost of living driven by a prolonged drought.

The quarter to March was the first time the economy has put brakes on seven straight declines from a high of 10.3 percent in 2021 to 3.7 percent in December, pointing to glimmers of recovery from post-pandemic global supply disruptions.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) reported on Tuesday that the country’s gross domestic product expanded by 5.3 percent in the first quarter of the year, a faster pace than 3.7 percent in the previous period ending December 2022.

Egypt: 23.8% increase in trade deficit during April 2023 (ZAWYA)

Egypt’s trade deficit increased by 23.8% to $2.33bn during April 2023, compared to $1.89bn in the same month of previous year, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics.

Egypt’s exports decreased by 44.9% to $3.03bn during April 2023, versus $5.50bn in the same month of previous year, due to a decreased value of some commodities such as natural gas by 75.6%, fruits by 58.8%, crude oil by 48.2%, and ready-made clothes by 34.1%. Imports value decreased by 27.4% as it reached 5.36 billion dollars during April 2023, versus 7.38 billion dollars for the same month of previous year, due to a decreased value of some commodities such as wheat by 1.4%, chemicals by 2.1%, plastics in their primary forms by 33.6%, and raw materials of iron and steel by 52.4%.

Deadline on Africa’s contested borders nears (The East African)

African countries have only four years from now to resolve their disputed borderlines. The deadline set for the demarcation or re-fixing of the territorial boundaries that have been disputed by nations is 2027.

“This is a complex and expensive matter,” said Ngoga on Sunday. “The AU is keen to ensure this is done, even though only a few countries have ratified a convention to its effect,” Frederic Gateretse Ngoga, a representative of the African Union (AU), said.

According to him, currently, there are over 100 border disputes among nations in Africa that can trigger serious conflicts if not resolved. “Unresolved border issues have the potential to escalate into violence and threaten peace and security,” he observed. Such crises can also undermine regional integration efforts by “creating insecurity in border communities and the movement of people, goods and services”.

Kenya calls for inclusion of women entrepreneurs within EAC (Kenya Broadcasting Corporation)

Kenya has called for the involvement of women entrepreneurs in trade and investment in the East African Community (EAC). According to the East African Community and Regional Development Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano, she considers focus on women a confirmation that the spirit of gender complementarity has slowly but surely demolished myths that hitherto held certain chores as a preserve of one gender and a no-go zone for the other. She was speaking during the inaugural East African Women’s Business and Investment Forum London.

While stressing the importance of empowering women, she noted that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development prioritises women’s empowerment captured in Sustainable Development Goal Number 5 advocates for gender equality and empowerment among all women and girls.

Adding that, a 2021 treatise jointly authored by four gender experts and titled “Women’s empowerment in East Africa: Development of a cross-country comparable measure” and published in the well-respected monthly journal “World Development” contains useful insights for purposes of this forum’s discourse.

How EAC partner states plan to tax ‘10 major products’ (The New Times)

The East African Community (EAC) secretariat has issued the approved measures on import duty rates in the EAC Common External Tariff (EAC CET), which indicate different rates for given products, based on the priorities of each Partner State. They were published in the EAC Gazette on June 30, and are expected to be applicable for the current fiscal year which runs from July 1 to June 30, 2024.

According to a legal notice in the Gazette, the measures on customs duty rates on the items in question were approved by the EAC Council of Ministers in exercise of the powers conferred upon the Council under relevant provisions of the Protocol on the Establishment of the East African Community Customs Union.

Don tasks AU, ECOWAS on capacity building for Africans to embrace BRICS (Freedom Online)

The Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) on Tuesday called on the African Union(AU) and other regional organizations to invest in capacity building for Africans ahead of their move to embrace BRICS. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that BRICS, originally named BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China), is an acronym for the regional economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China which in 2010 had included the letter S for South Africa.

Prof. Eghosa Osaghae, NIIA’s Director-General, made the call during a business roundtable and dialogue session organized by the South African Consulate General in Lagos and Brand South Africa. The theme for the program was “Promoting Regional and Continental Trade Through the AFCFTA and BRICS in Africa”.

Osaghae said that in view of the fact that Africans lacked the needed knowledge to leverage on the opportunities BRICS would have to offer, capacity building was highly needed.

“I challenge the AU, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other regional organizations to help Africans in the area of capacity building. “Nigeria is ripe to also partner with BRICS but before then, we must prepare and be well equipped with the right knowledge to harness the opportunities in the system,” he said.

Twenty five African countries facing debt risks, warns AfDB (Kenya Broadcasting Corporation)

African Development Bank (AfDB) Group President, Akinwumi Adesina has said that the rise in cost of debt servicing has led to 25 countries in Africa being at risk of either high –debt distress or in-debt distress. Adesina said African markets have had to bear the brunt from the strict monetary policies in the US and Europe.

The tough economic times has impacted interest rates and led to rising costs of debt serving. African Development Bank has warned that Africa external debt could rise from $1.1 trillion to $1.13 trillion. “As a result, the external debt service payments due for 16 African countries will rise from $21.2 billion (Ksh 3 trillion) in 2022 to $22.3c billion (Ksh 3 .1 trillion) in 2023,” said Akinwumi. Kenya ranks third among African countries in terms of government debt to gross domestic products (GDP).

The growth of continental loan obligations has been blamed on the adversities of COVID-19 pandemic and tightening their spending culture has caused these countries to downgrade. The rising costs of energy and food prices from the Russian-Ukraine war and the rising costs of adapting to climate change compounded these challenges.

Kganyago plays down common African currency (Engineering News)

South Africa’s central bank chief said adopting a region-wide common currency was a political project, and then spelled out exactly why it would probably never happen.

“What do you need to have an African currency? You need to have macroeconomic convergence,” South African Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago said Tuesday during a wide-ranging interview with Metro FM radio.

That means getting inflation and debt levels among nations on the continent to be at similar levels, as well as consistent fiscal policies and banking rules. “Absent those, it’s impossible,” he said during an event hosted at the Soweto Theatre in southern Johannesburg.

Corruption increased in 36 African countries in 2022 - Afrobarometer (Citinewsroom)

Corruption increased drastically in 36 African countries between 2021/2022, according to a survey conducted by Afrobarometer. In these 36 countries, Afrobarometer in its report disclosed that corruption increased a lot by 46%, and increased somewhat by 12%, but stayed the same at about 20%.

“Almost six in 10 Africans (58%) say that corruption in their countries increased over the past year. The situation has worsened significantly in 12 of the 30 countries surveyed in both 2014/2015 and 2021/2022, most dramatically in Senegal (where perceptions of increasing corruption have risen by 39 percentage points), Burkina Faso (+29 points), Gabon (+24 points), Cameroon (+23 points), and Côte d’Ivoire (+22 points). On the other hand, there has been a drastic improvement in Benin, where the proportion who report that corruption increased dropped by -61 percentage points,” Afrobarometer said in its report.

Africa is key player in unilateral digital roadmap (ITWeb)

The Global Digital Compact represents a golden opportunity for Africa to shape the digital future. This was the word from Fayaz King, special advisor: office of the UN secretary-general’s envoy on technology, speaking via video link from New York, US. King addressed the UN Economic Commission for Africa’s (UNECA’s) regional review meeting on the continent’s contribution towards the Global Digital Compact.

Steered by the office of the UN secretary-general’s envoy on technology, the compact is a proposed roadmap for collective action by UN member states, which include African nations, to address the global challenges and opportunities arising from the digital revolution. It looks to establish global standardisation on the principles and guidelines for an open, free, secure and human-centred digital environment.

King said despite its challenges, Africa has had a number of successes within the digital realm, most notably mobile money. For example, the Sub-Saharan Africa region boasts 760 million accounts, which represent nearly half of the global users, he stated. As a result, the African continent is in a unique position to significantly contribute and benefit from the proposed compact, he commented. “Africa has already demonstrated innovation prowess and can lead from the front in this compact.

UN survey shows trade facilitation progress amid polycrisis (Dhaka Tribune)

Despite persisting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, geopolitical turbulence, and high inflation that continue to challenge international trade, countries are persistently moving towards a seamless and efficient trading environment by simplifying and digitalizing formalities in international trading, a new United Nations survey reveals.

According to the fifth United Nations Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation covering 161 countries, progress has been observed in more efficient trade facilitation with the overall implementation rate of general and digital trade facilitation measures increasing by more than 6% points between 2021 and 2023, reads a press release issued on Wednesday.

The global average implementation rate currently stands at 68.7%. Crucial to the progress made globally were regional and subregional initiatives such as the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (CPTA), the expansion of the Asean Single Window Agreement, and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement.

These initiatives could further support countries in gradually moving to less paper and then to paperless and cross-border paperless trade by providing a dedicated, inclusive and capacity-building intergovernmental platform.

Conversely, the 2023 survey also highlighted the insufficient adoption of sustainable trade facilitation measures and inadequate support for vulnerable groups, including the agricultural sector, small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and women traders.

As Black Sea grain expiry looms, Russia rejects bank compromise (Daily Sabah)

Russia on Tuesday restated a demand for its state agricultural bank to be reconnected to the global SWIFT payments system to avert the collapse of the Black Sea grain deal, and said it would not accept a reported compromise proposal.

With 13 days remaining until the expiry of the deal, which has allowed Ukraine to export grain from its Black Sea ports despite Russia’s invasion, Moscow said there had been no progress on any of its key demands, including the banking issue.

The Kremlin said on Wednesday that it has not made a final decision about whether to extend the initiative, brokered by Türkiye and the United Nations last July.

The Financial Times reported on Monday that the European Union was considering a proposal to allow Russia’s Rosselkhozbank to set up a subsidiary that could connect to SWIFT. But Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova dismissed the idea as “deliberately unworkable,” saying it would take many months to set up such a unit and another three months to connect to SWIFT.

Russian oil product flows to Africa jump following Western sanctions (Accelerating Progress)

Sanction-hit Russia’s refined product exports to Africa have skyrocketed since the invasion of Ukraine, increasing 14-fold in just over a year, following a diplomatic onslaught on the continent by Russian officials. Prior to the war, Russia exported 33,000 b/d of refined products to Africa, much of it gasoline. By March 2023, that had soared to 420,000 b/d.

The embargo followed independent decisions from many Western countries to halt imports of Russian oil. These sanctions have forced Russia to redirect significant oil export volumes to alternative markets, including Africa. India, China, and Turkey are also becoming increasingly important export markets.

Experts say a new “scramble for Africa” has gathered pace since the invasion began early last year, with Russia, China, the US, Turkey, Gulf states, and former colonial powers Britain and France all vying for influence on the world’s fastest-growing continent.

In the first quarter of 2022, Tunisia imported just 2,700 b/d of Russian products, but that rose to 66,300 b/d in Q1 of this year, according to S&P Global Commodities at Sea data, while Nigeria—Africa’s biggest oil producer and most populous nation—saw imports rise almost five-fold year on year to 57,400 b/d in Q1 2023.

Morocco, Libya, and Egypt have also recorded huge rises in Russian imports. “[Lavrov’s] flurry of diplomatic activity makes it abundantly clear. These steps are about Russia seeking alternative routes for their commodity exports,” Kulakhmetov added. “Therefore, North African states are playing a significant role for Russia in mitigating implications of oil and oil product ban.”

Investment flows to Africa dropped to $45 billion in 2022 (UNCTAD)

UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2023 published on 5 July shows that foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to Africa declined to $45 billion in 2022 from the record $80 billion set in 2021. They accounted for 3.5% of global FDI.

The number of greenfield project announcements rose by 39% to 766. Six of the top 15 greenfield investment megaprojects (those worth more than $10 billion) announced in 2022 were in Africa.

In Southern Africa, flows returned to prior levels after the anomalous peak in 2021 caused by a large corporate reconfiguration in South Africa. FDI in South Africa was $9 billion – well below the 2021 level but double the average of the last decade. Cross-border M&A sales in the country reached $4.8 billion from $280 million in 2021. In Zambia, after two years of negative values, FDI rose to $116 million.

Over the past five years, FDI inflows have risen in four of the regional economic groupings on the continent. FDI in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa grew by 14% to $22 billion. Flows rose also in the Southern African Development Community (quadrupling, to $10 billion), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (doubling, to $5.2 billion) and the East African Community (up 9%, to $3.8 billion).

UNCTAD calls for urgent support to developing countries to attract massive investment in clean energy (UNCTAD)

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) today called for urgent support to developing countries to enable them to attract significantly more investment for their transition to clean energy. UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2023 published on 5 July shows that much of the growth in international investment in renewable energy, which has nearly tripled since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015, has been concentrated in developed countries.

Developing countries need renewable energy investments of about $1.7 trillion annually but attracted foreign direct investment in clean energy worth only $544 billion in 2022, according to the report.


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