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Exports surge to N$43 billion in five months (The Namibian)
During the first five months of 2023, Namibia experienced a remarkable surge in exports, reaching an impressive value of N$43 billion. This figure exceeded the N$36,3 billion reached during the same period the previous year. According to the most recent data released by the Namibia Statistics Agency, uranium, diamonds, and fish continued to play vital roles in the country’s export earnings.
Uranium emerged as the leading export commodity, accounting for a staggering 21,5% of total exports in May. Diamonds claimed the second spot on the list of top exports, constituting 21,1% of Namibia’s total exports. Fish, another crucial component of Namibia’s export portfolio, claimed the third position, contributing 12% to the nation’s total earnings.
The Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) emerged as the dominant destination for Namibia’s goods during the period under review, capturing a significant share of 36,8% of the country’s total exports. Following closely behind Sacu were the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Brazil, Russia, India, and China (the Bric countries), claiming the second and third positions, respectively, with 26,4% and 18,3% shares of Namibia’s total exports.
“Exports to Sacu consisted mainly of diamonds, non-monetary gold and petroleum oils, whereas uranium, fish and copper were destined to the OECD. The export basket to the Bric countries was mainly made up of uranium and ores,” the statistics agency says.
Kenya will exploit the strong ties it enjoys with Iran to expand trade. President William Ruto said trade volumes between the two countries are still low but with potential to grow. He explained that Kenya and Iran will strike a formula that will facilitate higher exports of tea, coffee and meat. “This will bring about the much-desired trade balance that is in favour of Iran.”
President Ruto observed that Kenya will also use the West Asian country’s wealth in technology and innovation for its development.
He explained that Kenya and Iran are strategically located to be each other’s key points of entry into their respective regions. “We will seek to capitalise on this unique advantage for our prosperity.”
Rwanda’s economy grew by 9.2% in the first quarter of 2023, following 8.2% growth in 2022. But recent floods, resulting in the loss of life and destruction of infrastructure, are expected to moderate this momentum to 5.8% in 2023 against a pre-disaster forecast of 6.2%.
The 21st edition of the World Bank’s Rwanda Economic Update (REU) highlights positive developments in the country’s economic landscape. Momentum in growth was supported by private consumption and the services sector, accompanied by improvements in the labor market.
As its special topic, this 21st Rwanda Economic Update examines the inclusiveness of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). While FDI inflows slowed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the report says, at their peak in 2014 these were well above the Sub-Saharan and East African average. FDI inflows, supported by a favorable regulatory environment, have played a crucial role in generating higher-quality jobs and access to social security, compared to their domestic counterparts.
“To improve the inclusiveness of FDI, Rwanda needs policies that focus on institutional reforms and infrastructure investments that will stimulate FDI to create jobs for women and youth and expand investment into poorer districts,” said Rolande Pryce, World Bank Country Manager for Rwanda.
Nigeria’s intra-African trade value dipped 11.95 per cent year-on-year (YoY) from N956.93 billion in the first quarter of 2022 (Q1 2022) to N842.6 billion in Q1 2023, despite operation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) since 2021.
AfCFTA projects 52.3 per cent expansion in continental trade by 2025, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, more than two years after the commencement of AfCFTA Nigeria’s trade value with other African countries in relation to its total foreign trade remains low.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report on Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics for Q1 2023 shows that at N842.6 billion, Nigeria intra-African trade was 6.99 per cent of its total foreign trade (N12.047 trillion) in Q1 2023. This is against 7.4 per cent contribution to total foreign trade (N13.001 trillion) in Q1 2022. Nigeria’s trade with other African countries also declined 24.87 per cent from N1.122 trillion in Q4 2022 to N842.6 billion in Q1 2023.
But Nigeria exported more than it imported, with exports rising from N444.418 billion in Q1 2022 to N665.10 billion in Q1 2023 while imports slashed from N512.513 billion to N177.50 billion.
After slowing to 4.7 percent in 2022, growth in Senegal is projected to rebound to over 5.3 percent this year, due in part to an emerging oil and gas industry. This makes Senegal one of the strongest growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa. The country is facing some challenges, however, including spillovers from the war in Ukraine, tighter financing conditions, and increased political instability in the region. A widening fiscal deficit and increasing government debt are two major concerns.
The country has strong prospects however, reinforced by the production of oil and gas, which will give the economy a boost for the next few years. Growth is projected to accelerate to 10.6 percent in 2024 and 7.4 percent in 2025, with non-hydrocarbon growth expected to reach around 6 percent, assuming prudent macroeconomic policies and steadfast structural reforms are implemented under the IMF-supported programs.
The additional revenues from oil and gas exports will be set aside, in line with the new fiscal rule adopted, to ensure public spending can be sustained in the future, as the country transitions to renewables.
The trade deficit narrowed to TND -8,686.9 million at the end of June 2023, against TND -11,775.5 million during the first half of 2022. This deficit can be explained by the 10% rise in exports and the 0.6% fall in imports in H1 of 2023.
The results of Tunisia’s foreign trade at current prices in H1 of 2023 reveal that exports rose by 10% compared with a 24.6% increase in the same period in 2022. They reached TND 31,271 million compared with TND 28,432.4 million during the first half of 2022. Imports fell by 0.6% compared with an increase of 32.4% at the end of June 2022.
A recently concluded UNCTAD project has helped Mauritania improve its public debt management. Implemented as part of UNCTAD’s Debt Management and Financial Analysis System (DMFAS) programme, the two-year project has helped improve the availability of the sub-Saharan African nation’s debt data.
It lead to the publication of the country’s debt statistics bulletin in line with international standards. The bulletin now provides more comprehensive information on Mauritania’s public debt in a timely manner, enhancing transparency to inform policymaking and debt restructuring negotiations.
While public debt can be vital for development, UN analysis highlights how it can become a heavy burden and divert government resources from essential services, such as education and health.
Pan African Parliament (PAP) president Chief Fortune Charumbira is heading a delegation of the continental legislative body that is in Kenya to attend the fifth mid-year coordination meeting of the African Union that seeks to accentuate the drive to create a continental free trade area.
The PAP delegation will join representatives of regional economic communities and AU member states at the meeting that will be convened under the AU 2023 theme,” Acceleration of African Free Trade Area(AfCFTA) Implementation.”
There has been a growing chorus for African countries to leverage their vast natural resources base, value add and get more returns to pivot the continent towards sustainable growth for the benefit of African people and achieve Agenda 2063 targets. Looming large at the meeting will be the discussion and presentation on the status of continental integration in Africa in accordance with the Abuja Treaty.
African Union Members States have been called upon to adopt policies to encourage intra-African trade in food production by among other things removing Non-tariff Barriers (NTBs) that currently make imports from outside the continent costly compared to locally produced food. AU Member States were further urged to invest in irrigation agriculture by moving away from the reliance on rain-fed agriculture.
African countries were called upon to adopt policies that motivate the youth to take part in agriculture to ensure increased production and reduce food insecurity. These were some of the resolutions by the 14th African Union High Level Private Sector Forum that was held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, Kenya from 10th – 12th July, 2023. The forum further encouraged AU Member States to build resilient food systems which are climate resilient by employing technologies which promote investments in technologies that also address post-harvest losses.
Top agri opportunities in EAC region revealed (Farm Kenya Initiative)
A study by East African Business Council (EABC) in partnership with Sequa GmbH under the Business Scouts Fund and GIZ Business Scouts for Development offers useful insights on investment opportunities in the region. The study aims to address the region’s low foreign direct investment in agriculture, its reliance on food imports and vulnerability to global shocks.
The study shows Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the EAC region increased marginally between 2015 and 2021, primarily driven by investments from China and India, but the majority of the money has been directed towards the manufacturing, construction, and services sectors, rather than the agricultural sector.
The study reveals significant potential for developing value chains in wheat, edible oil (soya beans, sesame, palm oil), fertilisers, tubers (potato and cassava) and leguminous plants within the EAC.
China’s participation key to AfCFTA implementation, development (Engineering New)
South African diplomat and ambassador of South Africa to Madagascar Gert Grobler has emphasised the importance of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in advancing Africa’s integrated cooperation and development, as well as the vital role that China can play in advancing progress with the AfCFTA through cooperation and development.
“Despite headwinds, trade between Africa and China jumped to a record of $260-billion in 2022 and continues to grow. This is owing to Beijing’s recent push to boost imports from Africa, with 11% year-on-year growth,” Grobler noted during a webinar, titled ‘The Future of Africa-China Trade and How to Get There’, hosted by the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) on July 12.
Grober added that, in supporting Africa to advance integrated cooperation, China had agreed to actively participate in the development of the AfCFTA, and provide continued support to the secretariat of the AfCFTA towards the full integration of this trade initiative.
The meeting brings together Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Regional Mechanism (RMs) and member states to review the progress of the continental integration agenda.
The meeting will explore ways to enhance integration, including promoting free movement and the African passport, as well as connecting infrastructure and financial markets. It will also explore establishing a common African market to accelerate trade, agriculture, establishment of businesses, and transfer of skills in Africa.
To accelerate these efforts, the meeting will discuss the division of labour between the AU, RECs, RMs, and member states, anchored on the principles of subsidiarity, complementary, and competitive advantage.
The division of labour is centred around six pillars: policy planning and formulation; policy adoption; policy implementation; monitoring, evaluation and reporting; resource mobilization; and partnerships.
Also on the agenda will be the financing of Agenda 2063, focusing on Africa’s economic recovery and the implementation of initiatives to address challenges in agriculture, infrastructure, debt, climate change, security, energy, and health. This year’s meeting will be preceded by the meeting of the AU’s Executive Council on 13-14 July.
The ministerial meeting will discuss the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
Africa needs an extra $1.6 trillion by 2030 - $194 billion annually - to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To attract more and better investment and fill that gap, African governments and their partners should improve information to investors, increase the capacity of African development finance institutions, and boost regional projects, according to the 2023 edition of Africa’s Development Dynamics.
Africa’s real GDP growth is expected to reach 3.7% in 2023, a return to pre-Covid-19 levels. In addition to these positive economic perspectives, the continent boasts unique human and natural assets to attract investors: half of the African population is 19 years old or younger
As for natural capital, which accounts for 19% of Africa’s total wealth, it offers large opportunities for investing in sustainable development: for example, African forests increased the global carbon stock by 11.6 million kilotonnes of CO2-equivalent net emissions from 2011 to 2020, as the Congo Basin became the world’s largest carbon sink.
Despite that potential, global crises have been affecting investment in Africa more negatively than in the rest of the world. For instance, Africa’s share of global greenfield foreign direct investment has dropped to 6% in 2020-21 (the lowest share in 17 years), while high-income countries elsewhere have recorded their highest share ever (61%), compared to 17% for developing Asia and 10% for Latin America and the Caribbean. The cost of capital in Africa has also risen above the levels in other parts of the world, pricing some African governments out of bond markets while thwarting investments in transformational sectors such as renewable energy.
US to Adopt Instant Payments System (Business Post Nigeria)
The United States will join the likes of Nigeria, India, and Thailand, among others, with a banking system that supports instant payments following plans by the US Federal Reserve to roll out its FedNow Service.
The US is the largest economy in the world but it has one of the most rigid banking systems in the world as banking services are mostly conducted within business hours. This means that even if a transaction is done within seconds, it may take hours or several hours for the receiver to get the funds.
Money-moving apps like Venmo, Zelle, and CashApp have sprung up to cover this gap in recent years, but regardless, the problem persists since these transfers are operated on networks that work during working hours.
The US central bank with FedNow will offer banks a way to make instant payments available in the country, a feature that Nigerian customers have enjoyed for almost 10 years.
DG Okonjo-Iweala said: “I am grateful to Gabon for its formal acceptance of the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing costs Africa over $2.3 billion in economic losses every year, according to estimates from the African Union Commission, so I am particularly pleased to see another acceptance from the continent. This is the latest sign of Gabon’s commitment to building a truly sustainable ocean environment and economy: the country has created one of the largest marine reserves in Africa, and its Gabon Bleu programme includes measures to fight IUU fishing. Fish consumption in Gabon is above the global average, and food security in the country stands to gain from the agreement’s rapid entry into force. I hope this serves as an inspiration to other WTO members.”