Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Transnet container terminals remain optimistic of strong citrus season finish (Engineering News)

Average year-on-year comparisons of citrus handling volumes show a 9.2% volume increase in the Eastern Cape region and, despite heavy rains across the country, the Eastern Cape Container Terminals are handling higher citrus volumes than the previous three years mid-season, said State-owned Transnet Port Terminals (TPT).

“With exception of the Eastern Cape, we have noted a slow start to the citrus season in general. There are a number of factors at play, including lower crop yields owing to weather, as well as the European Union’s cold treatment legislation, which have reduced export opportunities,” said TPT commercial and planning GM Michelle van Buren Schele.

However, Transnet remained optimistic of a strong, albeit later, finish with three months before end of season, she added. “Volumes are starting to pick up in Durban after delayed production of valencia and mandarin fruits. This will also contribute to peak export flows,” she said. The citrus season is one of South Africa’s biggest, as the country ranks among the top suppliers of citrus fruits in the world. During this season, TPT handles vessels destined for over 100 markets.

Regional Collaboration Consolidates Angola’s Position as an Oil and Gas Hub (ZAWYA)

One of Africa’s major oil and gas producers, Angola is demonstrating commendable efforts in prioritizing regional collaboration to ensure energy security and stimulate growth across the regional energy sector. By leveraging its position, resources and experience, Angola is forging strategic partnerships with neighboring countries, signing significant agreements, and initiating cross-border collaborations. These endeavors serve as an inspiring example for other African nations to enhance cooperation and foster sustainable development.

In a notable development, Angola’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on July 13 for the joint development of offshore Block 14 marks a significant milestone in the country’s pursuit of energy security. Angola, for its part, has demonstrated its commitment to strengthening cooperation and promoting sustainable development and growth within the energy sector. This strategic alliance will not only boost the energy sectors of both countries but also promote economic growth and stability across the continent.

IMF Staff Completes 2023 Article IV Mission to Botswana (IMF)

“Following a strong recovery of almost 12 percent growth in 2021, Botswana’s economy grew by 5.8 percent in 2022, significantly above the long-run average of 4 percent. The recovery from the pandemic primarily reflects elevated mining production, but also robust manufacturing and construction.

“Going forward, growth is projected to slow to 3.8 percent in 2023. The expected slowdown reflects a decline in diamond production and prices this year, with weaker global growth likely to depress other exports. This will be partly offset by growth in the non-mining sector, with a fiscal relaxation supporting household consumption and public investment. Growth is forecast to rebound gradually in 2024 and 2025, to above 4 percent, due to higher prices and quantities of diamonds produced.

Namibia is open for business says Mbumba at 2023 U.S.-Africa Business Summit (Namibia Economist)

The Vice President Dr Nangolo Mbumba reiterated that Namibia is open for business and that it welcomes investors interested in exploring potential prospects for shared economic growth. Mbumba emphasized the government’s unwavering commitment to creating a conducive environment for business, noting that “we are doing this by removing legal or administrative impediments, and ensuring that our trade and investment landscape remains fit for purpose.” Mbumba made these remarks at the U.S.-Africa Business Summit in Botswana on Thursday, where he led the Namibian delegation.

“Namibia is a land of vast potential that offers trade and investment opportunities in multiple sectors beyond energy. From tourism, mining, agriculture and agro-processing, transport and logistics, amongst others, a key objective for Namibia is to leverage the existing capital-intensive industries to set the basis for productive diversification towards industries that can employ more people with higher capabilities and jump-start the economy,” he said.

Efficiently Reforming Fossil Fuel Subsidies Would Free Up Resources for Investments in Human Capital and to Support Equatorial Guinea’s Economic Diversification Efforts (World Bank)

Following the positive economic growth observed in 2022, Equatorial Guinea is projected to re-enter recession this year with an average real GDP growth of about -4% over the period 2023 to 2025.

While the country registered a fiscal and current account surplus in 2022 amid the recovery of the hydrocarbon sector, the projected gradual decrease in oil production and lower commodity prices are expected to deteriorate both the fiscal and external balances over the medium term. The medium-term outlook is subject to downside risks, including lower-than-expected oil production and prices, increases in international food prices, and a further tightening of global financial conditions.

Cameroon predicts nearly CFAF200bln YoY drop in oil revenues in 2024 (Business in Cameroon)

On July 13, 2023, the 2024 budget preparation workshop was officially opened, in Yaoundé, by Finance Minister Louis Paul Motaze (photo). During his opening address, he described national and international uncertainties that could lead to a significant drop in Cameroon’s oil revenues in 2024. “The uncertainties weighing on the global economy call for caution regarding the forecast of a substantial increase in domestic revenues in 2024, in a context of falling prices and a crumbling potential for the mobilization of oil revenues, which are projected - in the latest budgetary framework - to drop by more than CFAF195 billion compared to 2023,” Minister Motazé said.

The projections need to be taken with caution considering the uncontrolled fluctuations in the dollar exchange rate and even crude oil prices, which may evolve favorably in the coming months, as long as the war between Russia and Ukraine persists. Apart from oil revenues, budget support and funds raised are also expected to drop in 2024.

Cabo Verde’s Sustainable Growth relies on Economic Diversification and Resilience to External Shocks (World Bank)

In 2022, Cabo Verde witnessed strong economic growth, led by the sectors of tourism, transport, and commerce. This surge in economic activity boosted the country’s GDP and contributed to poverty reduction. However, the need for economic diversification and for resilience to external shocks, particularly climate related, posed significant threats to the sustainability of growth. These are the key issues tackled by the 2023 Country Economic Memorandum and the 2023 Economic Update, two new reports published by the World Bank.

Cabo Verde has achieved significant social and economic progress since its independence in 1975, despite its geographical challenges and limited resources. However, there are still challenges that need to be addressed to ensure sustainable and inclusive long-term economic growth. Three priorities discussed in the CEM are (i) the importance of increasing firm-level productivity to generate more and better jobs; (ii) the need to reduce economic fragmentation by reduction transportation costs among islands; and (iii) the significance of building economic resilience to climate shocks.

“By implementing the recommendations outlined in these reports, in line with the national development policy (PEDS II), Cabo Verde has the potential to gradually diversify its economy, improve firm-level productivity, and prepare better for the impacts of climate shocks. These efforts will foster sustainable and inclusive growth, reduce poverty, and promote shared prosperity for the country and its people”, said Eneida Fernandes, World Bank Resident Representative in Cabo Verde.

Seychelles signs SADC Charter for fisheries monitoring and control centre (Seychelles News Agency)

Seychelles is set to partake in more regional cooperation in its fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing with the signing of the Charter for the SADC Fisheries Monitoring Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre (MCSCC).

The SADC Council of Ministers approved the Charter in August 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa, and entered into force on April 8, 2023. The Charter aims to provide a legal framework for establishing and operationalising an institution that will coordinate measures relating to fisheries monitoring control and surveillance (MCS) in the SADC region.

Through the years, Seychelles has made progress in monitoring, control and surveillance matters by improving the implementation of trade-related measures to prevent IUU fishing and reorganising the setup of the MCS department to allow the performance of crucial international obligations.

Digitalisation, manufacturing to take centre stage at 7th Africa Singapore Business Forum (Businessday NG)

Driving Africa’s growth through digitalization, manufacturing and sustainability will take the centre stage at the 7th Africa Singapore Business Forum (ASBF) orgainsed by Enterprise Singapore, the Singaporean agency championing enterprise development. This year’s edition themed ‘Driving Africa’s Growth through Digitalisation, Manufacturing and Sustainability’ is schedule to be held between the 29th to the 31st of August in Singapore.

According to the organisers, the theme is in line with the opportunities arising from Africa’s digital boom, sustainability development, and the boost in manufacturing brought about by the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.

“Singapore companies are drawn by its potential and are eager to explore new opportunities for collaboration in areas such as manufacturing and digital solutions. “Singapore companies can also share knowledge and innovative solutions with Africa, contributing to the continent’s development and creating mutually beneficial partnerships. “We also welcome African companies to leverage our established business ecosystem and connectivity to set up their regional base in Singapore and expand into Asia,” Rahul Ghosh, director for Middle East and Africa, Enterprise Singapore said.

Ministerial meeting of the African Union Commits to More Continental Trade and Integration (AU)

The African Union 5th Mid-Year Coordination Meeting bringing together Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Regional Mechanism (RMs) and member states kicked off on the 13th of July 2023 with the Ministerial Meeting of the Executive Council.

H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, in a statement read on his behalf by his Deputy, Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, lauded the satisfactory progress of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, evidenced by among others, the successful conclusion of negotiations on rules of origin, the strengthening of infrastructure through the corridor approach, and the involvement of the private sector.

H.E. Dhoihir Dhoulkamal, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Comoros and the Chairperson of the African Union’s Executive Council for 2023, noted that the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community Relating to Free Movement of Persons is a catalyst to stimulate the potential of the AfCFTA to benefit millions of Africans.

Mr. Antonio Pedro, the Acting Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa stated that industrialization would accelerate Africa’s structural transformation with a potential to contribute an increased share of tradable goods in total exports, more productive and decent jobs, value addition, larger volumes of intra-African trade, greater product complementarity between African economies and the emergence of strong and well-linked regional value chains to break Africa’s dependence on the export of raw materials. He emphasized that industrialization backed with actionable trade policies would attract private sector investments for sustainable development.

NEPAD, AUDA partner to combat food insecurity (The Nation)

The African Union Development Agency (AUDA) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) have disclosed plans to establish strong partnerships to ensure that farmers adhere strictly to African Union Agenda 2063 goals. This, the agency said, is in conformity with the Federal Government Agricultural Revolution for Food Sufficiency in the country.

The National Coordinator (AUDA-NEPAD)/APRM, Gloria Akobundu disclosed this at a one day national workshop on mainstreaming of African Union Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAAPM) held in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

Also, speaking, the state Coordinator of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC)-Anthony Ajuruchi, argued that the non-oil export sector holds immense potential for driving economic growth, diversification and sustainable development in Africa.

Ajuruchi said that it had become crucial for the nation to shift focus to non-oil sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals and services, stressing that the transition had become vital to reduce dependency on oil, create employment opportunities and foster inclusive economic growth.

Conducive regulatory policies needed to attract private sector investment in Africa’s energy transition (UNECA)

Infrastructure experts have reiterated the need for conducive policy and business environment in Africa, which they say, is a critical first step to attract the private sector in urgently needed renewable energy investments needed for economic and social development.

“We must address the critical challenge of our policy and regulatory environment that often inhibit scaled investment and effective private sector participation,” Mr. Lisinge said in opening an event on Advancing Regulatory Improvements to Accelerate Private Sector Investment to Meet SDG7 and Energy Transition Goals in Africa on the sidelines of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York this week.

“We must close the energy access gap that has left more than 600 million people in Africa without access to electricity,” Mr. Lisinge stressed, noting that the climate goal of 1.5 0C warming calls for significant changes in how energy is produced and consumed globally and in Africa.

African Union’s inclusion in G20 could become a reality: Officials (Deccan Herald)

There has been no disagreement thus far among various G20 nations over the African Union’s inclusion into the global group, officials aware of the development said on the sidelines of the 3rd Sherpa Meeting being held in Hampi.

Bringing the AU to the table has been one of the main agendas India has been pushing for after Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote to his counterparts proposing the union be given full membership of the grouping at its September summit in New Delhi.

The push for AU’s inclusion has received significant momentum after India hosted the ‘Voice of the Global South Summit’ earlier this year to ascertain the needs of developing nations that it could pitch to leading countries during its G20 presidency. Major economies including the US, France, Japan, and China, have also backed the proposal.

Members review how to boost developing economies’ participation in global trade (WTO)

WTO members discussed how to better integrate developing economies and least-developed countries (LDCs) into the global trading system at a meeting of the Committee on Trade and Development on 11 July.

Members continued discussions on “policy space” for developing economies to promote industrial development on the basis of submissions by the WTO’s African Group. A first submission, circulated earlier this year, makes a case for rebalancing trade rules to promote industrialization and to address emerging challenges, such as climate change, concentration of production and digital industrialization.

The WTO Secretariat presented the recently-launched Global trade data portal, a tool intended to complement customs data and enhance market transparency. The portal provides access to real-time data on trade, allowing users to monitor supply chain activities and providing advance warning of potential disruptions.

Why the shipping industry’s increased climate ambition spells the end for its fossil fuel use (The Conversation)

A revised strategy to reduce global shipping emissions has emerged from two weeks of intense talks in London. It marks a significant increase in the industry’s climate ambition. The revised strategy has been criticised for not being ambitious enough. However, the forecast growth in global trade and the world’s shipping fleet means the reductions required of individual ships are much greater than the overall greenhouse gas emission targets.

The revised strategy was negotiated at the London headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations agency that regulates shipping. Backed by the Science-Based Targets initiative, several Pacific Island states, New Zealand, the US, the UK and Canada had proposed emission cuts of at least 37% by 2030, 96% by 2040 and to absolute zero by 2050. (An initial strategy adopted in 2018 aimed to reduce shipping emissions by at least 50% by 2050.)

Shipping volumes have grown by more than 50% since 2008, with further growth expected. Increasing numbers of ships mean average emission reductions per ship will need to be 54-60% by 2030 and 86-91% by 2040.

Before the revised strategy, IMO policy focused on improving the energy efficiency and carbon intensity of new and existing ships. These tools failed to rein in shipping emissions.

UN scrambles to save Black Sea grain deal, with EU help, ahead of Monday deadline (Reuters)

The European Commission is helping the United Nations and Turkey try to extend a deal allowing the Black Sea export of Ukraine grain and is open to “explore all solutions,” a European Union spokesperson said on Thursday, ahead of the deal’s possible expiration on Monday.

The U.N. and Turkey brokered the Black Sea Grain Initiative with Russia and Ukraine in July 2022 to help alleviate a global food crisis worsened by Moscow’s invasion and blockade of Ukrainian ports. Ukraine and Russia are among the world’s leading grain exporters.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres proposed in a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday that Moscow allow the Black Sea grain deal to continue for several months to give the EU time to connect a Rosselkhozbank subsidiary to SWIFT, two of those sources familiar with discussions told Reuters.

Realigning of public expenditures and increasing investment into agrifood systems transformation is key for sustainable future (FAO)

“Governments should rethink how they can allocate their existing public budgets to make them more cost-effective and efficient in reducing the cost of nutritious foods, and increasing the availability, accessibility and affordability of healthy diets,” FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said at a side event held on the margins of the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (10-19 July). 

Higher prices have increased the global food import bill to an estimated all-time high, surpassing $1.94 trillion, further stressing the balance of payments and increasing debt burdens, especially for net-importers of food. The participants touched upon the need to provide the enhanced support to the most vulnerable countries whose resources and budgets are under serious constraints ensuring that they have financial tools and safety nets especially at times of shocks (climate, economic, conflict and other unexpected factors) that result in higher prices. 

They also agreed that global agrifood systems needed to be urgently transformed through effective policies, targeted investments and strengthened institutions. These actions are crucial since they are key to creating the conditions for an inclusive and sustainable transformation of economies and societies, and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. 

122 million more people pushed into hunger since 2019 due to multiple crises, reveals UN report (FAO)

Over 122 million more people are facing hunger in the world since 2019 due to the pandemic and repeated weather shocks and conflicts, including the war in Ukraine, according to the latest State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report published today jointly by five United Nations specialized agencies. If trends remain as they are, the Sustainable Development Goal of ending hunger by 2030 will not be reached

The 2023 edition of the report reveals that between 691 and 783 million people faced hunger in 2022, with a mid-range of 735 million. This represents an increase of 122 million people compared to 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There are rays of hope, some regions are on track to achieve some 2030 nutrition targets. But overall, we need an intense and immediate global effort to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals. We must build resilience against the crises and shocks that drive food insecurity-from conflict to climate, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres through a video message during the launch of the report at the UN Headquarters in New York.

Fisheries subsidies negotiations ramp up ahead of text-based discussions in the autumn (WTO)

WTO members demonstrated an increased sense of urgency in their discussions at the fourth of a series of “Fish Weeks” held on 10-14 July regarding the second wave of fisheries subsidies negotiations, the chair, Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson of Iceland, reported at the end of the week. Members’ submissions and discussions are helping pave the way for text-based negotiations in the autumn ahead of the 13th Ministerial Conference to be held in February 2024, the chair said.

“Members came to this week with deepened reflections on various ideas on the proposals and texts on the table. It was clear that members have devoted considerable attention to all the elements before them. This effort remains a real indication of the sense of urgency and seriousness with which we are approaching this process,” Ambassador Gunnarsson said at the 14 July meeting of the Negotiating Group on Rules, bringing to a close the fourth Fish Week before the August break.

Second update of information note on integrated health, trade, IP response to COVID-19 launched (WTO)

The second update traces developments up until 17 May 2023. It provides an overview of the challenges encountered during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the responses and initiatives taken to deal with the pandemic. Topics covered include the impact of COVID-19 on health systems and responses at the global level, policy challenges, meeting the demand for health technologies and medical services, international trade, intellectual property aspects, international initiatives to support research and development and equitable access, regulatory responses, transparency and mapping the way forward.


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