tralac Daily News
Infrastructure is needed to enable the global energy transition to meet climate goals by 2050, but commercial banks and senior debt funders are deterred from investing in hydrogen infrastructure owing to uncertainty surrounding pricing, offtake demand and stranded assets as research and development take place in this nascent industry, financial experts outlined during the 2023 Hydrogen Economy Discussion event this week.
This was a nascent industry and green hydrogen was not a single term. However, while it was evolving, hydrogen did present opportunities for the private sector to invest for industrialisation, said financial services firm Nedbank corporate and investment banking infrastructure, energy and telecommunications head Mike Peo.
“Green hydrogen presents significant private-sector-led opportunities, including for mining houses. South Africa has proven that it is capable of building a renewable energy market that can compete globally in terms of price. “Given South Africa’s mineral and resources endowments, green hydrogen represents similar opportunities. However, there is no well-priced market for green hydrogen currently and most commercial banks in South Africa do not fund early-stage developments,” he noted.
Zim economic growth seen at 5,3pc in 2023 (The Herald)
ZIMBABWE’S economy is projected to grow by 5,3 percent this year, better than initial estimates, on the back of improved farm yields, better electricity supply, and strong mineral prices, according to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
The revised economic growth is ahead of estimates by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the African Development Bank (AfDB), which have projected the economy would expand by 2,5, percent 3,6 percent and 2,8 percent, respectively.
Zimbabwe had a strong performance in agriculture, with key crops surpassing output targets due to a better season. For instance, tobacco production has reached 290 million kilogrammes, significantly higher than the 230 million kg initially projected. Similarly, wheat and maize output is also expected to breach record levels while cotton production is expected to increase by 100 percent to 100 000 tonnes this year.
Tanzania emerges as top choice for investors, backed by President Suluhu’s confidence (Business Insider Africa)
In a now-viral video that sparked mixed reactions from neighbouring nations, President Suluhu confidently proclaimed Tanzania as a magnet for investors, witnessing an unprecedented influx of businesses that promised to reshape the nation’s economy.
Her call for unity and constructive addressing of grievances took centre stage during the address. She emphasised that discord and confrontations among leaders could deter potential investors from considering the affected country, opting instead for Tanzania’s welcoming investment landscape.
Nigeria maintained the position of the largest economy on the African continent for the fifth consecutive year in 2022, with a nominal GDP of $477.4 billion. The giant of Africa, as it is mostly referred to, accounted for 17.4% of the African economy in the review year ($2.7 trillion). This is according to data released by the World Bank. Nigeria has topped this list since 2018 when it overtook South Africa as the largest African economy.
According to the World Bank, Nigeria’s economy grew by 8.3% year over year in 2022 from $440.8 billion recorded in the previous year. Egypt followed with a GDP estimate of $476.7 billion, having recorded a 12.3% growth in its GDP from $424.7 billion in 2021. In third position was South Africa with an estimate of $405.9 billion.
Nigeria still imports 80 per cent of pharmaceutical inputs (Tribune Online)
Pharmacist and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ST. Racheal’s Pharm. Mr. Akinjide Adeosun, has expressed concern over the state of Nigeria’s Pharmaceutical industry whereby 80 percent of inputs used in manufacturing are still being imported.
Specifically, he lamented that just about 30 percent of pharmaceutical brands were manufactured locally, leaving about 70 percent to importation, hence the need for support to change the narrative as “we cannot constantly be dependent on others”
Speaking at St. Racheal’s Pharma Finance Forum held on Wednesday, July 19, with the theme: “Manufacturing Renaissance in Nigeria,’’ Adeosun called on national and sub-national governments to support pharmaceutical industries through Public Private Partnership (PPP) models, adding that there is also a need for industry operators to network with the government to have a good grasp of policies and how to align with them.
Tunisia on July 17 exported its first shipment of resin to Cameroon under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), announced the Export Promotion Centre (CEPEX). Customs clearance of the shipment, which includes 60 tonnes of resin worth €90,000 (around TND 204,000), was carried out by the Cameroonian institution of the “Port Autonome de Kribi” (PAK). This operation marks a decisive step towards closer economic cooperation within the AfCFTA, added CEPEX in a press release issued on Tuesday.
“It will offer opportunities for fruitful exchanges between the participating countries and pave the way for a promising future for Africa’s economic integration.” Tunisia’s Ambassador to Yaoundé Karim Ben Bécher underlined the importance of this first operation between Tunisia and Cameroon, which remains Tunisia’s leading partner in Central Africa and its 4th largest client in sub-Saharan Africa.
Liberia Nearing Domestication of Continental Free Trade Agreement (Liberian Observer)
The Liberian legislature has ratified the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which aims to create one of the largest free trade zones in the world since the World Trade Organization was created in 1995. The move by the 54th legislature, which now paves the way for the President’s signature, comes at a time when Liberia is yet to fully domesticate the agreement — being the only country in Africa not to have done so — since AfCFTA entered into force on May 30, 2019.
The AfCFTA, which aims to eliminate trade barriers and boost intra-Africa trade, would greatly benefit the country as it opens up a vast continental market for Liberian products — forcing the country directly to diversify its export base and reduce its dependence on traditional trading partners. It also presents Liberia with a unique opportunity to improve its infrastructure and logistical capabilities.
African energy experts make progress on continental power system masterplan (The North Africa Post)
Energy stakeholders from across Africa who convened at a recent meeting in Benin’s capital, Cotonou, managed to made significant strides in the establishment of the African Single Electricity Market (AfSEM) and the development of the Continental Power Systems Master Plan (CMP), paving the way for major developments to come in the energy sector.
The importance of a well-coordinated strategy to modernize Africa’s power infrastructure cannot be overstated. It is projected that the demand for electricity in the continent will triple by 2040, with industrialization, rapid urbanization, the growing middle class, and climate change being among other driving factors. To that end, the African energy experts attending the 3-day workshop managed to chart the path forward for the CMP and AfSEM initiatives, aiming to provide Africa with a reliable and sustainable power supply to meet the growing demands of its population.
Major developments are on the horizon as the CMP work plan enters its final development phase to produce an optimized integrated generation and transmission expansion plan for the 2023-2040 period.
Russia’s decision on Monday to pull out of an agreement which allowed the export of Ukrainian agricultural goods via a safe channel through the Black Sea amid the continuing war is already reverberating far from the front lines of fighting in Ukraine.
For years, East African countries rattled by global climate change have relied on Ukrainian grain exports for sustenance. Now, an end to the agreement could lead to rising consumer prices, and further strain farmers and cash-strapped aid organisations already struggling to respond to challenges like conflict to drought, analysts say.
“We already know or can predict to a fair degree the impact the pausing of exports from that region to the rest of the world, especially East Africa and the Horn of Africa, will have on food prices,” said Debisi Araba, a food policy strategist and former managing director at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF).
With the grain initiative in the balance, African activists and economists are calling for climate-smart solutions to support local farmers and ramp up production, reducing import dependency. “We have to try and build self-sufficiency. Most of our constraints are on the supply side,” said Brain Sserunjogi, a fellow at the Economic Policy Research Centre in Uganda. “We have to invest in irrigation measures to make sure that we strengthen our production base for some of the food that we eat. We have to develop our local fertiliser industries.”
Supporting Women Farmers to Maintain and Grow their Businesses
Employment in agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa, although decreasing over the past 30 years, is still much higher than anywhere else in the world for both women and men. Productivity in agriculture in the region is low in general, and research focusing on selected countries shows that it is particularly low in female-managed farms. Giving women farmers the same access as men to productive resources and services could significantly increase agricultural output, boost economic growth, increase food security, and alleviate poverty in developing countries.
Facilitating knowledge exchange among farmers and providing participatory learning approaches have the potential to improve crop productivity and/or agricultural income of female farmers. Providing cash or in-kind transfers to female farmers are likely to improve female farmers’ ownership of animals and agricultural assets.
Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said on 21 July that digital trade holds great promise to act as a catalyst for inclusive economic growth and sustainable development. “This promise is especially palpable in Africa,” she added. The Director-General was speaking at the launch of a joint WTO-World Bank policy note entitled “Turning digital trade into a catalyst for African development”.
The Director-General noted that reaping the opportunities of digital trade requires an adequate ecosystem, starting with good connectivity and encompassing other elements, such as sufficient skills, logistics and payments systems, and an enabling policy framework. Acknowledging the challenges that African countries face in this regard, she said that it is imperative that the international community steps up its action to support African countries’ efforts to benefit from digital trade.
The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Ministers of Finance and Investment and Governors of Central Banks has called for increased financial investment and portfolio diversification to achieve economic stability, stimulate growth and build economic resilience in the region.
In support of the implementation of the SADC Protocol on Finance and Investment, Honourable Kadima-Nzuji emphasised that, for SADC to attract investment capital, Member States must adopt prudent policy frameworks, promote harmonisation of financial and investment policies, enhance government efficiency and implement long-term financial regulations.
Ms. Angèle Makombo N’Tumba, SADC Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration highlighted the importance of harmonising policies and improving the investment and business environment to achieve the microeconomic convergence, urging Member States to continue implementing essential frameworks, policies and recommendations. She also emphasised the significance of the Regional Development Fund in mobilising resources to finance the development of climate-smart infrastructure and technologies that increase agricultural production and industrial productivity and enhance intra-regional trade.
SAATM is the way forward (Africa Aviation News)
I believe that the SAATM and the AfCFTA are indissociable flagship projects of the African Union. In fact, the AfCFTA cannot be effective without the SAATM as the latter rests on the elimination of the non-physical barriers to the development of the air transport sector, the creation of a safe and reliable air transport industry, and the liberalisation of the aviation market in Africa, amongst others. These are equally the sine qua non conditions for the successful implementation of the AfCFTA.
My wish is that Africa can double its current air cargo figures over the next 5 years. The present forecast of ACI Africa for the air cargo sector in Africa unfortunately does not project such a robust growth despite the AfCFTA constituting the largest free trade area in the world in terms of participating countries.
Coming out of the pandemic, as airports look to ensure long-term financial sustainability through the diversification of their revenue streams, cargo has effectively become an important area to be explored. In light of the recent developments, many airports are now asking how they can capitalise on cargo’s resilience. The answer is not straightforward, and it will probably depend on many factors. Some of these factors are not even within the airport’s control which makes the process even more complex. There is, however, one consideration that applies to most airports, i.e. developing cargo takes time and effort.
On the positive side, with the newfound importance for air cargo, there is willingness from aviation stakeholders to invest in or contribute to its development. The development of a clear, well-thought-out cargo strategy, including a cargo master plan, is essential to growing this segment of airport’s portfolios.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, has challenged African leaders to prioritise unrestricted trade with one another to save the continent from the burden of foreign aid.
He illustrated that whereas elite Africans criticize neocolonialism, several African governments have introduced foreign stockholders to usurp investment opportunities on the continent while undermining and ignoring natives with the same capability.
Mr Tayebwa also opined that trade, especially intra-African trade is the only instrument that African countries must embrace to liberate the continent from the burden of exploitation by foreign powers. “As Africa, trade not aid will liberate us - and for you to trade, you start with your neighbour. Many governments in Africa introduce investors who come with USD $1 million in investment but later claim investments worth USD $100 million,” he said.
According to Mr Tayebwa, intra-African trade can only be smoothly facilitated by travel and free movement of goods and services. He expressed concern over the fact that African governments impose unnecessary travel restrictions which continue to hinder the achievement of a united Africa.
A dialogue meeting that took place in Gaborone, Botswana, from 18th to 19th July 2023, involved the African Union InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), the AUDA-NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA), and the Regional Economic Communities. The meeting, held under the FishGov 2 Project was supported by the European Union, and attended by a total of twenty-five participants.
According to Dr. Domingos Dove, the Director of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources, who represented the SADC Executive Secretary, it is evident that our fisheries resources are facing significant challenges. These challenges include the detrimental effects of overfishing, the presence of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities, pollution, the impact of climate change, and the degradation of habitats.
The delegates were provided with instructions to implement specific measures in order to guarantee the sustainable management of our fisheries and aquaculture resources.
Head of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) Hossein Selahvarzi has called for forming innovative monetary mechanisms in order to expand trade ties with Africa. Selahvarzi made the remarks in a meeting with Nigeria’s Ambassador to Tehran Yakubu Santuraki Suleiman on Thursday, the ICCIMA portal reported.
Speaking in this meeting, the ICCIMA head pointed to transportation and banking problems as the two main obstacles in the way of developing business relations between Iran and African countries, including Nigeria, and emphasized: “We must focus on finding innovative monetary mechanisms.”
The Pandemic Fund’s Governing Board has approved grants under its first round of funding allocations aimed to boost the resilience to future pandemics in 37 countries across six regions. The selected projects will receive funding to strengthen disease surveillance and early warning, laboratory systems, and health workforce.
Established in September 2022, and formally launched under Indonesia’s G20 Presidency at the G20 meetings in Bali, Indonesia last November, the Pandemic Fund is the first multilateral financing mechanism dedicated to providing multiyear grants to help low- and middle-income countries become better prepared for future pandemics. The Fund, which is hosted by the World Bank, has already raised $2 billion in seed capital from 25 sovereign and philanthropic contributors.
At agriculture negotiating meetings open to all WTO members on 17-18 July, the Chair — Ambassador Alparslan Acarsoy of Türkiye — praised the more concrete discussions among members on possible ways forward in the run-up to the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in February 2024. He highlighted that MC13 is an important milestone in the negotiating process. “It should deliver on the MC12 commitment of trade ministers to take ‘concrete steps’ to facilitate trade and improve the functioning and long-term resilience of global markets for food and agriculture,” he said.