tralac Daily News
Over the past three years, more than R161.3-million in funding has been approved under the Economic Transformation of Black Citrus Growers (ETBCG) Programme and R78.9-million disbursed to support black grower citrus operations, creating 78 permanent and 625 seasonal jobs in total, as well as enabling 208 ha of new trees to be planted.
Industry organisation the Citrus Growers Association (CGA) in 2019 launched the R307-million ETBCG Programme in partnership with the Jobs Fund, the Land Bank, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, AgriSETA, the LIMA Rural Development Foundation and FNB, said CGA CEO Justin Chadwick.
While the ETBCG Programme was launched in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic impacted its roll-out, as well as a number of new challenges faced by the local citrus industry over the past three years, which has threatened the sustainability and profitability of farming operations. These include a major hike in farming input costs and freight rates as well as loadshedding and operational issues at ports.
Additionally, the local industry has predicted that citrus exports could grow to 260-million 15 kg cartons a year by 2032, if all role-players work together. With transformation of the industry a key priority over the next ten years, a target for black citrus growers’ contribution towards the overall 260-million cartons a year has been set at 50-million cartons a year.
inDrive launches name-your-price freight service in South Africa (Engineering News)
California-based mobility and urban services platform inDrive has launched a name-your-price freight service in South Africa, targeting small businesses and individuals. InDrive is already active as a set-your-price e-hailing service in the country.
“The [freight] service aims to deliver reliability and efficiency on last-mile, in-city routes, with same-day delivery available on demand,” says the company. inDrive.Freight’s operations have now been launched in Cape Town and Johannesburg, with a programme to expand the offering to more cities by the end of the year. inDrive.Freight promises the delivery of small parcels or large shipments of non-liquid freight, varying from 20 kg to 20 000 kg.
“At inDrive, we understand the unique logistics challenges that small businesses and individuals face,” says inDrive business representative Southern Africa Vincent Lilane. “We have introduced inDrive.Freight in South Africa to address these challenges. It is a comprehensive solution offering competitive pricing, timely delivery, and the flexibility and scalability needed in today’s fast-paced world.”
DTIC aims to improve awareness on AfCFTA through outreach programme (Engineering News)
The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) has embarked on provincial outreach and awareness workshops in collaboration with provincial governments, wherein it hopes to have engaged all provinces on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by the end of July.
The DTIC is also developing an AfCFTA implementation plan, including the establishment of a national implementation committee and a targeted strategy for the implementation of the AfCFTA.
“The AfCFTA brings us a step closer to realising the historic vision of an integrated market in Africa. For sustainability and legitimacy, Africa’s integration must deliver shared benefits,” DTIC director-general Malebo Mabitje-Thompson said during a webinar on the operationalisation of the AfCFTA on July 25. She added that trade integration and liberalisation should be accompanied by programmes to support African industrialisation and regional value chains. “Coordinated efforts and inclusion of AfCFTA across all of government and relevant stakeholders to ensure the benefit of AfCFTA opportunities to all of South Africa’s private sector is imperative,” Mabitje-Thompson said.
She explained that, for the successful implementation of the AfCFTA, a doubling of road freight will be necessary, increasing from 201-million tonnes to 403-million tonnes. The agreement also calls for the provision of about 1.8-million trucks for bulk cargo and 248 000 trucks for container cargo by 2030. The estimated investment required for the road freight aspect amounts to about $345-billion.
South Africa has assured its BRICS partners that it continues to view the bloc as a crucial strategic partnership through which a just, peaceful and more equitable world order can be pursued and realised.
South Africa, led by Minister in the Presidency responsible for State Security Agency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, today hosted a BRICS National Security Advisors meeting in Sandton, Johannesburg. Delivering the opening remarks, Minister Ntshavheni told her BRICS counterparts that state and non-state actors are hard at work in certain parts of the globe using various role players to promote their agenda whilst undermining countries’ national security.
“As an African country, we firmly believe in the need to promote peace and sustainable development as well as deepened political, economic and social relations. South Africa remains deeply committed to multilateral diplomacy, in principle and in our demonstrable actions - particularly through our close collaboration in the bloc,” the Minister said.
Foreign investors withdraw $345m from faltering Kenya economy (The East African)
Kenya lost over $345 million worth of foreign direct investment (FDI) and other investment inflows in three months as economic growth plummeted over increased political noise and unfriendly policies. The latest Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data shows that the country’s net financial account inflows dropped by 34 percent ($345 million) to $660 million in the first quarter of this year, compared with net inflows of $1 billion in the same period in 2022. Economic growth fell from 6.2 percent to 5.3 percent, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.
Foreign investors, on the other hand, have voiced concerns over a dollar shortage in the country, difficulties in accessing short-term loans to shore up their working capitals, restrictions on capital repatriation and the high cost of doing business.
China envoy Wang Yi calls Kenya economic ties a ‘win-win’ (The East African)
China’s top diplomat Wang Yi during a visit to Kenya on Saturday praised the two countries’ economic partnership as a “win-win”, according to a statement from the Chinese authorities. Kenya and China have “become good friends with mutual trust in politics and good partners with win-win economic cooperation”, according to the statement from the Chinese embassy in Kenya.
With the most dynamic economy in East Africa, Kenya is considered by the international community as a stable democracy in a troubled region. China is the second-largest donor to Kenya after the World Bank.
China has also loaned $5 billion (4.7 billion euros) toward the most expensive infrastructure project in the country since its independence in 1963: a train line that since 2017 has connected the port city Mombasa with Naivasha, in the Rift Valley, via the capital Nairobi. ”The landmark project of the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway has completely changed the face of Kenya,” the embassy’s statement said.
Cameroon’s customs revenues went up 19.3%, to CFAF486.4bln, in H1-2023 (DGD) (Business in Cameroon)
The Directorate General of Customs, housed at the Ministry of Finance, collected CFAF486.4 billion in customs revenues between January and June 2023. The revenue is up 19.3% year-on-year compared to the CFAF 407.8 billion collected by the end of June 2022. It also exceeded, by CFAF16 billion, the CFAF470.4 billion target set for the customs administration over the period under review.
This performance was achieved in an economic context that was rather unfavorable to revenue mobilization. In detail, this context, according to the General Directorate of Customs, is notably “marked by the slowdown in world trade volume growth, the continued dismantling of tariffs following international trade agreements (EPA between Cameroon and the European Union and the AfCFTA), as well as the implementation of salutary measures to combat inflation, such as subsidies for petroleum products and tax and customs duty exemptions.”
Addis-Djibouti corridor upgrade to improve regional integration (ESI-Africa.com)
The Addis-Djibouti corridor, a vital trade route and a lifeline for Ethiopia’s 120 million people, will upgrade significantly thanks to the newly approved Horn of Africa Initiative’s Regional Economic Corridor Project. The project, endowed with a $730 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA), aims to improve regional connectivity and logistics efficiency in Ethiopia along this key trade route connecting landlocked Ethiopia to the port of Djibouti.
“Improved regional connectivity and trade are essential to unlocking Ethiopia’s economic potential,” said Ahmed Shide, Minister of Finance of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. “This project is important to support our commitment to fostering inclusive growth and regional integration, as we are now fully focused on sustaining the growth and reaping the peace dividends,” he added.
Over 95% of Ethiopia’s import-export trade (by volume) uses the Addis-Djibouti corridor. The project aims to upgrade the road to Djibouti, including the Mieso-Dire Dawa section, which is currently in poor condition and unsuitable for growing truck traffic. This section forces road users to take a longer route through Mille, adding 146km to their journey.
Africa headed to miss own deadline on food security (The East African)
African countries are headed to miss their own target of reducing hunger through better agricultural investments. The revelations emerged on Monday at a meeting of the African Union meant to evaluate Africa’s path to towards better nutrition and eradication of extreme hunger. And it emerged just four Member States are on track to deliver key nutrition targets, just two years to the deadline agreed on it the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods.
At the event organised by the African Union InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation at Naivasha hotel, participants were told of imminent ramifications: prolonged poverty. “It is now imperative that we prepare to account for how the livestock sector has contributed to delivering against key targets,” said Dr Nick Nwankpa, the African Union-InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) Acting Director.
Malabo Declaration is supposed to end by 2025. Incidentally, it is also the mid-way point of implementation of the Livestock Development Strategy for Africa (LiDeSA), a continental vision to tap into the value of livestock as a key source of food, ending poverty. But the continent has suffered more droughts, more floods, more pest invasion and lower food production, also owing to global events such as Covid-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“The multiplicity and increasing frequency and severity of shocks and their complex and interlocking effects demands an approach that will also strengthen resilience in feed and fodder systems,” Dr Nwankpa said. “Unfortunately, we only produce 40 per cent of the required amount thus having a deficit of 60 per cent,” he revealed.
Weather, aborted Ukraine grain deal spell doom to EA food basket (The East African)
East African economies are staring at a fresh spike in food prices and a further deterioration in inflation outlook in the wake of adverse weather conditions that have heavily impacted the region, compounded by the collapse of a crucial grain export deal between Russia and Ukraine last week.
Latest data by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (Fao) shows that Cereal production in the East African region is expected to decline by four percent to 52.8 million tonnes this year from 55 million tonnes in 2022, according to the Fao latest quarterly report on ‘Crop Prospects and Food Situation’ around the world.
The UN agency, through its quarterly report on ‘Crop Prospects and Food Situation’ around the world dated this month shows that the region faces steep grain deficit with cereal import requirements for this year standing at around 13. 68 million tonnes and 14.77 million tonnes in 2024.This signals East Africa’s huge demand for wheat, maize, rice, barley and sunflower whose global supply chain has now been disrupted by the collapse of the Russia-Ukraine Black Sea grain export agreement.
Among African Low-Income Food Deficit Countries (LIFDCs) total cereal production in 2023 is forecast at a slightly below-average level of 106.1 million tonnes largely as a result of erratic rain distribution in East Africa which has curbed harvest expectations in Kenya, Ethiopia, the Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.
Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania face unfavourable cereal production prospects in 2023 due to adverse weather conditions, according to the report.
The Southern Africa region has seen a slowdown in economic growth over the past year as its largest economy, South Africa, confronts multiple challenges. Civil unrest, electricity crisis and natural disasters have contributed to dampen prospects for the region, which is lagging behind the others in Africa, according to the African Development Bank’s new economic report.
The 2023 Southern Africa Economic Outlook, launched on Monday 24 July, analyses the recent economic trends and developments in Southern Africa. In line with this year’s theme for the annual outlook: mobilizing private sector financing for climate and green growth in Africa, the report also explores the potential role of the private sector in financing the region’s climate action and green growth ambitions.
In 2022, the Southern Africa region’s GDP growth barely reached 2.7 percent, a level much lower than global and African averages of 3.4% and 3.8 %. Growth in the region is expected to slow down further in 2023 to 1.6%, followed by a slight improvement - 2.7% - in 2024. Weighing down the environment further is the external debt burden which is forecast to remain high across the Southern Africa region. In 2022 it stood at 48%.
Speaking during the launch, Kevin Urama, African Development Bank vice president and chief economist commended African governments for their “remarkable resilience,” in the face of recent challenges.
Quoting from the report he said financial needs for climate action in southern Africa stood at $1 trillion, with an annual requirement of $90.3 billion for 2020-2030. Average annual climate finance flows to Southern Africa stand at $6.2 billion, a mere 6.9% of what is required. Southern Africa, in addition, received the least financial flows relative to its financial needs, compared to other African regions.
“We estimate that the continent will need about $235-$250 billion annually between now and 2030 to meet investments needed under the Nationally Determined Contributions. So this leaves Africa, the African private sector and the global private sector with an investment opportunity of up to $213.4 billion annually to address climate change alone,” he said.
Africa’s regional integration realized through the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is imperative to the continent’s economic growth and development, says outgoing Joe Attah-Mensah, Principal Policy Adviser at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
“What many Africans aspire for is that the 55 fragmented economies on the continent become integrated into one strong, robust, diversified and resilient economy,” said Mr. Attah-Mensah, in a farewell seminar on the theme: ”Is Africa Integrating or Disintegrating? A Reflection over the last 20 years and the future”. The seminar was organized by ECA staff to mark his retirement.
In a presentation punctuated by sayings and statements by Africa’s founding leaders, Mr. Attah-Mensah stressed that an integrated Africa is underpinned by a first-class trans-boundary infrastructure, a highly educated, flexible and mobile workforce as well as highly mobile financial capital. Furthermore, sound health facilities, peace and security are vital in supporting an integrated Africa.
Mr. Attah-Mensah, called for investment in and ”strengthening of the supply chain infrastructure, such as transportation, communication, utilities and technology to support the AfCFTA.”
In the first part of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), a pact that is looking to flung open the domestic market of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) like Uganda for the European Union (EU) countries manufactured goods, we revealed how this deal is silently disintegrating the East African Community (EAC) bloc instead of unifying it in the spirit of regional integration.
After showing her hand for all to see because of fear of attracting tariffs on mainly flower and vegetable exports to European Union (EU) countries if she doesn’t sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), Kenya has sacrificed what some have termed as “long-term success for a short term gain.”
According to continental trade and investment treaty analysts, Kenya should factor in the long term losses that the EPA will inflict on itself and the region in terms of loss of revenue, negative impact on industrialization and intra-regional trade, and on overall development.
Following thorough review of the EPA, experts conversant with trade and investment treaties as well as multilateral and bilateral negotiations from the continent (Africa) still came to a conclusion that it is not worth it for Kenya and the region to append their signature on the dotted line for as long as the agreement is in its current form.
The service sector has emerged as the driving force towards reshaping economic landscapes across the world. With 54 African countries, 1.3 billion people, and $3.4 trillion in GDP, it’s time to leverage significant opportunities for export-led growth, economic diversification, inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) and integration into regional and global value chains.
At the Thirteenth COMESA Meeting of the Committee on Trade in Services, that kicked off today in Mombasa, Kenya, COMESA Director of Trade and Customs, Dr Christopher Onyango, remarked that trade in services is a game changer towards unlocking the potential of regional and global trade.
“The service trade has been proven to promote greater inclusiveness, particularly for female and young workers and entrepreneurs as well as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). The importance of the sector has been fuelled by technological changes and its increasing role as intermediate inputs into production and delivery of other goods and services’’ he stated. “But these attributes can only be realized if services are mainstreamed in regional and national development strategies. It is evident that services are still absent in national development strategies. Such are those countries in which there exist no rules and regulations in the service sector, or in only a few select sectors and, if available, are not considerate of current developments in the sector’’ he remarked.
The Speaker of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS)l Parliament, Sidie Mohammed Tunis has advocated for the inclusion of vulnerable and marginalized groups in decision making in the region. According to Dr Tunis, supporting the participation of people from vulnerable and marginalized groups in the decision-making and democratic processes of the societies was key to continued peace, security and sustainable development.
“As we all know, inequality has been one of the bases or causes of subversive acts in our region.” The marginalization of vulnerable groups from important decision-making processes, particularly ethnic or religious minorities, women and young people, provides fertile ground for conflict of violent extremism, according to Dr. Tunis. “We must convince ourselves that supporting the participation of people from vulnerable and marginalized groups in the decision-making and democratic processes of our societies is imperative for peace, security and sustainable development.”
The Strategy for International Development (IDS) places development at the heart of the UK’s foreign policy. It sets out a new approach to development, anchored in patient, long-term partnerships tailored to the needs of the countries we work with, built on mutual accountability and transparency. This approach goes beyond aid and brings the combined power of the UK’s global economic, scientific, security and diplomatic strengths to our development partnerships.
By 2030, one in 5 of the world’s population will be African. The continent will play an increasingly important role in shaping global dynamics. Geostrategic competition in Africa will intensify over the next decade. This competition will also shape – and be shaped by – the actions of African actors.
Many African countries are already suffering from the long-term economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been exacerbated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Almost half of sub-Saharan African countries are either in debt distress or at high risk of debt distress. Poor infrastructure, a weakly developed private sector, and barriers to trade continue to limit the potential for economic growth, investment, and job creation.
Sub-Saharan Africans are amongst the least responsible for causing climate change, but many are expected to be the most vulnerable to its impacts. Increasingly frequent and severe droughts and floods are driving new patterns of displacement and leading to greater numbers of people facing acute food insecurity outcomes. Adapting to address these trends is vital for our long-term interests.
Our support to trade and investment in Africa includes support to the AfCFTA, which will help the world’s largest trading area finalise key negotiations between member states and move the agreement into operation. The Africa Food Trade and Resilience programme is working to build the resilience of food systems across the region, which will help to address some of the priorities set out at the Dakar 2 ‘Feed Africa’ Summit in January 2024. We will also facilitate investment into Africa by supporting engagement with BII and British Investments Partnership (BIP) tools across Africa as well as supporting delivery of the UK-Africa Investment Summit in April 2024.
The Arab-Africa Trade Bridges Program (AATB) – a programme aimed at promoting and increasing trade and investment between African and Arab member countries – has launched a $1.5 billion programme to address ongoing challenges amid the global food security crisis.
During a hybrid launch event, which took place at the headquarters of the African Export-Import Bank in Cairo this month, members of the AATB’s executive committee emphasised the relevance of the new food security programme to their member countries.
With the launch of the programme, AATB hopes to leverage its expertise, resources and partnerships to implement targeted actions that address the specific food challenges faced by each member country. The programme is centred around AATB’s four pillars: Trade, Investment, Insurance and Infrastructure.
Digital Skills Provide a Development Path for Sub-Saharan Africa (Harvard Business Review)
Sub-Saharan Africa is urbanizing with massive rural-urban migration. But unlike the urbanization of the Western world, Sub-Saharan Africa is missing a critical component: industrialized urban cities. Because of this, these urban areas have become overcrowded with substandard housing and severely inadequate infrastructure to cope with unplanned population growth.
Fortunately, a new development playbook to solve this problem is already evolving, and it is anchored on the young people equipped with advanced digital skills in Sub-Saharan Africa. These young workers are digitally savvy, creative, and can lead a massive transformation — if they’re equipped and supported to unlock their potential.
They can export digital skills to Western Europe, United States, and Asia through the unbounded and unconstrained opportunities the internet has provided through “digital jobs” from music to software development to prompt engineering. But to scale this and make it a success, changes must be taken into consideration at both the policy level and in implementation in the areas of quality digital education, tax treaties and harmonization, and outsourcing-focused startups.
One of the key findings of a market study by TeleGeography is the substantial increase in transit route capacity across the continent and the growth of intra-Africa traffic. More digital content is being serviced within Africa than ever and at a rapidly growing rate.
The expanded capacity in both subsea cable and terrestrial fibre has translated into large IP bandwidth growth, price declines in bandwidth, growth in localised data centres and, as a result, enhanced connectivity and improved user experiences.
Subsea cable, terrestrial fibre and data centre investments are making Africa the top-growing bandwidth market globally, with projected compound growth of 42% between 2022 and 2029, surpassing the global average projections of 32%. Content providers have experienced 80% compound annual growth rates in African bandwidth between 2018 and 2022.
Introducing new submarine cable systems is expected to increase capacity for coastal and landlocked countries, increase the number and size of intra-African routes, decrease transit prices along key African routes, and boost localised digital content growth.
The report also highlights that despite the historical internet traffic routes from Europe to Africa, South Africa has become a growing regional hub for intra-Africa internet capacity, with the percentage of traffic servicing sub-Saharan Africa becoming more intra-Africa than traditionally serviced from Europe.
Russia-Africa summit: Here’s what Vladmir Putin and Moscow stands to gain (The East African)
Forty-three African heads of state attended the 2019 Russia-Africa summit. They had high hopes that Russia would emerge as a new source of investment and trade for the continent. Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to double Russian trade with Africa in five years to US$40 billion.
Since then, Russian trade with the continent has contracted to US$14 billion. It is lopsided, with Russia exporting seven times as much as it imports from Africa. Additionally, 70% of this trade is concentrated in just four countries: Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and South Africa.
Russia invests very little in Africa. It accounts for 1% of the foreign direct investment that goes to the continent. Mauritius is a larger source of foreign direct investment for Africa. Additionally, Russia’s gross domestic product has shrunk in value from US$2.3 trillion in 2013 to US$1.8 trillion in 2021.
Despite these diminishing economic ties, Russia’s influence in Africa has rapidly expanded since 2019. It has deployed troops to the continent and become the dominant external partner in a handful of countries. Russian disinformation campaigns in at least 16 African countries are shaping the information environment on the continent.
Caricom pleased with African talks (Jamaica Observer)
The Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretary General Dr Carla Barnett says there has been progress in trade and investment between Africa and the 15-member regional integration grouping following the commitment given by the leaders during their first Caricom-Africa summit in 2021.
In a virtual address to the annual Global Africa People-to-People Forum 2023 held over the last weekend, Barnett described the inaugural summit in 2001 as a “landmark occasion” allowing both regions to engage on matters of mutual interest and determine the direction for deeper cooperation.
“Caricom and Africa have made progress in trade and investment relations, with strong support from Afreximbank. A formal partnership has been established, and the Caribbean headquarters is scheduled to be opened in Barbados in a few weeks’ time,” Barnett said. She said this will allow Caricom countries to access financing for trade promotion in a range of sectors.
“The possibility of utilising the pan-African payment and settlement system as a method of intra-regional payments within the Caribbean is also being explored,” she said, adding that as a a follow-up to the summit’s discussions on strengthening trade and investment.
The global economy continues to gradually recover from the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In the near term, the signs of progress are undeniable. The COVID-19 health crisis is officially over, and supply-chain disruptions have returned to pre-pandemic levels. Economic activity in the first quarter of the year proved resilient, despite the challenging environment, amid surprisingly strong labor markets. Energy and food prices have come down sharply from their war-induced peaks, allowing global inflation pressures to ease faster than expected. And financial instability following the March banking turmoil remains contained thanks to forceful action by the US and Swiss authorities.
Yet many challenges still cloud the horizon, and it is too early to celebrate. Under our baseline forecast growth will slow from last year’s 3.5 percent to 3 percent this year and next, a 0.2 percentage points upgrade for 2023 from our April projections.
The slowdown is concentrated in advanced economies, where growth will fall from 2.7 percent in 2022 to 1.5 percent this year and remain subdued at 1.4 percent next year. By contrast, growth in emerging markets and developing economies is still expected to pick-up with year-on-year growth accelerating from 3.1 percent in 2022 to 4.1 percent this year and next.
This average, however, masks significant differences between countries, with emerging and developing Asia growing strongly at 5.3 percent this year, while many commodity producers will suffer from a decline in export revenues.