tralac Daily News
Patel stresses importance of China-South Africa trade (Engineering News)
Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel has welcomed the August 10 signing of trade and purchasing agreements between South African and Chinese companies, saying it would contribute to job creation, particularly for young people, while boosting the South African economy.
Highlighting discussions with Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao on August 9 and 10 as part of the eighth session of the South Africa-China joint economic and trade committee hosted by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), in Johannesburg, Patel emphasised the importance of trade between the two countries.
“The total two-way trade between China and South Africa has exceeded R900-billion, and South Africa’s exports to China exceed R500-billion. This represents a success in the first phase of our relationship, which is deepening, after the establishment of political relations in 1994. “The second phase of our relationship has been to achieve more equal investment by Chinese companies into the South African economy, and by South African companies into the Chinese economy. Today, Chinese investment in South Africa stands at close to R200-billion,” Patel said.
He said this increasing trade between the two countries represented a “building block” for the next phase of South Africa’s development, particularly to strengthen industrialisation in South Africa and support the transition to, and use of, more environment-friendly technologies.
As Patel and Wentao spent time examining a number of initiatives during the event, from the promotion of trade to investment in growing companies, Patel emphasised that this interaction continued the centuries-long trade relationship that had existed between the countries. Patel estimated that deals worth about $2-billion were signed during the event.
Mozambican President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi has commissioned a key link road funded by the African Development Bank. Completion of the Negomano-Roma Road, in the country’s northern province, is already enabling communities in the Mueda district of the northern Cabo Delgado region to enjoy improved road conditions, access to health and education, and increased local economic activity.
“The road is a great gain for the viability and maximization of regional integration,” Nyusi said. “It is also the materialization of a dream of first Mozambican president Samora Machel and his Tanzanian counterpart, Julius Nyerere, whose goal was to bring together the bonds of fraternity between both countries.”
Minister of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources, Carlos Mesquita described the construction of the road marked “a significant milestone for regional development”. The construction of the 164-kilometre section from Negomano to Mueda is estimated to cost $170 million. The project has been executed in phases, with the first phase approved by the African Development Bank’s board in 2016 for a loan of $70 million.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small will lead the first-ever U.S. agribusiness trade mission to Luanda, Angola on Nov. 28 – Dec. 1. USDA Foreign Agricultural Service is now accepting applications from U.S. exporters who wish to participate in this trade mission.
“When it comes to trade opportunity, Sub-Saharan Africa is both promising and often over-looked, and the USDA trade mission to Angola presents an incredible prospect for U.S. food and agriculture exporters to expand and explore new business opportunities,” said Torres Small. “Angola is one of the largest markets in Africa, and with imports making up more than half of its food market, Angola is a perfect location for U.S. exporters to introduce more American-made products to African consumers.”
FAO to build national strategic plan (The New Dawn Liberia)
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has commenced a 10-day technical mission to Liberia to collaborate with Technical Working Group (TWG), comprising the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) and other relevant stakeholders that manage agricultural data in the country.
Speaking at the Project Implementation Unit of the Agriculture Ministry in Gardnerville, FAO’s National Project Coordinator and Partnership Specialist, Emmanuel Kapee underscored the critical importance of data in making informed policy decisions, especially as it relates to food and agriculture vis-à-vis food systems strengthening and food security.
Mr. Kapee said data scarcity is a major challenge to achieving most interventions in Liberia to the extent that the lack of data to make informed decisions has now become a cliché.
Miraa farmers in Kenya are staring at decline in sales after Somalia granted Ethiopia 10 days of exclusive khat market access every month. Nyambene Miraa Trade Association (Nyamita) chairman Kimathi Munjuri told Nation.Africa that cargo airlines operating from Nairobi had received instructions from Mogadishu not to allow miraa cargo from August 11. The developments come after Ethiopia, reportedly, lodged complaints with Somalia over Kenya’s dominance in the Somali khat market since President Hassan Mohamud lifted a ban on miraa last year.
Maua Miraa traders Association chairman Mohamed Quresh said Ethiopia was pushing for alternate market days for Ethiopian and Kenyan Khat. Mr Munjuri said the directives by Somalia mean there will be no miraa export to Mogadishu from Thursday night.
“We had alerted the government of this plan two weeks ago but it appears Kenyan officials have not been able to avert it. The fact that Ethiopia has achieved exclusive trade days due to direct push by their prime minister shows the level of intervention Kenya must activate,” Mr Munjuri said. He said Somalia had earlier introduced an import quota for Kenyan khat to accommodate khat from Ethiopia.
The government has committed to increasing trade volumes with Mozambique to help create a favourable trade balance for Kenya. President William Ruto who is in Mozambique on a two-day State Visit said the two countries are exploring opportunities that will guarantee a win-win outcome.
Ruto said the current trade relations are in favour of Mozambique as it’s selling more to Kenya than Kenya is exporting products to the country. “In this burgeoning win-win relationship, Mozambique has the upper hand in trade balance terms, yet the opportunities before us take the form of a tide that will lift both our boats,” he said.
Over the five-year period between 2018 and 2022, Ruto explained, Kenya increased her imports from Mozambique from Sh3.2 billion to Sh5.2 billion, while Mozambique imports from Kenya increased from Sh1.2 billion to Sh1.4 billion only over the same period.
Uganda, Kenya seek funds in joint bid to take SGR to DRC (The East African)
Uganda and Kenya are seeking at least $6 billion from multiple lenders to jumpstart construction of the joint standard gauge railway (SGR) project, which stalled after the pull-out of the initial financier, China.
Last week, the two partners announced their intention to start construction of the line by December this year to improve flow of cargo and make the Northern Corridor competitive against Tanzania’s Central Corridor.
Transport ministers from the two states signed a deal to finalise a joint resource mobilisation drive in the next four months that will fund the railway line from Naivasha to Malaba to Kampala and from Kampala to Kasese to Mpondwe near Congo, with a branch line from Bihanga to Mirama Hills, near Rwanda. Once the project is completed, goods from Mombasa to the Ugandan border with DRC, to Rwanda and South Sudan will be ferried by rail.
The Libyan-Tunisian Joint Ministerial meeting was held in Tunis yesterday. The meeting was to launch the sub-Saharan African Trade Corridor initiative between Tunisia and Libya and sign several MoUs.
Speaking exclusively to Libya Herald, the spokesman for the Ministry of Economy and Trade, Fawzi Wadi, said that the two sides stressed in the first place the importance and necessity of rehabilitating and developing the Ras Jedir border crossing in accordance with international standards so that it becomes a commercial gateway to Africa and a means to achieve economic integration, especially with sub-Saharan African countries, in addition to establishing an effective Tunisian-Libyan-African partnership.
The two parties emphasised the further strengthening and development of the volume of intra-trade between Tunisia and Libya through building fruitful partnerships and expanding areas of cooperation. This, in addition to exploiting all available legislation in the two countries that regulate relations and contribute to improving the level of trade exchanges and advancing bilateral cooperation.
Regional lobby moves to boost intra-African trade (The Citizen)
The East African Business Council (EABC) has entered into a $ 178,530 partnership with Afreximbank to foster intra-African trade. The initiative will largely focus on trade promotion within the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. Under it, deliberate efforts would be made to engage the private sector in trade facilitation and in unlocking new business opportunities in the East African region.
Through the grant, the EABC and Afreximbak will roll out a series of sensitisation workshops to raise awareness among SMEs and women in business about AfCFTA protocols and their significance for business growth. Such workshops will focus on trade facilitation procedures and strategies to access markets effectively under the AfCFTA trade regime.
At the G25 Africa coffee summit, President Museveni highlighted the loss of jobs and money that African countries face when exporting unprocessed goods at a low cost.
He emphasised that selling a kilogram of bean coffee in its raw form may only fetch around US$2.50, while the same quantity of coffee that is roasted, ground, and packaged may sell for as much as US$40. This significant profit disparity leads to a loss of money for the South and a loss of job opportunities.
Museveni expressed concern over the parasitic global system, where European countries take advantage of Africa’s raw materials, only to profit from their transformed products at a higher cost.
“If you take the whole spectrum of raw-materials from agriculture, minerals, forest products, etc., the loss to Africa is massive. That is why the economy of Africa is stunted. The GDP of the whole massive African continent, with a population now of about 1.5billion people, is USD2.7trillion,” he said.
The President lamented that Africa only receives US$2.4 billion out of the global coffee market value of US$460 billion. To address this issue, Museveni urged African countries to add value to their raw materials, including coffee, through internal struggles.
Ways Africa can reduce its reliance on Europe (Nairametrics)
The Secretary General of AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene has said that African countries will reduce their reliance and other Western countries by boosting intra-Africa trade.
He stated this while giving a keynote address at the 2023 Zenith Bank International Trade Seminar on Non-Oil Export themed: “Nigerian Non-Oil Export Industry. The Present, The Future”. According to him, economic diversification must also be the major objective for Africa’s intra-trade activities to increase their contribution to the global GDP.
“Economic diversification must continue to be Africa’s objective to reduce national resources accounting for the greatest share of export earnings in government revenue.” “55 countries in Africa contribute only 3.1% to global GDP and only 2.2% to global trading output and yet a country such as Singapore contributes over 6% to global trade and output.” Wamkele stressed that the trade deficit is an opportunity for Africa to accelerate national development, and global competitiveness and also create jobs.
Mene, on behalf of AfCFTA, signed a MoU with Zenith Bank to build a smart portal for trade on the continent. Zenith committed $ 1 million to fund the single portal for trade information in Africa.
Since the turn of the 21st century, Africa has boasted the world’s second-highest rate of economic growth after developing Asia, a growth supported by investment. However, the continent needs more transformative, sustainable growth... Africa’s persistent sovereign debt vulnerabilities, high debt levels, and climate and environmental concerns remain the main threats to medium- and long-term growth trajectories.
The creation of new regional value chains will expand Africa’s active participation in global trade. We have countries like Morocco or South Africa that have successfully upgraded their automotive production to supply European and other highly competitive markets. The integration of markets provides the critical mass of consumers, skills, suppliers, and other resources needed to develop and scale up knowledge-intensive sectors such as automotive and pharmaceutical value chains. In the digital sector, for example, start-ups in smaller African economies can take advantage of having access to high-performance data centers, which are largely concentrated in Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.
Regional development corridors and cross-border special economic zones (SEZs) can offer “quick wins” to attract regional sustainable investments. Development corridors represent important ways of addressing the infrastructure deficits on the continent. Similarly, cross-border SEZs are emerging as means to catalyse private investment. For instance, the Musina-Makhado SEZ is located near the Beitbridge Border Post between South Africa and Zimbabwe, a gateway to Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries and a critical location on the region’s North-South trade corridor. The SEZ is intended to boost regional trade in energy and manufacturing, especially in the metal industry, while creating job opportunities for thousands of people.
And finally, let me underscore the importance of leveraging the capacity of the private sector to drive the economic transformation process of Africa’s industrialization and economic diversification agenda. Governments must create an enabling business environment for private sector to thrive to boost productivity through targeted policy reform and investments. This includes creating frameworks and policies that support and stimulate the expansion of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to support sustainable growth on the continent.
While Africa contributes relatively little to global greenhouse gas emissions, it is one of the most vulnerable regions to the adverse effects of climate change. Africa loses seven to 15 billion dollars a year from climate change, estimated to rise to $50 billion by 2040 at the current trend. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), Africa has been losing from 5 to 15% of its GDP per capita growth because of climate change and its related impacts.
“We must act quickly, and we must act now. It is disrupting businesses and every day lives of millions of people. Years of drought cyclones continue to inflict misery on communities that may not have contributed to gas emissions resulting in global warming,” Joyce Banda, former President of Malawi, said in her speech at the Africa Social Impact Summit hosted by the Sterling One Foundation.
“This global challenge requires our seasoned dedication and actual-oriented approach. The private sector is key in ensuring an action-oriented approach to addressing the adaptation and mitigation of climate change in Africa. The case study of Malawi has shown that we have to fast-track communities for resilience and transform lives,” she stated.
Abdel-Fatau Musah, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) commissioner for political affairs, peace and security, says deficit in governance has contributed to increased coups in the subregion.
“It is not a question of democracy. We know that there are governance deficits in the region but is that the best way? It is about governance deficit and not democracy as a system of governance. “Governance is broader, it is about economic development, youth empowerment, it is about building infrastructure for people to realise their potential. “And that is very difficult in the global environment that we find ourselves in today.
During a meeting with his Cabinet of Ministers, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his intention to sign free trade agreements with several North African countries, namely Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. According to the TASS press agency, the President of the Russian Federation has set himself the goal of transforming the existing political trust between Moscow and the North African countries into economic cooperation.
“We are preparing agreements on a free trade zone with Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. It’s the whole of North Africa. There are many more points of development on the continent, and there are some very interesting countries”, said the Russian head of state at the meeting.
According to Putin, the North African free-trade zone will be integrated into the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which already offers a common economic space on the model of the European Union with Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Attacks against Ukrainian port infrastructure are not isolated and with Russia’s termination of the Black Sea Initiative, are impacting global food prices and affecting the most vulnerable people, a UN spokesperson said on Monday. Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for Secretary-General António Guterres, was speaking at the regular press briefing at UN Headquarters in New York. The Danube port of Izmail, in the Odesa Region, was hit on 2 August. The attack damaged facilities storing thousands of tons of food grains.
The Black Sea Initiative enabled the export of millions of metric tons of food from Ukrainian ports, and together with the UN’s parallel accord with Russia on export of food and fertilizer, had been vital for global food security and price stability, including in areas hit hard by conflict and hunger, such as Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and Yemen.
Denise Brown, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine, visited Izmail port on Saturday, three days after the attack. “The thousands of tons of grains that were damaged would have been enough to feed approximately 66 million people for a day,” she said. “Relentless attacks by Russian forces on grain stores and port infrastructure in Ukraine form an extremely alarming pattern of harm and may constitute a grave violation of international humanitarian law,” she added.