Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

BRICS: SA-China trade is nothing unfair, says SA Chamber of Commerce (IOL)

South Africa should improve its industrialisation and manufacturing capacity in a bid to balance the trade deficit in the massive trade relationship with China, the second biggest economy in the world. On Tuesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa will host Chinese President Xi Jinping on a State Visit at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

Despite the negativity channelled towards the two nations’ increasingly close ties, Mtho Xulu, president of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry said South Africa is scoring big from the mutually beneficial relationship with Beijing.

“Well, we are benefiting by the fact that we are selling (minerals to China). There is income that is coming from that country. What China has been able to do is to create an industry that converts raw materials into value-added goods. That is something we can learn from them,” Xulu said in an interview with broadcaster eNCA on Thursday morning.

“For as long as we are exporting, we need to establish how we can create an exploration fund to build more mines. So, if our competitive advantage is our (mineral) deposits, we need to invest in those deposits and make sure that we build industries around those deposits, if we cannot create value-added goods, let us rather create other industries that are linked to those minerals.

Logistics fixes critical for better agricultural outlook up to 2023 (Engineering News)

Research organisation the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) finds in its latest outlook for the agriculture sector over 2023 to 2032 that the sector is experiencing mounting pressure and challenges that are hampering the extent to which it can continue contributing to gross domestic product (GDP).

Speaking during the launch of the latest outlook, the ‘BFAP Baseline  2023’, commodity senior analyst and director Mmatlou Kalaba said: “We are not looking at the future for agriculture the same way we did just two years ago.” The BFAP states in the outlook that although agriculture has contributed strongly to GDP over many years, this contribution will largely stagnate in the years up to 2032.

She highlighted that the agricultural performance of South Africa was coming under increasing pressure owing to price pressures, market access, logistics challenges, weak domestic demand and biosecurity challenges, among others. In terms of industries that were struggling the most, she listed deciduous fruit, citrus fruit and ‘other horticulture’ as those with a less-than-ideal outlook for productivity up to 2032. Davids also explained that although world food prices had come down considerably, it had been offset by exchange rate dynamics to some extent in South Africa.

US-Kenya STIP could be model for Africa but its position on workers needs a rethink (The East African)

The US and Kenya announced a trade and investment partnership in July 2022. Talks have been progressing on the way forward in nine areas, including agriculture, anti-corruption, digital trade, environment and climate change action, and workers’ rights and protections.

The Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (Stip) will be the first significant trade partnership between the US and a country in Sub-Saharan Africa. Countries in the region currently rely on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), which offers duty- and quota-free access to the US market. The new deal is seen as a model for future agreements between the US and other Sub-Saharan African countries.

The labour provisions proposed under the Kenya-US deal are not new. They have become standard features of all US free trade agreements since first appearing in the North American free trade agreement of 1994. Kenya and the US undertake to work together to advance and protect labour rights through enforcement of and compliance with labour laws, promotion of social dialogue, and cooperation in other areas of mutual interest on labour and employment priorities, including with respect to forced labour in global supply chains.

There is currently very little information regarding the potential scope of the labour provisions. But there is reason to believe they will borrow heavily from precedents of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Botswana Agriculture Joint Sector Review validated (FAO)

The Botswana Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) through the European Union-funded project, Support Towards the Operationalization of the SADC Regional Agricultural Policy (STOSAR), successfully conducted a Joint Sector Review (JSR) aimed at evaluating the performance of the agricultural sector and fostering mutual accountability among stakeholders.

The key findings of the JSR review that was carried out by Dr Howard Sigwele emphasized the need for a collaborative approach towards increasing agricultural productivity, fostering sustained agricultural surpluses, and integrating the agricultural sector into the domestic and global economy to achieve agricultural transformation in Botswana.

The JSR’s comprehensive findings highlighted the pressing need for Botswana to increase its agricultural productivity. By so doing, the nation could achieve the transformation necessary for attaining food security and creating employment opportunities for its citizens. The report emphasized that agricultural productivity plays a pivotal role in elevating the sector’s overall performance and positively impacting the economy.

DRC better place to manufacture mobile phones – UN report (New Business Ethiopia)

As the major inputs used to manufacture mobile phone are abundantly found in many African countries, mainly the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), investors can cut their cost if they setup their manufacturing plant in the country, says a new report by a UN agency.

The report released on Wednesday by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) stated that the investment for precursor facility in DRC is three times less than what it would cost for a similar plant in a country without the required natural resources or proximity to countries where those metals can be sourced.

“It is estimated that building a 10,000-ton precursor facility in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for instance, could cost $39 million, which is three times less than what it would cost for a similar plant in a country without the required natural resources or proximity to countries where those metals can be sourced,” stated the Economic Development in Africa Report 2023 that analyzes value chain of different products.

“In addition to its large reserves of cobalt, representing about 70 per cent of global supply, the Democratic Republic of the Congo could develop a precursor plant by procuring nickel from Madagascar and shipping it through Mozambique or the United Republic of Tanzania or procuring additional manganese from neighboring country Gabon,” the report stated.

Rwandan goods can now access African markets under AfCFTA preferences (The New Times)

Goods from Rwanda can now access the Gabon, Ghana, Togo, Botswana, and South African markets duty-free, while at the same time, service providers from Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, and Lesotho can issue their services in Rwanda, without barriers to market access or national treatment.

The development was announced on Wednesday, August 16 by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Jean-Chrysostome Ngabitsinze, during the official opening of the Golden Business Forum in Kigali. Attracting over 1,000 delegates from 40 countries for its second edition, the forum seeks to identify and facilitate business opportunities across Africa, and to promote engagement between developers, investors as well as financiers. This year’s forum is held under the theme “Creating African Wealth under the African Continental Free Trade Area.”

Ngabitsinze implored participants ranging from policymakers to captains of industry that there should be a common understanding that the AfCFTA belongs to the Private Sector. “In order to advance the continent in taking advantage of this opportunity, we require conversations such as these that reaffirm the role and responsibility of the private sector. As policymakers, we are working hard to ensure that businesses are well-integrated and are trading efficiently.

Botswana mulls signing onto Africa payment system (Mmegi Online)

PAPSS functions as a financial framework that enables cross-border payments in African currencies, eliminating the necessity for intra-Africa trade to be contingent on US dollar foreign reserves.

Presently, nine central banks have officially embraced PAPSS, with over 70 banks across Africa, including Botswana, having endorsed its adoption. During a recently concluded roadshow for the Intra-African Trade Fair in Gaborone, Gainmore Zanawe, a senior manager at Afreximbank, emphasised that as the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement disrupts established global trade patterns, it is imperative to establish robust financial systems that facilitate seamless payment for goods and services throughout the continent.

Nigeria set to join the Guided Trade Initiative – Segun Awolowo (Tribune Online)

Executive Secretary, National Working Committee, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Segun Awolowo has said Nigeria is ready to join the second phase of the Guided Trade Initiative (GTI) which is a solution-oriented approach that aims to facilitate trade between interested state parties by connecting businesses and products for export and import.

Head, Strategic Communications Directorate of the National Working Committee, AfCFTA; Mabel Aderonke said: “We reached a milestone in the first phase of the GTI. This successful pilot project has brought about positive development changes, capacity-building initiatives, and growth in the economy by impacting trade between Nigeria and other AFCFTA member-states. “As we prepare to join the second phase, it is to demonstrate and strengthen specific objectives and trade relations, particularly reducing trade barriers, streamlining custom procedures, ensuring infrastructure and promoting value-addition with key industries.”

“The checklist received from Ghana after the completion of the first phase requires the fulfilment of certain obligations, which Nigeria has began to process vigorously. “The importance of this relationship is to yield greater results as it will foster a more holistic approach in addressing trade challenges and enhancing trade facilitation within the region.

US, Africa relationship mitigates barriers to trade, investment — Marisa Lago (Vanguard)

The United States of America, USA, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, Marisa Lago, has expressed optimism about the relationship her country was fostering with African countries. She noted that the move would remove potential barriers that can hamper trade and investment.

According to Lago, “Our engagement or vision for deepened engagement with Africa entails a lot more than just high-level visits. We are laser-focused on delivering tangible results across all dimensions of our bilateral relationship, as well as our partnerships with sub-national and pan-African institutions.

“And I am pleased to report that if we look just in terms of trade and investment, since December’s leaders’ summit and the U.S.-Africa Business Forum that the Commerce Department organised, the Biden-Harris administration has helped closed 75 new deals between the United States and African countries. We estimate that the total values of these deals result in $5.7 billion in two-way trade and investment.

SADC Day Message by the SADC Chairperson, H.E. President Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, 17 August, 2023

As a united regional community of 16 member states, with a combined gross domestic product of around $720 billion and a total population of over 360 million, 75% of whom are young people, we have a market with considerable potential for investment and economic development.

Industrialisation is a priority for our Region, as it is necessary to support regional integration. In this regard, for the 42nd Ordinary Summit of the SADC in 2022, the DRC has focused on the theme “Promoting industrialisation through agro-processing, mineral beneficiation and regional value-chains for inclusive and resilient economic growth”.

This theme took into account the need to improve the deployment of SADC’s industrialisation and market integration programmes, as set out in SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP, 2020-2030). The theme was also intended to drive forward the implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap, which would help the region’s economies diversify away from dependence on primary commodities, such as raw minerals and agricultural products, and focus on high value-added manufactured goods.

I am delighted that the theme for the coming year, “Human and Financial Capital: The Key Drivers for Sustainable Industrialisation in the SADC Region”, as proposed by the incoming SADC Chair, the Republic of Angola, will enable our Region to continue to drive forward the industrialisation agenda by developing, mobilising and harnessing human and financial capital. We have the daunting task of ensuring that the aspirations of SADC citizens for sustainable economic well-being, justice and freedom are met. This means that we should relentlessly deploy our energies and channel our resources towards realising the aspirations of our founders.

Africa’s green business opportunities are abundant, UNEP study shows (UN Environment)

Africa’s private sector can bolster its green agenda and drive increased GDP, higher income per capita, create tens of millions of jobs, and foster collaboration between governments, businesses and local communities, according to a comprehensive study published today by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

The Africa Environment Outlook for Business is launched as 54 African ministers of environment are gathered in Addis Ababa for the 19th session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN). It recommends businesses adopt a holistic approach anchored in profit, people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnerships.

Elizabeth Mrema, UNEP Deputy Executive Director, said: “This report shows that policymakers can create an enabling environment for investments that address the triple planetary crisis by adopting robust regulatory frameworks, investing in research, innovation, and education, as well as promoting public-private partnerships and fostering collaboration across governments, businesses and local communities.”

South African HC says BRICS meet to amplify global south voices; backs proposal for AU’s G20 entry (WION)

Ahead of the BRICS summit, South African High Commissioner Joel Sibusiso Ndebele has highlighted his country’s focus as the chair of the grouping which includes sustainable development and inclusion of the global South in multilateral systems. The mega summit will take place in Johannesburg from August 22 to 24, and a total of 67 countries have been invited to attend.

High Commissioner Ndebele affirmed, “The Summit will also provide an opportunity to amplify the voices of our friends in Africa and the global South with the BRICS-Africa outreach and BRICS-plus dialogues.” He stressed that the summit’s priorities align with the shared challenges and opportunities faced by South Africa, other BRICS members, and the global south.

High Commissioner Ndebele emphasised the pivotal role of aligning the work plans and calendars of South Africa, as the chair of BRICS, and India, the G20 host. “With India currently holding the G20 presidency and pushing for a more inclusive world order, it is an opportune time to induct the African Union (AU) as a permanent member of the G20,” he stated. He expressed South Africa’s full support for India’s G20 Presidency’s proposal for the African Union’s full membership during the upcoming New Delhi Summit.

The significant interest in joining BRICS is a clear sign that BRICS has remained true to its values of championing the global south, strengthening multilateralism, and driving reform as well as boosting global economic growth and stability. South Africa welcomes the discussion on BRICS membership expansion and will, in our capacity as chair, take this forward in close cooperation and full consultation with our BRICS partners.

Quick links

Inward buying and investment mission forging economic ties beyond borders – Deputy Minister Majola

SADC region must attract foreign investors to fill funding gap

Why intra-EAC trade surged to a record $11 billion

AfCFTA To Promote Economic and Trade Integration Between Africa and The World – Wamkele Mene

AfCFTA crucial imperative to transform fortunes of demographic dividend in Africa: UNECA

Market Research can be a game changer for young entrepreneurs trading under the AfCFTA

African states encouraged to open their skies

Africa faces long road ahead to attract FDI for vaccine production

Ukraine formally accepts WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies


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