tralac Daily News
With the South African agriculture sector not enjoying the same level of State support as many of the countries it is expected to compete with globally, it is vital that agribusinesses at least be enabled to operate and support one another, a panel of speakers have agreed.
The speakers participated in chemicals group Omnia’s first-ever industry dialogue at the Gordan Institute of Business Science (GIBS), in Gauteng, earlier this week. The dialogue unpacked many of the current challenges faced by the agriculture industry.
many countries within Africa were net importers of produce or food products, all this while the population in Africa was set to account for 50% of the global ten-billion population by 2050, who all need to be fed, added economist and GIBS research associate Francois Fouche. He said food demand would only be met by investing in technology and that Africa’s young population could be harnessed for skills development. Fouche believes African countries can solve many of their challenges through collaboration with each other.
Namibia, Zambia 24-hour border will help Walvis Bay (Windhoek Observer)
The introduction of a 24-hour border operation between Namibia and Zambia is anticipated to provide a boost to the operations of the Walvis Bay Port. Officials from both Namibia and Zambia are of the opinion that this initiative, launched at the Katima Mulilo border post this week, will be advantageous due to the increasing trade of imports and exports between the Port of Walvis and Zambia as well as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Zambian Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Jack Mwiimbu emphasized the timely and strategic nature of the 24-hour operation’s inauguration at the border.
“This 24-hour operation is set to contribute to the establishment of a continental marketplace for goods and services, promoting seamless movement of people and capital. Furthermore, it seeks to facilitate intra-African trade growth by harmonizing and coordinating trade liberalization across the continent,” stated Mwiimbu.
Africa now fastest growing source of diaspora flows to Kenya (The East African)
Diaspora remittances from African countries to Kenya posted a 42 percent growth in the seven months to July as more Kenyans continue to seek jobs and study abroad, especially in the continent.
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data reveals that in the seven months to July, Kenyan citizens living in other African countries wired $164.4 million (Ksh22.2 billion), up from $116 million (Ksh15.6 billion) last year. The growth is the fastest among all continents in a period when North America and Europe are coming from high inflation that averaged eight percent in the US and 7.9 percent in the UK.
Uganda and Zambia are an example of countries offering better opportunities for Kenyans. Inflows from Zambia more than doubled, growing 136 percent to $5 million, followed by Uganda, which posted a 113.5 percent growth in cash sent back home by Kenyans.
Togo holds potential as trade partner - Ambassador Demitia (The Business & Financial Times)
The Ghana Ambassador to Togo, Kofi Mensah Demitia, has asserted that the strategic position and economic diversification of Togo makes it a suitable bilateral trade partner for Ghana. According to him, trade policies in Togo are very conducive for private businesses. “Togo and Ghana have the best business relationship in the sub-region. This is the only neighbouring country where people walk to work across the border and go home at the close of work daily.” “It’s important that we build synergy and foster trade ties between the two countries for far reaching economic benefits,” he added.
He mentioned that Togo has a dual carriageway to Benin under construction which holds great prospects to boost trade between the two countries, adding that the road network at the Ghana and Togo end is not in good state.
Egypt’s non-oil trade deficit decreased by 10.7% to $7.5bn during the second quarter (2Q) of 2023, compared to about $8.4bn during 2Q 2022, due to a decrease in non-oil imports. According to the Information and Decision Support Center of the Cabinet, the value of non-oil exports declined to $8.4bn during 2Q 2023, compared to about $9.2bn during 2Q 2022, a decline of 8.7%, while the value of non-oil imports amounted to $15.9bn, compared to about $17.6bn, a decrease of about 9.7%.
According to the report, the value of the non-oil trade exchange between Egypt and the COMESA countries reached $390.7m during 2Q 2023, compared to $306.8m during 2Q 2022, an increase of 27.3%. Libya came at the forefront of the COMESA countries importing non-oil Egyptian commodities by $312.7m during 2Q 2023, followed by Sudan by $137.4m, then Kenya by $78.1m, while Eritrea came as the least importing COMESA country from Egypt by $0.3m.
When the world’s top finance officials and central bankers gather for the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank later this year, the future of Africa may take center stage. Due to be held in Marrakech, Morocco, in October, it will be the first IMF-World Bank meeting that has taken place on the continent in 50 years.
The continental free trade area offers incredible opportunities for Africa, but there are also challenges. What do we need to do?
Georgieva: What we need to do is to work on three fronts. One, physical connectivity across countries. Two, elimination of trade and non-trade barriers. We did a paper on how the continental free trade agreement can benefit Africa if these trade and non-trade barriers are eliminated and the results are phenomenal: trade within Africa can increase by 53%, trade between Africa and the rest of the world by 15%, and real income per capita could grow by 10%. And of course, three: digital money. Why the need for that? We need physical connectivity. We need every African business, every African institution connected to the internet and that requires coordinated action by governments.
The Global Diversity Export Initiative (GDEI) trade mission to South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria, has reiterated its commitment to deepen and sustain connections between U.S. and African companies in order to foster an enabling environment for increased trade and investment deals.
Marisa Lago, under-secretary of commerce for international trade, U.S. Department of Commerce and former assistant secretary of d’Affaires, U.S. Mission to Nigeria
noted that the GDEI trade mission serves as a foundational means of building business-to-business relationship, between U.S. and African companies, and an important mechanism to foster ties that lead to concrete trade and investment deals.
Speaking on the core reason South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria were the three African countries selected for the GDEI trade mission, the under secretary explained that the organisation was looking to ensure that it included some of the largest economies on the African continent. She explained further that the move was to partner with countries whose economies had a strong presence in sectors that had strong prospects for U.S. companies.
Africa must increase investment in developing its renewable energy, and attract greater support of the private sector and international financial institutions, if it is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, experts meeting in Abidjan stressed Wednesday.
The continent should also control, exploit and transform its enormous mineral resources locally in order to generate the financial resources needed for its development, urged the experts, who represented a dozen African countries, during an African Development Bank workshop held on August 23-24, 2023. The meeting’s theme was Financial Modeling for the Extractive Sector (FIMES).
“Renewable energy gives us opportunities to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. We also need to be major players in the energy field,” said Dr. John David Cooper, Director of Policy and Research at Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources. He was speaking on the panel on “Financial modeling for a just energy transition for certain critical minerals in transition countries”.
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, António Guterres, has urged developed countries to keep their promises to developing nations by meeting the climate finance commitment of US$100 billion. This is after rich nations made a pledge in 2009 to the less wealthy countries at a UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, to assist them in adapting to climate change and alleviate rises in temperature by 2020. Guterres also called on the wealthy nations to double adaptation finance, replenish the Green Climate Fund, and operationalise the loss and damage fund this year.
The BRICS bloc of developing nations agreed on Thursday to admit Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates in a move aimed at accelerating its push to reshuffle a world order it sees as outdated. In deciding in favour of an expansion - the bloc’s first in 13 years - BRICS leaders left the door open to future enlargement as dozens more countries voiced interest in joining a grouping they hope can level the global playing field.
The expansion adds economic heft to BRICS, whose current members are China, the world’s second largest economy, as well as Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa. It could also amplify its declared ambition to become a champion of the Global South.
But long-standing tensions could linger between members who want to forge the grouping into a counterweight to the West - notably China, Russia and now Iran - and those that continue to nurture close ties to the United States and Europe.
The six new candidates will formally become members on Jan. 1, 2024, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said when he named the countries during a three-day leaders’ summit he is hosting in Johannesburg.
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said Russia would remain a “responsible supplier” of food and grain to African countries and could take Ukraine’s place as an international supplier of grain, in recorded remarks to a summit of the Brics countries in South Africa.
He said: Russia has been deliberately obstructed in the supply of grain and fertilisers abroad and at the same time, were hypocritically blamed for the current crisis situation in the world market.
We have repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that in a year under the deal, a total of 32.8m tonnes of cargo has been exported from Ukraine, of which over 70% have reached high and upper middle income countries, including the European Union … only about 3% have gone to the least developed countries, less than 1m tonnes. I have repeatedly said that our country has the capacity to replace Ukrainian grain both commercially and as free aid to needy country’s, especially since our harvest is again expected to be perfect this year.
Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said on Thursday that discussions on trade settlements in national currency have been very positive within the BRICS framework. During a special briefing by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the Prime Minister’s visit to South Africa, Kwatra said that BRICS nations have been discussing for quite some time how to put in place a mechanism through which each of BRICS countries can at least start doing trade settlements in the national currencies.
“Conceptually, he added, “Trade settlement in national currency, we have already started working on it, not just as a discussion or a talking point but also on the ground cooperation.” “We are also pursuing trade settlements in national currency with several other countries. So, if it becomes a point of highly advanced discussions in the BRICS and the BRICS countries agree to do trade settlement in national currency, something which is of a great promise within BRICS,” Kwatra added.
China Commits to Promote Africa’s Regional Economic Integration (La nueva Televisión del Sur)
While WTO members achieved impressive results at their previous ministerial gathering (MC12) in June last year, securing an unprecedented package of trade outcomes, “we have much more to do, at MC13 and beyond,” the Director-General said at the meeting hosted by the Indian presidency of the G20.
Among the issues WTO members need to focus on for MC13 are WTO reform and in particular reform of the WTO’s dispute settlement system, a key priority for many members; securing the entry into force of the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement and concluding the second wave of fisheries subsidies negotiations; advancing talks on agriculture, where the debate in Geneva so far has shown little progress; and delivering on the development agenda in order to maintain the belief and trust of developing countries in the organization.
“One thing is sure: we should all be ready to roll up our sleeves and work in Abu Dhabi,” she said. The Director-General also told the G20 ministers that deliberative sessions would take place at MC13 to facilitate dialogue on trade and climate change, subsidies, and inclusion. The goal will be to help WTO members better understand each other’s viewpoints on these 21st century issues.