tralac Daily News
South Africa: Draft Freight Logistics Roadmap promised by year-end (Engineering News)
A new ‘Freight Logistics Roadmap’ is currently undergoing an internal government consultative process for publication before the end of the year, the latest Operation Vulindlela progress update confirms. “The roadmap will incorporate proposals to resolve the immediate operational challenges while developing interventions to fundamentally restructure the logistics sector to support inclusive economic growth,” the update states. The roadmap is being developed by government and Transnet and a final draft is expected to be concluded in the third quarter of 2023.
The update acknowledges that reforms in the sector are still facing significant implementation challenges, which require interventions to overcome. However, it does highlight the completion of the selection of an international terminal operator partner for the Durban Pier 2 container terminal, which it argues will crowd in private investment and skills, as well as the establishment of a multistakeholder task team to address congestion at the Durban Port.
The urgency of sectoral reform is also reinforced in the update, which describes Transnet’s decline as posing a material risk to the country’s economic prospects, with rail’s underperformance having resulted in losses equivalent to 5.3% of gross domestic product in 2021
Kenya and South Sudan Sign Fiber Optic Cable MoU (TelecomTalk)
Kenya and South Sudan have taken a step towards enhancing connectivity and communication infrastructure. The leaders of both nations, President William Ruto of Kenya and President Salva Kiir of South Sudan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a fibre optic cable along the Eldoret-Juba road.
The fibre optic cable project is set to play a pivotal role in facilitating seamless communication between Kenya and South Sudan, further solidifying their collaboration across various sectors. The high-speed connectivity facilitated by the fibre optic cable is said to boost trade between the two countries. The fibre optic cable is set to be establishment along the road connecting Eldoret in northwest Kenya to Juba, the capital of South Sudan.
Stakeholders Hold Workshop To Boost Nigeria’s Cassava Industry (Voice of Nigeria)
In furtherance of the Presidential mandate to transform the agricultural sector, the Nigerian Agricultural Growth Scheme and AgroPocket, NAGS-AP, with the support of the African Development Bank, AfDB, and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, JICA, convened a Cassava Implementation Strategy Workshop in Calabar, Cross River State, South South, Nigeria. The workshop, which was held on Friday, August 25,2023 under the theme “Cassava: Maximizing the Full Potentials of Nigeria’s Golden Crop”.
In his keynote address, Prof. Chiedozie Egesi, Executive Director/CEO of NRCRI and Cassava Component Lead of the NAGS-AP Program, highlighted Nigeria’s leading position in cassava production and the need to boost the country’s cassava value chain. He noted that Nigeria produces an average of 63 million metric tons of cassava annually, but its contribution to the global market is relatively low. He attributed this to the country’s low cassava productivity, which is due to the use of low-yielding varieties and the non-adoption of good agronomic practices. Egesi called for a focus on value addition as the key to unlocking cassava’s full potential.
Renovation work on the Port of Bujumbura – part of a vast project to develop the regional corridor to Lake Tanganyika – got underway on 17 August 2023 at a launch ceremony attended by the Burundian authorities and the project’s financial partners, the European Union and the African Development Bank Group. It marks a major step towards strengthening Burundi’s transport infrastructure and exploiting the potential of Lake Tanganyika as a navigable inland waterway.
The renovations will cost €79 million; The African Development Bank Group is providing €23.4 million and the European Union will contribute €29 million through the AfDB-EU Hub partnership, a framework agreement signed by the African Development Bank Group and the European Commission in 2017.
EA trade deficit widens on cheaper exports, dearer imports (The East African)
The relentless depreciation of East African currencies, which is supposed to make their exports cheaper in foreign markets, has failed to improve trade balances for the region, defying expectations and putting more pressure on foreign exchange needs.
Ugandan economist Bernard Musekese explains that all East African economies are running on an export-led strategy, which is to “export as much as possible so that revenues from exports can offset the import bill.” But most countries in the region have recorded a worsening trade balance, as imports continue to grow despite being more expensive to the domestic consumers, putting more pressure on foreign exchange.
Africa’s development is not coming from anybody else, own the AfCFTA (MyJoyOnline.com)
Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area, Wamkele Keabetswe Mene, has urged Africans especially the youth to take ownership of the new trade initiative which in his estimation portends the solution to moving the African continent from the periphery to the core of the global economy.
Speaking at a town hall organized by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), in collaboration with the Government of Zambia at the inaugural edition of the AfCFTA Youth Symposium come August 21–23 in Lusaka, Zambia, the first secretary-general pointed out that “the development of our continent is not going to come from anybody else except from us (Africans)”.
He added: “Countries will experience balance of payment effects and not be able to implement the agreement, these are challenges that are going to be there but my view is that if we don’t take our own economic destiny into our own hands we will be in the periphery of the global economy.”
‘Common agenda’ calls intensify ahead of Africa Climate Summit (The East African)
Organisers of the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi are facing the heat from civil society activists and experts who are pushing for what they say should generate a meaningful stand for the continent. First point of contention has been on the agenda and sponsorship, with critics feeling those who bring in the money could sway the agenda, away from what Africa needs.
This week, a letter to Kenya’s President William Ruto co-signed by more than 300 civil societies called for “an urgent reset” of the agenda pushed by organisers of the summit set for Nairobi next month.
“The summit must press for increasing adaptation finance to Africa by more than double and ensure it is based on Africa’s needs and reaches the communities at the forefront of the climate crisis,” said Dr Mwenda. And experts have called on the Summit to prioritise green energy transition. At least 15 African presidents are expected at the summit themed, “Driving green growth and climate finance solutions for Africa and the world.”
The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) organized a Green Investment Advocacy Forum for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on August 24, 2023. The virtual event, which was organized in partnership with the SADC Secretariat under the theme “Leveraging Green Investment Opportunities under the AfCFTA,” brought together a diverse array of stakeholders to deliberate on strategic pathways to harness sustainable and green investments in the region.
Current emissions from the African manufacturing sector—accounting for about 30 to 40 percent of total African emissions—highlight the critical need for investments that support low-carbon or green manufacturing. At the same time, investments into climate-resilient solutions across all sectors will be key to help the region adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Speaking at the forum, Ms Eunice Kamwendo, Director of the ECA Subregional Office for Southern Africa said: “Amidst our pursuit of industrialization, let’s remember the essence of Green Growth. Climate change is not a distant threat; it’s entwined in our daily reality, shaping how we trade and do business.” She pointed out that in order to secure our future, investing in climate adaptation and low-carbon industrialization is paramount.
Export diversification has been among the most cited policy recommendations for African countries to spur structural transformation and increase resilience. However, export diversification that benefits structural change is not an automated process and requires an analytical approach and complex decision-making.
Applying an adjusted economic complexity and product space methodology on trade data of 54 African countries and their trading partners, this paper assesses export diversification opportunities that are feasible to realize, associated with structural change and of high demand in the world and on the African continent. Increasing complementarities of African exports and imports are crucial to yield higher benefits from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Over 50 African countries agree to work on minimising impact of mineral mining (Down to Earth Magazine)
Environment ministers of the African continent have agreed to institute national and regional strategies to minimise environmental impacts in the extraction and processing of critical mineral resources. The continent is facing several challenges as countries, especially China, rush to Africa for its mineral resources.
Fifty-four countries acknowledged key environmental challenges faced by the continent — land degradation, desertification and drought – in the Addis Ababa declaration, August 18, 2023. The declaration was a key outcome of the 19th African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) 2023 held from August 14 to 18, 2023 at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The theme for AMCEN 2023 was “Seizing Opportunities and Enhancing Collaboration to Address Environmental Challenges in Africa”.
The declaration prioritises urgent, wide-ranging action on environmental challenges related to climate change, plastics pollution, marine protection, biodiversity conservation and natural capital. They will work towards closing the biodiversity finance gap of $700 billion per year. The ministers have also resolved to work together and ensure that international financial flows to developing countries are increased to at least $20 billion per year by 2025. The ultimate aim is to increase the global finance flow to at least $100 billion per year, stated the declaration. The countries have also agreed to work on a priority to implement Africa Blue Economy Strategy of the African Union.
The China Development Bank (CDB) today in Cairo signed a development-focused agreement to provide the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) with a US$400-million term loan facility to support the financing of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Africa.
The agreement provides for Afreximbank to deploy the facility to support African SMEs involved in extra- and intra-African trade and those engaged in the productive sectors in Afreximbank Member States. According to the agreement, the facility, which has a seven-year tenor, will be deployed either directly to eligible African SMEs that meet Afreximbank’s requirements or indirectly through local financial intermediaries.
BLSA CEO highlights productive Brics summit outcomes (Engineering News)
The Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) Summit held last week in Johannesburg was “positive and productive”, with member nations focused on how they can support each other’s development and a rules-based multilateral system, business organisation Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) CEO Busi Mavuso writes in her weekly newsletter.
Mavuso cites that, in his opening address, Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel spoke on the need to facilitate trade that will support inclusive growth in an accelerated but sustainable way. He said the next wave of global growth was going to come from Africa, given its young and growing population and Brics nations needed to position themselves for it. He also mentioned the importance of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and entrepreneurship on the continent. Mavuso avers that these themes are the correct ones to have focused on.
Ethiopia’s entry into the BRICS mechanism is expected to facilitate the country’s economic growth, and help forge strong and lasting political cooperation with the BRICS family, Ethiopian experts have said.
BRICS leaders agreed on Thursday to invite six countries, namely Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to join the group. Their membership will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024. “Working with these countries advances our economic development by attracting foreign direct investment for industrialization and infrastructure projects,” Balew Demissie, an associate professor at Addis Ababa University, told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Highlighting the potential advantages of Ethiopia’s collaboration with BRICS, the professor said “the cooperation can improve connectivity within the country and with neighboring nations, facilitate trade, promote regional integration, and create new economic opportunities.”
China’s dominance a key factor in renewable energy subsidy wars (Engineering News)
One of the primary catalysts for the prevalent global emergence of subsidies within the renewable energy sector stems from the dominance of China, research firm BMI Research operational risk analyst Keaton Fitzpatrick has said.
Speaking at a webinar hosted by BMI Research – a Fitch Solutions company – titled ‘Subsidy Wars and The Energy Transition, The Race To Develop Low Carbon Energy Manufacturing’ on August 24, he said China had unequivocally established its preeminence across the global energy supply chain, encompassing vital components of renewable energy, as well as the critical mineral provisions and corresponding market domains.
China’s competitive edge can be attributed to a confluence of factors, notably robust State backing, a favourable labour cost framework and the advantages derived from economies of scale.
Speaking at the annual Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, the Director-General said predictable trade is a source of disinflationary pressure, reduced volatility, and increased economic resilience whereas fragmentation of trade into rival blocs “would be very costly.”
“A world that turns its back on open and predictable trade will be one marked by diminished competitive pressures and greater price volatility,” the Director-General warned. “It would be a world of weaker growth and development prospects, a slower low-carbon transition, and increased supply vulnerability in the face of unexpected shocks.”