Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Private sector investment in energy to lift employment, economic growth (Engineering News)

Solar power investment will reduce loadshedding and increase employment growth in 2024, and jobs are being created on the back of a growing resilience among businesses against the negative impacts of loadshedding, says assurance, advisory and tax services firm PwC South Africa in its eighth ‘South Africa Economic Outlook’ report.

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) reported in August, that total formal and informal employment increased by 154 000, or 1%, from the first to the second quarter of 2023. Total jobs were also 784 000, or 5%, higher compared to the second quarter of 2022. “This substantial increase in employment contrasts with weak economic growth owing to, among other factors, electricity loadshedding and supply chain disruptions. The strong increase in jobs over the past year is encouraging and reflects a growing resilience on the part of private businesses against the negative impacts of electricity outages,” PwC South Africa says.

Government seeks to engage the EU on the impact of its emissions tax regime – Deputy Minister Gina (the dtic)

The Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) Ms Nomalungelo Gina, says South Africa will continue to engage its European counterparts on the impact of the European Union’s (EU) Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism regulation on local businesses exporting to the EU. This regulation imposes tax on exports to EU countries, for products in emissions-intensive sectors deemed at greater risk of carbon leakage. The goal is to reduce greehouse gases emissions by 55% by 2030. The sectors include steel, aluminium, fertilisers, and electricity.

Gina was speaking at the launch of Bingelela Alloys – a Black Economic Empowerment partner to Australia’s alluminiun smeltering company, South 32. Bingelela Alloys was established in 2018 to produce alluminium products such as wheels, rims, foils among others.

The Deputy Minister highlighted that South Africa does take seriously its obligation in fighting climate change and is committed to making efforts necessary to build towards low carbon economy. But adds that the implementation of some measures may affect local businesses negatively.

R4.6 Billion Investment Pledge by Automotive Manufacturers: A Strong Vote of Confidence in SA Economy – Minister Patel (the dtic)

The Minister of Trade, Industry, and Competition, Mr Ebrahim Patel, has welcomed investment pledges worth more than R4.6 billion made by sixteen automotive component manufacturers and suppliers at a conference hosted by the National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM) in Pretoria yesterday. This investment, which Minister Patel described as a “strong vote of confidence in the South African Economy,” will support more than 10 000 jobs.

The companies that pledged include Shatterprufe, Atlantis Foundries, South African Tyre Manufacturers Conference, CRH Africa Automotive, John Moffat Prolock, IBO Group, and Auto Industrial Group.

“I am particularly pleased to be part of this major announcement today because investment is the lifeblood of every economy. It contributes to expanding the economy, creating jobs, and providing taxes that the government can use to build hospitals, schools, universities, and many other positive things that contribute to improving the lives of our people. This is a strong vote of confidence in the South African economy by the automotive components makers,” said Minister Patel.

Namibia builds on N$100b BRICS trade (New Era)

Namibia’s trade with BRICS countries during 2022 stood at a mammoth N$97 billion. This figure was shared yesterday by head of research at High Economic Intelligence, Salomo Hei, who said Namibia’s trade with BRICS is higher than any other economic bloc.

Addressing a breakfast session hosted by Debmarine Namibia, he noted that Namibia’s total trade with various economic blocs in 2022, including the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) which amounted to N$85.3 billion, was combined with trade with the United States of America (USA), UK and the Euro area amounting to N$43.1 billion.

Namibia’s trade with new BRICS members, who are expected to join in January 2024, amounted to N$12.5 billion in 2022. BRICS currently consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Formally launched in 2009, BRICS now accounts for 23% of global GDP and 42% of the world’s population. At the recent BRICS meeting in South Africa, countries such as Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were invited to become full members of BRICS.

Kenya’s African payment platform bid under review (The East African)

Cairo-headquartered African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has started reviewing Kenya’s bid to host a Pan-African settlement house for intra-African trade deals, a top official said in Nairobi Wednesday. Denys Denya, Afreximbank’s Executive Vice President for Finance, Administration and Banking Services, said the trade financier’s top decision-making organ has taken up Kenya’s application.

Central Bank of Kenya Governor Kamau Thugge disclosed in July Nairobi’s proposal to host the Pan-African payment and settlement system (Papss) which facilitates intra-African payments in different national currencies on the continent.

“The Kenyan government has decided to support the rollout of Papss. The President of Kenya William Ruto is actually championing this,” Mr Denya told reporters on the sidelines of a roadshow ahead of the third Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023) to be held in Cairo between November 9 and 15. “There’s a governance council that is considering that proposal. The decision will be made shortly and communicated.”

DRC nationals to visit Kenya visa free (The East African)

Nationals of the Democratic Republic of Congo will from now visit Kenya without a visa, Nairobi announced on Friday. The new policy, Kenya says is part of continuing legal shift to accommodate the DRC’s admission into the East African Community.

A noticed issued last week to all diplomatic missions abroad as well as Kenya’s regional administrative heads had alerted officials of the imminent change in policy. It said the visa waiver will be effective from September 01.

“The government of Kenya has removed Democratic Republic of Congo from Category 2 to category 1 of the visa regulations in compliance with the East Africa Community Regulations of free movement of persons within the member states,” said the circular dated August 25. “In this regard, Kenya has waived visa requirements for all nationals of the Democratic Republic of Congo effective September 1, 2023.”

eGAZ, Mastercard to digitalise Zanzibar economy (Tanzania Daily News)

Mastercard has collaborated with the Zanzibar’s e-Government Agency (eGAZ) to support and accelerate the isles ambitious digital transformation journey. This will allow different sectors across Zanzibar such as tourism to digitise payments which will significantly contribute to economic growth.

According to the press release, the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) took place parallel with the launch of the Zanzibar Digital Government Strategy for 2023-2027, led by President of Zanzibar Hussein Mwinyi in Unguja on Tuesday. Mastercard East Africa Country Manager Shehryar Ali said that the agreement is the first MoU signing by them aligned with Zanzibar’s digital transformation goals laid out in their digital economy blueprint and roadmap.

“The strategy’s main objective is Zanzibar’s transformation into a strong digital economy which will secure digital systems, drive innovative information, communication and technology solutions and develop training for digital governance, ultimately reshaping public services,” he said. Under the three-year collaboration, Mastercard will provide technical assistance and expertise to support the Zanzibar government’s efforts.

With leadership and determination, Africa can achieve the SDGs (Africa Renewal)

Antonio Pedro, the acting executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, recently discussed Africa’s development with Africa Renewal’s Kingsley Ighobor.

We could liken AfCFTA to Africa’s Marshall Plan. Why? It aims to strengthen the business fundamentals of the continent. Given the small size of our individual economies, we need to leverage a multiplier effect, creating a single, integrated market to attract investments. But, to achieve a multiplier effect, we need to address many challenges such as our infrastructural shortcomings. The Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa aims to address some of those.

We also need to address the legal and regulatory misalignments that are barriers to trade. At the African Union Commission Summit last February, the Assembly adopted three important protocols related to competition, investment and intellectual property rights.

AU intensifies efforts foster growth start ventures Africa (African Union)

The African Union led by the Department of Economic Development, Trade, Tourism,, Industry, and Minerals(ETTIM) is set to host the second edition of the annual African Union Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Forum from the 4th -8th September 2023 at the AU Head quarter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The forum will focus on “Start-up Acts: An Instrument to Foster Development and Innovation in Africa,” delving on the importance of policies that serve as incentives for young people to start a venture, investors to put their money into promising companies, and other ecosystem actors to lend their support in start-up enterprises.

Tunisia and Senegal are leading on the continent on the adoption of Start-up Acts in 2018 and 2019 respectively. These policies are part of broader government strategies to position their countries as innovation hubs by leveraging an emerging tech ecosystem to improve economic development. Such efforts have continued to demonstrate the pivotal role of MSMEs in Africa’s industrialization and economic growth.

MSMEs are the backbone of the African economy, accounting for 80-90% of all businesses and providing employment to around 85% of the continent’s workforce. They are also the driving force behind innovation, playing a significant role in the development of new technologies, products, and services.

Support to Industrialisation and Productive Sectors (SIPS) Programme participates at the Bio Africa Convention (SADC)

This year’s Bio Africa Convention will be held in Durban, Republic of South Africa, on the 3rd to 6th September 2023. Bio Africa Convention is an annual event that facilitates an enriching and collaborative platform for exchange of groundbreaking ideas and opportunities in the biotechnology industry and innovations pertaining to health, energy, agriculture and entrepreneurial sectors. The sixth annual BIO Africa Convention will focus on food security, sustainability and biotech innovation. The theme for BIO Africa Convention, 2023 is Re-imagining Biotechnology Innovation for Africa’s Development and Security. This aligns well with the Support to Industrialisation and Productive Sectors (SIPS) Programme initiatives.

The primary objective of the BIO Africa Convention is to get Africa talking about biotechnology developments and to address challenges ranging from food security and medicine to vaccine manufacturing. Regionally, the Support to Industrialization and Productive Sector (SIPS) Programme, seeks to accelerate the SADC regional industrialization agenda by supporting regional value chain development in the agro-processing and pharmaceutical value chains.

Trade: ECOWAS Quality Experts Gather in Lomé for Key Meeting (Togo First)

The ECOWAS Community Committee for Conformity Assessment (ECOCONF) is currently meeting in Lomé to examine mechanisms to facilitate the free movement of goods within the community.

“We will be working on the rules for mandating, but also on the regional recognition of the various conformity assessment bodies,” said Olga Kouassi, Director of the ECOCONF’s Standards and Audit Office, and the Committee’s representative in Ivory Coast. ”For this regional market to be assessed and inspected at the company level in each country, it is essential that inspection rules are harmonized, enabling each country to recognize certificates issued,” she added.

The meeting opened on August 31 and on the occasion, the Togolese and Beninese winners of the second edition of the ECOWAS Quality Award were unveiled. The recipients include École Supérieure des Affaires (ESA), Cabinet Audit Expertise Comptable, both carried by Dr. Charles Birregah, from Togo, and Best Expert Conseil, from Benin, reports the Savoir News agency.

IGAD Members to Adopt Single Electronic Visa System (RegionWeek)

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is working towards establishing a single visa system to deepen regional integration through free movement, which comprises eight countries in East Africa.

The objective of the single visa system is to reduce administrative burdens and promote the seamless movement of tourists and business travelers across the IGAD region, the IGAD Executive Secretary Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu mentioned at a consultation meeting held on August 28, in Djibouti. Dr. Gebeyehu also mentioned that the unified electronic visa is expected to facilitate the movement of people and goods across the IGAD region, which comprises eight countries in East Africa.

Industry bodies unpack importance of continued Agoa access for local automotive industry (Engineering News)

As the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) comes up for potential renewal before its expiry in 2025, naamsa | The Automotive Business Council and the Automotive Industry Export Council (AIEC) have released a research report motivating for an extension to the trade preference programme.

naamsa says in the report that Agoa has become a powerful symbol of the commitment the US and Africa have made to one another’s prosperity. The industry body believes Agoa has served as a bedrock of trade relations between the two regions and helped to support regional integration, particularly the development of regional value chains – through Agoa’s rules permitting cumulation among programme beneficiaries.

South Africa was the continent’s largest beneficiary of Agoa in 2022, having exported R178-billion worth of goods to the US, while imports amounted to R134-billion. In particular, South Africa has accounted for 99% of the African automotive sector’s exports to the US since Agoa’s inception. The South African automotive industry, for one, has been a major beneficiary of Agoa, with substantial two-way automotive trade having taken place between the two countries.

Africa-Singapore Economic Relations Expand With Bilateral Trade Growth At 15% Per Annum (Africa.com)

Economic relations between Singapore and Africa continue to expand, as bilateral trade in goods grew by around 15% per annum between 2019 to 2022, reaching US$14.5 billion in 2022. Singapore companies’ investments in the African continent cumulatively reached US$23.7 billion as at 2021.

As testament to the robust interest to participate in Africa’s growth opportunities, five agreements were inked on Thursday at the 7th edition of the Africa Singapore Business Forum (ASBF) 2023 on the theme “Driving Africa’s Growth through Digitalisation, Manufacturing and Sustainability”, organised by Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG). These agreements span manufacturing, digitalisation and technology, sustainable development, transport and logistics sectors.

To facilitate further growing ties between Singapore and Africa, the Kenya-Singapore Bilateral Investment Treaty was also ratified by both countries and formally entered into force on 20 August 2023. The Treaty will promote greater investment flows between Singapore and Kenya by protecting the interests of both Singapore and Kenyan investors. The Treaty provides certainty and signals the commitment of both governments to create favourable conditions for business to thrive.

Africa’s intensifying heatwaves show urgent need for finance (China Dialogue)

Delivering adequate climate finance and an effective ‘loss and damage’ fund are central to this year’s COP28 climate negotiations

Under climate change, Africa’s extreme weather has become more intense, frequent and longer lasting. In East Africa, for instance, extreme temperatures have increased along with dry conditions, WMO programme manager Dr Ernest Afiesimama tells China Dialogue. Other weather extremes, such as floods and droughts, have also become more common in the region.

In 2009, developed countries pledged to provide developing countries with $100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020. But they only delivered $83.3 billion in that year, according to the OECD. Climate finance has been a contentious matter for years, damaging trust and cooperation at COP negotiations. The OECD believes the $100 billion per year goal could finally be met this year.

Most African countries are not on track to meet their Paris commitments to cut emissions, largely because they made ambitious pledges on the principle that development partners would help finance them. “The channelling of resources has proven so far inadequate in the face of the needs,” says Jean-Paul Adam, former director of technology, climate change and natural resources at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Another related issue concerns “loss and damage” funding which has a different meaning to climate finance in UN climate negotiations.

While Africa waits for the climate finance it has been promised, its governments are far from passive actors. From 4–8 September, African leaders and representatives from finance, business and civil society are gathering in Nairobi for the Africa Climate Action Summit. The meeting includes a number of high-level discussions on adaptation, climate finance, energy and more, concluding with a Nairobi Declaration signed by African heads of state.

Resource-rich countries facing a double transition (Engineering News)

Resource-rich countries face a double transition – the transition in their energy supplies and the transition in their mining sectors, German Institute for International and Security Affairs senior associate Melanie Müller has said.

The growing drive to confront the issues of climate change and other environmental dilemmas was gaining traction, manifesting as a ‘green energy transition’, denoting a pivotal shift from energy sources reliant on fossil fuels to those harnessed from renewable origins such as solar and wind, she pointed out this week during a webinar hosted by The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA). However, to orchestrate this sweeping global transformation, a diverse array of resources, particularly minerals such as copper, lithium and cobalt, have become essential. Notably, the bulk of these resources are chiefly procured from regions situated in the global south.

SAIIA has launched a special issue of the South African Journal for International Affairs (SAJIA) titled, ‘The energy transition and green mineral value chains: Challenges and opportunities for Africa and Latin America’.

IATA payment service for travel agents launched in five more African countries (Engineering News)

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced that its EasyPay service was launched in Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Gabon and Mauritius, with effect from Wednesday (August 30). EasyPay is a secure travel agency payments solution available to travel agencies accredited by IATA and to airlines that participate in its Billing Settlement Plan (BSP). This takes the number of African countries in which EasyPay is available to 27. The addition of the latest five countries is intended to both improve IATA’s financial services and support the objectives of its Focus Africa initiative (which aims to maximise the contribution of aviation to African development).

“IATA EasyPay is an optional pay-as-you-go solution for travel agents, a simpler and more secure method for transacting with airlines through the BSP,” explained the association. “IATA EasyPay is a closed-loop electronic payment solution that is voluntary, secure, fast, flexible, and free of charge. It provides more flexibility and choice for accredited travel agents to manage their business challenges.”

Standards cooperation, quality infrastructure key to boosting value chains – DDG Paugam (WTO)

“Investment in quality infrastructure and ensuring interoperability of product standards are essential to fostering resilience in global supply chains,” Deputy Director-General Jean-Marie Paugam told an international gathering on supply chains and quality infrastructure in Chengdu, China on 1 September. DDG Paugam emphasized, during two subsequent events, the indispensability of international cooperation and the pivotal role of the WTO in aiding these efforts.

“Quality infrastructure supports the resilience of world trade by building and maintaining trust across value chains,” DDG Paugam said at the opening of the 5th China Quality Conference, which centered on the theme of cooperation in economic recovery. “Investing in efficient supply chains is one of the important tools to support resilience,” he added. Quality infrastructure is central because it fosters trust among trading partners and facilitates private-sector collaboration.

Quick links

Kenya’s businesses poised for huge pan-African trade growth - empowered by AfCFTA and IATF2023

African Development Bank Group and Eritrea strengthen partnership for growth

China-Benin Relations: Guangdong manufacturer taps into growing trade opportunities in west Africa

This African Climate Summit is, in many ways, a financing summit

Shifting alliances: Why the EU needs to cooperate with the BRICS and Africa on the energy transition


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