Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

SA component industry pledges R4.8bn in investments (Engineering News)

The South Africa component industry will invest R4.8-billion in the South African economy up to the end of next year, says National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM) CEO Renai Moothilal.

Moothilal spoke at the NAACAM Show 2023, hosted in Tshwane last week. The show was held in partnership with the Tshwane Economic Development Agency.

The group – from different regions and segments of component manufacturing – consists of a mix of large multinational companies, domestic component manufacturers, as well as emerging black industrialists.  Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Ebrahim Patel welcomed the announcement as he addressed the event.

“Investment is the lifeblood of growth. So much of our preoccupation is to expand the economy, get more taxes and create more jobs, and generate revenue for essential public services. But all of that depends on investment – a commercial decision driven by an expectation of a return… I am pleased with the pledge here today, as this is a strong vote of confidence by component makers.”

Cabinet greenlights food price action plan: SA (SAnews)

Cabinet has directed the Economic Cluster to put in place an action plan on food prices, food security and access to food, Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said. Briefing the media on Thursday, Ntshavheni said the Competition Commission has been monitoring essential food prices pursuant to price gouging concerns raised since the declaration of the State of Disaster in March 2020.

She said that the continuation of essential food price monitoring is motivated by the need to ensure affordable and accessible essential food products for consumers. At the briefing held in Pretoria, the Minister said that Cabinet has noted the Commission’s recommended measures including market inquiries to address structural features in the market that lead to high food prices and low levels of competition.

See the trade initiative aimed at bridging Kenya’s trade gap with China (Business Insider Africa)

In an effort to make Kenya a preferred entry point to the African market, the governments of Kenya and China have underlined their cooperation to strengthen bilateral economic ties. This is accomplished by utilizing the business-to-business and business-to-consumer connections at exhibitions to reach out to China’s two industrial regions, Chongqing and Sichuan.

The trade imbalance between the two countries increased to $3.62 billion (Sh526.2 billion) in 2022 from $3.51 billion (Sh510.2 billion) the year before, according to data from the Central Bank of Kenya. “This was the highest goods trade deficit between the pair since $3.68 billion (Sh534.9 billion) in 2017,” CBK says.

Irene Mumo, the State Department’s Deputy Director for Investment and Promotion, said such trade platforms give the nations an opportunity to expand their areas of mutual cooperation last Thursday at the opening of the Chongqing and Sichuan Export Commodity exhibition in Nairobi. “This includes areas of manufacturing, trade, technology, and other key sectors targeted under the bottom-up economic model,” Mumo said.

Ghana: Country set for industrial hub: Infrastructure ready – Prof Dodoo (BusinessGhana)

The Director-General of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Professor Alex Dodoo, has called for stronger coordination on the part of all ministries and regulatory bodies to work harder and make the country a new manufacturing hub. He explained that the approval of the National Quality Policy (NQP) and passage of the Standards Authority Act, 2022 (Act 1076) were crucial interventions that would prepare local companies and send the right signals to the rest of the world that the country was open for large-scale investments in the production sector.

“We have been able to develop the companies, human resource, standards and NQP; what we need now is coordination for the new industrialisation hub to happen. “So yes, Ghana will become the unequivocal next hub of global manufacturing because we have the ingredients and infrastructure to support the agenda,” Prof. Dodoo said.

At the maiden Daily Graphic-GSA-ISO Breakfast Summit in Accra last Friday, the Director-General of GSA maintained that the country had also taken deliberate steps to develop manufacturers (industries), human resources and standards to support the industrialisation drive. It was on the theme: “Standardisation and industrialisation: Could Ghana be the new hub for global manufacturing?”

The Secretary-General of the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO), Dr Hermogene Nsengimana, challenged Ghanaians to leverage standards to boost industrialisation in the country. He said the country and its manufacturers must build knowledge on standards because they were the cheapest way of acquiring skills required for industrialisation. “We must also take value addition seriously because it is a component embedded in standardisation”. “Standards inspire healthy competition among manufacturers and producers and also bring out the best of innovation,” Dr Nsengimana added.

Africa Fintech Summit: over 200 leading organisations to convene at Lusaka, Zambia (Technext)

The stage is set for the largest gathering of fintech stakeholders from around Africa and the globe as the Africa Fintech Summit prepares for its 10th edition. The summit, renowned for fostering meaningful conversations, partnerships and other ecosystem-enabling engagements is scheduled to take place from November 2-3, 2023, at Ciela Resort and Spa in Lusaka, Zambia.

The Africa Fintech Summit has become a platform where innovators, entrepreneurs, regulators, investors, and other influential players convene to chart the course for Africa’s fintech landscape. With the fintech sector on the continent witnessing exponential growth and transformation, this year’s summit aims to accelerate the pace of innovation, foster partnerships, and address critical challenges faced by the industry.

Africa Climate Summit

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Investment in climate change resilient infrastructure emphasised (SAnews)

Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister, Barbara Creecy, has called on leaders on the continent to urgently implement measures to improve the resilience of Africa’s infrastructure investments against the impacts of climate change.

“If the impacts of climate change are not taken into account now, there is a considerable risk that the current, and potentially the next generation of infrastructure in Africa will be locked into designs that could be inadequate for the future climate and costly or impossible to modify later,” Creecy said in Nairobi, Kenya.

Addressing the Africa Climate Summit on Monday, Creecy said climate change impacts will be genuinely felt during the life span of the planned and future infrastructure within the coming decade.

“Planning new infrastructure for climate resilience and adapting existing infrastructure to reduce risks should be a priority as there is a high probability that climate change will offset or reduce the economic and developmental benefits of these investments.”

“Developed countries have not met the US$100 billion per year mobilization goal by 2020 and have indicated that this goal may potentially be met later this year (2023). The goal of doubling adaptation finance from 2019 levels by 2025 is an undertaking in paper only.

“With an estimated annual infrastructure financing requirement in the range from US$130 - 170 billion according to the African Development Bank, implementing urgent measures to improve the resilience of Africa’s infrastructure investments must become the main occupation for us as decision-makers,” the Minister said.

She said African countries need a new suite of financing instruments, with a set of favourable terms and conditions that are not merely debt generators.

Calls for Change In Africa’s Narrative as Climate Summit Kicks Off in Kenya (Tuko.co.ke)

The One Campaign is urging all leaders to use this pivotal moment to unite around a shared pan-African agenda–one that brings justice and prosperity. African nations are among the most vulnerable to climate change effects and have significant natural assets that could provide global climate solutions. Despite this, the continent receives a disproportionately small amount of global climate finance compared to other regions.

Serah Makka, Director for Africa at The ONE Campaign, said: “African countries possess the tools, talent, and renewable resources to fuel their own growth and be at the vanguard of efforts to tackle climate change, poverty, and inequality everywhere. But they are being blocked by a broken global financial system that denies them access to the affordable finance needed to unleash this potential.

“No country must choose between improving the lives of their people and protecting the planet. If the rest of the world truly gets behind Africa, they can help unleash a green economic revolution that will drive growth and prosperity across the continent and help the whole world to rise to the biggest shared challenges we face.”

The Nairobi Declaration must leverage South-South trade, investment and know-how to address the climate emergency (ReliefWeb)

Africa and the Caribbean share deep historical and people-to-people ties. Indeed, the African Union has identified the Caribbean as Africa’s sixth region. The shared experience of the climate emergency has created another commonality, and one that presents an existential threat to both regions, particularly for small states.

African governments, similar to their Caribbean counterparts, have limited capacity to respond to the climate crisis due to debt distress and economic shocks, necessitating urgent action including debt relief and increased liquidity.

Building on Bridgetown 2.0 and the Paris Pact, the Africa Climate Summit (ACS) in September can help advance a transformational agenda to reset and reshape trade and investment relationships to build climate resilience. However, we need to move swiftly from high-level policy discourse to tangible actions, where it matters on the ground. The private sector must be a central driver of this transformation, supported by appropriate policy frameworks. Whilst commitments at the highest levels must be secured, direct business-to-business engagement is imperative, particularly in deepening South--South trade and investment relationships.

There have been a number of recent high-level initiatives aimed at strengthening trade and investment ties between Africa and the Caribbean, such as the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum. The ACS will primarily focus on driving green growth and climate finance solutions for Africa and the world. The expected outcomes, including those outlined in the Nairobi Declaration, will enable African countries to develop detailed plans and secure investments to support green growth, not only on the continent but also globally, as Africa plays its part in supporting decarbonisation efforts elsewhere.

African Union Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan (2022-2032): Documents

UAE Carbon Alliance pledges to purchase US$450 million in African carbon credits by 2030 (Emirates News Agency)

Africa Climate Summit: African Leaders Propose Use of Single Currency to Address Sustainability Action (Tuko)

A battery swap scheme is turning Africa’s roads electric (CNN)

These African countries are leading the green climate transformation (ONE Campaign)

Africa must harness green resources to boost energy security and sustainable development – Antonio Pedro (UNECA)

Africa must swiftly harness its rich mineral and natural resources to drive a clean energy revolution and accelerate sustainable development amidst the current climate crisis, the Acting Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Antonio Pedro, has urged.

“Africa is a solutions powerhouse for saving the climate, Mr. Antonio Pedro, said at the opening of the 11th Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA) in Nairobi, Kenya, ahead of the inaugural Africa Climate Summit to take place from 4-6 September themed: Driving Green Growth & Climate Finance Solutions for Africa and the World.

Already, multiple low-carbon hydrogen projects are in development in Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia, and South Africa. Africa is also rich in cobalt, manganese, platinum, lithium, and copper – critical minerals for producing batteries and other green transition products. “To mobilize the necessary funding, a paradigm shift is necessary,” said Mr. Pedro, emphasizing that Africa’s renewable and non-renewable resources were assets for mobilizing climate finance and investment.

Mr. Pedro said that using nature-based sequestration alone, African countries could provide up to 30% of the world’s sequestration needs. A key challenge, however, was in “effectively and sustainably harnessing Africa’s abundant resources for the benefit of its people.”

Africa Agriculture Status Report 2023 to be unveiled at AGRF Summit (Farmers Review Africa)

One of the highlights of the 13th AGRF (Africa Green Revolution Forum) Summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, will be the launch of the 2023 Africa Agriculture Status Report (AASR23). The report is being released at a time when the continent’s food systems are dealing with a number of critical issues brought by increased food demand amidst production difficulties due to climate change. The report will delve into strategies to support African countries in transforming their food systems, based on a keen assessment of past and current food system failures.

The AGRF Summit, which takes place from September 5th-8th, is an annual gathering that brings together heads of states and governments, agriculture ministers, members of the civil society, private sector leaders, scientists and farmers in discussions meant to define the future of Africa’s food systems. Under the theme, Empowering Food Systems for the Future, this year’s AGRF Summit will explore the pathways and actions needed to steer the continent towards food systems that deliver sufficient and nutritious food, protect the environment and create sustainable jobs. The welfare of nearly 1.5 billion Africans and the future of their food systems underscores the urgency for immediate, well-informed decision-making.

It is estimated that Africa spent about $50 billion as its net import bill for all food products in 2021, with $18 billion net import bill for sub-Saharan Africa. The 2022 Africa Agriculture Status Report highlighted the possibility of staple food imports growing by 50-60 percent, or even doubling, over the next decade.

“To achieve a true transformation of food systems in Africa, there is a growing recognition that we need to think about food systems differently, taking into account the true values and full costs involved in growing, distributing, and consuming food,” the AASR22 noted.

Africa’s youth biggest asset for the continent and the world, say Kenya’s President Ruto and African Development Bank’s Adesina (AfDB)

Youth leaders, entrepreneurs and policymakers presented the Africa Youth Climate Assembly Declaration to Kenya’s President, William Ruto, and African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi Adesina. The Declaration, which was the culmination of the Africa Youth Climate Assembly held in Nairobi from 1-3 September, advocates for the accelerated establishment of a Global Green Bank and a New Global Financial Pact, aiming to prioritise young people and their interests in climate financing. The delegates also called for the establishment of a UN Youth office to be based in Africa, the continent with the largest youth population on the planet.

Adesina echoed similar sentiments, underscoring the critical nature of youth investment in fostering growth and stability on the continent. “The biggest risk in this continent is not investing in the youth,” Adesina said, adding that, “The youth need investment, not empowerment.” To illustrate this point, Adesina said the African Development set up the Jobs for Youth strategy to provide 25 million jobs. “So far, we have developed 15 million jobs: ten million in the formal sector and five million in the informal sector.”

15th BRICS Summit heralds new chapter for the group (SAnews)

The 15th BRICS Summit held at the Sandton Convention Centre during August was a success that ‘heralded a new chapter’ for the group. This is according to President Cyril Ramaphosa who addressed the nation on Sunday evening. “It was a historic Summit that heralded a new chapter for BRICS.

The President honed in on key decisions and outcomes that were taken during the summit, including the call for a comprehensive reform of the United Nations, including its Security Council.

On the second key outcome of the summit – which was to expand BRICS membership invitations to Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – President Ramaphosa said: “Through an expanded BRICS, we will be able to better align the voices of those countries that seek a fairer global governance, financial, investment and trading system based on clear rules that apply equally to all countries.

“An expanded BRICS also means that we will be able to export more of our products to major markets and, as a result, we will be able to produce more and create more jobs. While an expanded BRICS will be an important champion for the Global South, South Africa stands to benefit from its relationship with these countries.”

UNCTAD helps countries measure South-South cooperation (UNCTAD)

UNCTAD and its partners have kicked off a three-year global project to help developing countries use a common framework to measure and give more visibility to South-South cooperation. The project’s first event, organized with Brazil from 11 to 13 July, brought together representatives from 16 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Participants also included economists, statisticians and development experts from over 10 international organizations, including four UN Regional Commissions.

South-South cooperation – when developing countries pool resources or share knowledge, skills and expertise – is a powerful tool that can take many forms. But historically global development discussions have leaned exclusively on data from cooperation that also involves developed countries or multilateral organizations – or both. Without reliable data on South-South cooperation, the picture of international development cooperation remains incomplete.

In March 2022, the UN Statistical Commission introduced a new SDG indicator (17.3.1) to measure “additional financial resources mobilized for developing countries from multiple sources.” It also welcomed a voluntary common framework designed by developing countries to measure South-South cooperation and provide data for the new indicator. “Now we have a framework that is made by the South for the South,” Brazilian Ambassador Luiza Lopes of the Brazilian Cooperation Agency said.

African Union Likely to become 21st member of G20 (The New Indian Express)

The African Union (AU) is likely to become a member of the Group of 20 (G20) largest economies with India, which holds the G20 chair, proposing its inclusion ahead of the September 9-10 summit. With the AU’s inclusion, the bloc will become G21. Supporting the AU’s inclusion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “No plan for the future of the planet can be successful without the representation and recognition of all voices”.

“Africa is a top priority for us even within the G20. One of the first things we did during our G20 Presidency was to hold the ‘Voice of the Global South’ summit, which had enthusiastic participation from Africa,” Modi said. “There is a need to come out of a purely utilitarian worldview and embrace a Sarva Jana Hitaaya, Sarva Jana Sukhaaya (for the welfare of all, for the happiness of all) model,” he added.

However, not everyone in AU is excited about India’s push to get them to G20. “Africa is a large continent and the challenges, economy and communities are very diverse. In that context, we feel that this inclusion in the G20 would not translate into anything for us in the literal sense. The Voice of the Global South must be heard but the inclusion in G20 would not help in addressing the concerns. We are grateful for India to consider including us though,” said a representative of an African country.

Black Sea Grain Initiative safest, most cost-effective option for the world (Anadolu Ajansı)

Following Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal, which was implemented with the UN’s mediation and Turkey’s contribution, efforts to revive the deal continue.

At a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said that with Türkiye’s contributions, the UN has prepared a new package of proposals that would provide a conducive environment for reviving the initiative. The key components of the proposal package include the integration of a subsidiary of the Russian Agricultural Bank (Rosselkhozbank) into the SWIFT system and the release of frozen assets of Russian fertilizer companies in Europe.

While Türkiye coordinates with the UN to revive the Black Sea Grain Initiative, other formulas put forward as alternatives to the agreement pose security and cost issues. Russia has expressed its concern that the grain transported through the corridor established under the agreement went to developed countries. Moscow is now proposing the shipment of 1 million tons of grain to Türkiye with the condition that it is processed in Türkiye under Qatar’s financial sponsorship before being sent to the least-developed countries.

However, compared to the operational volume of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allows about 33 million tons of grain to be shipped to the world in a year, the 1 million tons of grain offered by Russia is far below the needs.

DDG Paugam: Trade can help us respond to food security, sustainable development challenges (WTO)

The WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13), to be held in Abu Dhabi in February 2024, will provide a unique opportunity to ensure that trade contributes to strengthening global food security, said Deputy Director-General Jean-Marie Paugam on 4 September. Speaking at the International Conference on Agricultural Trade Policy in Beijing, DDG Paugam noted MC13 can be a defining moment for a more food secure and sustainable future and urged WTO members to work together to overcome the stalemate in agriculture negotiations.

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