tralac Daily News
Facelift for land ports of entry (SAnews)
Home Affairs Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, says officials are committed to making the country’s border posts safer, less porous and more efficient in the facilitation and easing of trade, as well as the legitimate movement of people. “The South African government is committed to putting in the latest infrastructure and relevant technology in its efforts to modernise and upgrade our ports to be on par with the current global best practices on border management,” Motsoaledi said.
Addressing media in Pretoria on Wednesday, Motsoaledi said the main objective of upgrading border posts is to make it easier for law-abiding people and companies to easily enter and exit South Africa through the borders, while the illicit movement of persons and goods is nipped in the bud.
“Since the advent of democracy, there has been an exponential increase in the number of people moving between South Africa and the countries in the region. The volume of regional and international trade has similarly increased. “As a result, our land ports of entry are very congested and that continues to stifle trade, instead of enabling it. If you want to understand what we are talking about, just take a visit to the Lebombo Border Post between SA and Mozambique, where you will see trucks lining up for kilometres, bumper to bumper, for hours on end, on the N4 Corridor,” Motsoaledi said.
Zimbabwe Beitbridge border post project a flagship PPP (Engineering News)
South African infrastructure development and construction materials supply group Raubex CEO Felicia Msiza enthuses that the project Raubex completed for the Zimbabwean government’s road authority Zimborders at the Beitbridge border post last year is a testament to Raubex’s 49 years of experience. She hopes this project will be the first of many public-private partnerships (PPPs) for the company, as the experience gained on this project will position the company well to contribute to PPPs in the South African market going forward.
She also emphasises the importance of the meticulous planning and stakeholder engagement that was required to complete the $172-million contract. The overall scope of the project was to build a modern border post that facilitates trade, tourism and enhances the traveller’s border crossing experience through the “gateway of Africa”.
South Africa to Face Pressure From Trade Partners to Ditch Coal (Daily Maverick)
“We doing this for ourselves because it is absolutely the right way to go” said Vukile Davidson, National Treasury’s chief director of financial markets and stability. “But we are also going to increasingly have to deal with external pressure.” The European Union plans a levy on certain carbon-intensive imports, though South Africa has argued the so-called carbon border adjustment mechanism may break World Trade Organization rules.
South Africa, which gets 80% of its electricity from coal, is trying to increase its supply of renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and its reliance on Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. The country is suffering from its worst power outages on record because the state-owned utility’s poorly-maintained and aging power stations can’t meet demand.
Part of preparing for the country’s energy transition is legislation to provide regulatory certainty necessary to draw capital from the private sector.
“Steel is one of the most important materials in the world. It is present in most aspects of the economy, from transportation and other infrastructure to more simple aspects like containers. Steel is used in the production of colossal structures, as well as small components for precision instruments,” said Trade, Industry and Competition Deputy Minister Fikile Majola in an address at the South African Iron and Steel Institute’s Southern African Steel Summit, held in Johannesburg recently.
“South Africa is endowed with one of the most diverse and valuable mineral resource portfolios globally. These range from precious metals, ferrous and non-ferrous metals and other industrial metals. At the peak of the industry’s performance in 2010, South Africa accounted for 0.59% of global steel production. Due to the decline, our country accounts for just 0.23% of global steel output and is ranked 34th in the world.”
“We have a massive challenge on our hands and we need to work tirelessly to regain our position as one of the top producers of steel globally. South Africa’s steel value-chain, with backward and forward linkages, is critical in building a sustainable economy that is underpinned by multiple sectors that are dependent on the steel industry. The sectors that should support our quest to build a sustainable economy include construction, mining, automotive, energy, packaging and transport.”
NamRA clarifies import procedures for goods from non-SACU Member States (Windhoek Observer)
Importing goods from non-Southern African Customs Union (SACU) member states into Namibia involves a series of procedures and regulations governed by the Customs and Excise Act, 1998 (Act No. 20 of 1998). In a notice, the Namibian Revenue Agency said regulations aim to ensure transparency, tax compliance, and adherence to health and environmental standards. Navigating these importation procedures is crucial for ensuring compliance with Namibia’s customs regulations and fostering trade while protecting public health and the environment. Importers and travellers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these regulations to facilitate smooth and lawful importation processes.
In accordance with the Customs and Excise Act (section 40(2)(e)), commercial goods valued at N$500 or more that attract duties as per Schedule 1 must be paid upon importation into SACU. For example, when importing dry wild berries (eembe) or bird plum (scientific name: berchemia discolor) under HS code 0813.40.00 for commercial purposes from outside SACU, the importer is subject to a 10 percent general rate of customs duty. Informal traders, however, must pay the normal rate of 10 percent customs duties and 16.5% value-added tax (VAT) or opt for a 20% flat rate based on the imported goods’ value.
East African govts to fast track single currency (New Vision)
East African Community (EAC) governments have been asked to fast-track the implementation of a single currency to facilitate trade in the region. According to the East African Budget Network (EABN), the East African countries have not done enough to deliver on the pending actions of the East African monetary union roadmap for an East African single currency.
“We find that countries are still lagging behind. All the targets we were supposed to have by 2024 have now been pushed to 2031. We believe the way we do work, we might not even achieve that. There should be some different strategy that the countries need to do to work so hard to achieve the targets that we want,” Julius Mukunda, he executive director Civil Society Budget advocacy Group (CSBAG), said. He made the remarks over the weekend during the East African Monetary Union Civil Society Summit held in Kampala.
The plan to have a single East African currency in 2024 collapsed in 2019 after the EAC council of ministers, the central decision-making and governing organ of the EAC, resolved the deadline was not attainable, sending member countries back to the drawing board. This extended the deadline for attaining a single currency regime to 2031 to eliminate transaction costs of exchanging currencies and remove volatility in cross-border trading activities.
Isaka cargo volume surges 30pc in four months (Tanzania Daily News)
Isaka Dry Port has registered 30 per cent cargo volume increase in the last four months thanks to the Uganda-Tanzania crude oil pipeline project. The dry port in Kahama, Shinyanga saw the cargo volume rise to 8,000 metric tonnes per month registered recently from 6,000 tonnes in April.
The Dry Port Officer, Mr Abel Mshang’a, said at the just ended 2023 Mwanza East Africa Trade Fair (MEATF) exhibitions that oil pipeline was a blessing for the port and the volume is projected to increase further. “We are also in talks with more new clients—local and international,” Mr Mshang’a told the `Daily News’ on Monday.
The port is eyeing a transport deal of some 10,000 tonnes of fertiliser to Burundi and also another firm that will bring in trench digging machines for the oil pipeline. The East African Crude Oil Pipeline EACOP runs 1,443km from Kabaale, Hoima district in Uganda to the Chongoleani Peninsula near Tanga Port in Tanzania. Eighty per cent of the pipeline is in Tanzania. It is a buried thermally insulated 24 inches pipeline along with six pumping stations—two in Uganda and four in Tanzania—ending at Tanga with a Terminal and Jetty
“Isaka is expecting further increase of the cargo volume to at least 10, 000 tonnes, on a monthly basis, when the two new clients start using the port,” he said.
Stakeholders lament complex export levy, documentation (The Guardian Nigeria)
Stakeholders have lamented what they described as extremely complex export procedures and documentation processes by numerous government agencies in Lagos State. This is even as they urged the Federal Government to scrap export levy collections on agricultural products and collection of registration charges on Domestic Export Warehouses (DEWs).
The former Chairman of the Export Group of the Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Kola Awe, said there is an imposition of export levy of $5 for five different cargoes, including Cocoa, Ginger, Cotton and Rubber, while every other one is $15. Awe also noted that exporters are avoiding taking their goods to the established government export warehouses because of the export levies. He said the cost of registering at the export warehouses is expensive while calling on the government to make it lower so that exporters can be encouraged to use it.
“Our ports are not yet paperless. When it comes to the examination side, the same number of agencies are there. It impedes the whole essence of global best practices and competitiveness, the processes are extremely too much,” he stated. “The Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) on export says that all exports must originate from export warehouses, but today, 80 per cent of exports do not originate from these warehouses,” he noted. Awe further highlighted the need for the government to deploy technology into the port process. He said the country must implement a single window platform for trade documentation that will reduce time and cost for cross-border trade.
The landmark Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, came to a close on Wednesday with leaders adopting a joint “Nairobi declaration” to highlight the continent’s potential as a green powerhouse and encourage other world leaders to support new global carbon taxes. “This declaration will serve as a basis for Africa’s common position in the global climate change process,” read the final document. “No country should ever have to choose between development aspirations and climate action.”
Backed by the leaders of the continent of 1.3 billion people — a population set to double by 2050 — the declaration will form the basis of Africa’s negotiating position at November’s COP28 summit. “Decarbonizing the global economy is also an opportunity to contribute to equality and shared prosperity,” it said.
Agreed upon unanimously by leaders at the three-day summit, the declaration calls on the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases and its richest countries to keep their promises — noting in particular an unfilled pledge of $100 billion in annual climate finance to developing nations, made 14 years ago — and for today’s world leaders to rally behind a global carbon tax on fossil fuels, aviation and maritime transport.
During the summit, governments and private investors committed billions of dollars to green initiatives, including a $4.5 billion (roughly €4.2 billion) pledge by November’s COP28 hosts the United Arab Emirates (UAE). But the declaration warned that unlocking green growth across the continent “on a scale that can contribute meaningfully to decarbonization of the global economy” required a massive increase in funding.
World leaders on the second day of the inaugural Africa Climate Summit in the Kenyan capital Nairobi have pledged their support to position the continent at the epicentre of the fight against climate change, urging greater consideration for Africa’s needs. Kenya’s President William Ruto said Africa’s youthfulness was “precisely the attribute that inspired African leaders to imagine a future where Africa steps onto the stage as an economic and industrial power, an effective and positive actor in the global arena”.
African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina has announced a new $1 billion fund to accelerate climate financing for Africa’s youth businesses. Adesina made the $1 billion announcement during a High-Level Intergenerational Dialogue: Africa Driving Climate Adaptation Solutions and Jobs, held at the Wangari Maathai Institute of Peace and Environment on the outskirts of Nairobi.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a development ticket that will boost intra-Africa trade and help reduce poverty across the continent when fully implemented, says Stephen Karingi, Director, Regional Integration and Trade Division of the Economic Commission for Africa. In a lecture at the Nordic African Institute on “Africa’s Trade Potential – An Interactive and Evidence-based “Deep Dive”, Mr. Karingi highlighted that the AfCFTA is a major driver of the African integration agenda through its promotion of trade in Africa.
While the continent had a low proportion in global trade, Africa’s trade composition was drawing more attention, especially heightened interest in sustainable development, climate change, and production for the future, Mr. Karingi said. “Africa has historically exported unprocessed and raw commodities with little value added, said Mr. Karingi noted that in 2022, primary commodities represented over 90% of goods exports in 25 African countries.
Africa has recorded a reduction in poverty. In 2010, 40% of African households lived on less than USD $1.90 per day, 13 years later that rate was below 34%. Besides, there has been a rise in incomes, development of skills and Africa’s agency globally was growing. But despite these positive developments, Africa has faced unique challenges stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic which highlighted its vulnerability due to its almost total dependence on the rest of the world for medical assistance. Furthermore, the global supply chain constraints of 2021 helped fuel inflation and the current Russia and Ukraine war pushed up the price of staple foods, reduced available quantities, and worsened an existing hunger crisis in parts of the continent.
In its largest single-period increase since its inception, the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) latest Trade Finance Gaps, Growth, and Jobs Survey indicates that the trade finance gap in 2022 rose to $2.5 trillion, up from $1.7 in 2020 and $1.5 trillion in 2018. The 2023 ADB report provides a comprehensive analysis of the current state of global trade finance, offering insights into the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, particularly in the wake of a global pandemic that has disrupted trade flows and financial systems.
This latest report takes a global view, emphasising that the trade finance gap is a worldwide issue, suggesting that international cooperation is key to resolving these challenges, a point that resonates more strongly in the current geopolitical climate. It underscores the need for international cooperation to address the global trade finance gap and calls for a concerted effort from all stakeholders, including governments, financial institutions, and international organisations, to find sustainable solutions.
The WTO report analyses the trade performance of developing economies in 2022 and emphasizes the contribution of trade to achieving the five SDGs reviewed at the 2023 Forum:
On SDG 6, the report notes the essential role played by trade in services in supplying water for consumption and for the treatment of wastewater. It also underscores the importance of public-private partnerships to help developing economies improve water supply and sanitation services. The report also examines “indirect trade in water”, the trading of water-intensive products, particularly in the agricultural sector.
On SDG 7, the report emphasizes the role of international trade cooperation in facilitating trade and investment in affordable and clean energy products and services. Stepping up regional and multilateral cooperation will help address the trade barriers to adopting and diffusing low carbon and energy efficient technologies.
On SDG 9, the report stresses that industry innovation can be promoted through the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, the WTO’s plurilateral Agreement on Government Procurement and initiatives such as Aid for Trade. These agreements and initiatives can help governments adopt and implement policies aimed at