tralac Daily News
South Africa to Face Pressure from Trade Partners to Ditch Coal (Supply Chain Brain)
South Africa must accelerate its transition to renewable energy to avoid export penalties being threatened by key trading partners, a government official said September 6. “We’re doing this for ourselves because it is absolutely the right way to go,” said Vukile Davidson, the 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 the regulatory certainty necessary to draw capital from the private sector.
Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa have taken a significant step toward boosting trade and regional development with the inauguration of new offices of the Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat offices in Windhoek. Namibia’s Minister of Works and Transport, John Mutorwa along with his counterparts from Botswana and South Africa marked the occasion with optimism and a shared commitment to the corridor’s growth and impact on the Southern African region.
The Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC) represents a tripartite transboundary corridor management institution with a vision to foster deeper regional integration programs, including those of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). The agreement encapsulated a shared commitment to eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable growth and development in the region.
The inauguration of the Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat offices represents a significant milestone in the ongoing effort to enhance trade and regional cooperation among Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa. As this vital transport corridor continues to ease the movement of goods and people, it is poised to play a central role in propelling the development agendas of these nations and fostering greater integration in Southern Africa.
Ruto touts cross-border trade, youth in agriculture (Tanzania Daily News)
Kenya’s President William Ruto has called African leaders to utilise their country’s territorial borders as the bridges for cross-border trade and not barriers, while also insisting that there is no future in agriculture, unless the continent brings young people on board.
Dr Ruto commended President Samia Suluhu Hassan for swiftly facilitating smooth flow of goods between Tanzania and Kenya. President Ruto noted that Kenya is a major consumer of Tanzania’s food despite the fact that few years back, there were few people in the borders, who delayed consignments entry in either country. He made the statement while addressing delegates who took part in hybrid form during the presidential summit at the Africa Food Systems Forum 2023 at the Julius Nyerere Convention Centre (JNICC) in Dar es Salaam, on Thursday.
Mr Ruto said swift flow of food crops through the border from Tanzania to Kenya will bring balance of trade between the two nations. To increase agro production in Africa, he underscored youth inclusion in the sector, referring to the fact that in many African countries including in Tanzania, there is enough untapped arable land, which upon fully utilisation will offer stable employment and food security.
Namibia and Zambia this week signed four agreements in the fields of industrial development cooperation as well as competition and standards in a bid to boost trade and cooperation between the two countries. This is part of a continuous effort to strengthen bilateral relations as sister countries. Trade and industrialisation minister Lucia Iipumbu emphasised the recent agreements must be implemented for progress to be provided at the next Namibia-Zambia Joint Trade and Investment Committee (JTIC) ministerial meeting.
“Namibia recognises trade as an economic catalyst for most of the developmental activities in the country. In this regard, Namibia prioritised trade and investment with her neighbours and Zambia is one of the countries of strategic importance with the potential to further improve trade benefits,” said Iipumbu on Tuesday in Lusaka. Iipumbu noted the two countries must identify and leverage key priority business, trade and investment opportunities in various sectors. This, she said, should be done while focusing on collaborative efforts specifically targeting value chain development in a bid to diversify the two economies. “We must also consider enhancing supply chain exchanges at a technical level to focus on manufacturing and value addition,” Iipumbu added.
Nigeria has potential to increase value of cocoa, says Thompson (The Guardian Nigeria)
Nigeria has a lot of potential to increase the value of cocoa, as the produce is yet to be well understood, appreciated and consumed in Africa. This was the submission of the Oloni of Eti-Oni, Osun State, Oba Dokun Thompson Gureje IV, delivered at the Nigerian British Chamber of Commerce (NBBC) 2023 Trade Mission to the UK, held at the Hilton London Kensington Hotel, stating that the value of most of the products is in its consumption even at the farm gate and not just in export as raw materials.
“The Nigerian market is a dynamic one that requires innovation and clear understanding of the people,” he said. Oba Thompson revealed that the agric sector offers incredible opportunities in production, processing and manufacturing, with a land mass of 923,768sq.k and 38.43 per cent reported as arable land in 2020.
“There is a lot of potentials to increase that value because cocoa as a product like coffee though produced in Africa is yet to be well understood, appreciated and consumed in Africa and the value of most of these products is in its consumption even at the farm gate and not just in export as raw materials.”
The Togolese Minister for the Promotion of Investment, Rose Kayi Mivedor, is in Dar es Salam, Tanzania. She is attending Africa’s Food Systems Forum 2023 (AGRF) which started on Tuesday, September 5, and ends today, September 8. Mivedor, on Thursday, told the forum’s participants about business opportunities available in Togo. Among others, she said her country positions itself as West Africa’s natural gateway regarding the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
According to the official, Togo is the obvious choice because of its main port, the Autonomous Port of Lomé, which is the only deep-water port in West Africa. She added that the port gave access to surrounding landlocked countries, Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. “We play a pivotal role as a communication corridor between coastal countries, passing through Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Therefore, we position ourselves as a platform that facilitates the storage of goods for redistribution to other countries,” Mivedor declared.
Report stresses trade agreements to boost imports, exports (Tanzania Daily News)
THE African trade agreements have been cited as among major initiatives that can help boost agricultural imports and exports as well as curb the adverse effects of climate change by including actionable provisions, according to the latest. However, the report has underscored that the East African Community (EAC) has one of the highest ratios of agriculture to GDP among the regional economic communities examined, as well as the highest introversion index, indicating a high intensity of intraregional trade.
Published by AKADEMIYA2063 and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) at the 13th Africa Food Systems Forum (AGRF), the 2023 AATM calls for concerted regional- and continental-level action toward sustainable trade flows and more environment-friendly trade policies. The report has also delved into the negative impacts of the Russia-Ukraine war on fertilizers and food trade and recommends action to lessen the effects of the shocks on African countries and consumers.
“The 2023 AATM analyzes opportunities to “deepen” trade agreements to increase intra-African trade while prioritizing import diversification by tapping into the continent’s natural endowments and the deployment of new and greener technologies to lessen the impact of global shocks like the Ukraine crisis. With the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement underway, there will be added value in policy reforms to streamline and harmonize agriculture-relevant frameworks toward increased food security and a larger agrifood global market share for Africa,” said Executive Chairperson of AKADEMIYA2063, Dr Ousmane Badiane.
EAC standards national agencies agree on new measures for smooth trade (The Independent Uganda)
The East African Community partner states have through their standards regulators agreed on 11 measures aimed at improving the standard of food products on the market. The move is also aimed at ensuring the protection of local consumers against food-borne diseases and a smooth flow of trade within the region.
For years, the EAC has been debating the need for the harmonisation of product standards but a concrete outcome is yet to be realised. This in turn continues to play as an advantage for individual states to restrict the flow of products from one to another. Presiding over the high-level regional meeting for policy and decision makers on Food Safety and Codex activities in the EAC was Minister for Health Jane Ruth Aceng.
The meeting, hosted by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) in Entebbe also adopted four policy briefs that provide recommendations on mitigating the impact of current Food Safety issues of interest in the region. They recommended improved government engagement in regional and international standard-setting activities to contribute effectively to the development of food safety standards and increased investment in Food Safety and Codex, including capacity building for value chain actors, to manage risks and ensure compliance with food standards.
The Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Francis Mwebesa pledged government commitment to investing in quality standards and infrastructure like food safety laboratories to ensure accessibility and availability of safe food in Uganda and exports to the region.
In only four months, the East Africa Community (EAC) would be adopting a single monetary union. However, this won’t be the case. Beginning next year, enforcement of the EAC Monetary Union, according to timelines, would have been on the agenda after it was adopted in accordance with the EAC Treaty and signed on November 31, 2013. However, the plan to have the single currency in 2024 has since collapsed with the EAC Council of Ministers pushing it further to 2031.
The delay, according to the 43rd meeting of the EAC Council of Ministers was informed by the presumption that it would be too soon to attain all necessary requirements. Experts interviewed for this article say the monetary union is an important stage in the EAC integration because it allows partner states to progressively converge their currencies into a single unit. Experts also believe there are overlapping fears of loss of employment resulting from labour mobility and competition, land grabbing and overlapping regional membership.
An extraordinarily lucrative industry, on both sides of the law, pharmaceuticals has taken West Africa’s criminal underworld by storm. Illicit medical product sales are now estimated to have eclipsed US$1 billion, more than the value of the region’s crude oil and cocaine trafficking markets combined.
The problem is not isolated within Africa alone; the World Health Organization has estimated that 10% of all medical products sold in low and middle income countries either do not meet medical standards or are falsified entirely. Nearly half of the reported counterfeits, however, were traced back to Africa, where a lack of proper infrastructure, production facilities, and transportation access has resulted in criminal enterprises seizing more than 40% of the market.
“Substandard and falsified medicines particularly affect the most vulnerable communities,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. GI-TOC’s report estimated that 90% of African countries do not possess the necessary resources to regulate their respective pharmaceutical industries. This further opens the door for organized crime to step in to fill market demand, as well as corrupt local government and regulatory officials mandated to work with legitimate medical distributors and retailers.
Amidst the pursuit of sustainable development and energy security, Africa is undergoing transformation, with regional integration playing a pivotal role. Regional power pools, epitomizing collaborative efforts, address the continent’s energy challenges effectively. As new energy supplies are brought on the market, this year’s edition of the African Energy Week (AEW) conference – scheduled for October 16-20 in Cape Town – will explore the role regional power systems play in Africa.
Under efforts to connect markets, African countries put in place regional power pools, all of which have been instrumental in facilitating energy access and distribution. The emergence of innovative energy resources, such as gas-to-power technologies, holds promise for the continent. These innovative solutions have the potential to revolutionize the energy landscape, providing cleaner and more sustainable alternatives. However, the integration of these resources into the existing infrastructure presents its own set of challenges.
This is where the role of regional power pools becomes even more crucial. Power pools act as streams for the efficient distribution and utilization of these new energy resources. Gas-to-power technologies, for instance, require a robust infrastructure for transportation, distribution, and utilization. By leveraging the existing interconnectivity facilitated by power pools, African nations can streamline the integration of these technologies, ensuring their seamless adoption across borders.
The second African Business and Human Rights Forum has concluded with a call for action from all stakeholders to promote robust, inclusive growth that respects human rights and increases prosperity Under the theme ‘For Africa, from Africa’, this year’s forum held from 5 to 7 September 2023,for people across Africa.
At the opening of the Forum, on behalf of AU PAPS Commissioner Bankole Adeoye, Mme Patience Chiradza, Director of the Governance and Conflict Prevention Directorate of AU PAPS, expressed the need to adopt the AU policy on business and human rights to promote coherence at the national and regional levels. “This forum is the Testament to our collective resolve, shared vision and unbreakable commitment to fostering responsible business conduct in the continent bustling with potential,” she stressed.
At the closing session, representatives of different stakeholder groups expressed commitments moving forward, indicating a strong willingness and need for greater collaboration and coordination among different countries, regions, and sectors to continue the push for greater corporate accountability and to accelerate momentum in business and human rights across Africa.
The African Union (AU) seems well on its way to becoming a permanent member of the G20, several officials suggested Friday, on the eve of a summit of this organization bringing together the largest developed and emerging economies on the planet.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose country holds the presidency of the G20 this year and is hosting the heads of state and government this weekend, has shown in recent days his desire to expand this group with “ inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member. A senior official at the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vinay Kwatra, said he expected a decision on Saturday morning at the summit. However, it is still possible that a G20 member vetoes.
“The future of trade is green,” says World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. “Trade can support national and international efforts to keep the ambition of limiting global warming to 1.5°C alive.”
The specific ways in which trade can contribute to a greener and more sustainable future will be the focus of the WTO’s Public Forum on 12-15 September. Taking place at the WTO’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the Public Forum will feature around 90 interactive sessions, with topics including The Route to Transport Decarbonization, Green Energy Investments in Africa and Promoting Smallholders’ Inclusion in the Advancement of Green Trade.
Some of the green trade highlights of this year to be discussed during the Forum include supply chains – the social dimension; green subsidy race; zero-emission cargo ships; FDI and climate goals; and trade buzzwords: friendshoring, nearshoring, reshoring and offshoring.
The G20 Trade and Investment Ministers Meeting (TIMM) concluded in Jaipur on 25 August 2023. The pdf Outcome document (839 KB) from the Ministers meeting highlighted key areas of cooperation including, Trade for Growth and Prosperity, WTO Reform, and Logistics for Trade. Most notably, the document highlighted five deliverables, namely, the G20 Generic Mapping Framework for Global Value Chains (GVCs), the Jaipur Call for Action for enhancing access to information for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the High-Level Principles on digitalisation of trade documents, the development of a Presidency’s Compendium of best practices on Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) for Professional Services, and the suggestion to hold a G20 Standards Dialogue in 2023.
In a post-COVID world that has witnessed critical supply chain disruption, the G20 Generic Mapping Framework for GVCs proposes coordination and preparedness to limit future disruption of value chains. It seeks to identify vulnerabilities and build more resilient value chains by proposing high level principles including analysis, collaboration, coordination, preparedness, inclusion, and sustainability. The framework also lays emphasis on increased participation and greater value generation by Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in GVCs.
While this framework remains voluntary and non-binding, it lays down the guiding principles for a coordinated effort to create more resilient value chains. In October 2021, supply chain turmoil was identified as the “greatest threat“ to growth for the company and the country’s economy by corporate CEOs. This threat was considered greater than geopolitical instability, the pandemic, and labour shortages.