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South Africa will become an irrelevant trading partner if the country does not keep up with the pace of global technological development says Communications and Digital Technology Minister Mondli Gungubele. “Digital transformation is moving fast globally. It is not informed by our spirit, it is informed by the speed of the world,” he said in Durban on Tuesday. “The world is not waiting for us ladies and gentlemen, from both connectivity and broadband, and real connectivity.”
Gungubele said digital intervention was a tool to reduce unemployment in South Africa, adding that more investment in technology was required. The R3 billion that was allocated to South Africa Connect over the 2023/24 and 2024/25 financial years was not enough, the minister said. SA Connect is the country’s broadband policy and strategy that aims to create a “universally accessible” communication system.
The Kenyan government on Tuesday announced a strategy of tax reforms that it seeks to use to shore up revenue in the financial years 2024/2025 and 2026/2027 and over the medium term. Njuguna Ndung’u, the cabinet secretary for the National Treasury, said the government will use the reforms to raise revenue to up to 25 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
“Kenya’s revenue yield is still below the desired East African Community (EAC) target of 25 percent of the GDP. This strategy outlines reforms of the tax system aimed at reversing the trajectory of the tax to GDP ratio and achieving the ratio of 25 percent by 2030,” Ndung’u said of the document, dubbed Medium Term Revenue Strategy, released in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.
He said the reforms that will be implemented during the strategy period are aimed at promoting investments across various sectors by removing market distortions. The official added that the tax reforms would enable Kenya to achieve the desired revenue growth that will reduce the fiscal deficit over the medium term to the EAC regional target of 3 percent of GDP.
Recovery of global economy boosts Nigeria’s exports (Ventures Africa)
Nigeria’s trade sector has shown remarkable resilience and dynamism in the second quarter of 2023, despite economic challenges. Nigeria’s exports and imports in the second quarter of 2023 reveal some interesting trends and patterns in the country’s trade performance.
According to a report from the National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria’s total exports increased by 8.15 per cent in the second quarter of 2023 compared to the first quarter, reaching N7.015 trillion. It is also an improvement from the 5.2 per cent decline in exports in the second quarter of 2022. This indicates a positive growth in the country’s export earnings, which could boost its foreign exchange reserves and balance of payments.
The main export products were petroleum oils and natural gas, accounting for 79.63 per cent and 9.11 per cent of the total exports respectively. Nigeria’s oil exports rose by 13 per cent in the second quarter of 2023 compared to the first quarter, driven by higher crude oil prices and increased production quota from OPEC. This shows that Nigeria’s economy is still heavily dependent on its oil and gas sector, which is vulnerable to fluctuations in global prices and demand. Despite the continuous increase in oil exports, this was not enough to offset the decline in non-oil exports.
The 90th Session of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Council of Ministers endorsed the ECOWAS Implementation Strategy for the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement on the 6 and 7 July 2023, in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau.
The ECOWAS Implementation Strategy for the AfCFTA is timely, as it responds to the African Unions 2023 ambition geared towards the “Acceleration of AfCFTA’s Implementation” which came into operation on 1 January 2021, marking the commencement of trade in a single African market of 54 countries, including 13 ECOWAS Member States.
The strategy is geared towards improving the effectiveness of the region’s trade integration framework, increasing coordination between Member States on their national AfCFTA implementation strategies, strengthening the productive capacity of Member States, building the capacity of Member States to engage in strategic African trade policy and ensuring the AfCFTA is a positive tool for women’s and youth economic empowerment.
The 10th edition of the COMESA Annual Research Forum began on Monday as part of capacity building initiatives in economic and trade policy research and analysis to strengthen integration and trade in COMESA region and the African continent. A total of eight research papers which has been prepared by researchers from across the African region will be presented at the two-day forum themed: “30 Years of COMESA Regional Integration: Retrospect and Prospects”.
Speaking at the opening of the forum, Secretary General of COMESA, Chileshe Kapwepwe stated that it is important to take stock of its regional integration journey, its achievements, its challenges, and the prospects for promotion of further regional economic integration as an instrument for sustainable economic growth and development. She cited the growth of intra-COMESA exports from US$1.5 billion in 2000 to US$12.8 billion in 2021 as part of the significant achievements under the free trade area regime.
“Despite this growth, intra-COMESA exports remain low at about nine percent of its total exports. Recent studies indicate that inter-COMESA export potential is in excess of US$100 billion,” she noted. She added that a lot more work, including research was required to unlock the potential and enable Member States to better utilize the preferences embedded in the Free Trade Area regime.
ACCI set to host 18th Abuja international trade fair (Voice of Nigeria)
The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, ACCI in Nigeria has announced its upcoming 18th Abuja International Trade Fair (AITF) scheduled for 29th September to 9th October 2023 in Abuja the nation’s capital.
The president of the chamber, Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar who made the announcement during a press briefing in Abuja said the Fair with the theme “Sustainable Financing and Taxation as Drivers for the New Economy,” would serve as a platform for businesses to engage with financial and tax institutions, discuss current trends and solutions, and foster sustainable approaches to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
According to him, “This year’s theme is centered on financing and taxation which is the cornerstone of any prosperous nation and immense importance to the business community as it is critical to addressing climate-friendly initiatives, the ease of doing business, and attracting foreign direct investment.”
Special Economic Zones (SEZs) can accelerate Africa’s industrialisation and increase economic growth. Through using designated SEZs and collaborations like the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), there are opportunities to boost trade, investment, infrastructure, employment, and entrepreneurship, and to remove barriers to doing business. Transport has a vital role to play.
The continent requires a unique approach to see progress in industrialisation, including harmonising trade policies and facilitating the free movement of goods and services as the AfCFTA envisions.
With a prosperous future in mind, the 11th Transport Evolution Africa Forum & Expo takes place from 20-22 September at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli ICC Complex in Durban. The event serves as the exclusive platform for global, public and private participants to engage in advancing and upholding Africa’s port, rail, and road infrastructure. These need to function to see Africa thrive.
“The industry will gather to deliberate trends, obstacles, and opportunities across the continent,” says Le-Ann Hare, Portfolio Director at dmg events. “In collaboration with AfCFTA, the event aligns with encouraging partnerships and a borderless Africa. Sustainable and reliable transport is key to the future of the continent overall.”
Transport is one of five priority services under the AfCFTA.
As African countries round up preparations for the takeoff of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), key players are set to discuss how the continent will maximise benefits from trade at the forthcoming Africa-Korea business summit in Paris, France.
The summit, with the theme ‘Africa-Korean Partnership in an Era of Great Transformation’, is set to explore how Korean players can enable and synergize with deeper trade integration in Africa and build a complementary partnership for the 21st century through technological leadership across sectors including agriculture, mining and renewable energy to manufacturing and digitization.
“The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) reached major ratification milestones in 2023 on the back of unprecedented political momentum for closer regional integration to see the emergence of Africa as a global growth hub representing a quarter of the world’s population and a $16.5tn dollar market by 2050.
The 2023 edition of the WTO’s World Trade Report presents new evidence of the benefits of broader, more inclusive economic integration as early indications of trade fragmentation threaten to unwind growth and development. The flagship publication features findings on how re-globalization — or increased international cooperation and broader integration — can support resilience, inclusiveness, and environmental sustainability.
“The WTO is not perfect — far from it. But the case for strengthening the trading system is far stronger than the case for walking away from it,” DG Okonjo-Iweala says. In introducing the report at the opening of the WTO’s annual Public Forum on 12 September, WTO Chief Economist Ralph Ossa said: “The main conclusion is that we need to embrace trade instead of rejecting it if we want to overcome the most pressing challenges of our time.”
“In particular, the report makes the case for extending trade integration to more economies, people, and issues, which is a process that we call “re-globalization”,” Mr Ossa added. Trade integration “is a powerful tool to improve living standards, which helped lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.”
The world needs to enter a new era of international cooperation and renewed multilateralism, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told a large audience on 12 September, delivering the Presidential Lecture at the WTO Public Forum. “I want to suggest now is the time for reconstruction, for a new era, even if it may seem at first sight we are striving against the odds,” said Mr Brown, highlighting the need to forge a “new multilateralism”, particularly at a time when international cooperation is facing considerable resistance from various quarters.
AFEX calls for ease of trade to foster Food Security in Africa at AGRF 2023 (Farmers Review Africa)
AFEX, Nigeria’s leading commodities player, has highlighted the need for streamlined trade, harmonised standards, and improved infrastructure in African agriculture to foster food security across the continent. AFEX took this position during a high-profile “The Real Cost of Food Security” session at the African Food System Forum (AGRF) 2023. The event, co-hosted by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the government of Tanzania, unfolded from October 4th to 8th, bringing together global agriculture stakeholders for insightful panel discussions and presentations.
Presently, intra-African trade stands at just 14.4% of total African exports. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) forecasts show the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) could boost intra-African trade by about 33% and cut the continent’s trade deficit by 51%.
Speaking at the session, President of Rest of Africa at AFEX, Sanne Steemers, said, “Currently, Africa lacks essential infrastructure for inter-continental trade, which is hindering the achievement of robust food security across the continent. By implementing a more efficient agreement with African communities, we can promote sub-regional production networks and encourage cooperation initiatives, while promoting good agricultural practices throughout the continent.”
Related: Transforming Africa’s Food Systems: The AASR23 Report (Taarifa Rwanda)
Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which issued the report, called for “greater ambition and accelerating action”. “I urge governments to carefully study the findings of the report and ultimately understand what it means for them and the ambitious action they must take next. It is the same for businesses, communities and other key stakeholders.”
The report summarizes 17 key findings from technical deliberations in 2022 and 2023 on the implementation status of the Paris Agreement on climate change and its long-term goals, based on the best scientific information. The report comes ahead of the “global stocktake” at the upcoming UN climate change conference COP28, which will be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in November-December.