Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Agri SA warns govt’s interference amid food price dilemma could have detrimental long-term effects (Engineering News)

Industry body Agri SA has warned that government interference in the food market could lead to empty supermarket shelves. The organisation intends to write to the Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza to request engagement with stakeholders in the value chain on the implications of government’s stated intention of tackling food pricing. This follows an announcement by Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni that Carbinet has directed the Economic Cluster to put in place an action plan on food prices, food security and access to food.

Food price inflation has remained high despite various input costs having decreased, mostly owing to persistently high fuel costs and loadshedding disruptions. Agri SA says this highlights the highly complex dynamics of the food system and how, if government wants to substantively address the situation, it must begin by fixing functions within its remit – including fixing road and port infrastructure, reducing rural crime and ending loadshedding.

Agri SA is focusing its attention on food security by making it the theme of its yearly congress, which will be held on October 13 and 14. The event will discuss factors impacting food production, food accessibility, affordability and safety.

Zambia, China Presidents commit to enhancing trade cooperation as they meet in Beijing (Africanews)

Zambia’s president Hakainde Hichilema was hosted by his Chinese counter part president Xi Jinping on Friday (Sep. 15). The leaders held talks at the Great Hall Of The People in Beijing. According to a joint statement, the leaders “had in-depth exchange of views on China-Zambia relations, China-Africa relations and international and regional issues of mutual interest and reached extensive and important consensus.”

The two sides agreed to establish an investment cooperation working group mechanism to promote investment cooperation in areas including digital economy and green development. They said they will strengthen the development of economic cooperation zones, support the upgrading of those economic cooperation zones in Zambia into industrial chain and supply chain cooperation demonstration zones.

Full text: Joint Statement between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Zambia on Establishing the Comprehensive Strategic and Cooperative Partnership

Kenya seeks to lease key ports to private firms (The East African)

Kenya has revived the process of leasing its key ports to bolster competitiveness of its maritime sector in order to generate at least $10 billion annually by 2030.Kenya has placed bids to lease sections of Mombasa and Lamu ports to private operators, with landlord-type port management system expected to take place in what is aimed at making the Northern Corridor competitive.

President William Ruto’s administration is seeking private investors to take over the operations and management of five critical ports facilities – Mombasa and Lamu ports, Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zones, Kisumu port, and Shimoni fisheries port through a public-private partnership.

President Ruto said the move will turn the port facilities, which have been confronted with the challenge of congestion and higher dwell times for cargo, into world class ports.

57 Checkpoints Along Badagry-Seme Expressway Frustrating Intra-African Trade (Leadership News)

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, over the weekend, said over 57 checkpoints on the Badagry-Seme expressway of the Lagos- Abidjan corridor are frustrating intra-African trade. The executive secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Hon. Emmanuel Jime, however, noted that more than 400 trade obstacles have been reported along the trade corridor.

Speaking at the sensitisation workshop in collaboration with ECOWAS Commission on awareness creation for professional organisations and stakeholders on elimination of Non-tariff barriers using ECOWAS Trade Obstacle Alert Mechanism (TOAM), organised by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), over the weekend, the principal trade advisor, ECOWAS Commission, Justin Bayili, said delays occasioned by the checkpoints was militating against trade facilitation. Bayili stated that there is a need to create good conditions for trade facilitation in the region.

Jime observed that the trade barriers, which were so many, comprised lengthy clearing terms, transit checkpoints with unwarranted delays, harassment, exorbitant illegal fees, and demands for bribes had far-reaching consequences. The executive secretary, however, explained that more than 49 percent of them had been effectively addressed by national focal point representatives, supported by advisory services from the International Trade Centre (ITC).

Egypt to host the third edition of Intra-African Trade Fair (EgyptToday)

Minister of Industry and Trade, Ahmed Samir, recently met with a delegation from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) led by Kanayo Awani, Vice President of the Bank. The purpose of the meeting was to finalize preparations for the highly anticipated third edition of the Intra-African Trade Fair, which will be hosted by Egypt.

During the meeting, Minister Samir and the delegation discussed various details regarding the exhibition, including arrangements for the opening ceremony and the signing of hosting agreements. The minister emphasized the exhibition’s objective of boosting intra-African trade and highlighting the vast investment opportunities across the continent.

As Egypt takes on the role of hosting the third edition of the Intra-African Trade Fair, it solidifies its position as a key player in promoting trade and investment within Africa.

ECOSOCC wraps up national dialogue series on the African Union’s Free Movement Protocol (AU)

The African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) convened the third and final multi-stakeholder national dialogue series of the year on the Free Movement Protocol (FMP), from 12-13 September 2023.

Increased mass migration and displacement within the African continent has spurred several policy frameworks to address and manage it. The African Union in particular has established two key policy frameworks to address, manage, and promote migration and mobility within the continent: the FMP and the Migration Policy Framework for Africa (MPFA).

The FMP aims to curb and eventually eliminate barriers to regional border migration (to work, visit, trade, live, etc.) within the continent. Eliminating these barriers translates to economic growth on the continent as well as improved migration procedures for African citizens.

Unfortunately, despite the existence of migration policy frameworks, policy uptake among AU member states and their popularization within African civil society remains low and has not achieved the desired impact. ECOSOCC has taken up the mantle to popularise the frameworks.

Liquid introduces two new routes to drive intra-African digital trade (The Star)

Liquid Intelligent Technologies (Liquid), a pan-African tech group of Cassava Technologies, has unveiled two new fully redundant terrestrial routes, Kenya to Ethiopia and Zambia to Malawi. This comes four months after the company launched its first terrestrial fibre optic cable that connects Mombasa to Johannesburg. The two routes are expected to provide greater efficiency and reliable regional connectivity, both key to the economic development of these countries.

According to a presser by Liquid, the fibre link which spans over 1000km offers businesses in Ethiopia access to data centres and cloud in Nairobi ensuring that data doesn’t leave the continent. “This link is further supported by the cross-border 711km link between Zambia and Malawi, providing a direct and reliable connection to content caches and data centres in South Africa,” the statement read in part.

Cassava Technologies president and group CEO Hardy Pemhiwa said all initiatives undertaken work towards realising the company’s vision of a digitally connected future that leaves no African behind. “The completion of these fibre links is yet another milestone achieved by Liquid as it continues to lay the foundations of economic growth through increased access to high-speed connectivity,” he said.

Africa Emerging As Global Gas Supply Source (Leadership News)

The managing director/CEO, Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), Dr. Philip Mshelbila, has said Africa is emerging as a critical global gas supply source, with production expected to double, solidifying the continent’s role in global energy security. He also said that natural gas should and will play a significant role in Africa’s energy mix to meet the demands arising from rapid population growth and economic expansion, as well as the need for affordable access to clean energy and supply security for industrialisation.

Dr. Mshelbila made these remarks during a strategic session at the recently concluded 2023 Gastech Exhibition and Conference in Singapore, where he discussed Africa’s role in increasing supply resilience in the energy transition context. He stated that African gas could enhance global energy security by increasing gas production, ensuring a steady supply source despite rising domestic consumption, and the growth of floating LNG, facilitating the rapid delivery of gas products to the market.

He stressed the necessity of adopting a multi-dimensional approach to the energy transition, considering Africa’s specific context and evolving needs. Dr. Mshelbila pointed out that the continent is already capitalising on opportunities in the energy transition, utilising gas as an evolutionary energy source that offers a cleaner alternative to traditional biomass and coal.

Governments must seek win-win synergies by tackling climate and sustainable development crises together, urges expert group report (UN-DESA)

A groundbreaking report by a group of independent experts released today by the United Nations outlines steps governments should take to maximize the impact of policies and actions by tackling the climate and sustainable development crises at the same time, creating synergies.

“Maximizing synergies between climate action and the SDGs has never been more critical,” said Li Junhua, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. “We must get the SDGs on track and keep the goal of 1.5 degrees alive,” he said, also stressing that an integrated approach that seeks to strengthen synergies between these two global agendas is critical to that end.”

“Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and stabilizing our climate to build resilient societies are two sides of the same endeavour,” said Simon Stiell, UNFCCC Executive Secretary. “I am confident that the work of the Expert Group will spur additional efforts that can result in win-win outcomes for both climate action and the SDG agenda and transition us towards a just, equitable, and sustainable world.”

The report preface also cites UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ rallying cry that “climate action is the 21st century’s greatest opportunity to drive forward all the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Synergy Solutions for a World in Crisis: Tackling Climate and SDG Action Together | Report on Strengthening the Evidence Base I, First Edition 2023

UN General Assembly adopts declaration to accelerate SDGs (UN News)

Mr. Guterres was speaking at the opening of a high-level forum at UN Headquarters where world leaders adopted a political declaration to accelerate action to achieve the 17 goals, which aim to drive economic prosperity and well-being for all people while protecting the environment. “The SDGs aren’t just a list of goals. They carry the hopes, dreams, rights and expectations of people everywhere,” he said.

World leaders adopted the SDGs in 2015, promising to leave no one behind. The goals include ending extreme poverty and hunger, ensuring access to clean water and sanitation, as well as green energy, and providing quality universal education and lifelong learning opportunities.

“With concerted, ambitious action, it is still possible that, by 2030, we could lift 124 million additional people out of poverty and ensure that some 113 million fewer people are malnourished,” he said.

Each of the 17 goals contains targets, with 169 overall, but the Secretary-General warned that currently only 15 per cent are on track, while many are going in reverse. The political declaration “can be a game-changer in accelerating SDG progress,” he said. It includes a commitment to financing for developing countries and clear support for his proposal for an SDG Stimulus of at least $500 billion annually, as well as an effective debt-relief mechanism. It further calls for changing the business model of multilateral development banks to offer private finance at more affordable rates for developing countries, and endorses reform of the international finance architecture which he has labelled “outdated, dysfunctional and unfair.”

General Assembly: High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development - Summary (United Nations)

pdf Draft Political Declaration of the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development - 15 September 2023 (258 KB)

UNCTAD counts the costs of achieving sustainable development goals (UNCTAD)

With the world off track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), decision makers urgently need detailed cost estimates to guide their investment and spending choices.

Over the last six months, UNCTAD has crunched the numbers on nearly 50 SDG indicators across 90 countries, including 48 developing economies, covering three quarters of the global population. Published on 18 September as global leaders meet in New York for the UN’s SDG Summit, the timely data underscores the pressing need for swift and targeted action.

The analysis reveals, for example, that the 48 developing economies face a $337 billion annual spending gap for indicators related to climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

The analysis reveals countries can make the most of their spending by capitalizing on synergies among the SDGs. For example, investments in education also advance gender equality, reduce poverty and stimulate innovation for progress across all SDGs. “This has big implications for economies with limited resources,” Ms. Peltola said. “They don’t have to stretch every dollar to cover every goal.”

The analysis focuses on six transformative “pathways” for sustainable development: social protection and decent jobs, education transformation, food systems, climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, energy transition and inclusive digitalization.

‘We all need to step up’ to rescue the SDG’s and fight for a better future: UN chief (UNECA)

Africa Open for Business Summit kicks off in USA (The Standard)

The annual Africa Open for Business Summit kicks off in New York this week with a focus towards women leadership, in Africa and the diaspora. The summit is part of the global activities taking place around the high-level week of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) that starts today.

Its focus is also geared towards sustainable corporate practices, expanding job opportunities in Africa and its diaspora, and harnessing diverse perspectives to shape the future of business, trade, and development across Africa. Speaking ahead of the summit, Dr Djibril Diallo, the President and CEO of African Renaissance and Diaspora Network (ARDN) told The Standard that this year’s event will redefine the future of business, ignite climate action, and empower women.

“Our Summit is at the forefront of one of the most critical challenges of our time – Climate Justice. The remarkable individuals at this summit aren’t just talking; they’re actively driving change and proving that the fight against climate change knows no boundaries,” said Diallo, whose organisation’s mission is to accelerate the attainment of the African renaissance by advocating for and supporting United Nations programmes and priorities.

G77+China summit in Cuba calls for new global order (The Japan Times)

The G77+China, a group of developing and emerging countries representing 80% of the world’s population, kicked off a summit in Cuba on Friday with a call to “change the rules of the game” of the global order. The meeting comes at a time of growing frustration with the Western-led world order amid widening differences over the Russian war in Ukraine, the fight against climate change, and the global economic system.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said that developing countries were the main victims of a “multidimensional crisis” in the world today, from “abusive unequal trade” to global warming. United Nations chief Antonio Guterres is joining some 30 heads of state and government from Africa, Asia and Latin America at the two-day summit in Havana.

Trade Data Shows Ukraine War Consolidated Political Blocs [Infographic] (Forbes)

Taking January 2022 as a starting point for an index calculation, the World Trade Report 2023 reveals that global trade between geopolitical blocs, for example between Western bloc countries in the Americas and Europe and Eastern bloc countries like China, Russia and Saudi Arabia, has decreased by more than 10% between the start and the end of last year alone. Another report by the WTO from earlier this year sees diversification patterns emerging after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Leapfrogging to prosperity through Science, Technology and Innovation (UNEP)

Many developing nations are reeling under climate change. Struggling with nature and biodiversity loss – including desertification. Choking with pollution and waste. These challenges drive other crises. Human health. Cost of living. Poverty. Hunger. Conflict. And there is, of course, massive injustice inherent in the triple crisis, particularly climate change. So, it is understandable that trust is low. But every nation of the world must now work, together, towards a low-carbon, nature-positive, pollution-free future. It is time for unity, not division. There is too much at stake, for all of humanity.

That is not to say that every country should follow the same path.

Developing nations have a responsibility, primarily to themselves and their citizens, to take an entirely different path to prosperity. To reap the benefits of development that prioritizes a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. As President Ruto of Kenya told the Africa Climate Summit, the developing world needs “an audacious leapfrogging”. Science, technology and innovation, or STI, gives developing nations the chance to not just leapfrog, but to bound energetically into a future of prosperity, resilience and equity. STI has proven its worth many times in the environmental sphere. In dealing with persistent organic pollutants. In solar tech and electric vehicles. In pivoting the cooling industry to protect the ozone layer and climate.

Trade and climate change: A Q&A with UNCTAD deputy Pedro Manuel Moreno (UNCTAD)

Will a new global fund deliver for nature? (China Dialogue)


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