Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

US-South Africa hold trade, investment dialogue to deepen bilateral business ties (Engineering News)

The US-South Africa Trade and Investment Executive Dialogue on September 18 built on partnership efforts and saw the launch of a yearly US-South Africa Trade and Investment Forum. The dialogue also explored how this Trade and Investment Forum can benefit growing US-South Africa commercial ties.

The dialogue was hosted by business organisation Business Unity South Africa (Busa) and the US Chamber of Commerce Africa Business Centre (USAfBC) on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. President Cyril Ramaphosa attended the dialogue.

“The opportunity is ripe for US and international investors to be part of South Africa’s growth efforts in a partnership between business and government, to put the country onto a sustainable growth path and optimise its potential,” Busa CEO Cas Coovadia said.

“The memorandum of understanding between Busa and the USAfBC, and the launch of the Trade and Investment Forum, demonstrates how partnership is so key to prioritising and promoting our countries’ shared growth and prosperity,” he said

Africa ready for new investment - President Ramaphosa (SAnews)

I also look forward to welcoming all of the companies present here today to South Africa in November this year during the AGOA Forum… I look forward to building and strengthening business relationships that will accelerate growth, enable commercial success and ensure prosperity for both our countries,” President Ramaphosa said. “The significant presence of US companies operating in South Africa, including Ford, Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Procter & Gamble, Google, Amazon and Walmart, among many others, forms a base for increased investment,” the President said.

Sierra Leone blackouts cast doubt on power ships (African Business)

Sierra Leone has again endured power outages after Turkish company Karpowership suspended its operations in the country for several days over a $40m unpaid bill.

Karpowership is the country’s main source of grid electricity, especially during the dry season when output from hydroelectric power stations is lower. The company first deployed a “power ship” – a floating gas-fired power station – in Sierra Leone in 2018, and added a second vessel the following year. Under its latest five-year contract with the government, signed in 2020, Karpowership supplies up to 65 MW of electricity to the country.

A Karpowership spokesperson told African Business that it “took the unfortunate and difficult decision to briefly suspend operations” in Sierra Leone, following a “protracted period of non-payment”. The company said it restarted operations on 15 September.

Although the exact terms of Sierra Leone’s contract with Karpowership have not been publicly disclosed, the World Bank described the supply of electricity from the company as “costly” in a report last year.

Noting that the purchase price of electricity from Karpowership is indexed to global fuel prices, which significantly increased after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the World Bank has advised Sierra Leone to invest in solar and hydropower generation as an alternative.

How long will Ghana keep importing rice, water, toothpick, sugar, other products? (GhanaWeb)

The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) President, Dr Humphrey Ayim-Darke, has questioned when the importation of basic essential commodities such as rice, poultry, toothpick, tomatoes, sugar, bottled water, ceramic tiles, among other products will come to an end. According to him, local manufacturers have the capacity to produce these items to meet at least half of the country’s demand. Mr Ayim-Darke stated that sugar was a basic product that could be produced on a large scale.

“For how long are we going to depend on imported rice, imported poultry, imported vegetable cooking oil, imported bottled water, machetes, toothpicks, tomatoes, ceramic tiles, and I can go on and on just to mention a few,” he lamented. The AGI president added that, “Sugar is a basic product and we believe we have the capacity to produce at best half the requirement of our country at the start.” He noted that developing the local supply chain was the best amidst the rollout of a developmental paradigm scheme by countries to gain a significant share of the world trade.

Tanzania: Enhancing the Efficiency of Revenue Collection and Spending Could Greatly Improve Human Capital Results (World Bank)

Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of fiscal policies could help Tanzania boost revenue collection and increase public expenditure, paving the way for stronger human capital outcomes, inclusive economic growth, and prosperity of the citizens, according to a new World Bank report.

The 19th Tanzania Economic Update titled, Enhancing the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Fiscal Policy in Tanzania, which was published today, shows that Tanzania made some progress in expanding tax collection, with the tax-to-GDP ratio increasing from 10 percent in 2004/05 to 11.8 percent in 2022/23. Meanwhile, public spending has increased from 12.6 percent of GDP to 18.2 percent of GDP, which is still lower than the average for Sub-Saharan Africa, low-income countries, and lower-middle-income countries.

“Tanzania’s economy has been steadily expanding, and the fiscal policies have been successful in reducing income inequality, but there is still room for enhancing these policies to improve public spending in priority programs,” said Nathan Belete, World Bank Country Director.

“While additional resources are needed to close the service delivery gaps in social sectors, there is scope to improve the efficiency of spending within the current systems. If the healthcare system were to operate at its utmost efficiency, Tanzania could enhance critical health outcomes by 11 percent without necessitating additional resources.”

Small scale cross border programme undergoes review (COMESA)

The project steering committee (PSC) of the COMESA, Small Scale Cross-Border Trade Initiative conducted its 4th meeting in Lusaka, Zambia 18 – 20 September 2023 to review progress of the project’s implementation, five years since its inception. The project is funded by the European Union with a total investment of 15 million Euros. It focuses on facilitating the transition of informal sector traders into the formal trade sphere. Among the activities under implementation is the construction of border markets to provide decent trading spaces for the traders. This is in addition to training the traders on trade facilitation to equip them with knowledge on the importance of formalizing their businesses.

Specifically, the Cross-Border Trade Initiative has supported the design and implementation of trade facilitation policies and instruments such as the Simplified Trade Regime and the Green Pass. It has assisted development of tools and systems for reduction in corruption, bribery and harassment at the selected border posts and collection of gender disaggregated data on small scale cross border trade.

“The SSCBTI has focused on these important aspects, to increase the formalization of small-scale cross-border trade flows in the COMESA/tripartite region,” Dr Mohamed Kadah, Assistant Secretary General of COMESA said at the meeting. “Ultimately, this will lead to higher revenue collection for governments at the borders, increased security and higher incomes for small-scale cross-border traders.”

EAC is set to review one network area implementation (Capital Radio)

Regional communications sector regulators have resolved to review the implementation of the One Network Area (ONA) framework on roaming charges to help deal with emerging issues arising from its current form of implementation. The One Network Area promises cheaper calls across the East Africa community with the benefits of making communication easier and cheaper and also to promote business in the region. The development was reached at during a two-day Heads of Communications Regulatory Authorities meeting held in Kigali, Rwanda.

“We have agreed that we are going to go back to the operators and engage them in our countries, and then get to know what their experiences are about this [ONA] framework,” Dr. Zawedde said at the end of the summit held at Four Points Hotel. Dr. Zawedde, however, noted the operators’ feedback will not affect the framework objectives whose original position stands that the receiver of calls during the roaming process should not be charged.

Dr. Aminah Zawedde, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of ICT and National Guidance in Uganda and the chair of the ICT Infrastructure Development Cluster under the Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP)

Academic expert advocates integration for unified African currency (Nairametrics)

Prof. Jonah Onuoha, an academic expert, has emphasized the importance of closer collaboration among the 55 member nations within the African Union (AU) in their pursuit of a unified currency. Onouha, who holds a professorship in International Relations and serves as the Head of the Political Science Department at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, conveyed this viewpoint during a conversation with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.

This call for integration comes in the wake of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s proposal at the BRICS summit in Johannesburg for BRICS member countries to establish a shared currency for facilitating trade and investment among themselves.

Professor Onuoha expounded on the challenge facing the realization of a common currency, considering the economic, political, and geographical disparities within the African continent. He urged the AU to pursue greater integration to avert consequences that might arise from such a currency initiative in Africa. While acknowledging the merit of BRICS’ proposal for a common currency, Prof. Onuoha raised questions about its feasibility.

Post-harvest Losses Remain Dev’t Challenge in Africa, Says AU Commissioner (ENA)

Food loss and waste, particularly post-harvest losses, remain a development challenge in Africa, AU Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment Commissioner Josefa Sacko said. The 4th All Africa Post-harvest Congress and Exhibition that kicked off today aims to address the critical issue of food loss and waste across the African continent.

In her opening remarks, Commissioner Sacko said the congress is taking place at a time when the world is grappling with unprecedented levels of hunger and malnutrition, but more rampant in Africa. She noted that “despite our collective efforts to achieve global food security, food loss and waste particularly post-harvest losses, remain a development challenge in Africa.’’

Post-harvest loss and waste exacerbate food insecurity, reduce income of farmers and communities, waste precious land, water, and energy resources by using resources without generating human benefits and increasing greenhouse effects on the environment, the commissioner elaborated.

Out of the more than 800 million people facing hunger globally, 278 million are in Africa, Commissioner Sacko revealed, adding that whereas 30 percent of the food produced for human consumption is wasted. This calls for urgent and concerted efforts to preserve the harvest for human consumption and save the environment, she underlined.

UNGA updates

Unity, solidarity and action needed now: General Assembly President (UN News)

For the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic more than three years ago, Heads of State and Government from most of the UN’s 193 Member States are meeting in the iconic General Assembly Hall for their annual week of debates .”This year our imperative is clear: to unite the nations, to be united in conviction of common purpose and in solidarity of joint action,” he said. Mr. Francis stressed that a common approach is needed now, as much as at any point in history, as the international community confronts conflict, climate change, debt, energy and food crises, and poverty and famine.

‘Reform or rupture’ says Guterres, calling for multilateralism to be remade for the 21st century (UN News)

Only determination and compromise can rescue a world that is becoming ”unhinged” Secretary-General António Guterres said on Tuesday, delivering a stark message to leaders gathered in New York: reform the multilateral system and come together for the common good.

“The world has changed. Our institutions have not. We cannot effectively address problems as they are if institutions do not reflect the world as it is. Instead of solving the problems, they risk becoming part of the problem,” the Secretary General said in his opening address to the General Assembly.

Mr. Guterres was delivering his annual report on the work of the Organization ahead of the Assembly’s annual General Debate which brings together world leaders to New York.

Least developed countries are seriously off-track in achieving sustainable development goals, says PM Dahal (The Kathmandu Post)

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Monday stressed more investment in people, support for structural transformation and achieving rapid and sustainable recovery from the Covid pandemic for achieving the sustainable development goals.

“Halfway to the 2030 deadline, we are seriously off-track in achieving the SDGs,” said Prime Minister Dahal while addressing the 2023 SDG Summit as the Chair of the Group of the Least Developed Countries at the UN Headquarters in New York.

“The SDGs are in dire need of a rescue plan. We all know that twelve of the seventeen goals and at least 18 of the 169 targets refer explicitly to LDCs, recognising the importance of addressing their development challenges.”

Stakeholders hail UN Secretary General’s report as a “one-time chance” to unite and change international tax cooperation structures (UNECA)

The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the South Center held a virtual event on September 12 to inform member states of the G77 and China about the critical issues in the ongoing discussions related to the reform of international tax cooperation. A total of 92 delegates from Africa, Asia, and Latin America, attended the briefing.

The purpose of the virtual meeting was to raise awareness of the UN Secretary-General’s report on promoting inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations, which was mandated by the UN General Assembly in Resolution 77/244, tabled by Nigeria on behalf of the Group of African States. The report examined existing arrangements, suggested enhancing the UN’s role in tax norm shaping and rule setting, and identified three viable options: a multilateral convention on tax, a framework convention on international tax cooperation, and a framework for international tax cooperation.

Mr. Pedro encouraged participants to engage with the upcoming ECA technical report on critically assessing the UNSG’s three options in order “to give developing countries an equitable chance to participate effectively in international tax cooperation structures by shifting the power away from the current self-select club of developed countries.”

‘Staggering proposition’ reaching SDGs for small island States: A UN Resident Coordinator blog (UN News)

Guterres urges G77 and China to champion multilateralism ‘rooted in equality’ (UN News)

“I count on your Group, who have long been champions of multilateralism, to step up, to use your power, and fight,” he said. “Champion a system rooted in equality; champion a system ready to reverse the injustice and neglect of centuries; and champion a system that delivers for all humanity and not only for the privileged.”

Mr. Guterres noted that although these countries have lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty in recent decades, they are now facing myriad crises, with rising poverty and hunger, rocketing prices, soaring debt, and surging climate disasters. “Global systems and frameworks have let you down,” he told leaders gathered in the Cuban capital. “The conclusion is clear: the world is failing developing countries.” He said change will require action at the national level to ensure good governance, mobilise resources and prioritise sustainable development. At the same time, this national ownership will have to be respected.

How the UN SDG Summit aims to transform the world (UN News)

SA adds its voice to sustainable development dialogue (SAnews)

SDG Summit: FAO Ministerial Dialogue underscores the links between biodiversity, climate and food security (FAO)

On day two of the UN SDG Summit and just ahead of the General Debate, the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu, held a Ministerial dialogue at UN Headquarters on the opportunities of scaling up action and investment for agrifood systems transformation as a solution to the biodiversity and climate crises.

Speaking at the event, which was co-hosted with Canada, Qu reminded Ministers of the importance of investing in the environment as biodiversity provides the genetic resources that underpin agrifood systems; a wide range of species; and healthy ecosystems to provide water, regulate climate and strengthen resilience against variability and disasters.

Currently, the impacts of the climate crisis affect agriculture and productivity, and therefore the availability, accessibility and affordability of food. At the same time, the way the world currently produces and consumes food contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, land use change and pollution that further negatively affect climate change and biodiversity loss.

G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration commits resilience in a riskier planet (ESCAP)

The  pdf New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration (1.41 MB) was unanimously adopted during the G20 Leader’s Summit on 9-10 September 2023. It has many takeaways covering a variety of pressing global challenges, including climate change, economic stability, digital economy, public health and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Notably, the Declaration underscores the criticality of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and building disaster resilience in the riskier times of an increasingly warming planet. It reflects strong commitments from the leaders of the world’s major economies to accelerating full implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Countries Can Tap Tax Potential to Finance Development Goals (IMF)

Emerging markets and developing economies need $3 trillion annually through 2030 to finance their development goals and the climate transition. That amounts to about 7 percent of these countries’ combined 2022 gross domestic product and poses a formidable challenge, particularly for low-income countries.

New IMF research finds that many countries have the potential to increase their tax-to-GDP ratios—enabling them to provide critical government services—by as much as 9 percentage points through better tax design and stronger public institutions. Making use of this potential would also contribute to financial development and private sector entrepreneurship. Easier financing, in turn, together with efficient and well-targeted spending, including to strengthen social safety nets, would go a long way toward delivering sustainable development.

Fisheries subsidies chair introduces draft text, seeks members’ views at fifth “Fish Week” (WTO)

The chair of the fisheries subsidies negotiations, Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson of Iceland, introduced a draft text on curbing subsidies contributing to overcapacity and overfishing at the opening of the fifth “Fish Week” on 18 September, drawing from previous negotiating texts and proposals. The chair explained that his intention is for the text to serve as a common starting point for members as they seek to deepen discussions and complete substantive work on the second wave of fisheries subsidies negotiations by December.


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