tralac Daily News
Mombasa harbour customers cry foul over ‘illegal’ levies (The East African)
Mombasa port users are worried that rampant flouting of maritime regulations by some shipping lines in cahoots with port officials puts at risk the port’s standing as main gateway to East and Central Africa. They claim that some shipping lines have introduced arbitrary charges without the approval of the Kenyan Maritime Authority (KMA), with some charging up to $1,200 for a 40-feet container, more than what Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam port charges.
This has been blamed for the sustained flight of customers, resulting in a decline in cargo throughput in Kenya. The cargo handled through Mombasa in 2022 shrank 1.9 per cent to 33.9 million metric tonnes, from 34.6 million tonnes in 2021, despite container traffic increasing marginally to 1.45 million 20-feet equivalent units.
Mombasa feeds the Northern Corridor, which stretches about 1,700km from the port through Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).But the port stands to lose out to the 1,300km Central Corridor, which runs from Dar es Salaam through Tanzania mainland to Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and eastern DR Congo due to the punitive charges.
Kenya, UK in new pact to strengthen growing trade ties (The Standard)
Trade and Investment Principal Secretary (PS) Abubakar Hassan has pledged Kenya’s commitment to working with the United Kingdom (UK) government to strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries. The PS said the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the ministry and the British Chamber of Commerce Kenya sets up the framework for further cooperation between the two countries.
UK Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Kenya Theo Clarke said the partnership between the two countries would not only promote investments locally but also see the creation of thousands of jobs for Kenyans. June Chepkemei from the Kenya Authority Investment said investors can now access most of the services offered by the agency under one roof.
Mombasa steps up CCTV coverage to revamp trade (Business Daily)
Mombasa County plans to increase security surveillance as part of a strategy to boost the region’s business climate credentials. The county administration said it will install an integrated smart city surveillance system covering all public areas and key installations and properties.
“The objective of the service is to enhance public safety and security within the county, improve emergency response, optimise city services, support city planning, and development, and thereby elevate Mombasa County as a safe tourism and business hub in Kenya and the region,” it said in a tender call to provide the surveillance system.
Expectations soared when oil marketers championed the removal of fuel subsidies and deregulation of Nigeria’s downstream sector. However, months after the removal of subsidies and deregulation, concerns are growing about the potential resurgence of the country’s perennial fuel scarcity.
While President Bola Tinubu’s pronouncement in May marked the end of fuel subsidies, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) still monopolizes petrol importation despite the anticipated influx of independent oil marketers. Emadeb Energy imported 27 million liters of petrol in July, but since then, independent marketers have struggled to secure imports, leaving NNPCL as the sole importer. This monopoly undermines the sector’s deregulation, enabling NNPCL to set prices, raising concerns of renewed fuel scarcity.
Mr. Yeo Ziobeieton, the Managing Director of Fan Milk Ghana, has appealed to governments in West Africa to implement policies that would encourage industries to source local materials to help build sustainable supply chains. He said the disruptions in global supply chains occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic had emphasised the need to build adaptable local supply chains to ensure a consistent supply of high-quality raw materials.
Speaking at the opening of the 2023 Ghana Industrial Summit and Exhibition in Accra on Monday, Mr Ziobeieton said resorting to local alternatives would empower local producers of raw materials to scale up their production and create employment opportunities in host communities. He said the effective collaboration between the government and the private sector would play a pivotal role in reducing dependency on the global supply chain for raw materials.
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has called on African countries to prioritise the development of public and private export trading companies (ETCs) in order to position the continent’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to participate effectively in global trade.
In an address to the Africa International Exhibition, which opened yesterday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Mrs. Kanayo Awani, Afreximbank’s Executive Vice President, Intra-African Trade Bank, speaking on behalf of Bank President Prof. Benedict Oramah, said that SMEs participating directly in global trade faced stiff competition from multinational and significantly large corporates, making their chances of success or survival marginal, if not zero.
She said that the limited participation of Africa’s SMEs in global value chains reflected institutional policy failure and called for strong policy support systems that would provide capacity developments, incipient protections from unfair competition and improved access to regional markets and access to finance.
The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has announced an initiative aimed at providing robust and comprehensive financing solutions to support and boost activities of small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) across Africa. A statement from the bank yesterday, explained that the financing initiative would be powered by UBA’s recent partnership with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat to provide financing for up to $6 billion over the next three years to eligible SMEs across Africa, an agreement which was signed on the sidelines of the 30th Afreximbank Annual Meeting (AAM) which was held in Accra, Ghana.
SMEs in the particular sectors of agro-processing, automotive, pharmaceuticals, transport and logistics would be able to access a working capital loan by way of overdrafts and short-term loans with a maximum value of $120,000 in each of their country’s local currency; and asset finance loan of up to $120,000 in the local currency of the obligor, to use for the acquisition of operational assets and equipment to meet their business expansion needs.
Information, Communications and the Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo on Monday unveiled the Connected Africa Summit 2024. The Continental Summit will build on the gains of Connected Kenya Summit which has run for the last 12 years under the auspice of the ICT Authority. The summit, scheduled for 2nd – 5th April next year, seeks to drive Africa’s access to ICT and Innovation as it opens up for intra-Africa trade through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) focusing on the digital economy.
Speaking during the Post Connected Summit Breakfast, CS Owalo reaffirmed the Ministry’s support of the event and indicated that the launch was timely and historic for the continent’s digital partnerships, integration and development.
“As you are aware, the world is now a small global village because of technology. The Connected Summit 2024 will be an opportunity to share ideas as a continent. The Summit will further create a learning platform for Africa in the technology space so that we learn from each other and also embrace the best-case scenarios,” said the CS.
EAC urged to establish strategic partners (Tanzania Daily News)
The tenth Edition of the East Africa Internet Governance Forum (EA-IGF) has called on Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) experts in the region to take proactive steps towards ensuring that the internet continues to be a force for positive change in the region.
Jointly hosted by the East African Community and Rwanda Ministry of ICT and Innovation through the Rwanda Internet Community and Technology Alliance (RICTA), the Forum was convened under the theme: The Internet We Want – Empowering All People in East Africa. The theme is in line with the over-arching global Internet Governance Forum 2023 theme: The Internet We Want.
Rwanda’s Permanent Secretary, Ministry of ICT and Innovation, Mr Yves Iradukunda, said the internet was critical in facilitating the region’s vision of transforming into a digital economy and in doing so, the region must employ a multi-sectoral approach to ensure the people of the region are empowered by the internet. “To create the internet we want, we must ensure that it is accessible to all and that it is not too expensive. We must therefore work towards ensuring access to the internet is affordable by taking advantage of the power of competition,” said Mr Iradukunda.
“As we develop locally relevant content, as sector experts and other stakeholders, we must work together to push for development of global regulations that facilitate development of digital economies,” added the Permanent Secretary.
Africa’s food insecurity to be non-existent in the next 5 years (Business Insider Africa)
The $25 billion food security goal of the African Development Bank (AfDB) is “well on track,” according to AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina, whose organization supports programs in over 30 African nations that have contributed to the production of almost $12 billion worth of food.
“As far as I’m concerned, we shouldn’t be talking about food security in Africa more than five years from now. There’s no reason for it,” the AfDB president disclosed to the American news agency, Reuters. “We have the technology and the financing to do it at scale,” he added.
According to the report following the news agency’s discussion with the AfDB president, “Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, one of the world’s top grain exporters, sent tremors through global grain markets, threatening food supplies for some of the most fragile nations, including many in Africa.”
Adesina brought up the expansion of special agro-industrial processing zones, which in Nigeria alone might increase from covering eight states to 35 after a recent request, during her remarks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly sessions in New York. These are rural regions where infrastructure development is being prioritized in order to attract food and agricultural businesses.
Despite the urgency to transition from traditional power production to sustainable alternatives – not only as it reduces environmental impact but also fosters local economic growth – wealthier nations across the globe are leading the shift while some countries, such as South Africa, are lagging.
Of crucial importance is to adapt existing products and engineering offerings to meet the demands of the renewable energy industry, with innovations such as online condition monitoring that can improve the efficiency and reliability of renewable energy projects, paving the way for a sustainable future.
South Africa has homegrown skills and resources in renewable energy, which could be harnessed and nurtured to overcome South Africa’ lag in the renewable energy space. Furthermore, these skills and resources could be exported to the rest of the continent to work with other African countries to shape a greener and more resilient future – unlocking economic benefits for South Africa and Africa.
However, to successfully develop South Africa’s domestic manufacturing capabilities and reduce the African region’s dependence on foreign suppliers, a comprehensive approach is vital with companies providing end-to-end services, including product supply, installation, and maintenance, to ensure a smooth transition to sustainable energy sources.
African nations turning serious about its cargo airports (Africa Aviation News)
While agreeing that Africa’s share in the market is too low, Bonface Muse, senior commercial officer, cargo, Kenya Airports Authority, also points out an important metric which is the intra-Africa trade and air cargo movements. As he said, “Air cargo in Africa is still less developed. We are way behind the global market. Especially, we have very little intra-Africa trade. Even at our leading airport Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, the business is mostly outbound to Europe, Asia and the Middle East and intra-Africa is a small percentage. The outbound is mostly fresh produce like flowers, fruits, vegetables, meat and fish.”
“African airports serve as important transportation hubs that link countries in the continent to one another and to the rest of the world. African airports are key for facilitating trade, and tourism, boosting economic development and linking people between Africa and the rest of the globe. Africa as a continent faces limitations in terms of airport infrastructure, system and policy compared to other developing continents. The air connectivity between airports is also lower thus creating a gap in what the continent could have achieved,” he said.
Going into the MC13, there is also an atmosphere of pessimism, the world is fragmenting and we found some evidence of some of that in our Global Trade Report. But, we are not at the point where our trading system is falling. And the point we are trying to make is that for our MC13, let’s concentrate on things that our multilateral trading system can deliver. What are the deliverables? So, going into MC13, we are looking at several things.
We also have to deliver on the development agenda. Developing countries are expecting to get some benefits out of the WTO and they have tabled several demands that they would like to see... We are also looking at accessions. There are many countries coming to the WTO wanting to accede, who are not members. That is very exciting. People don’t come to join you if they think you are not doing well. Now, we have seen an upsurge and we may deliver two at the MC13. But we have about six countries that are really working hard to join.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the launch of the 2023 Africa SDGs Report in a video call, the AUC Deputy Chairperson, Dr Monique Nsanzabaganwa underlined that, the 2023 Africa SDGs Report is a living testimony that both organizations are committed “to talking the talk and walking the walk together”. She added that, this report is the result of a collaborative effort between the African Union, the United Nations, and other Regional and International partners, stressing that, the SDGs Report provides a comprehensive and balanced assessment of the progress, challenges, and opportunities for achieving the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa.
“While we celebrate the remarkable achievements that Africa has made, we are soberly reminded that more needs to be done in some areas. Towards this end, the report has identified key drivers of change to accelerate the continent’s transformation, such as industrialization, digitalization, innovation, regional integration, and green transition
The report further offers a set of policy recommendations to help African countries overcome structural challenges and achieve sustainable development. These include strengthening governance and institutions, mobilizing domestic and external resources, enhancing social protection and inclusion, and building resilience to shocks,” underscored the AUC Deputy Chairperson.
India, 79 others seek support for WTO food security deal (The Economic Times)
An 80-country coalition including India, China and South Africa has begun reaching out to Arab countries and least-developed nations to build pressure on the developed economies to ensure food security for developing nations. The alliance of G33, African Group and the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) group at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has proposed a new method to calculate subsidies given to purchase, stockpile and distribute food to ensure food security for developing and poor nations.
It has also proposed that exports of foodgrains from public stocks to needy countries be allowed for international food aid and humanitarian purposes. The alliance is keen to get more support for its proposals, officials said. The coalition has suggested that a permanent solution for public stockholding should account for inflation and be based on a recent reference price.
New-generation international investment agreements (IIAs) are increasingly embracing investment facilitation features. These features are becoming more common, more diverse and more specific, with prominent examples across all continents.
Some new-generation IIAs also contain references to technical assistance or to facilitation measures targeted at investment for sustainable development. Yet, much more is needed. Save for a few exceptions, new IIAs continue to lack clear and proactive investment facilitation commitments specific to sustainable investment or the necessary level of technical assistance and capacity-building for developing countries.
The African Development Bank President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has said the global financial architecture constrains Africa’s development. He recommends five ways it can be made fairer.
Speaking at a high-level roundtable—Towards a Fair International Financial Architecture—at the 78th United Nations General Assembly last week, Adesina said the international financial architecture was not delivering the scale of resources needed to allow Africa to achieve its growth and development priorities. He said Africa faced a financing gap of $1.2 trillion through 2030 to finance its Sustainable Development Goals.
He said the second constraint was that the international financial architecture was not providing climate financing at the scale needed for Africa to adapt to climate change. Adesina said: “Africa contributes only 3% of global emissions and suffers disproportionately from climate change, losing $7–15 billion annually. This figure is expected to rise to $50 billion by 2030. Yet, Africa faces a climate financing gap of $213 billion annually through 2030.”
The third constraint, the Bank chief noted, was that the current international financial architecture made debt restructuring too complex to achieve, since debt restructuring is disorderly, protracted, and costly. He explained that this poses serious risks for African countries facing debt distress.
With two months left until the U.N.’s COP28 summit, countries are far from bridging the gap between those demanding a deal to phase out planet-warming fossil fuels and nations insisting on preserving a role for coal, oil and natural gas.
The COP28 conference in Dubai scheduled between Nov. 30 and Dec. 12 is seen as a crucial opportunity for governments to accelerate action to limit global warming, yet countries remain split over the future of fossil fuels - the burning of which is the main cause of climate change. Meetings at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last week reignited the long-rumbling debate, with climate-vulnerable nations like the Marshall Islands pleading for wealthier ones to quit polluting fuels and to invest in renewable alternatives.
Other countries that produce or rely on fossil fuels emphasised the potential use of technologies to “abate” - meaning capture - their emissions, rather than ending the use of such fuels completely.
Saying that “the phase down of fossil fuels is inevitable,” the United Arab Emirates’ incoming COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber told the summit: “As we build an energy system free of all unabated fossil fuels, including coal, we must rapidly and comprehensively decarbonize the energies we use today.”
Many emerging market and developing economies face threats to economic growth and limited policy space due to high inflation, rising debt, and balance of payments pressures. These challenges mounted during the pandemic and were further intensified by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Slower growth and constrained capacity to support their most vulnerable people expose some of these countries to substantial social instability risks. At the same time, these economies face the conundrum of participating in global efforts to reduce their carbon emissions and help combat climate change without sacrificing growth and jobs.
Amid such challenges, economy-wide reforms give policymakers the tools to foster growth and prepare for the green transition. As we show in a new staff discussion note, the gains from overhauling institutions and regulations for businesses and people—an enduring IMF recommendation for spurring growth—can quickly materialize even under severe economic strains, provided reforms are properly prioritized and sequenced. And these reforms are key to facilitate the decarbonization of economies.