Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

President Ramaphosa to officially launch the BMA (SAnews)

President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Thursday preside over the launch of the Border Management Authority (BMA) in Musina, Limpopo. The launch of the BMA follows its formal establishment and assumption of its status as a schedule 3 (A) public entity on 1 April 2023.

The establishment of the BMA means that South Africa now has an integrated border management platform, with a single command and control with which to support the attainment of secure borders, safe travel and trade.

In June 2013, Cabinet made the decision to establish a Border Management Agency under the guidance of the DHA.

It is intended that the BMA will adapt and respond effectively to the challenges, threats and opportunities that exist in the border environment whilst safe-guarding South Africa’s borders and meeting the country’s national, regional and global developmental responsibilities and human rights imperatives. – SAnews.gov.za

Washington, Pretoria ‘Reaffirm and Recommit’ After Public Spat Over Russia (VOA)

The White House says a recent high-level call “reaffirmed the strong partnership between South Africa and the United States” — a move that analysts said Tuesday improves what has long been a tense relationship, marred by a public diplomatic spat and Pretoria’s reluctance to disengage from Russia.

In a readout issued late Monday, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said he spoke by phone to his South African counterpart, Sydney Mufamadi, and that the two “recommitted to advance shared priorities including trade and investment, infrastructure, health, and climate.”

Sullivan also thanked South Africa for hosting an upcoming high-level meeting on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which allows duty-free U.S. market access and expires in 2025. South Africa is one of the program’s top beneficiaries, and congressional Democrats and Republicans had suggested that South Africa be excluded from this year’s forum over the diplomatic dust-up.

See also: Russia and South Africa: The Trade and Investment Dynamics (Russia Briefing News)

Vision 2030 achievable, says Afreximbank vice-president (The Zimbabwean)

“We can succeed in spite of the prevailing headwinds and challenges we currently face, be it climate change, geopolitics, insecurity in parts of our continent or global supply chains disruptions,” he told the annual conference in Victoria Falls of the Chartered Governance and Accountancy Institute in Zimbabwe last week.

He said the journey towards achieving upper middle-class status by 2030 is multifaceted and demands strategic focus across various segments of the economy.

Zimbabwe had undoubtedly faced significant challenges in recent years. However, it was vital to recognise, he said, that within these challenges lay unique opportunities for growth and transformation.

“To navigate this path effectively we must strategically focus on nurturing sectors which hold growth potential,” he said, adding that these sectors included mining, agriculture, tourism and manufacturing. Zimbabwe’s mining industry, despite boasting a remarkable array of minerals, currently contributed only about 12 percent to the annual GDP, largely because it exported them raw with no or little beneficiation and no linkage to regional value chains. “When managed strategically and sustainability these resources have the potential to drive significant economic growth,” he said.

Kenya’s bad debt crisis soars to its highest levels in almost 2 decades (Business Insider Africa)

This level of debt default was last seen in the nation in 2005 when it reached around 30%. Given that bank deposits increased by Sh430 billion in the first half of the year to surpass Sh5 trillion for the first time, banks are thus expected to write down Sh750 billion in their possession.

According to the most recent central bank report, as seen in The Star Kenya, a Kenyan news publication, this was caused by five-year high interest rates. “The ratio of gross non-performing loans (NPLs) to gross loans stood at 15 percent in August 2023 compared to 14.2 percent in August 2022,’’ the Monetary Policy Committee said after its meeting today.

In the manufacturing, mining and quarrying, real estate, and building and construction sectors, there have been rises in non-performing loans (NPLs), according to the Central Bank’s highest body.

Ethiopia continues gradual lifting of fuel subsidies amid rising living costs (ZAWYA)

The Ethiopian government has announced a new fuel retail price adjustment as the gradual lifting of fuel subsidies compounded the soaring cost of living in the country.

The Ethiopia Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration (MoTRI) said Friday that the latest price hike would see gasoline prices rise to ETB77.65 ($1.41) per litre from the previous ETB74.85 ($1.36).

The Ethiopian government blamed the rising global oil prices for its decision to institute the price hikes. Noting that the international fuel price has been showing an increase since the end of June, the ministry said the decision to increase the retail prices is made to reflect the current international fuel market.

Experts, however, argued that while the huge sum of fuel subsidies has been exerting unwanted financial pressure the country’s economy, it plays a significant role in terms of controlling inflation and mitigating the economic impact on the daily life of citizens.

A New $850 Million Route to Speed Up Congo’s Copper Exports (Bloomberg)

An $850 million road project connecting copper and cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo through Zambia to an East African port will cut more than 150 miles from the existing journey, according to the company building it.

Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi and Zambia’s Hakainde Hichilema broke ground on Monday at the site where a key part of the route — a 345 meter (1,130 feet) bridge over the Luapula river that separates their countries — will be erected.

Tanzania fuel prices rise in fourth consecutive month (The East African)

Fuel prices in Tanzania have increased for the fourth consecutive month, with diesel taking the biggest hit. The new prices, announced by the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (Ewura) on October 3, 2023, will take effect on October 4.

Fuel imported through the Tanga Port will be even more expensive, with petrol at Tsh3,327 ($1.33), diesel at Tsh3,494 ($1.40), and kerosene at Tsh2,989 ($1.20).

Ewura has attributed the price increase to a number of factors, including rising global fuel prices, increased export charges, reduced oil output by Opec+, as well as economic sanctions placed against Russia by western countries.

Reflections on China-Tanzania Relations on the Occasion of the 74th Anniversary of PRC’s Founding (Tanzania Daily News)

China has, over the years, proved to be a reliable partner for Africa in this regard. China has continued to offer the true partnership that Africa wants – sustainable investment and trade.

As of 2022, China has sustained its role as Africa’s largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years. Statistics show that China’s trade with Africa rose from less than 13 billion US dollars in 2000 to about 254 billion US dollars in 2022, a whopping increase of over 19 times. Records of the first five months of 2023 alone show that the total import and export between China and Africa clocked at 113.5 billion US dollars, up by 16.4 percent year on year. China has also remained Africa’s largest investor with over 47 billion US dollars of FDI as of 2022. These increased investment and trade exchanges have greatly helped build African countries’ economies, create more opportunities for new businesses, and fight unemployment in the continent.

ECOWAS climate-smart technologies presented to the public through a side-event at SARA (ECOWAS)

On 3rd October 2023, ECOWAS organized its first side-event at SARA 2023 on a topical theme: climate-smart agriculture and agroecology: opportunities and challenges for West Africa.

It emerged from the various explanations that agriculture is a victim of climate change. It is subject to variations, sometimes extreme, in temperature and rainfall (delayed seasons, heat peaks, shortage or excess of water, altered distribution of rainfall). The effects are direct, for example when plant growth is altered, and indirect, when parasite pressure increases (insect pests, diseases). Agriculture must therefore adapt if it is to continue to fulfil all the functions to which it contributes, in particular feeding humanity. But agriculture is also jointly responsible for climate change. It is responsible for around 12% of greenhouse gas emissions (methane, nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide), or 24% if we consider changes in land use linked to forestry and the agricultural frontiers that follow. These emissions are due to poorly used inputs, when fossil fuels are used, or to some intensive livestock farming or flooded rice cultivation practices.

Agriculture can also become one of the solutions to climate change by helping to mitigate it. With appropriate practices, we can reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and store carbon in the soil and biomass (plants, living soil organisms, etc.).

Unlocking the Potential of SMEs for Regional Industrial Development (SADC)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has embarked on a crucial journey towards fostering the growth and competitiveness of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) within the region. This initiative took center stage during the recently commenced consultative workshop held in Lusaka, Zambia, from the 3rd to the 6th of October 2023. The primary objective of this three-day workshop is to gather insights and inputs on the draft SADC SME Strategy, a significant milestone in the pursuit of regional industrial development.

The foundation for the SADC SME Strategy was laid in 2015 when the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap was adopted. This visionary document emphasised the importance of developing an SME strategy to facilitate the elevation of SMEs towards international competitiveness, thereby contributing to the broader industrialisation goals of the region. This recognition was reaffirmed in the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030, reflecting the collective vision of SADC Member States.

We support Africa in achieving Sustainable Development Goals: EAPD’s Secretary-General (Daily News Egypt)

The Egyptian Agency of Partnership for Development (EAPD) is committed to supporting African countries in their political, economic, and social development, said its Secretary-General Ashraf Ibrahim.

Ibrahim made these remarks during his participation in the monthly meeting of African ambassadors accredited in Cairo, where he presented the Agency’s activities in Africa since its establishment in 2014, as well as the work of the African Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa since its inception in 1985.

The Secretary-General also announced the launch of the Egyptian-African Health Alliance, which reflects Egypt’s efforts to enhance South-South cooperation and share its expertise in the health sector, which is a vital pillar for achieving growth.

Ibrahim said that the alliance will support the African countries in providing health and pharmaceutical services to their people, according to plans and programs based on the sustainable development pillars of the Egyptian state, in a way that benefits all parties and countries of the continent.

British International Investment Partners Access Bank On US$60m Trade Finance Facility Across Africa (THEWILL NEWS MEDIA)

British International Investment (BII), the UK’s Development Finance Institution (DFI) and impact investor, has announced a $60 million trade finance facility for Access Bank Plc in Nigeria and five of its pan-African subsidiaries. The parties, in a statement, said this will strengthen import and export capabilities amongst local businesses and plug the foreign currency supply gap.

According to the parties, the programme supports Access Bank’s strategy to enable continental trade and deepens BII’s commitment to bolstering financing environments in fragile economies. BII estimates the loan programme will stimulate African trade volumes by US$90 million. The agreement reinforces BII’s ongoing relationship with Nigeria’s largest commercial bank by assets and facilitates the provision of systemic liquidity during a period characterised by a challenging macroeconomic environment.

Between 80% and 90% of world trade is estimated to rely on the availability of trade credit, according to the World Trade Organization. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, that financing gap stood at US$82 billion in Africa, and it is increasing.

Recognising the positive ripple effects of robust trade flows on economies and livelihoods, Access Bank is aiming to provide 15% of trade finance across Africa, by growing the trade books of its subsidiaries.

Africa countries told to merge commodity exchanges (New Business Ethiopia)

Linking and merging Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) with the East African Commodity Exchange (EAX), African countries are advised to introduce a single regional agricultural commodity exchange.

The creation of linkages between the two major commodity exchanges will facilitate the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), according to Professor Issouf Soumare, who presented a paper at a sub-regional meetings of senior government officials and experts in Bujumbura, Burundi last week.

“A single regional commodity exchange where all commodities produced in the region could be traded represent a great opportunity to meet the main objective of AfCFTA, which are fostering regional integration, eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers on commodities, as well as Improving competitivity and quality,” he said.

He stated that Africa specifically the east Africa region has significant and various agricultural commodities which can be traded on a regional commodity exchange. Somalia, Comoros, Burundi, and Ethiopia are the top 4 countries in the region with a high share of agriculture in GDP. In these 4 countries, agriculture represents more than 30% of the GDP, which the professor argued can be taken as a good opportunity to formalize and deepen intra-Africa agriculture products trading between African countries by introducing a regional commodity exchange and benefit from the AfCFTA.

Africa must come together to make AfCFTA succeed (GhanaWeb)

The Agbogbomefia of Asogli State, Togbe Afede XIV, has called on all African leaders to come together to harness the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). He said the free trade area needs the unity of the continent to realise its full potential.

Speaking at the Made in Ghana Awards night on September 30, 2023, Togbe Afede XIV said, “AfCFTA needs the unity of this continent to realise its dream so even if we can’t come together politically, we can do so economically to harness the full benefit of the agreement.”

African Union Executive Council Hold a Meeting on The Second Decade of Agenda 2063 (AU)

Addressing the Ministerial opening, Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission outlined the seven Moonshots (ambitions) in the Second Ten Year Implementation Plan (STYIP), which are aligned to each of the seven Aspirations of Agenda 2063, such as: H.E. Dhoihir Dhoulkamal, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Comoros and Chairperson of the Executive Council underscored that Agenda 2063 remains the master plan for African development programme, achieving its development objectives, and ultimately, transforming the Continent into an economic power.

To Avert a “Lost Decade,” Africa Must Urgently Achieve Stability, Increase Growth, and Create Jobs (World Bank)

Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic outlook remains bleak amid an elusive growth recovery. According to the latest World Bank Africa’s Pulse report, rising instability, weak growth in the region’s largest economies, and lingering uncertainty in the global economy are dragging down growth prospects in the region.

Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to decelerate to 2.5% in 2023, from 3.6% in 2022.

In per capita terms, growth in Sub-Saharan Africa has not increased since 2015. In fact, the region is projected to contract at an annual average rate per capita of 0.1% over 2015-2025, thus potentially marking a lost decade of growth in the aftermath of the 2014-15 plunge in commodity prices.

Africa Partnership Conference (UNCTAD)

Africa has three massive things going for it right now. The first, is growing intra-Africa trade thanks to the African Free Continental Trade Area – which will provide a boost to high-value added manufacturing and services in the continent. The second factor is demographics – Africa has the biggest youth population in the world; youth mean entrepreneurship, means innovation, and means growing consumer markets. And third, lastly, Africa is extremely rich in the critical minerals that will power the renewable energy transition, such as phosphate rock, cobalt, manganese, and platinum-group metals. This is a massive opportunity for investment, structural transformation, and growth for the continent.

Despite anticipated ‘soft landing’ of US economy, UNCTAD warns of stalling and divergent global growth (UNCTAD)

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has warned of a stalling global economy, with growth slowing in most regions from last year and only a few countries bucking the trend. In its Trade and Development Report 2023, the organization calls for a change in policy direction, including by leading central banks, and accompanying institutional reforms promised during the COVID-19 crisis to avert a lost decade.

UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan said: “To safeguard the world economy from future systemic crises, we must avoid the policy mistakes of the past and embrace a positive reform agenda.” “We need a balanced policy mix of fiscal, monetary and supply-side measures to achieve financial sustainability, boost productive investment and create better jobs. Regulation needs to address the deepening asymmetries of the international trading and financial system.”

DDG Paugam: Trade is becoming more political, more sustainable, more traceable (WTO)

Strengthening the multilateral trading system as embodied in the WTO is the best way to confront the challenges of increasingly fragmented global trade, Deputy Director-General Jean-Marie Paugam said on 3 October. Speaking in Dijon, France, at the Vine and Wine World Trade Forum, DDG Paugam said a new trade narrative based on geopolitics, climate and sustainability, and quality-related regulations is starting to take root, leading to some trade fragmentation. The “number one condition to confront these challenges is more of the multilateral trading system, not less,” he declared.

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