Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

President Cyril Ramaphosa: Launch of the Border Management Authority (South African Government)

When our country’s ports of entry and borders are well-protected and well-managed, we are able to prevent the illegal importation and exit of goods. We are able to facilitate lawful trade at a greater scale and more efficiently. This is becoming increasingly important as we work with other countries in our region and elsewhere on the continent to increase intra-African trade. We see the Border Management Authority as a vital link in our efforts to harness the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area. A more secure border is important for curbing illegal migration, human smuggling and trafficking. It will help in combating cross-border crime.

The Border Management Authority was established in response to a number of serious challenges.

The movement of persons and goods at ports of entry has often not been as efficient as it should be, resulting in unnecessary delays and increased costs for individuals and companies. This in turn is harming our economy. Deficiencies in border management have also enabled corruption and organised and cross-border crime to thrive.

Pace of energy transition will define South Africa’s economic prospects (Engineering News)

Presidential Climate Commission (PCC) executive director Dr Crispian Olver says South Africa’s energy transition and the pace at which it progresses will determine the country’s long-term economic and human-development prospects and should, thus, no longer be treated only as an environmental problem.

Speaking at the Joburg Indaba, Olver acknowledged that stakeholders were “not of one mind” regarding the pace of the transition, despite broad-based agreement that South Africa needed to reduce its emissions, which were strongly associated with the continued dominance of coal in domestic energy production.

Addressing an audience that included several coal mining executives, Olver stressed that no PCC member expected the coal-fired power stations to close overnight, especially in the context of intense loadshedding. Nevertheless, he also cautioned against moving too slowly in a context where South Africa’s per capita emissions were 1.22 times the G20 average and significantly higher than those of India and even China.

South Africa eyes Botswana, Zambia, and DRC for acquisition of precious metals (Business Insider Africa)

According to CEO Nombasa Tsengwa, the Johannesburg-based coal firm is searching for copper assets in Botswana, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the continent’s biggest copper producer. She said the company is also seeking manganese assets in its home country.

“We are looking at different opportunities simultaneously,” she said. “Partnerships where it makes sense...There are different tactics for acquiring these assets,” she added. International mining firms are vying for supplies of the metals that the world needs to shift to renewable energy and speed up the rise of electric cars.

FG to support local manufacturers with N75bn (Vanguard)

Vice President Kashim Shettima says the federal government will support local manufacturers with N75 billion by March 2024 to strengthen the manufacturing sector. Shettima said this while declaring open the second National Conference on non-oil export organised by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) on Wednesday in Abuja. The two-day conference is with the theme, “Building a Sustainable National Economy Through Non-Oil Export.”

Represented by Dr Jumoke Oduwole, Special Adviser on Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) and Investment, Shettima said N75 billion was earmarked to support 100,000 start-ups and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) at single digit interest rates.

Kenya inflation stays high amid improved food production (The East African)

Kenya’s production of key food items is projected to grow by up to 60 percent against last year even as food prices remain elevated, keeping inflation high. Latest data from the Ministry of Agriculture shows that maize production is projected to increase by 29.3 percent to 44.6 million bags; wheat by 62.6 percent to 4.9 million bags; Irish potatoes to 25.3 million bags and beans production to reach 11.7 million bags, a 56.3 percent growth.

The increase has been attributed to sufficient rains witnessed this year with the production of food crops such as sorghum also expected to grow by 150 percent to 3.3 million bags and millet by 62 percent to 1.1 million bags. Last year was one of the worst years for Kenya’s agriculture and saw the sector contract by 1.6 percent, with food prices hitting high levels.

IMF: Fiscal consolidation to lift Burundi from economic doldrums (The East African)

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says growth-centric fiscal consolidation efforts will help lift Burundi from the current economic difficulties that are slowing recovery from the slump occasioned by recent global shocks. Sustained efforts to reduce Bujumbura’s current expenditure, which have mostly been inflated by salaries and subsidies, are expected to narrow its budget deficit as it also strengthens revenue collection to deliver stronger growth this year.

In a statement after a review of Burundi’s performance under the 38-month $271 million Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement approved in July, the lender said the controlled fiscal spending and other macroeconomic reforms will help speed up its growth despite multiple challenges. “Economic growth is expected to slightly accelerate in 2023, driven by the secondary and tertiary sectors, as the Burundian economy continues to recover,” said IMF’s Burundi Mission Chief Mame Astou Diouf.

Multiple challenges are currently derailing economic recovery in Burundi and the cost of living continues to be relatively high compared to most economies across the globe, which have started rebounding from the shocks occasioned by the Ukraine war and pandemic crises.

Mining and exports to push domestic growth … sustained resilience linked to stability and sound macro-economics (New Era)

Diamond processing and exports, increased consumption in wholesale and retail trade and tourism are anticipated to be the main driving forces behind Namibia’s continued economic recovery. The latest forecasts indicate the domestic economy is expected to grow by 3.5% this year. The African Development Bank (AfDB), in its latest Country Focus Report for 2023, said Namibia owes much of its sustained economic resilience to continued political stability, sound macro-economic management and good governance. The continental multilateral bank benchmarked the projected 2023 economic growth against the country’s real GDP, which contracted by 8.1% in 2020 but recovered by 3.5% in 2021, and further by 4.6% in 2022, following the lifting of Covid-19 pandemic-related restrictions.

“Economic growth is gradually recovering but there are strong pressures on domestic inflation as well as the fiscal and external balances that will require the implementation of sustained macroeconomic and social policies to reduce the risk of debt distress, protect vulnerable groups and support growth,” the bank highlighted.

It further pointed out there are downside risks to the projected growth, which includes a high import bill and lower Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) revenues for Namibia. Being Namibia’s largest market for its external trade, the bank noted South Africa’s slowed economic growth affected SACU revenues for most member countries, as the country struggles with higher global commodity prices emanating from global supply-chain disruptions, rising global inflation and subsequent hikes in international interest rates.

Mali’s natural capital offers opportunities for private climate finance and green growth, says the African Development Bank’s 2023 Country Focus Report (AfDB)

The African Development Bank has recommended that Mali harness its vast natural capital potential to leverage private finance for climate and green growth, a key finding of the Bank’s 2023 Country Focus Report for Mali. The report, “Mobilizing private sector financing for climate and green growth”, was launched on 3 October in Bamako with a workshop chaired by Alousséni Sanou, Minister of Economy and Finance and Finance and Bank Governor for Mali.

Despite shocks associated with sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the war in Ukraine, Mali recorded a growth rebound of 3.7% in 2022 (against 3.1% in 2021). This growth was driven by the primary (a 9% increase in cereal production) and secondary (a 4% increase in industrial gold production) sectors.

Private sector financial flows for climate and green growth are weak, amounting to $33.3 million on average from 2019-2020 (8.9% of total climate financing) and are ten times less than public sector finance ($342.9 million, or 91.1%). The report’s findings also show that for every dollar of public financing spent on combating climate change, Mali was able to mobilize just $0.097 in private finance, underscoring the unattractiveness to private investors of climate-related projects.

Kenya horticulture exports rise to 29-month high on demand (The East African)

Kenya in July shipped out the highest volume of horticultural produce in more than two years, boosted by increased demand from export markets. Latest data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows exports hit 65,172 tonnes in July, a 19.3 percent jump from 54,604 tonnes in June. It is the highest export volume of fresh fruits, vegetables, and cut flowers since February 2021, when exporters sold 71,685 tonnes.

Fresh vegetables make the largest volume of the exports at 28,259 tonnes followed by fresh fruits (27,339 tonnes) and cut flowers (9,574 tonnes). Avocados are the country’s largest export fruit followed by pineapples, mangoes, raspberries, passion fruits, and lemons. The main export vegetables include chillies, basil, peppermint, fine beans, mixed vegetables, snap peas, and herbs. Kenya meanwhile exports over 65 percent of its cut flowers to the Netherlands while the rest are sold directly to wholesalers and retail outlets such as supermarkets and grocers.

East Africa sets new record in EU coffee exports (The Citizen)

Coffee exports from East Africa to the European Union (EU) have more than doubled in four years, thanks to an agribusiness project supported by the latter. The exports of the bean hit record volumes, earning the bloc 1.1 billion euros last year, up from 488 million euros in 2018. Earnings from avocado exports from the East African Community (EAC) partner states also went up to 112.4 million euros in 2022 from 85.5 million euros in 2018.

This was revealed here on Tuesday during the launch of the second phase of the EU-supported Market Access Upgrade Programme (MARK-UP). The project, to be executed in the next four years, will be implemented at a cost of 40 million euros and is a follow-up to the first phase (2018–2022) for which the EU granted 40 million euros.

DR Congo inaugurates Sakania dry port (The East African)

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi on Tuesday inaugurated the Sakania dry port, a Chinese-built megaproject. During his field inspection, Tshisekedi described the dry port of Sakania as a modern one, hoping it could serve as an example for other ports of DRC. Bordering Zambia, the dry port is located in southeastern Haut-Katanga Province, a main border post of DRC and constitutes an important mining channel.

Infrastructure and Public Works Minister Alexis Gisaro Muvuni said the project is expected to propel local socio-economic development and increase connectivity between the DRC and other regional countries.

Chemicals, cosmetics sectors to benefit from AfCFTA (SAnews)

The chemicals, cosmetics, plastics and pharmaceutical sectors are set to get acquainted with the benefits offered under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This will occur during the virtual workshop on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) that will be hosted by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) on Wednesday, 11 October 2023.

The dtic has already embarked on provincial awareness workshops, which provided a platform for information sharing with the private sector on the benefits offered under the agreement. The workshops were also used to identify South African companies in various provinces, in the targeted sector masterplans and other priority sectors that have the capacity to export to the rest of the continent.

According to the Trade, Industry and Competition Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina, “The department will update the sectors on the role expected of them in the implementation of the AfCFTA and essentially obtain challenges that the sectors may be facing in accessing the market in the continent. Obtaining this intelligence will assist the department to unlock the bottlenecks that the sectors may be facing,” Gina said.

‘Sound infrastructure key to improve Africa trade’ (The Chronicle)

Africa must invest more resources in developing sound infrastructure that supports increased production and promotes efficient intra-regional trading. ZimTrade chief executive officer, Mr Allan Majuru, said this in Bulawayo last week where his organisation engaged local companies on best options to unlock access to Africa ahead of the 3rd Intra-Africa Trade Fair (IATF) to be held in Cairo, Egypt between November 9 and 15, 2023. Zimbabwean firms are targeting to forge strong linkages with several potential partners across the continent at the upcoming IATF. The IATF 2023 should result in US$43 billion of trade and investment deals being concluded.

Mr Majuru said they have high hopes that during the IATF 2023, infrastructure development will lead the discussions so that countries will get funding to develop their infrastructure. “One thing we have noticed is that it is difficult to do business as African countries and this is mainly attributed to issues of infrastructure,” he said. “If we look at what we did at the Beitbridge Border Post, it has made that post more effective and more efficient and I think it’s something that as African countries we should do a lot to make sure that our borders are efficient.

“It’s easier for us to export or import from Europe than for me to send goods to Nigeria. So, infrastructure is key for us to improve our trade and I hope as we go for the IATF a lot of emphasis is going to be put to make sure that we get more funding to improve on our infrastructure.” Mr Majuru also emphasised the need for Zimbabwean companies to enhance value-addition in a bid to increase exports for value added goods and services.

Tunis: ECOWAS Parliament’s 2024 Budget To Support Development (Voice of Nigeria)

The Speaker Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Dr. Sidie Mohamed Tunis, said the key components of the 2024 budget of the Community Parliament will be directed towards supporting women and youth development. Dr. Tunis disclosed this while declaring open the Second Extraordinary Session of the fifth Legislature in Winneba, Ghana, which is dedicated to the consideration and adoption of the 2024 Draft Budget of the Community Parliament.

According to Speaker Tunis, the fifth Legislature, under his stewardship, has never wavered in its commitment to fund programs that impact directly on the community citizens, especially women and Youths; even as he assured that a second global summit for women and youths will be held in December.

EAC-EU develop joint roadmap to foster digital transformation in East Africa (EAC)

The East African Community (EAC) and the European Union (EU) have today kicked off the 1st EU-EAC Regional Conference on Digital Transformation in the East African Community, in Arusha, Tanzania. Both sides committed and agreed to foster a human-centric digital transformation in East Africa to utilise digital technologies and innovations for regional integration.

The two-day conference, facilitated by the Digital for Development (D4D) Hub, unites key stakeholders from the EAC region and European partners. This collaborative effort aims to assess the current state of digital transformation in the region and explore opportunities through a “Team Europe” initiative, which includes the EU and its Member States. The D4D Hub serves as an important instrument for the EU and its Member States to support transformational projects across the African continent. This aligns harmoniously with the ambitious goals under the Global Gateway, a new strategy for the EU. The strategy aims to mobilise EUR 300 billion in investment to boost smart, clean, and secure links in digital, energy, and transport sectors and to strengthen health, education, and research systems across the world.

Centering women in trade and peace sectors is a smart move for sustainable development (AU)

African women have been trading before trade agreements and are champions of cross-border trading for generations. Women’s informal cross-border trading has been key in addressing challenges of unemployment, rural- urban migration, poverty, and food insecurity. Women also play a key role in creating community cohesion, sustainable peace, and stability along with the facilitation of trade and peace as an enabler for sustainable development.

The Gender Pre-Forum to the High-Level dialogue convened in Addis Ababa on the 4th October 2023 provided women a collaborative space to discuss various thematic areas on “women’s Role in delivering peace dividends through the implementation of the AfCFTA.” The forum held in depth analysis on the nexus between trade, peace and security and avenues to close gender gaps in advancing the role of women in all the sectors. This includes reviewing existing mechanism and recommending innovative avenues to promote a holistic approach that recognizes the benefits of women empowerment as a strategic move to address the underlying causes of deficits in democracy, governance, peace and security.

The implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is expected to have a positive multiplier effect on enhancing trade and regional integration. The inclusion of women to contribute to, and benefit from the intra-African trade to improve their own livelihoods and by extension of their families and communities calls for gender-responsive actions.

It’s time to fix the problem of Africa’s 500% debt premium (African Arguments)

As finance ministers, officials and NGOs fly to Marrakech for the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and IMF on 9-15 October, they should think carefully about what they can deliver to meet two criteria: ambition that meets the scale of the challenges we face; and decisions that are achievable given the current political capital available. This may sound like an impossible conundrum but African leaders have already laid out a blueprint.

With roughly five years of our current carbon budget remaining to stay within 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels – and with new World Bank data showing 8.6% of the world’s population lives under $2.15 a day (unchanged since 2019) – developing countries, particularly in Africa, need a major injection of low-cost capital. Credible estimates put the external financing needs in the region of $1 trillion a year by 2030.

At the Africa Climate Summit this September, leaders laid out a financial reform agenda calling for a package of measures to meet current challenges. This included unlocking $500 billion a year from the MDB system and unleashing the power of IMF Special Drawing Rights, an international reserve asset, to boost lending power. 

AFRICA: with the exception of Egypt and Tunisia other countries will not achieve SDG6 (Afrik 21)

Out of 48 countries assessed in Africa, only Egypt and Tunisia are on track to achieve the goal of universal basic sanitation by 2030. The 2023 report on sustainable development in Africa indicates that, with regard to the sixth sustainable development goal (SDG6), African countries have improved access to safe drinking water services, but there is still a significant disparity between rural and urban areas. Three out of five Africans, or 411 million people, still lack safe drinking water. The report calls on African countries to invest in water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure and to build capacity for integrated water resource management.

The 2023 report, entitled “Accelerating recovery from the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 at all levels”, was published on the sidelines of the 78th General Assembly of the United Nations.

Africa Resilience Forum: African Development Bank head says peace-building in Africa must be an aim of investment decisions (African Business)

Peace and security in Africa must be an aim of investment decisions, the African Development Bank President told delegates at a forum aimed at exploring ways to strengthen the resilience of the continent’s people and states.

“The Africa Resilience Forum is a call to action to work together and make a transition from policy dialogue to investment, and then from investment to impact,” said Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group. Mr Adesina was speaking in a video message to participants at the 5th Africa Resilience Forum, which is being held in Abidjan from 3 to 5 October. The theme of this year’s Forum is “Financing Security, Peace and Development for a Resilient Africa”.

“We need to reverse current trends and establish an alliance of partners so that we can adopt a new investment approach that favours peace,” he said. “This will truly change the development-peace-security paradigm on our continent.”

Cotton: Why it matters for a more sustainable future (UNCTAD)

The cotton sector plays a key role in driving economic development, international trade and reducing poverty. Seen above, a farmer picks cotton in the Senegalese town of Velingara. Cotton – one of the world’s leading agricultural commodities – is back in the spotlight, on the occasion of World Cotton Day, marked annually on 7 October. World Cotton Day aims to raise awareness on the importance of global market access for cotton and cotton-related goods from the world’s least developed countries. It also advocates for equitable trade policies and ways to empower developing nations to derive greater benefits from each stage of the cotton value chain.

The 2023 celebration featured a joint event in Vienna, in which UNCTAD was a partner, under the theme “Making cotton fair and sustainable for all, from farm to fashion”. UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan urged “boosting the development benefits of cotton by growing it more sustainably, levelling the playing field for trade and ensuring farmers receive a fair income.” In 2022, world production of raw cotton was valued at about $50 billion, while global trade in cotton fibre stood at $20 billion, according to UN estimates.

G20 summit spotlights the rail and minerals set to fuel Africa’s international rise (Ventures Africa)

Indeed, the new US and EU-backed Lobito Corridor railway line spotlighted at the G20 summit – connecting the mineral-rich DRC and Zambia to the Angolan coast – notably aims to accelerate the exporting of critical raw materials and the development of regional value chains. Responsible mining in the region, informed by the AU’s African Mining Vision (AMV), will thus play a central role in fueling this mutually beneficial sustainable development while facilitating the cross-border collaboration key for Africa to assume its rightful place on the international stage.

Green Climate Fund: New capital to accelerate investment in global climate action (Green Climate Fund)

Today twenty-five countries pledged support to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) with USD 9.3 billion over the next four years (2024-2027). The Fund urges further contributions from other countries in the coming weeks.

The funding pledges received today enable the GCF to channel new, additional and predictable financial resources to developing countries to support the paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate resilient development pathways – mitigating 1.5 to 2.4 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent – and enhancing the resilience of up to 900 million people.

“Time is not on our side. And promises made must be promises kept. This is the only way to rebuild the trust needed to confront the climate crisis,” said Selwin Hart, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General of the Climate Action Team.

Achieving Sustainable Development Requires Solidarity, Measures to Alleviate Debt Burden, Speaker Says, as Second Committee Debates Countries in Special Situations (United Nations)

Despite some progress in lowering poverty in least developed countries, it remains worrisomely high, hindering progress at all levels, a senior United Nations official told delegates today as the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) took up groups of countries in special situations.

The representative of Armenia underscored “the importance of regional and subregional cooperation and connectivity through trade, transport and people-to-people contacts,” she stressed, announcing a thematic meeting in Yerevan on 20-21 November 2023 titled “Enhancing equitable, affordable and inclusive transport connectivity as a driver for more sustainable and resilient economies in LLDCs [landlocked developing countries.”

Citing trade as another critical issue, Mongolia’s representative noted her country still has much to do to increase its participation in global trade, given its limited integration into regional and global value chains, lack of product and export market diversification and significant reliance on just a few natural resources. Nonetheless, in the last decade, the Ulaanbaatar-based International Think Tank for Landlocked Developing Countries was successfully operationalized, obtaining observer status in the General Assembly.

WTO lowers 2023 trade growth forecast amid global manufacturing slowdown (WTO)

Projections for growth in global merchandise trade in 2023 have been scaled back by WTO economists amid a continued slump that began in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the latest WTO trade forecast released on 5 October. The volume of world merchandise trade is now expected to grow by 0.8% this year, less than half the 1.7% increase forecasted in April. The 3.3% growth projected for 2024 remains nearly unchanged from the previous estimate.

Quick links

A year of trading under AfCFTA – a Rwandan businesswoman’s story

ANALYSIS: How AU, ECOWAS, others enable coups in Africa

Annual Meetings 2023 Preamble: Lack of governance reform and economic transformation front and centre as World Bank and IMF meet in Africa for first time in 50 years

World Bank’s Fall 2023 Regional Economic Updates


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