tralac Daily News
President Cyril Ramaphosa has used his weekly newsletter to the nation to highlight the importance of the New Border Management Authority (BMA) in boosting the country’s security and development. The President said that the establishment of the BMA is a significant step towards safer communities, better law enforcement and the growth of the economy through greater trade with the country’s neighbours. President Ramaphosa emphasised that ensuring the borders are well-managed and well-protected is key to the security and development of the country.
“Maintaining the integrity of our country’s borders is key if we are to realise the aspiration of every South African to live in peace and harmony with ourselves and our neighbours. “It is a daunting undertaking. Our land border is over 4 800 km long and is shared with six countries. We have 53 land ports of entry, 11 international airports and eight sea ports. “The launch last week of the country’s first integrated, unified Border Management Authority (BMA) is therefore a milestone in the necessary effort to secure our borders,” the President said.
Last week, two new 400 kV substations and a 190km interconnector overhead transmission line were inaugurated in Omusati. The project, valued at N$1 billion, began in June 2021 during the tough COVID-19 period. The aim was to strengthen the backbone of northern Namibia while also connecting Angola and Namibia.
Speaking in a keynote address, the Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo said the event is not merely inaugurating substations and transmission lines; as it is “inaugurating a brighter future for Namibia and by extension for Southern Angola.” According to Alweendo, these substations and transmission lines are like vital highways that will bring electricity to every part of the country as well as open potential for regional integration.
“As we expand our network, we open doors to greater trade opportunities, collaboration, and growth with Angola. These infrastructures certainly allow for future trade to be strengthened between our two countries,” he said, adding that the Kunene Substation will serve as the connection point between Namibia and Angola.
Namibia pays for others’ gas emissions (New Era)
Despite Namibia’s minimal contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions in 2021 at a mere 0.03%, a combination of physical and societal characteristics makes the nation extremely vulnerable to the negative effects of global climate change.
As one of the biggest and driest countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Namibia experiences a wide variety of weather patterns ranging from frequent droughts to flash floods, irregular rainfall and extreme temperature changes. All these instances contribute to overall water scarcity.
“The country’s reliance on its endowment of natural resources including land, minerals and biodiversity, its high income inequality and poverty, and its high exposure to external shocks, increases its vulnerability to climate change.
Mauritius to foster a conducive investment climate for Africa, says Minister Seeruttun (Republic of Mauritius)
‘Mauritius will continue to fulfill its promise of delivering on the “Africa We Want” in line with the vision of the African Union Commission’s 2063 Agenda and work towards a common objective of creating a sustainable and inclusive environment to attract investment for Africa’s growth’.
This statement was made by the Minister of Financial Services and Good Governance, Mr Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, this morning, on day two of the Africa Partnership Conference (APC) being held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Balaclava.
In his address, the Minister highlighted that the two-day conference serves an opportune platform to cement the bond among APC countries in the pursuit to unify the continent and foster a conducive investment climate. “Government is taking purposeful strides in advancing the Mauritius for Africa Agenda and raise the country’s standing as an important economic hotspot for Africa,” he said.
Ethiopia Mulls Policy Shift To Allow Foreign Exporters Imports Access (The Reporter Ethiopia)
Ethiopia is considering allowing foreign exporters established in the country to utilize export revenues for imports, a move requested particularly by meat exporters to offset losses from exporting business, incurred by high domestic inflation. In a major policy shift, the government is aiming to reverse a long time ban on foreign businesses importing goods into the country.
If approved, the move would enable foreign companies established in Ethiopia to utilize forex retention brought in through exports to import items while also contributing to the government’s efforts to address supply constraints and inflation issues facing the country.
“In our three-year medium-term plan, the government prioritized improving supply and properly addressing inflation. Allowing foreign companies in Ethiopia to engage in importing is one potential tool,” he told The Reporter.
Throughout the past two decades, Morocco has faced several external and domestic shocks, including large swings in international oil prices, regional geopolitical tensions, severe droughts, and most recently the impact of the pandemic and the economic fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Despite rough waters, the government stayed the course and remained focused not only on immediate stability, but also on the long-term needs of the Moroccan economy. This involved the adoption of a series of difficult measures, like the elimination of energy subsidies, and a strategy aimed at improving the country’s infrastructure, diversifying the production and export bases by attracting foreign investment, and modernizing the governance structure of the public administration. The road to higher and more inclusive growth, however, remains steep.
Despite gains in poverty reduction, literacy and lifespans, Morocco economy continues to face a high share of inactive youth, large gaps in economic opportunities for women, a fragmented social protection system, and remaining barriers to private sector development. An ambitious reform agenda is needed to better meet the aspirations of Moroccans, by making economic growth stronger, more resilient and more inclusive, particularly to provide greater opportunities for young, women, and entrepreneurs. Morocco appears well positioned to address these challenges, and indeed, the country has recently sought to define and pursue a new “model of development”, through national debates and a more inclusive approach to reforms.
New report highlights that the Republic of Congo could reduce poverty in rural areas by 40% and in urban areas by 20% by 2050 by implementing more ambitious reforms to promote economic diversification and climate resilience.
The new Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) also concludes that business as usual is not an option. Economic losses could reach up to 17% of GDP by 2050 if reforms to diversify the economy and attract more climate investments are not taken. Climate impacts could also increase total health costs from $92 million in 2010 to $260 million by 2050.
“The Republic of Congo is at a crossroads. Climate change threatens the country’s development gains and poses significant risks to its natural, physical and human capital, therefore to its development objectives,” said Cheick Kante, World Bank Country Director for the Republic of Congo. “This report aims at promoting a debate on climate and development issues and identifies priority areas for action that can generate a greener and better future for all Congolese people”.
With other EAC countries not willing to sign the EPA, Kenya decided to make use of the variable geometry principle of the bloc, which allows a member state to move forward without other EAC members. The EPA with the East African Community, which is one of those groups, was already dead and gone in 2016, with EAC member states recognising that local industries would not be able to withstand competitive pressures from EU firms, locking the region even further in its role of provider of low-value-added primary commodities.
Mombasa is a gateway to the world for the landlocked countries of Eastern Africa. Out here, trucks from Uganda, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and many more, unload their cargo onto ships bound for Europe. This East African harbour is a gateway for the continent to the rest of the world, which is increasingly attracting investors, including the EU and China.
Europe is Mombasa’s “main market for fresh produce and flowers”, the harbour’s managing director, Captain William K. Ruto, told Euractiv. The Dutch port of Rotterdam accounts for 70% of the traffic, he said, followed by the United Kingdom, Germany, and France.
For the EU, investing in trade routes is about economic development and a way to push for a more environmentally friendly seaborne trade route over air freight, the bloc’s experts say. That’s the reason the EU and its member states invest in the so-called Northern Corridor. The strategic trade route, identified as such by the African Union, starts and ends at Mombasa port, linking the Great Lakes region of Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda, and Kenya with the world.
Outcry as miraa exporters kicked out of Kenya airport (The East African)
Miraa exporters have protested a decision by the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) to relocate miraa cargo handling from warehouses at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).According to a letter from KAA, all miraa and avocado consignments will be sorted and packed at a warehouse outside the airport from October 9.The letter said the decision was based on a meeting held by the Head of Public Service with miraa exporters.
“No miraa pickups will be allowed to access JKIA premises as discussed in the security meeting,” reads the letter by KAA Acting Managing Director Henry Ogoye. But the Nyambene Miraa Trade Association has protested the directive to evict miraa exporters from JKIA, saying it was misinformed.
India, Tanzania eye expanded trade in local currencies (Anadolu Ajansı)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan Monday expressed a desire to expand bilateral trade using local currencies, according to a joint statement issued after their meeting in the Indian capital New Delhi on Monday.
The Indian central bank has cleared the way for trade using local currencies i.e. Indian rupee and Tanzanian shilling by allowing the authorized banks in India and Tanzania to coordinate, the statement issued by the Indian Foreign Ministry said, adding that two sides agreed to continue with the “consultations in order to address any concerns so as to ensure the sustainability of this arrangement.” It also said the two sides agreed to increase bilateral trade volume, directing the respective officials to explore new areas of trade.
AfDB, ECOWAS Bank Sign Dual Currency Credit to Tackle Food Insecurity (Business Post Nigeria)
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) have signed an agreement for a dual currency line of credit comprising $50 million and €50 million to support local agricultural businesses in West Africa. The credit lines are expected to strengthen food security, economic growth, and employment generation.
President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of EBID, Mr George Agyekum Donkor said, “This credit facility illustrates EBID’s continued efforts to mobilise adequate resources to honour its commitment to the region’s transformation agenda through supporting and investing in key sectors, in this case, the agribusiness industry.”
This is the latest after the AfBD board of directors approved the dual currency line of credit for EBID early in 2023. The Africa Growing Together Fund, which is sponsored by China and managed by AfDB, will provide an additional $30 million in co-financing.
Energy experts from ECOWAS Member States are meeting in Cotonou, Benin to consider and validate three major legal texts which will help to strengthen the regulatory framework for the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market.
They are the Directive for the Harmonization of the Criteria for the Granting of Licences and Authorization to Participate in the Regional Electricity Market; the Regulation on the Surveillance of the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market; and the Regulation on the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market Levy.
While the Directive on the Harmonization of the Criteria for Granting Licenses and Authorization for Participation in the Regional Electricity Market is expected to promote a level-playing field for cross-border electricity trade among ECOWAS Member States, the Regional Electricity Market Supervision Regulation will establish rules and procedures for the supervision of participants in cross-border power trade to promote a favourable regional approach to investment and capacity development.
Poor intra-Africa airline connectivity, inadequate infrastructure and unclear policies, inconsistent regulations and rising aviation taxes and other statutory charges are preventing African economies from reaching their full potential.
This warning was issued by the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA). The trade body, which held its annual general assembly in Luanda, Angola, last week, called on regional governments to open access to their markets and allow more routes and more flights where regulatory impediments were blocking growth
AASA also cautioned that without a clear coordinated strategy for the development, production and supply of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) and improvements to airspace management to streamline traffic flows, the region’s airline industry would fail to meet the global net-zero 2050 carbon emissions target.
The state of democratic governance and peace in Africa has an impact on the growth performance and development at the national, regional and continent levels. The 12th edition of the High-Level Dialogue on democracy, human rights, and governance in Africa has concluded providing a platform for various stakeholders to examine the megatrends on the security and socio-economic development landscape and proffering solutions to existing and emerging causes of governance, security and development deficits.
Convened under the theme “delivering peace dividends through the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade (AfCFTA), the two-day High-Level Dialogue was preceded by youth consultations and Gender pre-forum where participants engaged niche-specific discussions on avenues to advance the full and meaningful participation of women and youth in development and security matters.
In examining the historical context and changing the democratic governance and security landscape of the continent, the forum drew comparable lessons on how low levels of development are an underlying cause of insecurity and explored how trade, particularly with the implementation of AfCFTA, can reverse the trends and address security and governance challenges. Poor governance hinders investments as private and foreign investors do not find the environment conducive for sustainability and returns on investments.
Following the mandate by the African Union (AU) Summit of Heads of State and Government and the AfCFTA Council of Ministers responsible for Trade, Afreximbank and the AfCFTA Secretariat were mandated to establish and operationalise the AfCFTA Adjustment Fund through a General Partnership – the AfCFTA Adjustment Fund Corporation – with operations of the Fund domiciled in Rwanda.
H.E. Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, said: “This inaugural meeting of the Board of the AfCFTA Adjustment Fund heralds a commendable milestone in the successful implementation of the Agreement. In collaboration with our strategic partner Afreximbank, we are committed to provide the necessary support to State Parties and private entities through the Adjustment Fund. The Board, composed of experts and driven leaders of the continent, will carry out the necessary actions to ensure compliance with all rules and regulations.”
Africa emerges as container bright spot (Splash247)
A bright spot for container shipping in a challenging year has been Africa, something experts believe will be spurred on in the coming years by the creation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the world’s largest free trade area.
Containerised imports into Africa in the first seven months of this year grew by 10.1% in comparison to the same period in 2019 and by 6.7% compared to the historically high 2022, according to Maersk Broker. The main driver of this increase has been the trade from Asia into the African west coast. The trade volume on this tradelande has grown by 20.9% compared to last year. Volumes from the Middle East and South America into West Africa have also contributed to the increase.
Such growth trends are also visible in the deployment on the Asia – West Africa trade, where the deployed tonnage in October this year has grown by 22.3% in teu terms compared to the same period of 2022, according to data from Maersk Broker. “Since most parts of Africa are experiencing rapid urbanisation, we expect the demand for building materials, electronics, furniture and other containerised goods to continue increasing,” stated the latest weekly container report from Maersk Broker.
In an initiative to simplify and standardize trade documents and procedures in the region, the inaugural regional consultative meeting on the implementation of measures outlined in the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 27 – 29 September 2023.
The forum, which was the first of this nature, was organized by COMESA through the support of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) – Trade Facilitation Programme, which is facilitating various capacity-building initiatives. The initiatives span a wide range of areas, including Customs Automation, the Regional Trade Information Portal (RTIP), the Regional Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program, Coordinated Border Management, and the establishment of a Regional Single Window.
This is a significant step toward fulfilling the directive set forth during the 42nd COMESA Council of Ministers Meeting held in November 2021. At that meeting, it was decided that the COMESA Secretariat, in collaboration with Member States and Development Partners, should mobilize both technical expertise and financial resources for the implementation of commitments falling under Category C of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
Data centres critical to unlock $1.2trn AfCFTA - NCC (Daily Trust)
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said data availability is critical to unlocking the opportunities embedded in the $1.2 trillion African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).The commission’s Executive Vice Chairman, EVC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta stated this at the fourth telecommunication sector sustainability forum, themed; ‘Mainstreaming Data Centres in the Nigerian Digital Economy’ held yesterday in Lagos.
“With the commencement of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the role and criticality of Data centres become increasingly overwhelming. “This is underscored by the kind of efficiency derivable when critical resources are shared at costs far significantly smaller than the actual costs of setting up such resources from scratch,” he said.
The EVC who was represented by the commission’s Head of Tariff Administration, Mr. Sunday Atu said the presence of data centers would avail the opportunities for businesses and public sector entities to benefit from latent treasure within the AfCFTA.
In a keynote speech at the 2023 Annual WTO Conference organized by the British Institute of International and Comparative Law in London on 6 October, Deputy Director-General Angela Ellard outlined how technological developments are changing the face of international trade. She stressed the increased role of services, especially digitally-delivered services, in the global economy, and how new technologies have helped to facilitate trade and improve transparency. She also outlined the latest state of play in negotiations on updating WTO rules.
A widening digital divide and severely lagging Internet-use in developing countries threaten to leave those States in the technological wake and preclude progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a senior United Nations official and Member States told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today as it took up information and communications technology (ICT) questions.
Angel Gonzalez Sanz, Head of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Division on Technology and Logistics of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), introduced the Secretary-General’s report on Progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society at the regional and international levels (document A/78/62−E/2023/49), spotlighting three key aspects: the changing context of digital cooperation; the impact of conflict and the risk of cyberconflict; and data governance.
Stressing the need to fully integrate the digital dimension into addressing poverty, gender equality and climate change, he noted that although 63 per cent of the world’s population is connected, least developed countries still only count 27 per cent of their populations as Internet users. “There is a risk that the data economy will be permanently dominated by a few stakeholders from a handful of technologically advanced economies,” he warned.
The role of preferential rules of origin in increasing trading opportunities for least-developed countries (LDCs) was the focus of the WTO Sub-Committee on LDCs on 5 October and an experience-sharing session held on the same day. Representatives from the private sector and academia highlighted the challenges and opportunities LDCs face in taking advantage of trade preferences.
Rules of origin are the criteria used to define where a product was made. Many preference programmes stipulate certain conditions relating to rules of origin, indicating how LDCs and developing economies can make use of these preferences.
The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has called on the global community to provide support for green industrial policies in commodity-dependent developing countries to transform and diversify their economies amid the global quest for a low-carbon energy transition.
These are sector-targeted policies that reshape a country’s economic production structure, attracting investments to increase countries’ domestic value-addition and integration in regional and global supply chains, with the aim of reducing commodity dependence, promoting economic and social goals, and generating environmental benefits.
UNCTAD’s Commodities and Development Report 2023, published on 9 October, spotlights the actions needed domestically and globally to tackle the intertwined triple development challenges of commodity dependence, inequality and climate change.
“The path to diversification that is inclusive and more sustainable is within our reach, but it demands strong political commitment from commodity-dependent developing countries and their development partners,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan said. “This report outlines a holistic approach that can drive sustainable development, safeguard vulnerable populations and contribute to global climate goals.”
UNCTAD calls for the redoubling of efforts towards economic diversification in countries where 60% or more of merchandise export revenues come from primary commodities, including crude oil, copper and wheat.
More than half (57 percent) of the world’s poorest countries, home to 2.4 billion people, are having to cut public spending by a combined $229 billion over the next five years, reveals new analysis by Oxfam today ahead of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Annual Meetings in Marrakech.
On current terms, low- and lower-middle income countries will be forced to pay nearly half a billion dollars every day in interest and debt repayments between now and 2029. Entire countries are facing bankruptcy, with the poorest countries now spending four times more repaying debts to rich creditors than on healthcare.
“The World Bank and IMF are returning to Africa for the first time in decades with the same old failed message: cut your spending, sack public service workers, and pay your debts despite the huge human costs. They must show they can genuinely change to reverse the tide of widening inequality within and between countries,” said Oxfam International Interim Executive Director Amitabh Behar.
Going into these Annual Meetings, two big issues are at the forefront: the debt crisis and the urgent need to generate more resources for sustainable development, climate adaptation and tackling poverty in low- and middle-income countries. However, the solutions being discussed by the World Bank, IMF and their biggest shareholders are only going to turn the vicious circle into a vortex.
SMEs in Africa take more loans as global peers wean off debt (The East African)
Loans to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on the continent have increased over the past year, even as most similar businesses globally reduce borrowing following improvement of the economic from the slump of the pandemic and Ukraine crises. Latest figures from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) show that while the amount of outstanding loans owed by SMEs in 2022 generally decreased in Europe, Middle East, Central Asia, and the Western countries, in Africa, they increased.
“After an initial surge at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the outstanding amount of SME loans as a share of GDP has consistently declined throughout 2022 in several regions,” reads the IMF’s latest Financial Access Survey published this week. But in Africa, despite the unwinding of the support programmes and monetary tightening just like the rest of the globe, the amount of loans owed by businesses continued to rise in 2022, indicating that the economic conditions could be worsening for small enterprises on the continent.