tralac Daily News
Deputy President Paul Mashatile: Africa Oil Week (South African Government)
The theme for the 2023 Africa Oil Week, “Maximising Africa’s Natural Resources in the Global Energy Transition”, speaks volumes, considering that the globe, especially the global south, is confronted by the energy availability factor, which impacts the growth trajectory of our nations. Indeed, as a continent, we must champion the cause to maximise Africa’s natural resources during this global energy transition.
As a natural resource-rich continent, Africa, through its resources, has significantly contributed to the expansion of many developed economies worldwide. It is indeed a paradox that while the continent boasts a wealth of resources, it is still largely confronted by high levels of poverty and underdevelopment.
The profitability of mineral resources has provided nations with the capacity to maintain industrial activities, as well as ensuring that there is energy security. In the world that we live in today, mineral resources are the currency that drives economic growth, it is therefore essential that any conversation about the sector must be anchored in the perspectives of African nations for their benefit.
South Africa’s gas master plan ready, official says (Engineering News)
South Africa’s master plan to develop its gas market is finally ready after repeated delays as it aims to reduce its carbon emissions and avoid chronic power outages that have plagued Africa’s most developed economy for years. The master plan will go to the cabinet before public release, a senior official at the department of mineral resources and energy (DMRE) said on Tuesday.
“It is done, it is going through the internal processes to go to cabinet for public comment”, Jacob Mbele, the chief director at the DMRE told journalists. South Africa wants to diversify its energy mix away from ageing coal-fired power plants prone to breakdowns and help reduce harmful emissions from the continent’s top polluter. The country estimates it has gas resources of around 60-trillion cubic feet (tcf) offshore and a further 200 tcf onshore.
The failure to come up with a master plan, first raised almost a decade ago, has added to regulatory uncertainty in South Africa, where French energy company TotalEnergies was looking to develop two large offshore gas finds. Another DMRE official said last month the new gas master plan was designed to balance the demand and supply of natural gas until 2050, modelled on data gleaned and verified by the industry.
West Africa records growth despite coups and underperformance of its largest economies (Business Insider Africa)
The World Bank relayed the aforementioned information in its Africa’s Pulse bi-annual report. The global lender identified how Africa is doing based on regional performance, which supports its evaluation. The report shows that while the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) and the largest economies in Africa such as Nigeria and South Africa have underperformed, regions like the East African Community and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) are performing better than the regional average in 2023.
The presence of large areas of high development and small areas of low growth that are correlated with economic and political stability (or lack thereof) serves as confirmation of the significant diversity in growth between countries in the region.
More than three-quarters of the GDP of Sub-Saharan Africa is generated by the ten largest economies, seven of which are expanding at rates that are below their long-term average growth. Sudan, Ghana, and Angola are three of the nations that will do worse in 2023 than they did from 2001-2019 in terms of growth rates. Nevertheless, development is anticipated to pick up for the majority of nations as the projected annual average growth rate for 2024-25 is greater than that of 2023 for 39 of the region’s 47 countries.
A three-day workshop to update the Rules of Origin for the Tripartite Free Trade Area and align them with the latest Harmonized System (HS) 2022 version, begun Monday 09 October 2023 at COMESA Secretariat in Lusaka, Zambia. The alignment will help avoid misapplication of the Rules of Origin and facilitate origin determination, thereby ensuring efficient and effective collection of revenue.
Rules of Origin serve as critical instruments in advancing the three development pillars of the Tripartite, which include Market Integration, Infrastructure Development, and Industrial Development. The Harmonized System, maintained by the World Customs Organization (WTO), undergoes updates approximately every five years. These updates are essential to accommodate new products, address global environmental and social concerns, and recognize emerging trade patterns, among other factors. Consequently, it becomes necessary to ensure that the Rules of Origin for various trade agreements, which are based on the HS, are also updated to reflect the latest HS version.
At the opening of the workshop, Assistant Secretary General in charge of programmes in COMESA, Dr. Mohamed Kadah called for simplified, transparent and predictable rules of origin for easy trade flow, especially amongst the small-scale traders. “In preparation for the implementation of the TFTA, it is necessary to ensure that the Rules of Origin are aligned to the latest version of the Harmonized System which is in use by most the Partner/Member States,” he said in a statement presented by Director of Trade and Customs, Dr Christopher Onyango.
Over 40% of grains contain unacceptable levels of aflatoxin contamination (The Business & Financial Times)
As high as 40 percent of grains sold in the markets are said to contain unacceptable levels of aflatoxin contamination, posing serious health implications for consumers. Aflatoxin contamination of above 20 percent concentration in grains is considered too high, but grains on the local market are said to contain double this percentage or more.
Aflatoxins are naturally-occurring compounds that are produced from the moulds Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, and are known to be potent human carcinogens. The high levels of contamination not only pose a threat to human health but also affect farmers and grain dealers greatly, as most companies and manufacturers which use grains as raw materials prefer imported ones.
To mitigate this situation, the African Development Bank (AfDB) in partnership with Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX), Ghana Standards Authority, Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Department of Agriculture-University of Ghana, with financial support from Korea Africa Economic Cooperation Fund (KOAFEC), has launched a national programme to educate and sensitise stakeholders in the agriculture value chain on aflatoxins.
Civil society organizations, government representatives, and the private sector convened at a high-level policy symposium in Kampala on September 27-28 to address the critical issue of pharmaceutical production and access in Africa. The symposium aimed to explore ways to increase local production, reduce dependence on imports, and improve access to drugs and vaccines.
“Africa’s reliance on imports extends to vaccines, with the continent consuming 1.3 billion vaccines annually, representing 25% of global demand,” he said. “Shockingly, only 1% of these vaccines are manufactured locally, emphasizing Africa’s dependence on foreign sources for 99% of its vaccine needs.” So, how can this trend be reversed? Rangarirai Machemdze, the coordinator of SEATINI Southern Africa, proposes leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to address this challenge.
As the world reaches midway to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there is a growing sense of urgency around the need to accelerate necessary transformations to deliver a healthy planet. In Africa, the United Nations Development System Agencies are contributing to accelerating transformations to the SDGs by, inter alia, providing access to relevant information to ensure Africans enjoy clean energy, air and water, walkable cities, flourishing landscapes, nutritious food, and a stable climate.
Dubbed the Africa Knowledge Management Hub (AKMH), the online ecosystem provides federated access to a variety of knowledge to help African governments in their quest to get the right transition for people, nature and climate, reduce inequalities, and spur economic growth to achieve the SDGs and Agenda 2063 that is Africa’s blueprint and master plan for transforming the continent into a global powerhouse of the future.
Global recovery remains slow, with growing regional divergences and little margin for policy error, the IMF says. The global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine remains slow and uneven. Despite economic resilience earlier this year, with a reopening rebound and progress in reducing inflation from last year’s peaks, it is too soon to take comfort. Global growth is forecast to slow from 3.5 percent in 2022 to 3.0 percent in 2023 and 2.9 percent in 2024. The projections remain below the historical (2000–19) average of 3.8 percent. Central banks need to restore price stability while using policy tools to relieve potential financial stress when needed.
Three forces are at play: The recovery in services is almost complete and the strong demand that supported services-oriented economies is now softening. Tighter credit conditions are weighing on housing markets, investment, and activity, more so in countries with a higher share of adjustable-rate mortgages or where households are less willing, or able, to dip into their savings. Firm bankruptcies are increasing in some economies, although from historically low levels. Countries are now at different points in their hiking cycle: advanced economies (except Japan) are near the peak, while some emerging market economies that started hiking earlier, such as Brazil and Chile, have already started easing. Inflation and economic activity are shaped by last year’s commodity price shock.
Proactive investment facilitation is key to attracting funding in vital areas such as renewables, health and infrastructure for developing countries. UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2023 shows that developing countries need renewable energy investments of about $1.7 trillion annually but they attracted only $544 billion in 2022. The world urgently needs a surge in financing for sustainable development.
At the halfway mark between the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 and their 2030 finish line, developing countries currently face a gaping SDG-investment gap of approximately $4 trillion annually. To get the SDGs back on track, increasing the quantity of investment is not enough. There’s also the quality – the extent to which investment delivers concrete sustainable development benefits. Worldwide, investment facilitation policies are advancing through international, regional and bilateral initiatives. When geared towards sustainable investment, such policies can support countries to unlock much-needed capital for the SDGs.
And this is one of the key topics UNCTAD’s upcoming 8th World Investment Forum will tackle, bringing key stakeholders including government ministers, international organizations, as well as CEOs of leading companies and stock exchanges. The forum is set for 16 to 20 October in Abu Dhabi.
Against a backdrop of growing geopolitical tensions, proliferating crises and widening inequalities, the challenges facing the global community in reaching the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development are vast, the UN said on Monday. With the Internet holding a critical role in navigating these complexities, the 18th annual Internet Governance Forum hosted by the Government of Japan is under the overarching theme, “The Internet We Want – Empowering All People.”
Considering the rapid tech advances, including in Artificial Intelligence (AI), risking exacerbating existing inequalities, the Forum focuses on how we leverage the benefits of digital technologies, while mitigating the risks. While technology is moving at warp speed in a select group of countries, the reality is that 2.6 billion people are still offline, mostly in the Global South and vulnerable communities.