Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

South Africa Wants to Hand Operation of Rail, Ports to Business After $27 Billion Loss (Bloomberg BNN0

The South African presidency has a plan to reverse the collapse of a state-run ports and freight-rail sector that’s cost the economy at least $26.7 billion since 2010: hand over most of the responsibility for fixing it to the private sector. The plan is encapsulated in a 124-page Roadmap for the Freight Logistics System in South Africa seen by Bloomberg. It sets out time-lines for everything from setting up an independent port and rail regulator, allowing private companies to access rail lines and offering rights to operate ports and rail routes to private companies.

The plan is the latest evidence that South Africa’s ruling African National Congress has been forced into backtracking on one of its core tenets — that state companies and investment will lead economic growth — and instead rely on the private sector to arrest the decline of services. Private companies are also investing in power and water provision that were once the near exclusive purview of the South African state.

The need for South Africa to take action to fix its broken logistics system is urgent.

Launch of BMA a step in the right direction in securing South Africa’s borders

EU announces new aid package to Ethiopia (The Journal Record)

The European Union has pledged assistance worth 650 million euros to Ethiopia, nearly three years after it cut direct aid to the East African country over atrocities committed in a bloody civil war. Jutta Urpilainen, the EU commissioner for international partnerships, announced the agreement during a press conference with Ethiopian Finance Minister Ahmed Side in the capital, Addis Ababa, on Oct. 3.

“It is time to gradually normalize relations and rebuild a mutually reinforcing partnership with your country,” said Urpilainen, describing the aid package as “the first concrete step” in this process after a cease-fire ended the war last November. The EU aid package was initially worth 1 billion euros ($1.04 billion) and was due to be given to Ethiopia from 2021 to 2027, but it was suspended in late 2020 after fighting broke out in the northern Tigray region. The U.S. also halted assistance and legislated for sanctions.

VP urges Africa to boost domestic market for cashews (Tanzania Daily News)

Dr Philip Mpango has called on African countries to boost local consumption of cashewnuts and their by-products and tap into the enormous continental market of almost 1.4 billion people, under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Launching Tanzania International Cashew Conference in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday, Dr Mpango also tasked the Ministry of Agriculture to fast track investments in cashew processing factories.

“It is imperative for African countries to work on reducing cashews consumer prices, so as to promote regional market for the crop and its related products, said Dr Mpango at the conference organised by African Cashew Alliance in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Cashewnut Board of Tanzania (CBT). The conference brought together farmers, processors, cooperatives, traders, regulators, consumers, financial institutions, development partners, policy makers and other stakeholders of the cashew value chain.

“Let us buy and consume cashewnut produced in our continent…But for this to happen, consumer prices must be affordable to the majority of our people,” Dr Mpango underlined.

Nigeria’s Oil Production Improved in September, Still Far from OPEC’s Quota (THISDAYLIVE)

Nigeria’s crude oil production improved in September, rising by a volume of roughly 165,429 Barrels Per Day (BPD) during the month under consideration. However, analysis of the data from the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) yesterday, showed that the country is still far from meeting its Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) quota despite the increase in output.

But while the current production allocation given to Nigeria by the international producers’ group is 1.74 million barrels per day, the information from the petroleum industry regulator showed that Nigeria was only able to drill 1.34 million bpd last month. It would be the country’s highest self-reported crude oil output since January 2022 when Nigeria managed to produce 1.39 million bpd. The lowest production for that year was just above 900,000 bpd.

IMF to Nigeria: Focus More on Policies to Safeguard Vulnerable Persons (THISDAYLIVE)

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday advised policymakers in Nigeria to focus on designing policies to safeguard vulnerable persons in the country. The Washington-based institution also emphasised the need for Nigeria to discontinue the practice of funding part of it’s national budget with financing from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Also yesterday, the President of the World Bank Group, Ajay Banga, reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to promoting increased intra-Africa trade, highlighting its role as a catalyst for fostering inclusive growth across the African continent. The Washington-based institution also emphasised the need for Nigeria to discontinue the practice of funding part of it’s national budget with financing from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

African govts urged to leverage AfCFTA to tackle food insecurity (The New Times)

The faster implementation of the AfCFTA and supporting the agricultural value chain are two of the key recommendations of a meeting of more than 200 ministers, economists, and private sector players from Central and Eastern Africa, which was held from September 26-29 in Bujumbura, Burundi.

Known as the Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts (ICSOE), the meeting organised by the United Nations Economic Community for Africa (ECA), discussed ways to improve manufacturing and food security in Central and East Africa and how to position the two sub-regions as preferred investment destinations.

According to the meeting’s report seen by The New Times, the leaders also called for government support for smallholder farmers and strong measures to reduce food waste which stands at around 40 per cent of all harvest in African countries.

Nigeria Ratifies AU Convention On Cross Border Cooperation (News Agency of Nigeria)

Nigeria has deposited its instrument of ratification for the African Union (AU) Convention on cross-border cooperation. Mr Adamu Adaji, Director-General, National Boundary Commission made this known in a statement signed by the commission’s Head of Information Unit, Mrs Efe Ovuakporie in Abuja on Thursday. Adaji said that the instrument was deposited at the African Union Commission Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, adding that Nigeria had earlier signed the convention on Jan. 29, 2017.

“With this deposition, Nigeria has become the 9th country to have ratified and deposited the Niamey Convention at the African Union Commission Headquarters.

He explained that the convention, otherwise known as the Niamey Convention, has a strong commitment by member states towards the promotion of cross-border cooperation for sustainable development of the African continent.

African Ministers discuss comprehensive reform proposals for the IMF and the World Bank at the 2023 Annual Meetings (UNECA)

African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development have called for key reforms of the Bretton Woods Institutions at the 2023 Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund. The call for reforms was made during a meeting of the Africa High-level Working Group on the Global Financial Architecture on the margins of the Annual Meetings in Marrakech, Morocco.

Amidst the polycrisis, Ministers underscored the urgency of increasing access to liquidity and bolstering the global financial safety net. Specifically, they stressed the importance of securing adequate loan and subsidy resources for the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) to ensure a minimum lending capacity of at least SDR 3 billion per year from 2025.

Ministers welcomed the IMF Executive Board decision from March 2023 to temporarily raise annual access limits for the General Resource Account (GRA) to 200 percent of quota and the cumulative access limit to 600 percent of quota. They called for making these increased access limits permanent and for aligning the PRGT’s access limits with those of the GRA.

Ministers also highlighted a pressing need for further resource mobilization for the Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST) to ensure that more countries can access IMF lending with extended maturities to build their long-term resilience.

Statement by World Bank President Ajay Banga, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, Morocco’s Minister of Economy and Finance Nadia Fettah, and Bank Al-Maghrib Governor Abdellatif Jouahri on the Marrakech Principles for Global Cooperation

“As the global community gathers in Marrakech, we need to stand together, united in the goal of protecting our future prosperity and ending extreme poverty. Prospects for global growth in the medium-term are at their lowest level in decades. The scarring effects of successive crises are increasingly apparent, just as many countries are struggling to overcome high inflation, high debt, and significant financing shortfalls to provide basic services, support infrastructure and climate action, and address rising poverty, inequality, and fragility.

“The world has become more shock-prone, with increased risks to growth, development, jobs, and living standards that widen inequalities within and across countries. Emerging market and developing economies have been especially hard hit. Income divergence with advanced economies has deepened further, and the world is not on a path to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030.

“Marrakech 2023 is a call for enhanced global collaborative action on common challenges, so we can build resilience and expand opportunities for a better future.”These 4 Marrakech Principles for Global Cooperation provide a broad framework to help harness the power of multilateralism to the benefit of all.

Development Committee: The Managing Director’s Written Statement October 2023 (IMF)

The global economy has shown resilience, but the recovery is slow and uneven. Risks have moderated in recent months but remain tilted to the downside. Headline inflation is about half of its 2022 peak but the decline in core inflation is more gradual. Growth momentum across most low-income and emerging market countries is weakening and achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is becoming increasingly challenging. While restoring price stability, normalizing fiscal policy, and protecting the vulnerable remain near-term policy priorities, policymakers should actively pursue policies that can support sustained growth—including macro-structural reforms and green transition. Multilateral cooperation is critical to address the challenges that hold back global recovery and shadow future prosperity, including risks associated with geoeconomic fragmentation.

The Managing Director’s Global Policy Agenda, Annual Meetings 2023: Building Shared Prosperity and Collective Resilience (IMF)

The global economy has shown resilience: macroeconomic policies are delivering, inflation is steadily declining, and financial markets have stabilized. But the recovery is slow and uneven, medium-term growth prospects are weak, and there is a risk of further divergence across countries. The key policy priorities are to (1) safeguard macroeconomic stability and rebuild buffers while enhancing prosperity through growth-oriented and green reforms and (2) bolster international cooperation to strengthen the global financial safety net and debt architecture and to support ongoing fundamental transitions that transcend borders and require joint action. The IMF—as trusted advisor, provider of financial support, and platform for cooperation—remains committed to bringing countries together to solve global challenges.

OCP Group and World Bank Join Forces to Boost Food Security and Agricultural Development in West Africa (World Bank)

At the World Bank and IMF Annual Meetings in Marrakech, the OCP Chairman Mostafa Terrab and World Bank Vice President for Western and Central Africa Ousmane Diagana signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to foster cooperation and programs benefitting five million farmers in Benin, Guinea, Mali, and Togo, covering 10 million hectares. This cooperation aims at accelerating investments and reforms to make fertilizers more accessible and affordable to farmers. “These projects are an important step towards unlocking Africa’s potential in global food security,” said OCP Group’s Chairman and CEO, Mr. Mostafa Terrab. “The goal is to drive a just and sustainable agricultural transition, by widening the access of farmers in West Africa to customized fertilizers that nourish the soil and improve crop yields, which in turn enhances the livelihoods of farmers, thereby contributing to African development and prosperity.”

This is a critical partnership to help achieve the commitments made by the Ministries of Agriculture and Food Security of member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the Lomé Declaration endorsed in May 2023.

SADC commits to strengthen measures associated with ensuring food safety (SADC)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is committed to fostering regional coordination and harmonisation of food standards and regulations to prevent foodborne diseases, reduce the risk of food contamination, and safeguard the integrity of food.

In his official opening remarks at the 14th SADC Food Safety Technical Committee Meeting being held from 10th to 12th October 2023, Lusaka Zambia, SADC Director for Industrial Development and Trade (IDT), Mr. Dhunraj Kassee said one in ten people in the world falls ill and 420,000 people die every year after eating contaminated food. 40% of children under five years of age carry the burden of foodborne diseases, with 125,000 deaths every year. “SADC Member States commit to cooperate in developing and implementing effective measures that respond to threats of food contamination to protect lives and livelihoods while at the same time reducing differences in these measures, which may result in barriers to trade” he said.

In 2019, the AU published a common Sanitary (human or animal life or health) and (plant life or health) Phytosanitary (SPS) Policy Framework for Africa which recognises the importance of reducing barriers to trade. The SPS Policy Framework aligns with the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and recognises the economic potential of the agriculture and food sector particularly in the intra-African cross border trade. The AU Commission therefore perceives this Meeting as a critical entry point of initiating actions to improve cooperation with SADC structures related to food safety.

Extreme Poverty in Developing Countries Inextricably Linked to Global Food Insecurity Crisis, Senior Officials Tell Second Committee (United Nations)

An increase in extreme poverty in developing countries — for the first time in two decades — is inextricably linked to the global food insecurity crisis, senior United Nations officials warned the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today, calling for urgent strategies to turn back the tide.

Benjamin Davis, Director of the Inclusive Rural Transformation and Gender Equality Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), presented reports of the Secretary-General titled “Eradicating rural poverty to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and “Agriculture development, food security and nutrition”. He noted that more than 80 per cent of the world’s extreme poor live in rural areas — at rates nearly three times higher than among urban residents. He called for the implementation of inclusive, environmentally sustainable strategies that put the eradication of rural poverty at the centre.

Turning to the report on agriculture development, food security and nutrition, he said that some 29.6 per cent of the global population — 2.4 billion people — were moderately or severely food-insecure in 2022, 391 million more than in 2019, with more women and people in rural areas denied access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food year-round. A long-term, holistic approach is needed to address structural problems such as political and economic shocks, unsustainable management of natural resources and socioeconomic exclusion.

AU embarks on mitigating shortage of animal feeds (New Vision)

The African Union-Inter African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) has joined efforts with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to transform the animal feed sector into an industry. The efforts are folded under a new project dubbed: Evidence Driven Short Term Solutions to Build Resilience and Address the Adverse Effects of Crises on African Feed and Fodder Systems, commonly referred to as Resilient African Feed and Fodder Systems (RAFFS) project.

According to Agriculture Ministry Assistant Commissioner Animal Nutrition/Principal Rage Ecologist Denis Mulongo Maholo, the project is aimed at helping six African countries develop a conducive environment for transforming the animal feed sector into an industry. ”By an industry we mean, there could be a clear movement of goods from one point to another and in such an industry, we expect things like contract farming, contract supplies with enough feeds supplied to the consumers at the right time,” he said.

Under the project, Maholo said they expect and aspire to eliminate the seasonal animal feed shortages the countries have been experiencing which have led to most of the farmers especially the poultry farmers to collapse out of business.

“Because of the loopholes in the value chain, we have had some of our exports being banned, because we cannot meet the quality demands of the market where we are taking the commodities.

Immediate action is needed to get Africa on track with global goals (FAO)

The Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu, today called for immediate action to help Africa get back on track to meet global goals on food security and nutrition, pointing to science, technology and innovation, investments, and the continent’s reservoir of resourceful youth, as potential solutions.

Qu was invited to address the first Vatican Roundtable of African Farmers, an event designed to provided farmers from Sub-Saharan Africa with the opportunity “to bring their unique perspectives and concrete experiences to the forefront of global discussions on agricultural development in their region,” organizers said. The meeting took place just days before the opening of the World Food Forum, FAO’s flagship annual event.

Africa has been a strong focus of FAO’s efforts since its foundation, nearly 60 years. Unfortunately, the number of undernourished people there has risen to over 281 million since the outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic, while conflicts and the climate crisis continue to plague the continent.

Africa is not on track to meet the global goals on food security and nutrition set out in the 2030 Agenda, nor the goals of the Malabo Declaration agreed to by Members of the African Union.”In Africa, we critically and urgently need more efficient, more inclusive, more resilient and more sustainable agrifood systems to increase agricultural productivity to be 2 times higher than what it is now,” Qu said.

Food Systems must be rewired to halt escalating hunger and soften climate impacts, WFP says on World Food Day (UN World Food Programme)

To make more progress in the fight against hunger, the world needs to make at-risk communities less vulnerable to climate shocks and other emergencies, the UN World Food Programme said today. “If we want to break out of the never-ending cycle of crisis and response, we need to address the root causes of hunger by multi-year, long-term projects that shield communities from the impacts of the climate crisis,” said Volli Carucci, WFP’s Head of Resilience and Food Systems.

While the role of climate in driving up hunger is growing, solutions are available. Early-warning systems can help vulnerable communities prepare for weather shocks. Communities and local food systems can be protected by restoring water resources, digging irrigation canals and rebuilding natural barriers against climate extremes.

“We need to rewire food systems in the places where people are hungry, and regenerate the foundation of those systems: the land. We have to help small farmers bring food back to degraded land and create jobs within food systems. In the long run this will help reduce humanitarian needs and the number of costly emergency response operations needed,” Carucci said.

African Energy Chamber (AEC) Endorses Minister Mantashe’s Vision for Africa’s Energy Future, with an Emphasis on Oil and Gas (ZAWYA)

South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, advocated for the ongoing and collaborative development of Africa’s oil and gas resources during Africa Oil Week on Tuesday – a stance that is fully supported by the African Energy Chamber (AEC)

Minister Mantashe’s acknowledgment of Africa’s substantial oil, gas and mineral deposits aligns with the AEC’s mission to leverage these resources for the continent’s development and his sentiments will be further unpacked at African Energy Week (AEW) 2023 ­­– scheduled for 16–20 in Cape Town – where the Minister will provide a keynote speech during the opening ceremony.

Mantashe emphasized Africa’s substantial oil and gas reserves, citing recent discoveries of oil in Namibia and the Ivory Coast, as well as gas discoveries in South Africa. These findings not only underscore the continent’s resource wealth but also the growing need for increased investment in refining capacity across Africa.

“We are convinced that the development of Africa’s oil and gas sector will be the game changer for Africa as it was the case for developed nations. Any further delay in this regard prolongs the acceleration of the continent’s energy security and undermines our concerted efforts aimed at eradicating energy poverty,” he noted.

Experts speak on energy transaction costs in Africa (Premium Times Nigeria)

Some experts in the energy sector in Africa have proffered solutions to worrying energy transaction costs across the continent. Energy transaction costs in Africa include all the costs involved in transacting energy, such as investment, financing, and legal costs, among others.

A World Energy Outlook Special Report titled Financing Clean Energy in Africa, unveiled in September by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in association with the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), highlighted that energy investment on the continent has fallen short, accounting for a mere 3 per cent of the global total, even though Africa is home to one-fifth of the world’s population.

Climate change: Civil society orgs demand cancellation of debts from developed countries, IFIs (The Business Standard)

A group of country’s civil society organisations has called on the developed countries, particularly those in the Global North, and the international financial institutions (IFIs) to cancel all the debts of Bangladesh that are related to climate financing. The group, led by EquityBD, also demanded compensation and grant-based financing instead of loan on Thursday (12 October), reads a press statement.

Speaking at a human chain on Thursday, the civil society organisations criticised the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency for their role in making the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Climate Vulnerable Countries (CVCs) indebted in the name of climate finance.

Quick links

Eskom blackouts powering foreign renewables investment

China replaces African loans with energy investments amid faltering economy

Reshaping the shift to clean energy in Africa using natural gas

New treaty to protect the world’s oceans may hurt vulnerable African fisheries

The Imperative of African Unity in a Fragmenting World

Russia’s Politics of Free Grains to Poorest African Countries


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