Building capacity to help Africa trade better

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tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

South Africa mulls Dutch, Danish entry to $8.5bn climate pact (Engineering News)

South Africa’s Cabinet will consider a proposal on whether to include the Netherlands and Denmark in its landmark $8.5 billion climate-finance pact with some of the world’s richest nations. Expanding the so-called Just Energy Transition Partnership could give momentum to the implementation of an agreement that’s been bogged down by delays and opposition from South African coal miners since it was announced almost two years ago at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

“The matter will be tabled before cabinet and thereafter a decision will be communicated,” said Vincent Magwenya, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesman. He declined to comment further. The pact with the UK, US, France, Germany and the European Union to help South Africa reduce its reliance on coal, which is used to generate more than 80% of its electricity, is seen as a blueprint for deals agreed later with other coal-dependent developing nations such as Indonesia and Vietnam. South Africa is the world’s 14th-largest source of climate-warming greenhouse gases.

Kenyan Court Dismisses GMO Lawsuit, Raises East Africa Trade Concerns (VOA)

A Kenyan court has dismissed a case challenging the importation of genetically modified foods, letting stand an earlier court ruling allowing the entry of so-called GMOs. The Law Society of Kenya, the nation’s premier bar association that petitioned the court, argued that genetically modified food was unsafe for humans and that lifting a ban on its importation was unconstitutional.

But in a decision handed down Thursday, High Court Justice Oscar Angote ruled that the petitioners failed to prove that such food was harmful for human consumption.

Last October, the Kenyan government lifted a ban on the importation of genetically modified foods because of growing food insecurity and the inability of farmers to produce enough food to feed the population.

Angote ruled there was no evidence to show that the modified food can harm human beings. He also said there is a need for the population to trust the institutions set up to check the quality of food.

FEC approves sub-committees for industrial revitalisation, free trade zone (Premium Times Nigeria)

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the formation of two committees on the industrial revitalisation roadmap and review of the Free Trade Zones in the country to improve the nation’s economy.

The Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite, disclosed this at the end of the second meeting of FEC on Monday in Abuja. She said the committees, to be chaired by President Bola Tinubu, would have various sub-committees to harmonise the activities of the ministry with those of other ministries and agencies relevant to it.

Mrs Uzoka-Anite said the sub-committees would come up with a roadmap toward the full revival of the economy in line with the president’s eight-point agenda. The minister explained that the sub-committees will include consumer credit, commodity exchange, heavy industries, steel development, and licensing and certification of artisans. Others are the sub-committee on trade facilitation and liberalisation, mining and solid minerals, oil and gas, as well as the creative industry.

Sea access as a crucial element in Ethiopia’s development agenda (Ethiopian News Agency)

In light of Ethiopia’s ever-growing population, gaining access to the sea is not a mere luxury but a matter of utmost significance for the country’s existence. As the population continues to increase, the demand for various resources and opportunities has also risen exponentially. Therefore, Ethiopia believes that sea access is essential to catering to the needs of its expanding populace and ensuring their survival and well-being.

Ethiopia’s quest for a sea port is undeniably justifiable given its landlocked geographical position and the potential benefits that access to a sea port can bring. Being surrounded by landlocked countries, Ethiopia faces significant challenges in terms of importing and exporting goods. Therefore, seeking access to a sea port is a logical step for the country to enhance its economic growth and regional integration.

Afreximbank Begins Developing $1Billion Morocco-Africa Trade and Investment Promotion Programme (The Fintech Times)

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government of Morocco, represented by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, to develop a $1billion Morocco-Africa Trade and Investment Promotion Programme. According to the terms of the MoU, the programme will aim to facilitate and guide future cooperation in areas of common interest between Afreximbank, the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Morocco, other government departments, and Moroccan economic operators.

Areas of collaboration under the programme will include financing and promoting intra- and extra-African trade through the implementation of credit, risk bearing and trade information and advisory services. It will also include support for engagements, missions, exchange of information and capacity building.

Benin breaks into the top 10 for tax transparency worldwide, the only African country in the group (Ecofin Agency)

Benin achieved a remarkable performance for the latest global tax expenditure transparency index. The country has entered the top 10 most tax-transparent countries globally, securing the 8th position with a score of 66.3/100 and standing as the sole African representative in this category. The country even outperformed powerful countries like the United States and Italy.

This ranking, published on October 9 by the Council on Economic Policies (CEP) in collaboration with the German Institute for Development and Sustainability (IDOS), aims to strengthen transparency and accountability in tax expenditures worldwide. In this year’s edition, South Korea holds the first place, followed by Canada. France, on the other hand, ranks 5th.

Resource-rich African countries target emissions reductions in energy sector with Commonwealth support (The Commonwealth)

Government officials from six emerging oil and gas producers in Africa gathered recently in Senegal to examine tangible actions they could undertake, as to minimise greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector. The week-long workshop, titled Oil and Gas Emissions Visibility and Reductions, was delivered by the Commonwealth Secretariat, in collaboration with the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), Natural Resources Governance Institute (NRGI), Norwegian Petroleum Directorate and other industry experts.

More than 50 delegates from Ghana, Uganda, Namibia, Tanzania, Mauritania, and Senegal – countries with significant petroleum discoveries - took part in the training. Each country’s delegation included representatives from various petroleum, environment and climate institutions.

Naadira Ogeer, Economic Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat and project lead for the New Producers Group, said: “If oil and gas projects were designed from the beginning with emissions management as a key criterion, it would drastically change the emission footprint from these assets.” “This is the unique opportunity for emerging producers, even with little or no infrastructure, they could become the gold standard for emissions management. This is no easy feat and will require policy coherence and considerable technical assistance to achieve.”

Corruption costs Africa $140 billion a year (defenceWeb)

Interpol’s just ended Africa conference in Luanda closed with delegates agreeing to increase information sharing in multiple crime areas from counter-terrorism to wildlife trafficking.

More than 160 senior police officers from Africa and elsewhere attending the three-day conference in the Angolan capital heard data sharing across Africa using Interpol systems increased by seven percent in 2022. This led to the international police organisation saying in a statement “even greater information sharing within and beyond Africa is recognised as a necessary condition to effectively address global crime threats”.

“Every year, Africa loses on average $60 billion in illicit financial flows and more than $140 billion to corruption. The AU will continue to rely on African police through Afripol (the AU ‘mechanism’ for police co-operation), Interpol and police in member states to respond to these threats,” Monique Nsanzabaganwa, AU Deputy Chair, said.

“A major source and transit region for environmentally sensitive commodities exploited and illegally trafficked to the rest of the world, Africa is a destination region for waste and other pollutants, often illegally trafficked and disposed of,” the post conference statement reads in part.

Experts deliberate on Local Content Policies and Frameworks to Accelerate Growth and Sustainability of MSMEs in Southern Africa (UNECA)

The Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Sub Regional Office for Southern Africa (SRO-SA) and the United Nations system in Lesotho convened a two-day Regional Policy Dialogue (RPD) to explore the sustainability of MSMEs in Southern Africa through leveraging local content policies (LCPs) and Frameworks.

Officiating at the meeting, the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Business Development and Tourism, Mr. Pokello Mahlomola, highlighted that the strategic approach to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) development must focus on enhancing their survival rates through tailored training programs, facilitating access to information, improving financial accessibility, creating favourable fiscal policy environments, and assisting in the adoption of modern technology.

Speaking at the same event, Ms. Olayinka Bandele, Chief, Inclusive Industrialization ECA, speaking on behalf of ECA SRO-SA Director, Ms. Eunice Kamwendo, said that LCPs and Frameworks offer opportunities in support of the development of domestic MSMEs. She noted that globally, an increasing number of countries have introduced or reinforced LCPs with a view to stimulate the use of local factors of production, such as labour, capital, supplies of goods and services, to create value in the domestic economy and hence expand the industrial sector and linkages.

Nigeria to host Africa’s oil producing countries dialogue on local content (Vanguard)

Critical stakeholders and experts in Africa’s Oil and Gas industry will converge in Abuja for the 3rd edition of the African Local Content Roundtable to review innovative approaches instituted by the African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO) Member Countries. The conversation will drive local content development and sustainability of Africa’s hydrocarbon resources.

The organizers say the objective of the event which is scheduled to hold between October 25 & 26, 2023, at Fraser Suites, Abuja, is to spur Local Content officials and experts in Member Countries to review the approaches and regulations employed to drive Local Content along the value chain of Africa’s Oil & Gas industry, and address the imminent challenges facing the industry.

Critical Minerals Africa Summit Defines the Future Minerals Economy (Energy Capital & Power)

A high-level panel at Critical Minerals Africa 2023 – organized by Energy Capital & Power – discussed how sustainable practices, localized supply chains and integrated mining operations will help secure critical minerals supplies of the future.

Speaking to the scope of demand growth for energy transition mineral and metals, Kwasi Ampofo noted: “We currently use 50 million metric tonnes of metals going into transition technologies and accompanying infrastructure. By 2050, if we reach the scenario based on current policies and economics, we will need about 140 million metric tonnes. If we reach the net-zero scenario, this goes up to 250 million metric tonnes.” 

“There’s a lot of discussion around demand, but we don’t see the same enthusiasm around funding supply. There is a shortfall in supply, which then spikes demand. Every time the price drops – for example, in nickel – there will be producers who are unable to match the current supply at that price. We will then have a continuation of these supercycles, which is not sustainable,” commented Duma Sisulu.

“If the critical minerals supply chain doesn’t change, then we have failed as Africans. We have the opportunity to do what the international oil giants did 50-60 years ago. We have the bargaining power for the deposits that sit on the continent,” said Deshan Naido.

The Critical Minerals Africa 2023 summit is currently taking place from October 17-19 and serves to position Africa as the primary investment destination for critical minerals. The event is held alongside the African Energy Week 2023 conference on October 16-20, offering delegates access to the full scope of energy, mining and finance leaders in Cape Town.

Africa aims to use global demand for critical minerals as a basis for development (Engineering News)

AEW 2023 Spotlights Gas-to-Power’s Role in Energizing Africa (African Energy Week Cape Town)

Africa grapples with a pressing need to meet its growing energy demands. However, natural gas has emerged as a promising solution, offering the continent a path to address its power scarcity. With vast reserves capable of generating 400 GW in sub-Saharan Africa, it has the potential to reshape the energy landscape. Gas-to-power technology, a vital step in the energy transition, emits fewer carbon emissions and eliminates harmful gas flaring.

Day two of African Energy Week (AEW) 2023, the African Energy Chamber’s (AEC) premier energy event, featured a session entitled Powering Africa: Harnessing the Promise of Gas-to-Power, exploring the opportunities and challenges associated with leveraging natural gas for power generation in Africa.

“We are currently experiencing a major shift in the energy sector to cleaner sources of energy. Africa’s response should be inched on Africa’s natural gas that is able to generate electricity, said Olakunle Williams, CEO Tetracore, adding, “There is a need for much more gas-based investments that will help unlock gas resources.”

Africa is blessed with sizable recoverable natural gas reserves. These reserves, often found in close proximity to major population centers, provide a unique opportunity to harness domestic resources for power generation.

African ministerial keynotes energize the start of AEW2023 (Trade Arabia)

MENA’s trade prospects get a boost from Asia and Africa (Macau Business)

Atradius, a global trade insurance leader, has today released its 2023 Regional Economic Outlook report, which presents growth forecasts for key markets in the Middle East and North Africa, including differentiated outlooks for oil-exporting and energy-importing countries, and detailed expectations around trade activity and the impact of the global energy transition.

“Oil price fluctuations meant the MENA region could not maintain the 5%+ growth rate in GDP seen in 2021 and 2022,” said Rupa Jagannathan, Managing Director, Middle East, Atradius. “However, while growth will be weak this year, a rebound is likely in 2024, fueled by investments and economic diversification, as well as stronger trade partnerships with Asian markets and other African economies.”

UNCTAD urges channelling net-zero finance to support the energy transition in developing economies (UNCTAD)

UNCTAD issued a compelling call on 17 October at the 8th World Investment Forum, urging increased efforts to channel net-zero finance towards developing economies. The call emphasizes the crucial need for capital in these countries, where significant opportunities for growth lie.

UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan said the energy transition, a critical element in addressing climate change, requires substantial investment. “The investment needs are much higher in developing than in developed economies, relative to their existing asset bases,” she said.

To limit global warming to 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the world needs investment equivalent to one and a half times today’s global GDP by 2050. Africa, burdened by interest rates four to eight times higher than developed countries, struggles to attract the necessary investment.

The forum, taking place in Abu Dhabi from 16 to 20 October, brings together governments, global institutions, investors, stock exchanges, investment promotion agencies and sovereign wealth funds to discuss the challenges of financing global sustainable development and the energy transition

World Investment Forum 2023: Global leaders urge action for sustainable development (UNCTAD)

UNCTAD’s 8th World Investment Forum opened on 16 October in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, focusing on the investment challenges faced by the world’s developing countries amid today’s global crises. UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in a statement, urged participants – heads of state, business leaders, sustainable stock exchanges, sovereign wealth funds and experts – to put the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Stimulus Package into effect and work towards delivering $500 billion annual investment for developing countries.

With the theme "Investing in Sustainable Development," the forum strategically aligns with the upcoming global climate change talks at COP28. A dedicated track within the forum will focus on advancing climate finance and investment, providing a crucial platform for policymakers to find solutions and support global climate negotiations.

The opening-day Global Leaders Summit addressed the $4 trillion SDG investment gap, as only 15% of the goals are on target to be met by 2030, with the investment gap in the developing world growing from $2.5 trillion per year in 2015 to $4 trillion today. The summit revealed a staggering $6 trillion valuation for the sustainable finance market.

However, Secretary-General Grynspan pointed out: "Not enough funds are going into new renewable energy plants, water and sanitation installations, agricultural projects, hospitals. And only 5% of all sustainable funds are located in developing countries. Funding exists, but allocation has been misguided."

Bridging the Digital Divides (UNESCO)

Despite progress in recent years, only 36% of Africa’s population had broadband Internet access in 2022. Furthermore, the substantial digital gender gap (35% versus 24% in 2020) and a significant divide in digital skills continues to hamper the continent’s progress towards achieving Internet Universality. In this context, the 12th African Internet Governance Forum, held in Abuja, Nigeria on 20 September 2023, was organized under the theme, "Revitalizing the Internet Universality ROAM-X Framework for Human-Centric Digital Transformation in Africa".

The ongoing assessments in Africa have already yielded recommendations that have assisted Member States, such as Niger and Senegal in initiating laws and strategies related to rights and universal access to the Internet.

Concerted efforts urged to close digital gap in Africa (Xinhua)

Delegates attending the Mobile World Congress 2023 (MWC2023) in the Rwandan capital of Kigali on Tuesday called on Africa to accelerate digital connectivity, accessibility, and affordability to bridge the digital divide on the continent. The event brought together more than 2,500 delegates, including political leaders, government officials, experts, representatives from the United Nations and the African Union, as well as dozens of technology companies and start-ups, among others, from across Africa and the world.

"Financial technology is starting to make a big difference in the everyday lives of our citizens. The potential of digital health technology to transform our health systems is also very clear. We have to address the gaps in the access and connectivity with a sense of urgency to many Africans remaining offline," said Rwandan President Paul Kagame while speaking at the event.

He noted that although Africa has the fastest-growing mobile penetration rate globally, there is still a long way to go. "We must continue to prioritize digital skills and literacy. Globally, we are also seeing strong momentum to support Africa’s digital transformation."

China woos global south and embraces Putin at belt and road Beijing summit (The Guardian)

World leaders are gathering in Beijing for China’s belt and road initiative (BRI) forum, the third such event since the trademark global development drive was launched by President Xi Jinping 10 years ago.

The BRI was originally envisioned as a vast physical and digital infrastructure project to connect China with central Asia, south-east Asia, Europe and the rest of the world. It later broadened into a mammoth infrastructure financing vehicle for Chinese lenders to support projects in nearly every corner of the world, particularly in the global south. With that support came China’s mounting influence on the world stage, even as western countries became increasingly sceptical of the BRI.

Analysts see Xi making a renewed focus on engagement with the global south, as relations with the west are increasingly frosty.

Recent research published by Boston University found that while China’s development finance institutions provided about $331bn (£271bn) to recipient countries between 2013 and 2021, “many of the recipients of Chinese finance are subject to significant debt distress”. China has also spent about $240bn bailing out countries struggling with their BRI debts, according to separate research published earlier this year.

Beijing also wants to shift to quality rather than quantity when it comes to its overseas lending and investments. In a white paper published last week, the Chinese government said that “the ultimate goal of the BRI is to help build a global community of shared future”. That means focusing on issues such as food security, infectious diseases, artificial intelligence and climate change, according to the white paper, rather than just economic development.

Building an Open, Inclusive and Interconnected World for Common Development (The Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation)

Keynote Speech by H.E. Xi Jinping

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) I proposed. The BRI, drawing inspiration from the ancient Silk Road and focusing on enhancing connectivity, aims to enhance policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity, inject new impetus into the global economy, create new opportunities for global development, and build a new platform for international economic cooperation.

Over these 10 years, we have stayed committed to this founding mission. Thanks to our joint efforts, Belt and Road international cooperation has gotten off the ground, grown rapidly and produced fruitful outcomes.

Over these 10 years, we have endeavored to build a global network of connectivity consisting of economic corridors, international transportation routes and information highway as well as railways, roads, airports, ports, pipelines and power grids. Covering the land, the ocean, the sky and the Internet, this network has boosted the flow of goods, capital, technologies and human resources among countries involved and injected fresh vitality into the millennia-old Silk Road in the new era.

Changes of the world, of our times, and of historical significance are unfolding like never before. China is endeavoring to build itself into a stronger country and rejuvenate the Chinese nation on all fronts by pursuing Chinese modernization. The modernization we are pursuing is not for China alone, but for all developing countries through our joint efforts. Global modernization should be pursued to enhance peaceful development and mutually beneficial cooperation and bring prosperity to all. On our way forward, we will encounter both headwinds and tailwinds. We need to stay focused on our goal, take results-oriented actions, persevere, and keep moving forward until our goal is met. China will work with all parties involved to deepen Belt and Road partnerships of cooperation, usher this cooperation into a new stage of high-quality development, and make relentless efforts to achieve modernization for all countries.

Now, I wish to announce eight major steps China will take to support our joint pursuit of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.

China’s Belt and Road summit kicking off in Beijing (DW)

President Ruto’s speech at BRI forum in China (Capital News)

Vladimir Putin feted at Xi Jinping’s global Belt and Road summit (BBC News)


A Global Community of Shared Future: China’s Proposals and Actions, September 2023

The Belt and Road Initiative: A Key Pillar of the Global Community of Shared Future, October 2023

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