tralac Daily News
Rail Forum and Southern African Railway Association sign letter of intent (RailBusinessDaily)
Rail Forum (RF) and the Southern African Railway Association (SARA) have signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) designed to encourage Rail Forum (RF) and the Southern African Railway Association (SARA) have signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) designed to encourage collaboration and to promote long-term co-operation in rail infrastructure development for mutual benefit in their respective markets.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry has launched the Quality Infrastructure Initiatives that will have a significant impact on the industrial transformation agenda of Ghana. The three documents of the Initiatives are the Ghana National Quality Policy, the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) Act (2022), and the Ghana Standards Authority five-year Strategic Plan Document.
Mr Kobina Tahir Hammond, the Minister of Trade and Industry, said these documents, together with the recently passed Ghana National Accreditation Service Act and the soon-to-be established Ghana National Quality Committee, would drive Ghana’s quest to be recognised as a world- class industrial hub and the home of quality goods and services in Africa.
He said these quality infrastructure initiatives to succeed in the country’s endeavours of development and growth, however, the country needs a robust quality infrastructure to ensure consistent production and supply of quality goods and services. He said this was because all goods and services, including hospitality services, in Ghana must meet the highest international standards for the country to obtain premium rates for these goods and services.
In keeping with its promise to contribute and support the national vision to achieve continuous improvement in maritime operations, the management and editorial team of Maritime Nigeria, is pulling renowned maritime technocrats together under the umbrella of Distinguished Maritime Personalities, (DMPs) to dissect the industry’s issues at its 2nd National Discourse for 2023. The theme for this year’s National Discourse is “New Ship, New Ports, what Infrastructure, Skill Sets and Tools”.
According to the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Maritime Nigeria, Mr. Kelvin Kagbare, the Nigerian maritime domain is not only expanding, but developing bigger and deeper ports across the nation. He said, “With the successful take-off of the Lekki Deep Seaport and proposed lbom, Badagry, Gelegele, Agge and similar facilities, the issues of complementary and operability dynamics also sets in, hence the need to be abreast of developments.
“As the ports and ships gets bigger, become more sophisticated and technology driven, we have a duty to hear and learn from those whose business it is to know, what our actual competitive margins are and where we are real time. “We are confident that our DPMs forum will also give us a broadbased outlook in the area of support structure and superstructure, tools and skills, policy stability and it’s interplay with global trade”.
The National Association of Freight Forwarders and Consolidators (NAFFAC) has cautioned the Federal Government against multiple checkpoints along the Lagos-Badagry corridor and other entry points across the six geopolitical zones to encourage Nigeria’s participation in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) Agreement.
President of the body, Mr. Adeyinka Bakare, lamented that Nigerian businesses may suffer major setbacks if government fails to resolve the bottlenecks on the movement of goods from all the entry points and international frontiers, saying that Nigerian goods and services have potentials to compete favourably in the region.
Bakare, who disclosed this on Wednesday at a roundtable meeting put together by the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON) in Lagos, expressed concerns over the multiple checkpoints manned by security agencies and touts, noting that the illegalities would further affect foreign and local investment. According to him, NAFFAC has engaged government at all levels in furtherance to tackling the illegalities along the Lagos Abidjan corridor.
Red sea’s regional, global geostrategic significance (Ethiopian Press)
There are 10 major ports on the Red Sea which transact 10% of the world economy and Ethiopia needs a port primarily for promoting her own trade network and acquisition of maritime trade route and for the economic development of the country. Ethiopia’s average GDP amounts to 110 billion USD and the nation imports goods worth 14-16 billion USD about 90% of which is through ports. Ethiopia imports 4 billion USD worth fuel and 12.5 million quintals of fertilizers and pays 1.6 billion USD for port services every year because the country has no port of her own.
As a member of BRICS, Ethiopia can effectively utilize her membership for boosting trade, investment, development of new technologies in every economic sector. Ownership and access to ports will certainly help to swiftly accelerate the socio-economic development of the country.
Analysts commend Dar Port new deal (Tanzania Daily News)
Analysts have lauded the government over the signed agreements between the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) and the DP World for running operations at the Dar es Salaam Port for the country’s development, saying it was good that the move has considered public opinions. Speaking in separate interviews with the ‘Daily News’ on Sunday, an Economist-cum-Investment Banker, Dr Hildebrand Shayo, said the deal will benefit both sides in a number of ways including the existing of solutions for the private funding of public initiatives and save the government money. Dr Shayo said another benefit is the use of private expertise and management in public projects which will boost overall project development and operational efficiency.
Shippers urged to embrace domestic marine insurance (The Business & Financial Times)
Mr. Arthur explained that leveraging a country’s capacity and resources to meet demands elsewhere would produce significant outcomes under the AfCFTA, as such individual African countries must look out for a product that would increase cooperation and promote trade rather than create competition. On foreign marine insurance, she said: “The biggest problem we see is that most policies people have simply don’t cover their risks.
The President of Botswana, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, has stated the need for diamond-producing nations to incorporate technology into the sector to foster sustainability. President Masisi was speaking at the FACETS Conference in Gaborone, Botswana. Botswana is the world’s largest diamond producer by value.
The FACETS Conference was initiated by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) in 2022 to provide a platform for inclusive dialogue between industry players from across the value chain to address challenges and opportunities set to drive the industry in the future. Delivering his address, Masisi stated that diamond-producing nations should invest in research and development efforts that would minimise the impact of diamond mining on the environment.
“From drone-assisted surveying to advanced water management systems, these innovations are not just investments; they are our commitment to preserving the natural world for generations to come,” he said.
The new DRC Country Economic Memorandum outlines pathways for faster growth, job creation, and poverty reduction. Under the current macroeconomic framework, growth in the DRC will not translate into improved living conditions; ambitious economic reforms are critical to place the country on a diversified growth path conducive to middle-income country status.
The report proposes policies aimed at tackling the main bottlenecks hindering sustainable and inclusive growth and presents two case studies that illustrate the potential and the challenges of diversification: the mining and cassava value chains development. It also shows that regional trade integration and trade diversification can promote value chain development and help generate jobs, unleashing opportunities for stronger growth and improved welfare for the country’s citizens.
Sierra Leone’s economy is projected to grow at 3.7% on average during 2023–25, below its long-term trend. This scenario is predicated on sound domestic policies, including a tight monetary stance to combat inflation, and an equally conservative fiscal policy to decrease debt pressures and rebuild fiscal space, according to the new World Bank Sierra Leone Economic Update launched today in Freetown. The report notes that risks to debt sustainability will remain elevated until fiscal balances improve further and the reliance on expensive and short-term domestic borrowings is addressed through the lengthening of maturities and greater access to concessional borrowing.
“Sierra Leone is faced with a challenging macroeconomic environment and the rapid rise in the cost of living combined with weak growth and deterioration of macroeconomic fundamentals threaten to increase the level of poverty among the population,” said Abdu Muwonge, World Bank Country Manager for Sierra Leone. The 2023 Economic Update devoted a special section on food security, examining recent trends, challenges and opportunities in three major agricultural value chains – rice, cocoa, and horticulture. It identifies the importance of supporting and empowering the private sector to undertake the required investments in the country’s agricultural sector.
To bolster South Sudan’s fisheries sector, a collaborative initiative between AU-IBAR (African Union-Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources) and the Republic of South Sudan unfolded in Juba from October 19th to 20th, 2023. The central aim of this workshop was to synchronize South Sudan’s National Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy with the Continental Policy Framework and Reform Strategy (PFRS) for fisheries and aquaculture in Africa, while also recognizing and embracing pertinent Global Instruments.
The workshop concluded with the adoption of a comprehensive communiqué, outlining the recommendations and agreements made during the event. Participants expressed their gratitude to AU-IBAR for this initiative, urging its seamless transition into the implementation phase. The establishment of a National Technical Working Group and finalization of the draft report were identified as immediate next steps.
The Chairman, Heirs Holdings Group, Mr. Tony Elumelu, has wooed foreign investors to Africa, saying the continent was ready for investments amid socio-political and macroeconomic challenges. Elumelu, speaking during a recent invitation of Yasir bin Othman Al-Rumayyan, Governor of the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Chairman of the FII Institute. Mr. Richard Attias in Saudi Arabia, noted that the continent has huge opportunities amid high level of unemployment, weak access to economic opportunities, and poor access to health care.
Elumelu in a chat with Attias, on the topic ‘How Africapitalism Drives Inclusive Growth,’ said, “We need to mobilise huge long-term capital into the continent to enable us leapfrog and fixed infrastructure that will need to develop. “Japan, Germany, Korea and even China have benefited from massive global capital infusion. Africa needs it and I will be failing if I do not use this opportunity to draw the attention of the world to the continent on the need to collaborate with African business leaders and more importantly those like the Tony Elumelu Foundation who like to support young African entrepreneurs. “Let’s see how we can work together to create a better future for everyone.”
Mr. Don Deya, of Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU), highlighted that current discussions, particularly those related to the rights of women in trade, need active participation from NGOs. Deya pointed out that ensuring protection for the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) within legislative civic spaces is vital. Ms. Lydia Kembabazi, representing the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), highlighted the crucial role of civil society in every step of the AfCFTA process, from elaboration and negotiation to implementation and monitoring.
It is one of the few British supermarket staples to have bucked the trend during the cost of living crisis, with the price of a bunch of bananas today no more expensive today than three decades ago. Every country in the world with cheaper prices than the UK has its own producers of the fruit. The government has now been accused of pursuing an irresponsible post-Brexit policy that could reduce the price of bananas further in the shops – but at the cost of the livelihoods of thousands of workers on small plantations in some of Africa’s poorest countries.
Banana tariff concessions have already been made in the last year to Mexico and Peru as part of the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). A trade deal with Australia will see all tariffs lifted within eight years. The UK government is now engaging in a specific banana tariff review as part of its trade deal with the Andean countries – Colombia, Ecuador and Peru – which the African producers say could wipe out businesses in Ghana, Cameroon and Ivory Coast, countries whose economies are among the least diversified in the world.
Power supply challenges top list of barriers to businesses (People Daily)
The main barrier for businesses in terms of infrastructure is power, particularly for rural areas where it may be accessible but is unreliable. PHOTO/Print Kenyan businesses have identified power supply as a significant impediment to their operations, despite improvements in overall infrastructure quality, according to a recent survey by the Standard Bank Africa Trade Barometer (SB ATB). The survey indicates that the perception might have been driven by the fact that most of the businesses’ exports are sold within the East African Community (EAC).
“The main barrier for businesses in terms of infrastructure is power, particularly for rural areas where it may be accessible but is unreliable,” notes the SB ATB report.
Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri has said that the estimated 125 billion barrels of oil in Africa is a great asset base to drive development on the continent. He said this during the 3rd African Local Content Roundtable which took place in Abuja, Nigeria, earlier this week. The event was organized by the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO) and hosted by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
According to him, Nigeria is on the brink of a remarkable transformation with capable indigenous companies ready to boost production and as regulators, the government stands ready to support them. He stated further that Nigeria is committed to in-country value addition, environmental sustainability, and boosting intra-Africa trade. During his address, he also said the event is in line with the plans the Nigerian government has regarding the oil sector:
“With an estimated amount of 125 billion barrels which represents about 10% of global carbon reserves – this is very important as a very great asset base to drive development in Africa. I believe that our responsibility as African oil-producing countries is to explore the oil and gas resources for the benefit of our citizens, business communities, and governments of our respective countries.
African governments should have LPG plans to make it more accessible to women (The Business & Financial Times)
A Deputy Chief Executive of the National Petroleum Authority, Mrs. Linda Boamah Asante, has called on African governments to initiate policies and programmes to make Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) affordable and accessible to women. This, she said, would help to reduce the hazards women are exposed to from using biomass (wood fuel and charcoal) to cook.
“All government agencies and institutions should have the plan to make sure that LPG is available to women because in Africa especially in rural areas, it is the women who do the cooking so they are the ones mostly affected by emissions from biomass,” Mrs. Linda Boamah Asante said while contributing to the discussion on the topic ‘LPG: An Integral Component of Energy Access for All’ at the just ended African Energy Week in Cape Town, South Africa.
Around 400 exhibitors from across Sub-Saharan Africa will demonstrate African service and manufacturing capabilities. This will take place alongside the 20th US-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (AGOA Forum), scheduled for November 2 to 4, 2023, in Johannesburg, under the theme “Partnering to Build a Resilient, Sustainable, and Inclusive AGOA to Support Economic Development, Industrialization, and Quality Job Creation.”
The AGOA Forum will unite the governments of the United States and AGOA-eligible countries, in addition to representatives from key regional economic organizations and the private sector. Its agenda is to strengthen trade and investment ties between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. The Forum will also include a “Made in Africa Exhibition,” highlighting regional value chains and celebrating the best of African innovation, entrepreneurship, and craftsmanship.
South Africa’s Minister of Trade, Industry, and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, will host a senior delegation from the United States, led by Ambassador Katherine Tai, along with high-level delegations from various countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The discussions will focus on boosting trade, fostering African industrialization, and strengthening the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Asked whether elections in African countries, particularly the upcoming in Madagascar will be a topic for discussion at the AGOA forum, Joy Basu, while uncertain whether this would be a discussion point, said: “I imagine, especially this year, the supporting of democracy on the continent is a huge focus for the administration and for our bureau in particular. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of African Affairs Joy Basu said that fostering new economic engagement with countries in Africa is a top priority for President Joe Biden and the U.S. government.
US trade chief Tai set to travel to South Africa for Agoa Forum (Engineering News)
The Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS), a groundbreaking initiative developed by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) to revolutionize cross-border payments and boost intra-African trade, celebrates a significant milestone as it receives a historic endorsement from the Governors of the Central Banks in the Caribbean region. All eleven Central Banks have unanimously adopted PAPSS as the preferred system for processing the settlement of intra-regional trade transactions.
Operational in the six countries of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) – and with transactions initiated daily by traders, SMEs and individuals – PAPSS is gaining traction on the African continent as a transformative solution enhancing the operational efficiency of cross-border payments, while promoting economic integration and trade facilitation.
In adopting PAPSS, the Central Banks in the Caribbean region have recognized its immense potential for unlocking new opportunities for trade growth and cooperation within their respective jurisdictions. By streamlining and expediting the settlement process, PAPSS will eliminate the complexities and inefficiencies that often hinder intra-regional trade, promoting monetary stability and economic development across the Caribbean.
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), based in Cairo, has initiated a review of Kenya’s proposal to establish a Pan-African settlement house for intra-African trade agreements, reports indicate. According to Denys Denya, the Executive Vice President for Finance, Administration, and Banking Services at Afreximbank, the trade financier’s highest governing body has formally considered Kenya’s application.
In July 2023, the Central Bank of Kenya Governor, Kamau Thugge, revealed Nairobi’s proposal to become the host for the Pan-African payment and settlement system (PAPSS). This system plays a vital role in enabling intra-African payments across various national currencies on the continent.
“The Kenyan government has decided to support the rollout of PAPSS. The President of Kenya, William Ruto, is actually championing this,” Mr Denya told reporters on the sidelines of a roadshow ahead of the third Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023) to be held in Cairo between November 9 and 15 2023. “There’s a governance council that is considering that proposal. The decision will be made shortly and communicated.”
Deputy Director-General Angela Ellard discussed the role of African countries in advancing the multilateral trading system during the 24th U.S. — Africa Trade & Investment Conference/Expo that took place in Miami on 26 October. In particular, DDG Ellard highlighted the role of African WTO members in achieving outcomes at the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) on fisheries subsidies, food security and easing access to COVID-19 vaccines as well as their active engagement in ongoing initiatives.
“The WTO is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade covering its 164 Members, including so many African countries. We are the caretaker of the multilateral trading system. Our agreements are aimed at opening trade and creating opportunities for all. Our founding document reflects the aspiration of our Members to ensure higher standards of living, full employment, and growing income for all and the people they represent, especially developing and least-developed countries.
That objective ties in so well with Africa’s Agenda 2063, which is aimed at achieving an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Africa. Africa shows admirable leadership at global and regional levels to achieve these goals.
The International Monetary Fund is cautioning African nations about the possibility of a regional economic downturn and the ripple effects that China’s slowing economy could bring. Africa and China have forged economic ties over the past 20 years, making the Asian giant the continent’s largest trading partner. Africa exports metals, minerals and fuel to China, while importing manufactured goods and machinery from that country. The IMF says the partnership is threatened by China’s economic slowdown and aging population, trade tensions, geopolitics and the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
China’s economic recovery from the pandemic slowed in recent months due to a sluggish property market and weak consumer spending. China’s trade data showed that exports and imports continued to decline as demand for Chinese goods waned. Gerrishon Ikiara, an international economics lecturer, said Africa needs to find new trading partners to develop its economies
“If the Chinese economy is slowing down, Africa needs to diversify its trading partners and to diversify either imports or exports to Asia, other parts of Africa, Latin America and the U.S.,” he said. “If there is a problem with our exports to China, we need to look for new markets.”
Saudi Arabia plowing billions of dollars into an attempt to become a global supply chain hub and creating new industries like electric vehicles and pharmaceuticals to meet local demand and for export to the Middle East and Africa. Saudi Arabia is looking to sign more free trade agreements and still considering joining the BRICS club of emerging nations, as it looks to boost non-oil exports, according to the kingdom’s minister of economy and planning.
“Exports are growing, but not as much as we want them in terms of non-oil exports,” Al Ibrahim said. “We want them to grow faster.” Saudi Arabia is lining up more free trade deals as it pursues a plan to diversify the $1.1 trillion economy to reduce its dependence on oil. It’s plowing billions of dollars into an attempt to become a global supply chain hub and creating new industries like electric vehicles and pharmaceuticals to meet local demand and for export to the Middle East and Africa.
COP28: Financing, increased adaptation ‘central to SA’s position’ (Daily Maverick)
‘As you know, there’s been pledges since 2009 of about $100-billion from developed countries to developing countries, and that pledge has not yet been fulfilled. So it is quite important that we receive a presentation on that to see what’s really going on there. We are also negotiating a new goal on financing; the $100-billion expires next year,” said Maesela Kekana, South Africa’s chief negotiator to COP28.
“By 2025 we should have concluded the negotiations for a new goal. Our new goal needs to be based on the needs of developing countries, because the $100-billion goal just dropped from the sky, and is completely inadequate for our needs. So that negotiation is really important.”
Developing countries need climate financing now more than ever as extreme temperatures continue to usher in devastating disasters that have hit those nations the worst. This has resulted in many losing not only their lives but livelihoods as well, and governments not having the means to compensate those affected.
Loss and damage and climate colonialism (Global Justice)
Currently valued at $15.5 billion worth of exports annually, the earnings from the continent’s fashion industry could triple over a decade with the right investment and infrastructure, according to UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, who launched the organization’s first report on fashion in Africa in Nigeria ‘s economic hub of Lagos. Africa’s fashion industry is growing rapidly to meet local and international demand but inadequate investment limits its potential, UNESCO said Thursday in a report released during Lagos Fashion Week.