Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Realistic export opportunities for South African avocados (FreshPlaza)

Agricultural economist Samkelisiwe Ngwenya of the directorate: international trade promotion at the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development presented the annual value chain analysis into avocados, conducted in conjunction with the National Agricultural Marketing Council and using a modelling tool developed by the North West University to realistically assess export opportunities.

South Africa ranks among top 10 avocado exporters in the world (not among the top 10 avocado producers, however, since the industry is heavily export-oriented). In 2021 the Netherlands, the UK and Russia were the three biggest recipients of South African avocados taking 62.5%, 18% and 5% respectively. The only African countries among the top 10 were Namibia and Botswana while the United Arab Emirates in eighth position was the only other non-European country.

The limited market diversification in avocado exports has become a significant obstacle to the avocado industry, she remarked, since the country was overdependent on the EU and overlapped with Peru during its peak harvest. The findings indicated that South Africa’s largest realistic export potential is still found in the European Union and EFTA states (Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein, Switzerland) as well as the UK, where South Africa enjoys preferential tariff rates of 0%.

SA Canegrowers again calls for rethink of sugar tax as MTBPS looms (Engineering News)

Industry body SA Canegrowers has once again called on Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana to not table an increase in the Health Promotion Levy (HPL), or sugar tax, in the upcoming Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS). This is in response to a tabling of the increase in the Draft Rates and Monetary Accounts and Amendment of Revenue Laws Bill that is due to take effect in April 2025.

In his Budget Speech in February, Godongwana announced a two-year postponement in the implementation of the increase. The stated reason for the delay was to allow for further consultation. Notwithstanding this commitment, no consultation has taken place to date on the destructive impact of the sugar tax on South Africa’s growers, millers and rural communities, SA Canegrowers explains. The association adds that the HPL has already resulted in the beverages sector reformulating its products away from sugar to avoid the levy, which led to substantial revenue losses for the sugar industry.

Building A Digital Bridge To Financial Inclusion In SA’s Informal Sector (Forbes Africa)

The South African informal sector is vibrant, pulsating with entrepreneurial energy. Valued at almost $10 billion and representing 17% of the country’s total jobs, the informal economy is an indispensable cog in the economic machine. And yet, it remains largely disconnected from formal financial systems and services.

“With the informal sector constituting such a significant percentage of the country’s economy, its exclusion from the formal financial ecosystem is detrimental on a number of levels. For one, by depriving more than 50% of South Africa’s urban population who live in townships and informal communities from financial access, the economy is losing the potential to harness the power of the sector to drive growth and financial stability,” says Mukuru CEO, Andy Jury.

Farmers finally get recognition for ‘genuine’ Karoo lamb (BusinessLIVE)

After an almost 17-year journey, the department of agriculture, land reform & rural development announced on Friday that the designation “Karoo lamb” has been registered as an SA geographical indication (GI). The name can be used only for lamb raised in a particular part of SA under specific conditions.

Kenya, Japan seek to transform motor vehicle industry (The Standard)

Kenya and Japan have launched an Industrial Policy Dialogue to indicate the direction of industrial collaboration that will contribute to strengthening economic relations between the two countries. The Cabinet Secretary for Trade, Investment and Industry Rebecca Miano who met the Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry for Japan Yasutoshi Nishimura during bilateral talks on October 29 said that this aims to support the mutually beneficial relation between the nations.

Miano who is in Japan for the G7 Trade Ministers meeting in the City of Osaka said that Kenya and Japan have agreed to initiate a Joint cooperation to improve market access through strengthening supply capacity for product development and export development.

The Cabinet Secretary observed that globally Africa features favourably as the next frontier for investments and Kenya stood strategically for Japan as a reliable partner, to manufacture for the African continent and the world in general.

ECOWAS towards economic resilience (ECOWAS)

The ECOWAS Commission, in partnership with the Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME), successfully organized the ECOWAS SME Partnership Conference and Exhibition. This extraordinary gathering, meticulously organized within the context of the implementation of the ECOWAS MSME Charter 2021-2030 and Private Sector Development Strategy, served as a pivotal platform for SME and SMI development and promotion stakeholders to collaborate and identify pragmatic modalities to support the growth and proliferation of MSMEs in the region.

Her Excellency, Mrs Massandje Toure-Litse, the Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture at the ECOWAS Commission, reported progress made by the Commission in the development of regional policies and regulations, as well as the facilitation of a conducive environment for the growth and prosperity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the sub-region. She highlighted that these accomplishments encompass a wide range of areas, such as enterprise education, regional collaborations, regulatory enhancements, promotion of specialized development corridors, and crucial financial assistance for small and medium-sized enterprises the region.

Mrs Toure-Litse kindly urged all participants to familiarize themselves with the ECOWAS SME Charter 2021-2030, emphasizing its extensive provisions that are specifically designed to foster the growth and advancement of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This historic ECOWAS SME Conference and Exhibition is an important step towards the economic success and empowerment of West African businesses, especially the small and medium-sized enterprises.

Unequal access to credit hurting Africa (The East African)

Africa will find it harder to recover from global shocks as long as she continues accessing credit at tougher terms than the rest of the world. Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), says the wide disparity in accessing financial opportunities mean Africa will take time to recover or deal with the continual problems such as climate change that require investments in green technology.

“We need to create a world that is equitable and stable, where we bear in mind the needs of others and not only what we need matters,” he said.”We are all in the same boat. The global development boat is leaking, and the consequences will be devastating if the leakage is not blocked.”

‘Unimpeded trade’: China begins to deliver on US$10 billion promise to African businesses (South China Morning Post)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has unveiled an pdf 8-point vision for nation’s Belt and Road Initiative (1.76 MB) . At the signing ceremony in Beijing last week, Professor Benedict Oramah, president and chairman of Afreximbank, said the agreement showed the strengthening relationship between China and Africa. “The deal is strong evidence of the rapid growth in cooperation between China and Africa,” he said.

Oramah went on to say the Belt and Road Initiative is a blueprint of cooperation aimed at enhancing policy, trade infrastructure, finances and people-to-people connectivity. “As a bank we are committed to play a big role, especially in leveraging financial resources into Africa. This facility will help to catalyse trade financing between Africa and the People’s Republic of China, thereby enhancing flow of goods, capital and technology,” he said. “Working with partners like China Eximbank, we aim to attain the goals of this strategy, especially supporting China-Africa cooperation and expanding Africa’s export manufacturing capacity.”

The two institutions have been collaborating since 2018, with the AFC receiving US$400 million in bilateral loans from China Eximbank to date. “The loan will provide critical financing to support trade finance and investment in Africa, further facilitating the flow of goods and services between Africa and China,” the AFC said.

South Africa to pull off a ‘balancing act’ as they host 20th Agoa Forum (702)

Africa Melane interviews Trudi Hartzenberg, Executive Director of the Trade Law Centre (tralac)

From 2 to 4 November 2023, the United States and 35 sub-Saharan African countries will meet in Johannesburg for the 20th Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (Agoa Forum)

Hartzenberg says that us hosting provides the opportunity to bring strong messaging about links between Agoa potentially diversifying the benefits to a larger number of countries. Through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), the aim is to strengthen investment and trade ties between the US and sub-Saharan Africa. However, previously this year, the US ambassador claimed that South Africa had been supplying Russia with arms amid its invasion, with lawmakers calling for the country to be cut out of Agoa because of its perceived closeness to Russia. The main concern with the upcoming summit is the “balancing act” that South Africa needs to pull off, to avoid being caught in tensions between China and the US, while still advancing its economic interests.

South Africa could benefit from its dual AfCFTA and Brics membership (Engineering News)

South Africa has the potential to use its membership of both the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (Brics) bloc to stimulate its economic development. So points out advisory and analytics firm Frost & Sullivan Africa consultant Yaa Ngonyama.

“Through the cooperation of these agreements and memberships, South Africa has the opportunity to transition away from its historic role as a commodity exporter towards higher productivity value addition,” she affirms. “Together, South Africa’s membership in Brics and AfCFTA presents several benefits that include improved investment, trade, tourism, skills acquisition, and technological capabilities, increased trade flow, influence in pan-African affairs, increased bargaining power, infrastructure development, and greater economic integration.”

She notes that South Africa lies on one of the world’s most important oceanic trade routes. Some 30 000 ships sail past the country’s coast every year, of which about 13 000 actually call into one of South Africa’s seven ports. Spread around the coast, these harbours give convenient access to both the east, west and north. And the country had a “robust” logistics and ports infrastructure, and was recognised as a gateway to Africa. Further, it was the biggest hub of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa.

Ruto calls on African leaders to step up continental trade deal (The Standard)

President William Ruto has called on African leaders to accelerate the realisation of the Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). The President said AfCFTA will increase intra-Africa trade thereby creating jobs and wealth for the people. President Ruto noted that Visa restrictions between African countries and tariffs are unnecessary hindrances to trade.

“It is time we realise the importance of trading amongst ourselves and allowing goods, services, people and ideas to move freely across the continent,” he said. He noted that trade among the East African Community countries had increased thanks to the removal of visa requirements and tariffs. He made the remarks during the Summit of the Three Basins on Biodiversity Ecosystems, and Tropical Forests, in Brazzaville, the Republic of Congo.

Govt negotiating 100% trade in AfCFTA (NewsDay)

Government says negotiations are ongoing to include sensitive products such as clothing, textiles and sugar in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as it pushes for 100% trade on all products. Speaking at the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries congress, Industry and Commerce minister Sithembiso Nyoni last week said AfCFTA was critical in assisting Zimbabwe to structurally transform its economy. Government signed the agreement establishing AfCFTA in 2018 and subsequently ratified it in 2019.

“Currently, trading under the AfCFTA is possible for 88,3% of tradable goods, representing nearly 5 000 products, as these have agreed rules of origin in place,” Nyoni said. “Negotiations are ongoing for more sensitive products such as clothing and textiles, automotive and sugar, which are expected to be finalised by this year in order to achieve 100% rules of origin coverage.

Nyoni said the AfCFTA Private Sector Engagement Strategy focused on four initial priority sectors or value chains, namely agro-processing, automotive, pharmaceuticals and transportation and logistics, based on the potential for import substitution and existing production capabilities on the continent.

Cross-border trade costs ease on EAC, AfCFTA initiatives (Business Daily)

The cost of accessing regional and continental markets for Kenyan businesses is gradually easing, findings of a survey suggest, citing falling tariffs and customs procedures. Traders who participated in a survey conducted by top-tier lender, Stanbic Bank, said that the burden of high taxes, infrastructure challenges, political instability, and conflict when buying and selling goods with other African countries was on the decline.

About 31 percent of Kenyan firms reported cross border trade landscape to be either “very or extremely easy” in May, according to the Africa Trade Barometer index, nearly doubled from 17 percent in September last year. “This result may be driven by the fact that the majority of the businesses exports are sold to fellow EAC member states, where the existence of the EAC Common Market Protocol and EAC Customs Union has eliminated or significantly reduced tariffs and trade barriers,” research analysts at Stanbic Bank wrote in the report released to media last week.

“The EAC has also harmonised customs procedures among member states and thereby significantly simplified trade processes between member states, which may explain why the majority of businesses are not significantly impacted by customs regulations.”

Ghana Shippers Authority pledges support for cross-border women (GhanaWeb)

Ghana Shippers Authority (GSA), a state agency operating under the auspices of Ministry of Transport to protect and promote the interests of shippers in Ghana, has assured cross-border women traders of its support. Mrs Monica Josiah, Head, Shipper Services and Trade Facilitation at GSA, who gave the assurance, said the partnership support to the border women residents engaged in informal trade across the border, would enable them explore the full benefits of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

She said not only would the partnership help the women group in exploring the benefits of AfCFTA, a free trade area encompassing most of Africa with the aim to provide broader and deeper economic integration across the continent but also, that of other development agencies in relation to trade information advocacy and research. Mrs Josiah was speaking at a familiarisation meeting with the executives of newly-formed National Cross Border Women Traders Association (NCBWTA), a cross-border women traders empowerment group, at Akanu in the Ketu North Municipality.

Kenya to become visa-free to African visitors (BBC News)

Kenya is to end visa requirements to all African visitors by the end of the year, President William Ruto has said. “It is time we... realise that having visa restrictions amongst ourselves is working against us,” he told an international conference.

Visa-free travel within the continent has been a goal of the African Union (AU) for the past decade. While there are regional deals and bilateral arrangements, progress towards no restrictions has been slow. Only Seychelles, The Gambia and Benin offer entry to all African citizens without a visa, according to a 2022 AU-backed report.

But according to Africa’s Visa Openness Index - which measures the extent to which each country in Africa is open to visitors from other African countries - most countries are making progress towards simplifying entry processes and dropping restrictions to some other nations.

“Let me say this: As Kenya, by the end of this year, no African will be required to have a visa to come to Kenya,” he said to loud cheers from the conference delegates.

Accra to Host Second Joint Meeting of Intergovernmental Committees of Senior Officials and Experts for North and West Africa (UNECA)

The UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Sub-regional Offices for North and West Africa are holding, in partnership with the Government of Ghana, the second Joint Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts (ICSOE) for North and West Africa on 1-3 November 2023 in Accra, Ghana. This year’s edition of the ICSOE focuses on the theme: “Investing in the Energy Transition, Food Security, and Regional Value Chains for Sustainable Development in North and West Africa.”

The ICSOE 2023 will be preceded by an ad hoc expert group meeting, also scheduled in Accra on November 1st, 2023 under the theme: “Transition to Renewable Resources for Energy and Food Security in North and West Africa.”

“Achieving food security and energy transition is instrumental to realising the SDGs in North and West Africa. This requires the 3 A: Ambition to scale up high impact- investments; Alliances with a wide range of regional, national and global actors i.e., governments, the youth and women, private sector, multilateral and bilateral organisations. Above all, it calls for Action, Act Now to deliver the SDGs promise for equitable, inclusive sustainable development for All, leaving No One behind,” said Ngone Diop, Director of the ECA office for West Africa ahead of the meeting.

Nigeria Loses Billions Of Naira To 70 Lagos-Abidjan Checkpoints (Leadership News)

Nigeria is losing hundreds of billions of Naira annually as a result of about 70 illegal checkpoints mounted on the Lagos-Abidjan and Atan-idiroko corridors by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), LEADERSHIP can exclusively reveal. It was gathered that after the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) had removed illegal checkpoints on the Lagos-Abidjan and Atan-idiroko corridors, the Police mounted over 70 checkpoints on the trade corridors.

The multiple checkpoints are, however, threatening inter-border trade between Nigeria-Benin Republic and other West African countries on the two important trade routes. Sources revealed that Nigeria could be losing hundreds of billions of Naira annually to the development at a critical time the country is exploring extra revenue windows.

Eliminate bottlenecks in maritime ecosystem, stop endless borrowing, experts counsel Tinubu (The Guardian Nigeria)

The financial crunch currently hitting hard on the country can be eased with domestic solutions, provided President Bola Ahmed Tinubu could wade into the port downsides and rejuvenate the nation’s trade gateways. Investigations by The Guardian revealed that the current situation at the nation’s seaports largely fall short of the level of infrastructure and standard operations that is required to uplift the ailing economy. The Federal Government, in its Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF/FSP) 2024-2026 is planning to borrow N26.42 trillion loans between 2024 and 2026. Economic experts believe that rather than continuous borrowing, the nation should look inwards and develop sustainable wealth creation strategies that would strengthen its economy and improve the standard of living of its people.

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) had estimated that the establishment of a national fleet of vessels in Nigeria is expected to yield over $9.1 billion (about N7. 2 trillion) yearly in freight revenue.

Meanwhile, the existing seaports – Lagos Port Complex and Tin Can Island Port in Lagos; Calabar Port, Delta Port, Rivers Port at Port Harcourt, and Onne Port generated N361 billion for the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) alone last year, notwithstanding their poor states. The Nigeria Customs Service is expected to generate N3.6 trillion revenue this year, and pundits believe that could be doubled if the standard operating environment is created.

Port Community Systems: Driving Trade in the 21st Century (World Bank)

Port Community Systems (PCS) are digital collaborative platforms that enable seamless exchange of information among a port’s many stakeholders, including customs agencies, port management, shipping and logistics companies, and freight forwarders. These platforms reduce the paperwork and administrative red tape often associated with port logistics, leading to quicker decisions and streamlined operations. Benefits include greater competitiveness, more resilient supply chains, lower costs, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

A forthcoming World Bank report, “Port Community Systems: Lessons From Global Experience,” to be published in conjunction with the and the International Association of Ports and Harbors, offers a step-by-step guide to implementing a PCS and explains its advantages for developing countries. The report includes detailed case studies showing how PCS have improved port operations around the world. Highlights:

  • Ports are vital trade hubs: More than 80 percent of goods traded globally are shipped by sea.

  • Trade is an engine of development: From 1990 to 2019, low- and middle-income countries doubled their share in global exports to 30 percent, helping to cut the proportion of their population living in extreme poverty from 47 percent to 10 percent.

  • Efficient port management is data-driven: To function smoothy, modern ports require close coordination and exchange of information among users and authorities.

  • Low- and middle-income nations are falling behind: Among the world’s ports that use the platform, just 16 percent are in low and middle-income countries, while 84 percent are in high-income countries.

  • The time is now: The digital gap is likely to widen as emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and cloud computing continue to advance, so developing countries should move quickly to adopt PCS.

Do not overlook Africa’s trillion-dollar food and agribusiness sector, African Development Bank chief tells investors at World Food Prize Dialogue (AfDB)

Africa’s food and agribusiness will be worth an estimated US$1 trillion by 2030, African Development Bank President Dr Akinwumi Adesina told participants of the World Food Prize Foundation’s Norman E. Borlaug Dialogue in Des Moines, Iowa on Thursday.

The annual event in America’s agricultural heartland, revolved around this year’s theme of “harnessing change,” with delegates and panellists exploring innovative ideas to shore up innovation, adaptation, and diversification, and mechanisms for improving resilience, recovery from shocks, and sustainable systems to feed the world.

Several world leaders are actively bolstering food production and food security in Africa. This includes coming together for a landmark global Feed Africa summit in Dakar (the Dakar 2 Summit) last January.

Nigeria to host Africa agric equipment and technology expo (The Guardian Nigeria)

The Federal Ministry of Agricultural and Food Security in collaboration with the CBNetwork Global Concept and other major stakeholders are set to host the world at the Africa Agricultural Machines Equipment and Technology Expo (AAMETEX), billed to hold from November 21 to 24, 2023 in Abuja. This year’s theme is “Transforming Africa’s Agriculture through Technology and Innovation”.

According to the Director, Federal Development of Agriculture at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Abdullahi Garba Abubakar, the event will feature a brainstorming session with other stakeholders in agriculture. He emphasised the need for modern agriculture in order to ensure food and nutrition security in Nigeria.

Climate Change: Developed Countries Should Assist Africa To Overcome Challenges (Leadership News)

Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu, has said that Africa was at the receiving end of the climate change menace, emphasising the need for the developed countries of the world to assist the continent in overcoming the challenges. Kalu made the declaration while contributing to the general debate on the “Parliamentary action for peace, justice, and strong institutions (SDG 16)” at the Thursday session of the ongoing 147th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Luanda, Angola.

He said: “In response to the partnership for climate action, Nigeria passed the Climate Change Act meant to ensure that global standards are met. To live up to the spirit and letter of our dream on climate Change. Developed countries must come to the assistance of Africa who are at receiving end of Climate Change.”

“The National Assembly has also passed the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), which reformed the Nigerian oil and gas sector. The PIA is expected to promote transparency and accountability in the sector, strengthen the institutional framework, and attract investment.

Nigeria, others to benefit from green climate fund’s (The Guardian Nigeria)

Nigeria has been listed as a beneficiary of the 15 proposals approved by the board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) totalling $736.4 million to fund new climate projects in developing countries. The country is among the Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP 2). Others in the category are Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Sierra Leone and Zambia with CAMCO.

GCF is the world’s largest dedicated climate fund. GCF’s mandate is to foster a paradigm shift towards low emission, climate-resilient development pathways in developing countries. GCF has a portfolio of $13.5 billion ($51.8 billion including co-financing) delivering transformative climate action, covering 243 projects in more than 120 countries.

Of the 15 new funding proposals, 12 target the most vulnerable – Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and African States. Eight proposals are for adaptation, one is for mitigation and eight are fully cross-cutting projects.

Fight against climate change calls for significant collaboration (Tribune Online)

The Africa Environment Action Plan, the Africa Clean Energy Corridor, and the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative all indicate the continent’s strategic commitment to addressing the climate crisis. The actions proposed in these initiatives were restated in the Nairobi Declaration, which summed up the outcomes of the ACS23. Africa’s common position on food systems will benefit from cross-sectional collaboration to ensure resource efficiency and high-impact transformation.

The Declaration comprises 23 commitments, primarily addressing policy areas related to investment attraction, economic development (with a focus on youth empowerment), enhanced continental cooperation, increased renewable energy financing, support for small-scale farmers, and the expedited implementation of the African Union Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan (2022-2032). Yet even as we celebrate these great interventions, we must recognize that climate change is a complex issue that no single country can solve independently; a collaborative approach involving partnerships across national governments, the private sector and the international community is required for rapid transformation.

COP28 President calls for improved adaptation finance for vulnerable nations at Climate and Development Ministerial (ZAWYA)

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, the President of COP28, has called for greater efforts to tackle adaptation finance gaps and prioritize actions to make climate finance more accessible to vulnerable nations. His remarks came during the third Climate and Development Ministerial, which was convened at Pre-COP, and co-hosted by the United Kingdom, Vanuatu and Malawi.

“People and the planet lie at the heart of the climate process – which is focused on protecting lives, livelihoods and nature,” Dr Sultan said. “To guarantee an inclusive and equitable transition to low-carbon and resilient growth, the voices of emerging and developing countries must not go unheard. COP28 must leverage an adequate response to the Global Stocktake and set out a pathway to fill the financing gaps and address shortcomings in the global climate finance architecture,” he said.


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