Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Mashatile commits to deepen trade with China, increase value-added products (SAnews)

Deputy President Paul Mashatile says South Africa will continue to explore various avenues of strengthening and deepening long-standing economic, trade and people-to-people relations with China. “By advancing more South African value-added products from a top 10 category to an exponential top 100 products, we are confident that we are making progress in our bilateral trade,” he said on Sunday.

The Deputy President was speaking during his open remarks at the 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.

Mashatile described the expo as a unique platform that provides companies around the world the opportunity to showcase their products and services, and expand their network. It is also a platform to conclude trade deals, while companies learn about the culture of doing business with Chinese enterprises and get first-hand information on compliance and adherence to Chinese protocols.

Kenya projects economy to grow 5.5 pct in 2023 (Xinhua)

Kenya’s economy is projected to grow 5.5 percent in 2023, compared to the 4.8 percent recorded in 2022, a government official said Tuesday. Susan Koech, the deputy governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, told a forum in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, that the growth will be driven by a rebound in the agriculture and services sector as well as government measures implemented to stimulate the manufacturing sector.

“The government has also put in place policy measures that continue to provide a strong foundation for macro-economic stability and long-term growth,” Koech said during the NCBA Bank 2024 Macroeconomic Outlook forum. The event gathered senior government officials, bank executives and manufacturers to review ways to boost Kenya’s economic growth.

Koech observed that the East African nation’s economy is projected to expand by 6 percent in 2024 as the country has a well-diversified economy that is able to weather multiple shocks. She revealed that Kenya’s economic performance is also underpinned by its exports which are dominated by agricultural crops such as fresh flowers, tea and coffee.

‘Zim must prioritise industrialisation’ (NewsDay)

Zimbabwe needs to give priority to industrialisation and diversifying its productive capacities to mitigate the risk of becoming dependent on imported commodities, a government official has said. Speaking at the Competition and Tariff Commission annual trade tariff conference in Harare last week, investment promotion and export development deputy-director at the Industry and Commerce ministry Netai Magade said local production was key to economic growth.

“It is crucial for the local industry to position itself to take full advantage of these opportunities here presented such as accessing duty-free exports in a market of about 1,3 billion people,” she said. “This will not only bring in the much needed foreign currency, but also create employment opportunities for our citizens. To effectively participate in these trading blocs, Zimbabwe must, I repeat, must prioritise industrialisation and the diversification of its production capabilities.

EAC FDI increase despite global uncertainties (Tanzania Daily News)

The East African Community (EAC), a seven-nation bloc comprises some of the most highly populated and resource-rich countries in Africa. Its combined GDP of US$ 305.3 billion (2021) which is expected to hit $346.17 billion in 2023, according to the IMF’s latest forecast, population of more than 300 million (according to some estimates) and its strategic geographical position make it an attractive investment destination.

Abundant resources in the region such as proven oil deposits in Uganda, liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Tanzania, copper in DR Congo, cobalt and nickel deposits in DR Congo and Tanzania, make the bloc on the radar of investors. These give the region reasons for optimism for strong economic growth prospects which will make it even more attractive for investments.

It was not surprising that the East African region posted increasing flows of investments in 2022 despite the challenging global economic situation worsened by the Ukraine war and rising inflation. FDI inflows rose also in the Southern African Development Community (quadrupling, to 10 billion US dollars), and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (doubling, to 5.2 billion US dollars).

Cargo & Logistics Services Constitute About 35% of Ethiopian Revenue: CEO Mesfin (ENA)

The cargo and logistics services constitute about 35 percent of the Ethiopian Airlines Group’s total revenues, Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mesfin Tassew said. In an exclusive interview with ENA, Mesfin said that Ethiopian currently has 16 fully dedicated cargo freighter aircrafts and will soon receive a new cargo aircraft.

Unrivalled in its network coverage, Ethiopian Cargo and Logistics Services provides a transport service to 60 plus destinations in Africa where more than half of the cities are served with a mix of freighter aircraft ensuring the safe and fast transportation of the goods within and beyond the continent.

“The cargo business today constitutes about 30 to 35 percent of our total revenue. Total revenue in the last fiscal year that ended in June was 6.1 billion USD and around 2 billion USD of revenue was generated from the cargo and logistics services,” Mesfin elaborated.

Ethiopian is the largest cargo network operator in Africa and one of the major global cargo carriers with a modern warehouse of 1 million tons storage capacity. The Cargo and Logistics Services operates with a state-of-the-art cargo terminal, which is the largest in Africa, and is fully automated with one of the latest Cargo IT systems by adopting the latest aviation systems and technologies to provide efficient freight service across the globe

Shipping giants hit SA containers with congestion charges amid massive delays at ports (Engineering News)

Shipping giants Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) and Maersk have announced a costly fee for congested vessels this December due to severe delays at South African ports.

In its announcement, MSC said: ”Due to congestion in the South African ports [and] generating difficult conditions to operate, MSC will [as of 3 December] apply a CGS [congestion surcharge] for cargo to all South African ports to maintain our services provided”. Cargo owners will be expected to pay an estimated $210 (R3 850) per shipping container due to congestion.

Meanwhile, Danish company Maersk will impose a Congestion Fee Destination (CFD) of between $200 and $400 per shipping container from 1 December, it announced. Earlier this year, French shipping company Compagnie Maritime d’Affrètement Compagnie Générale Maritime (CMA CGM) announced a CGS of $250 per shipping container for cargo from Asian countries. With the congestion surcharge, South African cargo owners will be expected to pay more than the global average per 40ft container, said Van Rensburg.

Port of Cape Town agricultural exports heading for a crisis, warns Western Cape govt (Engineering News)

The Western Cape is heading for an export crisis at the end of the year, warns Western Cape Finance and Economic Opportunities Minister Mireille Wenger. “With the good rains we have experienced, our agricultural goods for export are anticipated to increase by 25%. “This is a wonderful opportunity…to bring in more revenue.”

In direct contrast to this opportunity, however, there has been a “significant deterioration” at the Port of Cape Town, particularly when it comes to critical equipment, such as rubber-tyred gantries, warns Wenger. “These are needed to load containers on and off trucks, but they are repeatedly breaking down. “This means that, as it stands, the port is not, and will not, be able to keep up with the volume of goods coming in, and to get them to market in time.”

From October 2 to 15, vessel waiting time at anchor at the Cape Town port averaged 4.9 days, versus the target of one day, notes the Western Cape government. Also, vessel turnaround time averaged 10 days, versus the target of four days; containers moved averaged 9 197 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEUs) containers, versus a target of 20 000; and truck turnaround time averaged 77 minutes, versus the target of 35 minutes.

NPA Launches $1.1bn Port Rehabilitation Plan for Enhanced Trade Competitiveness (Daily Trend)

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has said it is embarking on a significant $1.1 billion port rehabilitation plan, in a means to ensure a strong commitment to fortify Nigeria’s trade competitiveness. Speaking during a panel session during the 43rd PMAWCA (Port Management Association of West and Central Africa) conference held in Lagos, Mohammed Bello Koko, the Managing Director of NPA, stated that with almost every port in Nigeria requiring rehabilitation, the NPA is initiating a substantial overhaul, starting with the TinCan and Apapa ports in Lagos.

He stated that the objective of the authority is to enhance the physical infrastructure of these ports to accommodate vessels of all sizes and increase the draft at the quay side, with the aim of achieving draft depths of up to 14 meters expressing that the initiative will render Nigerian ports more competitive on a global scale. Koko further stated that the NPA is also strengthening collaborations with the private sector to establish new seaports.

Recognizing the inefficiencies associated with road-dependent cargo evacuation, he said the NPA is actively working on alternatives initiatives which include implementing barges and expanding rail infrastructure. He informed that the rail line has reached Apapa port and will soon extend to TinCan port. To streamline operations and reduce costs, Koko informed that the NPA is embracing automation. He said “The authority has automated its collection system and is collaborating with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to introduce a state-of-the-art port community system, poised to optimize cargo clearance processes”.

Nigeria to scale up its global port ratings (Freight News)

Why EA Commercial and Logistics Centre crucial (Tanzania Daily News)

The East Africa Commercial and Logistics Centre Project being implemented at a cost of 110 million US dollar (about 275bn/-) at Ubungo District in Dar es Salaam has reached 80 per cent and is expected to strengthen trade and accelerate the growth of the entire Eastern Africa economy. EACLC Project General Director, Ms Cathy Wang made the statement yesterday shortly after hosting the Tanzania Investment Centre’s (TIC) Board of Directors’ Chairman, Dr Binilith Mahenge who was accompanied with other TIC’s officials to inspect the progress of the notable business hub project.

Ms Wang said the project, funded by China’s private investors, which officially kicked off in April this year has reached 80 per cent, where about 70 million USD (about 175bn/-) has already been invested, noting by December this year the structure of the centre will be completed while overall completion that entails decoration is expected by June 2024.

She said upon starting its operation by the mid of next year the project will promote business development by ensuring local industries from Tanzania and neighbouring countries including Rwanda and Burundi enjoy widened accessibility to China’s market through the integrated logistics services with end-to-end supply chain. Ms Wang said the move targets in enabling Tanzania’s goods producers to fully tap the China market assisting the country to achieve the semi-industrialisation goal come 2025.

More than 200 organisations and trade unions call for the adoption of the Africa Group resolution on a UN Tax Convention (Eurodad)

On 11 October 2023, the Africa Group at the United Nations tabled a proposal calling for a comprehensive UN tax convention. Now, over 200 organisations and trade unions have sent a letter to governments calling for the adoption of the Africa Group’s resolution, and stressing that this issue should be treated as a matter of highest priority and urgency. “In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, all-time high public debt service payments and the “cost of living crisis”, the fight to increase domestic resource mobilisation and combat illicit financial flows has never been more vital.”

As the negotiations progress in the 2nd Committee of the UN General Assembly, we specifically call on all governments to ensure that the level of ambition and key elements of the resolution are kept intact.

AfCFTA endorsed the Africa Tourism Private Sector Alliance (ATPSA) (TravelDailyNews International)

The Africa Free Continental Trade Area (AfCFTA) has endorsed the Africa Tourism Private Sector Alliance (ATPSA). This took place during the 6th ATLF hosted by the Government of Botswana in October 2023 in Gaborone, Botswana. The endorsement was witnessed by over 600 industry stakeholders, policy-makers, private sector executives, academics and investors who had gathered in Gaborone Botswana for the Africa Tourism Leadership Forum & Awards 2023 that was held from 03 to 06 October.

AfCFTA’s endorsement now affirms the Africa Tourism Private Sector Alliance (ATPSA) as the only Pan-African apex body and platform for national tourism private sector associations and organisations for African Union Member states. Birthed on the margins of ATLF 2022 in Botswana, the ATPSA will serve as a single voice and platform for positioning Tourism as priority sector across all African countries. The primary role of the body is to advocate for the removal of barriers to intra-Africa travel such as visa-free travel for Africans within Africa, improved connectivity within African countries, reduced cost of air travel across Africa, promotion of Africa under the “Brand Africa” banner in collaboration with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Other key priority focus areas of the Alliance are research, creation of market access for SMEs through destination marketing, capacity building and learning, best practice and knowledge sharing, Thought-leadership development, sustainable tourism development more.

Kenya to host African Continental Free Trade Area Pan African payment system headquarters (Capital News)

Speaking on Tuesday during the launch of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) and policy development centre at Strathmore University, Ruto has said easing the trade that happens in different currencies will greatly boost intra-African trade and investments.

“Africa has continued to rank at the bottom when it comes to participating, contributing and competing in the global economy relative to other regional blocs. It accounts for only 3 percent of global trade,” Ruto stated. “Why is a continent that is larger than all the other continents and land masses combined, which is home to over a billion people and sits on all these resources, contributing only 3 percent of global trade, and only 2.84 percent of global GDP?” he added.

Senator Coons releases draft of AGOA reauthorization act to deepen U.S.-Africa economic relationship (Chris Coons)

U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) released a discussion draft of the AGOA Renewal Act of 2023 that would extend and enhance the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the cornerstone of the United States’ economic relationship with sub-Saharan Africa.

“For over 20 years, AGOA has created valuable opportunities for U.S. businesses, workers, and consumers while supporting sustainable economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Senator Coons. “My AGOA Renewal Act would extend this program, incentivizing investments that will create jobs, bolster economic development, and strengthen our standing in the region. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to get this done.”

The AGOA Renewal Act would extend AGOA until 2041. This long-term extension would provide businesses with the predictability needed to invest in sub-Saharan Africa at a time when many firms are looking to diversify their supply chains and reduce dependence on China. Increased investment by U.S. businesses in sub-Saharan Africa supports regional economic growth and development and strengthens the United States’ position on the continent.

US Senator Chris Coons proposes AGOA extension by 16 years, immediate review of SA’s AGOA eligibility (Daily Maverick)

20th AGOA Forum Concludes Successfully in Johannesburg, With Calls for Its Renewal and Reauthorization Across the Board (the dtic)

South Africa hosted a successful 20th Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum on 2 – 4 November 2023 in Johannesburg. The forum brought together over 5 000 participants comprising of Ministers of Trade and their senior officials, the United States of America (US) Government delegation led by US Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Katherine Tai, US Congressional staffers, private sector, organised labour, civil society, exhibitors in the Made in Africa Exhibition, procurers and investors.

The forum was officially opened by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who started with a tour of the Made in Africa Exhibition which showcased industrial products and regional value chains that have formed in the continent. President Ramaphosa noted that “the extension of AGOA could also encourage the further development of value-chains across different countries”.

Using the automotive sector as an example of regional value chains, President Ramaphosa indicated that local automotive companies source leather seats from Lesotho, wiring harnesses from Botswana, copper wiring from Zambia, steering wheel components from Tunisia and rubber from Cote D’Ivoire, Nigeria, Malawi, Ghana and Cameroon.

How Uganda Agoa ban will impact East Africa (The East African)

Tanzania: We need to diversify export portfolio to benefit more from AGOA (Tanzania Daily News)

NEPC Moves to Facilitate Export of Cashew, Rice Derivatives, Stem Rejection (This Day)

The Executive Director/Chief Executive, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nonye Ayeni, has said the council remained committed to ensuring that the export of cashew and rice derivatives conformed with international requirements. She said efforts were also being taken to ensure instances of export rejection were minimised considerably going forward.

Speaking at the opening of the NEPC/GIZ interactive session for cashew and rice value chain actors in Abuja, she said the engagement was particularly given that world trade in non-oil exportable products had become highly regulated, fundamentally because of safety, health, and environmental considerations.

Ayeni noted that exporters are hence required to conform to Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), secure necessary certifications, and utilise appropriate documentation, and packaging which if not properly addressed, becomes technical barriers to trade.

Least developed countries: Global financial system must urgently address development and climate needs (UNCTAD)

UNCTAD has emphasized in a new report the imperative for international financial reforms to specifically target the financing requirements of the world’s 46 least developed countries (LDCs). According to the organization’s Least Developed Countries Report 2023, published on 7 November, fiscal constraints in LDCs pose a severe threat to their ability to implement crucial development policies, potentially derailing progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a low-carbon transition.

UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan said “The success of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is inextricably linked to the progress of these nations,” adding that time is running out for LDCs to achieve the SDGs. Failure to promptly address the financing needs of LDCs, warns the report, will hinder their development prospects and exacerbate the impact of climate change, especially since 17 out of the 20 countries most vulnerable to and least prepared for climate change are LDCs.

Hidden costs of global agrifood systems worth at least $10 trillion (FAO)

Our current agrifood systems impose huge hidden costs on our health, the environment and society, equivalent to at least $10 trillion a year, according to a ground-breaking analysis by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), covering 154 countries. This represents almost 10 percent of global GDP.

According to the 2023 edition of The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA), the biggest hidden costs (more than 70 percent) are driven by unhealthy diets, high in ultra-processed foods, fats and sugars, leading to obesity and non-communicable diseases, and causing labour productivity losses. Such losses are particularly high in high- and upper-middle-income countries.

Low-income countries are proportionately the hardest hit by hidden costs of agrifood systems, which represent more than a quarter of their GDP, as opposed to less than 12 percent in middle-income countries and less than 8 percent in high-income countries. In low-income countries, hidden costs associated with poverty and undernourishment are the most significant.

The report makes the case for more regular and detailed analysis by governments and the private sector of the hidden or ‘true’ costs of agrifood systems via true cost accounting, followed by actions to mitigate these harms.

“In the face of escalating global challenges: food availability, food accessibility and food affordability; climate crisis; biodiversity loss; economic slowdowns and downturns; worsening poverty; and other overlapping crises, the future of our agrifood systems hinges on our willingness to appreciate all food producers, big or small, to acknowledge these true costs, and understand how we all contribute to them, and what actions we need to take. I hope that this report will serve as a call to action for all partners – from policymakers and private-sector actors to researchers and consumers – and inspire a collective commitment to transform our agrifood systems for the betterment of all,” said FAO Director-General QU Dongyu.

Global leaders reach deal on structure for fund compensating developing countries for climate damage (The Hill)

After tense negotiations, global leaders over the weekend set up the operations of a fund to compensate developing countries for the damage they have suffered due to climate change. The fund itself was established at last year’s global climate summit, despite years of resistance from developed countries. However, that agreement left many details unresolved. This weekend, a “transitional committee” made up of several nations came up with a proposal for how to set up the fund.

In order to go into effect, the agreement will need to be adopted at the global COP28 climate summit that begins later this month. Under the proposal, the fund will be hosted by the World Bank on an interim basis. It also “urges” developed countries to provide support for the fund on a voluntary basis. The proposal further says that the fund will be governed by a board made up of both developed and developing countries. Decisions will be made by a four-fifths majority.

COP27 focused on mobilizing climate finance, COP28 to spotlight just energy transition: Mohieldin (ZAWYA)

Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt and UN Special Envoy on Financing 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, said that COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh was concerned not only with mobilizing funds for climate action, but also with identifying projects to direct funds to for on-the-ground implementation.

During his participation in the LSEG webinar entitled “What to Expect from COP28,” Mohieldin added that COP27 gave climate finance significant attention. The conference discussed ways to reform international financial institutions (IFIs) and multilateral development banks (MDBs) to enhance their role in financing climate action, reduce the risks of financing and investing in climate and development projects in developing countries, and help these countries develop enabling policies and regulatory frameworks that encourage private sector and corporates to participate in financing and implementing climate action.

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