Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Cabinet decision to allow cheaper cement imports hits local market (New Zimbabwe)

The decision by the cabinet to allow cheaper cement imports is likely to trigger chaos among local producers who will suffer significant sales declines. The directive was issued this week during the routine Cabinet briefing meetings after consideration of higher prices and critical shortages which the authorities described as “artificial”.

“The nation is advised that following reports of artificial cement shortage in the market and the spiraling prices, the Cabinet has approved the importation of cement by individuals and companies with free funds,” a post-cabinet statement said. The policy measure flies in the face of local cement manufacturers who for long have bemoaned the negative impact posed by cheaper imports on the local market.

South Africa to miss 2030 emissions goal as it keeps coal plants burning (Engineering News)

South Africa will miss its binding 2030 carbon emissions targets under the Paris climate agreement, three senior government officials confirmed, as the country plans to run eight coal-fired power plants for longer than planned. South Africa is the world’s eleventh biggest greenhouse-gas emitter and has one of the world’s highest per capita emissions.

It had committed under the Paris Climate Accords - a legally binding treaty on climate change - to cut emissions to between 350-million and 420-million tonnes by 2030, from 442-million tonnes in 2020. To achieve this, it planned to decommission eight coal-fired power plants, six by 2030 and the remaining by 2034 as power makes up half of its emissions, but switching to a renewable energy policy has been hampered by bureaucratic delays. Now a power supply crisis makes this target unrealistic, said the officials, all of whom declined to be named because the information was not yet public.

“Our models suggest we will miss the 2030 target,” an official in the president’s office said, although he added that a new decommissioning target for 2035 was being discussed. South Africa has committed to net zero by 2050.

South Africa’s decision comes as several rich countries and companies are backtracking on climate pledges, and on Wednesday the United Nations said fossil fuel output by 2030 will be more than double levels consistent with the 2015 Paris climate goals.

Future of $7trn electric vehicle market tied to Nigeria, others (Businessday)

Akinwumi Adesina, president of African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, has said the future of the electric vehicle market, estimated to increase from the current $7 trillion to $57 trillion by 2050, depends on Africa. Adesina said this at the Africa Investment Forum 2023 on Wednesday at the Palace Congress, Marrakech, Morocco. According to him, Africa accounts for the largest source of green metals for the development of electric vehicles, including platinum (70 percent), cobalt (52 percent), manganese (46 percent), bauxite (25 percent), and graphite (21 percent).

“Africa has the largest sources of renewable energy sources in the world, including hydro and solar. And right here in Morocco, you have the Noor Ouarzazate, the largest concentrated solar zone in the world,” he said. The global electric vehicle market has experienced significant growth, which is driven by increasing environmental concerns and advancements in technology. China, the United States and Europe are the three biggest EV markets globally.

How manufacturing can drive Nigeria’s economic diversification and trade growth (Businessday)

Ex-minister woos Chinese manufacturers as bilateral trade volume hits $23.9 billion (The Guardian Nigeria)

Former Minister of Industry, Nike Akande, has persuaded manufacturers in China to consider moving their factories to produce in Nigeria. The move, she said, was for China to support Nigeria in its quests for industrialisation by deliberately putting in place measures that would aid the Nigerian government and people to improve their production capacity.

She said this at the China-Africa (Nigeria) production capacity cooperation symposium held at the Lagos International Trade Fair (LITF) complex, which had the theme: ‘Enhancing Economic Growth Through Sustainable Partnership.’ Akande said that China moving their factories to produce in Nigeria would provide jobs for the teeming population and improve the nation’s economy.

Stating that China was a significant trade partner to Nigeria, she noted that as of 2022, the bilateral trade volume between China and Nigeria reached $23.9 billion, with China’s exports to Nigeria amounting to $22.3 billion and imports from Nigeria totaling $1.6 billion. According to her, in the first three quarters of 2023, bilateral trade stood at $17.25 billion, with exports to Nigeria being $15.67 billion and imports from Nigeria at $1.58 billion.

Yuging said it marked a 22.5 per cent increase in imports from Nigeria compared to the same period last year. She affirmed that Nigeria has become China’s second-largest trade partner in Africa, while China is Nigeria’s largest global source of imports.

Ethiopia, India Successfully Conclude 6th Joint Trade Committee Meeting (ENA)

The 6th Session of Ethiopia - India Joint Trade Committee (JTC) was conducted in Addis Ababa by reaching an agreement to further enhance bilateral trade and facilitate trade promotion between the two countries.

Both sides undertook a detailed review of recent developments in bilateral trade and investment ties and noted that the relationship has a huge potential to be scaled up even further. To this effect, both sides identified several areas of focus for enhancing both bilateral trade as well as mutually beneficial investments. These include health and pharmaceuticals, automobiles, textiles, infrastructure projects, food and agro processing and so on.

Both sides also reviewed the progress of ongoing discussions for Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) in the field of Standardization and Quality assurance and Customs procedure and agreed to conclude them expeditiously.

Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in the African region, with an estimated growth of 6.4 percent in the year 2021-22. Indian companies are among the top three foreign investors in Ethiopia with existing Indian investment of 5 billion USD of which, about 3-4 billion USD is estimated to be on the ground.

ECA and IGAD join forces to promote sustainable tourism in Eastern Africa (UNECA)

The office for Eastern Africa of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) jointly organized a three-day meeting in Mombasa, Kenya from 24 to 27 October 2023 to discuss the development of a Sustainable Tourism Master Plan for the IGAD region.

According to Ms. Mama Keita, Director of ECA in Eastern Africa, the tourism sector accounts for an average of 8.7% of GDP in the Eastern Africa region and has a huge potential to create more income, jobs and opportunities for the people. Ms Keita praised the constructive work done by tourism experts from the IGAD member states and said that the road map agreed upon will guide the preparation and validation of the Sustainable Tourism Master Plan for the region.

The main objective of the meeting was to develop a regional framework for sustainable tourism development that will foster socio-economic development, poverty reduction and regional integration in the IGAD member states.

South Sudan set to take EAC chairmanship (The East African)

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir Mayardit is expected to take over as the chairman of the East African Community (EAC) Heads of State summit at the next ordinary EAC Heads of State Summit. President Kiir is set to replace Burundi’s President Evariste Ndayishimiye whose one-year tenure came to an end mid this year.The EAC heads of State summit is expected to take place next week in Arusha, Tanzania on November 23-24 where the EAC heads of state are also expected to discuss climate change and food security.

Kiir is expected to steer the regional bloc at a time when the region is holding discussions on regional peace and security, particularly the crisis in Sudan and the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where South Sudan has deployed troops as part of the East African Regional Force to help restore peace in the

Kenya leads push for transport protectionist policy in Africa (The Standard)

Plans to revive and protect national and regional shipping lines in Africa has gained momentum, with experts and policymakers meeting in Mombasa saying it will lower the cost of transport in the continent. In 2021, African ports loaded 762.4 million tons of goods onto mostly foreign ships and discharged 553.2 million for Sh115.5 trillion ($762.4 million).

The experts drawn from 25 countries said protecting African liners through cabotage laws will boost the economy of Africa as the Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) takes shape. They explained that cabotage, a protectionist policy framework to guarantee business between ports within the same territory to local ships, was crucial for continental self-sufficiency.

Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs Cabinet Secretary Salim Mvurya said effective cabotage policies will also ensure maritime resources benefit Kenya and Africa. “Our oceans and waterways connect us, facilitate trade and present boundless opportunities for sustainable development,” said Mvurya.

AIF 2023: AfDB President calls for increased investment in regional corridors (Daily News Egypt)

African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina has called for increased investment in regional corridors to boost intra-regional trade and economic integration. Speaking on the second day of the 2023 Africa Investment Forum (AIF 2023) in Marrakech, Adesina said that the bank had already invested over $2.5bn in regional infrastructure, but that more needed to be done.

“We are financing the development of regional electricity corridors, to assure reliable and competitively priced electricity. AfDB and partners are implementing the $20bn Desert-to-Power initiative to develop 10 GW of solar power across 11 countries of the Sahel zone, including the Sahel regional transmission lines.”

Adesina said that the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), when fully operational, offers incredible opportunities for economic integration. However, he noted that these opportunities can only be realized through the development of infrastructure, such as regional corridors. The AfDB has been a leading investor in regional corridors, financing over $13.5bn in projects over the past seven years. These projects have helped to reduce transport costs, connect landlocked countries to coastal countries, and improve regional trade and competitiveness.

Ecobank Group champions intra-African trade growth at Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) 2023 (Africa.com)

Ecobank Group, the leading pan-African banking Group, sponsors the Intra-African Trade Fair 2023 (IATF 2023), the continent’s premier trade and investment event, which is taking place from 9-15 November 2023, in Cairo, Egypt. Theme this year is “Connecting African Markets”. The event will provide a springboard platform for businesses to grow their intra-African trade and investments across the continent’s single market of 1.4 billion people created by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Eric Odhiambo, Group Executive, Corporate and Investment Banking, Ecobank Group, said: “IATF provides Africa’s businesses with unrivalled opportunities to network, connect and sign contracts with buyers and sellers from across the continent. With our comprehensive suite of banking products, services, solutions and our established digital platform, which facilitates seamless payments and collections across our 35 countries of presence in Africa, Ecobank is positioned as the ‘go to’ bank for payments and trade. To further support businesses to grow and succeed we have also put in place a range of initiatives which include the game changing Ecobank Single Market Trade Hub, which connects importers and exporters across Africa.”

The Ecobank Single Market Trade Hub is a cutting-edge digital platform, which serves as an exchange and information repository, designed to respond to the evolving trading needs of SMEs and corporates within Africa’s single market.

‘It’s fastest way to poverty’ — Adesina says Africa must end exports of raw agricultural commodities (TheCable)

Akinwumi Adesina, president of African Development Bank (AfDB), says the “highway to wealth” in Africa is the export of value-added agricultural products. Akinwumi spoke on Wednesday at the ongoing 2023 Africa Investment Forum (AIF) marketplace in Marrakesh, Morocco.

“To do so, Africa must end the export of raw agricultural commodities. We must recognise that the fastest way to poverty is via the export of raw commodities, while the highway to wealth is from the export of value-added products,” he said.

“And that is why SAPZs are important. They provide critical infrastructure to support agro-industrial development in Africa. The aim is to unleash the power of its agricultural potential, with the establishment of food processing and manufacturing companies within the zones.

$5B potential investment in Africa’s creative industries: Afreximbank EVP (Egypt Today)

The Executive Vice President of Intra-African Trade Bank at the African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK), Kanayo Awani, highlighted a $5 billion potential investment in creative industries, creating 20 million job opportunities across the continent. Awani elaborated that Africa is rich with creativity, from the tales of the desert nights to the stories of the coast.

Speaking at the opening of the intra-African trade exhibition in Cairo, she emphasized the significance of the Creative Africa Nexus “CANEX” in exploring fresh prospects for African brands and creative industries, underlining the profitability that creativity can generate. She pointed to the existing challenges such as financing difficulties, intellectual property issues, digital communication gaps, and infrastructure limitations, emphasizing the importance of cooperation between governments and the private sector.

Today, intra-African trade is only 16% of total African trade

The African Union: Shaping Africa’s Trade Future at Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023)

Boosting intra-Africa trade through implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement key to eliminating poverty and inequality in Southern Africa (UNECA)

Southern African countries should take collective action to accelerate the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement which is strategic to reducing poverty and inequality in a region classified as one of the most unequal in the world today. Opening the 29th Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts of Southern Africa (ICSOE), Mmusi Kgafela, Botswana Minister of Trade and Industry, said that “Boosting intra-Africa trade through the AfCFTA will generate immense benefits for our regional economies,” highlighting the gravity of the challenges of poverty and inequality in Southern Africa and how trade and industrialization could create jobs and raise incomes. “Collaborative efforts of governments and the private sector, supporting innovation and technology development can lift Southern Africa out of poverty particularly through capacitating our Micro Small and Mediums Enterprises, youth and women-owned businesses, said Mr. Kgafela, imploring regional governments to think innovatively about supporting the growth of regional economies.

Reforms needed to production and market distorting policies as agricultural support reaches record highs (OECD)

Total support to agriculture reached record levels of USD 851 billion per year during 2020-22 for the 54 countries covered by a new OECD report, as governments sought to shield consumers and producers from global crises and high inflation. Just under half of this government support was in the form of measures with the greatest potential for market distortions, such as border tariffs and subsidy payments based on output.

The OECD’s Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2023 report released today shows this historically high level of support is nearly a 2.5-fold increase compared to two decades ago, though still behind the overall growth of production. Support remains highly concentrated in a few large producing economies, with China, India, the United States and the European Union representing 36%, 15%, 14% and 13% of total support provided, respectively.

The Rise Of African Tech Hubs: How They Are Becoming The Silicon Valleys Of The Continent (CNBC Africa)

Akinbode Roberts, CEO of DataLeum, based in Nigeria, tells CNBC Africa that Lagos has always been a fertile ground for innovation, driven by the need to address local financial challenges, with Nigeria’s youthful population playing a critical role in this trend. “While these challenges are real, Kenya remains a hub in Africa’s overall tech ecosystem and a preferred place to launch a technology venture in Africa,” says Bhattacharya.

Most African countries have committed to climate action and, most recently, to the goal of building climate-resilient and low-carbon health systems through the ATACH initiative. Notable among these include adapting health systems to heat in Ghana (Codjoe et al., 2020), coastal resilience in Tanzania, malaria-early warning systems in Ethiopia, and efforts for learning and networking among researchers, policymakers, and practitioners by the CHANCE Network, which is expanding across Africa.

Prosper Africa coordinates US agencies to boost Africa’s low Agoa participation (Daily Maverick)

The US has mobilised 17 relevant government departments and agencies under the umbrella of Prosper Africa coordinator British Robinson to try to clinch deals between US and African businesses that will increase utilisation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa). The 20th annual Agoa Forum ended in Johannesburg at the weekend with an all-round commitment by Africa and the US to renew the preferential trade programme when it expires in 2025.

Despite these considerable benefits, very few African countries have taken advantage. South Africa has been the biggest beneficiary by far if oil exports are excluded. Last year SA accounted for more than 35% of all goods exported to the US under Agoa, about $3.615-billion; with Nigeria second, with $3.523-billion (mostly oil); followed by Ghana, with $746-million; Kenya, $615-million; Madagascar, $407-million; Angola, $391-million; Lesotho, $261-million; Ivory Coast, $128-million; Gabon, $126-million and Democratic Republic of the Congo, $92.3-million (figures from Trade Law Centre).

Eckart Naumann, an economist and Trade Law Centre associate, pointed out that although it was true that utilisation of Agoa was generally low (purely based on the share of Agoa trade), Agoa beneficiaries were ultimately subject to virtually no other US import duties.

“Many goods don’t need Agoa — and are duty-free under normal tariff relations [NTR], the tariff treatment that the US extends to general trade. A country that exports goods under NTR may still be a successful exporter to the US but just doesn’t happen to only produce Agoa-eligible goods.” He said he had heard at the forum that some considered the low rate of Agoa utilisation a reflection on Agoa.

“Rather, it also points at the favourable US tariff schedule which, aided by Agoa, allows around 97% of all possible trade tariff lines to enter duty-free — be it under normal trade terms (around 37% of the total) or Agoa (around 60% of the total). “Some countries have very high Agoa utilisation rates, but aren’t always the greatest exporters in terms of trade volumes. It’s just that their exports are concentrated in eligible tariff lines.

Exploring Synergies Between AGOA And AfCFTA: The Case For African Exports (Africa.com)

African and US trade unions call for decent work in trade and economic cooperation (IndustriALL)

China’s Slowing Economy Will Hit Sub-Saharan Africa’s Growth (IMF)

China has forged deep economic ties with countries in sub-Saharan African over the past 20 years, making it the region’s largest single country trading partner. China buys one-fifth of the region’s exports—metals, minerals, and fuel—and provides most of the manufactured goods and machinery imported by African countries. However, China’s recovery from the pandemic has slowed recently due to a property downturn and flagging demand for its manufactured goods as global growth has also slowed.

This matters for Africa. A one percentage point decline in China’s growth rate could reduce average growth in the region by about 0.25 percentage points within a year, according to the latest Regional Economic Outlook. For oil-exporters, such as Angola and Nigeria, the loss could be 0.5 percentage points on average.

The ripple effects of China’s slowing economy extend to sovereign lending to sub-Saharan Africa, which fell below $1 billion last year—the lowest level in nearly two decades. The cutback marks a shift away from big ticket infrastructure financing, as several African countries struggle with escalating public debt.

AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2023 in Guyana (Afreximbank)

The AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF23) opened in Guyana on Monday, 30 October 2023, with His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, challenging the regional private sector to collaborate with their African counterparts to develop a consortium, to solve some of the perennial challenges facing the region, including transportation. The theme of the forum was “Creating A Shared Prosperous Future”.

President Ali emphasized to the Heads of Government and delegates in attendance that “Every single state of CARICOM has made it clear that we will give all the incentives necessary to facilitate the building of a regional transport infrastructure system to solve the problem of regional transportation… All the governments in the region, we have made it clear, we will support such a consortium on investment through incentives and promotion. The private sector must get up and put that consortium in place, partner with Afreximbank and end this problem.”

His remarks came as he noted that the south-south trade potential between Africa and the Caribbean is estimated at USD 16 trillion, and there are multiple opportunities on which the countries of the regions can capitalise. The Guyanese President also called on Africa and the Caribbean to build stronger bonds based on friendship, love, and prosperity.

Dr Carla N Barnett, Secretary-General, at the Opening Ceremony, Africaribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2023 (CARICOM)

ACTIF 2023: One Year of AfriCaribbean Trade & Investment Revival: Lessons Forum Experience (CNBC Africa)

WTO to highlight role of trade policy for climate action at COP28 in Dubai (WTO)

The WTO is set to shine a spotlight on trade’s contribution to climate action at the UN’s COP28 Climate Change Conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on 30 November-12 December. Information on the WTO’s participation at COP28 is now available on a portal, covering “Trade Day” and a dedicated site with the programme of activities for the Trade House pavilion co-hosted by the WTO with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Trade Centre (ITC), and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Several high-level events are being lined up for Trade Day, including an event titled “Global Leaders Unite to Promote A Roadmap of Trade Policy Options for a Just and Ambitious Global Response To Climate Change.” Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will participate in several high-level events, such as the World Climate Action Summit and the Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum. The WTO’s COP28 portal is available here. It will be regularly updated with event details, news stories, photos and other resources.

Quick links

G7, Africa collaboration is key to an inclusive global trade, growth system

Russia commends a new dawn in trade with Africa

How to remake global trade to build a sustainable future

Has the Time Come To Renegotiate the WTO’s Mandate on Agriculture Sector?

Rethinking Investments in Climate Resilient and Environmentally Sustainable Health Systems: Perspectives from Africa


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