tralac Daily News
pdf Government clarifies AgriBEE requirements for agricultural exports to the European and UK markets (241 KB) (Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development)
The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development recently published two gazettes outlining the procedure for exports from SACU and Mozambique to the EU and the UK, respectively, to take advantage of preferential Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQ) for certain agricultural and agro-processed products.
The weekend newspapers misrepresented the government's message about the procedure and annual application for export permits to the European Union (EU) and United Kingdom (UK) markets.
The department publishes the procedural requirements on an annual basis for the permitting system. Amongst the requirements, an applicant must comply with any sanitary and phytosanitary requirements, rules of origin and a number of other factors contained in the bilateral agreements. The allocation of these quotas take into account the market share of the applicants, the quota applied for, the total available quota, the number of applicants and the BBBEE status of the applicant. These requirements are not new and mirror the previous years’ requirements.
To contextualise these requirements few important factors must be outlined:
These requirements are not new, and there is no threshold or level that an applicant must reach to be awarded a permit
The scope of the notices and Gazettes do not apply to all exports but merely to those products contained in Table 1 (part of the notices in the Gazettes – this excludes fresh fruit but still applies to several of our key exports) exported to the EU or UK under the preferential Tariff Rate Quota
“Given the sensitive nature of the discussions, we appeal to political parties to refrain from making incorrect comments as these may harm the sector’s prospects as these agreements are reviewed... The department is committed and will continue to ensure all farmers enjoy access to EU and UK markets,” said Didiza.
Ghana must lead the way for visa-free travels in Africa (Ghana News Agency)
Following the establishment of the headquarters of African Continental free Trade Area in Ghana, Mr Prince Bagnaba Mba, President of Forum for Equity, a human rights Non-Governmental Organisation has appealed to the Government to spearhead its implementation. “Ghana should be in the vanguard for the acceleration of continental emancipation for free movement and unity by intensive advocacy for the cancellation of visa fee for all Africans and the African in the diaspora.
In a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency on Thursday in Accra, Mr Mba said much as governments of member AfCFTA countries were doing everything possible to realise their dreams, much was yet to be realised from the continental free trade across colonial demarcated borders of the continent.
As a new Africa-wide trade pact takes effect, Kenyan manufacturers are now looking for ways to position themselves strategically to maximise the benefits. The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Africa Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), which is expected to provide a fresh growth stimulus for the local manufacturing sector, with significant potential in intra-African trade across all subregions.
The manufacturer’s lobby says that the collaboration with Afreximbank will not only streamline trade financing and enhance capacity building, but also furnish valuable trade data. This will empower Kenyan manufacturers and businessmen to engage in cross-border trade with greater efficiency. “This creates a very good framework for us to cooperate with Afreximbank,” says Mr Mwangi.
“As a bank, they have a lot of data on trade flows from West to East, East to West, North-South and we want to work with them to understand how the trade in Africa is happening.”
According to Benedict Oramah, the President of Afreximbank, there is a need for African countries, including Kenya, to implement measures that will give significance to the free trade agreement.
Tanzania, Uganda sign gas pipeline deal (The East African)
Tanzania and Uganda on Thursday signed a bilateral agreement to construct a natural gas pipeline that will boost energy security and economic growth in both countries. The pipeline will transport natural gas from Tanzania’s southern regions to Uganda, where it will be used to power factories and generate electricity. The project is also expected to create jobs and attract foreign investment.
The agreement was signed on behalf of Tanzania by Energy Minister Doto Biteko and Uganda by Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Ruth Nankabirwa.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Biteko said the project will increase the demand for natural gas and boost gas extraction in Tanzania’s Lindi and Mtwara regions. He also said that Kenya and Botswana have expressed interest in Tanzania’s natural gas. Biteko urged investors to come and invest in the natural gas sector, noting that gas processing has reached 250 million cubic feet per day, with 80 percent used for electricity generation and 20 percent for industrial, household, and transportation use. Biteko said that the agreement is based on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the two countries in August 2018, and that the two countries will work together on a feasibility study to assess the project’s design, gas demand, pipeline size, and other important factors.
Sower of discord disrupts commodity outflows from the DRC (Freight News)
As much as 81 000 tonnes of copper and cobalt mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) were prevented from being exported for a period of ten days because one man with ulterior motives managed to disrupt cross-border road freight through Zambia.
Mike Fitzmaurice, chief executive of the Federation of East and Southern African Road Transport Associations (Fesarta), said combined losses of about $13 million had been incurred by transporters not getting their loads to various ports in time. He said about 2 700 trucks had been prevented from moving when one Steven Masunga, who has had previous scraps with the law, managed to persuade mostly Zambian drivers that mines in the DRC are paying $800 in risk assurance to transporters carrying high-value minerals in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The Tanzanian national used his network of influence, mainly via WhatsApp, to sow such discord that a phalanx of drivers fell for his story that the $800 in risk fees should be paid to them. “It’s utter nonsense,” Fitzmaurice said. “Masunga is a career criminal sought in several SADC countries. He operates mainly out of Zambia and had pictures of himself shared via social media, creating the impression that he was on a private plane heading towards Kinshasa to meet with the DRC’s ministers of finance and mining whom he professes to know.
Chad’s economy is facing multiple, and often interrelated challenges that have slowed down its growth, according to the latest Chad Economic Memorandum (CEM) titled “Boosting growth and reducing vulnerability” published by the World Bank. Furthermore, up to 3.34 million additional people in Chad could fall into poverty by 2050, due to shocks linked to climate change, if urgent adaptation measures are not put in place, as estimated by the same institution in the Country Climate Change and Development Report (CCDR) for the G5 Sahel countries: Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Chad. These two reports will be presented respectively on November 13 and 14, 2023 during an event attended by representatives from the Government, the private sector, civil society, and academia.
The Country Economic Memorandum identifies insecurity, over-reliance on oil revenues and failure to use those revenues to bolster broad-based economic growth, climate change and variability, weak public finance management and business environment, as well as limited physical and human capital, as the country’s main growth constraints. Increasing insecurity within Chad and in neighboring countries also constitutes a significant driver of short-term growth volatility.
”Chad would benefit from urgently implementing strong reforms in various sectors, including oil, infrastructure, education and employment, as well as strengthening security and resilience to climate change, in order to trigger structural transformations that will enable the country’s economic transition.” says Fulbert Tchana Tchana, Program Leader for the Equitable growth, Finance and Institutions Global Practice for the central Sahel countries.
The Mohammed VI Investment Fund (FM6I) and the African Development Bank are joining forces to increase funding sources for productive investment and to strengthen the role of the private sector in the Moroccan economy. The institutions signed a Letter of Intent during the Africa Investment Forum 2023 Market Days, held from 8-10 November in Marrakech, Morocco.
The Mohammed VI Investment Fund has launched three major initiatives to catalyse productive investment in Morocco:
It is currently finalizing the selection process for management companies responsible for managing thematic and sectoral funds, aimed at offering Moroccan companies funding solutions to enhance their capacity for investment, to create long-term jobs and to develop their activities in new geographical markets.
A subordinated debt product, which will supplement its equity financing offer, will also enable Moroccan businesses to fund their investment projects while increasing their equity at the same time.
The Fund is developing innovative tools for infrastructure project preparation and to take a stake in these projects to speed up the pace of sustainable infrastructure project implementation in Morocco.
It is absolutely vital South Africa speeds up policy decisions and actions to facilitate the manufacture and transformation process to battery electric vehicles while, simultaneously, Africa needs to collectively and collaboratively adopt policies to beneficiate its raw materials.
Across the two days of the Africa Automotive Show that forms part of the Intra Africa Trade Fair (IATF), the sentiment from most of speakers reflected this with Dr Marit Kitaw a director of the African Minerals Development Centre saying: “If you do not add value to your raw minerals you are not doing anything for your people. “To retain value, you need to do value addition that creates jobs and allows for skills transfer.”
The automotive potential in Africa remains largely untapped and it has an extremely young population compared to the average age statistics on other continents, meaning there is a constantly growing segment ready to become fully mobile – Cairo, for example, has a population of 20 million people and is possibly the largest mobility market in Africa, although it is estimated Lagos, Nigeria will be the world’s largest city within the next decade.
Africa ministers seal pact on building digital infrastructure (CAJ News Africa)
Some African Ministers of Communications and Digital Technologies have committed to collaborate and align their countries’ policies and strategies to promote the development of future-oriented digital infrastructure in the continent. This is in line with the African Union Agenda 2063, the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) Strategic Plan 2020-2024, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
A communique has been signed after the Ministerial Forum on Building a Future-Oriented, Digital Infrastructure for Africa, co-organized by the ATU and the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) of South Africa.
The forum in Cape Town, held with the aim of advancing the digital transformation agenda in Africa, consisted of keynote speeches by John Omo, Secretary-General of ATU and Ministers/Deputy Ministers from Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. They pledged to create an enabling environment for future-oriented digital infrastructure development, including through fostering a conducive regulatory framework and mobilising adequate resources. The officials recognised the importance and benefits of a future-oriented digital infrastructure such as Network and Cloud in Africa for enhancing social welfare, economic competitiveness, regional integration and sustainable development.
“We acknowledge that future-oriented digital infrastructure is not only a means to an end but also an end in itself, as it can improve the quality of life and well-being of the people of Africa,” the communiqué read.
Meetings of the Northern Member States on the development of the Standard Gauge Railway and Regional Road Projects between Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and South Sudan have opened in Kampala, Uganda. The Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Agreement (NCTTA) is a multilateral treaty to facilitate transit cargo between the Kenyan Port of Mombasa and the hinterland of Member States namely Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan.
It provides a mechanism for facilitating transit trade to the landlocked countries through the port of Mombasa.
Prior to the treaty, transit trade operated on the basis of bilateral agreements, which did not offer a coherent framework for standardised services and transit trade procedures across the different Member State territories.
The Coordinator of the Northern Corridor Infrastructure Projects, Amb. Richard Kabonero, said investing in infrastructure links within the region is critical to unlocking the region’s economic potential. He said, “By prioritising the development of roads, railways, waterways, aviation, and ICTs, we can reduce the cost of doing business, increase trade, and stimulate economic growth.”
The Northern Corridor is multimodal, consisting of road, rail, pipeline, and inland waterways transport, and is recognised as a significant corridor for logistics in East Africa.
Why China is on track to control African mineral transport route via Tazara line (South China Morning Post)
Observers have said the funding for the railway pointed to Beijing’s keen interest in using Tazara for mining exports from Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Competition in the area with both the EU and the US has intensified recently as the race for critical minerals used in the production of electric vehicle batteries heats up.
“The Chinese investors have made it unmistakably clear in previous negotiations that Tazara is no longer considered an aid project but that it must be a commercially viable venture,” said Zajontz, who is also a research fellow in the Centre for International and Comparative Politics at Stellenbosch University.
China is winning Africa’s “white-gold” rush for lithium (The Economist)
Today the rush is on for “white gold”. Every day scores of lorries rumble through Goromonzi, carrying lithium bound for China, where most of the metal is refined for use in batteries for electric vehicles and electronics. They carry loads from Arcadia, Africa’s biggest lithium mine, opened this year by Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, a Chinese firm. “China is buying any lithium it can find,” says a local industry insider. “There’s an absolute feeding frenzy.”
China’s dash for lithium is part of a bigger challenge for the West. America and its allies want to weaken China’s grip on clean-energy supply chains. They see Africa, home to perhaps 30% of the world’s critical mineral reserves, as part of the solution, and argue that they can do more to help African countries add value to minerals before export.
The free movement of people across borders is an opportunity to boost intra-African trade and regional integration, a review of a regional migration pact has revealed. A side event organised by the Economic Commission for Africa, the African Union Commission and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) on the 8th PAN AFRICAN FORUM ON MIGRATION (PAFoM) conference heard that how regular migration could help boost intra African trade and promote regional integration.
The meeting with the theme “Bolstering Free Movement and Trade Nexus in AfCFTA: Optimizing Benefits of Migration, Labour Migration for Development”, brought together key stakeholders, Global Pact for SAfe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) Champion Countries and Youth Representatives in Africa. The meeting noted that the implementation of the GCM will contribute toward promoting free movement and labour mobility, which in turn would lead to sustained, inclusive economic growth and productive employment for all. It will also contribute to the achievement of SDGs on reducing inequality and eradicating extreme poverty.
Ms. Cisse underlined that it is extremely critical to keep women and youth at the centre in policy decisions and programming as those are mostly impacted by migration. Considering this, leveraging these opportunities calls for a deliberate, strategic, collaborative, and coordinated approach of all stakeholders.
Africa should prioritize the implementation of the Addis Ababa Declaration on Population and Development (AADPD) which is key to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union Commission Agenda 2063, population experts have urged. Meeting at the 10th Africa Regional Review meeting of the AADPD, the African Population Experts Committee (APEC) called on African governments to fulfill the principles of the declaration and to tap the youth dividend to accelerate sustainable development.
The 10th Africa Regional Review of the DPD was jointly organized by the ECA, the AUC), the United Nations Population Fund and the Zambian Government to take stock of progress since the 5-year review and identify best practices that have advanced the implementation of the declaration.
The 10-year review of the AADPD aimed to facilitate an in-depth review of the implementation of AADPD, based on the Operational Guide, Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, and national review guidelines. In addition, it was to review Member States’ progress in the implementation of key recommendations of the 2018 AAPD review as well as voluntary commitments member states made during the ICPD’s 5-year commemoration in November 2019. The meeting identified gaps, lessons learned, and emerging issues in the implementation of AADPD. The meeting identified challenges hindering progress and put forth recommendations for each of the six pillars of the AADPD based on the findings of national review reports.
The Federal Republic of Somalia could become a member of the East African Community (EAC) in November 2023, said the region’s Secretary General, Peter Mathuki, at the Africa Investment Forum in Marrakech, Morocco. Mathuki stated before a panel on November 9 at the Africa Investment Forum in Marrakech, Morocco, that Ethiopia has indicated interest in joining the bloc, which is aiming to reach the whole Horn of Africa, after Mogadishu.
“The East African Community is one of the building blocks of the African Union and it’s fast-growing. We have DR Congo as the latest member, plus Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda. That is a market of around 300 million people. And this November, we are likely to admit Somalia into the Community. The coastline of the East African Community will stretch almost 500,000 kilometers. And we look forward to more expansion; we are looking at Ethiopia, which has shown interest in joining the Community. So, at the end of the day, we are looking at a market of close to 700 million people,” he said.
Kiir to take over EAC leadership as states default on dues (The East African)
South Sudan is taking over the mantle of the East African Community amid pressure to show integration credentials and pay up arrears for bloc membership. President Salva Kiir who is due to become the new Chair of the EAC Summit could either use the occasion to prove doubters wrong or expose the soft underbelly of Juba on regional scale.
South Sudan remains the biggest defaulter of membership fees with a total of about $30 million, - after paying $7 million this week. The Democratic Republic of Congo is yet to contribute anything from its $14.7 million arrears. Burundi owes the bloc $15.5million, Tanzania $123,694, Rwanda owes $7.3 million while Uganda is yet to pay $6.1 million. Kenya has the least burden with just $20 pending.
But the issue of paying up also reflects on the importance members attach to the bloc. DRC officials last week said they had yet to see the best of the Community even though a government spokesman said they will stick in the bloc.
This week, lawmakers at the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) tabled a motion to call the Council of Ministers to suspend member states that are yet to fulfill their financial obligations.
The annual meetings of the COMESA Monetary Cooperation and Integration concluded on Friday, 10 November at the Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe with the 27th meeting of the COMESA Committee of Governors of Central Banks. The Governors reviewed and adopted the report of the 27th Meeting of the COMESA Committee of Experts on Finance and Monetary Affairs which preceded this meeting. Key issues included progress reports on the activities of the COMESA Regional Payment and Settlement System (REPSS), the COMESA Monetary Institute and the COMESA Clearing House.
“Our agenda of pursuing deeper financial and monetary integration requires establishing macroeconomic stability, financial system soundness, introduction of compliance with various international standards and practices in the financial sector to ensure regional harmonization,” said Dr. John Mangudya, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and outgoing chair of the COMESA Committee of Governors.
In her statement the Secretary General of COMESA Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe, urged the Governors to encourage other Central Banks that are not live on the REPSS system to join. “This will ensure that the real benefits of implementation of REPSS are realized including but not limited to guaranteeing prompt payment for exports as well as other transfers and eliminating mistrust among traders as there is Central Bank involvement,” she said in the statement presented by her Assistant Dr Dev Haman who is also in charge of administration and finance. Currently, nine member countries are live on the REPSS system, and the value of transactions processed are slowly increasing.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat has provided technical assistance to Angola, Botswana, Eswatini and Malawi in developing National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) with a view to improving access, uptake, and utilisation of quality financial services and products for consumers and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for effective participation in the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap.
The marginalised and vulnerable population within the SADC Region faces several impediments that include inadequate financial infrastructure, limited financial literacy, high transaction costs, rigid regulations, and discriminatory practices that deter access to financial services.
SADC has recently concluded its support to Botswana in developing its National Financial Inclusion Strategy and Roadmap (2024– 2030) with the aim to reducing poverty, promoting economic growth, and increasing financial stability. Addressing delegates at the validation workshop for the Botswana National Financial Inclusion Strategy (2024– 2030) in Gaborone, Botswana on 10th November 2023, Mr. Rado Razafindrakoto, Programme Officer, Financial Sector at the SADC Directorate of Finance Investment and Customs, said the SADC Region has achieved significant reduction in financially excluded adults from 43% in 2011 to 27% in 2022.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Administration and Finance Committee (AFC) successfully concluded its 34th meeting at the ECOWAS headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria. The meeting addressed a comprehensive agenda aimed at advancing the economic and organisational priorities of the West African region.
H.E. Ambassador Yakubu A. Dadu, PhD, Chairman of the AFC and Head of the ECOWAS National Office in Nigeria, presided over the closing ceremony.
Ambassador Dadu commended the members of the committee on their comprehensive examination of pivotal matters, underscoring the significance of protecting ECOWAS citizens, attaining fiscal prudence, and enhancing administrative efficacy. He emphasised the importance of AFC decisions being in accordance with the priorities of member states and urged all parties to work together in order to ensure the effective execution of these decisions.
An article published in Bloomberg identified the five key countries that have undergone major changes in the global trading system since the pandemic. The paper explains the reasons for Morocco’s growth thanks to its deep supply chain infrastructure and, more importantly, how they successfully manage the nature of geopolitics, competing trading blocs and the resulting diplomatic upheavals.
“Regardless of their policies and backgrounds, they share an opportunistic desire to capitalise on economic crises by positioning themselves as new links between the United States and China, and Europe with other Asian economies,” reads the paper published in Bloomberg. “In Morocco’s case, we engage diplomatically and economically in cooperation with a variety of partners, from the G7 to the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),” it continues.
The Role Of AGOA In Accelerating Africa’s Digital Transformation (The Reporter Ethiopia)
Other initiatives include Prosper Africa, which is supporting trade and investment between African countries and the US in the ICT sector; the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which is addressing digital transformation priorities, regulations, and private sector investment; and efforts by the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to boost the digital economy and infrastructure. To promote utilization of the agreement and further bolster trade, US government programs also facilitate collaboration with African countries through various trade capacity-building programs, including to construct infrastructure, invest in agriculture, and support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The Growing Cyber Threat To Global Shipping (Barron’s)
The cyberattack that paralysed several major Australian ports was a sharp reminder of what governments and experts say is a growing threat to shipping, the lifeblood of the global economy. The attack on DP World’s ports -- which handle 40 percent of Australia’s freight trade -- forced them offline for days and was the latest in a series of breaches at ports around the world in recent years.
Cyberattacks have disrupted or halted operations at some of the world’s busiest ports in recent years. There have also been cyberattacks at major ports in the Netherlands, Canada, India, South Africa and the United States.
Shipping is crucial to the global economy, moving more than 80 percent of trade in goods, according to the UN’s trade body UNCTAD. And the entire infrastructure contains what experts have described as single points of failure -- where one cyberattack at a port can cause a logistical nightmare across the supply chain.
Automation and connectivity in global maritime operations have increased rapidly in recent years, linking everything from cargo-handling machines at ports to traffic control in waterways to sensors on ships. While that has boosted efficiency, security firms and government bodies have warned that there are now more points for cyberattackers to target.
APEC expresses its support for the negotiations underway at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the Joint Statement Initiative (JSI) on E-commerce and encourages participants to accelerate discussions towards an outcome that is balanced, inclusive and meaningful for consumers and businesses.
Ahead of APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in San Francisco, the Committee on Trade and Investment and the Digital Economy Steering Group issued a statement encouraging more WTO members to participate in the JSI on E-commerce to further expand its benefits, and to intensify discussions on the moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions.
“E-commerce drives economic activity and provides more opportunities for businesses and our communities to participate in global markets,” said Blake Van Velden, Chair of the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment.
The first global stocktaking of the progress made on containing climate change, expected to conclude at the UN summit in Dubai in a few weeks, has received polarising views from nations that are signatories to the 2015 Paris Agreement.
India has underlined that equity, fair share of the global carbon budget, and obligations of developed country parties to provide finance for transition and technology transfer will be critical to address in the global stocktake (GST). In its submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in September, India said equity has to be designed in the GST.
Developed country parties must lead in the ambition of their climate action and support, and their efforts to achieve or exceed their commitments on mitigating the impacts of the climate crisis, India said.
Hundreds of green campaigners drawn from the Global South marched through the streets in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on Saturday, calling for a binding treaty to accelerate the phasing out of plastic production and use. The march, which was organized by the “BreakFreeFromPlastic movement,” took place ahead of the third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-3) to develop a legally binding instrument to eradicate plastic pollution, which will be held in Nairobi on Nov. 13-19.
During the meeting, delegates will negotiate the draft text which could lead to the endorsement of a global treaty aimed at bolstering efforts to eliminate plastic litter choking marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
At the close of the seventh Fish Week of the year held on 6-10 November, Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Ambassador Einar Gunnarsson of Iceland, the chair of the fisheries subsidies negotiations, called on members to move towards bridging differences, keeping in mind the target to complete by December text-based work for new disciplines on subsidies contributing to overcapacity and overfishing. During the week, members held in-depth discussions on how the draft disciplines and the provisions for special and differential treatment could be operationalized.