Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Botswana Science, Technology and Innovation Foresight (UNCTAD)

UNCTAD conducted a Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy Review of the Republic of Botswana during 2021-22. As part of the STI Policy Review, a foresight exercise was undertaken to initiate a process of identifying future national priorities for STI in Botswana and discussing the future role of STI in development in Botswana with stakeholders in the country.

Foresight includes innovative strategic planning, policy formulation, and solution design methods that do not intend to predict or forecast the future, but rather consider alternative scenarios. This report documents the foresight exercise including its purpose, methodology, activities, and findings. The seven STI priority domains that emerged from the foresight exercise for Botswana include agriculture, digital economy, energy, environmental sustainability, health, manufacturing and social development.

Ethiopia’s Quest for Sea Access Hinges on Mutual Benefit, Regional Integration (ENA)

Ethiopia’s desire for sea access should be understood as an issue of mutual benefit and expediting regional integration, State Minister of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Misganu Arga underscored. Ethiopia, while situated close to the sea, has been deprived of access to ports and is paying a heavy economic price.

As the country’s economic power grows and its population increases, sea access has become a matter of survival. Recently, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed explained Ethiopia’s position to the House of Peoples Representatives, during which he stated that Ethiopia’s quest for a sea access is based on business principles and does not infringe on the sovereignty of neighboring countries. Rather, using the spirit of good neighborliness, Ethiopia will continue to present its request for sea access through peaceful means and in adherence to international norms.

With Kenya and Rwanda opening borders for other Africans, what will visa-free travel mean for Africa’s economic growth? (WEF)

Rwanda and Kenya have just taken steps to bring the continent closer to this goal by allowing fellow Africans to travel to their countries visa-free in the future. They are following the lead of Benin, The Gambia and the Seychelles, which were the first countries to scrap visa requirements for intra-African travel, Africa News reports.

Removing visa restrictions is in line with the Union’s long-term vision of an “integrated, politically united” Africa characterized by free movement of people and trade. By emulating the model of the European Union, the AU hopes to open up a similarly powerful integrated market across the continent. If it can achieve this, it could boost regional income by hundreds of billions of dollars, improve inclusion and reduce poverty.

Open Skies: Nigeria to review air pacts with 37 countries (Daily Trust)

The Federal Government has concluded plans to review the bilateral air service agreements with 37 African Countries who are signatories to the Yamoussoukro Decision (YD) and the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). The YD and SAATM were being implemented to liberalise air transportation in Africa and boost intra-African trade.

Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo who spoke at the just concluded 24th anniversary of the YD Day event in Abuja restated the commitment of Nigeria to the implementation of SAATM to open up the air transport market in Nigeria and the African continent. He spoke just as the Nigeria’s biggest airline, Air Peace, has commenced transit flights through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos to various regional and international cities with a view to connecting more African countries to the outside world.

Official Launch of phase 2 of the MPS Terminal 3 expansion project in Ghana (Ecofin Agency)

On 15 November 2023, the President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Nana Akufo Addo, together with Philippe Labonne, AGL Chairman, officially launched phase 2 of the Tema port expansion project including the commissioning of 3 STS gantries and 12 e-RTG gantries. The phase 2 works, led by Meridian Port Services (MPS), whose reference shareholders are AGL, APM Terminals and the Ghana Ports Authority (GPHA), are valued at a total of USD 150 million and involve the construction of 270,000 square metres of storage area plus the installation of new equipment. They will increase the terminal’s capacity from 100 to 127 hectares.

The Tema port expansion project, which is being executed by the Eiffage Genie Civil Marine consortium and Se Simone Ltd, means the quay length can be increased to 1.4 km with four massive berths, equipped with sophisticated container handling gantries and terminal operating systems. This will enable it to accommodate large capacity vessels. Phase 2, scheduled for completion in September 2025, will increase handling capacity from 2.5 to 3.7 million twenty-foot equivalent containers (TEUs)

Boosting Agriculture and Food System Resilience is Critical for Reducing Poverty in the Central African Republic: World Bank Report (World Bank)

Reviving agriculture is critical to fostering economic growth and tackling widespread extreme poverty in the Central African Republic (CAR), says the World Bank’s first Poverty Assessment report for the country. With 70% of the country’s working-age population dependent on farming, fixing agriculture offers the most direct way to improve livelihoods and feed people, says the report, released today.

Plagued by decades of conflict, political instability and low growth, CAR has one of the world’s highest rates of poverty – almost 7 out of 10 people are extremely poor (65.7% are living on less than $2.15 per day) and more than half are unable to afford enough food, even if they devote all their consumption to it, the report finds.

“The urgency of stimulating economic growth and lifting Central Africans out of poverty cannot be stressed enough. Revitalizing agriculture, with broader support measures to provide social safety nets for the most vulnerable, develop human capital, and stimulate private sector development will be essential,” said Ousmane Diagana, World Bank Vice President for Western and Central Africa.

To Become a Climate Solutions Country, the Democratic Republic of Congo Must Strengthen its Institutions and Increase Investments (World Bank)

Possessing half of Africa’s forests, large freshwater resources, and mineral reserves that are critical for a green transition, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has the potential to contribute to global climate action and establish itself as a “climate solutions country” while generating revenues to enhance its own climate resilience and sustainable low-carbon growth. To do so, the country must build stronger and more resilient institutions, address increased conflict and fragility situations, and invest substantially to achieve its ambitious climate goals, according to the World Bank’s new Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) for the DRC.

Climate change could reverse DRC’s hard‑won gains in human capital, with a disproportionate impact on the poor, and especially on women and excluded populations. If DRC stays on its current growth trajectory and no action is taken, climate change could result in between 4.7% and 12.9% of lost gross domestic product (GDP) by 2050. Under the most pessimistic of climate scenarios, an additional 16 million people could be pushed into poverty by 2050 if the country does not implement climate‑resilient investments and additional inclusive policies to achieve economic growth and sustainable livelihoods.

Policy and Economic reforms key for Africa’s Industrialization revolution (UNECA)

Inclusive and sustainable approaches are critical for Africa’s industrial development, says Stephen Karingi, Director, Regional Integration and Trade Division, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). “Industrialization is as a result of good policy. We need commitment by member states on policy and economic reforms that are home grown to promote industrialization on the continent,” said Mr Karingi.

The ECA Director made the remarks at the High-Level Development Dialogue: How could Africa leverage the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to spur sustainable inclusive industrialization at the ongoing African Economic Conference (AEC) 2023 in Addis Ababa Ethiopia (16-18 November 2023).

While giving the lessons learnt by Ethiopia from other industrialized countries, Melaku Alebel, Minister of Industry, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia said Ethiopia is actively pursuing various mechanisms on manufacturing through AfCFTA to create employment opportunity, economic growth. To promote industrialization, Ethiopia has highly invested in policy and regulatory reforms.

“Countries should also investment more on infrastructure – the roads, rails, airlines - for moving goods to market and to improve factors of production and manufactured goods,” said Kevin Urama, Chief Economist and Vice-President, African Development Bank Group (AfDB), adding that knowledge and governance capacity needs to be prioritized.

“Trade barriers among countries is still a challenge making trade difficult. There is need to invest in boarder agencies and customs to remove the barriers and improve efficacy of AfCFTA.”

The Private Sector Bill of Rights as a Companion Instrument to Regional Economic Communities and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (allAfrica.com)

Report: Exports from African Businesses Up 50% with Huge Support from Women (THISDAY)

ANKA, the ‘all in one’ Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform for African businesses, in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB), has published a white paper, illustrating the global growth of African businesses in the e-commerce space, spearheaded by women. According to the report, with over 72 per cent of ANKA’s sellers identifying as women, it is quickly becoming the de facto platform for women entrepreneurs and a source of insight into their experiences in leading small and medium-sized businesses in Africa.

Touching on the impact that African commerce is having on global exports, the white paper highlights that 50 per cent of entrepreneurs ship their products through the platform (via ANKA’s landmark partnership with DHL), arguably making ANKA the largest African exporter of goods. The report, which is an updated extension of ANKA’s 2018 edition, offered a holistic global analysis of the state of African e-commerce; covering the entire entrepreneurial journey from product creation to international delivery. The report delves into millions of data points from interactions with global consumers to encourage conversations around the stellar growth of African entrepreneurship.

ICT ministers promote future-orientated, intelligent digital infrastructure for Africa (TechCentral)

Ministers of communications & digital technologies and the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) member states convened this week in Cape Town for the Ministerial Forum on Building a Future-Orientated, Intelligent Digital Infrastructure for Africa. The forum was co-organised by the ATU and South Africa’s department of communications & digital technologies with the aim of advancing the digital transformation agenda in Africa. The event concluded with the signing of a joint communique underlining the importance of collaboration between all stakeholders in building a future-orientated digital infrastructure for Africa.

Taking place alongside AfricaCom, the continent’s premier ICT conference and exhibition, the forum provided a platform for dialogue and an exchange of views on the development of a future-orientated intelligent digital infrastructure in Africa, which is essential for achieving the socioeconomic development goals of the continent.

‘Remove gender-discriminatory policies’ (Tanzania Daily News)

Zanzibar President Dr Hussein Mwinyi has called for the abolition of gender-discriminatory laws, policies and norms that have been holding women and girls back. During the opening of the High-Level Regional Meeting on Financing for Gender Equality in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday, Dr Mwinyi stated that African countries need to embrace policies that economically empower women, including promoting gender equality in the finance sector.

“We must also work towards providing women with access to and use of productive resources, including affordable capital, financial services, and digital products, and promote financial inclusion for women through innovative approaches,” said Dr Mwinyi.

To achieve this, he argued that the country must intensify interventions that promote cultural transformation to change discriminatory social norms and support platforms representing women’s groups.

Afreximbank, Innovative Biotech partner to boost local manufacture of vaccines (The Guardian Nigeria)

Announcing a groundbreaking collaboration at the #IATF2023, in Cairo, Egypt, African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) has inked a Project Preparation Facility Agreement with Innovative Biotech Limited (IBL). This venture aims to propel IBL to the forefront of healthcare innovation, marking a notable advancement in the industry.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Innovative Biotech Limited, Dr. Simon Agwale, told The Guardian on Monday that the visionary project unfolds with the establishment of a state-of-the-art vaccine manufacturing facility in Keffi, Nasarawa State, Nigeria.

Egypt’s Trade Minister calls for accelerating AfCFTA activation (Dailynewsegypt)

Minister of Trade and Industry Ahmed Samir highlighted the importance of accelerating the implementation and activation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as it is an essential axis of increasing intra-African trade rates. The minister explained that he discussed with Kenyan Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Rebecca Miano, some of the exceptional restrictions that Kenya recently imposed on its imports from abroad, which affected Egyptian exports.

Business community across Africa showcases continental potential (Dailynewsegypt)

In a discussion at the Egypt investment forum within day five of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023), speakers highlighted opportunities for greater trade between Egypt and other parts of Africa, Head of the African Affairs Committee at Egyptian Parliament Sherif El Gabaly underscored lessons that Egypt could share in terms of strengthening agricultural self-sufficiency. Other Egyptian business leaders shared insights from their work in the healthcare, automotive, construction and e-commerce sectors.

CEO of Pharco Pharmaceuticals Sherine Helmy shared insights on significantly reducing the cost of hepatitis treatment in Egypt to $60 per person. He highlighted the importance of political will and commitment in enabling collaboration to achieve that success.

CEO of Jumia Egypt Abdelatif Olama talked about the company’s strong brand awareness across Africa, saying, “We thrive because we are African. We benefit from growing in a big and growing population, from the growing urbanisation that happens from a growing middle class.”

G20 more inclusive with African Union in it: Amitabh Kant (The Times of India)

India has played a pivotal role in turning the G20 into a more inclusive organisation by ensuring the African Union’s induction as a permanent member during its presidency, said G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant. He described the G20 New Delhi leaders’ declaration as a very hard-fought victory for the Global South as it reflected the aspirations of the developing countries.

“One of the lasting images that will carry on forever in my mind of India’s G20 presidency is the image of the prime minister hugging the president of Comoros and welcoming the African Union as a permanent member of the G20,” Kant said.”With that one stroke, India ensured that the G20 became a far more inclusive institution,” he added.

Report finds strong expansion of global value chains but warns of increased vulnerability (WTO)

“Recent pandemic-related disruptions have revealed long-standing vulnerabilities in GVCs, especially those associated with over-concentration and over-dependence on a single economy or region for the supply of critical products — a circumstance exacerbated by recent geopolitical tensions. However, the current structure of GVCs is complex and has led to significant benefits for firms and consumers globally,” ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa, IDE-JETRO President Kyoji Fukao, UIBE President Zhongxiu Zhao, and WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala say in the joint foreword of the publication.

The report provides an update on trends in GVCs with new data extending until 2022, highlighting that GVCs remain a central part of globalization despite mounting pressures. Foreign inputs comprised 28% of global merchandise exports last year, a record level according to the report. Moreover, GVC participation rates of almost all economies were higher in 2022 compared to their pre-pandemic levels in 2018.

Within Reach: Navigating the Political Economy of Decarbonization (World Bank)

How is it possible that despite multiple pledges and commitments, rapid progress in key technologies, and the implementation of more than 4,500 climate policies, the world is not on track to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement? “Within Reach: Navigating the Political Economy of Decarbonization” discusses within-country political economy as a key barrier to progress. It shows that the political economy is dynamic and that it can be changed to achieve impactful climate action. To do this, the book unpacks four dimensions which hold the key for translating ambition into climate action―climate governance, policy sequencing, policy design, and policy process―and it is rich with examples of what has worked and how.

Transforming global aid architecture to leave no one behind (OpenGlobalRights)

Major global disruptions triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing and intensifying conflicts, and the climate crisis have exacerbated issues of poverty and inequality. Simultaneously, they have put human rights in jeopardy, with states adopting policies that place communities in conditions of increased political, financial, and social instability. It’s now more important than ever for governments, civil society, multilaterals, foundations, the private sector, and other development stakeholders to come together and work toward our common goals.

To address these pressing challenges and deliver on promises for inclusive, sustainable development that leaves no one behind, the global civil society platform CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) has called for a radical change to the international financial architecture. CPDE asserts that this action must include a drastic increase in the financing developed countries give to developing countries, as well as improvements in the quality of aid, with provisions that prioritize equity, transparency, and the active participation of developing countries and civil society.

Growth accelerated in the climate finance provided and mobilised in 2021 but developed countries remain short and must continue scaling up to reach the USD 100 billion goal (OECD)

Climate finance provided and mobilised by developed countries for climate action in developing countries reached USD 89.6 billion in 2021, according to the OECD’s sixth assessment of progress towards the goal for developed countries to provide and mobilise USD 100 billion of climate finance annually for climate action in developing countries under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
This shows a positive trend, representing close to an 8% increase over 2020, which is significantly higher than the 2.1% average annual growth observed from 2018 to 2020. However, one year after the 2020 target, developed countries remain just over USD 10 billion short of the goal to mobilise USD 100 billion a year.
Two years ago, ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, the OECD released forward-looking scenarios of climate finance for the period 2021-2025, which indicated the goal is likely to be reached as of 2023. The USD 89.6 billion total for 2021 is slightly higher than the upper end scenario that was estimated for this year. On the basis of preliminary and as yet unverified data available to the OECD to date, the goal looks likely to have already been met as of 2022.


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