Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

South Africa: Major Crisis at South Africa’s Ports (allAfrica)

Delays in container offloading at Durban port, Richards Bay port and Cape Town port is once again highlighting the crisis at Transnet, the state-owned enterprise that oversees rail, ports and pipelines in the country. Transnet has been at the centre of South Africa’s rail and port woes for a number of years.

Since submitting a turnaround plan set for the next two years, costing U.S.$5,2 billion, Transnet is now taking responsibility for not maintaining its equipment at some ports - compromising their lifespan. This has contributed to the massive backlog at ports - with thousands of containers stuck ahead of the festive season where demand for goods spike, IOL reports. Transnet is also citing bad weather as a contributing factor to delays.

There are 70,000 goods containers stuck at Durban port, and there’s a 21-day waiting period before offloading can take place. Meanwhile, at Richards Bay port, the failed rail system was blamed for the congestion of heavy trucks on the road leading to the port, Eyewitness News reported the Road Freight Association as saying.

The crisis also hit Cape Town port, where there are delays of up to 14 days to offload cargo from docked ships, leading to shipping giant Maersk moving from Cape Town port to Mauritius. The company said it would offload in Port Louis, then send cargo in smaller shipments to Cape Town.

No ‘overnight’ solution to vessel congestion at Durban container terminal (Engineering News)

Kenya resumes cargo rail services to Mombasa port (The East African)

Kenya has resumed cargo rail services to and from the port city of Mombasa following an interruption due to heavy rains and landslides along the coastal region, the state-owned operator announced Monday. The Horn of Africa region has experienced intense rainfall and flash flooding linked to the El Nino weather phenomenon in recent weeks that has claimed dozens of lives, including at least 46 in Kenya.

Kenya Railways said on Saturday that a landslide along the freight rail line had forced the closure of a section of track, leading to delays in the evacuation of cargo from Mombasa and Nairobi as well as in the delivery of cargo to Mombasa’s port.

Africa Industrialization Day 20 November 2023 “Accelerating Africa’s Industrialization through the Empowerment of African Women in Processing for an Integrated Market,” Joint Statement. (AU)

On the 20th of November, annually, Africa commemorates Africa Industrialization Day (AID). This is a significant activity agreed upon by the African Union Heads of State and Government in July 1989 through Resolution AHG/Res. 180 (XXV) and the United Nations General Assembly in December 1989 through Resolution 44/237. This day serves as a global platform for African Union Member States and the rest of the world, through the United Nations institutions to reaffirm their commitment to Africa’s industrialization.

The theme for this year: “Accelerating Africa’s Industrialization through the Empowerment of African Women in Processing for an Integrated Market,” underscores the importance of empowering women in processing to propel inclusive sustainable industrialization in Africa.

Despite the fact that women represent the majority of the African population, their involvement in the overall development process, especially in industrialization, is limited. According to a UNIDO report, women in Africa constitute only 38% of the manufacturing workforce, despite being responsible for up to 80% of food production and processing. Moreover, women are estimated to make up to 70% of the informal economy in some African countries.

Women in processing play a crucial role in various industries and services sectors. They contribute significantly in the sectors of agriculture, industry and tourism in Africa. Further involving women is not only imperative for gender equality. It is also important in fostering accelerated socio-economic development. The OECD estimates a 12% increase in Gross Domestic Product by 2030 if women’s participation rates match those of men.

Empowering African Women in Cross-Border Trade: A Differentiated Approach for Success (Modern Ghana)

African Commodity Exchanges unite to boost trade and combat food insecurity (BusinessGhana)

The AfCFTA Association of Commodity Exchanges represents a collective commitment to harness the power of structured marketplaces to connect farmers, producers, and buyers, fostering economic growth and addressing food insecurity. We are here to discuss how the infrastructure of Commodity Exchanges facilitates cross-border trade mechanisms between different African markets, linked to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Guided Trade Initiative.

African Economic Conference 2023: Africa can leapfrog to the 4th Industrial Revolution with the right skills and policies (AfDB)

Africa can leap into the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) to drive sustainable industrialization, employment and transformation by investing in human skills and implementing policies supporting digital technologies, experts attending the African Economic Conference 2023 said.

The 4IR is the ushering in of digitalization, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, robotics, and 3D printing among other innovative digital technologies, succeeding the first, second and third industrial revolutions.

But could Africa leapfrog the third, moving from the second to the fourth industrial revolution, and what are the implications of this for the continent’s development? Raymond Gilpin, Chief Economist at the Regional Bureau for Africa, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said the 4IR was not exclusively about industrialization in Africa but it is about how changes in the use of technology could disrupt, revitalize and spark exponential growth.

Africa Economic Conference 2023: Africa must harness intra-African trade to support small firms and drive industrialization, say experts (AfDB)

Experts from academia, the private sector and development finance institutions have agreed that African countries must leverage the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and expand intra-continental trade to provide critical support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and drive the continent’s industrialization.

The plenary session, on Fostering African Industrialization Through Linkages of Small and Medium Enterprises to Global Value Chains, took place during the 18th Africa Economic Conference.

Mr. Jonathan Nzayikorera, African Development Bank Executive Director for Rwanda, Kenya, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Seychelles, South Sudan and Somalia served as moderator. He framed the conversation around a series of questions including: “How can African SMEs shift from exporting primary commodities to engaging in global manufacturing networks? What policy mechanisms can upgrade SME capabilities?”

Powering Africa’s Digital Future: AU Ministerial Meeting set to ignite Digital Transformation in Africa (AU)

African Ministers of ICT and Communication will convene in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 23rd November 2023 for the 5th Ordinary Session of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Communication and ICT (STC-CICT), a biennial African Union ministerial meeting aiming at driving Africa’s digital agenda forward. The Ministerial Session will be preceded by the meeting of experts to be held from 20-22 November 2023.

Africa is at the cusp of a digital transformation that has the potential to greatly improve lives across the continent. The African Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy provides a vision and roadmap for harnessing technology and innovation to meet Africa’s development goals.

Ahead of the meeting H.E. Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy mentioned that African Union is leading human & community-centric digital transformation. “Africa must and will be at the forefront of shaping how technologies are developed and deployed to meet the needs of the people. This will require investments in digital infrastructure, skills development, entrepreneurship, and research and development. That’s what we are striving to harness at the African Union”.

Tax experts set to meet in Ghana over Domestic resource mobilization and illegal financial flows (BusinessGhana)

Key stakeholders in Africa’s tax sector are set to meet in Ghana to unpack domestic resource mobilisation and illicit financial flows issues in Africa. The 11th Pan-African Conference on Illicit Financial Flows and Taxation (PAC) conference provides a platform for tax stakeholders to explore ways in which African countries can take the lead on international conversations that are beginning to have direct implications on domestic resource mobilisation and illicit financial flows.

According to a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra the conference is organised by Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA) and The African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF and would bring together officials working on tax issues from Pan-African.

Organizations, tax administrations, ministries of Finance, civil society organisations, parliamentarians, and academia/researchers from Africa and beyond, on the theme “Making Global Tax Governance Work for Africa.

KAM pushes for tech-driven industries in race for Africa market (The Star)

Kenya must embrace technology in driving industrial growth and output, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers now says, as the country moves to tap opportunities under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This, in addition to continued research and development, will ensure the country grows qualitative and quantitative offerings of goods to increase competitiveness, and continue to benefit from the continent, which is its biggest export market.

Data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows Africa remains the dominant destination for the country’s exports, accounting for 41 per cent of the total export earnings in 2022.Total exports to Africa increased by 15.7 per cent to Sh357.7 billion in the review period. This growth was mainly occasioned by a 17.7 per cent increase in exports to the East African Community (EAC) economic bloc, which accounted for 63.3 per cent of the total exports to Africa.

Speaking on Wednesday at the inaugural Kenya Industrialisation Conference in Nairobi, Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) chief executive Anthony Mwangi said technology and skills drive industrial growth. “Technological advancements serve as a key driver of industrial development and economic growth,” Mwangi said during a panel discussion. He further called for collaboration in research between government, academia and the industry, in relation to industrial growth and economic progress.

Cold storage facility to spur exports of produce (Monitor)

The government has commissioned the construction of a perishable cargo handling centre at Entebbe airport that it says will improve the quality of fresh produce exports. The $10 million (about Shs37.8 billion) solar-powered hi-tech facility is expected to pre-test fresh produce such as flowers, tomatoes, cucumber, and green peppers to ensure they are free of pests and diseases and meet export standards. The State Minister for Trade, Mr David Bahati, while speaking at the commissioning of the construction works on November 17 said the cold storage facility will be a game changer for Uganda’s horticulture sector.

“As we speak, our export value stands at $5.4 billion and our import value stands at $7 billion. So as a country, we have a trade deficit. And one of the reasons why we can’t export more has been lack of facilities like these,” he said. Statistics indicate that Uganda’s horticulture exports are worth about $35 million per year, making Uganda the second-largest producer of fresh fruits and vegetables in Sub-Saharan Africa, after Nigeria. However, only about 20 percent of horticultural production is exported.

“Horticulture plays an important role in the economic landscape of our country. It stands as the fourth most important export sector, trading only behind coffee, fish and fish products, and dairy. This is a remarkable achievement, especially considering the challenge that the sector has faced, including issues related to post-harvest handling and cold storage,” Mr Bahati, who represented the Prime Minister, Ms Robinah Nabbanja, said.

EAC state currencies depreciated against US dollar in October (Monitor)

Uganda’s Ministry of Finance has reported “a general depreciation of all currencies within the East Africa Community (EAC) partner states in October 2023. The risks of currency depreciation can significantly impact individuals and the businesses, as it can erode the value of savings and investments and make imports more expensive, affecting the country’s balance of payment.

On the performance of the economy report for October, the ministry says the Rwandan Francs and Kenyan Shilling had the highest depreciation rates at 1.82% and 1.81%, respectively. “The Tanzanian Shilling, Ugandan Shilling and Burundian Francs also registered depreciation rates of 0.74%, 0.45% and 0.16% respectively. The global strengthening of the dollar and higher portfolio outflows ensued by better rates in advanced economies have greatly contributed to the depreciation of EAC currencies,” the report showed.

India encourages trade in local currencies with Tanzania (The Citizen)

The Indian government has called on Indian and Tanzanian banks, as well as business leaders, to support and promote the innovative approach of trading using local currencies, as few transactions have taken place so far. The call was made on November 2, during the Tanzania-India Business Forum by Indian Minister of State for External and Parliamentary Affairs Shri Muraleedharan, who is in the country for an official visit. Accompanied by 30 Indian businesspeople, the minister highlighted that this new trade mechanism will provide an alternative avenue for businesses on both sides.

Mr. Muraleedharan emphasized that India actively promotes trade in local currencies and that Tanzania is among the earliest partners in this endeavor. However, he noted that only a few transactions have been conducted using the mechanism of payments in Indian Rupees and Tanzanian Shillings. “This new trade mechanism will provide an alternative avenue for businesses on both sides,” he reiterated.

EAC Council of Ministers gets underway (Tanzania Daily News)

The 44th Ordinary Meeting of the East African Community (EAC) Council of Ministers is currently underway at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha. The five-day meeting, which began on Saturday, is being conducted through the session of senior officials that ended yesterday, the session of the coordination committee set for today and the ministerial session that will take place tomorrow.

Among the items on the agenda of the meeting are considerations of various reports, including those on the implementation of previous decisions of the Council; the Office of the Secretary General; sustainable financing of the community; hosting of EAC organs and institutions; and customs, trade, and monetary affairs.

Other matters to be considered are reports on infrastructure, productive, social and political sectors; finance matters; human political matters; customs and trade; and finance and human resources matters.

EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Infrastructure, Productive, Social, and Political Sectors, Andrea Ariik Malueth, informed the senior officials that since the last Council meeting in Bujumbura, Burundi, in March 2023, a number of developments have unfolded, including consultations on the EAC Political Confederation Constitution in the Republic of Kenya and the long-awaited negotiations with the Federal Republic of Somalia for its admission into the EAC.

How EAC countries shoulder dependency burden (Tanzania Daily News)

East Africa enjoys robust growth as the economies continue with post-COVID-19 recovery since 2021. The future looks bright amid global uncertainties and the region is expected to post the highest growth in the continent. African Development Bank says in its 2023 East Africa Economic Outlook report that the region will register the highest regional economic performance on the continent in 2023 and 2024, with growth figures at over 5 per cent.

However, despite the impressive growth prospects, the region faces major challenges including widespread poverty, and rapid population growth from decades of high fertility. Here is a snapshot of age dependency ratio in East African Community member states.

Diversification of Tourism products a catalyst to regional tourism growth (EAC)

Whereas we are quite competitive in terms of beach and wildlife safari tourism, we are urging all EAC Partner States to diversify their tourism products,” said the Deputy Secretary General. Speaking while officially launching the forum, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary in charge of Tourism and Wildlife, Dr. Alfred Mutua, who was also the Chief Guest, said that the Expo has brought together over 100 hosted buyers and 300 exhibitors providing an opportunity for the region to jointly showcase its unique resources.

Participants at TWN-Africa’s Regional Forum on AfCFTA: Free Movement of Persons Still a Major Headache (African Eye Report)

Participants at a three-day regional multi-stakeholder forum on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) organised by Third World Network-Africa (TWN-Africa) for Anglophone West Africa in Accra say the Protocol on Free Movement of persons is still a major headache despite some years into the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. According to them, AfCFTA which is a free trade area encompassing most African countries is yet to address the decades-old problem of the free movement of persons within the African continent

The state of ratification is slow and disappointing as the protocol is aimed at facilitating regional integration in general, and the implementation of the AfCFTA, in particular, they lamented. Officials of the AfCFTA Secretariat admitted that it would take a long time for the free movement of persons to be achieved.

The Director of Trade in Goods and Competition at the AfCFTA Secretariat, Mohamed Ali noted that the AfCFTA is one of the innovative ways of transforming Africa’s economies and creating the biggest single market in the world, however, the delays in the implementation of the free movement of person protocol are affecting the smooth operations of AfCFTA.

In his words: “If the problems of free movement of persons are not addressed, they would affect the implementation of the Agreement”. He said trades would not occur if people didn’t move and therefore called on African governments to work assiduously to cut down the barriers impeding the movement of persons on the continent.

Germany eyes Africa’s ‘hearts and minds’ (EURACTIV)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for closer trade ties with African countries and announced new investment funds for the continent, as European leaders vied for Africa’s “hearts and minds” at the G20-led Summit for Africa in Berlin on Monday. At the summit in Berlin, Scholz reaffirmed that Germany and the EU want to intensify cooperation with the resource-rich continent, especially in sustainable energy production.

“Africa is our partner of choice when it comes to boosting our economic relations and taking the joint path towards a climate-neutral future,” he told reporters. African countries are rich in natural resources such as lithium and hydrogen, which are key to sustainable technologies and energy production. But Europe may be a bit late to the party when it comes to investing in closer ties with the continent, as China has been pursuing its business interests in the region for decades, while countries such as Russia and Turkey are also jostling for influence.

Launched under the German G20 presidency in 2017, the G20 Compact with Africa summit aims to connect private businesses from G20 states with investment projects in Africa. Thirteen African countries are affiliated with the scheme, while more have indicated their interest in joining.

Support Africa’s call for reform of international financial architecture - AU chair tells G20 (Africanews)

The head of the African Union (AU) has told a conference bringing together G20 and African nations that shortcomings in the financial system hinder the mobilization of capital for African economies. Speaking in Berlin, Azali Assoumani asked the AU’s G20 partners to support Africa’s call for reform of the international financial architecture, and for more fair and more inclusive global economic governance.

Assoumani also called on the Compact with Africa initiative to be extended to all African countries, “for a stronger, more inclusive partnership, to the benefit of the entire continent and our continent crossed with Europe and other continents.”

“The potential of the Compact with Africa initiative can only be fully realized if a number of challenges are met. Indeed, even if investment flows from G20 countries to adhering African countries exceed pre-pandemic levels, as in 2019, they still fall far short of the record amount of almost $53 billion reached in the fiscal year 2017/2018 and yet, the countries’ internal investment needs still remain colossal.” The G20’s Compact with Africa initiative is being hosted by Germany with the aim of supporting African countries in their economic development. Leaders from more than a dozen African countries are taking part in the two day conference began the two day conference in Germany.

AU Urges ‘Positive Competition’ From Europe On Investment (Barron’s)

The African Union on Monday defended past investments from China that have drawn criticism for saddling poor countries with huge debts while calling for “positive competition” from Europe. AU chairman Azali Assoumani was addressing a meeting in Berlin of a G20 initiative aimed at mobilising more private, sustainable investments in African countries.

There was a need for “positive competition. There is no monopoly anywhere... Everyone has a place,” he said at the “Compact for Africa” initiative, launched in 2017 when Germany held the G20 presidency. “The problem we sometimes have in Africa is that we are unable to invest because we are paying debts”.

The “Compact for Africa” brings together the G20 and 13 African countries, with support from organisations including the World Bank and International Monetary fund. The G20 itself comprises 19 of the world’s largest economies plus the European Union and the AU.

China calls for ‘consensus’ to address global challenges as India set to host G-20 virtual summit (Anadolu Ajansı)

China on Tuesday called for building “consensus” to address global challenges as India is all set to host a virtual G-20 leaders’ summit on Wednesday, which will be chaired by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“In the face of the volatile international situation and sluggish economic recovery, it is all the more important for the G20 to reinforce partnership, address global challenges through cooperation and make positive contribution to world economic recovery and global common development,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said in a news conference. “China hopes that the virtual summit can pool consensus and send positive signal to this end,” she added.

Leaders of all G-20 Members including the chair of the African Union, as well as nine guest countries, and heads of 11 international organizations, have been invited to the summit, which is expected to push for “effective implementation” of various G-20 decisions, according to the Indian Foreign Ministry.

Global South Summit: Nepal pitches for inclusive and sustainable global growth (The Annapurna Express)

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Friday addressed the second Voice of Global South Summit organized by India. Addressing the session, PM Dahal said that the world is facing unprecedented crises generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and deepening geo-political complexities. They have impacts on food and nutrition, health and education, economy and environment, and peace and security, he said. More than 125 countries from the Global South attended the Summit.

Developing countries especially the LDCs are the most affected ones by these crises. Rising food and energy prices, tightening financial conditions, and persistent cycles of vulnerabilities continue to add to their worries, PM Dahal said, many countries of the Global South are under unsustainable debt burden which is straining investments in health, education, social justice, and other pressing national priorities.

We believe that in order to address the challenges facing the world, the international community must focus on common goals of peace, progress and prosperity. For this, building of trust, promoting partnership and collaboration and working in solidarity remain crucial, PM Dahal said. We need to champion inclusive and sustainable global growth, in which the Global South receives a fair share to eradicate poverty and give their people a decent life, PM Dahal said

Access to EU market boosts sustainable growth in low-income countries (European Commission)

A new joint report by the European Commission and the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy on the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) – the EU’s main trade policy tool to support developing countries’ exports to the bloc – has confirmed that the system continues to support economic stability and sustainable development in low-income countries, even in times of uncertainty. The report also highlights that GSP+ – the special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance – has been effective in improving standards on human and labour rights, environmental and climate protection, and good governance.

US$1.5 Trillion Blue Economy potential untapped in Africa (Engineering News)

This is according to the organisers of the Ocean Innovation Africa summit, an international event set to bring together Blue Economy policy makers, stakeholders and entrepreneurs in Cape Town in February next year. Alexis Grosskopf, founder of Africa’s first ocean-impact startup accelerator OceanHub and co-founder of Ocean Innovation Africa, says African investors and entrepreneurs are not moving fast enough to capitalise on the opportunities open to them in the Blue Economy.

‘Prioritise climate needs of Africa’ African Development Bank President urges international development financiers ahead of COP28 (AfDB)

As global leaders prepare for the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), the President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, says their deliberations must support a new climate finance architecture that prioritises Africa’s needs. Adesina also urged wealthy nations to fulfill their commitments to provide $100 billion annually in climate finance.

In its latest Africa Economic Outlook report, the Africa Development Bank estimates that the continent requires as much as $2.8 trillion through 2030 to implement its climate commitments as set out in countries’ recently submitted Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). However, Africa’s inflows of climate finance remain very low (only 3% of global climate finance), and tend to focus on small-scale, fragmented and uncoordinated operations primarily concentrated in middle-income countries.

Dr Adesina said urgent responses to the climate emergency were needed at several levels. “At the global level, the developed economies must meet their commitment to provide $100 billion annually in climate finance. The global climate financial architecture must be changed to prioritize the needs of Africa. At the national level, we must accelerate actions on climate adaptation,” he reiterated.

Investing in the energy transition: Countries need more balanced policies (UNCTAD)

Ahead of the 28th UN climate change conference, COP28, UNCTAD underscores the need for more balanced policy frameworks – especially in developing nations – to catalyze much-needed investments in the global shift from fossil fuels to more sustainable energy sources.

Its latest Investment Policy Monitor, released on 21 November, dives into the key tools utilized to promote investment in the transition to low-carbon energy, based on a review of 798 renewable energy policies covering 192 economies. It finds that developing countries face challenges in formulating and adopting policies and strategies specific to renewable energy.

Members advance discussion on addressing challenges in implementing SPS Agreement (WTO)

WTO members have discussed progress in undertaking the Work Programme of the MC12 Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Declaration aimed at identifying and addressing challenges in the implementation of the SPS Agreement. At a meeting of the SPS Committee on 15-17 November, members agreed to continue efforts to build consensus on the report to be presented to the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi in February 2024 on challenges and opportunities facing international trade in food, animals and plants. The Committee also addressed a record number of specific trade concerns.

Quick links

Trade and Development Board, 74th executive session (Opening Session)

Climate crisis biggest threat to global economy – Al Gore

France, US to propose ban on private finance to coal-fired plants at COP28

UN urges dramatic climate action as records keep tumbling

Hopes rising for historic treaty to curb plastic pollution

From Mangroves to Seagrass, Blue Carbon Ecosystems Are Critical to Tackling Climate Change


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