Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Raising South Africa’s Economic Prospects by Curbing Crime (World Bank)

The impact of crime on South Africa’s economic prospects is high and broad-based, according to a World Bank report released today. The report aims to contribute to a better understanding of the impact of crime on South Africa’s economic growth. The research is intended to support the government in the design and implementation of policies to combat and mitigate the costs of crime on the economy and society. This aligns with the government’s objectives to initiate reforms aimed at enhancing the fight against crime, as outlined by South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, in the 2023 State of the Nation Address.

The fourteenth edition of the South Africa Economic Update, entitled Safety First: The Economic Cost of Crime in South Africa estimates that crime costs the economy at least 10 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually, in terms of stolen property; protection costs – encompassing security and insurance; and missed economic opportunities. The report investigates the economic impact of high crime rates on households, businesses, and the public sector, focusing on economically motivated crimes. The study is informed by official statistics from South Africa, and as well as data recognized in international sources.

“With this new edition of the Economic Update, the World Bank aims to contribute to the policy debate and support the government’s action to reduce the incidence of crime, by quantifying its economic impact. This comes at a time when South Africa needs to address structural constraints that have locked the economy in a low growth-low employment trajectory,” says Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for South Africa, Eswatini, Botswana, Lesotho, and Namibia.

Ugandan SMEs missing out on African Continental Free Trade initiative (The Independent Uganda)

Uganda’s small entrepreneurs have very little information about the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). The agreement, which took effect two years back is yet to see Ugandans benefit from it, according to business leaders and entrepreneurs, despite other countries already venturing into trade under it.

At a training organized by the East African Women in Business Program of the East African Business Council (EABC ) and GIZ, most women entrepreneurs hardly knew AfCFTA and other initiatives of which Uganda is a member. Adrian Njau, the Trade and Policy Advisor at the EABC says this is one of the reasons that they decided to launch training, especially on how the entrepreneurs can use the provisions of the agreement to import or export.

The lack of knowledge is also attributed to either the lack of interest in doing simple research or the preference, especially by Ugandan entrepreneurs, to work in isolation. There were hardly any women entrepreneurs who had ever used the national trade portals of the different countries in the region, which were created as an initiative of the EAC to make cross-border trade easier.

Uganda registers Shs35 billion trade surpluses with EAC states (Monitor)

Uganda traded at a surplus worth $9.45 million (Shs35.4 billion) with the East African Community member states in September, which is a shift from a deficit of $49.9 million in the previous month. The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development said in its economy report dated November 17 that this surplus was on account of both a reduction in imports (by $41.94 million), which is about Shs157.3 billion and an increase in exports (by $17.41 million), which is about (Shs65.328 billion).

On the other hand, the Ministry of Finance said imports from the region declined to $240.69 million (about Shs903.1 billion) in September from $ 282.63 million (about Shs1.060 trillion) in August 2023. “The reduction was majorly attributed to lower imports from Tanzania and Kenya which declined by $52.71 million (about Shs197.7 billion) and $7.76 (about Shs29.1 billion), respectively,” said the Ministry of Finance.

It said within EAC, Uganda sources most of her imports from Kenya and Tanzania with the two nations contributing 87.73 per cent of total imports in September, unlike in August where the share stood at 96.37 per cent.

The Ministry noted that Uganda exported merchandise worth $632.06 million (about Shs2.3 trillion) to the rest of the world in September, 2023.

2024 Budget: Waiving taxes on electric vehicle imports ‘useless’ (GhanaWeb)

Minority Leader in Parliament, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, has kicked against some of the tax reliefs announced in the government’s 2024 Budget and Economic Policy. He argued that some of the tax reliefs spelt out in the budget will not cushion Ghanaians while describing the entire budget statement as empty following the presentation on the floor of parliament on November 15, 2023.

Speaking in an interview on Accra-based JoyNews, Dr Ato Forson particularly described the government’s quest to waive import duties on electric vehicles as ‘useless’ while contending that not many Ghanaians can afford to use EVs in addition to a lack of enough electric charging spots in the country.

Ghana will unveil its Electric Vehicle Policy at the COP28 Summit in the UAE.

African Union Mission in New York Joins the Continent in the Celebration of Africa Industrialization Day (AID) (AU)

The African Union joined the rest of the continent on 20th November, 2023 to commemorate the African Industrialization Day under the theme: “Accelerating Africa’s Industrialization Through the Empowerment of African women in Processing for an Integrated Market”. The event in New York, was commemorated in the Mandela Hall of the African Union (AU) Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations.

Addressing participants during the commemoration, H.E. Amb. Fatima Kyari Mohammed delivered the AU, UNECA and UNIDO Joint Statement. Focus was put on the critical role women in processing play in various industries and service sectors, which has contributed significantly in agriculture, industry and tourism in Africa. Involving women is not only imperative for gender equality, it is also important in fostering accelerated socio-economic development.

The Joint Statement further underlines that, African women in processing have the potential to contribute in the implementation of the Agreement and Protocols of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This will be leveraged by coming up with a separate protocol on women focused on their involvement in intra-African trade through the AfCFTA. Their involvement will contribute not only to trade but also the areas of product diversification, spatial development, job creation, inclusive growth, and, among others, cross-border industrial clustering.

From these, economic integration is an important lever for promoting inclusive sustainable industrialization in Africa. By fostering collaboration among African nations, Africa breaks down trade barriers. Africa is also better positioned to improve infrastructure and open more opportunities for inclusive growth and sustainable development which are critical to the attainment of both the UN SDGs and AU Agenda 2063.

De minimis policy to boost intra-African trade – NAHCO (Businessday)

Olusola Obabori, group executive director, Business & Corporate Service, NAHCO Plc, has said “de minimis”, which is a policy referring to the minimum value of goods that can be imported duty-free and without cumbersome customs procedures, is what will drive intra-African trade. He said this on Tuesday at the BusinessDay 2023 Logistics Conference held in Lagos.

“If you order things from US, UK, for example, there is a minimum price under which nothing is charged,” he explained. “Try and imagine what happens within West Africa for example, if there’s a de minimis of say, $500. It means”, anything that you’re importing within $500 range, customs will not charge anything on it. “So when you’re talking about intra-African trade, that’s what is going to drive it, which means I can sit down in my house and be ordering for shoes and clothes that are made in Ghana and it’ll come easily.”

Experts push for ‘smart borrowing’ for projects, not consumption (The East African)

Countries in the East African region should entice taxpayers with elaborate policies that put public money in proper use, combining taxation with transparent expenditure in a single loop. And as authorities in the region place more emphasis on local revenue generation to dodge the debt burden, experts say the idea of introducing new taxes without sufficient clean-ups and revenue leakage seals could prove counterproductive. The proposals emerged this week from the Africa Economic Conference (AEC) in Addis Ababa, where experts pored over the twin problem of raising money, improving business environment and dodging the debt bullet.

Ruto grants Africa citizens visa-free access to Kenya (People Daily)

As part of a broader effort to promote regional integration and economic development in Africa, President William Ruto has announced that all African citizens will be granted visa-free entry to Kenya by the end of 2023. He has already taken steps to implement the policy, granting visa-free entry to citizens of several countries on a reciprocal basis.

The countries whose nationals are exempted from obtaining a visa are ranked as Category 1 countries by the Kenyan government. According to Immigration Services department, Africa countries in this category are Botswana, Burundi, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Djibouti, Eritrea, Congo-Brazzaville, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal and Angola.

On Friday Ruto continued his campaign to rally the African continent, which is a constituency of the Global South, to unite so that it can address the various challenges that it is facing and safeguard its interests. Ruto noted under the current global order, millions of Africans remain poor due to overburdening fiscal measures taken by powerful economies and supply chain disruptions on account of conflicts, high-interest rates driving nations in debt distress.

“The overdue economic renaissance of the Global South is held off by systematic marginalisation and exclusion from multilateral discourse in terms of effective participation and benefits. It can no longer be business as usual when the people of the Global South are unfairly punished by extreme climate for the economic sins of others,” Ruto told the Voice of Global South Summit.

COMESA policy organs meetings underway this week in Zambia (COMESA)

The 44th COMESA Policy Organs’ meetings are underway this week in Lusaka, Zambia comprising the Intergovernmental Committee (IC) and the Council of Ministers meetings. The IC meeting begun today attended by senior government officials and experts led by Permanent/Principal Secretaries.

The two day IC meeting takes stock of the implementation of regional integration programmes including the consideration of the budget and work plan for 2014 for the COMESA Secretariat and institutions. The report of the IC with recommendations on various issues will be presented to the Council of Ministers’ meeting on Thursday 23, November 2023 for decision-making.

Integrating women’s land rights into the AfCFTA key to advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment in Africa (UNECA)

Integrating women’s land rights into the African continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) represents a significant opportunity to advance gender equality, empower women economically, and drive sustainable development in Africa, according to leaders and land experts attending the ongoing Fifth Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, November 21 - 24, 2023

They say by addressing the unique challenges faced by women in accessing and owning land, the AfCFTA can create an enabling environment for women entrepreneurs, facilitate their participation in cross-border trade, and contribute to poverty reduction and inclusive growth.

National legal frameworks should be strengthened, aligned with international human rights standards, and effectively enforced to protect women’s land rights. This requires addressing discriminatory laws and practices, raising awareness of women’s land rights, and providing legal aid and support services to women facing land-related disputes.

More than 40% of African financial institutions want single African currency (Engineering News)

News publication African Business and the Pan-African Private Sector Trade and Investment Committee (Paftrac) have jointly launched the third yearly Paftrac Africa CEO Trade Survey, which showed that 40.3% of African financial services industry participants want to develop a single African currency akin to the euro.

“This will exponentially increase the speed of transactions, as well as cut down on the difficulties in going from one currency to another while engaging in cross border trade, both for operators as well as for their financial counterparts,” financial services provider Afreximbank policy consultant Patrick Utomi said while presenting the findings at the survey’s launch on November 21, In addition to multiple currencies hindering African economic growth – at least from the financial sector’s point of view – a more open pan-African banking system was called for by 42.79% of respondents.

In the latest survey, a majority of the respondents were small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Most of the companies surveyed had been in operation between one and five years, employing on average of between one and 50 people. “This speaks to the fact that a majority of businesses across Africa are SMEs – about 80%,” Utomi said.

Debt Distress: CSO Seeks Relief For Nigeria, 10 Others (Leadership News)

A civil society organisation, the African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), is seeking debt relief for Nigeria and 10 other Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries currently in distress based on recent debt sustainability analysis. Speaking to our newsmen, the executive director, ANEEJ, Rev David Ugolor stated this during the two-day International Hybrid Conference on Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) with the theme; “Making Special Drawing Rights work for the people.” yesterday in Abuja.

Ugolor stated that this has becomes even more worrisome when viewed against the backdrop that Nigeria remains the world poverty capital as designated by the World Poverty Clock report of 2023 it means debt will drive more Nigerians and indeed, West Africans into extreme and multidimensional poverty if urgent and drastic steps are not taken by our governments and the international community. He further reinstated that the conference is in furtherance of the implementation of our “Tracking Special Drawing Rights Funds and Raising Citizens Voices to end Debt Crisis in West Africa” and project being supported by the Open Society Foundation

The African Development Bank’s regional member countries endorse a collaborative framework to spur inclusive development (AfDB)

Under the auspices of the Office of the Secretary General and General Secretariat, in collaboration with the Regional Development Complex, the African Development Bank hosted a High-level Member States Engagement Framework Workshop in Abidjan on November 16 and 17, 2023. This provided an opportunity for the Bank to reaffirm its commitment to collaborate with its 54 regional member countries to support and implement projects and programs for inclusive development.

In his welcome remarks, the Bank Group’s Secretary General Vincent O. Nmehielle stressed the importance of the framework. “It will not only strengthen relations between your countries and the Bank, but also establish a network for protocol directors and Bank focal points to facilitate the exchange of knowledge.”

To implement this framework, workshop participants created a network of focal points and directors of protocol units. The network will serve as a platform for exchanges between the Bank and African member countries, boost awareness of its mandate and agreements, and as a means to help build the capacity of protocol directors and focal points.

AU official calls for additional investments in Africa’s digital technology (CGTN Africa)

African Union (AU) Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Amani, Abou-Zeid has urged African public and private sector actors to embrace digital technology advancements to promote the continent’s socio-economic development. Abou-Zeid stated that the African continent needs to invest in digital infrastructure and skill development to stay at the forefront of digital technology advancements.

She made the call ahead of the AU’s biennial ministerial meeting, which will be held later this week to advance Africa’s digital agenda. According to Abou-Zeid, any digital transformation strategy in Africa must begin with the people and communities it seeks to serve. The AU official believes that digital technologies such as mobile money, e-commerce, and e-learning have the potential to create new opportunities if designed with African users in mind.

The Draft Conceptual Framework of the Continental Strategy on Artificial Intelligence (AI) is projected to contribute a staggering 15.7 trillion dollars to global GDP, with 6.6 trillion dollars coming from increased productivity and 9.1 trillion dollars from consumption effects by 2030.

Ghana to achieve continuous progress towards sustainable, eco-friendly digital future (GhanaWeb)

First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has said Ghana will continue to emphasize on the importance of making significant strides in advocating for sustainability across various sectors of the economy. She cited the energy sector as an area that Ghana has excelled in West Africa with the establishment of a floating Hydro Solar Hybrid plant as part of efforts in diversifying the country’s energy mix.

Delivering remarks virtually at the 2023 Sustainability Forum organised by ICT giant Huawei, Rebecca Akufo-Addo said the plant will fuel a cashew factory in Bono Region while creating employment for about 800 citizens including women. “The cashew plant will not only provide employment opportunities but also equip beneficiaries with the necessary skills set to make a living. The world is going green and projects such as the Hydro Solar Hybrid plant shows that Ghana is on the right path towards the realization of a sustainable and eco-friendly digital future,” she noted.

The theme for the forum was; ‘Thrive Together with Tech: Realizing Sustainable Development’.

Rwanda, Burundi & 2 Other Countries Join Uganda in Opposing Kenya’s Oil Deal (Kenyans.co.ke)

Kenya is likely to lose billions of shillings in oil trade after landlocked East African countries started showing reluctance to import their fuel through Kenya. Uganda has already resolved to stop importing fuel through Kenya due to the controversial government-to-government deal between the Kenyan government and Gulf countries that has seen fuel prices increase significantly.

A Kenyan oil firm CEO speaking to BBC revealed that Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan were also considering their oil business dealings with Kenya. The four countries due to lack of a seaport import most of their petroleum products through Kenya.

Government to restrict the importation of rice, ‘yemuadie’ and other products (GhanaWeb)

The Government of Ghana is set to lay before Parliament a Constitutional Instrument (C.I) seeking to restrict the importation of certain strategic products into the country. The C.I, which is expected to be laid before Parliament on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, will include items such as rice, diapers, tripe [popularly known as ‘yemuadie’, among other imported products. In all, government is targeting to restrict the importation of about 22 items into Ghana as part of efforts to boost local production and curb high importation.

Minister of Trade and Industry, Kobina Tahir Hammond, addressing journalists in parliament said government had to put up about $164 million towards the importation of ‘yemuadie’ and other related items.

Russia’s first grain shipment heads to Burkina Faso, Somalia (The East African)

Russia’s Agriculture minister said on Friday that Moscow had begun free shipments of grain totalling up to 200,000 tonnes to six African countries, as promised by President Vladimir Putin in July. In a statement posted on Telegram, Dmitry Patrushev said that ships headed for Burkina Faso and Somalia had already left Russian ports, and that additional shipments to Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Mali and the Central African Republic (CAR) would soon follow.

Putin had promised to deliver free grain to the six countries at a summit with African leaders in July, soon after Moscow withdrew from a deal that had allowed Ukraine to ship grain from its Black Sea ports despite the war with Russia.

The deal, known as the Black Sea grain initiative, had helped lower prices on the global market. But Putin argued it was failing to get supplies to the countries in most urgent need. Since quitting the arrangement, Russia has repeatedly bombed Ukrainian ports and grain storage facilities, and Kyiv says hundreds of thousands of tons of cereals have been destroyed.

Why agrifood systems must be at the core of climate action: a COP28 preview with FAO climate expert (FAO)

Amid growing climate impacts and slow progress on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable agrifood systems practices can help countries and communities to adapt, build resilience, and mitigate emissions, ensuring food security and nutrition— in a world where around 735 million people are going hungry — and while reversing environmental degradation and its impacts. While a non-negotiated expected outcome of COP28, the Emirates Declaration on Resilient Food Systems, Sustainable Agriculture, and Climate Action, provides welcome impetus for increasing investment in and scaling up agrifood system solutions to climate change that can build resilience and reduce emissions at the same time as addressing food security.

Most climate-vulnerable countries could lose over 100% of GDP in insurable disasters (Insurance Business)

A study from the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), supported by risk analysis from the global insurance group Howden, indicates that the smallest and most vulnerable nations could lose more than their entire GDP due to extreme climate events in the coming year. These risks, primarily faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and other susceptible countries, point to the urgent need for effective financial solutions.

The findings have highlighted the potential of risk-sharing systems to offer financial security to countries vulnerable to climate-related disasters. This research focuses on the economic effectiveness of such systems in mitigating financial impacts on these nations.

The report also proposes a model for loss and damage (L&D) implementation, suggesting that the financial risks faced by these countries could be significantly reduced through the use of insurance and capital markets. The model indicates that potential losses could be brought down to only 10% of GDP.

Climate loss-and-damage funding: how to get money to where it’s needed fast (Nature)

How climate change endangers global trade (Arab News)

As we approach the beginning of the much-anticipated 28th UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP28, which will be held in Dubai from Nov. 30, we must yet again bring into sharper focus the risks posed by climate change, particularly to international trade. It is no secret that runaway climate change has the potential to disrupt global trade significantly, affecting supply chains both directly and indirectly.

This is no distant threat — it is already happening. Extensive research and forecasts have consistently demonstrated the cascading domino effect on trade precipitated by rising global temperatures. Extreme weather disrupts supply chains, damages transport infrastructure crucial for trade, restricts travel and remodels patterns of comparative advantage. The effects can be especially devastating for regions that are heavily reliant on climate-vulnerable sectors, such as the Maghreb.

Seaborne reefer trade to contract for 2nd consecutive year (Africa Aviation News)

G20 Leaders’ Summit: New Delhi Declaration, enhanced co-operation key focus areas (Indian Express)

As the New Delhi Summit had drawn to a close in September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had proposed a virtual session in November before the end of India’s presidency – Brazil will take over the G20 presidency from December 1.

Development and enhanced co-operation on critical challenges along with a review of the New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration from September are expected to be the key focus areas on the agenda of the virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit to be held Wednesday before the end of India’s Presidency. G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant, while speaking at a curtain raiser briefing for the Virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit Tuesday, said development will be the core agenda, while leaders may discuss many other issues.

“Since our successful hosting of the G20 Leaders’ Summit on September 9-10 and the unanimous adoption of the New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration, the world has actually witnessed a succession of events and several new challenges have emerged. While development will be the core agenda and we will focus on the development issue, the leaders may discuss many other issues and the virtual summit will provide an opportunity not only to discuss the implementation of the Leaders’ Declaration but also for leaders to share views and enhance cooperation on critical challenges that we confront and address gaps in global governance, reaffirm our existing commitments towards the Sustainable Development Goals, and move towards a reinvigorated multilateral system that is better positioned to positively impact people’s lives,” he said.

G20 virtual Summit: ‘We have to work together on global regulations for AI’, says PM Narendra Modi (Mint)

India thinks that the world have to work together on the global regulations for artificial intelligence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing the G20 virtual Summit on 22 November.

PM Modi said, as news agency ANI quoted, “The world is worried about the negative effects of AI. India thinks that we have to work together on the global regulations for AI. Understanding how dangerous deepfake is for society and individuals, we need to work forward. We want AI should reach the people, it must be safe for society.”

Not only this, PM Modi also spoke on the dangers posed by deepfakes to society and individuals. Apart from this, PM Modi stressed the importance of mutual trust to deal with challenges. “In today’s world which is full of challenges, it is mutual trust that binds us, connects us with each other.”

Remarks by von der Leyen at the G20 Leaders’ Summit (European Commission)

Secretary-General’s remarks to the virtual G20 Summit [as delivered] (United Nations)

High-level Generation Equality Africa Regional Meeting concludes with strong commitments on financing for gender equality (IMF)

The 2023 UN Women UN DESA Gender Snapshot report, reveals persistent gender disparities: women dominate the informal sector, spend three times more on unpaid domestic tasks, earn less than half of men for comparable work, face maternal health risks, and experience high rates of gender-based violence. Global challenges, such as COVID-19 and climate change, exacerbate these inequalities.

“Gender equality is not a women’s issue, it’s a development issue,” said Dr. Maxime Houinato, UN Women Regional Director for East and Southern Africa and Regional Director for West Africa, highlighting that providing women with equal opportunities boosts the productivity of countries, and the region.

Through a Communique, participating governments summarized recommendations on enhancing women’s access to resources and fair employment conditions, investing in feminist technology, bolstering women’s involvement in peace and security efforts, prioritizing funding for women’s health, and addressing gender-based violence.


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