Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

100 000 containers now stuck outside three SA ports – as new penalties and price hikes loom (Engineering News)

In recent weeks, container ships have been bypassing the congested and delay-ridden Cape Town harbour to berth at the Port of Port Elizabeth in Gqeberha and the Ngqura (Coega) port, reports the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF). But the influx of vessels has created massive congestion off the Eastern Cape coast, with some 46 000 containers stuck outside the two ports. Meanwhile, 79 vessels and 61 968 containers remain stuck outside the Durban port as of Friday last week.

This is according to the latest data from the SAAFF. Durban and Port Elizabeth are now among the top seven most congested ports in the world, according to global shipping data site Linerlytica. Vessels have been waiting 215 hours (nearly nine days) and 32 hours to enter Port Nqura and the Port Elizabeth port, respectively. Meanwhile, vessels are waiting 227 hours to enter the Durban port, the SAAFF reports. The backlog at the Cape Town port, however, has been cleared, says Transnet.

South African ports have been marred by congestion and delays due to equipment failures, a lack of maintenance on port infrastructure, and adverse weather. An estimated R7-billion worth of goods currently cannot berth into ports.

“This season will be much easier than the previous” (FreshPlaza)

The upcoming citrus season will be much easier from a commercial point of view for Egyptian exporters, helped by improved sizes and low competition, according to Eslam Gelila, CEO of Gelila. “Last season was very challenging to navigate. However, everything has improved this year - size, quality, and demand - for all citrus fruits. This promises to be an easier campaign than the season before. Two weeks from harvest, brix is currently at 12% and higher, and should reach 13 as we harvest. Coloration has reached 80-90% in many farms.”

The Egyptian season is starting as the South African season finishes, and Morocco and Spain have had a failed start to their campaign due to drought, which is likely to impact their entire season. “We remain in the market with Turkey, which has more citrus volumes than last season but has quality concerns, judging by the complaints we’re currently seeing on the market, and Greece, with low volumes.”

Kenya: The East African gateway’s balancing game (Africa Aviation News)

On August 19, 2023, President of South Sudan Salva Kiir visited the Kenyan capital Nairobi and met his counterpart William Ruto at the State House for bilateral talks. The recent meeting between the two presidents highlights at least two important facts about the country Kenya.

First, Kenya is a key nation from the logistics perspective for the landlocked nations including South Sudan. For instance, all the discussion between the two leaders was dominated by regional trade and the infrastructure that supports it. Second, Kenya and its landlocked neighbour want to diversify their trade from the congested Port of Mombasa. During their joint talk, both leaders committed themselves to a specific infrastructural project which is not only crucial for Kenya and South Sudan but also for Ethiopia: Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor, also called Lamu Corridor, which makes Lamu Port the gateway to the world instead of Mombasa.

Rwanda’s economy shows resilience amid global challenges (Xinhua)

Rwanda’s economy remained resilient in the 2022-2023 fiscal year despite the global economic slowdown, the National Bank of Rwanda said in its latest report. The central bank’s report for 2022-2023, presented to parliament Monday in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, said that the economic resilience primarily stemmed from a robust performance in the services sector.

It noted that Rwanda’s external trade continued its recovery path, witnessing a 29.8 percent increase in merchandise exports. This growth was attributed to the strong performance of domestic manufacturing exports and traditional commodities.

Rwanda Recognized for Implementing Malabo Commitments (KT Press)

An African Union research-based evaluation report has indicated that Rwanda continues to make progress in implementing the Malabo Commitments especially in agriculture financing and policy implementation. The seven Malabo commitments set in 2014 are; recommitting to the Principles and Values of CAADP processes, Investment finance in agriculture, ending hunger by 2025, halving poverty by 2025, boosting intra-African trade in agricultural commodities and services, enhancing resilience to climate variability, mutual accountability for results and actions.

The Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS) 2023 Annual Trends and Outlook Report (ATOR) aimed at giving a look into progress made and post Malabo agenda was unveiled in Kigali November 27, 2023 during the ReSAKSS conference that brought together state and non-state actors to deliberate on the key findings and policy recommendations of the report.

Tanzania to host second AfCFTA conference on Women in Business (The Citizen)

The government has finalised the preparation of the Draft Protocol on Women and Youth in Business within the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA). The protocol is now awaiting the approval of the AfCFTA trade ministers to come into effect in 2023/24.

The minister for Industry and Trade, Dr Ashatu Kijaji, said this today, November 29, 2023, when briefing the media, where she explained about the conference with the theme “Strengthening Women’s Participation in Business and Accelerating the Implementation of AfCFTA,” organised by the ministry in collaboration with the AfCFTA Secretariat, where Tanzania will be the host.

She stated that, in addition to the protocol’s success, the conference provided the right ways to solve various obstacles and challenges faced by women and young people in business in order for them to fully participate in business in Africa, such as limited access to finance, market information, inputs, use of technology, marketing and the limited ability to comply with standards and other legal requirements.

Ghana leads way in AfCFTA’s Guided Trade Initiative (Modern Ghana)

Ghana has emerged as a leader in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement’s Guided Trade Initiative (GTI), showcasing 14 companies actively engaged in 40 trades across AfCFTA member countries. This was disclosed by Mr Appiah Adomako, the West Africa Regional Director of CUTS International, at a Public-Private Dialogue on the GTI in Accra on Tuesday.

He stated that Ghana has solidified its commitment to the AfCFTA by actively participating in the GTI since its inauguration in October 2022. “Out of 29 nations that submitted tariff offers, Ghana stands among the eight most committed participants, including Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Rwanda, Tanzania and Tunisia,” he added.

According to him, some notable Ghanaian companies engaged in the GTI are alcoholic beverage producer Kasapreko and cosmetics manufacturer Ghandour Cosmetics. He announced that Kasapreko had successfully exported a 20-foot container of drinks to South Africa by air. Meanwhile, Ghandour shipped a similar consignment of beauty products to Guinea. “Additionally, palm oil company Benso Oil Palm Plantation exported goods to Kenya and ceramics firm KEDA Ghana sent products to Cameroon,” he announced.

The African Development Bank launches research project on grain quality grading and certification in Ghana (AfDB)

The African Development Bank has launched a three-year research and outreach initiative in Ghana to enhance the cereal value chain development in the country. The Grain Quality Grading and Certification Project is being implemented by the Microeconomics, Institutional and Development Impact Division of the African Development Bank, in partnership with the School of Agriculture of the University of Ghana.

The project examines whether the proper grading and certification of grains in sub-Saharan African countries could be leveraged to promote investments in grain quality enhancement to increase consumption of safe and healthy food locally, and open opportunities for grain exports into global markets.

Climate Action will Boost Tunisia’s Economy, says World Bank Report (World Bank)

Water scarcity, coastal erosion and more frequent flooding are among Tunisia’s most pressing climate challenges, says a new World Bank Group report, which suggests a series of urgent adaptation and decarbonization actions that would help boost Tunisia’s economic recovery and create jobs.

The World Bank Group’s Tunisia Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR), released ahead of COP28, identifies policy actions and investment opportunities that could reduce the impacts of climate change on people and businesses and enhance Tunisia’s economic competitiveness.

The report says combined adaptation and mitigation measures to address climate change and decarbonize the electricity sector could boost GDP growth to 8.8 percent by 2030, reduce poverty and slash energy-related emissions. On the flip side, failure to act could result in GDP losses of up 3.4% by 2030, leading to projected annual losses of around 5.6 billion dinars ($1.8 billion).

Some measures for enhancing foreign exchange earnings (Ethiopia Press)

Ethiopia’s foreign exchange earnings may be improved using strategies that boost its export capabilities. It also needs to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) for production of goods for export. These export items have to be competitive in the global markets. Such measures may improve the overall balance of trade of the country.

There are, however, several appropriate strategies that Ethiopia may apply for improving its foreign exchange earnings. Some of these strategies would be: diversification of exports; agricultural sector development; manufacturing and industrialization; services sector growth; trade facilitation and policy reforms; foreign direct investment (FDI); enhanced financial instruments; skills development and innovation; regional economic integration; risk mitigation strategies. The uses and benefits of each of the above strategies have to be considered seriously by the Ethiopian government policy makers.

The strategy of diversification of exports focuses on the promotion of non-traditional exports. This requires identification and promotion of new export products beyond the traditional ones. Experienced entrepreneurs have to be attracted to invest in the production of export items. Of course, identifying proper investors and markets for the new exports is of the essence. New products imply adding value and improving on existing products in the country.

Ministry strives to edible oil import substitution (Ethiopia Press)

The Ministry of Agriculture said that it has been working on increasing oilseeds production to enable the nation cut importing edible oil through supplying local factories with required inputs. Agriculture State Minister Melese Mekonnen (PhD) told The Ethiopian Herald that Ethiopia has been focusing on increasing oilseed production to substitute edible oil locally.

The sector is one of the government’s priority areas in the ten years’ flagship programs in the agriculture sector, he indicated. The objective is to produce inputs for local oil factories thereby cutting edible oil imports, Melese expressed. According to the State Minister, factories that produce cooking oil have been expanded in the country. Therefore, he said, the government has been working focusing on producing grass pea, sunflower and groundnut to supply these factories with necessary inputs.

Despite great potential, resources, Nigeria not where it should be (Tribune Online)

The former minister of finance, under former President Goodluck Jonathan, Olusegun Aganga, has explained why Nigeria and Nigerians are not where they should be irrespective of the country’s numerous resources and potential. Aganga, who is also the former minister of industry, trade and investments, and the former chairman of the World Bank made this known during a book chat session with Joseph Ike (a psychotherapist and a creative arts enthusiast) at the recently concluded 2023 Ake Festival in Lagos.

Afreximbank, APPO to Inaugurate African Energy Bank in June 2024 (The Energy Republic)

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) says it is set to inaugurate the African Energy Bank in June 2024 to mitigate the crisis in the African energy sector. Afreximbank disclosed this during a session on “Africa’s Energy Transition and Financing”, at the Inter-African Trade Fair (IATF) 2023 Trade Conference in Cairo, Egypt covered by The Energy Republic. Based on our findings, the African Energy Bank will fund energy-related projects for the development of the African continent.

Speaking at the event, Rene Awambeng, director of client relations at Afreximbank, said the bank had partnered with over 700 banks in Africa and its partners to chart a profitable pathway for the African energy sector. “In addition to what the bank is doing with its partners, the management of Afreximbank, working on the sidelines with African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO), has decided to create another agency that will engage in financing the energy Africa requirement,” Awambeng revealed.

Climate change leads to higher GDPs in the North and declines in the South (EL PAÍS)

“Climate change is exacerbating existing global inequalities, with many high-income countries currently experiencing net gains, including an average increase of 4.7% to the GDP of European countries,” said one of the findings of the study, which contrasted this improvement with Southeast Asia and Southern Africa countries losing an average 14.1% and 11.2% of their GDP, respectively. Interestingly, Europe is seeing economic benefits from climate change overall, but southern European countries like Spain Greece, Portugal and Italy have experienced slight GDP losses.

Africa urges a spotlight on climate finance as the world heads to COP28 (AfDB)

The African Development Bank will mobilize financing for climate action at this year’s UN Climate Change Conference, COP28, and amplify Africa’s calls for robust commitments by wealthy countries to meet the continent’s urgent needs in addressing climate change.

The Bank Group, led by its President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, will launch and cement several climate action initiatives during the global event. The delegation, including vice presidents, senior management and sector experts, will aim to increase the Bank’s visibility within the global climate change community, and mobilize additional resources for climate funds and facilities.

During the two-week conference, the Bank will advance partnerships and resource mobilization for its Africa Climate Risk Insurance Facility for Adaptation (ACRIFA) as a vital tool to raise the billions needed to foster climate adaptation, resilience, and sustainable development within Africa’s agricultural sector.

Considerations for a new collective quantified goal: Bringing accountability, trust and developing country needs to climate finance (UNCTAD)

Article 9 of the Paris Agreement (PA) provides that developed country parties take the lead in mobilizing climate finance based on developing country needs and priorities. There is a wide range of estimations on the needs and priorities of developing countries, but the flow of finance has fallen far short of all of these assessments. This includes the 2009 political target of $100 billion per year by 2020, subsequently extended to 2025, which has never been reached and was not based on a robust analysis of needed resource.

As per Decision 1/CP21 Paragraph 53, countries decided to deliberate on a new collective quantified goal (NCQG) to raise the floor on climate finance above the current $100 billion annual target, taking into account the needs and priorities of developing countries. This report explores lessons from the ongoing challenges with climate finance and more specifically the $100 billion goal, proposing a set of considerations and structure for the NCQG to ensure it is an improved target.

IEA to seek ‘achievable’ 4% a year global energy efficiency improvement goal at COP28 (Engineering News)

Global body the International Energy Agency (IEA) will seek to secure commitments from all governments to improve the global average rate of energy efficiency from 2% a year to 4% a year at the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP) 28 to be held in Dubai from November 30.

This goal of doubling yearly energy efficiency improvement is not only achievable but will help to address a significant amount of the greenhouse-gas emissions reductions targets and improve energy security and help to reduce energy prices, IEA executive director Dr Fatih Birol said during the launch of the IEA ‘Energy Efficiency 2023’ report, on November 29.

What COP28 means for the Global South (The Annapurna Express)

Is turning the 1.5°C target from the Paris Climate Accord into reality still possible? The answer seems to be a resounding no. Despite strides in renewable energy, global temperatures and greenhouse gas emissions persist in shattering records.

The most recent Emissions Gap Report by the UN Environment Program (UNEFP) paints a stark picture, highlighting the urgent need for global low-carbon transformations. To achieve a 28 percent reduction in predicted 2030 greenhouse gas emissions for a 2°C pathway and a 42 percent reduction for a 1.5°C pathway, substantial action is required. Shockingly, global greenhouse gas emissions hit a new high of 57.4 Gigatonnes of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent, marking a 1.2 percent increase from 2021 to 2022.

It’s evident that major countries aren’t doing enough to cut the emissions. The UN report says: “Countries with greater capacity and responsibility for emissions—particularly high-income and high-emitting countries among the G20—will need to take more ambitious and rapid action and provide financial and technical support to developing nations.”

100 Million People in Eastern and Southern Africa Poised to Receive Access to Sustainable and Clean Energy by 2030 (World Bank)

A new World Bank program is set to exponentially accelerate sustainable and clean energy access and provide life-transforming opportunities for 100 million people in up to 20 countries across Eastern and Southern Africa over the next seven years.

In a region where only 48% of the overall population—and just 26% in rural areas—has access to electricity, the Accelerating Sustainable and Clean Energy Access Transformation (ASCENT) Program will be a game-changer. Lack of energy access hinders the region’s economic recovery, resilience, and faster progress toward poverty reduction. It also results in significant food spoilage owing to lack of refrigeration, particularly in countries already plagued with food insecurity, and plays a role in poor health outcomes given that less than half of all hospitals in the region have reliable electricity access.

Digital Technologies Fast Track Climate Solutions (World Bank)

Digital technologies are transforming the way the world works and addresses climate change, from cutting emission across industries, to facilitating greener transport networks and mitigating impacts with early warning systems. As governments are looking for solutions that match the urgency and scale of the climate crisis—digital technologies are a key tool in this effort.

A World Bank report, Green Digital Transformation: How to Sustainably Close the Digital Divide and Harness Digital Tools for Climate Action, underscores how digital tools can boost sustainability across industries but must also reduce their own carbon footprint. For example, WEF estimates show that digital technologies could cut emissions by up to 20 percent by 2050 in the three highest-emitting sectors: energy, materials, and mobility. And two thirds of countries include technology as part of their national climate plans to help adapt to or mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Three keys to enhance African trade potential in the digital age (Trade Finance Global)

Europe remains one of the most important continents for African trade, but recent years have seen a decline relative to other regions, with a notable uptick in flows from China and MEA regions. Prior to COVID-19, Africa’s trade finance gap was closing, decreasing from $120 billion in 2011 to around $81 billion in 2019.

However, the macroeconomic disruptions and geopolitical uncertainties that followed have caused that gap to widen again. In the years following, Africa’s recorded cross-border trade has grown relatively modestly in recent decades and currently accounts for between 2-3% of global trade. Trade agreements are key. The EU maintains open and transparent trade policies, albeit they can be somewhat fragmented.

Post-Brexit, the UK has actively sought to negotiate or refresh trade agreements, resulting in several Economic Partnership Agreements with African nations. In early 2024 the UK will host the UK-African Investment Summit with the aim of strengthening UK-Africa ties further, another significant indicator of the optimism and opportunity surrounding the continent.

East African Community to establish creative and cultural industry body (The Citizen)

A creative and cultural industry body will be created in East Africa to develop and tap the full potential of the sector. A bill to the effect will be tabled before the regional Parliament currently holding a session in Kigali, Rwanda. The proposed legislation intends to promote the creative and cultural industries in the East African Community (EAC) bloc.

The EAC Creative and Cultural Industries Bill is one of the three key bills set for tabling in the Eala session which extends to December 7th. Under it, an entity called the Creative and Cultural Industries Development Council will be established to serve the industry in East Africa. The body will provide an environment that is conducive for enhancement and stimulation of creativity and innovation endeavours among the EAC citizenry. Available statistics had it that the EAC bloc earns a whopping $2 billion from the creative industry every year.

Smart Africa Alliance offers support to African fibre project (Developing Telecoms)

The Smart Africa Alliance has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with pan-African digital connectivity solutions company Bayobab and infrastructure investment platform Africa50 to support the fibre optic cable initiative Project East2West with regulatory and policy engagements. The Smart Africa Alliance currently represents 39 member countries across Africa and is tasked with the agenda to drive and accelerate the digital transformation of the continent.

As we reported at the time, Bayobab and Africa50 signed a partnership in May to develop Project East2West, a terrestrial fibre optic cable network connecting the eastern shores of Africa to those on the continent’s west.

Low-income countries still struggle to close digital divide: ITU report (Developing Telecoms)

New statistics from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) suggest that while internet connectivity and usage is on the rise, it’s barely making a dent in the digital divide as low-income countries continue to be left behind. According to the ITU’s latest Facts and Figures report released on Monday, 5.4 billion people are now online – that’s around 67% of the global population and a 4.7% increase from 2022. Consequently, the number of unconnected people dropped slightly to an estimated 2.6 billion people.

New Report Reveals Large Presence of State-owned Businesses in Competitive Sectors in Developing Countries (World Bank)

Almost 70% of businesses with state ownership operate in competitive markets such as manufacturing and tourism, where the private sector could deliver more efficiently, says a new World Bank report.

The report, The Business of the State, examines 76,000 companies in 91 countries with at least 10% state ownership. Revenues from these businesses are equivalent to 17 % of GDP on average, where data is available, revealing the true extent of the presence of state in the economy. The report points out that a larger state footprint can result in lower business dynamism and higher market concentration, discouraging new market entrants and curbing private investment leading to slower growth.

The ECOWAS regional Trade Facilitation Committee (RTFC) operationalises sub committees on transparency, women in trade and border management (ECOWAS)

The ECOWAS Commission convened the Fourth (4th) Meeting of the ECOWAS Regional Trade Facilitation Committee (RTFC) in Abuja, Nigeria, from November 20th to 22nd, 2023. The objective of the meeting was to review the implementation of trade facilitation reforms within the framework of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), as well as consider emerging issues related to the free movement of goods in the ECOWAS region.

Mr. Kolawole Sofola, Acting Director of Trade at the ECOWAS Commission, speaking on behalf of Madame Massandjé TOURE-LITSE, Commissioner for Economic Affairs & Agriculture, recalled the important role that trade facilitation plays in mitigating the disruptive effects of external shocks on supply chains. He further highlighted the efforts undertaken by the Commission to improve the movement of goods within the region, in line with the ECOWAS Vision 2050 and the Management’s “4×4” Strategic Objectives, with interventions in the areas of Transit, Transport and Institutional strengthening, amongst others.

Open borders are Africa’s path to economic boost (TechCabal)

RECs help by implementing open-border policies and regional agreements that encourage trade and mobility, which reduce fringes in mobility for net-positive skilled workers, and allow African collective economies thrive from new technology knowledge, access to financial technologies and infrastructure for cross-border remittance, tourism growth, and increase in communities’ economies through economic migration . With the recent trend of open borders seen across the continent, particularly in Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia, analysts have now predicted the continent to benefit more than ever from cross-border technology and knowledge transfer, the net present value (NPV) of skilled workers, labour quality, and intra-African trade.

Tema Port to become first port of call in West Africa (GhanaWeb)

The Chief Executive Officer of Meridian Port Services (MPS) Ltd. Mohamed Samara, has confirmed that beginning January 2024, the Port of Tema will become the first port of call in West Africa under a Maersk-CMA-CGM West Africa Express (WAX) service on the Far East-West Africa maritime trade route. This adds up to an existing direct call by the world’s leading shipping line, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) at the Port.

According to the MPS CEO, who was speaking on the niche Eye on Port TV program, these milestones reflect the faith these shipping majors have in the world-class Terminal 3 in Tema, Ghana. Mr. Samara is intimidated that this move will shorten the time it takes for transhipped goods to reach Ghana as well as transit time for landlocked countries using Ghana’s ports.

“Basically, what this means is that the ship leaves TPT in Malaysia and lands in Tema in 21 days which is the shortest transit time for a port in Africa with the Far East and that is quite an achievement enabled by infrastructure at Terminal 3,” Mo stated.

Carriers’ earnings drop to pre-pandemic levels (Africa Aviation News)

All major shipping lines that report financial results have recorded sharp YoY revenue drops in Q32023. “In fact, the smallest contraction was of -51.8 percent,” according to the latest report by Sea-Intelligence. “While this does sound alarming, we have to remember that the YoY comparison is against a period of high rates.

“To counter this volatility, we instead compare Q32023 against 2019 on an annualised basis, and see that the contraction in Q3 is an artefact of the abnormal growth in 2021-2022. The revenues are now really only dropping to the pre-pandemic levels.

Mini-ministerial on agriculture seeks political guidance for negotiators ahead of MC13 (WTO)

The ministerial gathering was hosted by the UAE Government, also the host of MC13, with the support of the Director-General and the WTO Secretariat. In an invitation letter to ministers, Minister Al Zeyoudi and DG Okonjo-Iweala said that the Senior Officials Meeting held at the WTO on 23-24 October clearly recognized that the ongoing agriculture negotiations have failed to achieve the progress members have called for.

“We are at a crossroads,” Minister Al Zeyoudi, the Chair of the meeting, said at the beginning of the meeting, emphasizing the urgent need for agricultural reform. The sector faces numerous challenges, including growing food insecurity due to adverse weather events, the COVID-19 pandemic and conflicts, he said.

He continued: “The food security package achieved at MC12 constituted a significant emergency response, but far more remains to be done to structurally address the expected devastating impacts of climate change and how to feed sustainably and equitably a growing world population which is estimated to reach 10 billion by 2050. The sector also has to adapt as it is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions.”

Quick links

The Joint Communiqué from the Seventh Annual African Union-United Nations Conference held in New York on November 28, 2023

Carriers set course for new shores in search of profitable growth

UNCTAD report exposes economic strain on Palestinian welfare in West Bank due to Israeli restrictions


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