tralac Daily News
Operations have returned to normal at the Port of Cape Town after reported delays experienced in the past two weeks. A presentation by Western Cape Finance MEC Mireille Wenger last week reportedly stated that vessels were experiencing delays of between 12 and 14 days. Some vessels have been bypassing Cape Town port due to the port’s under-performance. Shipping giant Maersk had its vessels sail to Mauritius for smaller consignments of containers to be offloaded and shipped to Cape Town to avoid the delays. However, Western Cape Transnet Port Terminals managing executive Andiswa Dlanga said that as of Tuesday, November 26, the backlog had been cleared after the introduction of more equipment into the system.
There are still delays in loading and offloading of containers at Durban and Richards Bay ports. The delays are costing the economy up to U.S.$6 million per day, according to the South African Freight Forwarders Association. The crisis has seen President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan visit the Richards Bay port on November 23, 2023 where the president received a briefing from Transnet leadership on the current challenges at the port and the interventions under way to reduce congestion and improve efficiency, a government statement said.
The government through the ministry of Industry is seeking for more investors in the textile industry to drive local production while creating more jobs for its citizens. Speaking on Thursday during the India International Textile and and Machinery exhibitions, Industry PS Juma Mukhwana urged the exhibitors in the summit to leverage the opportunity gap that Kenya offers in the sector.
“We are largely seeking for synthetic fibre manufacturers, as the country has none currently. The product makes the largest proportion of textiles we produce, about 70 per cent, compared to cotton which only does 30 per cent,” Mukhwana said.
He added that Kenya is still doing badly in terms of manufacturing, noting that with more Indian investors in the sector, it will mean increased production of cotton, further benefiting the local farmers. To achieve this, he noted that the government has also set aside Sh100million for purchase of cotton seeds in the current Financial Year, compared to the Sh25million in the previous year.
We cannot industrialise, thanks to Sacu – Geingob (The Namibian)
President Hage Geingob has credited the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) for the fall of the Peugeot assembly plant, saying this is why Namibia is struggling to industrialise. Geingob was addressing the media yesterday in an effort to highlight the service delivery achievements of his administration during the past year.
French automaker Peugeot has filed a lawsuit against the government for its alleged failure to ensure that Peugeot’s joint venture, Peugeot Opel Assembly Namibia, would be exempt from excise and customs duties, taxes and levies for exporting vehicles assembled at Walvis Bay to other Sacu and Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, according to the particulars of claim. Peugeot signed an agreement in February 2018 with the Namibian government, represented by the Namibia Industrial Development Agency and the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade, committing to support Peugeot’s investment in the country, the documents state.
Maritime agencies to chart path for trans-border trade (The Guardian Nigeria)
Heads of maritime agencies and other stakeholders are set to brainstorm on the most viable options available to Nigeria to make its trans-border trade more profitable. This is just as Nigeria controls over 70 per cent of cargo throughput in the West and Central African region, which accounts for the largest volume of trade by any country in the region and also holds the potential to influence trade.
The heads of the agencies and stakeholders are expected to dialogue at the 2023 yearly conference and awards of the Association of Maritime Journalists of Nigeria (AMJON), scheduled on December 14, 2023 in Lagos. The Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi is expected to chair the event with the theme: “Rebuilding Nigeria’s Economy Towards a Viable Transborder Trade,” while the heads of agencies in the maritime sector will make presentations regarding their roles in promoting trans-border trade in the country
18 Tanzanian firms access AfCFTA (Tanzania Daily News)
Eighteen Tanzanian companies have managed to access and sell products to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) market in this financial year. This is above the target set of ten companies previously planned to sell their products to the market, thus exceeding the target by 80 per cent.
Minister of Industry and Trade Dr Ashatu Kijaji said this on Thursday in an interview concerning the Second Conference of Women in Business under the African Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which will be held next week. “Tanzania was among the first eight countries that were given priority to send ten products that will be the first to enter the AfCFTA market from July this year, but in less than six months we have been able to have 18 companies participate,” said Dr Kijaji.
Speaking during a meeting to share information and perspectives on the current state of play of the AfCFTA negotiations organised at Fairway Hotel in Kampala, SEATINI Executive Director, Jane Nalunga said despite the enormous benefits presented by AfCFTA, Uganda seems not prepared to reap them.
“It is a great opportunity because it offers a bigger market for us as Uganda but the biggest challenge is that we need to position ourselves to be able to profit from it. We haven’t produced the right quantity and quality as Uganda,” Nalunga said. “We have failed miserably in the area of quality and quantity. It is the reason some of our products like maize flour have been rejected by Kenya and South Sudan. The issue of quality is affecting our efforts to exploit the benefits of the continental market. The market is available but we don’t have the required quantity to sell in this market.”
According to the SEATINI Executive Director, on many occasions, Uganda has entered agreements with various countries to export a given number of products but the country has fallen short of meeting these targets.
Supercharging Africa’s battery, electric vehicles ambitions (New Business Ethiopia)
A global transition towards green energy and rapid decarbonization has exponentially increased demand for Electric Vehicles (EVs) as well as investment in battery-powered storage systems. To advance Africa’s role in meeting this demand, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), and the African Union Commission (AUC) will jointly convene a high-level panel discussion on the theme Supercharging Africa´s Battery and Electric Vehicle ambitions on Sunday, 3rd December at the Africa Pavilion in the Blue Zone at COP28 in Dubai.
The High level panel discussion will enable African Heads of State engage with fellow policy makers, the private sector, global investors, business communities and heads of multilateral agencies to identify the type of investments and policies needed to spur the creation of a sustainable and inclusive African value chain for the production of battery electric vehicles. They will also discuss the repositioning of the continent in the global supply chain of value-added metals and minerals, essential for the world´s transition to renewable energy.
The session is designed to be a “call to action” to investment and business communities, policymakers and all major stakeholders, to collaborate and invest in the rapid realization of an African Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) value chain.
The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) has indicated that it has the capacity to meet local demand for goods, if given the level playing field and allowed to operate within a conducive environment. The Chief Executive of the association, Seth Twum-Akwaboah said a lot of their members are currently producing enough to meet local demand. He expressed worry that cheap and inferior goods have been allowed to flood the market through imports.
He refuted accusations that the AGI is being overly protected by government by introducing a Legislative Instrument to restrict the importation of some selected items According to him, “data on the ground doesn’t support the argument that industries are being lazy and don’t want to play in a very competitive environment”.
PM Ngirente commends intra-EAC trade growth (The New Times)
Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente has said the East African Community (EAC) registered commendable progress in intra-regional trade, since the coming into force of its customs union more than a decade ago. Ngirente made the observations on November 29 while addressing a special sitting of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), on behalf of President Paul Kagame in Parliament.
“Allow me to take this opportunity to acknowledge our Community’s achievements since the operationalisation of the EAC Customs Union, 18 years ago,” Ngirente said while addressing the regional lawmakers. “The results are commendable and show a significant increase in intra-EAC trade from $5.8 billion in 2013 to $10.9 billion in 2022. This is a big achievement,” he observed.
Debt, Inflation, Currency Depreciation Slow Down ECOWAS Economies – President (News Agency of Nigeria)
The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Omar Touray, on Thursday said debt, currency depreciation, inflation and other indices have slowed down the economies of countries in the sub region. This is contained in the 2023 Annual State of the Community Report he presented to the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja. Touray said even though some member states have posted impressive economic growth, inflation, deteriorating fiscal balance and mounting public debts have continued to erode the welfare and standard of living of citizens.
“The period under review was characterised by the continuation of geo-political conflicts, persistent inflationary pressures, high and rising public debts as well as tightening of monetary policies in most regions. “In this context, the global economic output growth is expected a slowdown to 3.0 per cent in 2023, compared to 3.5 per cent in 2022... The performance of the ECOWAS economies in 2023 mimicked that of the global economy due to the strong linages, especially by trade, investment and financial services.
The Gambia, in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy (MOCDE), proudly announces validation of its groundbreaking Digital Transformation Strategy and the Digital ID Strategy that has culminated in over 9 months of work . The validation will take place on the 19th to 20th December in the Gambia.
The validation workshop will be a significant step towards modernization and inclusive development and marks the culmination of collaborative efforts between the government of The Gambia and UNECA. The comprehensive strategy is poised to propel The Gambia into a new era of digital innovation, fostering economic growth, social inclusion, and government efficiency.
Accelerating Digital Transformation in West Africa (World Bank)
The World Bank today approved a $266.5 million (in IDA financing) game-changing program aimed at improving internet access in The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, and Mauritania, and to promote a single digital market in West Africa. The regional initiative will also partner with the African Union, Smart Africa, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to strengthen institutional capacities for managing and promoting digital markets.
The Digital Transformation for Africa/West Africa Regional Digital Integration Program (DTfA/WARDIP) will bridge the digital divide, making internet services in the region more affordable, promoting competition among service providers, and improving the underlying infrastructure to unlock new opportunities for employment, access to services for 1.3 million individuals, including 50% women, and people with disabilities.
Despite progress in mobile broadband coverage, West Africa still faces significant gaps in digital connectivity, access, and usage. The adoption of mobile broadband services remains below 40%, primarily due to high retail prices acting as a barrier. Infrastructure deficits, especially in international connectivity and resilient fiber optic backbone, remain major obstacles to meeting the growing demand for data and online services.
From Vision to Action: A policy blueprint for channeling $130 trillion private capital into Africa’s sustainable business future (Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University)
Africa’s story is one of abundance and, as we enter the era of decarbonization, the continent is endowed with critical minerals, sunshine, large rivers, forests and grasslands. All of these are key ingredients in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, powered by clean energy. The role of the business community is now more important than ever in order to complement Governments’ efforts at economic empowerment and create an environment that enables the public and private sectors to achieve the United Nations 2030 Agenda for sustainable development for all and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 goal of wealth creation.
The Agenda 2063 financing strategy is articulated around three dimensions: (a) domestic resource mobilization; (b) intermediation of resources into investment and (c) access to finance facilitation, including through project development funds, viability gap funding, capitalization funds and bankability and investment-readiness support for projects, firms/SMEs, entrepreneurs and other parties.
Climate change is negatively affecting food harvests and pushing up prices in Africa, leaving 18 million people in Ethiopia, Somalia and parts of Kenya facing the risk of severe hunger. A major debate is unfolding within countries and between the major players in the climate change debate on how to respond to the systemic impacts of climate change. Divergent approaches are also reflected in the narratives and perspectives of these different stakeholders on the concept of what is known as a “just transition”.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged global leaders to continue working together in efforts to tackle climate change as unilateralism can have detrimental result on developing economies. “Multilateralism must remain central to global climate action. Unilateral, coercive and trade-distorting measures, such as carbon adjustment measures are detrimental to developing economies,” the President said on Friday.
“African countries are among the most vulnerable to the effects of a rapidly changing climate, and have to adapt and build resilience within the context of historically low levels of development and a severely limited capacity. “Innovative financing instruments, such as special drawing rights are needed to ensure that funding does not increase the debt burden of countries that are already struggling to service their debt. “There can be no substitute for new predictable at scale and appropriate public finance to help developing economy countries build climate resilience. Climate change adaptation and mitigation technologies should be regarded as a global public good,” the President said.
The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has published findings on how to promote economic diversification during times of crisis and uncertainty. The policy report, “Exogenous shocks and commodity dependence: how diversification can fuel the green economy in Africa”, intends to assist policy makers in harnessing natural resource endowments, particularly minerals which are growing in importance due to the global energy transition, to fuel industrialization and job creation.
The findings are based on an analysis of trade and economic diversification data leading up to and following the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. This analysis revealed that Africa witnessed a diversification of its export basket in 2020, with five countries witnessing significant diversification. A closer examination, however, notes that this reflects both a fall in traditional commodities, such as oil and gas, and a rise in the role of gold as global gold prices spiked. This reveals the risk of continued commodity dependence, which can be exacerbated by the effects of exogenous shocks.
UAE commits $30 billion to climate change action vehicle ALTÉRRA at COP28 (ETEnergyworld.com)
The United Arab Emirates has announced a substantial commitment of US$30 billion to the newly established climate finance vehicle, ALTÉRRA, during the COP28 summit. This move positions ALTÉRRA as the world’s largest private investment initiative aimed at climate change action, with a target to mobilize US$250 billion globally by 2030.
Focused on rectifying the current challenges in climate finance, particularly in the Global South, ALTÉRRA intends to guide private investments towards climate change projects in emerging markets and developing economies. These regions have traditionally seen minimal investment due to perceived higher risks. The COP28 summit has identified the reformation of climate finance as a crucial component of its Action Agenda. ALTÉRRA is a direct response to this agenda, aiming to improve the availability, accessibility, and affordability of climate finance.
Maritime transport is in the spotlight at COP28, the UN’s annual climate change conference that kicked off on 30 November in Dubai. The sector, which carries around 80% of the world’s merchandise trade, is under pressure to decarbonize. The shipping industry emits around 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Over the past decade, its emissions have risen 20% – a trajectory the world “simply cannot afford”, UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan said.
“Our message at COP28 is very clear. Bold global action is necessary to decarbonize shipping,” Ms. Grynspan said. “But shipping cannot decarbonize on its own,” she added. “It requires action across the entire ecosystem.” A new UNCTAD policy brief calls for bringing together carriers, ports, manufacturers, shippers, investors, energy producers and distributors to collectively help the industry decarbonize and ensure the process is just, fair and equitable.
WTO members participating in the Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform (FFSR) talks focused on the process of elaborating the next steps under the initiative, including a prospective work plan, at its fourth meeting held on 24 November. In the lead-up to the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in February 2024, co-sponsors are working on an updated ministerial statement and a set of concrete options to advance fossil fuel subsidy reform.
In the past year, the initiative has made solid progress under the high-level work plan set by the Joint Ministerial Statement at MC12. Participants committed to work over the coming weeks to finalise a set of options for undertaking concrete follow-up actions, with the intention of presenting them for ministers’ consideration at MC13. Co-sponsors will also develop a timetable for the more in-depth work anticipated through 2024.
The cost of support measures for the production and consumption of fossil fuels increased sharply in 2022, as countries sought to cushion the impact of surging energy prices on households and firms, according to analysis released today by the OECD and IEA.
New OECD and IEA data show that the fiscal cost of global support for fossil fuels in 82 economies almost doubled to USD 1 481.3 billion in 2022, up from USD 769.5 billion in 2021, as governments instituted measures to offset exceptionally high energy prices, driven in part by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.
The OECD Inventory of Support Measures for Fossil Fuels estimates that direct transfers and tax expenditures associated with support measures for fossil fuels amounted to USD 427.9 billion in 2022. In addition, the IEA calculates that fossil fuels sold below market prices amounted to USD 1 126.6 billion. Increases were significant across petroleum, electricity and natural gas.
Earth’s vital signs are failing: record emissions, ferocious fires, deadly droughts and the hottest year ever. We can guarantee it even when we’re still in November. We are miles from the goals of the Paris Agreement — and minutes to midnight for the 1.5°C limit. But it is not too late. We can — you can — prevent planetary crash and burn. We have the technologies to avoid the worst of climate chaos — if we act now. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has charted a clear path to a 1.5-degree world. But we need leadership, cooperation and political will for action. And we need it now.
The diagnosis is clear. The success of this COP depends on the Global Stocktake prescribing a credible cure in three areas. First, drastically cutting emissions. Second, we cannot save a burning planet with a firehose of fossil fuels. Third, climate justice is long overdue.
Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala welcomed on 1 December the endorsement by standard setting bodies, international organizations, steel producers and industry associations of a set of principles aimed at aligning how greenhouse gas emissions are measured in the steel sector. This novel partnership was announced at a Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum roundtable on the first day of the COP28 UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
At a meeting of the Committee on Agriculture on 27-29 November, WTO members exchanged views on a range of issues under the committee’s work mandate, with the issue of food security once again a main focus of the discussions. Members also carried out their regular review of each other’s farm policies to ensure compliance with WTO disciplines.
Representatives from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) updated members on recent market developments and food insecurity during the committee meeting. In their informal discussions on 27 November, members exchanged views on the following four themes: agricultural notifications and transparency; the role of transfer of technology in resilience building; the functioning of the committee; and the work programme on food security for LDCs and NFIDCs.
The WTO and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) agreed on 1 December to boost cooperation and collaboration on a range of issues in the area of food and agricultural trade and climate change. The initiative comes at a time of growing crises affecting global food security and sustainable agriculture production.
Under the MoU, the WTO and FAO will strengthen collaboration in 17 areas of common interest, including support for the WTO’s ongoing negotiations on agricultural reform, the implementation of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies adopted at the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (including on projects funded through the Fisheries Funding Mechanism Trust Fund), and hosting the annual World Cotton Day celebration on 7 October of each year.
Food security and climate change are interlinked and global agrifood systems are the climate solution, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), QU Dongyu, told Heads of State and Government reunited at the World Climate Action Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
At the COP28 Presidency’s first Leader’s Event focused specifically on food and agriculture, Qu expressed FAO’s support for the newly launched Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action, already endorsed by 134 countries.
“Implementation of the Emirates Declaration guided by the FAO Global Roadmap on achieving SDG2 without breaching the 1.5C° threshold, are key instruments for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets under the Four Betters, leaving no one behind”, he said.
A scramble by competing powers to secure strategic minerals could add to price pressures and increase the costs of the climate transition. New trade restrictions in commodity markets more broadly have doubled since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as producers impose curbs on shipments. Critical minerals used to make everything from electric vehicles (EVs) to solar panels and wind turbines are highly vulnerable to more severe trade restrictions. A slide toward opposing trading blocs could substantially delay the energy transition.
Even without the added complication of geopolitically motivated export controls, countries will need unprecedented supplies of critical minerals to stave off the worst effects of climate change and reach net zero emissions. The International Energy Agency predicts that demand for copper will need to grow by a factor of 1.5, for nickel and cobalt to double, and for lithium to increase six times by 2030 (Chart 1). This will drive up prices and could make these minerals as important as crude oil for the world economy over the next two decades
Global growth is set to remain modest, with the impact of the necessary monetary policy tightening, weak trade and lower business and consumer confidence being increasingly felt, according to the OECD’s latest Economic Outlook. The Outlook projects global GDP growth of 2.9% in 2023, followed by a mild slowdown to 2.7% in 2024 and a slight improvement to 3.0% in 2025. Asia is expected to continue to account for the bulk of global growth in 2024-25, as it has in 2023.
The Outlook lays out a series of policy recommendations, underlining the need to continue policies aimed at bringing down inflation, reviving global trade and adapting fiscal policy to meet long-term challenges.