Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

South Africa’s FDI inflows slow in third quarter (CGTN Africa)

South Africa recorded reduced foreign direct investment inflows of 26 billion rand ($1.40 billion) in the third quarter of 2023, from 53.8 billion rand in the second quarter, central bank data showed on Thursday. The South African Reserve Bank said in its Quarterly Bulletin that the inflows were due to non-resident parent entities granting loans and increasing their equity stakes in domestic subsidiaries over the period.

Africa’s most industrialised nation has had the worst power outages on record this year, with rolling blackouts leaving households and businesses without power for up to 10 hours a day.

International air cargo group opens pharmaceuticals handling facility at Cape Town (Engineering News)

The International Airlines Group’s (IAG’s) freight business, IAG Cargo, announced on Thursday that Cape Town had become its latest station to receive approval to handle the shipment of temperature- and time-sensitive healthcare products. These included bioscience and healthcare inputs and products, but especially pharmaceuticals (ranging from components to vaccines).

“Adding Cape Town to our Constant Climate [network] is an exciting moment as it strengthens our cold chain offering, and shows our commitment to serving the pharmaceutical, bioscience and healthcare industries,” affirmed IAG Cargo Pharmaceutical head Jordan Kohlbeck. “For many customers this will support the increasing demand for transporting pharmaceuticals globally, specifically to the African market.”

South Africa aims to fire up economic growth with port, rail revival (Engineering News)

South Africa’s government and the business community set a target of boosting the economic growth rate by as much as six percentage points by fixing the country’s collapsing ports and freight-rail network. They predict that cracking down on crime and corruption may save as much as 300 billion rand ($16 billion) a year, according to a slide presentation from a meeting held earlier this month, which were seen by Bloomberg and confirmed by business representatives. South Africa’s National Treasury has forecast gross domestic product will grow 1% next year.

South Africa’s biggest companies and the government have set up joint panels as part of a drive by its biggest companies to work with the state to resolve a host of issues holding back the economy. Those range from power cuts and the poor performance of the rail network, to increasing crime and an inefficient work-visa application process.

The Freight Logistics Roadmap is a government document outlining plans to boost private involvement in the country’s largely state-run ports and rail network.

Kenya Can Build on Past Success to Make Growth More Inclusive and Accelerate Poverty Reduction (World Bank)

Kenya has in the past been successful in translating economic growth into improved living standards of its citizens. Despite progress, the challenge going forward is to ensure the poor and vulnerable benefit equally from progress, addressing the stark and persistent disparities across space and income groups.

According to a new World Bank report titled Kenya Poverty and Equity Assessment (KPEA) 2023 – From Poverty to Prosperity: Making Growth More Inclusive, which covers the period between 2005 and 2021, the progress Kenya has made in reducing poverty and raising living standards of its citizens has not been equally shared. As a result, economic growth has not sufficiently translated to more people escaping poverty and in recent years, poverty has become less responsive to economic growth.

Revamped Kagitumba-Rusumo road credited for easing movement, trade (The New Times)

A 208-kilometer Kagitumba-Kayonza-Rusumo asphalt road project has facilitated movement of people and goods, as well as trade by reducing the time it takes to do business, and transport costs, among other benefits, officials and its users have said

Speaking at the project inauguration on Wednesday, December 13, in Eastern Province, the Minister of Infrastructure, Jimmy Gasore, observed that the road connects Rwanda to Uganda and Tanzania as Partner States of the East African Community, hence being of strategic importance for the landlocked country in terms of connection to the region.

IMF and World Bank Announce US$4.5 billion in Debt Relief for Somalia (IMF)

The Executive Boards of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) have approved the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative Completion Point for Somalia, which provides total debt service savings for the country of US$4.5 billion. Following HIPC Completion Point, Somalia’s external debt has fallen from 64 percent of GDP in 2018 to less than 6 percent of GDP by end 2023. This debt relief will facilitate access to critical additional financial resources that will help Somalia strengthen its economy, reduce poverty, and promote job creation.

“For Somalia to move forward in the positive economic direction we all needed, we had to reform our laws, systems, policies, and practices. Reaching the HIPC Completion Point is the fruit of these reforms. When my government committed to the reform program nearly a decade ago, this was the result we envisaged,” said Somalia’s President, H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

Regional Trade Promotion Framework Validated (COMESA)

Representatives from Trade Promotion Agencies, Chambers of Commerce, the private sector and Ministries of Trade and Industry have validated the COMESA Regional Trade Promotion Strategy. This was during a two-day workshop held in Bujumbura, Burundi, 11-12 December 2023 to review and amend the draft content of the strategy.

This is the first time that COMESA is developing a Regional Trade Promotion Strategy. Speaking at the workshop, the Assistant to the Minister of Trade, Industry, Transport and Tourism Mr Jean Claude Kanene emphasized the importance of the region having a Trade Promotion Strategy as a way of bringing about real integration. “Promoting exports in our region is a giant step towards improving community trade,” said Mr Kanene.

“But it is not enough just to value add and take goods to markets. A Trade Promotion Strategy must be accompanied by a well-designed marketing and communication strategy. At the same time, we should work harder to open services markets. We live in a digital age, and digital trade is global by nature,” Dr Onyango said.

SADC facilitates meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the three (3) Lobito Corridor Member States (SADC)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will facilitate the first meeting of the Committee of Ministers from the three (3) Lobito Corridor Member States, namely the Republics of Angola and Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which is scheduled to take place in Lobito, Angola on 16th December 2023. The purpose of this meeting is to review and assess the progress of activities aimed at accelerating the implementation of the Lobito Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation programme reaffirming the commitment made by three heads of state.

The Lobito Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation (LCTTF) Agreement was signed in Lobito, Angola, on 27th January 2023, by the three Corridor Member States. This agreement serves as a framework for the three Member States to collaborate in the development of harmonised corridor laws, policies, regulations, and systems, including infrastructure development, in a coordinated and coherent manner

The harmonised policies, laws, and regulations, coupled with the developed infrastructure, will support the growth of economic clusters and enhance the participation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the value chains of the mining and agriculture sectors. Moreover, the adoption of Simplified Trade Regimes (STR) will facilitate trade for Small Scale Cross Border Traders (SSCBT).

17th Session of the Committee of Directors-General of the National Statistics Offices vows to boost intra-Africa trade by using statistical information (AU)

The 17th Session of the Committee of Directors-General of the National Statistics Offices (CoDGs), opens on December, 13, 2023, at the African Union HQ, under the AU 2023 theme “Acceleration of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Implementation”.

The Chair of the CoDGs, Mr. Ricardo Nsue Ndemesogo Obono, reminded participants about the main objectives of the CoDGs that focus on the Acceleration of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Implementation, and include among others to: (i) Provide a forum for member states to review and advise on the statistical programmes of the pan-African institutions based on the Second Strategy for the Harmonization of Statistics in Africa (SHaSA 2) guidelines, and ensure their relevance to the needs of African countries; (ii) Guide on the way to eliminate trade barriers and boost intra-Africa trade by using statistical information; (iii) Discuss challenges related to the acceleration of African AfCFTA through statistics in Africa; (iv) Discuss the challenges of producing data on Agenda 2063 and UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); (v) Ensure the coordination of statistical work of the various actors and mechanisms and their implementation in the continent; and (vi) Examine progress, identify problems, and propose solutions to existing and emerging issues on statistical development in Africa.

In North Africa, Gender Smart Investing can be a Catalyst for SDG implementation, Economic Growth and Job Creation (UNECA)

The ECA Office for North Africa and Oxford Economics Africa unveiled their latest joint report on Wednesday 13 October at the 2023 Arab SMEs Summitin Marrakech (Morocco).

The report, titled “Gender-Smart Investing for Inclusive Growth in North Africa” sheds light on major challenges women-led and owned firms face in North Africa and how gender-smart investment can help alleviate these issues. It presents governments and development actors with a range of recommendations for a successful implementation in the subregion. These include the need for an increased policy focus on female entrepreneurship and SMEs, improving policy alignment, leveraging support from a broader range of stakeholders, adopting a more holistic approach to gender-lens investing, and increased support and participations from development finance institutions, the private sector, and investors across North Africa and internationally.

U.S. lists gains of renewed engagement with Africa one year after summit (The Guardian Nigeria)

One year after hosting the United States-Africa Leaders Summit (USALS), principal officers of the U.S. government, yesterday, said America had delivered more than 40 per cent of commitments made at the gathering, which hosted about 50 African heads of government in Washington DC.

“Last year, the Biden-Harris administration said we would invest $55 billion in Africa over three years. As we wind down 2023, we have already delivered on more than 40 per cent of this commitment. By the end of year two, we anticipate surpassing 70 per cent of our goal, if not more. “And then our reform of the global governance architecture. For the first time, the African Union is part of the G20, our hope is that there will be a third seat for Sub-Saharan Africa at the IMF, as well as our commitment to the UN Security Council,” the American government stated.

COP28 delivers historic consensus in Dubai to accelerate climate action (COP28 UAE)

The UAE Consensus calls on Parties to transition away from fossil fuels to reach net zero, encourages them to submit economy-wide Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), includes a new specific target to triple renewables and double energy efficiency by 2030, and builds momentum towards a new architecture for climate finance. The UAE Consensus, which follows a year of inclusive diplomatic engagements and two weeks of intense negotiations, reflects the COP28 Presidency’s goal to provide the most ambitious response possible to the Global Stocktake and delivers on the central aims of the Paris Agreement.

COP28 outcome reflects lowest possible ambition acceptable – Least Developed Countries (EnviroNews Nigeria)

In a reaction to the outcome of COP28 arrived at in Dubai on Wednesday, December 13, 2023, Madeleine Diouf Sarr, Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group, has said that the summit’s conclusion is imperfect as the group expected more.

In a statement made available to EnviroNews, she said: “We have taken stock of progress in implementing the Paris Agreement, and seen the world is well off track. The Dubai decision is historic in including the first reference to fossil fuels, but we are concerned about the loopholes that it leaves open, which could limit true emissions reductions and ambition.

To respond to the GST [Global Stocktake], the new goal must reflect the full needs of our countries to address climate change, including the costs to mitigate, to adapt, and to address loss and damage.” In a reaction to the outcome of COP28 arrived at in Dubai on Wednesday, December 13, 2023, Madeleine Diouf Sarr, Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group, has said that the summit’s conclusion is imperfect as the group expected more.

Expert reaction to pledges emerging from COP28 (Science Media Centre)

Greenpeace Africa: COP 28 Agreement Good, But Action Better for Climate Crisis (Greenpeace Africa)

COP28 deal – Reactions from Germany and Europe (Clean Energy Wire)

SA welcomes COP28 agreement global adaptation efforts on climate change (SAnews)

Africa needs just trade for a Just Energy Transition, African Development Bank head says at Doha Forum (AfDB)

The President of the African Development Bank Group Dr Akinwumi Adesina has reiterated his warning that the introduction of a carbon border tax by the European Union could push Africa back into exporting raw commodities and undermine its industrialisation gains. The European Union recently launched the initial phase of a Europe-wide carbon tax on imported goods as part of its climate change reduction measures. Adesina said this could penalize African countries.

“African companies that are making cement, steel, aluminium, fertilizers and trying to export to Europe are going to be charged a border tax of 80 euros per tonne. That is very expensive, and all that is going to do is that countries in Africa that already suffer from tariff escalation when they add value to what they produce, now you are forcing them down the value chain,” Adesina said.

President of Senegal: Equality and inclusion should remain at the heart of the WTO agenda (WTO)

Equality and inclusion must remain at the heart of the WTO’s work agenda in order to ensure a “place for everybody” in the global trading system, H.E. President Macky Sall of Senegal told an audience at WTO headquarters in Geneva on 13 December. President Sall was delivering the latest edition of the Presidential Lecture under the WTO’s Presidential Lecture Series.

Equitable global trade offers all countries the opportunity to engage their populations, especially young people and women, through the creation of employment, the creation of other income generating activities, and the development of value chains and value-added employment, President Sall told the audience. In contrast, unequal trade excludes and marginalizes the majority of countries and impoverishes them, contributing to growing problems such as surging migration.

UNCTAD releases Handbook of Statistics 2023 (UNCTAD)

UNCTAD released on 14 December its Handbook of Statistics 2023 – the global reference for trade and development trends published each year. It provides official statistics on how the global economy has evolved across regions, countries and sectors.

“Timely and quality data are critical now more than ever in an era of multiple global crises,” says Anu Peltola, head of UNCTAD Statistics. “These statistics will help countries take evidence-based decisions to tackle today’s challenges rather than yesterday’s.”

Some of the key trends for 2022 and 2023 highlighted in the report are:

  • Trade in goods falls: Following a strong recovery from COVID-19 in 2021, goods exports increased by 11.4% in 2022, reaching $29 trillion. But trade statistics show a 4.6% decrease in the sector in the first half of 2023, and UNCTAD nowcasts a continued year-on-year decline for the third and fourth quarters.

  • Trade in services continues to rise: Trade in services rebounded by 14.8% in 2022, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. Services trade grew more in developing countries, which in 2022 reached their highest global market share to date at 30%. Globally, UNCTAD nowcasts around 7% growth for the sector in 2023.

  • Commodity exports increase: All major commodity groups saw significant trade increases in 2022. Fuel exports grew by nearly 62% due to higher prices. Food exports grew by 10%.

  • South-South trade increases: The value of trade between developing countries grew by 13%. But developing economies still trade more with developed economies ($8.9 trillion) than among themselves ($6.1 trillion).

  • Trade composition differs across regions: Africa’s exports are mainly primary goods (79% in 2022), while Asia and Oceania export mostly manufactured products (72% in 2022).

Delivering quality statistics for development: Five things to know (UNCTAD)

Why Digital Trade Should Remain Open (IMF)

Digital trade, from software sales to streaming movies, plays a bigger role than ever in the global economy. Yet with many developing countries struggling to fully participate in digital trade, now is the time for policy reforms that promote inclusion, starting with retaining the current tariff-free environment.

Digital trade has several unique benefits beyond traditional gains from trade. Software trade helps to digitalize the economy, increasing efficiency and boosting productivity. Trade in digital media, such as subscriptions to foreign journals, promotes interconnectivity, communication, and the transmission of knowledge and innovation. Finally, digital marketplaces, such as app stores or freelance programming websites, foster inclusion by reducing trade barriers for small firms and women-led businesses.

The value of global trade in digitally delivered products rose to $3.82 trillion last year, accounting for a record 54 percent share of services trade. With an 8.1 percent average annual growth rate for almost two decades, it has outpaced other categories like goods.


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