Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Kenya unveils e-commerce strategy to better harness the digital economy (UNCTAD)

Kenya launched a national e-commerce strategy on 13 December to fortify its position as a digital frontrunner in Africa by fostering inclusive and widespread utilization of trusted and secure e-commerce services based in the country. Its Ministry of Information, Communications and The Digital Economy and the Ministry of Trade, Investments and Industry spearheaded the strategy, supported by UNCTAD.

“Kenya’s e-commerce strategy lays the foundation for trust-building among businesses and consumers, making e-commerce more accessible and beneficial for all, including marginalized groups,” said Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of technology and logistics at UNCTAD.

The Nexus of Food, Water & Energy: A Key Element to Egypt’s Climate Efforts (World Bank)

Egyptians are experiencing firsthand the impacts of climate change as temperatures soar, droughts are more frequent and future water supply is less certain. That is why Egypt has put climate change as one of its top development priorities.

A key element of the Egyptian government’s efforts to address climate change is connecting the dots between the food, water and energy sectors. This was particularly evident during Egypt’s presidency of COP27 when — building on its national strategies and updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and on the World Bank’s Egypt Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) — the government launched a flagship program called the Country Platform for the Nexus of Water, Food and Energy (NWFE).

Egypt Proposes Commercial Centers in Africa to Boost Trade Relations (BNN Breaking)

In a bold step towards strengthening its economic ties with Africa, the Egyptian government has proposed a mechanism to establish comprehensive Egyptian commercial centers across the African continent. The initiative, a part of Egypt’s overarching strategy to enhance regional cooperation and expand its economic footprint, is set to revolutionize trade relations and bolster the presence of Egyptian goods in African markets.

The proposed commercial centers are expected to serve as a fulcrum for deepening trade ties between Egypt and the African nations. By proactively supporting Egyptian exports, these centers aim to bridge the gap between the demand and supply of Egyptian products in African markets. The move reflects Egypt’s commitment to nurturing stronger economic relations with its African counterparts and securing a robust market position in the region.

IMF Staff conclude Article IV Consultation for South Sudan

“The authorities have faced multiple economic and humanitarian challenges resulting from the spillovers of the conflict in Sudan, protracted flooding, and declining humanitarian support. In addition, efforts to strengthen administrative procedures for public sector salary payments have contributed to salary arrears while the need to finance elections scheduled for 2024 might put further pressure on expenditures. The conflict in Sudan has created logistical challenges, increased the cost of oil production, and exacerbated an already difficult humanitarian situation in South Sudan, with over 400,000 refugees having arrived in South Sudan as of early December 2023.

“Despite the circumstances, the authorities have supported macroeconomic stability through implementation of prudent fiscal and monetary policies. Progress on domestic revenue reforms continue, with an adjustment to exchange rates used for customs valuation and improved tax collection contributing to a significant increase in non-oil revenues. Efforts to improve governance and transparency have continued, including the publication of the budget execution report for FY2022/23 and preparation for publication of oil revenue and budget execution reports for the first quarter of FY2023/24.

IMF Staff conclude Article IV Consultation for the Union of the Comoros

Signs of economic recovery are visible, supported by a rebound in tourism and ongoing public investment projects. Inflation has declined, in line with normalization in international oil and food prices. The fiscal outturn in the first half of 2023 has been better than expected thanks in part to strong revenue mobilization efforts. The current account deficit is projected to deteriorate over the short term on account of strong import demand and elevated international fuel and food prices, while international reserves remain adequate. However, risks to the outlook remain elevated due to the fragile domestic context and global uncertainty. Dependence on imports, remittances, and foreign aid means the economy remains highly vulnerable to external shocks.

New WTO information note reveals changing pattern in Africa’s trade in intermediate goods (WTO)

The WTO on 15 December released an information note on Africa’s trade in intermediate goods (IGs), providing a snapshot of the region’s growing participation in supply chains. The latest data covering 2010 to 2021 indicates an expansion in Africa’s exports and imports of intermediate goods while also pointing to a high concentration of exports to a few economies and a comparatively narrow range of products. The note also reveals a relatively small share of intra-African transactions.

Africa’s exports of IGs amounted to US$ 265 billion in 2021, growing an average of 15% yearly from 2019 to 2021 according to the information note. IGs refer to inputs (excluding fuels for the purposes of this note) used to produce a final product and are an indicator of the activity in supply chains. Africa’s IG exports represented three-quarters of its total merchandise exports in 2021. The region’s imports of intermediate goods, meanwhile, was worth US$ 284 billion, with annual average growth of 5% for 2019 to 2021. These growth rates are higher than the 5% and 2% average increases for IG exports and imports respectively for 2010-2021.

Exploit Africa Continental Free Trade Area, Sanwo-Olu Urges Business Community (This Day Live)

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has urged Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises, (MSME) to take advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, (AfCFTA) as government is duty bound to providing the platform and exposing them to skills required to accelerate the effectiveness to stimulate intra-African Trade.

The governor gave the charge during the 8th Lagos State MSMES Exclusive Trade Fair in Ikoyi. The fair is designated as an annual marketing access and intervention platform for Lagos MSME operators to showcase their products and services to the larger population of the state and Nigeria at large.

The theme of this year’s edition of the fair: “Empowering MSMEs for AFCFTA Excellence through Sustainable Economic Growth’ was a means of identifying new opportunities for diversification and value chain development available under the agreement

“In most developed and developing countries, the MSME sector is far bigger than the formal economy and it is a means of livelihood for many people. This sector is a huge economic catalyst, as it constitutes 95 to 98 percent of all businesses, generates 50 percent of the Gross Domestic Products, GDP and creates between 60 to 70 percent of employment.

“In Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia for example, workers in this sector are estimated to account for about 90 percent of the labour force.

Somalia Joins East Africa Trade Bloc (Voice of America)

Somalia on Friday formally signed on as the newest member of the East African Community trade bloc at the presidential residence in Kampala, Uganda.

Somalia’s formalized membership within the bloc comes two days after the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank approved $4.5 billion in debt forgiveness for Somalia after the Horn of Africa nation completed years of financial reforms under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, or HIPC. The move comes as Mogadishu aims to boost the country’s war-ravaged economy by expanding free trade across the region.

Communique on the Signing of the Treaty of Accession of the Federal Republic of Somalia to the EAC Treaty

EAC Partner States urged to develop mechanisms to facilitate the development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the region (EAC)

The EAC Partner States and the EAC Secretariat have been commended for the commitment towards supporting the development and growth of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector over the past twenty-three years. Burundi’s Minister of Trade, Transport, Industry and Tourism, Hon. Marie-Chantal Nijimbere, further urged the Partner States to devise mechanisms to support inclusive and sustainable growth of MSMEs in the region.

Hon. Nijimbere said that such mechanisms include the establishment of current and transparent regulatory framework; piloting and scaling up of micro-credit and loans guarantee solutions and facilitating universal access to ICTs and other basic infrastructure to enable MSMEs close information and technological gaps.

Hon. Nijimbere was speaking when she officially closed the 23rd EAC MSMEs Trade Fair at the Cercle Hyppique Grounds in Bujumbura, Burundi. The trade fair that opened its doors on 5th December, 2023 attracted exhibitors from Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.

The Minister stated that MSMEs make a significant contribution to economic growth and sustainable development worldwide, nothing that globally MSMEs represent about 90% of businesses, and more than 50% of employment worldwide, contributing up to 40% of national income in emerging economies.

“To facilitate the transformation of MSMEs in the region, we must therefore strive to address the challenges faced by MSMEs such as low productivity, poor competitiveness due to use of inadequate technology and equipment, high cost of utilities, unfavorable regulatory requirements, limited access to finance and markets, and weak managerial and entrepreneurial capacities,” she added.

Why EAC economies are set to rebound in 2024 (The Citizen)

Economic growth in East Africa is expected to rebound next year, increasing by an average of 6.3 percent. This will be supported by full recovery of the services sector, private consumption and improved export performance. The region’s growth will be almost double Africa’s projected GDP growth rate of 3.3 percent.

The promising economic landscape for the region is contained in a report released by the international consultancy Deloitte. The 2023 East Africa Macroeconomic Publication Volume 1V covers Tanzania, Uganda, DR Congo, Kenya and Ethiopia. Themed Cautious Optimism Amid Economic Turbulence, the report gives a current comprehensive overview and the outlook for 2024.

Kenya to enjoy duty-free, quota-free access to the EU market (Capital Business)

Kenya and the European Union have signed the Kenya-European Union Economic Partnership Agreement, strengthening their resolve to enhance economic collaboration. President William Ruto said the agreement will boost trade between Kenya and the 27 countries in the European Union.

The President said Kenya will now enjoy duty and quota-free access to the European market when the agreement is ratified by the European Parliament. He said access to the 16 trillion euro market will stimulate the growth of manufacturing, value addition and entrepreneurship in the country. This, he explained, will fast-track the realisation of the country’s Bottom Up Economic Transformation Agenda by expanding opportunities and increasing earnings.

DP World, UACCIAP partner to reshape intra-Africa trade (Port Technology International)

The Union of African Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture, and Professions (UACCIAP) and DP World are collaborating to enhance intra-Africa trade by addressing business challenges and fostering collaborative opportunities.

The alliance aims to make intra-African commerce more accessible, efficient, and cost-effective. UACCIAP and DP World will provide African firms with a comprehensive platform for connecting, sharing business information, access to fairs and exhibits, sectorial and general delegations, and logistical support under the terms of the agreement.

African Development Bank to Create African Ports Index (The Maritime Executive)

The Beijing-based infrastructure fund Multilateral Cooperation Center for Development Finance (MCDF) has approved a $2 million grant aimed at sealing data gaps in Africa’s port operations. The initiative will be implemented by the African Development Bank (AfDB), and will produce a port data book that provides performance data and practical information for Africa’s ports.

According to MCDF, addressing Africa’s data gaps in port operations is key in facilitating investment in port expansion, and would also help to boost port performance.

In addition, the project will create a web-based portal for securely collecting, storing and retrieving African port data. This will help the Regional Ports Management Association, AfDB, individual port authorities and development partners assess port service and performance.

Africa gets shot in the arm as African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation gets underway (AfDB)

Africa’s efforts to build a resilient and self-reliant pharmaceutical industry for the continent advanced significantly today as the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation and the Rwandan Government signed the host country agreement paving the way for the Foundation’s operationalisation.

The Foundation also signed a memorandum of understanding with the European Investment Bank to further strengthen cooperation.

The Rwandan government has played a pivotal role in anchoring the Foundation and granting it the status of an international agency. At the host country agreement signing ceremony in Kigali, Rwanda’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr Vincent Biruta, said it was important to close the vaccine equity gap between African countries and the world’s developed nations.

“To close the gap, we must continue investing in pharmaceutical production in Africa and other developing countries,” Biruta said. He added: “Technology and knowledge transfer are central. The new African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation will help Africa gain rapid access to the latest pharmaceutical breakthroughs.”

COP28: African Development Bank food and climate initiatives align with global declaration on food-related emissions and food systems transformation (AfDB)

The first global declaration on curbing emissions from food production was signed by 134 countries, including 25 African countries, at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, putting food systems transformation on the global climate agenda and aligning with the African Development Bank’s ambitious food and climate initiatives.

COP28 UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems, and Climate Action addresses global emissions while safeguarding the lives and livelihoods of farmers on the frontlines of climate change.

Expected to enhance food systems, build resilience to climate change, reduce global emissions, and contribute to the global fight against hunger, the declaration aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Bank’s impactful, climate-sensitive programs and initiatives supporting food and climate action to feed Africa and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

Climate change in COMESA: How Ugandan farmers are fighting back (New Vision)

Trade rules and climate change: Africa stands to lose from proposed WTO policy tools (The Conversation)

The World Trade Organisation launched its Trade Policy Tools for Climate Action during the COP28 conference. International economic law expert Olabisi D. Akinkugbe discusses whether the new Trade Policy Tools benefit Africa.

The new tools offer opportunities for countries to mitigate the climate change effect of their trade practices. The tools align with the Paris Agreement, the 2015 legally binding United Nations Treaty on Climate Change.

But the global contribution of African states to climate change remains very low: 4%. African states’ contribution to global trade stands at 3%. There are socio-economic inequalities between African states and their western counterparts. The wider historical context of these inequalities means that the WTO’s Trade Policy Tools for Climate Action will have different impacts on developing and developed countries.

UK to implement carbon levy on imported goods by 2027 (Engineering News)

Britain will implement a new carbon import levy on some products from 2027 to help to protect businesses against cheaper imports from countries with less strict climate policies, the government said on Monday. The planned carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) will apply to carbon-intensive products in the iron, steel, aluminium, fertiliser, hydrogen, ceramics, glass and cement sectors.

The charge applied will depend on the amount of carbon emitted in the production of the imported good and any gap between the carbon price applied in the country of origin and the carbon price faced by UK producers. “This levy will make sure carbon intensive products from overseas – like steel and ceramics – face a comparable carbon price to those produced in the UK, so that our decarbonisation efforts translate into reductions in global emissions,” finance minister Jeremy Hunt said.

SADC PF adopts motion on BRICS cooperation (New Era)

The 54th Plenary Assembly Session of the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) recently adopted a motion on cooperation between SADC and BRICS, a group of major emerging economies including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia, Professor Peter Katjavivi, noted: “The commitment of BRICS member states is to promote inclusive multilateralism and upholding international law in a world where sovereign states cooperate to maintain peace and security, advance sustainable development, ensuring the promotion and protection of democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, and promote cooperation based on the spirit of solidarity, mutual respect, justice and equality”.

The motion acknowledged BRICS member states’ commitment to supporting the African Union’s Agenda 2063, particularly in the effective implementation of AfCFTA. It also recognised the potential of AfCFTA in aligning with the development goals of the SADC region.

Digital trade is key to boosting growth in developing economies (WTO Blog)

Digital trade, encompassing all trade that is digitally ordered and/or delivered, is radically changing the global economy. One of the most striking trends in this digital era is the rapid growth of digitally delivered services, which have experienced a nearly fourfold increase in value since 2005, significantly outpacing the growth of goods and other services exports

While developed economies are the main exporters of digitally delivered services, developing economies, including in Africa, are increasingly exporting such services. That said, least-developed countries (LDCs) continue to experience slower growth in digitally delivered services exports.

MC13 Chair briefs members on ministerial preparations; members approve budget increase (WTO)

At a 13-15 December meeting of the WTO’s General Council, members heard from the Chair of the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13), H.E. Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade of the United Arab Emirates, on preparations for MC13, which will take place in Abu Dhabi in February 2024. Members also approved a budget increase for the WTO Secretariat for the 2024/2025 biennium following 12 years of zero nominal growth.

Remittance Flows Continue to Grow in 2023 Albeit at Slower Pace (World Bank)

Remittances to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) grew an estimated 3.8% in 2023, a moderation from the high gains of the previous two years. Of concern is the risk of decline in real income for migrants in 2024 in the face of global inflation and low growth prospects, according to the World Bank’s latest Migration and Development Brief released today.

By region, remittance inflows grew for Latin America and the Caribbean (8%), South Asia (7.2%), East Asia and the Pacific (3%), and Sub-Saharan Africa (1.9%). Flows to the Middle East and North Africa fell for the second year, declining by 5.3% mainly due to a sharp drop in flows to Egypt. Remittances to Europe and Central Asia also fell by 1.4% after gaining more than 18% in 2022.

Quick links

Oil rises on Red Sea jitters, Russian export cut (Engineering News)

Out of scope: How ESG will shake up global trade (Trade Finance Global)

Why South-South trade is already greater than North-North trade—and what it means for Africa (Brookings)

FDI forecasts and trends to watch in 2024 (Investment Monitor)

Fiscal Impacts of Climate Disasters in Emerging Markets and Developing Economies (IMF)


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