tralac Daily News
Italy unveils its plan for the development of Africa (Africanews)
Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni on Monday unveiled Italy’s big development plan for Africa at a summit of the continent’s leaders, aiming to stem the numbers of migrants, diversify sources of energy and forge a new, non-predatory relationship between Europe and Africa.
Meloni declared the summit a successful first step, and top European and United Nations officials said the Italian plan, with an initial endowment of 5.5 billion euros ($5.95 billion), would complement initiatives already under way focusing on climate adaptation and clean energy development in Africa.
Asked at a closing news conference about the lack of consultation with African leaders, Meloni acknowledged she may have “erred” in being too specific in describing pilot projects in her introductory speech. But she said the summit provided African leaders with a preliminary outline of Italy’s philosophy backed by concrete examples, that will be brought forward in a shared partnership. The plan involves pilot projects in areas such as education, health care, water, sanitation, agriculture and energy infrastructure.
President Meloni’s opening address at the Italia-Africa Summit (Italian Government)
In this room, we are acutely aware of the challenges the world faces, each complex, but also deeply interconnected. New and renewed conflicts are causing widespread human suffering and deepening divisions, precisely at a time when global collaboration and unity are of paramount importance. The high cost of living, fiscal strain, and migration are undermining international solidarity, while the severe and escalating impacts of climate change are affecting us all.
Energy is intricately connected to these global challenges, serving as both a source of difficulties and potential solutions. As we move forward from COP28, we are entering a new era of energy. Collectively, we recognized that transitioning away from fossil fuels and tripling renewables by 2030 is our best bet to stay on a climate-safe path.
The way Africa embraces this challenge will have significant regional and global ramifications. For Kenya and the African continent, the shift towards renewable energy represents a crucial opportunity for our people and economies to access modern energy services, propel industrialization, and transform into a green powerhouse contributing to global decarbonization.
In this era of transformation, the energy trajectories of Europe and Africa are becoming increasingly interwoven. The discussion on energy transition and security has evolved to include the diversification of value chains. The manufacturing of renewable energy technologies, the development of green hydrogen, and the extraction of critical materials are now at the forefront of the energy dialogue. Africa’s abundant renewable resources are key to decarbonizing and diversifying global supply chains. Additionally, the continent’s rich deposits of critical materials, essential for the development of modern technologies, present a unique opportunity for collaboration with Europe.
Transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems in Africa can boost average agricultural productivity by two to three times and stimulate rural renovation and development, the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) QU Dongyu said today. To unleash Africa’s full potential, the Director-General outlined five key pillars that can provide game-changing solutions to efficient agrifood systems transformation, underpinned by strategic partnerships: 1) targeted investment; 2) creating jobs for youth and women empowerment; 3) collectively addressing the root causes of migration, bringing new hope and new solutions; 4) innovation and skills development, particularly for youth and women; and 5) improving market access and trade.
Speech by President von der Leyen: Italy-Africa Summit (European Commission)
Trade under the new preferences set out in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will be launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition of South Africa, Ebrahim Patel on Wednesday 31 January 2024 at Pier 1 in Durban. This follows the publication on Friday 26 January in the Government Gazette of the terms under which South Africa will participate in the new free trade agreement.
Twelve countries, including South Africa, have finalised their legal modalities to enable trade to commence in thousands of products lines, ranging from food and beverages to steel products and equipment, taxis, pharmaceutical and personal care products, chemical products and household goods such as fridges and televisions. The event on Wednesday will include a display of products due to be exported and the witnessing of the first container of goods loaded onto a ship destined for markets covered by the start of trade under the AfCFTA.
South Africa is simultaneously co-hosting a meeting of the Council of African Trade Ministers to consider further measures to strengthen the AfCFTA, on 30-31 January 2024 at the Durban ICC. Approximately 25 trade ministers and officials from about 40 countries are expected to attend.
IMF cuts South Africa’s 2024 growth forecast (Engineering News)
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) downgraded its economic-growth forecasts for South Africa, warning that logistical challenges are constraining activity and acting as a drag on the entire region. Africa’s most-industrialised economy will likely grow a meagre 1% this year, significantly slower than the IMF’s forecast in October, when it saw South Africa’s gross domestic product expanding by 1.8%, the Washington-based lender said Tuesday in an update to its World Economic Outlook.
That’s due chiefly to “all of the disruptions we’ve seen in the energy sector and also the logistics — in transportation, freight and ports in South Africa,” IMF Chief Economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas told Jennifer Zabasajja in an interview on Bloomberg Television in Johannesburg. “That needs to be addressed.”
Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga has announced a new initiative aimed at enhancing maritime employment opportunities for South African seafarers. “This program is not just about creating job opportunities; it is about nurturing a skilled workforce that will competently navigate the challenges and opportunities of the modern maritime world,” Chikunga said on Tuesday in Cape Town.
The Minister said the Seafarer Employment and Development Programme (SEDP) will be launched in the first quarter of the new financial year. It will provide training, mentorship, and job placement assistance to qualifying Seafarers and will serve as an international collaborative maritime research centre to address the ever-evolving needs of the maritime industry.
The International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) confirmed on January 25 that it is lifting punitive tariffs on imported chicken in response to the impacts of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), also known as bird flu, which has ”ravaged” global and local poultry supplies.
South African food distributor Hume International logistics and operations director Roy Thomas notes that Statistics South Africa’s latest inflation figures reveal that, in 2023, the price of eggs increased by 38%, chicken giblets by 18.3%, fresh chicken portions by 14.6%, whole chicken by 8.4% and individual quick frozen portions by 6.4% – all above average inflation for the year. “These price increases clearly reflect the ongoing impacts of bird flu both locally and abroad, in addition to the effect of new import tariffs implemented in August last year.
“The reality is that while local chicken producers remain hopeful of receiving government approval for a vaccine by the end of February, South Africa does not produce enough chicken to supply local demand. Imports, therefore, serve as an important complement and price regulator in the local market.” He adds that South Africa’s food supply chain is facing various issues, including loadshedding and water shortages, which may contribute to higher prices for consumers.
Saudi Arabia will start importing South African beef and lamb products as part of an investment push into the continent’s most developed economy. The kingdom’s Food and Drug Administration lifted a 20-year prohibition on South African meat imports in August, and final approvals to start shipments of halaal cuts to the Middle Eastern nation are now in place, said Matthew Karan, part-owner of Karan Beef.
Relief as first batch of sugar consignment arrives (Tanzania Daily News)
The first batch of sugar consignment entered into the country yesterday, to cushion the demand and lower the prices of the commodity that is hitting the ceil. The batch being offloaded at the Dar es Salaam Port on board mega JPO Aquarius ship, is part of the 100,000 tonnes that the government approved to sugar producers, to import following acute shortage of the commodity due to what has been described as heavy rains in November and December last year that curtailed local production.
Speaking to journalists while unloading the cargo at the port, the Sugar Board of Tanzania (SBT) Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Manager, Mr George Gowele said the imported sugar will start flooding the market today after completing all port procedures.
Kenya, US to forge stronger ties in trade partnership (Capital News)
Kenya and the United States on Monday underscored their mutual dedication to strengthening bilateral trade and investment. The focus areas include agriculture, regulatory practices, and the rights and protections of workers. The commitment was highlighted in a meeting where negotiating teams from both countries in the Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership gathered to assess the advancement of ongoing talks.
Led by Cabinet Secretary for Investment, Trade, and Industry, Rebecca Miano, and United States Ambassador to Kenya, Meg Whitman, the teams, alongside Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi, convened to provide updates on the progressing partnership. “Our goal is to foster economic prosperity, ensure security, protect human rights, and uphold democratic principles. The negotiations mark a crucial step towards a more comprehensive and mutually beneficial partnership between our two nations,” Miano said.
Kenya records new high in horticultural exports (Capital Business)
The volume of Kenya’s horticultural exports hit a new high in 2023, boosted by increased shipments of vegetables and fruits, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) said Monday. The bank noted in the data released in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi that the country exported 580,648 tonnes of horticultural produce in the first 10 months of 2023, an increase from 572,290 tonnes in the entire 2022.
The economic data indicated that the volume of flower exports has not grown as fast as that of fruits and vegetables as some key destination markets, including Europe and America, battled higher inflation during the period. With Kenya exporting about 12,000 tonnes of flowers every month, the total cut exports for 2023 are expected to stand at about 134,000 tonnes. Horticulture is one of Kenya’s top foreign exchange earners alongside tourism and tea.
Mombasa poultry farmers decry proposed levies on chicken products (Capital Business)
Poultry farmers have raised opposition to a proposal by Mombasa County to impose new levies on chicken products, arguing it will impact their business. Under a new proposal, the devolved unit is planning to slap 5 percent and 10 percent levies and charges on chicken meat, live chickens, and eggs. While the move is aimed at generating revenue for the county, the Poultry Breeders Association of Kenya (PBAK) argues that the taxes will deal a blow to the area’s poultry business.
In opposition, PBAK members stage a demo outside the county government offices. “The poultry industry is already facing challenges such as feed prices and diseases. The imposition of these new levies is a direct threat to our survival,” said Halima Abdala, a poultry farmer and member of the association. “If these charges are implemented, the entire industry will be on the brink of collapse, and people will suffer from a lack of access to affordable, nutritious poultry products.”
Dar, Delhi bilateral trade heads to exponential growth (Tanzania Daily News)
The bilateral trade between Tanzania and India is experiencing exponential growth, positioning Tanzania as India’s third-largest trade partner in Africa by 2023/24. The projected trade volume between these historically connected nations is expected to reach 6.5 US billion dollars (around 15tri/-) in 2023/24, up from 4.5 billion US dollars in 2022/2023.
The Indian High Commissioner to Tanzania, Mr Manoj Verma, emphasised this development during the celebration of India’s 75th anniversary of independence in Dar es Salaam, where he led the Indian Diasporas. He stated, “There have been significant achievements in the India-Tanzania bilateral relationship. Our bilateral relations were upgraded to a strategic partnership during President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan’s state visit to India in October 2023.”
The Nigeria Ship-Owners Association, NISA, has challenged the Federal Government to stop granting waivers to foreign ship owners operating in the Cabotage area to demonstrate its seriousness with developing the local shipping industry. Speaking with Vanguard on the issue, president of NISA, Sola Adewumi, said stoppage of waivers for Cabotage will increase the number of local ships operating within the costal ways; which will in turn grow local capacity in terms of manpower and number of ships.
East Africa trade: Kenya, Tanzania and DRC drivers by 2035 (The Exchange Africa)
Kenya-DRC and Tanzania-DRC Corridors have been identified as the key links that will drive East Africa trade. Within the Southern Africa region, higher integration will drive its share of total intra-Africa exports to a third by 2035. The MENA Region and the Middle East-East Africa corridors will also be substantial.
EAC states: Borrow a leaf from Kenya carbon trading deals (Tanzania Daily News)
The EAC countries are now beginning to tap into carbon trading by calling investors to invest in this new lucrative business. Carbon credit markets enable industrialised nations and businesses to offset their carbon emissions by investing in ecofriendly projects elsewhere.
The compliance market for carbon credit in EAC is regulated by national and international authorities who determine a cap on the amount certain sectors can release into the environment to achieve their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under Article 4 of the Paris Climate Agreement. “What EAC needs to do is to incentivise the private companies to continue interventions to offset emissions through Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) mechanisms,” East Africa Business Council (EABC), Policy, Standards and NTBs Manager, Mr Frank Dafa said.
The Kenya Carbon Credit Trading and Benefit Sharing Bill 2023 set a regulatory framework for the trading of CC and sharing of them, establish a CC Trading Benefit Authority to register and regulate carbon trading businesses, and set up a tribunal to mediate disputes in the market. “Kenya is on the world map as a market leader in the carbon space due to its clarity on dealing with some dispute carbon project in and outside the country,” Mr Dafa said.
The junta leaders of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso released a joint statement Sunday on national television saying they were quitting the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The joint statement accused ECOWAS of betraying its founding principles, posing a threat to its member states and being influenced by foreign powers. Referring to the sanctions imposed by the ECOWAS on the three West African countries since their military takeovers as “illegal, illegitimate, inhumane and irresponsible,” the junta leaders announced the immediate withdrawal of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger from ECOWAS.
ECOWAS responded on Sunday that it had not yet received any formal notification of the three countries’ withdrawal and that they remained “important members of the Community.” ECOWAS also stated it will “remain seized with the development” and “make further pronouncements as the situation evolves.”
A decision by Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger to quit West Africa’s economic and political bloc reverses decades of regional integration, leaving millions of people in limbo, and is likely to deepen the three junta-led countries’ ties with Russia. The move to withdraw from the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) could yet take time to implement, opening a door for negotiations.
But, if carried through, it is set to disrupt the region’s trade and services flows, worth nearly $150 billion a year. It also raises questions over millions of nationals from the three poor and landlocked nations who settled in neighbouring states as the bloc allows visa-free travel and right to work.
Ecowas shrinks as coup triumvirate withdraws (Freight News)
Solar Energy Capacity in Africa (Arem Solar)
Solar energy capacity refers to the maximum amount of solar energy that can be generated by a specific system or in a particular location within a given period. This capacity can vary from small residential homes to large commercial industries that are spread throughout the country. In Africa from our findings the main reason residents adopt solar energy energy is due to the un-reliable grid power supply.
South Africa is the largest producer of solar power capacity in the continent at 6,326 MW. They generate 3.7x as much solar power than the Egypt at 1,724 MW. Nigeria is the 16th country in Africa that produces the most solar power.
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation (MIF) today launched its IIAG Series 2023 Report, “The Power of Data for Governance: Closing data gaps to accelerate Africa’s transformation,” in Accra. Sound data is at the heart of Africa’s governance and development agendas, and the report underscores its role in driving progress, assessing government performance, setting policy priorities, and ensuring trust in governments. Drawing from the 2022 IIAG dataset, the report reveals a strong positive correlation between access to high-quality statistics and effective governance across African countries from 2012 to 2021.
A new report by UNCTAD and the Commonwealth sheds light on a range of tools and options to help LDCs create an enabling environment for IP rights and use them strategically to unlock innovation, boost trade, attract investment and promote technological upgrading. “The essence of our journey is not merely about adopting IP rights, but about revolutionizing the way we perceive and utilize them,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan said on 29 January at an event to launch the report, joined by the heads of the Commonwealth and the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
“Not all IP policies will work in all LDCs. But all LDCs can implement successful IP policies,” Ms. Grynspan added. “Innovation — supported by appropriately targeted IP protection — can be a powerful catalyst and enabler for strengthening the productive capacities of LDCs and diversifying their economies and exports,” said Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland.
At a meeting of the Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade on 26 January, the 76 co-sponsors of the talks celebrated the work completed over the past year and reached agreement on the ministerial statement to be issued at the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) at the end of February. Participants welcomed the text as “well balanced” and said it will help to achieve “concrete, pragmatic and effective” outcomes at MC13.
Trade-related aspects of e-commerce have been discussed at the World Trade Organization (WTO) since 1998, as mandated by MC2’s Declaration on Global Electronic Commerce. The declaration called for a Work Program on Electronic Commerce and for a provisional moratorium on customs duties on electronic transmissions. This moratorium has been extended for around 2 years at every ministerial since then.
Work has indeed ramped up. Eight dedicated discussions were held between January and November 2023, covering a range of development-relevant thematic matters. These include consumer protection, the digital divide, improving the participation of developing economies and least developed countries (LDCs) in e-commerce, regulatory and legal frameworks, customs duties on electronic transmission, digital trade facilitation and electronic transactions, digital industrialization, upskilling, and technology transfer. Members are also engaging by submitting more proposals or communications that recommend future agenda items, facilitate knowledge sharing, and support the thematic discussions.
The clouds are beginning to part. The global economy begins the final descent toward a soft landing, with inflation declining steadily and growth holding up. But the pace of expansion remains slow, and turbulence may lie ahead. Global activity proved resilient in the second half of last year, as demand and supply factors supported major economies. On the demand side, stronger private and government spending sustained activity, despite tight monetary conditions. On the supply side, increased labor force participation, mended supply chains and cheaper energy and commodity prices helped, despite renewed geopolitical uncertainties.
This resilience will carry over. Global growth under our baseline forecast will steady at 3.1 percent this year, a 0.2 percentage point upgrade from our October projections, before edging up to 3.2 percent next year. Important divergences remain.
New commodity and supply disruptions could occur, following renewed geopolitical tensions, especially in the Middle East. Shipping costs between Asia and Europe have increased markedly, as Red Sea attacks reroute cargoes around Africa. While disruptions remain limited so far, the situation remains volatile.
Reforms that ease the most binding constraints to economic activity, such as governance, business regulation and external sector reform, can help unleash latent productivity gains, our research shows. Stronger growth could also come from limiting geoeconomic fragmentation by, for instance, removing the trade barriers that are impeding trade flows between different geopolitical blocs, including in low-carbon technology products that are crucially needed by emerging and developing countries.
U.N. General Assembly President Dennis Francis on January 24 said the existing composition of the U.N. Security Council does not reflect the contemporary geopolitical reality of the world and it needs reform. The Security Council has progressively been unable to take decisions in recent years to strengthen global peace and security, he said at a media briefing shortly after holding talks with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.
The U.N. General Assembly president also hailed India for its role in making the African Union a full member of the G20. “There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that India’s outreach to Africa particularly with regard to its facilitating the membership of the African Union in the G20 demonstrates India’s leadership in the international arena,” Francis said.