Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Upcoming events: 37th African Union Summit

Theme of the year: “Africa fit for the 21st century: building resilient education systems for increased access to inclusive, qualitative, lifelong and relevant learning for Africa.”

14-15 February 2024: 44th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council (Ministers of Foreign Affairs)

17-18 February 2024: 37th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly (Heads of State and Government)

Transnet steps up efforts to curb shipping delays (SAnews)

The first batch of four hydraulic mooring units procured by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) to improve operations and reduce shipping delays at ports have been delivered and operationalised at the Ports of Cape Town and Ngqura. The batch is part of the 52 units procured by the authority.

TNPA General Manager for Infrastructure, Thecla Mneney, said: “This marks the first of a series of major port equipment deliveries at our commercial seaports this year. We continue to make progress in fast-tracking the implementation of key investments in port infrastructure to improve operational efficiencies and provide quality service to the maritime industry”.

“A hydraulic tension mooring unit is a system that is placed on the quayside to ensure the safety of vessels alongside and mitigate the severity of long-wave effects on vessels. The units assist with stabilising vessels alongside during strong winds, adverse weather conditions and high swells. The benefits also include minimized down-time and safety during operations.

Association concerned about assumptions in commission’s poultry market inquiry (Engineering News)

Industry organisation the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) has expressed concern about some of the statements and assumptions in the Competition Commission’s announcement of a market inquiry into the poultry industry value chain. The commission on February 9 announced the market inquiry, saying it has reason to believe there are features in the poultry market that may impede, distort or restrict competition.

SAPA says the poultry industry is “extremely concerned” at the commission’s statement that there are “ongoing demands for bailouts through ever-increasing tariffs and the imposition of anti-dumping duties”. The association states that the domestic poultry industry has never asked for “bailouts”, saying the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition are aware of that. “The use of this term indicates a hostility that we find disturbing. What the industry has asked for is protection against unfair and dumped imports. Itac investigations have repeatedly found that these imports are harming the industry and costing local jobs,” SAPA says.

Durban’s Dube TradePort air cargo terminal sees demand spike because of harbour issues (Engineering News)

Air freight through the Dube TradePort cargo terminal, at King Shaka International Airport, at Durban, spiked sharply during the last quarter of last year, in quarter-on-quarter terms. This quarter-on-quarter increase was 57%, driven by issues at Durban harbour. “This significant increase in airfreight has been observed across various industries, from perishables to automotive, the latter being traditionally reliant on ocean freight,” reported Dube Cargo Terminal senior manager: cargo development and operations Ricardo Isaac. “This emphasises the need of these industries to ensure uninterrupted production and timely delivery to export markets.”

This data showed that, for industries using or producing time-sensitive commodities, an efficient air cargo alternative was invaluable. The existence of the Dube TradePort had become an important part of their supply chains. Freight through the terminal increased both during the 2022/23 and 2023/24 financial years. Data from January indicated that the spike in demand was continuing.

WCO collaborates with Nigeria Customs Service on the implementation of Post-Clearance Audit and Authorized Economic Operator programmes to enhance Trade Facilitation (WCO)

The World Customs Organization (WCO) delivered a mission to the benefit of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to enhance Post-Clearance Audit (PCA). The WCO PCA Diagnostic mission took place from 29 January to 2 February 2024 in Abuja, Nigeria. In the opening ceremony, the NCS Comptroller-General, Mr. Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, shared insights into the NCS’s recent trade facilitation efforts, focusing on robust risk management strategies and the development of PCA functions, especially in conjunction with the NCS’s ambitions to launch an Authorized Economic Operator Programme in the near future.

Emphasizing the importance of trade facilitation measures, he expressed their role in fostering economic development opportunities, job creation, and poverty alleviation. Moreover, the Comptroller-General outlined the importance of trade facilitation, particularly in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) and Nigeria’s strategic position in the global trade framework. He extended his gratitude to the WCO and commended the dedication, expertise and collaborative efforts with the IMF and World Bank experts.

FG Targets Increased Trade Volume with NTFC (This Day)

The federal government through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, has announced plans to revitalise the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) in its bid to increase Nigeria’s trade volume. The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Doris Uzoka-Anite, explained that the Committee would comprise of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) alongside Ministries Department and Agencies (MDAs) and the private sector. She stated this at the launch of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) assisted Time Release Study (TRS) scoping mission for Nigeria in Lagos. According to her, effective trade facilitation requires efficient coordination across the entire supply chain, maintaining that the country currently has 12 Domestic Export Warehouses (DEWs) and one aggregation centre established to reduce the time it takes to ship their goods for export.

Int’l partners’ funding for Egypt reaches $10.3B over 4 years (EgyptToday)

International partners provided Egypt around $10.3 billion in funding over the past four years from 2020 to 2023, according to the Minister of International Cooperation, Rania Al-Mashat. Al-Mashat noted that this funding includes both developmental aid and investments in the private sector, along with technical support. The minister pointed out on Tuesday that despite this, there are challenges hindering some companies from recognizing the services provided by development partners to the private sector.

In her video speech, the Minister of International Cooperation added that, in line with the recommendations of the Egypt Economic Conference 2022, the Ministry of International Cooperation launched the “Hafiz” platform for financial and technical support to the private sector. It is the first integrated platform connecting financial and non-financial services provided by multi-stakeholder development partners to support local and foreign private sectors in Egypt.

She mentioned that digitization, innovation, and entrepreneurship are among the top priorities of the Ministry of International Cooperation, with a current portfolio of 36 projects worth about $1 billion contributing to the implementation of 12 Sustainable Development Goals. She highlighted that regional focus on supporting entrepreneurship and startups can enhance South-South cooperation between countries.

Gas users call for urgent policy and infrastructure decisions to avert 2026 ‘day zero’ (Engineering News)

The Industrial Gas Users Association – Southern Africa (IGUA-SA) is warning of a gas supply ‘day zero’ for several large and small manufacturing enterprises and says that urgent decisions will be required within the coming four months if South Africa is to avoid a looming “gas cliff” within the coming 30 months. IGUA-SA executive officer Jaco Human said the looming shortfall had arisen on the back of Sasol’s announcement last year that it will be halting supply to downstream consumers from 2026. This, partly because it had failed to find sufficient reserves to replace an anticipated tapering of supply from southern Mozambique and partly because Sasol plans to use the remaining gas to displace coal at its own operations to support its decarbonisation.

Human suggested the most realistic supply option to be the importation and re-gasification of liquefied natural gas (LNG) at a new terminal, which is proposed for development at the Matola harbour in Maputo, Mozambique, given its relatively advanced state of development when compared with a proposed terminal at the Port of Richards Bay, in KwaZulu-Natal. However, there were still significant timing risks, with a final investment decision on the $350-million terminal dependent on several offtaker and related infrastructure developments, including a tie-in to the existing Rompco pipeline, a connection between the Rompco and Lilly pipelines, as well as a GtP anchor offtaker.

EAC, ECOWAS seek enhanced cooperation (Tanzania Daily News)

The East African Community (EAC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) members have met in Abuja, Nigeria for the purpose of enhancing cooperation among them. This was revealed here in Arusha in the statement released recently to the media by the Senior Public Relations Officer, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs of EAC, Mr Simon Owaka,

According to the statement, a high-level delegation of the EAC led by the Deputy Secretary General in charge of the Infrastructure, Productive, Social and Political Sectors, Andrea Malueth visited the ECOWAS Commission Headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria recently on a benchmarking mission to enhance integration with EAC bloc.

It was disclosed that during their conversation, Dr Touray highlighted the importance of collaborations among the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and it was high time the two parties learn from each other. On his side, among other things, Mr Malueth emphasised the importance of EAC learning from the experiences of ECOWAS in their journey to effectively promote trade and integration. “We believe that EAC and ECOWAS can learn from each other and jointly promote regional integration in Africa,” said Malueth.

EAC set to promote trade, investment (Tanzania Daily News)

The Members of the East African Community (EAC) have agreed to strengthen their cooperation in trade and investment to promote trade and strengthen competition in the world market. Speaking to journalists over the weekend immediately after participating in the Meeting of the Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment (SCTIFI) in Arusha, the Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr Exaud Kigahe said they also agreed to cooperate with other communities.

“Apart from cooperation, member countries have agreed to help the private sector grow by removing trade barriers including tax and non-tax barriers as well as improving infrastructure in border areas to strengthen the sector which has an important role in the development of the EAC economy,” said Mr Kigahe.

16th Sectoral Council on Energy currently underway in Arusha (EAC)

The 16th Meeting of the Sectoral Council of Ministers on Energy is currently underway at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. The three-day Sectoral Council meeting started with the Session of Senior Officials on 12th February, 2014. The Session of the Coordination Committee that brings together Permanent/Principal/Under Secretaries planned for 13th February, 2024 while the Cabinet Secretaries/Ministers’ session will be held on Wednesday 14th February, 2024.

Among the items on the agenda of the meeting are the considerations of the: Implementation status of various decision of the Sectoral Council on Energy, progress made in the development of the EAC Energy Efficiency Policy, review the status of power supply and demand in the region and the progress in the implementation of Power Interconnection Projects in the region.

SADC fisheries and regulatory officials appreciate efficient operations of Malawi’s Mchinji/Mwami One Stop Border Post in clearing procedures for fish and fishery products (SADC)

On 7th of February 2024, fisheries and regulatory officials from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Member States, accompanied by representatives of private entities in the fish value chain from Malawi and Zambia, visited the Mchinji/Mwami One Stop Border Post (OSBP) in Malawi. The purpose of the visit was to gain a comprehensive understanding of the OSBP’s operations in clearing fish and fishery products, as well as to identify obstacles that may hinder the efficient clearance process.

The Mchinji OSBP, located 120km from the capital city of Malawi, Lilongwe which is in the Central Region of Malawi, has recently standardised its operations and established synergies with Mwami OSBP on the Zambian side. Both these borders resumed OSBP functions in November 2023 after being officially opened by the Presidents of Malawi and Zambia. The automation of systems and the synergies at these borders have significantly reduced the real-time clearance of the movement of people and goods, particularly perishable foods such as fish and fishery products.

Dr. Alexander Kefi, the SADC Project Coordinator for the Programme for Improving Fisheries Governance and Blue Economy Trade Corridors (PROFISHBLUE Project), a project funded by both the African Development Bank (AfDB) and SADC, emphasised the importance of achieving the expected deliverables and noted that thus so far, a total of 13 standards have been harmonised at the regional level.

See also: SADC has the potential to develop fisheries and blue economy businesses to new heights - SADC Deputy Executive Secretary

Three’s a Crisis: Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali announce that they will leave ECOWAS (tralac)

On 8 February, the foreign ministers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) convened to address the potential loss of three member states. At the end of January Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso announced that they would be withdrawing from the regional economic community (REC). While ECOWAS does not yet recognise the departure of these states – to legally withdraw, they would have had to give one year’s notice – the three military-run states have chosen to ignore this requirement and announce their withdrawal anyway. In place of ECOWAS, they have formed an “Alliance of Sahel States” (AES), a military alliance.

One immediate concern for trade is what this will mean for the AfCFTA. ECOWAS has made an offer of tariff concessions, with 90% of tariff lines to become duty free, and it is unclear if the trio’s departure would impact that offer, or if each would submit a new offer. All three states (Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali) are members of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU or UEMOA in French) who use the Central African Franc (CAF), pegged to the Euro. WAEMU member states implement a common external tariff, which shares 4 tariff bands with the ECOWAS CET, but does not include the 5th band (35%) that is implemented by ECOWAS on 130 tariff lines. WAEMU also provides for the free movement of persons across borders. However, some relationships will be severed as not all members of ECOWAS are members of WAEMU (notably, Nigeria and Ghana).

ECOWAS chair Tinubu to meet Senegal’s Sall over postponed elections (Al JAzeera)

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu is set to meet his Senegalese counterpart, Macky Sall on Monday in the capital Dakar as a constitutional crisis continues there over postponement of elections initially scheduled for this month. Tinubu, who is also chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is visiting days after the bloc’s foreign ministers held emergency talks to discuss Senegal, in Nigeria’s capital Abuja. Sall’s decision to push back the February 25 presidential vote has plunged Senegal into one of its worst crises since independence from France in 1960.

ECOWAS has urged Senegal – one of its most stable member states – to return to its election timetable, but critics have already questioned the group’s sway over increasingly defiant member states. The foreign ministers met in Abuja on Thursday, without representatives of the military-led trio – Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali – which announced withdrawal from the bloc in January. Guinea, also suspended from the bloc for a coup, was also not in attendance.

AfCFTA pledge to eliminate trade barrier within Africa (The Guardian Nigeria)

African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) has reiterated its commitment to eliminate trade barriers within Africa. This was at the recently concluded 13th meeting of AfCFTA Council of Ministers responsible for Trade in Durban, South Africa, which provided participants with a crucial opportunity to negotiate and consider further measures to strengthen the implementation of AfCFTA.

Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, negotiated Nigeria’s unique position on several crucial matters bordering on digital trade, safeguarding against illegal transshipment under the AfCFTA, and tariff lines in specific sectors of the economy. The Honourable Minister, in strategically protecting Nigeria’s interest, highlighted the need for governments of member states and the secretariat to ensure that the collective interests of the continent is taken into account in adopting a targeted, pragmatic approach towards achieving the objectives of the AfCFTA Agreement.

AfCFTA: Critical issues of infrastructure must be addressed — Rwanda High Commission (Vanguard)

To further promote intra-Africa economic integration, boost African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, the Rwanda High Commission to Nigeria, Christophe Bazivamo said that unlocking the full potential of AfCFTA requires more than just eliminating tariffs, but critical issues of infrastructure must be addressed. Speaking at a media briefing, Bazivamo added that beyond the removal of trade barriers and development of infrastructures, to truly unlock the AfCFTA potential, local industries must be nurtured to transform Africa from a resource exporter to a manufacturing powerhouse.

Bazivamo said: “Let us nurture our entrepreneurs, empower our skilled workforce especially our youth, and invest in technology that elevates our products to global standards. We must amplify our voices on the global stage participating in trade fairs and exhibitions like Ecofair, it is crucial. We must invest in modern roads, efficient railways, and revitalized ports, stitching our continent together in a seamless web of connectivity. Only then can trade thrive, delivering goods swiftly and cost-effectively across vast distances”, he said.

Related: Research-driven PPPs will catapult our fortunes under AfCFTA (The Business & Financial Times)

Action Against Hunger Calls on African Union Summit to Prioritize Conflict Resolution and Gender Equality (Action Against Hunger)

Action Against Hunger, a global leader in finding sustainable solutions to world hunger, is calling on African Heads of States and Governments to prioritize regional conflict resolution and gender equality at the Feb. 18th AU Summit. The AU Heads of State Assembly, Africa’s supreme policy and decision-making body that determines AU policies, programs, and priorities, will meet for the 37th Ordinary Session under the theme, ‘Transforming Education in Africa; A Gender Perspective.’

This year’s Summit occurs against a backdrop of growing challenges throughout the continent, including droughts and floods fueled by climate change, increasing food insecurity, widespread conflict, and a rise in gender-based violence. Action Against Hunger urges leaders to take action, especially as food prices spike following the aftermath of global events including the war in Ukraine, the Rea Sea crisis, and the conflict in Gaza.

TDB and the World Bank to Accelerate Access to Sustainable and Clean Energy in Africa (World Bank)

The World Bank has extended a facility of close to $300 million to the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB), to support distributed renewable energy (DRE) and clean cooking private sector projects in eligible countries of the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) that are TDB member states. This new facility follows TDB’s successful financing of innovative off-grid solar projects in the region it serves which were financed under a groundbreaking $415 million World Bank Regional Infrastructure Financing Facility (RIFF) facility that was extended to TDB in 2020.

It is part of a first wave of phases of IDA’s $5 billion Accelerating Sustainable and Clean Energy Access Transformation (ASCENT) program, which is expected to provide access to electricity to up to 100 million people in Africa over the next seven years and contribute to achieving SDG 7.

Africa will ‘friend-zone’ Canada if Ottawa doesn’t improve engagement: experts (Montreal Gazette)

Canada is approaching total irrelevance in the world’s fastest-growing continent, experts argue, saying that a pattern of disengagement in trade, diplomacy and investment in Africa means Ottawa is ceding ground to Russia and China. “Africa is going to friend-zone Canada if the current approach remains, because it’s lukewarm,” said Stanley Achonu, the Nigeria director for the One Campaign.

In recent years, senators have warned Canada is falling behind its peers, as well as emerging states, in setting strategies for trade and development with a continent of more than one billion people. They note that Africa makes up the majority of the world’s potential for solar panels, and has huge reserves of critical minerals and carbon-reducing ecosystems. The World Bank says a looming continental free-trade deal could lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty and inject US$3.4 trillion into African economies. But to get there, Africa needs better governance, huge infrastructure projects and debt restructuring, according to Christopher MacLennan, Canada’s top bureaucrat overseeing foreign aid.

UN deputy chief calls for ‘courage, vision and solidarity’ to boost middle-income nations (UN News)

Speaking at a conference on addressing development challenges of middle-income countries (MICs), in Rabat, Morocco, Amina Mohammed said recent crises have laid bare inequalities and exposed stark contrasts. “While developed countries have been able to protect and swiftly support their populations, other countries have been left dependent on the international community and the existing global support systems.” She said existing frameworks fall short in meeting the complex needs of developing nations.

MICs are a large and diverse group of over 100 countries. According to the World Bank, their per capita incomes vary from $1,000 to $12,000.Perhaps counter-intuitively due to the different classification metrics in use, the list includes 20 least developed countries (LDCs), 19 landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and 29 small island developing States (SIDS).As a group, they account for nearly one third of global gross domestic product (GDP) and serve as major engines of growth. They are home to around three quarters of the world’s population. However, their vulnerabilities persist regardless of income level, with 62 per cent of the world’s poor residing in MICs.

Quick links

U.S. Cuts African Trade Benefits, Hurting the Poor (InDepthNews)

Devise strategy for extension of post-LDC benefits (The Daily Star)

Double taxation treaties and their implications for investment (UNCTAD)

IMF Primary Commodity Prices


Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel +27 21 880 2010