Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Climate Change Response Fund to channel resources to adaptation, early-warning systems (Engineering News)

Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy reports that the Climate Change Response Fund announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address (SoNA) has been established to support the development of early-warning systems, as well as for adaptation projects to improve the climate resiliency of infrastructure amid the growing threats posed by extreme weather events.

Addressing the Presidential Climate Commission (PCC) in Johannesburg, Creecy said that there was also potential to use the fund as a “channel” for financial resources that could be made available to developing countries following the recent operationalisation of a loss and damage fund.

Strategic integrated projects (SAnews)

In South Africa government is undertaking a massive infrastructure investment and build programme in the form of Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs), which are aimed at improving the quality of life for all South Africans. Government is working to transform key sectors of our economy such as electricity, rail, ports and telecommunications through infrastructure. We are also working to rebuild and renew infrastructure in critical areas such as student accommodation, social housing water and sanitation. Our focus on infrastructure is critical to driving economic growth and creating employment, while also ensuring that we can change lives and empower communities.

Over the medium-term the public sector is projected to spend R903 billion on infrastructure and a number of these projects have been completed, while many others are in the construction and procurement phases.

The Strategic Integrated Projects are breathing life into many sectors of the economy, including potentially new and game changing ones. South Africa has amassed a pipeline of Green Hydrogen Projects with a value of over R300 billion, which are in project preparation stages.

Once all 88 SIPs are concluded there will be a massive increase in energy and water security. They will also further boost our Fourth Industrial Revolution ambitions and capabilities, while also ensuring that we provide homes, accommodation and revitalise the agricultural value chain.

*Written by Nomonde Mnukwa, Acting Director-General of the GCIS

South Sudan and Kenya Pave the Way for Regional Integration: A Highway to Prosperity Amidst Disputes (BNN)

In a significant move towards regional integration and economic development, South Sudan and Kenya have taken a step forward by agreeing to continue the construction of a pivotal highway.

This decision comes amidst the longstanding border dispute over the Ilemi Triangle, a testament to the two nations’ commitment to transcending historical conflicts for mutual benefit. The planned highway, set to link Eastern Equatoria State with Turkana County, promises to bridge South Sudan to Kenya’s vibrant Mombasa Port, turning Juba into a crucial hub for Kenyan exports. Amidst negotiations, the Ministers of Roads from both countries convened, laying the groundwork for a Memorandum of Understanding, signaling a new dawn of cooperation beyond their borders.

Macroeconomic and Distributional Implications of Gender Gaps: The Gambia (IMF)

We present the current status of labor market gender gaps in The Gambia and examine the macroeconomic and distributional gains from closing the gaps. We also study the impacts of high costs of living and the determinants of poverty. Closing labor market gender gaps, would significantly boost GDP, government revenues, women’s earnings, and reduce income inequality. High food costs adversely affect the levels of consumption in the bottom four quartiles of the income distribution. Lack of access to finance, living in rural areas, lack of employment, low levels of education, and exposure to climate shocks contribute to higher poverty levels.

Climate Change Vulnerabilities and Strategies: The Gambia (IMF)

This paper analyzes The Gambia’s vulnerability to climate change, highlighting risks like flooding, droughts, and coastal erosion, which threaten food security and key industries. It details The Gambia’s climate strategies, including the National Climate Change Policy, 2050 Climate Vision, and Long-Term Climate-Neutral Development Strategy, targeting net-zero emissions by 2050. Despite its minimal global emissions contribution, The Gambia’s focus on renewable energy expansion offers dual benefits for energy security and development. The paper underscores the need for improved land management, crop diversification, and irrigation to boost adaptive capacity and resilience, ensuring food security amidst climate challenges.

IMF Staff Completes 2024 Article IV Mission to Gabon (IMF)

The 2024 Article IV consultation focused on the near-term challenges facing Gabon: strengthening transparency and governance, revitalizing economic growth and stabilizing the budgetary position.

The economy has recovered from multiple shocks emanating from the global and domestic economy, with growth expected to settle around 3 percent in 2024-25 and inflation to remain below the regional ceiling of 3 percent.

Efforts to strengthen transparency and the management of public finances should continue unabated, while policies should put increased focus on correcting fiscal imbalances to bring deficits to financeable levels and pause the increase in debt.

Ghana, Zambia sign 3 bilateral agreements (Graphic Online)

Ghana and Zambia have signed three memoranda of understanding (MoUs) to reinforce and promote cooperation between the two countries.

The agreements — Political Consultation, Defence Cooperation and Agreed Minutes of the Permanent Joint Commission between Ghana and Zambia — were signed at Zambia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Lusaka, the capital, last Tuesday.

The MoUs are geared towards fostering, governing and monitoring bilateral cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

They also aim to provide a structure for the exchange of views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, covering areas such as politics, diplomacy, trade infrastructure, eco-tourism and wildlife conservation, education and spatial planning.

Seychelles and Botswana: A Burgeoning Alliance for Regional Integration (BNN)

In a pivotal move that underscores the growing camaraderie and shared visions between Seychelles and Botswana, Ambassador Claude Morel has put a spotlight on the burgeoning relationship between the two nations. With a keen focus on mutual values and development strategies, this alliance is set to redefine the landscape of regional integration within the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

At a recent gathering at the SADC Headquarters, the dialogues weren’t just about formalities but a testament to a future where cooperation spans education, tourism, trade, and governance. As middle-income countries in Africa, both Seychelles and Botswana are charting a course towards a unified goal of regional integration and shared prosperity.

Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso to form confederation (Premium Times Nigeria)

The governments of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso have made public their plans to form a confederation following their ‘exit’ from ECOWAS. “Our excellent diplomats then recommended to the Heads of State the creation of a Confederation bringing together Burkina, Mali and Niger, awaiting the creation of a Federation of the three countries,” said the Malian government spokesperson, Abdoulaye Maiga, on Thursday in a Facebook post.

It was part of a speech the army colonel delivered at a meeting that ministers of the three states held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Mr Maiga, who is also Mali’s minister of Territorial Organisation and Decentralisation, said the recommendation to create a confederation was made in a November 2023 meeting by the countries’ ministers of development affairs. They also recommended expanding the Alliance of Sahel States (AES) objectives in diplomacy and economic development. The AES was created in September 2023, a few months after the Niger coup.

The three states last month announced their withdrawal from ECOWAS on grounds of what they said were illegal and inhumane sanctions.

Africa dominates list of the world’s 20 fastest-growing economies in 2024—African Development Bank says in macroeconomic report (AfDB)

Africa will account for eleven of the world’s 20 fastest-growing economies in 2024, the African Development Bank Group said in its latest Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook (MEO) of the continent released on Friday. Overall, real gross domestic product (GDP) growth for the continent is expected to average 3.8% and 4.2% in 2024 and 2025, respectively. This is higher than projected global averages of 2.9% and 3.2%, the report said.

The continent is set to remain the second-fastest-growing region after Asia.

“Despite the challenging global and regional economic environment, 15 African countries have posted output expansions of more than 5%,” Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi Adesina said, calling for larger pools of financing and several policy interventions to further boost Africa’s growth. The latest report is calling for cautious optimism given the challenges posed by global and regional risks. These risks include rising geopolitical tensions, increased regional conflicts, and political instability—all of which could disrupt trade and investment flows, and perpetuate inflationary pressures.

African Union’s 37th Summit: Forging Resilient Education Systems Amidst Rising Violence (BNN)

Amidst this backdrop of ambition and aspiration, a dark shadow looms over the continent’s educational landscape, with recent reports highlighting a dramatic rise in violence against schools, casting a pall on the quest for enlightenment and progress. The focus is clear - to transform education systems to ensure increased access to inclusive, lifelong, quality, and relevant learning, thereby preparing Africa’s youth for the future.

Presidential Dialogue on African Union Financial Institutions; Reforms of the Global Financial Architecture; and the Launch of the Africa Club (AU)

Africa’s development challenges are multifaceted and require innovative and sustainable solutions. The continent, despite its vast resources and potential, faces economic, social, and environmental challenges that hinder its growth and sustainable development. The global financial architecture, which encompasses international financial institutions, global economic governance structures, and financial regulatory mechanisms, plays a pivotal role in shaping Africa’s economic destiny. However, the current system inadequately addresses the unique development needs and vulnerabilities of the African continent.

His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana and Champion on African Union Financial Institutions, is hosting a Heads of State dialogue in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Multilateral Financial Institutions, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET).

During this event, participants will have the opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to establishing AU Financial Institutions; solidify Africa’s Agenda for Global Financial Architecture Reform and agree on a way forward; and officially launch the Africa Club as a key avenue for strengthening Africa’s position in the global financial landscape.

Africa is poised to embark on a transformation journey to help its countries and people reach their fullest economic potential, with a real opportunity to accelerate its evolution as a single market, a valuable player in value chains, and a destination for investment, particularly in the green economy.

This progress is unfortunately held back by a global system that was created in a different time, for a different world, and which neither adequately meets African countries’ needs nor harnesses the opportunities that Africa’s natural and human capital offer. It is past time to create a global financial architecture that better serves Africa.

Morocco: Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita take part in the 44th session of the Executive Council of the African Union ahead of the Union Summit in Addis Ababa (ZAWYA)

44th Ordinary Session of Executive Council of AU Concluded (ENA)

The 44th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of African Union that has been held in Addis Ababa from 14-15 February 2024 concluded. Foreign Affairs Ministers of African countries have held their 44th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Executive Council in Addis Ababa for the past two days. The meeting held under AU’s this year theme: Educate an African fit for the 21st Century: Building resilient education systems for increased access to inclusive, lifelong, quality, and relevant learning in Africa.” has discussed on the progress, challenges, and prospects of Africa’s development as well as peace and security of the continent.

The foreign ministers in their night long deliberations evaluated performance report of African Union institutions and organizations, the committees and sub-committees under the council, and the 10-year implementation of Agenda 2063.

Peace and security, trade and connectivity, institutional reforms, education, agriculture and climate change, human rights, gender and youth empowerment as well as the selection of institutions and organizations are among the main agendas discussed during the meeting.

See also: The elephant in the room at this weekend’s African Union summit (EU Observer)

Africa’s Lobito Corridor Railway Provides Huge International Opportunity (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

On February 8, the Lobito Corridor Private Sector Investment Forum in Zambia concluded with great optimism. This gathering, hosted by the White House’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI) in collaboration with the Africa Finance Corporation, underscored the transformative potential of the Lobito Corridor rail project. It also positioned the project as a focal point for public-private partnerships with the potential to yield shared prosperity for Americans and Africans.

The Lobito Corridor project entails the construction of almost 350 miles of rail line in Zambia, along with hundreds of miles of feeder roads, linking the southern part of The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the northwestern part of Zambia to regional and global markets via Angola’s Port of Lobito.

Linking the copper-rich mining region to the sea, the Lobito Corridor ushers in myriad new opportunities for economic growth and development that will unlock the region’s commercial competitiveness. This infrastructural investment is a powerful catalyst for the establishment of small businesses along the railway transport routes, fostering local economic growth. The corridor’s impact will be far-reaching, touching sectors vital for the region and Africa overall: transportation & logistics, clean energy & critical mineral supply chains, and agribusiness.

Horticultural accelerator project rolls-out (COMESA)

Implementation of a new project known as the COMESA- EAC Horticultural Accelerator (CEHA) has just begun and is expected to enhance policy coordination, value chain development, financing, and research and development in the horticulture industry. Established in 2022 through public and private sector partnerships, and launched in June 2023, the project covers five countries in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa – COMESA and the East African Community – EAC. These are Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.

CEHA targets avocado, onion, and Irish potatoes development. Its initial activities are supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with USD 5 million, and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office providing a total of GBP 500,000.

It will facilitate the modernization of regional horticulture value chains by coordinating private sector-led investments, improving policies and standards, and providing access to finance and technical assistance for accelerated growth.

Political will: A key ingredient in developing regional agriculture value chains (COMESA)

COMESA in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) are collaborating to enhance political will and strengthen the capacity of Member States to apply the African Union Guidelines for the Development of Regional Agricultural Value Chains (RAVCs) in Africa. This is being done under a project: Strengthening Member State capacity to develop Regional Agricultural Value Chains to promote Diversification and Intra-African Trade.

Currently, the project is being piloted in the COMESA region to promote regional value chains of two strategic commodities; maize and dairy in Zambia and Zimbabwe. The aim is to foster agro-processing and support the actualization of the Common Agro Industrial Park (CAIP) initiative which was mooted under the Joint Industrialisation Cooperation Programme between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Towards this goal, COMESA and UNECA conducted a validation workshop on January 22, 2024, to discuss the Recommendation Report for Strengthening Maize and Dairy Value Chains. The report was based on the review of the policy, regulatory and institutional frameworks in Zambia and Zimbabwe and the industrialization and export strategy for maize and dairy products in the two countries.

Ag investment in Africa looks to scale productivity (Meat and Poultry)

In an effort to scale up agriculture and nourish a growing population in Africa, which contains 65% of the world’s uncultivated land, the African Development Bank Group and Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR) have committed to strengthen their collaboration. Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank, received Africa-based directors general of CGIAR at the bank headquarters in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Jan. 25, to discuss efforts at scaling up food and agricultural productivity on the continent.

US trade chief looks for incremental reform at WTO meeting (Investing.com)

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Wednesday that she is taking a “pragmatic” approach to the World Trade Organization’s next ministerial meeting, aiming for incremental but meaningful improvements that sustain the trade body’s reform momentum.

Tai told reporters ahead of the WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi that she did not anticipate a massive reform agreement that addressed all of the institution’s shortcomings at once.

“We’re looking for success,” she said of the Feb. 26-29 conference. “The Athena coming out of the brain of MC13, it’s not going to happen. So why would we set ourselves up for that?”

Ministerial Identifies Solutions to Development Challenges in MICs (SDG Knowledge Hub)

Morocco hosted a high-level ministerial conference dedicated to the specific challenges middle-income countries (MICs) face in their economic and social development. Participants adopted the Rabat Declaration, in which they commit to developing a Strategic Action Plan for MICs for the years 2025-2030, in collaboration with the UN system, development partners, and stakeholders.

Held on the theme, ‘Solutions to Address Development Challenges of Middle-income Countries in a Changing World,’ the conference brought together 32 countries and 23 UN development agencies and other international and regional institutions. MICs are a diverse group of more than 100 countries.

In her message to the conference, among the many challenges MICs face, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed highlighted conflicts and instability, climate change, recurrent and more intense natural disasters and associated economic losses and costs, and heavy public debt burdens. She said many MICs “are unable to find the fiscal space for sustainable development,” with 39 of them shouldering net interest payments that account for more than 10% of government revenue, compared to 23 a decade ago.

Quick links

Modernizing AGOA for the 21st century (Brookings)

Guest Article: What to Expect at MC13 (SDG Knowledge Hub)

In Munich, Guterres calls for new global order that works for all (UN News)

Brazil G20 presidency to take India’s food security agenda forward (Mint)


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