Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Economic growth to stay low over the next three years (SAnews)

South Africa’s economy is expected to grow at some 1.6% over the next three years, with real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reaching 0.6% in 2023. “Despite the improved global outlook for 2024, South Africa’s near-term growth remains hamstrung by lower commodity prices and structural constraints. We estimate real GDP growth of 0.6% in 2023. This is [revised] down from 0.8% growth estimated during the 2023 MTBPS [Medium Term Budget Policy Statement].

“The growth outlook is supported by the expected easing of power cuts as new energy projects begin production, and as lower inflation supports household consumption and credit extension. “But, there are also risks to the domestic outlook. These include persistent constraints in electricity supply, freight rail and ports, and a high sovereign credit risk. Our challenge… is that the size of the pie is not growing fast enough to meet our developmental needs,” Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, who delivered the Budget Speech at the Cape Town City Hall on Wednesday, said.

Download the Budget 2024 documents here.

Kenya exempts Ethiopia, South Africa from e-travel authorisation fees (The East African)

Kenya has begun twitching its online visitor registration service that policymakers wanted to use to ease travel into the country, but which saw some countries complain of high charges. And now, the Department of Immigration and Citizen Services says citizens from Ethiopia and five other countries will not be required to pay the $30 per traveller charged when visitors apply to come to Kenya.

The fee is often paid online via the portal www.etakenya.go.ke after the government launched the Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) in January. According to the department, citizens from the Comoros, Congo-Brazzaville, Eritrea, Mozambique, San Marino and South Africa will also no longer be charged when filing for eTA applications. The department said these are “countries which had concluded visa abolitions agreement or signed bilateral visa waiver agreements with the Republic of Kenya.” The five had signed visa exemption deals in the last one year. Their exemption from eTA began on February 15, Immigration said in response to a Business Daily inquiry on Wednesday.

Zambia bans maize exports over dry spell (The East African)

The Zambian government on Tuesday announced a restriction on the export of maize and mealie meal (maize flour) due to a prolonged dry spell that could affect the harvest. Minister of Agriculture Reuben Phiri said the restriction will only be lifted after a careful assessment of the next harvest. “Owing to the prevailing situation, the government will continue to put the interest of the country above everything else. In this regard, it has restricted the export of maize grain and mealie meal,” the minister said. The government, he said, has since deployed defence personnel to guard all known smuggling routes, while security patrols and roadblocks are also being increased in districts prone to trafficking.

Cameroon: 2023 Article IV Consultation (IMF)

Cameroon’s economic recovery has continued against a backdrop of domestic security pressures, increased regional spillover risks, and continuing global economic uncertainties. Inflation remains high although decelerating, and while Cameroon is the largest CEMAC economy with ample economic potential, it is a fragile and conflict affected state (FCS). Drivers of fragility include a high debt burden, institutional and governance weaknesses, internal divisions, social exclusion, insurgency, conflicts along borders, and a rising frequency of climate-related natural disasters. Political risks are increasing, with tensions around Presidential succession, and potential spillovers from the region.

SADC and FAO hold End of EU-Funded STOSAR Project Workshop to share achievements, best practices and lessons learnt during the project implementation (SADC)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) hosted workshop to mark the end of the ‘Support towards the Operationalization of the SADC Regional Agricultural Policy’, (STOSAR) Project which was funded by the European Union (EU) through the European Development Fund (EDF 11) to the tune of Euro 9 million to support implementation of the SADC Regional Agricultural Policy (RAP). The workshop was held on 20-21 February 2024 at Gaborone International Conference Centre (GICC), in Botswana.

The Guest of Honour at the opening of the Workshop, Honourable Fidelis Molao, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Botswana hailed the achievements made by the STOSAR project and highlighted the need to sustain the momentum achieved under the STOSAR Project and ensuring that its gains continue to drive agricultural sector which has long been a bedrock for regional integration and sustainable socio-economic transformation of the SADC region.

4th Edition of ECOWAS Mining & Petroleum Forum to hold in Cotonou (ECOWAS)

The Republic of Benin is hosting ECOMOF 2024 which will be held at Palais de Congress, in Cotonou from 22-24 February 2024 under the Theme – “Geo-extractive resources and technologies: what are the strategies to pool for creation of value addition in West Africa?”. This theme would set the tone for a continued forward-looking approach as the Forum reflects on how well the Community desires the mining and petroleum industries to enhance the collective well-being of the citizenry within the context of the region’s industrialization drive.

UBA takes centre stage as Elumelu addresses ECOWAS mining forum in Cotonou (Vanguard)

United Bank for Africa, UBA Plc, has been announced as the official sponsor of the 4th edition of ECOWAS Mining and Petroleum Forum (ECOMOF 2024). The regional event is expected to see a large gathering of key players and stakeholders in the mining and petroleum sectors of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS. UBA Group Chairman, Tony Elumelu, would give the keynote address during the opening ceremony of the event. His speech is expected to highlight UBA’s increasing effort to support and develop the African continent through strategic investments in the key sectors of mining and petroleum.

Africa CDC Spearheads Bold Move to Secure Africa’s Health Future by Creating a 50 billion Dollar Medical Market (Africa CDC)

African leaders made a decision that will create a robust future market for medical products for African manufacturers. Spearheaded by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, a pooled procurement mechanism was agreed upon and signed off late last night at the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa. This decision is significant because it creates predictable demand so manufacturers can plan for the long term to create a viable vaccine manufacturing ecosystem.

The African market size for medicines and vaccines is approximately 50 billion USD annually. Africa CDC will lead the pooled procurement initiative in collaboration with continental and global partners. The move is also designed to ensure that African Union member states can get better deals on price.

Digital ID to unlock Africa’s economic value if fully implemented, say experts (UNECA)

Countries implementing digital identity could unlock value equivalent to 3 to 7 percent of GDP, says statistics and data experts at the 12th StatsTalk-Africa Webinar in Addis Ababa Ethiopia on 20 February 2024. The monthly webinar was organized by the African Centre of Statistics (ACS) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa on the theme, ”Building Inclusive National Identity Systems - Inter-linking digital identity and legal identity”.

A digital ID is an identity verified and authenticated to a high degree of assurance over digital channels, unique, and established with individual consent. Unlike a paper-based ID, a digital ID can be authenticated remotely over digital channels.

“Analysis of digital ID Systems indicates that individual countries could unlock economic value equivalent to between 3 and 13 percent of GDP in 2030 from implementing digital ID programs,” said Mr Seck while making a presentation on Digital Identity for Citizens at the webinar.

African Multilateral Financial Institutions forge historic strategic alliance to serve as catalyst for Sustainable Economic Development and financial self-reliance in Africa (Afreximbank)

Under the esteemed patronage of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic of Ghana and the Champion on the African Union Financial Institutions, Africa’s multilateral financial institutions have collaborated and launched the Alliance of African Multilateral Financial Institutions (AAMFI). The auspicious inauguration, which took place on the sidelines of the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, marked a pivotal moment in Africa’s financial landscape.

The landmark gathering underscored a united commitment to foster collaboration, cooperation, and coordination among esteemed member institutions to drive sustainable economic development and financial self-reliance across the continent.

Under the mandate of AAMFI, the Alliance members commit to collaborate to address Africa’s development finance needs, promote the interests of member states, advocate for Africa on global finance issues, develop innovative finance tools, and support sustainable finance strategies. AAMFI’s formation underscores Africa’s commitment to self-reliance and sustainable economic development, leveraging home-grown solutions and resources for the continent’s advancement.

The historic inauguration of the Alliance witnessed a momentous occasion as all seven founding members signed a declarative statement announcing their commitment to the principles and objectives behind the establishment of the Alliance.

Civil society organisations proffer solutions on Africa’s huge debts (The Sunday Mail)

Regional civil society groups have come together to proffer solutions for Africa’s unsustainable debt and enhance good public finance management. The African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD) and the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to partner in promoting sound financial and debt management policies across Africa.

Studies indicate that revenues have been declining amid high gross financing needs in the region; therefore, accelerating borrowing from both domestic and external sources to finance development. Consequently, public debt has been rising in SADC countries.

The MoU between AFRODAD and SADC PF formalises the collaboration of both organisations in influencing policy by providing technical support to African governments and parliaments to regain their political, economic and social agency.

Russia completes shipping free grains to six African states (The East African)

Russia’s Agriculture minister said late on Tuesday that Moscow had completed its initiative of shipping 200,000 metric tonnes of free grain to six African countries, as promised by President Vladimir Putin in July last year. Russia shipped 50,000 tonnes each to Somalia and the Central African Republic (CAR) and 25,000 tonnes each to Mali, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe and Eritrea, Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev told Putin during a meeting, according to transcript on the Kremlin’s website.

The Very First Annual Consultation Meeting between Japan International Cooperation Agency and AfCFTA Secretariat held on February 6 (JICA)

On February 6, 2024, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat held its first annual consultation meeting in hybrid manner (at AfCFTA Secretariat HQs in Accra / online), and discussed the way how to further deepen its cooperation in 2024. During the meeting, the participants reviewed their efforts in 2023 and discussed plans for 2024. JICA and AfCFTA Secretariat signed a MOC (Memorandum of Cooperation) in December 2022 and agreed to strengthen cooperation in four priorities, namely, 1) Trade Facilitation and Corridor Development, 2) Industrialization and Value Chain, 3) Learn from ASEAN/ Japan’s Experiences, and 4) Capacity Development and Advocacy.

New global trade patterns are ‘not a blip’ as partnerships shift - BCG report (KZN Industrial & Business News)

As the global economy adjusts to persistent economic and geopolitical pressures and disruptions, the familiar routes that defined the world trade map are being redrawn and regional trade lanes are playing a greater role in world trade.

The changing trade picture shows that overall global trade is growing at a slower rate than the world economy, a fundamental shift away from the trend of trade-led globalism that the world enjoyed in most of the years since the end of the Cold War. World trade in goods is forecast to grow at 2.8% per year, on average, through 2032, compared with an estimated 3.1% growth rate for global GDP in the same period, according to a new report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), titled Jobs, National Security, and the Future of Trade.

Increasing African prosperity levels, improved regional economic integration and the growing importance of critical minerals in the global economy will lead to Africa’s trade growing faster than the global average. It is expected to increase 3.3% per year by 2032, to $1.5 trillion. The continent’s trade with the rest of the world, excluding intra-Africa trade, will see two-way trade increasing by 3.3% per year and a trade surplus. Africa’s trade with the rest of the world will be marked by a 6.9% growth in exports per year by 2032 to $106 billion and a 2.5% growth in imports per year by 2032 to $71 billion.

Brazil’s G20 presidency kicks off in Rio with foreign ministers meeting (The Independent)

Foreign ministers of the Group of 20 nations were gathering Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro to discuss poverty, climate change and heightened global tensions as Brazil takes on the annual presidency of the bloc. The ministers and other representatives of the 20 leading rich and developing nations planned to spend two days setting a roadmap for work to accomplish ahead of a Nov. 18-19 summit in Rio. One of Brazil’s key proposals, set by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, is a reform of global governance institutions such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and multilateral banks, where he wants to push for stronger representation of developing nations.

The value of WTO commitments along the global supply chain (CEPR)

US-China trade tensions, the COVID-19 pandemic, and national security concerns have exposed several risks in current global supply chains. The response from governments and firms worldwide has focused on investments to make these supply chains more ‘resilient.’ Another approach is directly targeting the policy shocks, for example by renewing cooperation in trade policy and mitigating systemic uncertainty about future policies.

Cooperation via the WTO has, until recently, successfully reduced trade policy uncertainty (TPU), which has been an important source of export growth. However, the credibility and enforcement of commitments in the WTO are currently diminished (see, for example, Wolff 2022 on dispute settlement). The WTO itself notes that trade scepticism among policymakers and trade policy tensions over supply chains are manifesting themselves in even more fragmented and concentrated supply chains (WTO 2023). Before abandoning hope of renewed cooperation in this area we must answer the following. What is the value of WTO commitments along the global supply chain?

Digital Trade’s Leap: Unveiling the Future for Developing Economies at MC13 in Abu Dhabi (BNN)

As the digital economy carves its niche in the global marketplace, its unprecedented growth has become a beacon of opportunity, particularly for developing economies. The upcoming Thirteenth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (MC13) in Abu Dhabi is set to become a pivotal arena for discussions on the future of digital trade and its capacity to reshape access to global markets. At the heart of these discussions lies the potential continuation of the Work Programme on e-commerce and the hotly debated extension of the Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmissions, issues that hold significant implications for the global digital economy.

7th BioTrade Congress: Global governance for trade and biodiversity (UNCTAD)

The BioTrade Congress returns on 25 and 26 March, 2024 in Geneva, Switzerland at the Palais des Nations (Room XVII), co-organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and partners. The 7th BioTrade Congress will discuss “Global Governance for Trade and Biodiversity” with the aim to propose policy recommendations and actions from government, business and civil society on how trade and trade policy can accelerate implementation of The Biodiversity Plan. The Congress will also feature exchanges and case studies on the biodiversity and socio-economic impact generated through the trade of biodiversity-based products, including BioTrade.


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