Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

South Africa celebrates first AfCFTA export to Ghana amidst global trade disruptions (Bizcommunity)

The opportunities the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement creates for the development of intra-African trade are becoming apparent, according to Philip Myburgh, executive head of trade and Africa-China, business and commercial clients at the Standard Bank Group, amid disruptions to traditional trade routes, unpredictable shipping times, and skyrocketing freight tariffs caused by the conflict in the Red Sea region.

“Last month, South Africa exported its first shipment of goods to Ghana under the AfCFTA agreement. The goods shipped were forged grinding balls and high chrome grinding media products supplied to the platinum, gold, ferrochrome, base metal, power generation, and cement industries.” However, several other markets remain to be explored,” says Myburgh.

“Two features make Ghana a strong trading partner: its location on the west coast and its two deepwater ports. Takoradi and Tema offer logistical advantages to seaborne traffic from South Africa. And Ghana, often called the ‘Gateway to West Africa,’ offers easy access not only to Ghanaian markets but also to other countries in the region.”

dtic, IFC pact to boost investment, job creation (SAnews)

The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) and the International Finance Cooperation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group, have signed the 2nd Phase Cooperation Agreement aimed at stimulating investment and job creation. The agreement outlines areas of co-operation in the form of technical advisory services.

Speaking at the signing ceremony held in Pretoria, IFC Regional Director: Southern Africa, Claudia Conceicao, said the agreement has resulted in real outcomes, including investments and job creation, and not just changes to laws and regulations. Conceicao said the new phase of the Cooperation Agreement will further support South Africa’s initiatives, particularly in the renewable energy sector, creating a more conducive environment for private sector investment and contributing to sustainable economic growth and development.

Zambia borders get cutting-edge baggage scanners (COMESA)

In a significant milestone aimed at bolstering both border security and trade facilitation, a flag-off ceremony marked the commencement of the deployment of cutting-edge baggage scanners as part of the Zambia Borders Post Upgrade project. The state-of-the-art equipment, valued at Euros 210,000, is poised to address gaps in detecting illegal items at the borders and ensure transparent cross-border movements.

The advanced baggage scanners, officially handed over to the Zambia Revenue Authority, are equipped with state-of-the-art detection capabilities. This initiative, funded by the European Development Fund (EDF) Trade Facilitation Programme, has allocated Euros six million to Zambia for the upgrading of three pivotal border posts – Nakonde, Mwami, and Chirundu.

Uganda trade surplus with DRC hits $53m, its highest in East Africa (The East African)

Uganda registered the highest trade surplus with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) amounting to $53.07 million (Ush208.9 billion) in January, according to the Ministry of Finance Performance of the Economy report. The report, which highlights the monthly performance of different sectors of the economy, noted that DR Congo received more exports from Uganda than any other East Africa Community (EAC) member state, followed by South Sudan at $41.68 million (Ush164 billion), Rwanda $23.1 million (Ush90.9 billion) and Burundi at $5.25 million (Ush20.6 billion).

The performance saw Uganda’s exports to the EAC partner states grow to $231.47 million while imports stood at $209.17 million.

The EAC remained the top destination of Uganda’s exports, accounting for 37.6 percent of the total market share, followed by the Middle East, and European Union. However, Uganda trades at a deficit with Asia, the rest of Africa, and Europe of $267.64 million, $118.15 million, and $6.64 million, respectively.

Rwanda’s Economic Performance Strengthened in 2023 Despite Continued Challenges (World Bank)

Rwanda’s economy grew at 7.6% in the first three quarters of 2023 despite a challenging global environment and the recent floods that destroyed agricultural produce and infrastructure in April-May 2023. This is according to the 22nd edition of the Rwanda Economic Update (REU): Mobilizing Domestic Savings to Boost the Private Sector in Rwanda. The report adds that the services sector, sustained domestic demand, and the rebound of the industrial sector, contributed to the robust growth and the positive economic trajectory.

The report, whose special focus is on the private sector, underscores the critical link between private sector investment growth and domestic savings capacity, which is presently limited. Despite notable achievements in savings mobilization, Rwanda’s savings rates lag other East African countries, impacting financial resources for businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.

Climate Action in Ethiopia: Acting Now to Build Resilience and Leverage Opportunities (World Bank)

A new World Bank report released today finds that annual average losses to gross domestic product (GDP) are expected to range between 1-1.5% of GDP and to rise to 5% by the 2040s, potentially pushing millions of Ethiopians into poverty. The new Country Climate and Development Reports (CCDR) for Ethiopia sounds the alarm regarding the increasing impact of climate change that are threatening Ethiopia’s development prospects. The drought of recent years–the most severe in 40 years–has been devastating for people in the arid pastoral areas. Simultaneously, flooding has damaged infrastructure and disrupted livelihoods in other parts of the country.

“Merging structural reforms with adaptation strategies is pivotal because it can substantially reduce expenses arising from climatic disasters such as droughts and floods, and can help Ethiopia harness opportunities, especially in agriculture” said Ousmane Dione, the World Bank Country Director for Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan. “Although formulating policies that account for the various levels of geographic vulnerability to climate change is key, it is equally important to encourage collaboration with regional governments in order to develop tailored solutions that effectively address their specific challenges,” he added.

Egypt’s Pivot Towards Sub-Saharan Africa And Strengthening Economic Ties (Forbes Africa)

A notable shift seems to be taking place in Egypt’s economic strategy in a new era of collaboration with several regions in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). And the country’s banks such as CIB (Commercial International Bank) are playing a part in this transformative journey.

“Kenya made sense. East Africa is close to Egypt, the language is similar, and Kenya is the gateway. The Kenyan market is one of the most advanced digitally and digital is the perfect way to, with a controlled investment, grow a large footprint quickly,” says the bank’s Managing Director Hussein Majid Abaza.

The introduction of CIB Kenya could herald an era in which Egypt is seeking to foster trade partnerships. The bank’s niche lies in facilitating exports and it will seek to grow business links between the two countries such as with tea, where Egypt is the second-largest market for Kenyan tea exports.

Trade liberalization initiatives and investment trade missions have underscored Egypt’s commitment to opening new markets on the continent. The country’s trade dynamics seem to show its resilience and adaptability, with the country emerging as a leading exporter to COMESA countries in 2022, reaching $3.4 billion. “The continent is the right place to be; it is where growth is, and where growing populations are,” says Abaza.

Brazil prepares to export poultry meat to Egypt (Poultry World)

The announcement was made during a visit of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo. The Egyptian government recognised the equivalence of the Brazilian inspection system and elevated Brazil to the ‘pre-listing’ category for exporting animal proteins. The measure benefits at least 30 slaughterhouses that were waiting for this authorisation to ship products for more than 4 years.

Before this agreement, the renewal of the license of Brazilian establishments for export required in-person audits by Egyptian authorities, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (Mapa).T he procedure not only implied high costs for Brazilian exporters, but also overloaded Mapa’s federal agricultural tax auditors and limited the number of establishments authorised to export to Egypt.

Nigeria gets 60% Afreximbank energy sector funding - Oramah (Daily Nigerian)

The African Export-Import Bank, Afreximbank, says Nigeria is among the largest beneficiaries accounting for about 60 per cent of its US$30 billion funding of the energy sector in Africa. The Afreximbank said it has been able to make modest contributions in the oil and gas sector because the bank was predominantly African in ownership and control. Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of the African Export-Import Bank, said this on Wednesday at the ongoing 7th Nigeria International Energy Summit (NIES 2024) in Abuja.

EAC member states urged to boost intra-trade initiatives (The Star)

East African Community member states have been urged to adopt initiatives that promote intra-trade. East African Community Principal Secretary Abdi Dubat said the region’s economies and livelihoods of citizens are predominantly dependent on agriculture. The agricultural sector accounts for 25 per cent to 40 per cent of the gross domestic product of EAC partner states (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and the Republic of South Sudan).

Kenya’s trade with the East African Community’s partner states increased by 8.8 per cent in 2022, from $1.65 billion in 2021 to $1.79 billion. This was captured in the EAC Trade and Investment Report 2022. It was the highest value compared to trade values between Kenya and other regional blocs.

By 2021, the largest export market for Kenyan products within the EAC was 30 per cent to Uganda, 15 per cent to Tanzania, 10 per cent to Rwanda and eight per cent to the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, Dubat said there are still challenges that face intra-trade within the EAC community. They include technological constraints, market access barriers, non-tariff barriers and poor market linkages. Dubat said most smallholder producers are unable to meet the stringent market requirements due to low production and low quality of produce.

South Africa Could Slash R89.9 Billion SACU Bill by Renegotiating Revenue Model (BNN)

South Africa stands on the brink of potentially saving R89.9 billion in the forthcoming year by advocating for a revised revenue-sharing formula within the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). This revelation emerged from the National Treasury’s comprehensive Budget Review following the Finance Minister’s pivotal budget address, which underscored the critical need for a fairer financial arrangement reflective of South Africa’s economic stature and contributions within SACU.

The financial implications of the existing revenue-sharing model are substantial, with South Africa remitting R79.8 billion to SACU in the 2023/24 financial year, a figure projected to escalate to R89.9 billion the following year. This substantial outlay underscores the urgency for South Africa to renegotiate the terms of the agreement, aiming for a distribution mechanism that more accurately reflects its economic input and the volume of trade it facilitates within the union.

Renegotiating the SACU revenue-sharing model presents a pragmatic avenue for South Africa to substantially reduce its financial contributions, aligning them more closely with its economic prowess and pivotal role in regional trade. A recalibrated model could ensure that contributions are proportionate to each member’s economic activities, thereby fostering a more balanced and equitable economic environment within SACU. Such a renegotiation would not only bolster South Africa’s fiscal position but also set a precedent for fair economic partnerships based on mutual respect and equitable benefit.

SADC Secretariat supporting SMEs in the SADC EPA region to export to the European Union (EU) market (SADC)

The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Secretariat through the EPA Unit has embarked on a series of national capacity-building and awareness-raising workshops for the SADC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) States on market requirements for exporting to the EU market. These capacity building workshops are organised through the SADC Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) which is supported by the EU under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF). The Programme is implemented over a five-year period (2019-2024) with a budget of €15m (US$16.45m).

SADC shares its economic priorities to EU in the context of the AfCFTA (SADC)

Ms. Angele Makombo N’tumba, the Deputy Executive Secretary Responsible for Regional Integration for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on 22 February 2024 shared the economic opportunities available in the SADC region to the European Union (EU) in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) during the annual EU Africa Regional Trade Seminar.

The EU Africa Trade Seminar was held in a hybrid format at the EU delegation offices in Gaborone, Botswana, with other participants taking part from the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The seminar was aimed at assessing the future trade policy direction of the EU with Africa, considering key factors such as the AfCFTA, the climate and food crisis, the growing significance of critical raw materials in EU-Africa relations, the impact of the EU Green Deal policy, the requirement for infrastructure value chains and connectivity for the continent’s development, and the evolution of economic partnership agreements in Africa.

Ms. Makombo N’tumba said the EU accounts for 28% of Africa’s total trade and plays a crucial role in accelerating trade and regional economic integration. She emphasised that the AfCFTA serves as a catalyst for industrialisation and integration within the SADC region, and holds the key to unlocking economic potential for Africa, offering a pathway to unleash the continent full capabilities and drive transformative growth.

Aviation experts push for a Model Bilateral Air Services Agreement (COMESA)

Aviation officials from the Eastern Africa-Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region are making steady progress in reviewing and having a model Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) that conforms with the provisions of the Yamoussoukro Decision of 1999. Once fully adopted and implemented, the model BASA will clear the way for a single African Air Transport Market which will boost the sector.

Experts have long called for a Single African Air Transport Market contending that it would strengthen intra-regional connectivity between the capital cities of African countries. A single unified air transport market would be an impetus to the continent’s economic integration and growth agenda.

“BASA is one of the fundamental means of ensuring air transport interconnectivity between States and the current exercise is geared towards streamlining the instrument to conform with the provisions of the YD,” said the Minister who was represented by the Minister of State for Transport Hon. Fred Byamukama Adopting a model BASA, he said will hasten the process of reviewing BASAs among Member States of COMESA, the East African Community and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Three States ready to pilot the COMESA electronic Certificate of Origin (COMESA)

Three COMESA Member States, Eswatini, Malawi, and Zambia, have successfully integrated and interfaced their national systems with the COMESA Electronic Certificate of Origin (e-CO) system. They are now poised to commence the first phase of piloting its implementation. The COMESA e-CO is a vital component of the COMESA digital Free Trade Area (FTA) Action Plan, which includes e-Trade, e-Logistics, and e-Legislation. The development and implementation of the COMESA e-CO fall under e-Logistics, aimed at facilitating intra-regional trade.

This initiative will eventually replace the manual Certificate of Origin procedures currently in use by Member States. It comes with a web-based e-CO system accessible via web browsers, aligning with the COMESA Protocol on Rules of Origin and its implementation Guidelines. The COMESA Secretariat is overseeing the e-CO implementation through the Divisions of Trade and Customs, and Information and Networking.

Home-made solutions can steer Africa’s transition into inclusive, low carbon, and resource-efficient economies (UNECA)

The 42nd meeting of the Committee of Experts of the Conference of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (COM2024) kicked off today in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe with a call for countries to transition into inclusive, low carbon, and resource-efficient economies by tapping into home-grown innovative solutions for financing. The annual ECA Conference of Ministers is being hosted by hosted by the Government of Zimbabwe on the theme of ‘Financing the transition to inclusive green economies in Africa: Imperatives, opportunities, and policy options’ between 28 February- 5 March, 2024.

Antonio Pedro, Deputy Executive Secretary at the ECA indicated that since the last Conference of Ministers, the world has fallen deeper into economic fragility, climate change, conflict, and distrust. Sadly, Africa has not been spared from these global trends. “We must accelerate the adoption of just and sustainable transitions, which require long-term structural changes and adequate investment,” said Mr. Pedro. African countries, he said, have the ability to create their own solutions to solve their problems. This should be a collective focus as in the continued fight to reform global systems.

The ECA Deputy Executive Secretary highlighted the key transformative areas that can have catalytic and multiplier effects across all the SDGs.

Advancing Africa’s Energy Vision: Two EU-funded energy initiatives declared an Agenda 2063 flagship project (EEAS)

The 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) on 17 and 18 February 2024 marked another significant milestone in the implementation of two energy flagship initiatives supported by the European Union’s Global Technical Assistance Facility (EU GTAF).

The Summit’s Executive Council made pivotal announcements following last year’s recommendations of the Ministerial decision-making body of the AU that underscore the continent’s commitment to reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity and the development of its energy sector.

The government representatives: Called for the adoption of the African Single Electricity Market (AfSEM) with its Continental Power Systems Masterplan (CMP) to become an AU Agenda 2063 Flagship Project. AfSEM aspires to become the world’s largest electricity market by 2040 and through the CMP the necessary infrastructure is created; Adopted several key documents of the AfSEM and CMP which provide a solid foundation for the next steps in the implementation of these two key initiatives and will facilitate strategic planning as well as the harmonisation of the legal framework within the African energy sector; Called on the AU Member States to allocate financial resources for the implementation of the AfSEM and CMP.

Brazil urges ‘new globalization’ at G20 meet overshadowed by Ukraine (Yahoo News)

Brazil called for a “new globalization” to address poverty and climate change as it opened a meeting Wednesday of finance ministers from the world’s top economies, but the Ukraine and Gaza wars risked overshadowing the plea. “The global economic outlook is full of challenges,” Brazilian Finance Minister Fernando Haddad told his counterparts from the Group of 20 leading economies.

Brazil, which took over the rotating presidency of the G20 from India in December, is pushing for the group to prioritize the fights against poverty and climate change, alleviating the crushing debt burdens of low-income nations, and giving developing countries more say at institutions like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Also on the agenda: increasing taxes on corporations and the super-rich.

G20 to mention conflicts but sidestep controversies in joint statement (The Japan Times)

Group of 20 finance leaders meeting in Brazil this week are expected to make only a passing reference in their closing statement to regional conflicts, according to a draft version, due to deep divisions over wars in Gaza and Ukraine. The draft communique, far shorter than previous years as host nation Brazil works to sidestep geopolitical controversies, also said the likelihood of a soft landing in the global economy has increased but that uncertainty remains high.

“Risks to the global economic outlook are more balanced,” with faster-than-expected disinflation and more growth-friendly fiscal consolidation underpinning growth, the draft said.

Call for Action: G20 Finance Our Future for the Win (Global Citizen)

Together with other international civil society organisations, Global Citizen is calling for a redesign and upgrade of the world’s financial system. In a world rocked by crises, trillions that could be spent on addressing climate change, biodiversity loss, spreading hunger and conflicts, and investment in robust health and food systems, are instead being lost to inefficient systems no longer fit for the 21st century. A redesign by G20 finance ministers in 2024 is essential for our common future.

Remarks by Ajay Banga at the 2024 G20 Finance Ministers Session 1 - The Role of Economic Policies in Addressing Inequalities: National Experiences and International Cooperation (World Bank)

ANALYSIS: What influence can Africa wield at G20? (Premium Times Nigeria)

The African Union’s (AU) recent inclusion in the G20 has raised questions about its readiness to represent Africa’s interests and influence global policy on climate change, energy and reform of multilateral bodies. The just-concluded 37th AU summit provided cause for optimism that the organisation can advance Africa’s interests on the international stage while helping to resolve global problems. The summit outlined its G20 priorities, set the modalities for who would attend and clarified how the AU’s participation would be financed.

The AU’s six priorities at the G20 over the next three years are: fast-tracking Agenda 2063, advocating for reform of international financial institutions, enhancing agricultural output, achieving a just energy transition, more trade and investment for the African Continental Free Trade Area’s rollout, and improving Africa’s credit rating to boost investment in vaccine manufacturing and pandemic response.

BRICS Plus: Navigating global challenges and broadening influence (ORF)

The BRICS alliance has emerged as a dynamic force with a vision that extends beyond mere cooperation. At its core lies the ambition to establish a global economic system where nations can freely trade using their own currencies, thus reducing reliance on foreign organisations and currencies. This approach is also encapsulated in the “BRICS Plus” concept, signifying an expansion of the BRICS group to include additional member countries. The recent inclusion of Iran, Egypt, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), from January 2024, marks a significant milestone in the evolution of BRICS.

The BRICS expansion facilitates market growth by providing access to new markets and trade and investment opportunities. This potential surge in economic activity can enhance economic growth and stability within the group. Diversifying economic interests is critical in mitigating risks and creating a more resilient financial ecosystem.

In essence, incorporating new members into BRICS extends its economic and geopolitical significance, offering avenues for market expansion, trade growth, and amplified influence in global financial affairs. This expansion positions BRICS as a potential voice for the Global South in economic, trade, and investment matters. BRICS members have demonstrated solidarity, advocating for initiatives like the temporary suspension of intellectual property rules related to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

MC13: Talks on new issues yield five outcomes (The Economic Times)

Amid pressure on developing countries to yield to the demands of richer nations to accept new issues such as environment, labour and gender to make the United Arab emirates -chaired World Trade Organisation MC13 a success, New Delhi Tuesday said that already at least five such outcomes were in place such as new disciplines on services domestic regulation that are expected to lower trade costs by over $125 billion globally.

India would benefit from a move of over 70 nations like UK, UAE and Australia who have agreed to take on additional obligations in the services sector under the Services Domestic Regulations pact. Members such as Albania, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland, UAE, UK and US are taking these additional obligations under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) to ease non-goods trade among themselves and extend the similar concessions to all other members of the WTO.

Developed nations make many promises on development issues in WTO, but very little action: India (Deccan Herald)

India on Wednesday said that the developed nations in the WTO have made many promises on issues pertaining to development, but ‘very’ little action happens on those matters. India also said that the developing countries urgently need flexibility in existing rules so that infant and young industries in these countries get support in terms of conducive policies, incentives, subsidies and level playing field.

In the working session on Development, India highlighted that historically, on the issue of development, there has been no dearth of promises made by developed countries, “on account of which the vulnerabilities of the developing countries including the LDCs (least developed countries) have only amplified further.” India on Wednesday objected to consideration of new issues for ministerial mandates unless past decisions and unfulfilled mandates were acted upon.

India, South Africa block investment agreement at WTO’s Abu Dhabi meet (Business Standard)

India and South Africa have filed a formal objection against an investment agreement at a World Trade Organization meeting in Abu Dhabi, blocking its adoption, a document showed and delegates confirmed on Wednesday. The Investment Facilitation for Development (IFD) Agreement, agreed by some 125 countries or about three-quarters of the WTO’s members, aims to simplify red tape, improve the investment environment and encourage foreign direct investment. But according to WTO rules, any one of its 164 members can block a deal from being adopted by the body - a step which is necessary to ensure that countries are in compliance.

DG Okonjo-Iweala encourages members to close remaining gaps to secure outcomes at MC13 (WTO)

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on 28 February commended members for the “tremendous amount of progress” achieved after three days of intense work at the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi. With less than 24 hours before the scheduled closing session of MC13, she called on ministers to go the extra mile and find convergence on the various issues at stake.

DG Okonjo-Iweala told members at a meeting of Heads of Delegations (HoDs) that the clock is ticking but stressed that if delegations keep working hard, a positive MC13 outcome is at hand and ministers should be able to go back home in time on 29 February, the last day of the Conference.

See also: DG Okonjo-Iweala to business: Your engagement and support are crucial (WTO)


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