Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Stimulating sustainable wood in Green Construction in Kenya for low carbon climate resilient development (UNDP)

The forest sector plays a key role in socioeconomic development of Kenya and contributes to 3.6 % to the country’s GDP1 excluding environmental services. The sector supports the urban and rural population through the provision of wood fuel and other non-timber forest products and services. Currently the sector provides direct jobs for up to 50,000 and indirect jobs to approximately 600,000. The sector is largely underdeveloped against its potential that can be unlocked through commercial forestry.

At COP28 Kenya joined a coalition of 17 countries that committed to promoting the use of sustainable wood in Green Construction2. This commitment is backed by a robust policy and regulatory framework as well as a booming construction industry. In addition, Government has set an ambition to grow 15 billion trees and increase it plantation area to 750,000ha.

Ethiopia Emphasizes Significance of AfCFTA to Achieve Stronger, Inclusive Pan-African Trade Ecosystem (Ethiopian News Agency)

Addis Ababa February 29/2024 (ENA) Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is significant in order to achieve a stronger and more inclusive Pan-African trade ecosystem, the Ethiopian Permanent Mission in Geneva underscored.

Ambassador Tsegab Kebebew, Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the UN Office at Geneva delivered a Presentation on the subject of "Regional projects and dynamics with pan Africa reach” at the ambassadors' New Year reception hosted by Swiss Africa Business Circle (SABC) held on 28 Feb 2024 in Bern, Switzerland.

Nigeria: Customs Collaborates DG TAXUD EU For Efficient Export Monitoring, Trade Facilitation (Newsdiaryonline)

The Nigeria Customs Service (NC) has collaborated with the Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD) of the European Union (EU) for efficient export monitoring and trade facilitation.

During a meeting that took place at the Corporate Headquarters of NCS on February 27, 2024, the Comptroller General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, announced that the service is collaborating with DG TAXUD for efficiency in Export Monitoring and documentation.

With the Nigeria Customs Service as the competent authority for rules of origin, the Comptroller General assured that the Service will do all it can to facilitate the process, adding that peace will prevail if trade is permitted to flourish.

Inflation rates soar in Cameroon’s major cities, exceeding the Cemac threshold (INS) (Business in Cameroon)

Consumer price levels in nine out of the ten major cities in Cameroon exceeded the Cemac threshold of 3% in January 2024, according to reports by the national stats agency INS. Remarkably, Bamenda, the regional capital of the Northwest, despite facing attacks by separatist militias, recorded an inflation rate of just 3% in January 2024, year-on-year.

Ngaoundéré experienced the highest jump, with an inflation rate reaching 8% in January 2024 compared to the same month in 2023, making it the Cameroonian city with the most significant increase in household consumer prices. Other major cities also reported inflation rates of at least 5% over the same period: Yaoundé (5.1%); Douala (5.4%); Maroua in the Far North (5.5%); Buéa in the Southwest (5.4%); and Ebolowa in the South (5.7%).

Tanzania pushes for sustainable capital markets (Daily News)

DAR ES SALAAM: FINANCE Minister, Dr Mwigulu Nchemba has argued that promoting sustainable capital markets in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region is essential for fostering responsible investment and increasing access to finance for projects and businesses that align with sustainability goals.

Dr Mwigulu therefore stated that the Committee of SADC Stock Exchanges (CoSSE) is expected to play a pivotal role in advancing sustainability by facilitating dialogue, knowledge sharing and collaboration among stock exchanges, regulators, issuers, investors and other stakeholders to integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles into capital market practices and promote sustainable finance initiatives.

The minister was speaking yesterday in Dar es Salaam at the launch of a workshop on development of sustainable capital markets in the SADC region.

Ethiopian Airlines Unveils $55 Million E-Commerce Hub, Boosting Africa's Online Trade (BNN Breaking)

Addis Ababa has become the focal point of a significant leap in e-commerce logistics with Ethiopian Airlines' inauguration of a new $55 million e-commerce logistics hub. Aimed at enhancing online shopping experiences across Africa, this move signifies a major step forward in the continent's digital commerce landscape. The hub, constructed by China National Aero-Technology International Engineering Cooperation, sprawls over 15,000 square meters and boasts the capacity to manage 150,000 tonnes of goods annually.

Mesfin Tasew, the Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, emphasized the airline's commitment to adopting cutting-edge technologies and improving service delivery. The project, which took two years to complete, represents a significant investment in the future of African e-commerce. The airline's collaboration with Chinese construction and technology firms, including giants like Alibaba, underlines a strategic approach to capitalize on the burgeoning e-commerce market.

SADC Council of Ministers to meet in Luanda, Angola on 10-11 March 2024 and review progress on implementation of regional programmes (SADC)

The Council of Ministers of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will meet on 10 and 11 March 2024 in Luanda, Republic of Angola. 

His Excellency Ambassador Téte António, Minister of External Relations of the Republic of Angola will host the meeting in his capacity as the current Chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers.

The Council of Ministers oversees the function and development of SADC and ensures that policies and decisions are implemented accordingly. The Council consists of Ministers from each of the 16 SADC Member States; usually from the Ministries responsible for Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Economic Planning Finance or Trade, and meets twice a year in March, and August. 

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 . The SADC EPA states covered include Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Eswatini. The first workshop was held from 11 - 13 December 2023 in Maputo, Mozambique. Participants from both private and public sectors were taken through simulation exercises on export requirements for EU market. The private sector was represented by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Commodity Exchange and the Confederation of Economic Associations. 

Other workshops on EU market requirements for Gaborone-Botswana, Maseru-Lesotho, Windhoek-Namibia and Mbabane-Eswatini are ongoing. These workshops are targeted to the private sector within the SADC EPA region that are exporting or have the potential to export to the EU market. The aim is to support them in understanding the requirements of the EU-SADC EPA. 

This initiative is a follow-up to the work that the Secretariat has done, where booklets on EU market requirements for five  (5) sectors of export potential to the EU were produced. The sectors include dried spices, essential oils, herbal teas, vegetable oils, dried fruits and nuts. 

SADC Business Council convenes Industrialisation Forum to discuss industrial priorities and investment opportunities in the region (SADC)

The SADC Business Council (SADC BC) held the First Southern African Industrialisation Forum from 26th to 27th February 2024 at the l in Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa. The SADC Business Council is a regional apex body for the SADC private sector. It represents national and regional business associations from SADC Member States. The SADC BC is the prime public sector partner forging the SADC development and integration agenda.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration Ms Angele Makombo N’Tumba delivered the opening remarks and hailed SADC Business Council for organising the forum for business leaders to discuss industrial priorities and investment opportunities in the region.

Ms. Makombo N’Tumba said the objectives of the forum are well aligned to the SADC regional industrialisation and development agenda, encapsulated in the SADC Vision 2050 and the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP 2020-2030), which are the strategic documents for SADC regional integration and development.

African Development Bank approves $150 million Regional Trade Finance Unfunded Risk Participation Agreement facility for Eastern and Southern African Trade & Development Bank (TDB) (AfDB)

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a $150 million Trade Finance Unfunded Risk Participation Agreement facility between the African Development Bank and Trade & Development Bank (TDB). The agreement is expected to boost intra-Africa trade, promote regional integration and contribute to the reduction of the trade finance gap in Africa, in line with the aspirations of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

African Development Bank will provide guarantee cover of 50% and up to 75% for transactions in low-income countries and transition states on a risk share basis with TDB to a number of qualifying local and regional banks in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) region, which are active in the trade finance sector. The facility is expected to support about $1.8 billion of trade over the next three years.

“Supporting trade in Africa is a key priority for the AfDB. Trade finance is an important driver of economic growth and is critical for cross-border trade particularly in emerging markets,” said Nwabufo Nnenna, the group’s Director General for the Eastern Africa region. “We are delighted to work with TDB, a strong partner with extensive knowledge and network in Africa, on a shared ambition to support the region’s Trade.”

AfDB's Akinwumi Adesina Targets Youth Unemployment, Poverty to Curb Insecurity, Migration in Africa (BNN Breaking)

During a recent diplomatic luncheon in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), highlighted the critical issues of youth unemployment and poverty as primary drivers of insecurity and migration across the African continent. Stressing the importance of creating opportunities within Africa, Adesina unveiled the bank's ambitious Jobs for Youth in Africa strategy, aiming to develop 25 million jobs and skill 50 million youths.

With Africa's demographic asset of 477 million young people under the age of 35, the AfDB is taking significant steps to prevent this potential from becoming a "global externality." The bank's Jobs for Youth in Africa strategy has already shown promising results, with 12 million jobs created, three million directly and nine million indirectly. Initiatives such as Technical and Vocational Training, Computer Coding for Employment, and the Enable Youth programme in agriculture are at the forefront of this employment drive, aiming to harness the continent's vast potential for growth and innovation.

UNECA Urges African Nations to Tackle Climate Change, Boost Green Economies (BNN Breaking)

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has put forth a strong call for African countries to unite in their efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change and to steer towards the development of green economies. This clarion call was made during the UNECA's Conference of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (COM2024), held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, from February 28 to March 5, under the theme "Financing the Transition to Inclusive Green Economies in Africa: Imperatives, opportunities, and policy options".

Antonio Pedro, the deputy executive secretary of UNECA, highlighted the disproportionate challenges that climate change poses to the African continent, including severe droughts, floods, and unexpected storms. These natural disasters not only precipitate humanitarian crises but also exacerbate economic vulnerabilities across the continent. Pedro underscored the urgent need for Africa to adopt sustainable transitions and implement long-term structural changes to combat these environmental threats effectively.

EAC Eyes New Trade Frontiers: UK, UAE, Among Others, Following EPA Setback (BNN Breaking)

Following the breakdown of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU), the East African Community (EAC) is turning its gaze towards new horizons. At least seven nations, including the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Singapore, and Pakistan, have expressed interest in forging free trade agreements with the EAC, signaling a potential shift in the bloc's trade dynamics and partnerships.

In the wake of the unfruitful negotiations with the EU, the EAC is keen on diversifying its trade relationships to bolster its economic prospects. The 43rd Meeting of the Sectoral Council of Trade, Industry, Finance, and Investment marked a significant milestone, with the EAC ministers green-lighting negotiations for Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with the UK, UAE, Pakistan, and Singapore. This move not only demonstrates the EAC's proactive stance in expanding its market reach but also its adaptability in the face of geopolitical and economic shifts. The council's directive to initiate dialogues with these countries by July 30, 2024, underscores the urgency and priority accorded to these negotiations.

EU lawmakers endorse economic partnership agreement with Kenya (The East African)

Kenya has inched closer to concluding a preferential trade deal with European Union (EU), preserving a long-term tax-free access of exports to the 27 countries in the bloc while gradually opening up her market for duty-free imports and investments from Europe.

The European Parliament on Thursday endorsed the pact, paving the way for heads of State and government to give final approval and complete the ratification process on the EU side.

Kenyan lawmakers have also to debate and approve the document for it to become enforceable.

EU gives EUR 1 million to support trade know-how in developing economies and LDCs (WTO)

The European Union is contributing EUR 1 million (about CHF 950,000) over the period 2024-2025 to finance training programmes for government officials from developing economies, including least-developed countries (LDCs). The contribution to the WTO Global Trust Fund will help developing economies and LDCs deepen their expertise on WTO issues and strengthen their skillset to effectively implement trade rules at the WTO.

The Global Trust Fund finances around 280 activities a year, mostly tailor-made training activities delivered at national and regional level, covering various trade-related areas including agriculture, services and trade facilitation. Close to 2,800 activities have been organised under this fund over more than 20 years.

The European Commission's Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, said during the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference  held from 26 to 29 February in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: "The EU remains strongly committed to the WTO and to further integrating developing countries — especially least-developed countries — into the multilateral trading system. We are pleased to continue supporting their economic development through the WTO. We believe our financial contribution is particularly timely in view of the current need for enhancing multilateral trade governance."

India pitches re-examination of customs duties moratorium on e-commerce (The Economic Times, Indian Times)

India on Thursday pitched for a re-examination of the implications of the customs duties moratorium on e-commerce for developing and least developed member nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) amid attempts by the developed countries to extend the moratorium beyond March 31.

The issue came up for discussion during a session of a work programme on e-commerce at the WTO's 13th Ministerial Conference, which entered its last day on Thursday. India is not in favour of extending the moratorium as it is causing tariff revenue losses of an estimated $10 billion to the developing countries every year. For India, the losses could be about $500 million every year. The moratorium can't be extended in the absence of a consensus decision. Countries can choose not to raise duties on e-commerce transmissions, said officials.


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