Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Workshop aims to provide an overview of the AfCFTA (SAnews)

South Africa’s Special Economic Zones operators and businesses are to be exposed to the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) during a workshop by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (dtic). The department will host the workshop in collaboration with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) at the IDC Auditorium in Sandton on Wednesday from 09:00 in the morning.

The six sector master plans targeted are steel and fabrication, agriculture and agro-processing, retail-clothing textile leather and footwear, automotive industry, sugar value chain and forestry. “The aim is to share export opportunities for the SEZs arising from the AfCFTA and to sensitise them on the benefits of exporting under the AfCFTA,” Mlumbi-Peter said.

South Africa formally accepts Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies (WTO)

South Africa deposited its instrument of acceptance of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies on 1 March. Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Trade and Industry, presented South Africa’s instrument of acceptance to Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the closing session of the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) taking place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Government working to address South Africa’s gas supply (SAnews)

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) is expected to present a Gas Master Plan to Cabinet this month to address gas supply in the country. This is according to DMRE Minister Gwede Mantashe, who delivered the opening address at the Africa Energy Indaba held in Cape Town.

Recent media reports have suggested that South Africa may run out of natural gas supply in 2026, which could have devastating consequences for jobs and manufacturing. In his written speech, the Minister said government has “noted concerns regarding the current and future gas supply in the South African market due to commercial disputes between Sasol and its customers”.

Kenya-EU Trade Deal Faces Headwinds Amid Green Deal Compliance Concerns (Business Daily Africa)

The free trade agreement between Kenya and Europe may encounter challenges, as it needs to address compliance issues related to the EU Green Deal. This initiative binds Kenya’s exports to sustainable production under the farm-to-folk approach, potentially impacting the perceived benefits of the agreement.

Last week, Kenya moved closer to sealing a duty and tax-free trade pact with the EU after the agreement received approval from the EU parliament. However, the European Green Deal, launched in December 2019, poses hurdles, outlining stringent policies and targets to make the EU climate-neutral by 2050.

Ruto uses back channels to ease Ethiopia, Somalia tensions (The East African)

Kenya’s President William Ruto has engaged a higher gear for back channels to ease tension between Ethiopia and Somalia, motivated by business fervor in both countries. And, from this week, both Addis and Mogadishu are expected to tone down their public rhetoric against each other, sources privy to the discussions indicated.

“The two leaders discussed ways and means to expand close partnership on a wide range of issues, including further developing bilateral economic and security ties to the benefit of both the people of Somalia and Kenya,” said a dispatch after Dr Ruto and Mr Mohamud met at State House, Nairobi.

Ethiopian Airlines rues naira devaluation, inaugurates $55m e-commerce facility (Daily Trust)

The Group Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines, Mesfin Tasew, has said the devaluation of naira has affected the airline’s cash flow management but stated that it has not affected passenger volume. Tasew said this in an interview on the sidelines of the inauguration of a state-of-the-art e-commerce cargo terminal in its hub in Addis Ababa which is a $55m investment to facilitate the development of e-commerce in Ethiopia, Africa.

The GCEO hinted about replicating the e-commerce facility outside Addis Ababa, especially Nigeria, in the near future. He said the inauguration of the e-commerce facility is a “significant breakthrough for the Ethiopian Group and the entire African economy. “We have implemented high-end technologies in the infrastructure that revolutionise the way goods are transported and delivered in the e-commerce industry in Africa.

Customs opens 90-day window for vehicle import duty regularisation (Daily Trust)

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has announced the introduction of a 90-day window to facilitate the regularisation of import duties on specific vehicle categories.

“Owners of vehicles with pending customs duties or those detained due to undervaluation can apply through zonal coordinators and CAC FCT Command. However, it’s essential to note that seized and condemned vehicles are not eligible. “The valuation will follow the VIN method, and duty payments, accompanied by a 25% penalty, must adhere to import guidelines and procedures. Vehicle owners are encouraged to seize this opportunity for compliance within the specified timeframe,” Maiwada said.

The Kingdom of Lesotho streamlines border operations to facilitate trade efficiently (SADC)

The Kingdom of Lesotho validated the draft Coordinated Border Management (CBM) National Strategy which is geared at enhancing border efficiency by eliminating redundancies, duplications, and delays without compromising controls, safety and security in Maseru, Lesotho between 26 - 27 February 2024.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat, through the European Union (EU) funded SADC Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) provided technical assistance to the Kingdom of Lesotho in developing the draft CBM.

The Chairperson of the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC), Ms Malineo Seboholi, highlighted that trade facilitation is central to Lesotho’s achievement of developmental aspirations as a landlocked country.

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

“Nigeria’s economic outlook is challenging. Economic growth strengthened in the fourth quarter, with GDP growth reaching 2.8 percent in 2023. This falls slightly short of population growth dynamics. Improved oil production and an expected better harvest in the second half of the year are positive for 2024 GDP growth, which is projected to reach 3.2 percent, although high inflation, naira weakness, and policy tightening will provide headwinds.

“Recent improvements in revenue collection and oil production are encouraging. Nigeria’s low revenue mobilization constrains the government’s ability to respond to shocks and to promote long-term development. Non-oil revenue collection improved by 0.8 percent of GDP in 2023, helped by naira depreciation.”

Reassuring Investor Confidence in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) Region (Africa.com)

In a bid to safeguard foreign exchange reserves in the region, the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) imposed stricter rules on currency transfers and payments in January 2022 – a move it has been unwilling to reverse despite opposition by energy stakeholders and leaders. Recent regulation significantly impacts dollar-dominated industries – such as the oil and gas sector – and reform is imperative to regain foreign investor confidence in West African oil and gas.

The upcoming African Energy Week (AEW): Invest in African Energy conference – scheduled for November 4-8 in Cape Town – will delve into the West African region’s vulnerability caused by foreign exchange regulations. Centered around facilitating investment in African oil and gas, the event unites regional energy leaders, financial institutions and foreign investors to discuss strategies for improving business environments; facilitating cross-border deals; and reassuring investor confidence.

World Economic Situation and Prospects: March 2024 Briefing, No. 179: A current challenge to regional integration in West Africa (UN-DESA)

The generally low share of intra-African trade is often cited as evidence of a lack of effective regional integration in Africa. In the first ten months of 2023, intra-African trade accounted for only 18 per cent of Africa’s total exports and 15 per cent of African total imports. For West Africa, the share of intra-African trade stood at 21 per cent of total exports and 15 per cent of total imports. Within West Africa, the intraregional trade share stood at 14 per cent in terms of exports and 12 per cent in terms of imports.

Among West African economies, the share of intraregional trade is higher in The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. In part, this can be attributed to transit trade to the region’s landlocked countries, namely Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. Togo’s high intraregional export share (70 per cent) reflects the activities in the port of Lomé, the major transshipment centre in West Africa. The high intraregional export share of Niger (53 per cent) partly reflects transit trade activities (to Burkina Faso and Mali) but also exports of agricultural goods to Nigeria. Mali is the destination of many transit trade activities in West Africa, from Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, and Senegal.

Intra-Africa Entrepreneurship: Nurturing Africa’s economic renaissance (Nairametrics)

A wave of entrepreneurial vitality is sweeping the African continent, with more people daring to establish and nurture enterprises within and across the continent.

The African Development Bank has previously indicated that 22% of working-age people in Africa start a new business, more than anywhere else the highest rate of entrepreneurship in the world. These businesses are also innovative, with 20% of new African entrepreneurs introducing a new product or service. At the same time, funding for startups and African businesses has witnessed unprecedented growth in the last decade, albeit more muted following the aftershocks of COVID-19.

Still, this intra-Africa entrepreneurship is playing a pivotal role in creating jobs and spurring growth. As a collective, Africa could emerge as one of the world’s largest economies by 2050. Fostering its entrepreneurial spirit could be catalytic in propelling us toward this milestone.

Fifty-sixth session of the Economic Commission for Africa Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development

African countries trading more outside the continent than amongst themselves, ECA report (UNECA)

The African share of global trade remained at less than 3 per cent, driven largely by merchandise trade, an indicator that African countries continue to trade with the rest of the world more than among themselves, according to a new report on Assessment of progress on regional integration in Africa by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

Despite trade under the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area having officially started on 1 January 2021, the envisaged changes in intra-African trade are yet to appear. Intra-African trade as a share of global trade declined from 14.5 per cent in 2021 to 13.7 per cent in 2022.

COM2024: Africa is stronger together, says African Union Commission Deputy Chairperson (The New Times)

The outcome of the 56th Session of the Conference of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development opening held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, will go a long way in realizing and fostering inclusive growth and sustainable development of Africa towards achieving Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030, Monique Nsanzabaganwa, the Deputy Chairperson for the African Union Commission, said on March 4.

“Today, more than ever, we stand a better chance; to develop Africa’s productive capacities through industrialization; to harness the potential of our youth as an engine for greener economic transformation; to tap Africa’s green potential; to stem illicit financial flows and recalibrate our taxing rights; to harness the role of private sector investments and innovative financing mechanisms; and to reform the global financial architecture. However, no African country can do it alone. Africa is stronger together.”

Global system reform will help Africa (African Business)

Speaking at the official opening of the Ministerial Segment of the 56th Session of the ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Gatete said with 2.7% growth in 2023, and a projection of 2.4% in 2024, inflation at nearly 20% and 21 countries at risk of, or already in, debt distress, the future seems bleak.

But all was not lost, he said, proposing a cocktail of solutions to help the continent navigate the restricted fiscal space. “First, the global financial architecture needs to be fixed. It must work for everyone and reflect the new dynamics. In this regard, we welcome the membership of the African Union in the G20. But we need to go further!

Africa to be $2.5tr short of climate finance by 2030, UN says (Engineering News)

Africa will be $2.5-trillion short of the finance it needs to cope with climate change by 2030, a UN official said on Monday, adding that the continent has contributed the least to greenhouse gas emissions while seeing some of the worst impacts.

Africa attracts only 2% of global investments in clean energy but needs $2.8-trillion of investment in the sector by 2030, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa chief economist Hanan Morsy told a conference in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, warning against the consequences of under-funding.


pdf Overview of recent economic and social developments in Africa (512 KB)

pdf Assessment of progress on regional integration in Africa (345 KB)

pdf Issues paper: Financing the transition to inclusive green economies in Africa – imperatives, opportunities and policy options (400 KB)

Africa Taking Charge Of Its Development Agenda (AU)

The African Union is playing a leading role in improving Africa’s partnerships and refocusing them more strategically to respond to African priorities for growth and transformation as accentuated in the continent’s development blueprint, Agenda 2063. In recent months the various development partners working with the African Union, met with the AUC Chairperson and other leaders in the AU Commission (AUC), to discuss how to strengthen cooperation between them, and streamline agreed projects and activities to ensure they are delivering on “the Africa We Want”.

The following major activities took place under the different partnerships: The AU- EU Partnership; the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7) Summit; African Union – Korea; the Africa - Arab partnership; and the African Union – Eurasia Economic Commission (EEC).

Related: EU must overhaul Africa trade offer to parry China, warns MEP (EUObserver)

The African Union is weak because its members want it that way – experts call for action on its powers (The Conversation)

The African Union (AU) comes in for a lot of criticism. Most recently this is from within its own ranks. The AU Commission chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, set out his frustrations after an AU summit in February 2024. The commission is the executive organ which runs the AU’s daily activities.

Mahamat accused member states of getting in the way of the commission doing its work, and failing to match rhetoric with action: Over the last three years, 2021, 2022 and 2023, 93% of African Union decisions have not been implemented. We think many of the criticisms of the AU are justified. This is based on more than 15 years of researching its political and legal development.

Africa: A Global Food Exporter By 2050, a Myth or Reality? (Modern Diplomacy)

Africa plans to become a global food exporter by 2050, as the continent currently imports about $50 Billion worth of agricultural products per year. This goal is expected to be achieved through the AfCFTA agreement where Intra-African agricultural trade is projected to increase by 574% after the elimination of Import tariffs by 2030. By the year 2035, the total exports would increase by nearly 29 percent relatively to the baseline. Agriculture exports will experience smaller gains of 49 percent for the intra-African trade and 10 percent for the extra-Africa trade. In terms of volume, it is USD 191 Billion.

DDG Ellard gives debrief on key outcomes from MC13 and path forward (WTO)

Watch the video here: here.

EU secures results at WTO Ministerial but important work remains to reform global trade rulebook (The European Sting)

The European Commission was instrumental in brokering important outcomes at the 13th ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (MC13) that ended Friday in Abu Dhabi. Over the past months, the EU had worked for ambitious results to revitalise the WTO at a time of rising geopolitical tensions, including a comprehensive agreement on global fisheries subsidies, agriculture reform, and meaningful progress on dispute settlement. The EU regrets that, despite willingness by a large majority of WTO members, it was not possible to find compromises on these issues.

“At a time of rising geopolitical tensions and political uncertainty, I welcome that MC13 delivered some positive results for the global trading system,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade. “However, we were disappointed at the lack of breakthroughs in a number of important areas. Agreements were within reach, supported by an overwhelming majority of members, but ultimately blocked by a handful of countries – sometimes just one. The EU will continue to actively support work on a more inclusive and fit-for-purpose global trade rulebook and to show leadership and engagement. We hope all our partners will replicate this can-do approach.”

LDCs to get interim duty-free and quota-free market access after graduation (The Kathmandu Post)

During the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation that concluded in Abu Dhabi of the UAE last Friday, member countries agreed to provide duty-free and quota-free market access for a smooth and sustainable transition period for the countries that are set to graduate from least developed countries (LDCs) category. Nepal, Bangladesh and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic will formally come out of the UN-defined category, LDC, by the end of 2026 and become developing countries.

More LDCs will follow these countries. There are 45 LDCs, of which 15 are now on the path to graduation to developing countries, and 10 are WTO members. Last December, Bhutan came out of the list.

Related news:

Fractures in global trade deepen as WTO musters only a small win (The Economic Times)

WTO conference ends in division and stalemate - does the global trade body have a viable future? (The Conversation)

A 2024 guide to customs compliance and cross-border trade (Trade Finance Global)

4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4): “Charting the course toward resilient prosperity” (UN)

The 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS4) will be held in Antigua and Barbuda from 27 - 30 May 2024, under the theme “Charting the course toward resilient prosperity”. It will aim to assess the ability of small island developing States (SIDS) to achieve sustainable development, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals. The SIDS4 Conference will bring together leaders to agree on a new programme of action for SIDS with a focus on practical and impactful solutions and to forge new partnerships and cooperation at all levels. It will result in an intergovernmentally agreed, focused, forward-looking and action-oriented political outcome document.

From 15 December 2023 to 19 January 2024 a global online stakeholder consultation was held to solicit informal inputs from stakeholders related to the themes of the five interactive dialogues. A summary report is now available highlighting key messages and takeaways from the consultation.

Trade facilitation could make countries more resilient to climate impacts (Brookings)

Following the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP28, in Dubai in December 2023, two of our Brookings colleagues, Samantha Gross and Landry Signé, pointed out that the international community is failing to mobilize the resources to help countries improve their resilience to climate change. This is particularly pertinent as people in the worst affected communities are increasingly compelled to migrate in search of safety and stability. Apart from disasters and extreme weather displacing people, climate change is a “threat multiplier” that exacerbates instability, threats to security, and existing inequalities that drive people from their homes.

Given the mounting challenges of climate change, including large-scale displacement, Europe and the United States should consider extending preferential trade arrangements as an innovative policy approach to supplement the Loss and Damage Fund that was operationalized at COP28 to help the most vulnerable countries. By itself, the pledges committed to the fund are gravely insufficient to meet the actual costs of addressing climate damages and adaptation financing needs.

A Global Cash-Transfer Fund Could End Extreme Poverty (Project Syndicate)

For decades, the international community has grappled with the challenge of ending extreme poverty, which is the leading Sustainable Development Goal for 2030. Despite some progress, we remain far off track, with an estimated 700 million people still struggling to survive on less than $2.15 per day. Unlike in previous decades, however, we now have a solution that can be scaled up rapidly to accelerate the end of extreme poverty: direct cash transfers to the poorest households.

Direct transfers are powerful tools for helping individuals to take control of their lives and invest in their families’ well-being. That is why high- and middle-income countries are increasingly incorporating cash aid as a central part of their social safety nets. Still, it is estimated that less than 5% of the $200 billion spent annually on international development is allocated to cash transfers.

Gas touted as cleanest energy source in transition to sustainable fuels (Daily Maverick)

At their summit in Algiers, leaders of gas-exporting countries asserted their sovereignty over their reserves and their determination to promote the resource as affordable, accessible, sustainable and secure. The 20-member Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) gathering came three months after COP28 in Dubai declared that planetary survival depended on a transition away from fossil fuels, with a goal of ending their use by 2050. The Algiers Declaration presents gas as the cleanest source of energy in the transition from fossil to sustainable fuels.

Empowering LDCs: Harnessing STI for Economic Growth and SDGs Achievement (BNN Breaking)

Amidst the backdrop of global advancements in science, technology, and innovation (STI), the world’s 45 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) find themselves at a significant crossroads. With challenges ranging from infrastructural deficits to educational barriers, these nations struggle to harness the full potential of STI, essential for their socio-economic transformation and sustainable development. This disparity not only impedes their progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but also widens the gap between them and more developed regions, threatening to leave them further behind in the fast-paced global economy.

Accelerated by COVID and AI, Global Digital Landscape Remains Uneven (World Bank)

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about unprecedented acceleration of digital transformation across the globe – with spikes in data traffic, app usage, IT sector growth, digital business resilience, and much more. All countries saw a significant uptick in digital adoption, though the gains in low-income countries were not enough to keep the gap with high income countries from growing or to close the digital divide within their borders. In low-income countries, only one in four people are able to access the internet.

The World Bank Group’s new “Digital Progress and Trends Report 2023” provides a sweeping analysis of countries’ production and use of digital technologies – from digital jobs, digital services exports, and app development, to internet use, affordability, quality, and more. Gaps in internet speed, data traffic, and digital use are hampering digital gains for individuals and firms in low- and middle-income countries.

More action needed to tackle disinformation and enhance transparency of online platforms: OECD

As roughly half the world’s population prepares to vote in elections, a new OECD report offers the first baseline assessment of how OECD countries are upgrading their governance measures to support an environment where reliable information can thrive, prioritising freedom of expression and human rights, and sets out a policy framework for countries to address the global challenge of disinformation.

Facts not fakes: Tackling disinformation, strengthening information integrity emphasises the need for democracies to champion diverse, high-quality information spaces that support freedom of opinion and expression, along with policies that may be utilised to increase the degree of accountability and transparency of online platforms.


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