Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Automotive demand for platinum expected to hit seven-year high this year (Engineering News)

This year could potentially turn out to be quite an interesting year for platinum as a commodity and also as an investment, with the 2023 platinum market deficit of 878 000 oz forecast to be followed by a 2024 deficit of 418 000 oz.

In addition to automotive demand being poised to reach the seven-year-high figure of 3 297 000 oz, demand for platinum from stationary fuel cells and electrolysers is set to rise by more than 120%, amid green hydrogen projects getting under way in Europe, following oversubscribed auctions, and also in North America, where the Inflation Reduction Act is stimulating widespread development.

Contrasting sharply with this are the two substantial consecutive yearly platinum supply deficits, plus a seeming momentous decline in above-ground stocks, which is kindling hopes of a much-needed price rise.

Treasury urged to fast track harmonization of custom and excise duty of ethanol in EAC bloc (Capital News)

The National Treasury has been urged to speed up the harmonization of customs and excise duty on ethanol in the East Africa Community (EAC) region to protect Kenyans from exploitation by unscrupulous dealers and traders. Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki on Wednesday called on the Njuguna Ndung’u-led Ministry to complete the process within 45 days.

Kindiki added that the Kenya Bureau of Standards shall within 45 days ensure that all industrial ethanol is denatured or marked with a denaturing agent (denatonium benzoate) to prevent diversion and/or the accidental use of industrial ethanol in alcohol manufacture. He disclosed that within 60 days, the National Treasury shall conclude taxation proposals for the incorporation of a model of taxation based on alcohol content.

Botswana pushes for exemption of citizens from Kenya’s eTA (CGTN Africa)

Botswana will soon engage Kenya to lobby for the exemption of its citizens from the East African country’s electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) requirement. Botswanan President Mokgweetsi Masisi said on Monday that the eTA, a semi-automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to Kenya, has imposed unexpected costs on some Botswanan citizens wishing to travel to Kenya.

Vertical market linkage favors Ethiopia’s coffee: Authority (ENA)

Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority (ECTA) disclosed that the vertical coffee market linkage is benefiting farmers, export associations, and coffee suppliers thereby avoiding manipulators. Authority Director General Adugna Debela (PhD) told The Ethiopian Press Agency (EPA) that the Authority is working on alternative approaches to legal coffee producers and suppliers in order to benefit them and the country sustainably as well.

The Authority secured 620 million USD from coffee export of the planned 1.75 billion USD to be achieved this fiscal year, he said, adding that the Authority is working hard to achieve its target utilizing the suitable season. He further stated that 80% of the coffee pruning that has been carrying out on 500,000 hectares is achieved. Adugna expressed that the pruning is significantly helpful to increase the productivity and production of coffee by three folds whereas improving the quality by 30 % to 40 %. The effort has paid off as the international coffee market was reduced last year by 32 % while the quality of Ethiopian coffee increased by 18 %.

He remembered that the vertical coffee market linkage was commenced three years ago and gained merely 700 million USD whilst the authority secured 1.42 billion USD from exported 300,000 tons of coffee in 2022.

New Reports Identify Pathways to Build a Climate-Smart Economy in Zimbabwe (World Bank)

Zimbabwe remains vulnerable to climatic shocks and without adaptation, climate change will impose high costs on the economy, getting progressively larger over time, and this could cost nearly 5 percent of GDP annually by 2050.

The Zimbabwe Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) and the Country Private Sector Diagnostic Report (CPSD) reports launched recently by the World Bank point to Zimbabwe’s abundant natural capital (mineral and renewable) as key to driving the country’s growth potential. Furthermore, leveraging the private sector to build a climate-smart resilient economy could reap dividends for the country that has significant opportunities in several key value chains such as agribusiness, tourism, and green minerals mining.

Women inclusion in politics, governance essential for Nigeria’s sustainable development (Tribune Online)

The European Union (EU) Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Samuela Isopi, has emphasised that women’s active participation in decision-making and politics is an essential factor in helping Nigeria achieve equality, sustainable development, peace, and democracy. She noted that while women have the fundamental right to participate in political life, most of them still face numerous social, cultural, and financial challenges.

Therefore, she reminded stakeholders, especially the National Assembly, that the ongoing constitution reform process presents Nigeria with a unique opportunity to join the league of progressive nations in promoting gender parity through the adoption of a legal framework that discourages discrimination based on gender.

US, Morocco Sign Action Plan to Boost Cooperation Against Climate Challenges (Morocco World News)

Morocco and the US signed the fourth cooperation action plan for 2024-2027 as part of the two countries’ determination to continue to work to achieve environmental and sustainable development goals. The action plan covers priority areas, including environmental laws and regulations as well as climate change, green growth, economy as well as environmental education.

Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development Leila Benali signed the agreement with US ambassador to Morocco Puneet Talwar today, in an effort to strengthen actions towards the achievement of sustainable, national objectives in line with the new development model. In a press statement, Benali expressed satisfaction with the signing of the agreement, stressing that the aim is to strengthen cooperation relations between the two countries in terms of biodiversity, environmental protection, and energy transition.

Africa Needs A Transcontinental Trade Adjustment And Facilitation Fund (Forbes)

The debate about establishment of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) unveiled in 2019 has focused on a core—and for now—the most visible elements of the agreement: African governments’ commitments to reduce trade policy barriers—mostly import tariffs—on goods traded among the 54 countries on the continent.

Unfortunately, Africa’s leaders have paid less attention to the reform of two equally important corollary measures to establish modern continent-wide institutions and administrative rules: (i) those that facilitate or otherwise enhance consistency of regulatory protocols governing cross-border commerce—an “African Transcontinental Trade Facilitation Fund” to enable uniformity and implementation of licensing protocols, and (ii) those that cushion the impacts from closure or relocation of African firms as well as the layoff, retraining or relocation of workers—an “African Transcontinental Trade Adjustment Assistance Fund.”

Global Players Exploring Opportunities Within African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) (Modern Diplomacy)

The scramble for the multidimensional control of the African continent by global players is a geopolitical reality. In order to be part of this geopolitical arena, foreign players have been devising different mechanisms for revitalizing partnership and strengthening cooperation with Africa, says Dr. Babafemi A. Badejo.

Many foreign players and investors are now looking forward to exploring several opportunities in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), he adds. With an array of economic activities undertaken currently in various sectors, building media network is one of the instruments for consolidating their influence, and broadly boost the understanding of their corporate interest, products’ image and business services among the large spectrum of the population.

During this interview, Professor Babafemi A. Badejo says Russia needs a comprehensive African agenda and a well-defined approach with its economic diplomacy, it has to take hyperbolic steps in raising its economic influence in Africa.

African countries should unite on the reform of the global financial architecture (UNECA)

The 56th Conference of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (COM2024) closed in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe with a consensus that African countries should with one voice, advocate for the reform of the global financial architecture for it to be fit for purpose and serve Africa’s development priorities.

The ministers also called upon countries to develop instruments and institutions that can bridge the technology gap and develop innovative financing mechanisms that can work for Africa with the right governance frameworks.

Claver Gatete UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) said the resolution adopted on tax cooperation is important as it will help countries strengthen domestic resource mobilization and prepare for the Financing for Development Conference that will take place in 2025.

In addition to the need for increased financing, they said, there is a need for more effective policy and regulatory frameworks to help to close development and climate finance gaps in Africa, and that a supportive policy environment for scaling up renewable energy.

Closing Remarks by Mr. Claver Gatete at the 56th session of the Economic Commission for Africa and Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development

Miga sticks by €349mn guarantee for African trade finance (Global Trade Review)

The World Bank’s investment guarantee agency has renewed €349mn in cover for a Standard Chartered-led loan to the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB), which will be used to finance trade transactions. The guarantee replaces one Miga issued for the first time in 2020 for €358.9mn with a tenor of up to ten years, although original lenders MUFG and SMBC are no longer participating, according to a Miga spokesperson.

Miga says in a statement that the funding will support TDB’s trade finance operations and help close the African trade finance gap, which the African Development Bank (AfDB) estimated to be US$81.8bn in 2019 and has likely grown since.

The EAC wants to become a “Political Confederation”. What could this mean? (tralac)

The media recently reported that the process of transforming the EAC into a political confederation “is in progress”. Certain recommendations have already been made by a “Committee of Experts” tasked with drafting a model constitution for the EAC confederation. This Confederation will apparently have its own institutions, officials, and funds. It would deal directly with Partner States rather than EAC citizens. The Confederal authority will, however, have the right to suspend or expel a member state that violates the confederal constitution.”

These matters require careful negotiations about demarcating powers between the member states and confederal authorities. Specific legal instruments will have to be drafted, be ratified by the Partner States, and gradually implemented. They will have to be aligned to existing EAC institutions, such as the Legislative Assembly and the East African Court of Justice. This will take time and cautious statecraft; African States treasure their sovereignty.

SADC tackles impediments in the SPS management system of SADC EPA Member States

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat convened a five-day capacity-building workshop in the Kingdom of Lesotho from 4-8 March 2024 aimed at enhancing capacity on food safety principles and promoting general awareness on sanitary requirements that are needed for participating in exporting food products and agriculture commodities in the European Union (EU) market.

Agriculture is one of the sectors that benefits extensively from the improved market access under the EU SADC EPA particularly sugar, dairy products, canned fruits, flowers and fisheries. Mr. Lebusetsa Pholosi, Programme Officer, EPA Unit at the SADC Secretariat highlighted that the EU grants 100 percent duty-free quota-free access for products originating from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, and Mozambique and removes customs duties on 98.7% of imports coming from South Africa.

African Seed Trade Members Meet to Boost Seed Adoption, Distribution (Voice of America)

More than 350 delegates from governments, research institutions and seed production companies are gathering in Kenya this week to address challenges in getting good-quality seeds to African farmers. Experts say the lack of good seeds is hampering food production across the continent and contributing to the hunger crisis in many countries.

According to U.N. agencies, more than 280 million people in Africa are food insecure, with over a billion unable to afford healthy diets. One of the problems is that quality seeds are inaccessible to many African farmers, leading to higher rates of crop failure.

Charles Miller, a board member of the African Seeds Trade Association, says countries would benefit if they harmonized their policies so seeds could be shipped across borders with no issues.

WTO asks African nations to improve quality of shea butter to boost exports (The Cable)

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) says the shea butter market is expected to reach about $850 million by the end of 2027. Delivering a virtual address at the 2024 shea annual conference organised by the Global Shea Alliance in Abuja, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director-general of the WTO, said it is crucial to look at the shea value chain beyond farming and processing for butter.

Agricultural Trade between North Africa and the EU in Times of Crisis (Transnational Institute)

Despite the noticeable growth in agricultural trade volumes between North Africa and the EU, stubborn issues such as food insecurity, escalating poverty and hunger rates, widening social and gender inequality, and the degradation and exhaustion of vital natural resources persist. These challenges undermine the region’s stride towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This unequal exchange becomes clear when we look at the nature of the products exported from Tunisia and Egypt to Europe. Since then, trade with the EU has steadily increased with European markets accounting for 70.9% of Tunisia’s exports in 2022.

UNCTAD chief: Fractured world in crisis demands ‘immediate action’ from G20

At a record high of $92 trillion, global public debt poses not only financial challenges but also a development crisis, UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan told a meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) held in Brazil on 29 February.

The G20, which comprises the world’s major economies, has three priorities for 2024 under the Brazilian presidency: fighting poverty and hunger, the energy transition and sustainable development, and governance reform. A lead speaker before the bloc’s finance ministers and central bank heads, the UNCTAD chief urged comprehensive and immediate efforts to address the systematic barriers in the international financial architecture, including the reform of the G20’s Common Framework on debt restructuring and relief.

BRICS pursues de-dollarisation with blockchain-based payments (The Paypers)

The five-nation BRICS group comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa will work on creating a payment system based on blockchain and digital technologies, a report by Russian news agency TASS said. BRICS officials emphasised the importance of establishing an autonomous BRICS payment system, leveraging cutting-edge tools like digital technologies and blockchain. The priority is to ensure convenience for governments, individuals, and businesses, along with cost-effectiveness and non-political influences.

Gen AI, sustainability, monetisation key themes of 2024 TMT predictions (Engineering News)

Generative artificial intelligence (AI), sustainability and monetisation have emerged as three key themes in the 2024 edition of advisory firm Deloitte’s ‘Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions’ report. The TMT report outlines 19 global trends for 2024, grouped into four categories or themes, namely generative AI; sustainability; media, entertainment and sports; and telecoms and technology, said Deloitte Global TMT research head Paul Lee.

“The first four predictions all focus on generative AI, and these are four disparate but all intimate themes, and with every technology, our underlying question is, would it monetise and if so, how?”

More global trade news:

Global Challenges Must Be Tackled Collectively (Voice of America)

Shaping an inclusive digital economy (China Daily)

Trade, sustainability and climate: What is at stake 30 years after WTO’s creation? (WTO Blog)


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