Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Infrastructure finance expert commends incoming amendments to PPP framework (Engineering News)

As government garners public comment on key proposed amendments to legislation governing public-private partnerships (PPPs), Infrastructure Finance Advisory Institute director Bongani Mankewu says the framework reform is the right course of action but needs to be free of “bureaucratic clumsiness”.

PPPs serve as channels for the importation of industrial components, and the government is left with the debt incurred in setting up the special purpose vehicle for the execution of, for example, mega infrastructure projects. Legislation, therefore, must be enacted to support the PPP framework and ensure localization and industrialisation happen.

Mankewu elaborates that, similarly, to ensure the flexibility of negotiations and the effectiveness of project execution, the PPP framework needs to be improved to remove any bureaucratic clumsiness. He believes mega infrastructure projects, which South Africa is in dire need of, need to be insulated from politics. To this end, infrastructure funds, combined with other instruments, offer the most effective insulation against political interference in executive large-scale infrastructure projects.

CEOs in Kenya bank on strong regional trade to raise profits (The East African)

The majority of Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) in Kenya view Tanzania and Uganda as key East African countries in which to grow their revenue, as they seek to make new acquisitions in the new year. A survey by consultancy firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) revealed three in ten CEOs see Tanzania (34 per cent) and Uganda (34 per cent) as important markets for their goods and services, a move that aims to increase their margins and enhance intra-EAC trade.

Heightened trade and political tensions between the East African member states threatened to erode the gains of a free market and the dividends of a united bloc for a region expected to achieve the fastest growth across Africa this year.

EAC trade is dominated by agricultural commodities, namely coffee, tobacco, cotton, rice, maize, wheat and tea. Manufactured goods (cement, petroleum, textiles, sugar, confectionery, beer, salt fats and oils, steel and steel products, paper, plastics and pharmaceuticals) are also traded across the region.

IMF Executive Board Concludes 2023 Article IV Consultation with Angola (IMF)

Angola’s economic recovery in 2021/22 was nearly halted in 2023 by a double shock in the first half of the year, as the oil sector weakened, and the debt moratorium ended. Growth is estimated at 0.5 percent for 2023, with an estimated contraction in the oil sector of 6.1 percent and softened non-oil growth at 2.9 percent. Headline inflation increased significantly in 2023, to 20.0 percent y/y at end-December, driven by the depreciation of the kwanza and cuts in fuel subsidy in mid-2023.

Economic growth is projected to recover in the near-term, supported by improved oil production and the recovery in the non-oil sector. Inflation is expected to remain temporarily elevated in 2024 and to gradually decline thereafter, as the effects of the subsidy removal and the pass-through from nominal exchange rate depreciation diminish. Meanwhile, the primary fiscal balance is expected to improve and remain positive given the expected continuation of fuel subsidy reform; lower debt service starting in 2024; and the expected recovery in growth. Downside risks to the near-term outlook include a larger-than-expected decline in global oil prices and/or domestic oil production as well as a delayed implementation of the fuel subsidy reform. Upside risks would mainly stem from higher-than-expected oil prices.

Tinubu directs Nigerian Customs to return seized food items to owners (Premium Times Nigeria)

President Bola Tinubu has directed the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to return food items that were confiscated at border communities to owners on the condition that they would be sold in the Nigerian markets to boost food sufficiency. This was disclosed Saturday by the Comptroller General of the NCS, Adewale Adeniyi, during an interface with residents of border communities in Kongolam and Mai’Adua border stations.

Mr Adeniyi hinted that the president has decided to exercise his power “according to the feelings of magnanimity that he has for Nigeria”, contrary to what the law stipulates. “In doing so, he has directed that those food items that were going out of the country that have been seized in various border areas should be returned to the owners on the condition that those goods would be sold in the Nigerian markets,” the official said.

Nigeria’s export doors open to South Africa, Rwanda, Cameroon, and Kenya (Business Insider Africa)

A report seen in the Nigerian newspaper The Punch shows that by April, Nigeria would begin exporting products to some African markets under the Guided Trade Initiative of the African Continental Free Trade Area. The information was disclosed by the National Centre of AfCFTA. While trade with these countries prior to this initiative has been active, these trades have not been formal. The African Continental Free Trade Area is a free trade agreement created by 54 of the 55 African Union states, making it the world’s biggest free trade area by number of participant countries.

“We haven’t started trading in AfCFTA, we are duly going through the protocols. But recently the AfCFTA secretariat itself launched what they call the Guided Trade Initiative to get some countries to start trading outside their regional blocks,” the Executive Secretary, of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA, Olusegun Awolowo, stated.

SADC Council of Ministers discuss programmes, policies and interventions to accelerate regional integration and economic development

The Council of Ministers of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) met on 10-11 March 2024 in Luanda, Republic of Angola and deliberated on programmes, policies and interventions aimed at accelerating deeper regional integration, peace and economic development. The Council of Ministers meeting was held under the 43rd SADC Summit Theme, “Human and Financial Capital: The Key Drivers for Sustainable Industrialisation in the SADC Region”.

H.E António reiterated the call made by His Excellency João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, President of the Republic of Angola, in his acceptance speech as the SADC Chairperson in August 2023, to expedite the approval and ratification of the agreement to facilitate operationalisation of the SADC Regional Development Fund (RDF), a self-financing and revolving financing mechanism intended to sustainably support the SADC regional development projects.

SADC economic future takes flight - Aviation leaders call for liberalisation of skies (Bizcommunity)

Onerous aviation regulations, stifling visa requirements, and a lack of cross-industry collaboration are hampering the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) economic potential. This was the resounding message from aviation experts at the recent Southern African Industrialisation Forum (SAIF) held in Sandton. “We can talk about a free trade area and regional integration, but if people and goods can’t move efficiently, it’s all just empty promises,” asserted Natalia Rosa, SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance lead. “The current state of aviation in SADC is a massive goal for our economies.”

Strengthening awareness and capacity of stakeholders in Intellectual Property Rights to grow regional value chains in the SADC region (SADC)

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) defines Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) as the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds. IPRs usually give the creator an exclusive right over the use of their product or innovation for a certain period. These can be copyrights and other rights related to copyright or industrial property.

With this in mind, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) also affect activities along value chains. From pre-production to post-production, IPR determines different aspects of a value chain: Who gets access to the production process, what they produce, the production process, the location of the production, and distribution of the products.

Recognising the importance and implications of IPR on regional value chains, the SIPS programme incorporated IPR technical assistance and capacity building into activities. To date, SIPS has provided technical assistance on IPR to 25 regional private sector stakeholders in the leather value chain, ARV manufacturers, and COVID-19-relevant medical products value chains. The technical assistance ensures that stakeholders get appropriate advice on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) considerations during product development processes.

Top sectors to watch in East African Community in 2024 (The East African)

East African economies are expected to grow by 5.1 percent in 2024 and 5.7 percent in 2025 buoyed by the service, tourism and transport sectors, according to a new report. The East African Economic Outlook 2024 released by RSM Eastern Africa Consulting Ltd, an audit, tax and consulting firm, shows that the agriculture, manufacturing, financial, and infrastructure sectors grow in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda.

“The agriculture, forestry, and fishing sector registered 6.7 percent growth in Q3. The improved performance was attributed to favourable weather conditions that characterised the first three-quarters of 2023,” said Ashif Kassam, executive chairman of RSM Eastern Africa. “The service sector in both Kenya and Tanzania has been the driving force of economic growth in the region,” said John Bosco Kalisa, CEO, and the East African Business Council. “Services exports increased to 10.7 billion in 2021 from 8 billion in 2020. A significant increase by 34 percent. EAC services exports are dominated by the travel and other services categories representing more than two-thirds of total trade in services.”

The report which was presented during the EAC CEO Roundtable on Tuesday in Nairobi, says that on the economic outlook, the EAC economy has shown resilience amidst global challenges. Studies by the African Development Bank Report of 2024 point to the EAC as a region with some of the fastest growing economies. However, Kepsa is concerned with the frequent Stay of Application to the EAC Common External Tariff by EAC member states.

State, transporters lock horns over EAC vehicle load rule (The Star)

A row is brewing between transporters, shippers and the government over the implementation of the EAC vehicle load act, which limits the height of vehicles. The government, through the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has been enforcing the East African Community Vehicle Load Control Act, 2016, meant for the region.

The Act puts the maximum overall height of vehicles at 4.3 metres, unless it is an abnormal load, which is allowed, subject to the authority granting and exemption permit which gives conditions on times of travel and routes to be followed, to protect public safety and road related infrastructure.

Heavy commercial vehicles hauling containers have been breaching the rule where most 40-foot containers being used are higher than the allowed limit. Most traders prefer to use the 40-foot high cube shipping containers as they give more room to stack goods unlike general shipping units, they offer a little extra height. The regional rule has, however, not been fully enforced as authorities allowed shipping lines and transporters to continue using high cube units.

ECOWAS single currency 2027 deadline unrealistic, says WAMZ boss (Peoples Gazette Nigeria)

The director-general of West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), Olorunsola Olowofeso, says expectation for an ECOWAS single currency by 2027 is no longer realistic. He spoke against the backdrop of the recently held 48th meeting of the Committee of Governors of the Central Banks of the member-states of the WAMZ in Abuja. According to him, it is unlikely that any of the member-states will satisfy all four primary convergence criteria on a sustainable basis between 2024 and 2026.

“The quest for a single currency by WAMZ will take much longer to achieve as the convergence indicators have declined significantly. The assessment of member states’ performance reveals that, as of the end of June 2023, all member states failed to meet all the four primary convergence criteria. “The zone’s performance score declined to 29.2 per cent, compared to 41.7 per cent during the same period in 2022,” he said.

Sahel-ECOWAS impasse: Experts concerned for trade and security (GhanaWeb)

The stalemate between ECOWAS and the Sahelian countries of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger lingers on, causing further apprehension among citizens within and outside of the economic community. Recent efforts by ECOWAS demonstrate some sense of a desire to reconcile, but the question remains: has the bridge been burnt beyond repair or can it be rebuilt?

ECOWAS has lifted sanctions on travel and trade while urging the countries in question to “reconsider their decision to withdraw from ECOWAS, given the benefits that all ECOWAS Member States and their citizens enjoy for being part of the Community,” citing socio-economic, political, security and humanitarian consequences of parting ways. Returning ECOWAS to the fervor of its early years would not be easy; but, regional and security proponents believe it is a worthwhile endeavor.

‘Collaboration, integration critical to growing intra-Africa trade’ (The Guardian Nigeria)

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Achile Sime, SL Financial, and Managing Partner of Epena Law, Johanna Monthe, have said that collaboration and integration are critical to growing intra Africa trade, which the continent must be deliberate about.

Speaking at the Francophone Africa Business Summit (FABS) themed “Investing in Francophone Africa: Playbook and Opportunities,” they said eliminating barriers against trade and entrepreneurship are important steps that Africa must take to grow intra trade, stating that it is vital that African countries grow trade among themselves. The summit called for a review of obnoxious policies that inhibit trade, free movement of people within the continent to encourage SMEs, entrepreneurship and trade.

Women in cross-border trade violated (CAJ News Africa)

Women participating in informal cross-border trade (ICBT) within some Southern African countries are bearing the brunt of gender-based violence and economic exploitation. This has impeded women’s ability to exercise their human rights in the context of decent work.

Amnesty International has reported the violations, in a new report that accuses the governments of Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe for failing to protect these women. The report, “Cross-border is our livelihood, it is our job” details how women working in ICBT in these countries frequently face physical assault, sexual harassment and intimidation, which is often perpetrated by state officials, including border authorities. Women also face violence from non-state actors.

“The vulnerability of women in informal employment to diverse forms of abuse, combined with restricted access to justice, highlights a glaring gap in state protection,” said Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.

CSW68: African Union Ministerial Consultation Meeting (AU)

The African Union Ministers in charge of Gender and Women’s Affairs will converge for a Consultation Meeting in the sidelines of the Sixty-Eighth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68), which will take place from 11 to 22 March 2024, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA.

The WGYD of the AU Commission takes part in the annual Sessions of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) to ensure the integration of the Africa Common Position (CAP) on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in global decision-making processes. The priority theme is: Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective.

ECOSOCC holds working session with PAP on the Free movement Protocol (AU)

The African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) held a joint working session with Pan African Parliament (PAP) on the Continental Free Movement Protocol. The working session brought together Members of Parliament from AU member states serving on the PAP Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigration. 

The Protocol was adopted in 2018 by the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government to be co-implemented alongside the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Despite its critical importance in operationalizing it, only four-member states have ratified the Protocol out of the 15 ratifications needed for it to go into force. ECOSOCC has launched the Parliamentary outreach campaign in partnership with PAP to advocate for the full ratification and domestication of this important Protocol.

pdf Protocol to the Abuja Treaty Free Movement of Persons Right of Residence and Establishment, adopted 29 January 2018 (3.80 MB)

Advancing Climate-Smart Agriculture Technologies in Africa (World Bank)

The World Bank Board of Directors today approved an additional $40 million in IDA grants to the Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa project (AICCRA), a significant step towards advancing climate-smart agriculture (CSA) technologies and addressing critical gaps in climate resilience and food security in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Senegal, and Zambia.

The new financing, allocated to CGIAR centers through the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), will facilitate the validation and dissemination of CSA technologies and methods in the beneficiary countries, which represent various agro-ecological zones vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. With this operation, farmers and livestock keepers will be equipped to predict and prepare for climate-related events more effectively, along with improved access to climate advisories directly connected to actionable response measures. This will enable communities to protect their livelihoods and the environment more successfully.

Irrigation in Africa can boost production by 50 percent (The Exchange Africa)

Irrigation in Africa has the potential to essentially double agricultural productivity, boosting output by up to 50 per cent. This optimistic evaluation is provided by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). However, even with this potential, FAO shares concerns that it is vastly underutilized, with agriculture in Africa remaining predominantly rain-fed. According to FAO data, the area under irrigation in Africa currently makes up just 6 percent of the total cultivated area. “While nearly 40 per cent of the world’s agricultural production comes from irrigated land, the figure for sub-Saharan Africa is only 10 per cent,” FAO laments. In Sub-Saharan Africa, irrigation is a key factor in achieving food security.

US committed to deepening trade ties, investing in SA economy (Daily Maverick)

We recognise a simple truth: economic growth in Africa is good for the global economy, including the American economy. That’s why the United States is committed to deepening trade ties, investing in the South African economy, and fostering people-to-people relationships among our citizens, businesses, and universities. By deepening our trade partnership, rebuilding our infrastructure, and securing reliable energy, South Africa and the United States can unlock the potential of both our citizens and economies.

At the heart of our relationship is the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), our mutually beneficial economic partnership. South Africa has become America’s largest trading partner in Africa, with over $20-billion of two-way trade of goods. More than 600 American businesses now operate in South Africa. Ford has invested more than $1-billion in producing cars in South Africa, manufacturing companies like General Electric are setting up shop, and financial firms like Visa have also grown their footprint.

Why U.S Govt is investing in the health and wealth of Africa’s livestock (The Independent Uganda)

Corporate Council on Africa Appoints Distinguished Business Leaders to its Board of Directors

Fractures in Global Trade Deepen as WTO Musters Only a Small Win (Bloomberg)

How sustainability and geopolitics shape foreign investment policies (UNCTAD)

UNCTAD’s latest Investment Policy Monitor, published on 29 February, uncovers how policies have evolved globally over the last two decades, when it comes to promoting and regulating outward foreign direct investment (OFDI). The report shows 79% of developed countries, where OFDI traditionally originated, have introduced promotion initiatives, which are increasingly focused on advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Based on a review of legislation and promotional strategies in 194 economies, the report spotlights a shift “from liberalization to regulation” in countries’ approach to OFDI amid rising geopolitical tensions. Over the past decade, restrictions surged across developed and developing ones alike, in part driven by efforts to comply with anti-money laundering standards, as well as national security interests linked to sensitive economic sectors.


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