Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Scorching heat raises SA food inflation risk (The Herald)

Dryer and hotter-than-usual weather across South Africa’s main summer crop growing regions is hurting the outlook for the key corn harvest and raising risks for higher food-price inflation, according to a farm-industry group. “The major risks to consumer food inflation in South Africa in 2024 will primarily be white maize products,” Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist at the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa said. “We see upside risks in maize prices and grain products in the consumer food inflation basket.”

The South African central bank is closely watching food prices as it assesses if it can safely start lowering interest rates later this year. It has repeatedly flagged the risk that El Niño-induced weather patterns may have on inflation.

“While farmers have managed to expand planting areas relative to the previous season, yields are expected to be poor and suffer from heat damage and a lack of rainfall,” Sihlobo said.

Kenya dairy imports from Uganda nearly triples to $210m (The East African)

Kenya’s dairy imports from Uganda nearly tripled in the year to June 2023, driven by increased production in the East African neighbour as well as a growth in demand from processors in Kenya. The dairy products include butter, cheese, ghee, ultra-heat-treated (UHT) milk, yoghurt, and milk powder.

Data from the Uganda Dairy Development Authority (DDA), which is the regulator of the dairy sub-sector, shows the country exported dairy worth Ush810.56 billion (Ksh29.2 billion - $210.83 million) to Kenya during the period. This translates to 83 percent of the total dairy products sold by Uganda during the period, cementing Kenya’s position as the country’s largest dairy market by far.

“Dairy exports have been increasing over time except for the financial year 2020/21 which showed a drop due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, in the last financial year 2022/23 there was a sharp increase in the value of exports by about 158 percent,” said DDA. The jump in dairy imports from Uganda comes despite the restrictions that Kenya has put on the importation of some dairy products from its neighbour.

Rwanda, Tanzania commit to stronger trade, energy ties (The New Times)

Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Vincent Biruta, and his Tanzanian counterpart, January Makamba, committed to boosting the two countries’ bilateral ties in various sectors including trade, energy and infrastructure.

The two ministers made the commitment in Kigali on Tuesday, March 12 during a press briefing that followed bilateral engagement between their delegations. Makamba, who is in Rwanda for a four-day working visit, said Tanzania would “continue to make it easier for Rwanda to use the port of Dar es Salam for its international trade.”

Mozambique lays down legislation to govern revenue from natural-gas exports (Engineering News)

Mozambique’s council of ministers approved a decree for the nation’s new sovereign wealth fund legislation, governing how one of the world’s poorest nations spends earnings from an estimated $91.7-billion in natural-gas exports in the coming decades.

Introducing the law was a key part of an economic program with the International Monetary Fund. It’s an important step in improving governance in the southeast African nation that got cut off from most international financing in 2016, when the government admitted it had borrowed more than $1-billion that it didn’t disclose to the IMF as required.

The law sees 40% of state revenues from liquefied natural-gas exports going to the fund for the first 15 years, with the rest allocated to the national budget. After that, the money will be split evenly between savings and annual spending.

Mozambique joined the elite club of LNG exporters in 2022, when a 3.4 million ton per year offshore platform sold its first shipment. Still, the nation’s much bigger onshore export projects, which companies including TotalEnergies SE and ExxonMobil Corp. plan, have suffered years-long delays as Islamic State-linked militants carried out a violent campaign in the surrounding province of Cabo Delgado.

Zim trade volume with Africa bulking (The Herald)

Zimbabwe is seeing more trade with African countries whom it had low or non-existent trade before the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This comes as shipments between Zimbabwe and African countries that hitherto did not have any trade agreements with Harare having started picking up on account of improved access to previously protected markets such as East and West Africa. South Africa is Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner.

According to the Competition and Tariff Commission (CTC), trade with countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Morocco, and Mauritania is growing, which has been attributed to the AfCFTA.

Last year, the AfCFTA launched the Guided Trade Initiative where eight countries (mainly West and East African countries) are currently participating under Phase 1 of the initiative. Ms Phiri added that the AfCFTA had been instrumental in creating access to larger markets for Zimbabwean goods as well as cheaper sources of raw materials. The bulk of the imports are raw materials, which reduces costs for the local industry.

“We can get raw materials, which our industries will beneficiate before selling to the export market and fetch more foreign currency,” she said, emphasising other benefits such as ease of doing business, greater business and trade opportunities as well as increased economic growth. “Previously protected sectors will have their tariffs reduced, for example, textiles 40 percent . . . meaning goods that previously were not able to enter the domestic market can do so as long as they meet the Rules of Origin,” she informed.

Zambia To Spearhead Regional Connectivity With The 3rd Land-Linked Conference And Exhibition (Railways Africa)

In an ambitious move to enhance regional trade and mobility, the Zambian Ministry of Transport and Logistics in conjunction with the Zambia Development Agency and industry stakeholders is set to host the third iteration of the Land-linked Zambia (LLZ) Conference and Exhibition. This key event, slated for the 4th and 5th of April 2024 in Lusaka, aims to foster dialogue and collaboration among Southern African Development Community (SADC) member countries in the advent of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).

This annual event comes on the backdrop of the recently held Lobito Corridor Private Sector Investor Forum in Lusaka and will host other port authorities from the SADC region including Beira, Dar es Salaam, Nacala, Walvis Bay, and Durban.

With the theme “Connecting Zambia and SADC by Land to Facilitate Trade, Investments, and Ease of Movement of Goods and People,” LLZ 2024 seeks to explore and solidify transport corridors and business partnerships. These efforts are geared towards ensuring seamless movement of goods and services across borders, thereby reinforcing Zambia’s role as a strategic link in the SADC and COMESA corridor networks.

India Africa Trade Council and BDAC Ghana sign MOU to boost business cooperation (Asaase Radio)

BDAC Ghana Limited, an indigenous Ghanaian strategic consulting and advisory company has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the India Africa Trade Council (IATC) to strengthen business relations between the two entities and to develop reciprocal cooperation between India and Ghana through BDAC Ghana Limited.

The MOU was signed in Accra on Monday, 11 March 2024 at the end of a working visit of a 12-member IATC delegation to Ghana. The new IATC and BDAC partnership will, among other things, seek to identify avenues of business opportunities in various sectors of the Ghanaian economy and that of the rest of Africa, to facilitate the exploration of the opportunities by their (IATC and BDAC) respective clients.

Report to facilitate innovation exchange and trade between UK-Africa launched (The Business & Financial Times)

A new report to guide the formation and implementation of the proposed UK-Africa Innovation Trust Corridor (ITC) to facilitate the transparent, secure and demonstrable exchange of research and innovation outputs between the United Kingdom and its African Commonwealth nations has been launched in Accra. The report, titled ‘Research-Based Evidence to Support the Formation of the Proposed UK-Ghana Innovation Trust Corridor (ITC)’, was unveiled at the maiden Africa Research and Innovation Commercialization Summit (ARICS 2024), held in Accra.

The UK-Africa Innovation Trust Corridor establishes the infrastructure and protocols for innovation co-creation, innovation trade, protecting intellectual property rights, knowledge transfer, and shared operational standards. It will also foster a robust regime for research and innovation commercialisation within and across nations in the commonwealth, with the United Kingdom being the initial anchor region.

Another report launched concurrently with the ITC was the Trajectorial Discovery of Ghana’s Innovation and Value Chain Map (IMVCM), which explored and mapped Ghana’s innovation market and value chain.

The IMVCM, co-authored by Mr. Derrydean Dadzie and Dr. Gordon Adomdza, is a tool that helps ecosystem actors understand and improve the innovation landscape and market in Ghana. It outlines the journey from research intent to market through utilisation to disposal. The report recommended effective coordination among supporting entities to ensure the relevance and sustainability of research and innovation activities in Ghana. It also suggested that transforming research into marketable products would require addressing funding and resource constraints.

Nigeria reopens land, air borders with Niger, lifts other sanctions (Premium Times)

Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu has ordered the lifting of all sanctions imposed on neighbouring Niger following the coup there. Mr Tinubu gave the order on Wednesday following a decision by ECOWAS leaders to lift all sanctions on Niger, Mali and Guinea, three West African countries currently led by putschists.

According to a statement by his spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale, President Tinubu “directed the opening of Nigeria’s land and air borders with the Republic of Niger and the lifting of other sanctions against the country with immediate effect.” ECOWAS leaders last month met in Abuja where they resolved to lift all the sanctions imposed on the three countries and continue to engage in dialogue with the putschists.

Nigeria secures $1.3bn funding for rail link to Niger (The East African)

Nigeria has secured $1.3 billion in funding to complete a railway project connecting Kano, the largest city in the north, to Maradi in neighbouring Niger, the Transport Ministry said on Wednesday. The railway line will build on existing economic and social ties to boost trade and cultural cooperation between the two countries. Funding will come from a consortium led by the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), which will contribute 85 percent of the total, the Transport Ministry said in a statement.

The remaining 15 percent will be covered by the Nigerian government alongside institutions like the Africa Export-Import Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB).”The securing of $1.3 billion signifies a monumental step forward in the completion of this critical infrastructure,” Transport Ministry spokesperson Jamilu Ja’afaru said.

Africa imports 70-80% of its drugs, losing $2.6tn yearly due to ill-health - AfDB chief (The North Africa Post)

Africa imports between 70 and 80% of its medicines, according to Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), who also warned that the continent suffers an annual loss of $2.6 trillion yearly due to lack of productivity caused by ill-health.

Speaking at a recent ceremony in Lagos where he was honored with the Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership, the AfDB boss said that “Africa loses today, $2.6 trillion in lack of productivity, due to illnesses and diseases.” He also recounted how the Covid-19 pandemic exposed Africa’s weakness in the area of healthcare as the continent was caught unprepared, unprotected and left at the bottom of the ladder when it came to the distribution of vaccines. “What is not acceptable or sustainable is that today, Africa imports 70 to 80% of its medicines and produces only one per cent of its vaccines. The health security of 1.4 billion people in Africa must not be subjugated or subjected to the generosity of others.”

He then outlined several initiatives introduced by the AfDB to address Africa’s health challenges, which include a $10 billion facility to assist countries in managing the pandemic and a $3 billion program aimed at revitalizing Africa’s pharmaceutical industries. Another initiative is the recent establishment of the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation that aims to support access to proprietary technologies from global pharmaceutical companies. It is part of the effort by African health leaders to increase the manufacturing of pharmaceutical products on the continent, as all attempts to increase technology transfers haven’t gained much traction.


Regional parliament petitioned over inadequate healthcare in EAC (The New Times)

Mid-Term Review of the Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Action Plan (MNAP) 2018-2025 (AfDB)

One-Stop Border Post At Isebania-Sirare Border To Enhance EAC Integration (Kenya News Agency)

The European Union (EU) Ambassador, Mrs Henriette Geiger, has said that the EU-funded One- Stop- Border- Post at Isebania-Sirare towns along the Kenya-Tanzania Borders, will ease trade among the East Africa Community (EAC) Member States.

Geiger who paid a courtesy call to the Migori Governor, Ochilo Ayacko, Tuesday, accompanied by the Austria, Germany, Sweden and Poland Ambassadors to Kenya, encouraged the East Africa Community to emulate the European Union bloc, to strengthen the economic aspect of individual counties, to foster peace, unity and enhance free trade and movement of EAC people.

Geiger added that the free trade and economic partnership agreements between the European Union and Kenya, will enhance the trade through the duty-free access to goods and services, between Kenya and the EU.

SADC financial prospect hindered by strict visa and flying rules (Travel And Tour World)

Difficult flying rules, strict necessities of visa along with an absence of cross-industry teamwork are hindering the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) financial prospect. This was the categorical note from aviation specialists at the latest Southern African Industrialization Forum (SAIF) which happened in Sandton.

Natalia Rosa, the head of SADC Business Council Tourism Alliance said that they can exchange dialogue regarding a free trade zone and provincial incorporation, but if people and goods can’t move capably, it’s all just meaningless assurances. She said that the present state of flying in SADC is a colossal own objective for their economies.

Panelists stressed on threats that airlines, stakeholders and tourists face within the region: Governing blockages, Visa limitations, and Restricted cooperation.

SADC launches Approved Natural Resources and Wildlife Frameworks (SADC)

In a groundbreaking workshop held on 13 March, 2024 in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) launched its approved Natural Resources and Wildlife Frameworks, setting the stage for collaborative implementation in the region.

The SADC Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration, Ms. Angele Makombo N’tumba highlighted the significance of the frameworks aligned with the SADC vision, focusing on key pillars of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan. High-level policies, including protocols on Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement, guide strategies for regional cooperation on sustainable utilisation of natural resources and effective protection of the environment.

Emphasizing regional integration as a necessity in conservation, the Deputy Executive Secretary called for a shared commitment to addressing challenges collectively in the region. Key strategies approved in June 2023, such as the Law Enforcement and Anti-Poaching (LEAP) Strategy, Wildlife Based Economy (WBE) Strategy Framework, Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) Programme, Multilateral Environmental (MEA) Guidelines, SADC CITES Engagement Strategy, provide blueprints for reducing wildlife crime, intertwining economic prosperity with preservation, and advocating for sustainable resource use.

Eliminate red tape to make it easier for African entrepreneurs to do business (SAnews)

Deputy President Paul Mashatile has called for the elimination of red tape to facilitate cross-border trade for African entrepreneurs. “Countries on our continent typically perform poorly in various categories related to corporate performance and competitiveness due to an unfriendly environment, particularly in terms of intra-continental trade,” the Deputy President said on Wednesday.

This is the reason he believes that countries should take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, which seeks to eliminate barriers to trade in Africa.

The country’s second-in-command was delivering a keynote address at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC+ Africa) at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. “As policymakers, we have to create an enabling environment for our entrepreneurs,” Mashatile said.

South Africa, like the rest of the continent, according to the Deputy President, needs to be strategic in increasing its competitiveness in higher-productivity trade-able commodities and services, as well as in becoming ready for a digital and environmentally friendly future. “We must recognise that there is a link between the environment, economy, and agriculture. All economic activities either affect or are affected by natural and environmental resources.”

Unpredictable Global Trade Reveals The Benefits Of AfCFTA And Intra-African Trade As South Africa Celebrates Its First AfCFTA Export To Ghana (iAfrica)

Amidst disruptions to traditional trade routes, unpredictable shipping times and soaring freight tariffs caused by the conflict in the Red Sea region, the opportunities the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement creates for the development of intra-Africa trade are becoming apparent, says Standard Bank. These opportunities would ease the pressure to import goods from the rest of the world, says Philip Myburgh, Executive Head of Trade and Africa-China, Business and Commercial Clients at the Standard Bank Group.

FAO urges more cooperation in banana sector, significant for some least developed and low-income food-deficit countries and smallholder farmers (FAO)

The 4th Global Conference of The World Banana Forum (WBF), hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), opened at FAO headquarters today to discuss an array of challenges faced by banana producers, including the impacts of the climate crisis, high energy and fertilizer costs, and the spread of the destructive Fusarium wilt Tropical Race 4 (TR4) disease.

In his opening remarks to the WBF, FAO Director-General QU Dongyu highlighted the importance of banana in several aspects: “Bananas are among the most produced, traded and consumed fruits globally, with more than 1000 varieties produced worldwide they provide vital nutrients to many populations.” Qu noted that the banana sector is particularly significant in some of the least developed and low-income food-deficit countries, where it contributes not only to household food security as a staple, but also to job creation and income generation as a cash crop. The Director-General also highlighted that he hoped that the conference would benefit smallholders the most as they continue to be a priority.

UN chief calls for global action to defend women’s rights amid disturbing trends (UN News)

Addressing the opening of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the pivotal forum dedicated to promoting and safeguarding the rights of women and girls worldwide, Secretary-General António Guterres stressed the disproportionate impact of wars on women. “In conflict zones around the globe, women and girls are suffering most from wars waged by men,” he said, urging immediate ceasefires and humanitarian aid.

Secretary-General Guterres stressed that despite evidence that women’s full participation makes peacebuilding much more effective, the number of women in decision-making roles is falling. “The facts are clear: Women lead to peace,” he said, calling for more funding and new policies to boost women’s participation and investment in women peacebuilders.

The UN chief also emphasized a growing digital gender divide, noting the dominance of men in digital technologies, particularly in Artificial Intelligence. He warned that male-dominated algorithms could perpetuate inequalities into various aspects of life, noting that women’s needs, bodies and fundamental rights are often overlooked in the design of systems by male leaders and technologists.

More global news:

G20 GDP Growth - Fourth quarter of 2023, OECD

India finally embraces trade deals as companies look past China (The Economic Times)

The State of Global Environmental Governance 2023 (IISD)


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