Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

MSC South Africa Inaugurates MEDLOG Cold Store Facility, revolutionizing trade dynamics in the region (FreshPlaza)

The MSC Group operates various entities including Mediterranean Shipping Company, Mediterranean Shipping Depot, MSC Logistics (MEDLOG), MSC Technical and Shosholoza Operations. The breadth of MSC’s presence is reflected in its extensive network here, with six offices strategically located in Durban, Cape Town, East London, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria.

MSC continues its journey in the region, opening a state-of-the-art 15,000-metre cold storage facility, also in Durban. The enormous cold store, part of MSC’s MEDLOG logistics division, promises to catalyse advancements in the handling of perishable goods in South Africa and beyond, and will open up the country’s trade landscape.

An inaugural event for the cold storage facility took place on 7 March, 2024, attended by MSC CEO, Soren Toft, with the presence of government officials, industry partners, clients and MSC personnel. Mr Toft gave a keynote address highlighting the impact of the new facility as part of South Africa’s bright economic trajectory.

Cabinet welcomes AfCFTA Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade (SAnews)

Cabinet says it welcomes the African Union Assembly’s adoption of key protocols and decisions affecting the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). “These included the first-ever Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade, as well as Protocols on Investment and on Digital Trade,” said Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni. The Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade aims to promote sustainable and inclusive socioeconomic development, provide equal opportunity for women and youth in intra-Africa trade, and the structural transformation of African economies.

In addition, Ntshavheni said the Executive noted the outcome of the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). They also welcomed the acceptance by the WTO of South Africa’s instrument of ratification of the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement.

On the other hand, Ntshavheni said the Executive noted with concern a number of key development goals of African countries were not concluded after opposition from larger and developed economies. “These relate to policy space for industrialisation by developing countries, an agriculture agreement that provides greater access to developed country markets and opportunities for farmers in the global south, further measures to avoid over-fishing and steps to roll back unilateral and unjustified green protectionism measures such as the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) of the European Union,” the Minister said.

TNPA seeks to unlock land value through big leasing offer across seven ports (Engineering News)

South Africa’s State-owned Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has released tenders for nearly 100 leasing opportunities across seven of its sea ports in line with a real estate strategy that aims to unlock the economic value of the land within the ports.

At 26 a piece, the Ports of Cape Town and Durban have the most leases on offer, followed by 24 at the Port of Richards Bay, 11 at the Port of Port Elizabeth, six for the Port of Saldanha, four at the Port of Mossel Bay and two for the Port of East London. The primary lease term ranges between a period of one to 15 years, and included in the request for proposals (RFP) documents are facilities and land that TNPA says could be repurposed for industrial and recreational purposes, along with vacant office buildings.

“While these leasing opportunities allow TNPA to fully optimise the use of land within the ports, they undoubtedly present an untapped opportunity for the business to unlock the future of South Africa’s trade economy whilst opening up the market for new entrants,” acting GM for commercial services Dr Dineo Mazibuko said in a statement.

South Africa and Namibia Set To Build $377million Transport Infrastructure Fund (Nairametrics)

Namibia and South Africa are set to launch transport infrastructure projects worth over $377 million over the next three years to address current rail and port inadequacies. The news was made public when the Namibian Executive Director for the Ministry of Finance and Public Enterprises, Titus Ndove told CNBC Africa that his office was preparing an initial R2bn for the project which aims to link the two nations and other parts of South Africa.

Speaking at the second annual Ninety-one Infrastructure Forum, Mr Ndove told delegates that it was vital South Africa resolve its logistics and port crisis by investing in Key infrastructure. “Most of our goods- about 70% of them coming from South Africa- move on the road and that has complications in the form of high maintenance costs for the roads. Sometimes we transport dangerous goods, which ideally, we want to get them off the road and carry on the rail.”

Zambia records positive ICT growth in 2023 (CGTN Africa)

Zambia’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector recorded positive growth last year, the country’s telecommunications regulator said Wednesday. The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) said the various sub-sectors of ICT recorded positive growth in 2023 compared to 2022 due to increased investments in the sector.

Hanford Chaaba, ZICTA corporate communications manager, said in a statement that among the subsectors that recorded positive growth are active mobile cellular subscriptions, which increased to 21.1 million in 2023 from 19.8 million in 2022, and the total number of internet subscriptions, which increased to 12.6 million in 2023 from 11.1 million in 2022, reflecting a growth rate of 12.7 percent.

Trade between Tanzania and India is set to break its record (Business Insider Africa)

Mr. Manoj Verma, an official of the Indian High Commission in Tanzania announced during the Tanzania/India Business Forum during the weekend, as seen in the Tanzanian newspaper, The Citizen that trade between India and Tanzania is on track to surpass $7 billion. He also noted that Tanzania at this rate would become India’s largest trading partner in Africa.

“Our bilateral trade is set to cross $7 billion this year,” he said. “This has become possible due to favorable policies bolstering trade,” he added. The Indian official revealed that India has become the top destination for Tanzanian exports, thanks to the duty-free scheme initiated by India. The scheme ensures that over 90% of Tanzanian goods entering India are duty-free. “In fact as per Indian statistics, India is the number one destination for Tanzanian exports. It is undoubtedly the best trade partner for Tanzania,” Mr. Manoj Verma stated.

From White Gold to a Brighter Future - A Model for Sustainable Development in Burkina Faso (Islamic Development Bank)

Nestled in the heart of West Africa, Burkina Faso pulsates with the rhythm of cotton production. Lush fields stretching towards the horizon are meticulously tended by families whose lives have been interwoven with this precious crop, “white gold,” for generations.

Beyond its national pride, cotton is the lifeblood of countless rural communities, providing not just export earnings but a vital source of income and stability for millions. Recognizing this significance, the Burkina Faso government joined hands with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), the trade arm of the IsDB Group, to weave a remarkable story of partnership and progress.

While statistics boast of cotton as the nation’s second-highest source of export revenue, a deeper look reveals the even more impactful human story. A staggering 15-20% of the workforce relies on cotton, translating to millions depending on this crop for their very livelihood, considering many families have five or more members.

Despite its economic importance, the sector faced significant challenges. Delays in payments to farmers created financial insecurity and hindered investment in farms and families. Additionally, limited access to export markets restricted growth and development. The need for a comprehensive solution became apparent.

‘Gov’t does not intend to regulate prices of food commodities’ (The Point)

The minister for Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, Baboucarr Ousmaila Joof has told National Assembly Members (NAMs) that the government has no plans of regulating prices of rice, oil and sugar as such measures would only be counterproductive. “Price control is against the principle of a free market system and has not ensured price stability in the economy according to the evidence, but rather leads to hoarding and shortage of goods and services in economies,” he told deputies.

The Trade minister noted that The Gambia maintains a free market economy policy and the liberal trading environment where prices of goods and services are determined by market forces. However, he added the government is aware and conscious of their responsibility to ensure that consumers are not exploited through market failures including anti-competitive practices.

Nigerian Government Launch $2 Billion Initiative to Connect 774 Local Government Areas with Fiber Optic Network (Innovation Village)

The Federal Government revealed on Wednesday its plan to launch a $2 billion fund aimed at connecting all of Nigeria’s 774 local government areas through fiber optics. Spearheaded by the Ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, the initiative seeks to enhance internet connectivity nationwide.

According to Dr. Bosun Tijani, the Minister of aCommunications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, the project received pledges from various institutions, including a commitment of $200 million from the African Development Bank. Other donors include the World Bank, the African Export and Import Bank, and the United States Export and Import Bank.

The expansion of Nigeria’s broadband access aligns with the Ministry’s vision outlined in a white paper published in January 2024. The document emphasises the importance of deploying fiber optic cables across the country to achieve a 70 percent broadband penetration target by 2025.

Niger eyes April for first oil export with the completion of 110,000 b/d Benin pipeline (Business Insider Africa)

The initial shipment of crude oil was anticipated to be exported in January, as announced by the military leader of the country, Abdourahamane Tiani, via state television. The relaxation of sanctions on junta-led Niger by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in February, seven months after a military coup, allowed China National Petroleum Corporation to complete construction of the 2,000 km pipeline and crude was flowing through the conduit last week, sources said.

Benin is part of the ECOWAS regional bloc which placed sanctions on Niger, preventing important equipment from crossing the border between the two countries. This led to delays in the completion of the Niger-Benin pipeline project, with some pump stations awaiting the arrival of equipment held up in Benin.

France proposes EU ban on exports of used clothes (The East African)

French Environment Ministry told Reuters on Thursday that Paris is proposing a European Union (EU) ban on exports of used clothes as governments look for new ways to tackle the worsening problem of textile waste.

UN trade data shows the EU exported 1.4 million metric tons of used textiles in 2022, more than twice as much as in 2000. The clothes can cause pollution in African countries where items that can’t be resold end up in dumps, the EU has said. In total, Europe produces 5.2 million tons of clothing and footwear waste every year, according to the European Commission. “Africa must no longer be the dustbin of fast-fashion,” France’s Environment Ministry said in a statement to Reuters.

EALA tasks regional authorities on cross-border trade (New Vision)

EALA Speaker, Joseph Ntakirutimana and his team observed a stakeholders’ engagement session to hear first-hand the challenges facing cross-border trade in the East African Community (EAC) region. By addressing the concerns stakeholders raise, the EALA seeks to strengthen regional trade relations, improve economic growth, and enhance the overall welfare of East African communities.

Inept African ports miss chance as Red Sea attacks reroute ships (Engineering News)

Africa’s inefficient and aging ports are hampering the continent’s chances of capitalizing on a surge in ship traffic that’s avoiding attacks by Houthi rebels through the Red Sea, logistics experts said.

The number of vessels sailing around the southern tip of Africa is up 85% from the first half of December, when the Iran-backed, Yemen-based terrorists intensified their attacks on ships, according to Clarksons Research. Some of the biggest beneficiaries are ports in South Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, and Namibia, all of which have seen volumes rise, manufacturing and logistics company Fictiv said.

“However, most ports in Africa are inefficient and not in the best condition to be able to fully realize all the benefits,” said Vinny Licata, Fictiv’s head of logistics. “This is could be a real opportunity for Africa, but several ports were already congested due to inefficiencies. Investments are needed to enable them to compete.”

Currently, Africa accounts for about 6% of global maritime trade, despite approximately 90% of its imports and exports being transported by sea, according to Freight Right Global Logistics Chief Executive Officer and Founder Robert Khachatryan.

Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger hint at a new west African currency: what it’ll take for it to succeed (The Conversation)

On 11 February 2024, the head of Niger’s ruling military junta, General Abdourahmane Tiani, spoke of the possible creation of a common currency with Burkina Faso and Mali. “The currency is a first step toward breaking free from the legacy of colonisation,” he said on national TV, referring to the CFA franc inherited from French colonisation.

Thierno Thioune, an expert on monetary policies and unions between west African states, analyses the potential implications and feasibility of launching a new currency for the AES member countries.

First, macroeconomic and budgetary policies must be closely coordinated. Rigorous harmonisation of economic and budgetary policies between participating countries is imperative to guarantee the stability of the currency’s value and prevent trade imbalances. This will help maintain the confidence of economic players and promote regional growth.

Third, creating an integrated common market is vital. The unrestricted flow of goods, services, capital and labour is key to driving economic growth and enhancing regional cooperation. The current framework provided by the West African Economic and Monetary Union offers a significant advantage in this regard.

Create conducive environment for women under AfCFTA - GNCCI to government (Graphic)

The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI) has called on the government and other relevant organisations to create a conducive environment for women and youth businesses to thrive under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The National Treasurer of GNCCI, Dr Emelia Assiakwa, said women entrepreneurs and traders dominated the private sector, with approximately 44 per cent of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Ghana being owned by them. In spite of this, she indicated that women still encountered many challenges such as trade facilities, inadequate capital and production resources.

African countries strategise to boost diamond trade (Tanzania Daily News)

The African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA) member states have deliberated on strategies to augment the worth of rough diamonds and collaborate in the mineral markets rather than depending solely on markets beyond Africa. The agenda has been considered during the Council of Ministers’ 9th African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA) ordinary meeting, which started on Tuesday and is scheduled to end today in Zimbabwe.

Opening the meeting, Mines and Mining Development Minister, Zhemu Soda, who chairs ADPA on behalf of Zimbabwe, said: “We have had challenges during our time, as you might be aware; that is, when the G7 countries intended to come up with their protocol on how diamonds are to be segregated and how they will be traded or marketed, which was opposed to what they had been obtaining previously.

The 9th African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA) ordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers has begun amid calls for member states to harmonise diamond policies and enhance the sharing of ideas to realise value from the natural resource.

GITEX Africa 2024 to unveil new digital economy blueprint (The Exchange)

This year, thousands of investors and entrepreneurs are converging in Marrakech, Morocco, for GITEX Africa, a signature tech and start-up expo that is poised to define the next phase of the continent’s digital economy. The show, now in its second edition, comes under the Patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI of the Kingdom of Morocco. GITEX Africa, which is scheduled from 29-31 May 2024, is organised under the authority of the Moroccan Ministry of Digital Transition and Administration Reform and hosted by the Digital Development Agency (ADD).

When Dr Ghita Mezzour, the Moroccan Minister of Digital Transition met with organisers in Morocco, he said: “The success of the 1st edition of GITEX Africa Morocco highlights our continent’s enthusiastic embrace of the digital revolution and Morocco’s commitment to strengthen South-South cooperation in the digital field, as well as its contribution to the international promotion of the African continent in accordance with the High Royal Vision of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God assist Him.”

“The global community is experiencing the growing energy, curiosity and demand for digital advancement from Africa which is outpacing that of matured developed continents,” explains Trixie LohMirmand, CEO of KAOUN International, organiser of GITEX Africa and World Future Health Africa. Trixie adds: “This sequel of GITEX Africa this year follows the upbeat trend of tech discovery we created last year in its inaugural edition.

South Africa’s VP wants urgency to grow Africa’s digital economy (ITWeb Africa)

South African Deputy President Paul Mashatile has urged policymakers to lay the groundwork for Africa’s digital economy. This, he said, entails enhancing digital infrastructure, digital skills, cybersecurity capabilities, and affordable and accessible data. Mashatile was a keynote speaker at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress Africa (GEC+Africa) in Cape Town, South Africa.

“We need to do more to implement the African Union’s Digital Transformation Agenda, adopted at its Summit of Heads of State in February 2019. We must ensure that by 2030, every individual, business, and government on the continent will be digitally enabled and ready to support a growing digital economy,” he said. According to Mashatile, “Africa is a continent overflowing with untapped potential, a hub of innovation and invention waiting to be re-awakened.”

Sixth Africa Climate Resilient Investment Summit (ACRIS VI) (UNECA)

The Sixth Africa Climate Resilient Investment Summit (ACRIS VI) ends today in Kigali Rwanda. ACRIS is a flagship event of the Africa Climate Resilient Investment Facility (AFRI-RES) – a joint initiative of the Economic Commission for Africa, the African Union Commission, and the World Bank with initial funding support from the Nordic Development Fund (NDF). AFRI-RES supports African countries and infrastructure project developers with tools and capacities for integrating climate resilience in investments in key sectors, including agriculture, energy, water, transport, cities and ecosystems.

ACRIS VI, under the theme of ‘Advancing Adaptation in Africa’, brought together stakeholders from governments, international organizations, the private sector, civil society, and academia to discuss strategies and opportunities for investing in climate-resilient infrastructure in key sector.

In her opening remarks, Dr Claudine Uwera, Minister of State for the Environment in the Ministry of Environment of Rwanda in her welcome and opening remarks stressed that “…to effectively address the negative impacts of climate change now and in the future, climate change adaptation strategies need to be integrated into wider national policies and planning processes – adaptation cannot stand in isolation, and climate resilience would not be achieved with only good policies and financial investments but also effective collaborations, knowledge and experience sharing and a strong collective commitment to action”.

Kenya: Global Conference Opens to Promote Food Safety (teleSUR)

On Tuesday, a five-day global conference to promote food safety around the world opened in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. The 54th Session of the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene brought together more than 200 participants, including representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), as well as senior government officials, to review ways to eliminate foodborne disease hazards.

In his opening remarks, Mithika Linturi, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, said food safety is key to achieving several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including zero hunger, health and well-being, clean water and sanitation, and responsible production. “Without food safety, the Sustainable Development Goals will not be met,” Linturi said, calling for sustained investment in regulatory frameworks, laboratory capabilities and monitoring systems in order to enhance food safety.

Reduce Resource Use Growth While Growing Economy: UNEP Report (IISD)

The UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) International Resource Panel (IRP) has published the second edition of its Global Resources Outlook. The report argues that for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to succeed, better resource management is essential, and provides recommendations to “bend the trend” on material extraction and use.

Themed, ‘Bend the Trend: Pathways to a Liveable Planet as Resource Use Spikes,’ Global Resources Outlook 2024 warns that material use has tripled over the last 50 years and continues to increase, driving the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. With resource use projected to go up 60% from 2020 levels by 2060, unsustainable levels of production and consumption could derail efforts to achieve much of the 2030 Agenda.

According to Global Resources Outlook 2024, high-income countries use six times more materials and generate ten times more climate impacts than low-income countries.

New initiative aims to curb the toxic impacts of agriculture (UN Environment)

The governments of Ecuador, India, Kenya, Laos, Philippines, Uruguay, and Vietnam have come together to launch a $379 million initiative to combat pollution from the use of pesticides and plastics in agriculture. Chemicals play a crucial role in farming, with nearly 4 billion tons of pesticides and 12 billion kg of agricultural plastics used every year.

Despite their benefits for food yields, these chemicals pose significant risks to human health and the environment. As many as 11,000 people die from the toxic effects of pesticides annually, and chemical residues can degrade ecosystems, diminishing soil health and farmers’ resilience to climate change. The opening burning of agricultural plastics also contributes to an air pollution crisis that causes one in nine deaths worldwide.

Rich countries attain record human development, but half of the poorest have gone backwards, finds UN Development Programme (UNDP)

Uneven development progress is leaving the poorest behind, exacerbating inequality, and stoking political polarization on a global scale. The result is a dangerous gridlock that must be urgently tackled through collective action, according to a new report released today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The 2023/24 Human Development Report (HDR), titled “Breaking the Gridlock: Reimagining cooperation in a polarized world”, reveals a troubling trend: the rebound in the global Human Development Index (HDI) – a summary measure reflecting a country’s Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, education, and life expectancy – has been partial, incomplete, and unequal.

DDG Ellard & fisheries subsidies negotiations chair share next steps at World Ocean Summit (WTO)

DDG Ellard said: “The WTO’s Fisheries Subsidies Agreement will materially improve the health and sustainability of the world’s fisheries by prohibiting the worst forms of subsidies. I call on WTO members to complete their domestic procedures, allowing the Agreement to take effect and benefit the lives of 260 million people around the globe who depend on fisheries for food, income and employment.”

Seventy-one WTO members have formally accepted the Agreement and a further 39 formal acceptances are needed for the Agreement to come into effect. The Agreement will enter into force upon acceptance of its legal instrument by two-thirds of the membership.

BRICS+ and the Global South Collaboration: Problems and Prospects (Modern Diplomacy)

In recent years, there has been a growing trend towards collaboration among countries in the Global South, with BRICS+ emerging as a key player in this movement. BRICS+, consisting of the original BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and now includes countries such as Argentina, Indonesia, Mexico, South Korea, and Turkey, has the potential to drive significant economic growth and development in the region. However, there are also challenges that must be addressed in order to fully realize the potential benefits of this collaboration.

One of the key problems facing BRICS+ and the Global South collaboration is the diversity of the countries involved. While this diversity can be a source of strength, it can also create challenges in terms of aligning priorities and interests. Differences in political systems, economic structures, and cultural norms can make it difficult for countries to work together effectively. Additionally, the members of BRICS+ vary significantly in terms of their level of economic development and political influence, which can further complicate efforts to create a cohesive alliance.

Another challenge facing BRICS+ is the unequal distribution of power within the group. Despite these challenges, there are also many reasons to be optimistic about the prospects for BRICS+ and the Global South collaboration. By pooling their resources and expertise, these countries have the potential to drive economic growth, promote innovation, and address shared challenges.

BRICS+: Membership Would Serve Nigeria Well - Prof. Ijoma (TV360 Nigeria)

BRICS building bloc in Africa (ALB)

Quick links

Unleashing the Power of Intra-African Trade: A Path to Prosperity for West Africa (CNBC Africa)

What to expect at the 2024 global inclusive growth summit 107242 (Devex)

Op-ed: Africa’s agency in a time of governance disillusionment (UNDP)


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