Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Transport infrastructure foundation for economic development in Africa, says Mashatile (SAnews)

Deputy President Paul Mashatile has described transport infrastructure as the cornerstone of economic expansion in Africa. “We must make sure that we use the discussions and deliberations of the symposium to bring tangible collaboration on bi-national projects that will strengthen the continent and its economy,” he said on Monday. The Deputy President was speaking at the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium South Africa (SIDSSA) in Cape Town.

He said he was confident that the gathering would establish more strategic collaborations with the other African leaders. “The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement remains an important platform for us as a continent to strengthen regional integration at both an economic and cultural level.” The gathering is a platform that brings together critical role players in the infrastructure investment space to accelerate an infrastructure-led economic recovery plan. The symposium also sets the tone for collaboration and cooperation within the continent.

South Africa needs to upgrade its air cargo and related infrastructures (Engineering News)

South Africa is beginning to fall behind other African countries, when it comes to being a centre for air cargo, Swissport South Africa CEO Khangi Khoza has warned. She was delivering a keynote address at the Wesgro Western Cape Air Cargo Conference 2024, in Cape Town. Already, Johannesburg has lost its place as the number one air cargo hub in Africa. First place is now held by Nairobi. And Addis Ababa and Lagos were not far behind Johannesburg.

Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement would cause African air cargo volumes to almost double by 2030, she noted. South Africa could be expected to benefit from this increased intra-African trade. But this would require the upgrading of the country’s air cargo infrastructure. Regarding technology, South Africa still has a long way to go. The country is still dependent on undersea cables for telecommunications, which were, as recent events have shown, vulnerable to disruption. But the Starlink satellite-based system, for example, can not be used in South Africa.

China, Angola upgrade ties to comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership (Africanews)

Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Angolan President Joao Lourenco in Beijing on Friday. Xi extended warm welcome to Lourenco, calling him as an old friend of the Chinese people.

“China-Angola relations have withstood the test of the changing international landscape, and forged ahead, which has really benefited the people of the two countries. China-Angola cooperation is South-South cooperation, cooperation among developing countries. It is a win-win cooperation between good friends who are helping and benefiting each other. It has been 40 years since the establishment of the diplomatic relations between China and Angola. The determination of the two sides to carry forward the traditional friendship has become stronger, and the confidence in achieving common development through solidarity and cooperation has become stronger,” Xi said.

“Your Excellency President Xi, we are very grateful to China for the unique support. The economic and trade cooperation between us is very good and exemplary. There is still great development potential between our two countries, which will also benefit both of us,” said Lourenco.

DP World Vows to Continue Legal Fight Over Djibouti’s Port Terminal Share Purchase (Capital Business)

DP World, a major Dubai-based port operator, said on Tuesday it would continue its legal fight over the Doraleh Container Terminal (DCT) in Djibouti, calling the government’s recent actions a “blatant disregard for the rule of law.” The statement comes after Djibouti announced on September 10, 2023 that it would seize all shares held by the Port of Djibouti, S.A. (PDSA) in the DCT. This escalation follows a British court upholding a previous ruling by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) which deemed the concession agreement between Djibouti and DP World to be legally binding.

Stakeholders canvass more as Nigeria’s trade with ECOWAS hits N2.41tr (The Guardian Nigeria)

As Nigeria’s trade with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) hit N2.41 trillion in 2023, stakeholders have advocated increased regional commercial activities. At a two-day workshop, comprising participants from regional civil society groups, policymakers, representatives of the bloc, academics, development practitioners, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders, they maintained that trade remains the backbone of West Africa’s integration.

The event, which held in Abuja with the theme, ‘West Africa under ECOWAS Vision 2050 and the Role of Civil Society’ Head of Policy Influencing and Advocacy Unit of WACSI, Omolara Balogun listed the outcomes from the workshop to include a deeper understanding of Vision 2050, enhanced civil society commitment and ownership of the vision, as well as the identification of strategic actions to increase civil society’s contributions to its implementation.

Businesses To Get Cheap Funds As Afreximbank’s $800m FEDA Targets Nigeria Before Year End – Oramah (The Whistler Newspaper)

The President of Afreximbank and Chairman of the Board of the Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA), Professor Benedict Oramah has said that Nigeria is one of the 20 countries in the continent that will witness massive funding from FEDA. Oramah said this on Wednesday at the launch and official opening of the Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA) office in Kigali, Rwanda.

The FEDA targets a multi-sector investment strategy along the intra-African trade, value-added export development, and manufacturing value chain. Oramah noted in his keynote address how the funds under management which is about $800m have been used to reshape trade activities in the continent. He said, “FEDA is using some of these funds to create and mobilise additional funds, and it’s currently a co-promoter of a $500m African Credit Opportunity Fund

EU supports 273 CSOs in Nigeria as stakeholders worry over sustainable development (The Guardian Nigeria)

The European Union (EU) and stakeholders across civil society bodies yesterday in Abuja raised concerns over sustainable development in the country as the Agents for Citizen-driven Transformation (ACT) was brought to a close in 10 states.

Raising concerns over the current rising cost of living in Nigeria, poor governance, effective utilisation of aid amidst shrinking donor and funding support, the stakeholders, who gathered at the close out ceremony of ACT programme noted the need to address the bureaucracy in government ministries and agencies as they decried the implications on national development.

The stakeholders also insisted that unless the capacity of CSOs are strengthened, sustainable development may remain challenging in Nigeria. The ACT Programme funded by the EU and implemented by the British Council in 10 states was designed to strengthen the capacity of CSOs and to make them more impactful.

Chamber of Agribusiness blames high cost of food prices on E-Levy (MyJoyOnline)

The Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana has blamed the high cost of food prices on the Electronic Transaction Levy. According to its Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Morrison, the implementation of the E-levy has increased the cost of aggregation along the agricultural value chain, hence, stakeholders at that stage are forced to increase food prices when the products get to the urban centres.

“Due to the rising cases of robbery attacks, most traders and aggregators keep their monies on their mobile money accounts when going for produce. Assuming an aggregator goes to the rural areas to get goods from different sources, mobile money transactions will be done between the trader and the different sources which come with charges per transaction”. “So when the aggregator returns to the urban centres, they add the accumulated E-levy charges to the price on the market. This then leads to increased food prices,” he said.

Mr. Morrison therefore called on government to exclude the rural economy from paying the electronic transaction levy.

Ghana to achieve upper-middle-income country status in the next four years if… (NORVANREPORTS.COM)

Ghana, the second-largest economy in West Africa is likely to achieve an upper-middle-income country status by 2028 if it can maintain a gross domestic product growth rate of 6% with a steady 1.9% population growth rate over the next four years. This is a projection by Economist and Political Risk Analyst, Dr Theo Acheampong.

In a short missive, Dr. Acheampong noted that Ghana has to do a consistent 7% per annum growth rate to get anywhere close to $5,000 GDP per capita mark. Currently, Ghana has a GDP per capita of $2,176 with a GDP growth rate of 1.5% and a population growth rate of 2.1% with the country’s nominal population figure being 31.8 million.

Afreximbank to Help Enhance Liberia’s Development (Liberian Observer)

Eric Monchu Intong Regional Chief Operating Officer, Anglophone West Africa, Afreximbank, has said that the bank is here to ensure collaborative efforts with public and private institutions to enhance trade and infrastructural development in Liberia.

Despite substantial investments in the country already in major national infrastructures, Intong disclosed that Afreximbank stands ready to partner with the public and private sectors of Liberia in advancing development through trade promotion, trade facilitation, and trade financing, in line with the Bank’s mandate.

The continental bank’s Regional Chief Operating Officer, Anglophone West Africa, spoke at the opening of the second edition of the AFREXIMBANK Liberia TRADE ROADSHOW held on Tuesday, March 19. Meant to enhance the capacity of financial institutions in Liberia, the event was organized by Afreximbank and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. It was held at the EJS Ministerial Complex under the theme: “Advancing Economic Development in Liberia through Trade.”

CEMAC at 30: Absence of harmonized trade policies among drawbacks (Cameroon Radio Television)

As the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) celebrates 30 years of existence, economic and international relations experts say the absence of harmonized trade policies is one of setbacks to subregional integration.

Experts say CEMAC is the least integrated economic block Africa with a current trade volume of only 4%. CEMAC member states are said to carry out 80% of business transactions with external business partners likes China, Russia and European partners. Thus, leaving the block with a significantly low intra-community trade volume. Political tensions and security concerns are among major challenges to trade and subregional integration within the subregion.

“Lack of harmonization of trade policies and regulations between CEMAC countries creates an uncertainty, and makes it difficult for these countries to increase their inter-trade volume. Secondly, there are inefficient custom and border procedures and tariff barriers that make it difficult for these countries to increase their bilateral trade volumes and benefit from sub regional integration” Dr. Neba Ridley Ngwa, expert in International Relations told CRTV Web.

IMF Executive Board Concludes 2024 Discussions on Common Policies of Member Countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (IMF)

The WAEMU has proved resilient amid significant adverse shocks, maintaining strong growth estimated at 5.1 percent in 2023. Inflation has fallen rapidly from its 2022 peaks and is now back within the 1-3 percent target range. External reserves continued to fall significantly in 2023, by about US$2.6 billion, or to about 3.3 months of imports, although they rebounded by US$1.8 billion in January. Against the background, the central bank raised interest rates by a cumulative 150 basis points over 2022-2023, and limited the amount of bank refinancing.

Growth is projected to rise to about 6.8 percent in 2024-2025, due to the start of new hydrocarbon production, and hover near 6 percent in the longer term. Fiscal consolidation would proceed in 2024 and bring the deficit back to 3 percent of GDP in most member countries in 2025.The completion of these hydrocarbon projects, together with fiscal consolidation, would lead to a quick narrowing of the current account deficit, and contribute to a gradual rebuilding of external reserves The region remains subject to downside risks, including to the regional security situation and political uncertainty.

How Africa Trades (LSE Press)

Trade is an essential driver of economic transformation, growth, and prosperity. At a time of global uncertainty and policy fluidity, this comprehensive volume demystifies African trade and trade policy to provide a deeper understanding of how trade impacts the lives of all Africans and the continent’s development aspirations.

Featuring a wealth of data-driven evaluations of trade negotiations and policy choices, How Africa Trades is an invaluable open access resource for making sense of the continent’s major trade challenges, including commodity dependence, competitiveness, and how African countries engage with often unconducive international trade rules that distort global markets.

In-depth analysis focuses on intra-African trade initiatives, including the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), trade between African countries and their major trading partners, and how the short-term shocks of Covid-19 restrictions brought about longer-term changes in informal and formal trade patterns, and sped-up shifts in digital trade.

1.3 billion AFCFTA market agreement kicks off (The Patriot On Sunday)

The Ministry of Trade and Industry is pleased to announce that trade under preferential terms of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) can commence from the 1st April, 2024. This follows the publication of the Tariff Concessions and Rules of Origin for imports from participating AfCFTA members in the Government Gazzette Extraordinary of 8th March,2024.

The commencement of trading under this landmark Agreement provides the Private Sector with market access to the larger African market of 1.3 billion and will stimulate industrial development, investment and job creation which are in line with Botswana’s Vision 2036. This will result in wider and increased market access for Botswana’s exports in the African continent. The Private Sector will also access a wide range of inputs or raw materials from the continent at competitive prices. The Agreement also supports growth of Women and Youth owned businesses.

In preparation for trading under the AfCFTA Agreement from the 1st April 2024, companies that wish to trade under the Agreement are invited to contact the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) to be assisted in putting together administrative requirements for trading. Women and Youth businesses that are ready to trade in the continent are especially encouraged to register to trade under the Agreement.

Global cooperation is stalling – but new trade pacts show collaboration is still possible. Here are 6 to know about (WEF)

The complex challenges that face the world today – conflict, the climate crisis and economic challenges – all require cooperation to overcome. It won’t have escaped your attention, however, that globally, cooperation and collaboration are being eroded and being replaced by competition, adding to the difficulty of bringing stability to a world in turmoil.

“Heightened competition and conflict appear to be replacing cooperation. The result is that new power dynamics, changing demographic realities and breakthrough frontier technologies are raising the temperature on long-simmering distrust rather than fueling opportunities for benefit.”

While there is doubtless cause for concern at the current state of global mistrust – there is also room for optimism. The Global Cooperation Barometer uses a number of metrics to assess the state of global cooperation – and trade is bucking the wider downward trend.

The report concludes that “cooperation is multifaceted and can coexist with competition”. Proof of this comes in the form of a raft of recently agreed trade deals that demonstrate that cooperation is still possible in fractious times.

Experts meet in Kenya to boost climate finance in Africa (Capital Business)

Experts began a two-day meeting in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on Tuesday to discuss ways to increase climate finance in Africa. The first Climate Change Global Business Summit on Africa brought together more than 200 participants from the United Nations, the African Development Bank (AfDB), and senior government and private sector officials from across Africa to increase the amount of funding dedicated to climate change mitigation and adaptation in the region.

Winnie Chepkemoi Mutai, the AfDB’s climate finance specialist, said Africa receives climate finance amounting to about 250 billion U.S. dollars annually, which is about 10 percent of the figure required to combat climate change. Multilateral development finance institutions should strengthen their role in de-risking green projects to make it more attractive for domestic and international private sector players to enter the green space.

Charting a sustainable future with electric mobility revolution in Africa (The Standard)

In a continent marked by rapid urbanisation and an increasing focus on sustainable development, Africa’s electric mobility sector stands at the forefront of a transformative era. As cities across the continent flourish, grappling with environmental challenges and the demands of growing populations, electric vehicles (EVs) offer a beacon of hope, promising cleaner, more efficient, and sustainable urban transport solutions.

We had a conversation with Olivia Lamenya, General Manager of Ebee Africa, who shared her insights on the evolution of the electric mobility sector in Africa. She delved into the driving forces behind this change, the critical role of African governments, the transformative potential of electric bicycles in urban settings, the barriers to adopting electric mobility solutions, and the game-changing impact of technological innovation in this sector. She sheds light on a future where African cities are not just coping with growth but are thriving through sustainable and innovative mobility solutions.

ICT experts meet in Nairobi to discuss building trust in digital economy (KBC)

ICT industry stakeholders drawn from different countries are meeting in Nairobi to discuss ways of unlocking digital trust, a move that could see more opportunities being realised within the digital economy. During a two-day 2024 National Public Key Infrastructure Forum hosted by the Communications Authority of Kenya, experts from Uganda, Cameroon, India, Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa, and Ghana are discussing the need for developing standards that can enable the consumption of digital innovations in a secure way across the borders.

Themed Building Trust in a Digital World: The Future of the NPKI, the forum which started on Tuesday serves as a pivotal platform for relevant licensees in the ICT industry, such as the ICT Authority, whose role is to issue digital certification subscribers to government agencies.

“Building a secure digital superhighway means that we can create an environment in which Kenya’s digital economy thrives and our citizens derive value in the immense possibilities in the digital space,” added PS Kisiang’ani.

India Africa Trade Council, BDAC Ghana sign MOU to boost cooperation (Graphic)

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 and develop reciprocal cooperation between India and Ghana through BDAC Ghana Limited.

The new partnership aims to identify business opportunities in various sectors of the Ghanaian economy and the broader African region. It will facilitate the exploration of these opportunities by their respective clients. The Trade Commissioner of IATC and leader of the delegation, Dr. Chetna Ilpate expressed strong interest in investing in key sectors of the Ghanaian economy, including health and pharmaceuticals, agro-processing, tourism, mining, and energy.

Nigeria contemplates BRICS membership (The Business & Financial Times)

President, Global Migration Research Institute (GMRI), Professor Williams Ijoma, has said it is time Nigeria joined the league of nations in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) bloc to rescue Nigeria from the clutch of poverty and open opportunities for rapid development, according to the report in Guardian newspaper.

He spoke at a one-day summit on BRICS themed ‘BRICS + and Global South: Problems and Prospects’ organized by Upriver Needy’s Empirical Solution Centre (UNESCO), Foundation in partnership with the Universal Migration Enlightment Centre (UMEC) in Abuja, Nigeria. “BRICS is a very important organization that will enhance the economy of Nigeria because Nigeria has got all it takes to be a world power. We have the raw materials and we have the human resources and I believe that joining BRICS will boost Nigeria’s economy,” he said at the summit.

Related news:

Saudi Arabia Gives Update on Joining BRICS Alliance (Watcher Guru)

Presidents of Russia and Iran agreed on further co-ordination of countries’ actions in BRICS and SCO (TV BRICS)

Russian grain chief says BRICS exchange idea gaining traction (Nasdaq)

A Russian idea backed by President Vladimir Putin for a BRICS grain exchange that would allow buyers to purchase directly from producers is gaining traction ahead of summit of the group in October, the head of the Russian Union of Grain Exporters said.

China and India are the world’s biggest wheat producers and Russia the biggest exporter of the grain so any exchange based on the BRICS grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa as well as Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran and United Arab Emirates would have global clout.

Eduard Zernin, head of the Russian Union of Grain Exporters (Rusgrain), told Reuters that he hoped organizational issues regarding the exchange should be resolved by this year’s planned BRICS summit in the Russian city of Kazan.

Zernin said the main problem with traditional commodity exchanges was that they were beholden to “speculators”, including hedge funds which trade derivatives of the commodity, and said this had led to prices below the cost of production. “We believe it is in the interest of both suppliers and buyers of real grain to eliminate such extreme volatility and add transparency and predictability to the world grain market”.

See also: Oleg Kobyakov, Director of FAO Liaison Office to Russian Federation: BRICS countries are driver of agro-industrial production (TV BRICS)

Brasil presents agendas of the Women’s Empowerment Working Group at the UN Women’s Conference (G20 Brasil)

Brazil took to the 68th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) the agendas that will be discussed with the G20 Working Group on Women’s Empowerment, coordinated by the Ministry of Women’s. The Minister of Women, Cida Gonçalves, and the First Lady, Janja Lula da Silva, as well as the Brazilian delegation, discussed Brasil’s priority issues for women in bilateral talks and meetings during the CSW program week.

The theme of Brasil’s presidency at this year’s G20 meeting is “Building a just world and a sustainable planet”, representing the commitment to more equitable governance, which places the combat against inequalities and social inclusion as a priority for countries. 2024 is the first year of the G20 Working Group on Women’s Empowerment, which will reinforce the Brazilian government’s commitment to tackling gender inequality.

Created to support the Ministries responsible for conducting gender equality policies in the G20 countries, the institutionalization of a WG on Women’s Empowerment represents the commitment made by member States with the empowerment of girls and women.

China ramps up efforts to attract foreign investment across diverse industries (Xinhua)

China has started revising the industry catalog of sectors encouraging foreign investment, the country’s top economic planner said on Wednesday. During the revision process, the National Development and Reform Commission will engage in extensive communication with foreign chambers of commerce and enterprises through field investigations and seminars, said Hua Zhong, an official of the commission.

The revision will maintain a focus on the manufacturing sector as one of the priorities for attracting foreign investment, Hua said, adding that China will step up support to advanced manufacturing, modern services, advanced technology, energy conservation and environmental protection to attract more foreign investment in these areas.

Chair briefs members on consultations regarding post-MC13 dispute settlement reform work (WTO)

The Chair of the Dispute Settlement Body, Ambassador Petter Ølberg of Norway, briefed WTO members on 19 March regarding recent consultations he had to hear delegations’ views on how to follow up on the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) decision on dispute settlement reform and on the appointment of a facilitator for the reform process. The DSB also adopted on 19 March a compliance panel report in a dispute between the European Union and the United States over US duties on imported olives from Spain.

Records smashed – new WMO climate report confirms 2023 hottest so far (UN News)

Heatwaves, floods, droughts, wildfires and rapidly intensifying tropical cyclones caused misery and mayhem, upending everyday life for millions and inflicting many billions of dollars in economic losses, according to the WMO State of the Global Climate 2023 report.

“Sirens are blaring across all major indicators... Some records aren’t just chart-topping, they’re chart-busting. And changes are speeding up,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a video message for the launch. “The scientific knowledge about climate change has existed for more than five decades, and yet we missed an entire generation of opportunity,” WMO Secretary-General Celeste Saulo said presenting the report to the media in Geneva. She urged the climate change response to be governed by the “welfare of future generations, but not the short-term economic interests”.


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