Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

$10-billion Namibian green hydrogen project receives major German boost (Engineering News)

Namibia’s first gigawatt scale green hydrogen project – the $10-billion Hyphen development scheme – this week received a major boost from Germany. The boost came in the form of the German government presenting a letter of intent to Enertrag, confirming the suitability of the project to be designated as a strategic foreign project. Hyphen Hydrogen Energy is a Namibian-registered joint venture between Enertrag and Nicholas Holdings.

Strategic foreign project designation renders projects eligible to receive targeted support ­– a status reserved for high-priority global projects of strategic interest to Germany. The project is seen as the first step of a large-scale green hydrogen industry in various regions in Namibia to support both economic growth in the Southern African country itself and to assist the world in achieving its decarbonisation goals

Hyphen and the Namibian government aim to begin construction in January 2025, with commissioning of the first phase by the end of 2026. Moreover, the Namibian government confirmed in June that it would take up a 24% equity stake in the project, which is targeting yearly production of one-million tonnes of green ammonia by 2027, and then the two-million tonnes by 2029, mostly for export.

Nigeria sustaining investments in digital technology, Tinubu tells META delegation (Premium Times Nigeria)

President Bola Tinubu says his administration is sustaining investments in digital technology to enhance the sustainability of small businesses, expand opportunities across sectors, and propel Nigeria to become the lodestar of information and communications technology in Africa. Speaking when he received a delegation from Meta Platforms Incorporated, led by Nick Clegg, former UK Deputy Prime Minister and Meta’s President of Global Affairs, at the State House in Abuja on Thursday, the president said Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind in this age of technological advancements; hence, his administration is opening up channels of opportunities in information and communications technology, deepening capacity, and fostering partnerships.

Digital platform to integrate small holder farmers in agriculture value chain (Kenya News)

Stakeholders in the Kenya Rural Transformation Centers Digital Platform (KRTCDP) project have for the last one year been collecting critical views from farmers on three key value chains of dairy, Irish potatoes and maize.

The project funded by African Development Bank (AfDB)project was launched a year ago and is being spearheaded by the Cooperative University of Kenya (CUK) to empower and integrate smallholder farmers and related stakeholders in the agriculture value chain into a digital platform.

How Rwanda will benefit from hosting Pan African Export Fund (The New Times)

The Afreximbank officially launched its domiciled Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA) in Kigali, on March 20, an impetus to the country’s positioning as a financial hub and an active participant of intra-African trade. FEDA was established to tackle Africa’s $110 billion financing gap for intra-African trade, value-added export development, and industrialization value chains.

Rwanda became the first among 15 African nations to ratify its establishment agreement, and is now hosting the $1 billion African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Adjustment Fund managed by FEDA. As the country continues to attract international financial institutions through different initiatives like the Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC), greater benefits can only be expected, with significant economic impact.

Trans-Zambezi among Africa’s safest corridors (New Era)

The Trans-Zambezi Highway officially known as the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Development Corridor (WBNLDC) is without a doubt one of the safest corridors in Africa, as it eliminates the necessity for police escorts to accompany trucks moving valuable cargo along the corridor. To maintain this status, the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) undertakes regular corridor assessments.

These were the views of WBCG CEO Mbahupu Tjivikua, who explained the economic benefits of the Trans-Zambezi highway during a recent interview with this reporter. ”Given the safety of the corridor and the fact that Namibia has the best quality roads in Africa, travellers are poised to experience the WBNLDC as not only safe but also efficient and reliable,” Tjivikua said.

He said the corridor has become one of the preferred trade routes for imports and exports in the region, consequently reducing the cost of doing business and enhancing intra-Africa trade in the region. The corridor is a major trade route linking the port of Walvis Bay in Namibia with the hinterland countries of Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Positioning the Lobito Corridor as a Model for Foreign Investment (Energy Capital & Power)

In February this year the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation announced new financing in support of the Lobito Corridor – a transnational 1,300-km railway line linking Angola’s Port of Lobito with southern DRC and north-western Zambia. The U.S. and its partners – which include the European Commission, African Development Bank and Africa Finance Corporation – have already mobilized nearly $1 billion for the project, representing the largest single US and EU investment on the African continent in recent years.

The Lobito Corridor has been uniquely able to galvanize broad international support, primarily due to its alignment with the energy transition and economic ties to US and European markets. As a result, the project serves as a finance and development model for other large-scale African infrastructure projects seeking foreign investment and participation. The upcoming Invest in African Energy (IAE) forum in Paris will unpack this model, as it aims to connect Africa’s project pipeline with global investor interest. For Africa, infrastructure deals represent some of the most strategic transactions, able to trigger a “domino effect” on local job creation and the establishment of value-added industries.

East Africa rebrands energy summit to attract investments (The Citizen)

Potential energy investments in the East African Community (EAC) region will be rebranded under a recently signed deal. The partnership is intended to bolster the key economic sector through a platform that will increase the visibility of available opportunities. The deal was signed between the EAC and EnergyNet Limited, an entity based in London that profiles energy projects in the region. The EAC deputy secretary general in charge of infrastructure, productive sectors and political affairs, Andrea Maleuth, signed on behalf of the community.

The inking of the partnership comes nearly two months after the Tanzania Energy Cooperation Summit (TECS), which took place in Arusha. The summit, organised by EnergyNet with the support of an array of donors, was aimed at wooing more energy investors to Tanzania and other eastern African states. The partnership signed in Washington during the March 5th to 6th Powering Africa Summit gave TECS more responsibilities for energy development in the region.

“Energy is a pillar for development and growth and is crucial for the functioning of the economies of the EAC partner states. “The East Africa Energy Cooperation Summit will serve as the ideal platform for advancing projects and bringing tangible changes to the industry,” Mr Maleuth said. He added that energy was a crucial sector of the regional economies and a catalyst for the EAC’s industrialization strategy for 2012–2022.

EAC blue economy drive to benefit from €28 million fish project (The Citizen)

The blue economy drive in East Africa will benefit from the 28 million Euro project through increased fish output. Ecofish, the five-year project being implemented in four economic blocs in Africa since 2019, comes to an end later this year.

“We need fish to feed our population. The fisheries sector will also boost our blue economy,” said Mr Edward Rukunya, a fisheries expert. He said this here on Thursday when addressing a steering committee meeting of the programme being implemented in various countries. Mr Rukunya, the director of fisheries with the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation (LVFO), said that through the project, fishermen will be able to increase catches.

Within the East African Community (EAC) bloc, the project is being implemented around lakes Victoria and Tanganyika. The EAC region was allocated some four million euros (Euro 2 million each) for the two lakes’ basins out of 28 million euros for the continent-wide project. According to Mr Rukunya, the Lake Victoria basin was notorious for illegal fishing in all three riparian states.

A recent report by the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) said the economic contribution of fisheries to national GDPs is only seen in raw harvests rather than in earnings. Statistics, though, show that the contribution of the fisheries sector to the partner states’ GDP has continued to increase. Currently, the sector contributes 1.75 percent to the GDP of Tanzania and 3.6 percent and 0.6 percent for Uganda and Kenya, respectively.

‘Settle all EAC partner states trade bills in local currencies’ (IPP Media)

Partner states in the East African Community (EAC) zone need to settle payments in intra-EAC trade in local currencies to mitigate the depreciation of the shilling to dollar, a regional executive has appealed. John-Bosco Kalisa, the East African Business Council (EABC) executive director, made this declaration at the CEOs roundtable meeting on East African integration and economic outlook for 2024 in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday.

East African countries mostly exceeded 5.0 percent growth levels during 2023, underscoring strong performance and diversified economies, while showing a low share of savings and tax to GDP which leads to budget deficit and higher borrowing, it cautioned

John Ulanga, the director of international trade at the Foreign Affairs ministry, noted that the EAC industrialisation strategy, transport inter-connectivity and trade facilitation are crucial elements to boosting intra-EAC and Africa-wide trade growth.

New Milestone in the AfCFTA-anchored Pharma Initiative’s engagement with Kenya’s Ministry of Health (UNECA)

The AfCFTA-anchored Pharma Initiative team of the Economic Commission for Africa convened a two-day meeting in collaboration with the Ministry of Health Kenya in Nairobi to review and provide comments on the Pooled Procurement Legal Instrument & Guiding Framework in preparation for the upcoming Ministerial Meeting to be convened by the ECA in May 2024 where the documents will be presented to the Ministers for signature and endorsement.

The deliberations resulted in concrete feedback and recommendations, that once compiled will be submitted to the ECA by the Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Kenyan Ministry of Health. On behalf of the technical team, the PS will submit the recommendations and briefs to keep the Minister of Health appraised prior to the forthcoming Ministerial Meeting of participating pilot countries.

African Development Bank co-organises conference on Environmental Financing for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development (AfDB)

The UNESCO biosphere reserve of Príncipe island was the site of the first international conference dedicated to biodiversity financing hosted by the Government of São Tomé and Príncipe, the Regional Government of Príncipe, in partnership with the United Nations and the African Development Bank.

Raising awareness of the challenges in mobilizing sustainable financing, the event held 14-15 March 2024, identified concrete mechanisms to generate additional financial flows anchored in biodiversity. It also showcased solutions that Mozambique, Rwanda, Seychelles and Cape Verde have found to attract innovative environmental finance and blended finance investments to support terrestrial (green) and marine (blue) conservation activities.

Diaspora, Climate-Induced Migration and Skills Mobility: A focus on Africa (AfDB)

The pursuit of better employment opportunities is a major drive for intra-regional migration within Africa and towards other regions outside the continent. In a post-pandemic era, it has become evident that safe, orderly, and regular migration can play a role in “building back better”. However, there is a need to strengthen capacities to gain a deeper understanding of how mobility can be optimized as a catalyst for the socio-economic recovery of an integrated Africa. When well-managed, migration can be a powerful strategy for human development and poverty reduction. It can further foster sustainable and equitable economies by introducing innovation, skills, knowledge, and remittances to both the countries of origin and destination. This dynamic can open new markets, create economic opportunities, and address labor market gaps, ultimately increasing productivity.

UNCTAD’s Global Trade Update shows encouraging signs amidst persistent challenges (UNCTAD)

After facing declines over several quarters, international trade is poised for a rebound in 2024, according to the latest Global Trade Update from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

In 2023, global trade saw a 3% contraction, equalling roughly $1 trillion, compared to the record high of $32 trillion in 2022. Despite this decline, the services sector showed resilience with a $500 billion, or 8%, increase from the previous year, while trade in goods experienced a $1.3 trillion, or 5%, decline compared to 2022.

The fourth quarter of 2023 marked a departure from previous quarters, with both merchandise and services trade stabilizing quarter-over-quarter. Developing countries, especially those in the African, East Asian and South Asian regions, experienced growth in trade during this period.

During 2023, trade performance diverged between developing and developed countries, with the former experiencing a decline of approximately 4% and the latter around 6%. South-South trade, or trade between developing economies, saw a steeper decline of about 7%. However, these trends reversed in the last quarter of 2023, with developing countries and South-South trade resuming growth while trade in developed countries remained stable.

BRICS: Egypt To Ditch The US Dollar in 2024? (Watcher Guru)

BRICS members Russia and Egypt were recently in talks as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reviewed agendas on the phone. During those talks, President al-Sisi shared his support for the newly re-nominated Russian leader and discussed multiple mutually beneficial projects. Among those plans, the new BRICS nation Egypt will look to ditch the US dollar in 2024 completely.

Egypt was one of five nations to accept an invitation to join the BRICS alliance at its 2023 summit. Subsequently, it has already firmly embraced its shift to local currency trade, ditching the US dollar. In the latest talks, the Egyptian President reinforced the country’s plan to follow Russia’s de-dollarization efforts.

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.

Global inequalities are compounded by substantial economic concentration. As referenced in the report, almost 40 percent of global trade in goods is concentrated in three or fewer countries; and in 2021 the market capitalization of each of the three largest tech companies in the world surpassed the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of more than 90 percent of countries that year.

“The widening human development gap revealed by the report shows that the two-decade trend of steadily reducing inequalities between wealthy and poor nations is now in reverse. Despite our deeply interconnected global societies, we are falling short. We must leverage our interdependence as well as our capacities to address our shared and existential challenges and ensure people’s aspirations are met,” said Achim Steiner, head of the UN Development Programme. “This gridlock carries a significant human toll. The failure of collective action to advance action on climate change, digitalization or poverty and inequality not only hinders human development but also worsens polarization and further erodes trust in people and institutions worldwide.”

STDF promotes safe trade for development in Africa on International Francophonie Day (WTO)

An event held at the WTO to mark International Francophonie Day on 20 March highlighted how compliance with sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures can foster economic growth, create jobs and promote international trade opportunities in Francophone Africa. The event was organized by the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) in partnership with the International Organization of la Francophonie (OIF), the permanent missions of Cameroon, Canada and France, and the Committee Linking Entrepreneurship, Agriculture and Development (COLEAD).

In his welcome remarks, WTO Deputy Director-General Jean-Marie Paugam said: “It is more important than ever today to provide tangible support, through the STDF, to farmers, producers, traders, and governments of developing countries to overcome disruptions in global supply chains, maintain the smooth flow of trade, and ensure that countries can continue to be competitive in global markets”.

Quick links

Uganda state oil firm begins fuel sales after Kenya fallout (The East African)

EU’s carbon border tariff can be a catalyst for intra-Africa trade (Business Daily)

Margins to centre: AU in the G20 (+1) (ORF)

Resilient and Sustainable Food Value Chain Development Training Toolkit (UNDP)

General Assembly adopts landmark resolution on artificial intelligence (UN News)


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