Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Chicken industry needs no tariff rebates because there is no shortage, Sapa stresses (Engineering News)

Executives from the South African Poultry Association (Sapa) met with Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel last week to discuss, among other matters, tariff rebates on chicken imports that were introduced as a safeguard against potential shortages on the back of bird flu outbreaks.

“We appreciate the reason that the tariff rebates were published, which is to address a potential shortage of chicken on the market. However, our data indicates that there has not been and is no shortage in the supply of chicken to the market, and thus there is no need for the rebates to continue,” Sapa Broiler Organisation GM Izaak Breitenbach explained.

South Africa faces a balancing act with China over its digital transformation (Africa at LSE)

South Africa is an African leader when it comes to digitalisation. The International Telecommunication Union ranks the country’s ICT development index at 4.96 out of 10, ranked at number 92 out of 176 countries. It boasts the highest mobile phone – 84 per cent – and internet penetration – 53 per cent – rates in Africa. The African National Congress-led government has established a Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, an area many believe the country can benefit from its connections with China to leapfrog its infrastructure gap.

Chinese tech giants like Huawei and ZTE are major players in the South African market. Despite the presence of these two digital giants, South Africa’s digital connectivity still lags with several rural schools, public health institutions and communities remain unconnected. The rollout of 4G and 5G in rural areas is proceeding at a snail’s pace. This is despite Chinese companies like Huawei partnering with telecommunications operators like Vodacom and MTN to deploy 4G and 5G networks. Yet these digital infrastructures are still to diminish the existing digital divide between rural and urban areas.

South Africa should be able to leverage Huawei’s skill set, prowess and capacity to effectively build sound digital infrastructure. But that is not happening.

WCO renders support to the Namibia Revenue Agency on Customs Valuation (WCO)

The World Customs Organization (WCO) organized a technical assistance mission on Customs valuation to benefit the Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA) from 18 to 22 March 2024. The mission was built upon previous technical assistance and capacity-building support to NamRA on Customs valuation in March 2023 and followed up on the recommendations made at the time. Cascading from this mission were policy elements such as a draft Policy on Customs valuation and Standards of Procedure (SOP).

The mission concluded with recommendations regarding the Policy related to the adjustments to be made when arriving at the Customs value. The updated Policy and SOP, as well as the other related SOPs to be developed, will be submitted to NamRA’s high-level management for approval according to the Action Plan agreed upon by the officials and according to NamRA’s internal procedures. Customs Officials and stakeholders will be made aware of the approved changes before implementing the new Policy and SOPs.

Egypt To Benefit From More Intra-Africa Trade (Global Finance Magazine)

Two recent expert reports supply evidence of Egypt’s unique potential to benefit from a more fully implemented African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. They are helping to fuel much needed optimism about the future of an economy battered by short-term geopolitical and other challenges that have led to symptoms such as 38% inflation last September.

The AfCFTA-Egypt reports come from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a Paris-based club of rich countries, and the Trade Law Centre (tralac) in Western Cape, South Africa. Both suggest that Egypt is well placed to benefit from and help advance AfCFTA. “Egypt has what it takes to play a key role,” said Landry Signé, senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, and professor at the Thunderbird School of Management, a business school in the United States. “For SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) and larger companies, there are opportunities everywhere.”

WCO Capacity Building Programmes join forces with the Tanzania Revenue Authority to advance the effective implementation of the AEO Programme (WCO)

WCO Anti-Corruption & Integrity Promotion (A-CIP) and Sida WCO Trade Facilitation and Customs Modernization (TFCM) Programmes organized on 18-22 March 2024, a series of workshops in Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar & Holili, in the United Republic of Tanzania in cooperation with the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA). The workshops aimed to raise awareness of the Authorized Economic Operator Programme (AEO) among Other Government Agencies (OGA) to support the TRA in increasing the implementation of the national AEO Programme.

WCO Experts and the TRA AEO Unit engaged with representatives of Customs and OGAs working at the border to discuss possible enhancements to the AEO Programme with the aim to achieve more significant benefits for operators and effectively implement the AEO. Discussions contributed to the TRA-specific priority under the A-CIP Programme: “Implementation of Customs regulatory framework harmonized with international standards”. In particular, this outcome relates to the implementation of article 7.7 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and the EAC regional AEO Programme. Under the Sida WCO TFCM Programme, these workshops aimed to advance the technical capacity of TRA officers to implement the AEO Programme.

EU Launches €9 Million Energy Projects To Propel Nigeria’s Sustainable Development (Science Nigeria)

The European Union (EU) has reaffirmed its commitment to advancing Nigeria’s energy sector by introducing two groundbreaking projects worth €9 million. These initiatives, Small Hydro Power Development for Agro-industry Use in Nigeria (SHP-DAIN) and Advancing Nigeria’s Green Transition to Net Zero through Circular Economy Practices, are poised to revolutionise energy accessibility and promote sustainable practices to combat pollution and climate change.

Under the EU Global Gateway Strategy, these projects aim to enhance connectivity, foster economic growth and promote sustainability through collaborative efforts. With a budget of €5 million, the SHP-DAIN project focuses on increasing the capacity of small hydropower in Nigeria’s energy mix to drive productivity along agricultural value chains, thereby enhancing livelihoods and promoting food security.

Liberia: Lift Up the Executive Order George Weah Imposed on Rubber Exportation (FrontPageAfrica)

A former Representative candidate of District #16 is calling on President Joseph N. Boakai’s government to lift the executive order on rubber exportation in Liberia imposed by the then George Weah government. Mr. Archie Sarnor stressed that the monitoring of the executive order was intended to give Jetty Rubber Company the leverage under the canopy of building a factory to process rubber, but the main aim of the rubber factory was just to mislead the Liberian people so that they can export unprocessed rubber.

He emphasized that Weah announced the executive order in December 2023 to ban the export of rubber as a result of the huge sum of money he got from Jetty to finance his campaign. He alleges that Jetty is exporting unprocessed rubber out of the country, while other Liberian rubber containers at the port have been denied for exportation because Jetty is the only entity in charge of rubber exportation in Liberia, which is causing a setback to rubber production in the country.

Kalu meets Okonjo-Iweala, seeks WTO’s help in contamination of agricultural products during export (Premium Times Nigeria)

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ben Kalu, has solicited the cooperation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in boosting the exportation of primary products from Nigeria and Africa in general. Mr Kalu made the call, Monday, when he visited the Director-General of the WTO, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in Geneva on the sidelines of the ongoing 148th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Switzerland.

Mr Kalu said African businessmen face hurdles in marketing their products, primarily due to aflatoxins contaminating them en route to their destinations. He added that the challenge is particularly pronounced within the context of “The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA),” which grants duty-free treatment to goods from specified sub-Saharan African countries (SSAs). He, therefore, solicited the help of the WTO to set up centres in Africa for the treatment of the primary products packaged for export.

Sadc discusses challenges contributing to limited achievements of development targets (Chronicle)

The 2023/24 Infrastructure Performance Review and Planning Session took place in Kasane, Botswana from 16 to 22 March 2024, under the auspices of the Directorate of Infrastructure, which operates within the Secretariat of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc). This year’s session was held under the theme; “Accelerating the implementation of the Sadc Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan (RIDMP) 2027 and Sadc Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP 2020-2030).

Ms Angele Makombo N’tumba, the Sadc Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration, emphasised the importance of bolstering climate services to mitigate the adverse effects of climate-related disasters, which have regrettably hindered the economic progress achieved by Member States. Ms Makombo N’tumba encouraged the development of new propositions that address the deficit in power supply and promote greater access to sustainable and affordable energy. In regard to other essential infrastructure components, she strongly urged all relevant stakeholders to expedite the implementation of transport corridor development and the establishment of strategic roadmaps, as well as the adoption of digital technologies to facilitate universal digital connectivity.

Nigeria Urges ECOWAS Scientists To Leverage STI To Drive Economic Growth (News Agency of Nigeria)

Nigeria has called on the West African Network of the National Academies of Sciences (WANNAS) to leverage Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to drive economic growth in the ECOWAS subregion. Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Geoffrey Nnaji, made the call at the opening ceremony of the General Assembly of WANNAS held at the ECOWAS Commission headquarters on Tuesday in Abuja.

“This event is very important as the highest echelon of the Science, Technology and Innovation Sector of our economies will deliberate and chart a way forward for a formidable sector that would proffer solutions to our economic challenges. “The ECOWAS subregion has immense potential waiting to be unlocked, harnessed, and propelled into the forefront of global innovation and technological advancement. According to him, the STI ministry, through the application of various STI apparatuses, is poised to diversify the Nigerian economy, which is a major priority of the Federal Government.

Central Bank Digital Currency and Other Digital Payments in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Regional Survey (IMF)

This Fintech Note reports key findings from the Sub-Saharan Africa Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) and Digital Payments Survey, shedding light on the motivations, benefits, and challenges of CBDC adoption, as well as the developments of digital private money and crypto assets in sub-Saharan Africa. It emphasizes the pivotal role of collaboration and shared knowledge in navigating the intricate landscape of digital currencies and assets in sub-Saharan Africa.

As this evolving digital frontier is explored, the experiences and aspirations of the region’s central banks, as expressed in the survey, will help harness the potential for digital currencies, assets, and payments, and foster cooperation among countries in sub-Saharan Africa. A forthcoming IMF Departmental Paper will focus on key issues for countries in sub-Saharan Africa pertaining to CBDCs, private digital payments, and crypto assets. It will provide a deeper discussion of the benefits, costs, and risks of these digital payment systems and present policy options to enhance financial digital development and inclusion, while safeguarding macroeconomic and financial stability.

Civil Society Coalition for African Continental Free Trade Area inaugurated (Ghana News Agency)

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Monday inaugurated the Civil Society Coalition for African Continental Free Trade Area (CSCAfCFTA) in Accra. The CEO and Founder of CSCAfCFTA Dr. Emmanuel V. Brown said in a statement that it had been in discussions with representatives from several African countries since 2023 on ways to promote the AfCFTA concept in those nations. He said the formal inauguration marked the conclusion of actions that began with the idea development stage and included engagements with AfCFTA officials, government leaders, and international entities, including strategic collaboration with civil society groups to ensure that Africans benefited from the concept.

The statement urged the public to support the call for businesses to use AfCFTA to boost intra-Africa trade and secure long-term growth with less dependency on foreign handouts on the African continent.

Key Statistics and Trends in International Trade 2023 (UNCTAD)

Global trade has followed a highly volatile pattern since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fragmentation and increased heterogeneity of trade performance characterize not only the rebound of 2021 and 2022 but also the recent trade slowdown, albeit to a lesser extent.

While it is premature to definitively assert whether the recent trend is a substantial departure from established global trade trends, it appears possible that COVID-19 disruptions initiated a significant shift in global trade, now fuelled by systemic patterns tied to geopolitical issues and risk-mitigating strategies. The convergence of these factors raises the possibility that global trade patterns will be undergoing more significant changes, ushering in a new era with distinct challenges and opportunities for economies worldwide.

In value terms, global trade in goods and services rebounded to about US$ 28 trillion in 2021 from the lows of the COVID-19 pandemic and further grew to about US$ 32 trillion in 2022. The value of international trade is expected to moderately decline to around US$ 31 trillion in 2023, driven by lower global demand, particularly for goods. On a positive note, trade volumes have been less volatile in recent years and are expected to remain stable in 2023. Trade in services has also proved to be more resilient, with its value reaching approximately US$ 7 trillion in 2022 and expected to increase by about US$ 500 billion in 2023.

WTO and EIF host discussion on trade policy and women’s economic empowerment (WTO)

An event titled “A joint conversation on women’s economic empowerment”, hosted by the WTO and the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) on 26 March, provided a platform to showcase recent advances and initiatives aimed at addressing gender inequality in trade and fostering women’s empowerment. Speakers at the event presented recent developments concerning trade and gender. The WTO’s Trade and Gender Office highlighted three member-led outcomes on trade and gender from the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference, marking a significant milestone in advancing gender-responsive policies.

Women Critical To Driving Sustainable Devt, Mitigating Climate Change Impacts (New Telegraph)

The Group Chief Executive Officer NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari has said women in the oil and gas sector play critical roles in driving sustainable development and mitigation of the impacts of climate change in the country. Kyari made the assertion while speaking at the Strategic Women In Energy Oil And Gas Summit & Awards held in Abuja to commemorate the 2024 International Women’s Day (IWD) celebration with the theme, with the theme: “Closing Energy Gaps in Nigeria by Investing in Women.”

Kyari who reaffirmed NNPC Limited’s commitment to gender equality and inclusive development, noted that empowering women as leaders and decision-makers in the energy sector would help in promoting more sustainable practices, accelerate the energy transition process and ensure a brighter future for generations to come. He said: “As we reflect on the achievements and challenges faced by women in the energy sector, let us reaffirm our commitment to gender equality and inclusive development.

Record Growth in Renewables, but Progress Needs to be Equitable (IRENA)

Renewable Capacity Statistics 2024 released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) today shows that 2023 set a new record in renewables deployment in the power sector by reaching a total capacity of 3 870 Gigawatts (GW) globally. Renewables accounted for 86% of capacity additions; however, this growth is unevenly distributed across the world, indicating a trend far from the tripling renewable power target by 2030.

IRENA Director-General, Francesco La Camera said, “This extraordinary surge in renewable generation capacity shows that renewables are the only technology available to rapidly scale up the energy transition aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Nevertheless, the data also serves as a telltale sign that progress is not moving fast enough to add the required 7.2 TW of renewable power within the next seven years, in accordance with IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook 1.5°C Scenario.”

Climate Change: Group unveils actionable plans for ‘sustainable future for Africa’ (Premium Times Nigeria)

An International Press Conference announcing the inaugural convening of the Climate Action Africa Forum (CAAF24) concluded on Friday at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja, marking a significant milestone in the journey towards a sustainable future for Africa, according to officials. Under the theme, “Green Economies, Brighter Futures – Innovating and Investing in Africa’s Climate-Smart Development,” the International Press Conference provided a vibrant platform for insightful discussions, strategic collaborations, and impactful engagements. The conference was a precursor to the upcoming Climate Action Africa Forum scheduled from 17-19 June, 2024. 

“It’s no news that the world stands at a critical juncture, where decisive action is imperative to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change. Against this backdrop, CAAF24 is a pivotal platform for key stakeholders to engage in meaningful discourse, and forge collaborative pathways towards a greener, more sustainable future,” officials said. Throughout the conference, distinguished speakers and thought leaders underscored the urgency of collective action in addressing Africa’s climate challenges.

International Day of Forests: Global Experts Urge Action as Africa Grapples with $65 Billion Timber Trade Deficit (AfDB)

Africa must work to urgently address its staggering $65 billion timber trade deficit to position forests as a critical driver for the continent’s future development, global experts urge. This deficit, accrued between 1992 and 2020, reflects the continent’s imbalance between earnings from timber exports and expenditures on imports of wood-related products, they said during a panel discussion to commemorate this year’s International Day of Forests on March 21.

The experts called on development partners to support investment in Africa’s timber processing capacity and a continental wood marketing information system. The discussions, titled “Forests and Innovation: New Solutions for a Better World,” centered around a report released by the African Development Bank’s African Natural Resources Management and Investment Centre entitled “Regional timber trade flows and trends in Africa.”

USAID Launches the Africa Trade Desk through Prosper Africa (USAID)

Today, Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman announced the launch of the Africa Trade Desk, a signature trade platform from Prosper Africa that links large U.S. food retailers to African producers. The announcement was made during the Atlanta Phambili: A Trade & Investment Gateway to Africa & South Africa event, an event highlighting the economic relationship between the United States and Africa, with a spotlight on South Africa.

The Africa Trade Desk, a public-private partnership between Prosper Africa and Afritex Ventures, is set to facilitate at least $300 million in export sales between Africa and the United States within the next 18 months. The Africa Trade Desk bridges the gap between African suppliers and U.S. retailers by establishing a secure supply chain from Africa to U.S. retailers by consolidating logistics, insurance, and track and trace technology from farm to retailer.

Initially, the focus will remain on specialty food products such as seafood, peppadews, stone fruit, citrus, and high-value herbs and vegetables. This initiative aggregates products from African suppliers, secures firm orders from its established network of U.S. buyers, and accesses financial resources to fund large orders.

Fossil fuel-focused Africa Energy Bank on track to start this year (The East African)

The proposed Africa Energy Bank, which will focus investment in oil and gas projects across the continent, is set to start operations later this year with an initial $5 billion authorised capital base, a senior official said on Wednesday. The bank, a partnership between Afreximbank and the African Petroleum Producers Organisation (Appo), is meant to help plug a funding gap in Africa amid pressure on major banks from environmental groups to shift investment dollars away from climate-warming oil and gas projects.

Ghana on Friday deposited just over $20 million to the Africa Energy Investment Corporation (AEICORP), becoming the third African country to pay after Africa’s top two crude oil producers, Nigeria and Angola, each deposited $10 million last year to help fund the bank. “Africa Energy Bank is on the verge of becoming a reality and should be operational during the second half of 2024,” Zakaria Dosso, managing director of AEICORP, said.

Greener practice is more sustainable (Ghana News Agency)

Mr Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for an Economy that Works for People and Commissioner for Trade, says transitioning to greener practice is more sustainable and its path of progress will benefit all. That, he explained, was part of the EU’s resolve to find the right balance between building a more sustainable future and pursuing trade policy to attain such a broader objective, drive innovation and create market access opportunities for green goods and services. The EU, he said for instance, was of the conviction that trade could and should be a driver for accelerating fair transition to a low-carbon and climate resilient economy.

Advancing shared prosperity through biodiversity-friendly trade (UNCTAD)

With one million species currently at risk of extinction, the state of global biodiversity loss spells trouble for nature and economies. The impact of losing bees and other wild pollinators, fisheries and forestry – just a fraction of natural resources at risk – could reduce global GDP by an estimated $2.7 trillion annually by 2030, according to World Bank simulations.

Kicking off the 7th BioTrade Congress in Geneva, UNCTAD and partners gave a renewed push for stronger trade policies and governance to help tackle the biodiversity crisis. Valued at $3.7 trillion, products with a biological origin represented 17% of global exports in 2021, according to the Trade and Biodiversity (TraBio) statistical tool, UNCTAD’s database that measures the international trade of biodiversity-based products. The economic stakes are even higher for low-income economies, with the share often surpassing 40% of their exports during the past decade.

With 783 million people going hungry, a fifth of all food goes to waste (UN News)

The UN Environment Programme’s Food Waste Index Report 2024 highlights that latest data from 2022 shows 1.05 billion tonnes of food went to waste. Some 19 per cent of food available to consumers was lost overall at retail, food service, and household levels. That is in addition to around 13 per cent of food lost in the supply chain, as estimated by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), from post-harvest up to the point of sale.

“Food waste is a global tragedy. Millions will go hungry today as food is wasted across the world,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP, explaining that this ongoing issue not only impacts the global economy but also exacerbates climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. Most of the world’s food waste comes from households, totalling 631 million tonnes – or up to 60 per cent - of the total food squandered. The food service and retail sectors were responsible for 290 and 131 million tonnes accordingly.

UN global climate report: a stark reminder of the urgent need to leverage agrifood solutions (FAO)

There is an urgent need to transform agrifood systems and leverage their climate solutions, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has said in light of the findings of the latest UN State of the Global Climate Report.

The World Meteorological Organization-(WMO)-led report in collaboration with other UN agencies including FAO, shows how climate change indicators records including surface temperatures and greenhouse gas levels were once again broken in 2023. It also brings light on how extreme weather events are progressively affecting food security and agriculture, with wider socio-economic implications.

“The latest WMO report is a chilling reminder of runaway climate change and its impacts, including on food insecurity. Reversing this trend will require major investments in solutions that can help countries and communities build resilience to a changing climate, reduce record-breaking emissions and protect lives and livelihoods all at once. Nowhere are these solutions more abundant and impactful than in agriculture and food systems”, said Kaveh Zahedi, Director of the FAO Office of Climate Change, Biodiversity and Environment.

Quick links

Women in Trade, Treasury & Payments 2024 - Policy to practice: Addressing gender disparity in financial access (Trade Finance Global)

BRICS: Expansion of the BRICS (Friedrich Naumann Foundation)

Is India really leaving BRICS? - Here is what we know (CryptoRank)

Anti-Corruption and Integrity Outlook 2024 (OECD)

Red Sea shipping disruptions likely to exacerbate the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen (FAO)


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