Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

TPT outlines actions to support 15% growth in citrus exports during 2024 season (Engineering News)

Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) reports that it has recruited 200 additional cargo coordinators and has set up dedicated lanes for refrigerated containers at all KwaZulu-Natal container terminals in preparation for the citrus fruit export season, which begins this month.

Congestion at the country’s ports has been a drag on the sector’s export performance in recent years, with the Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa (CGA) indicating that the 165.1-million 15-kg cartons packed for delivery to global markets in 2023 was below expectations, despite being 800 000 cartons up on the previous year.

Given prospects of a good harvest, TPT is preparing for an overall 15% increase in export volumes this year, with the CGA having already forecast increases for the export of lemons, Navel oranges, Valencia oranges, grapefruits, satsuma, Clementines and Novas.

Uganda to launch first domestic tin processing plant next month (The East African)

Uganda will commission its first tin refining plant in the southwestern region next month, a senior Mining Ministry official said, as part of efforts to expand capacity and add value domestically to its minerals.

President Yoweri Museveni wants to maximise the benefits of exports to the country, where several gold refineries are operating, and Chinese-backed Sunbird Resources was recently licensed to mine limestone for cement production.

“We are preparing to launch our very first tin processing facility,” Irene Bateebe, permanent secretary of Energy and Mineral Development Ministry, told Reuters on Wednesday, adding the launch would take place next month.

President Bassirou Diomaye Faye announces oil, gas and mining sector audit (The East African)

Senegal will conduct an audit of the oil, gas and mining sectors, newly elected President Bassirou Diomaye Faye told the nation in a televised speech on Wednesday, while also reassuring investors they were welcome in the country.

The audit is one of the first policy moves announced since the 44-year-old former tax inspector’s inauguration on Tuesday. “The exploitation of our natural resources, which according to the constitution belong to the people, will receive particular attention from my government,” he said. “I will proceed with the disclosure of the effective ownership of extractive companies (and) with an audit of the mining, oil, and gas sector.”

Kenya High Court suspends $350 fee charge for South Sudan cargo (The East African)

Kenya’s High Court has temporarily suspended the implementation of a $350 (Ksh45,850) levy that was being charged per container for all goods destined for South Sudan. Justice Gregory Mutai who certified the case as urgent issued the order pending the hearing of an application by clearing agents under the umbrella of Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (Kifwa) who are challenging the levy.

Kifwa claims that the Mombasa Monitoring Station-National Revenue Authority of South Sudan issued a directive that they should pay the money to a private company in Uganda, Invesco Uganda Limited, for a tracking system christened mandatory Electronic Cargo Tracking Note (ECTN).

Tanzania’s first fishing harbor to be completed in 2025 (CGTN Africa)

The construction of Tanzania’s first-ever fishing harbor will be completed in 2025, boosting the country’s fish catches in deep seas, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa told parliament on Wednesday. According to Majaliwa, the project, being built by China Harbor Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC), is 42 percent completed. The Tanzania Ports Authority says the fishing harbor has helped create jobs for more than 400 nearby residents.

Tang Zhen, deputy head of the Eastern Africa Division of the company, said CHEC will spare no efforts to help Tanzania build its first-ever fishing harbor, and continuously enhance friendship and cooperation between China and Tanzania.

Angola: Entrepreneurship Policy Review (UNCTAD)

In 2022, Angola was the eighth economy in Africa with a GDP of USD 107 billion.1 It is a least developed country that is slated for graduation in 2024, with an economy that is characterized by high dependence on extractive sectors of oil and gas. Its economic performance has been closely linked to global oil demand and prices which varied greatly over the years, putting an important strain on the country’s social-economic development.

While there are several characteristics that make Angola’s entrepreneurial ecosystem a stimulating environment for the entrepreneurial activity, there are still certain obstacles preventing the country to unlock its full entrepreneurial potential. It is therefore key for Angola to develop a national entrepreneurship strategy with a long-term vision, easily accessible online, that gives a perspective and allows entrepreneurs to plan and project their businesses into the future.

FG assembles 120 researchers, startups to develop framework for AI adoption in Nigeria (Nairametrics)

The Federal Government has announced plans to bring together 120 Nigerian researchers and startups including other stakeholders in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) space to develop a co-created framework for AI adoption in the country. The Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, announced this on Wednesday. According to the Minister, the experts would come up with this framework at the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy Workshop scheduled to be held from April 15th to 18th, 2024 in Abuja. Tijani said the resulting strategy from the session would help the government to deliver the priorities and implementation approach towards improving lives and growing the nation’s economy through the application of AI.

In December last year, the Minister announced that the Ministry in its bid to make Nigeria a global leader in Artificial Intelligence, had identified over 6,000 AI researchers who are of Nigerian descent and based in several parts of the world. According to him, these researchers will be instrumental to the country’s new drive to deploy AI in every sector of the economy and for job creation. He added that the goal of the Ministry is to use AI to enhance productivity through the deployment of smart infrastructure.

AfDB Affirms Nigeria’s Debt Sustainability, Calls for Enhanced Revenue Generation (Arise News)

The Chief Economist and Vice President for Economic Governance & Knowledge Management at the African Development Bank (AfDB) Prof. Kevin Chika Urama, has reaffirmed Nigeria’s debt was sustainable. He also praised the federal government’s efforts in revenue generation while calling for further action.

However, he emphasised the importance of addressing the debt-to-revenue ratio to ensure fiscal stability and forward momentum. Furthermore, he noted the need for Nigeria to tap into global green financing opportunities, saying access to green financing in Africa remains relatively low, with only a fraction of available global green bonds being accessed by African countries.

Urama said: “Nigeria’s debt-to-GDP ratio is still sustainable. But the issue with Nigeria is with regards to debt-to-revenue ratio, and that is why the government of the country is driving and doing quite a lot to improve revenue mobilisation in the country and by increasing the revenue mobilisation then they will be able to rebalance that ratio and be able to move forward.

Ethiopia and Brazil exchanged experiences in the agricultural sector (Prensa Latina)

The Ethiopian delegation actively participated in the observation of the methodologies used to overcome the challenges of production and productivity within the Brazilian agricultural sector with remarkable advances through the use of various technological solutions. The delegation has learned that the government of Brasilia not only managed to ensure food security for its people, but also to enable substantial economic transformations through the export of agricultural products, the publication highlighted.

Seychelles: 2024 Article IV (IMF)

“Following a post-pandemic surge in economic activity in 2022, real GDP growth slowed to an estimated 3.2 percent in 2023, despite a continued increase in tourism activity, with visitor arrivals reaching a level equivalent to over 91 percent of the pre-pandemic high and tourism earnings continuing to rise. Real GDP growth is expected to reach about 3.7 percent in 2024 on the back of a continued increase in visitor arrivals together with buoyant activity in IT, construction, and the financial sector. This outlook incorporates some drag on activity linked to the impact of the December 2023 flooding and explosion at Providence Industrial Estates.

“The external current account deficit is estimated to have widened slightly to around 7.2 percent of GDP in 2023, partly reflecting higher imports related to foreign direct investment (FDI). The Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) overperformed modestly with respect to targets for foreign exchange reserves accumulation under the EFF program. Gross reserves stood at about $682 million at end-2023, equivalent to about 3.2 months of import cover.

East African Grain Council, TradeMark Africa partner to boost staple foods value chains in East Africa (The Citizen)

The Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) and Trademark Africa (TMA) have jointly launched a three-year initiative dubbed “Strengthening Competitiveness in Export-Focused Staple Food Value Chains across East Africa.” This initiative, part of the USAID-funded “Economic Recovery and Resilience Activities (ERRA)” program, was inaugurated on April 3rd in Nairobi. The project targets the enhancement of export-oriented staple grains trade and will be rolled out in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Amidst the backdrop of volatility and decline in the food commodities trade, the project will address various challenges including inadequate aggregation, informal trading practices, and insufficient integration of farmers into formal trade channels. Issues such as deficient storage facilities, subpar quality management infrastructure, and a lack of post-harvest handling expertise compound the situation.

Logistic hurdles such as inefficiencies in road transport and cross-border processing delays, alongside lax regulatory enforcement, further exacerbate these challenges. With the participation of over sixty stakeholders from the staple grains value chain, the project aims to achieve multiple objectives. Foremost among them is the strengthening of farmer-operated grain business hubs (G-Hubs), leveraging technology to optimize grain production, quality, and trade.

President Ruto urges African investors to take advantage of AfCFTA (Capital Business)

President William Ruto has appealed to African investors and businesspeople to take advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. He pointed out that the AfCFTA eliminates barriers to trade, fosters economic growth and promotes opportunities to share wealth and prosperity in Africa. “AfCFTA is the single most potent instrument for the transformation of Africa,” the President said.

President Ruto made the remarks during the Kenya-Ghana Business Forum in Accra, Ghana, on Wednesday. Later, President Ruto visited the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat at Africa Trade House in Accra, Ghana.

The President asked African entrepreneurs to invest in the continent and unlock the vast untapped resources available in Africa.

“We must use the raw materials we have to grow industry, invest in agro-processing and seek market diversification,” he said.

“Technology democratises opportunities and eliminates corruption leading to better accountability,” he said.At the same time, President Ruto called for reforms of the African Union, saying the AU is an institution that requires better accountability.

Leverage on technology to accelerate the movement of goods and services (GhanaWeb)

President of Kenya, Dr William Samoei Ruto, has entreated businesses to leverage on technology to accelerate the movement of goods and services on the continent. Speaking with the business community during his visit to Ghana at the Africa Trade House in Accra on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, Dr Ruto noted that the move, when adhered to, will accelerate the progress of intra-Africa trade.

We’ll make the African Union fit for purpose (The Star)

“It is our intention as heads of State to make sure that we reform the African Union to make it fit for purpose. As we talk today, we have a fairly dysfunctional set-up,” Ruto said. He said the African Union Executive lacks an accountability mechanism. Ruto added that the AU parliament has been made impotent. ”If we want to have an African Union that works for the people of our continent, it must be accountable, and there must be a mechanism to adjudicate on matters that affect our organisation,” he said.

AfDB earmarks 150 million dollars in a financial facility for intra-continent trade (FASI.eu)

This agreement aims to enhance intra-Africa trade, foster regional integration, and help narrow the trade finance gap in Africa, aligning with the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The African Development Bank will extend guarantee coverage ranging from 50% to 75% for transactions in low-income countries and transition states, on a risk-sharing basis with TDB, to several eligible local and regional banks operating within the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) region, particularly those engaged in trade finance activities. This initiative is anticipated to facilitate approximately 1.8 billion dollars worth of trade over the ensuing three years.

Global Architectural Reform to top agenda of the African Development Bank’s 2024 Annual Meetings (AfDB)

As the African Development Bank turns 60 this year, the institution will reflect anew at its upcoming Annual Meetings, on the ongoing economic challenges facing its member countries and the participation of African countries in the global financial system.

Prof. Vincent Nmehielle, the Group’s Secretary-General and Kevin Urama, Chief Economist and Vice President for Economic Governance & Knowledge Management, addressed journalists on Wednesday 03 April, during a press conference ahead of its Annual Meetings, scheduled from 27 to 31 May 2024 in Nairobi, Kenya. The 2024 meetings will be held under the theme: “Africa’s Transformation, the African Development Bank Group, and the Reform of the Global Financial Architecture”.

Kevin Urama, Chief Economist and Vice President for Economic Governance & Knowledge Management, said the Presidential Dialogue would bring heads of state and governors together to take stock of measures and reforms:

 ”In all our research we have found that financing has been a major constraint of accelerated transformation on the continent,” Urama said.

Afreximbank takes financing roadshow to Liberia as it seeks to boost trade & Investment (Afreximbank)

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has concluded a three-day roadshow in Liberia in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Liberia, Oakwood Green Africa, Loita Capital Partners International and Havit Inc., aimed at bolstering Liberia’s efforts to grow trade. This follows a prior edition of the roadshow held in 2023.

Afreximbank’s Anglophone West Africa Regional Chief Operating Officer, Eric Monchu Intong led a high-powered delegation to meet with the newly elected President, H.E. Joseph Boakai and other government officials to understand the country’s vision and how the Bank can support through promoting, facilitating and financing intra and extra-African trade. The roadshow is themed ‘Advancing Economic Development in Liberia through Trade’.

Tailoring success: The custom fit of export finance in Africa (Trade Finance Global)

Export credit agencies and financial institutions can collaborate to offer favourable financing terms for technology-focused exports, making it more accessible for African businesses to adopt and implement innovative technologies. However, to support increased intra-African trade and provide easier accessibility, the continent needs capital investment in infrastructure – such as roads, railways, and bridges – and in technology.

COMESA Special Reports:

Why large dependence on foreign aid yet only small detectable growth effects

AI and Big Data Implication for Central Banking in COMESA region

Top African oil official joins energy conference, pushing for sustainable development (African Press Agency)

Ibrahim will address investors, energy companies, and African nations at AEW, promoting investment in African oil and gas resources while advocating for their sustainable development. APPO, a group of 18 African oil-producing countries, has a long history of supporting responsible oil and gas exploration and production. The organization sees this sector as a key driver of economic growth and energy security for Africa. APPO recently published a study on the future of the African oil and gas industry in light of the global shift towards renewable energy. The study identified challenges in financing, technology, and markets.

In response, APPO partnered with Afreximbank to establish the Africa Energy Bank (AEB). This new bank, expected to begin operations in July 2024, will provide much-needed financing for African oil and gas projects, reducing reliance on foreign investment.

China’s cyberspace regulator vows to work with Africa on AI governance (South China Morning Post)

China is in intense competition with the United States to dominate AI, an industry that is still in the early stages of developing regulations and governance institutions. In late March, the United Nations General Assembly adopted its first resolution regulating AI to “[steer] the use of artificial intelligence towards global good”.

The UN said the non-binding resolution, proposed by the United States and co-sponsored by China, aimed to promote “‘safe, secure and trustworthy’ AI systems that will also benefit sustainable development for all”.

Beijing laid out its position and proposals in its Global AI Governance Initiative in October. It aims to ensure that AI is a force for good and that the technology remains under human control, while adhering to fairness during data collection, algorithm design, development and application. According to an analysis published by American think tank Brookings Institution last month, only seven African nations have drafted national AI strategies so far, while no country on the continent has implemented formal regulation of artificial intelligence.

While regulating AI might not be a priority for many nations on the continent, “African governments must first work toward reinforcing data regulation along with building the human capital necessary to sustain AI ecosystems”, the report said.

China-Africa Economic Bulletin, 2024 Edition (Boston University Global Development Policy Center)

African countries have and are shaping development goals in alignment with the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union Agenda 2063. Potential sources of financing for energy and transition materials have become increasingly important for devising strategies that will allow Africa to achieve these goals.

A new report published by the Boston University Global Development Policy Center and the African Economic Research Consortium analyzes China-Africa trade, finance and FDI from 2000-2022 to evaluate trends, reveal gaps and identify pathways for China to support Africa’s energy access and transition amidst economic challenges and energy opportunities.

The authors find that Chinese financiers, investors, companies and trade facilitators have engaged in two tracks of economic engagement for energy and transition materials: An electrification track, comprising general support for electrification infrastructure (power plants and transmission and distribution lines); An extraction track, comprising a pipeline of the exploration, extraction and export of primary energy commodities and transition materials to China. Main findings – Trade: Africa-China trade (imports and exports of goods) has grown significantly from $11.67 billion in 2000 to a peak of $257.67 billion in total trade in 2022, as China has become many African countries’ lead trading partner, surpassing the United Kingdom and the United States.

Why the G-20 ‘Common Framework’ for Debt Relief Isn’t Helping Poor Nations (Bloomberg)

More than half of the world’s low-income countries are at high risk of debt distress or are already in it, and several have defaulted. But despite the world’s 20 largest economies having agreed in 2020 to a plan called the Common Framework to smooth the process of restructuring loans that governments could no longer afford to service or repay, progress toward actually providing relief has been slow.

Delays have partly stemmed from disagreements between the rich countries that have traditionally guided sovereign debt restructurings and China, which is now a major international creditor. A deal struck in late March by Zambia on $3 billion in eurobonds after three years of talks showed signs of progress — and how difficult the process has been.

BRICS Push Currency Swap With 29 Countries Worth $550 Billion (Watcher Guru)

BRICS member China is looking to promote local currency swaps with 29 developing countries worth 4 trillion Yuan, which is equivalent to $553.49 billion. The bilateral currency swaps could facilitate trade and investment options by adding a safety net for all local currencies. For the uninitiated, currency swaps between Central Banks are finance agreements in which one country can exchange its own currency for another. This helps Central Banks save costs in exchange rate risks and keep the option of using their local currencies always open.

The US dollar will play no role in the swaps as local currencies will remain the centerpiece of all transactions. In other words, Central Banks can trade billions worth in exchanges making their local currencies remain ‘always trading’ in the market. Among the 29 countries, China is also considering to include all BRICS nations in the currency swap agreement.

Related: BRICS and the new currency (PressTV)

Global shift towards green energy: Pathway to sustainable future (Azernews.Az)

In the wake of mounting environmental concerns and escalating energy demands, the world is witnessing a transformative transition towards embracing green energy solutions.

Green energy, encompassing renewable sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, and biomass, holds the promise of minimizing carbon emissions, combating environmental pollution, and mitigating the adverse impacts of climate change. With the imperative to limit global warming and its cascading effects, the development of green energy technologies has become paramount, offering a sustainable alternative to traditional fossil fuels.

Women, International Trade, and the Law: Breaking Barriers for Gender Equality in Export-Related Activities (World Bank)

Women are a powerful engine for international trade and economic growth. As workers, small-scale traders, entrepreneurs, and producers, their engagement in export activities has the potential not only to elevate overall productivity and competitiveness in the international market but also to reduce poverty. However, women encounter multiple obstacles and legal barriers when participating in trade, hindering the full realization of economic gains that can be achieved through trade liberalization.

This Brief analyzes women’s participation in international trade and impediments to gender equality in national laws measured in the Women, Business and the Law index. Specifically, in 2024, 504 legal provisions across 145 economies are identified as creating unequal conditions between men and women to take part in international trade. Drawing from examples around the world, the Brief further discusses the role of trade instruments, especially preferential trade agreements, in eliminating legal barriers that discriminate against women, and enhancing their involvement in export-related activities to reap the benefits of trade on global welfare.

Quick links

Adesewa Olofinko: Why Africa Needs to Embrace the AfCFTA (BellaNaija)

10 least developed African countries and their passport access (Businessday Nigeria)

The cocoa price has doubled in mere months, but it shouldn’t add much to the price of chocolate: here’s why (The Conversation)

DDG Hill: Empowering women through global trade (Trade Finance Global)

Air Cargo Demand Maintains Double-Digit Growth in February (IATA)


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