Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

2024-2029 Development priorities for Zambia: Infrastructure and Agricultural Value Chain (AfDB)

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved the Country Strategy Paper (CSP) for Zambia for 2024-2029, which sets out two priority intervention areas: Boosting the development of the private sector through investments in infrastructure and developing the country’s agricultural value chain.

“The aim of this new CSP is to support Zambia’s vision of speeding up its socioeconomic transformation to improve livelihoods,” comments Raubil Durowoju, head of the Bank Group’s Country Office in Zambia. “The first area emphasizes infrastructure development with the aim of increasing productivity, strengthening commercial competitiveness, diversifying the economy, and improving people’s lives. The second supports value addition and job creation and is targeted at women and young people,” he adds.

‘Uganda has enough stocks to support drought-hit States in Southern Africa’ (COMESA)

Drought hit COMESA Member States in southern African region can benefit from Uganda’s bumper harvest, says Gen. Fred Mwesigye, the country’s newly accredited Permanent Representative to COMESA. Gen. Mwesigye (Rtd) who is Uganda’s High Commissioner to Zambia was speaking at the COMESA Headquarters in Lusaka, Thursday 4 April 2024, when he presented his letter of credence to COMESA Secretary General, Chileshe Kapwepwe.

He noted the devastating effects of climate change in the Southern part of the continent, and stated that Uganda had a surplus of maize and other crops available to assist COMESA Member States affected by the drought.

Ethiopia set to join EAC, CS Malonza says (KBC)

Ethiopia is set to become the 9th member state of East Africa Community (EAC), just a few months after Somali’s admission to the bloc. This was disclosed by Peninah Malonza, the Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of EAC, Arid and Semi-arid Lands and Regional Development. Speaking while leading a relief food distribution drive in Kitui Central Constituency, Malonza announced that talks between Ethiopia and EAC Summit Heads of states are in the last stages and soon Ethiopia will be part of the bloc.

Kenya-Guinea Bissau Revamping Trade Ties (Vantures Africa)

Kenya and Guinea-Bissau are implementing far-reaching policies that will boost trade between the two countries. President William Ruto said while the current trade volume between the two countries is low, there is potential for improvement. He cited the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement that is poised to enhance commerce.

President Ruto said Kenya and Guinea-Bissau are keen on implementing the Memorandum of Understanding that established a Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) signed in 2022. He explained that enhanced collaboration between the private sectors of both nations will significantly boost trade volumes. He made the remarks on Friday during a press briefing following bilateral talks with his Guinea-Bissau counterpart President General Umaro Sissoco Embalo.

Nigeria To Get $1.05bn Oil-backed Afreximbank Loan Balance In May (Leadership News)

Nigeria will in May, receive a $1.05 billion loan from the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), being part of a $3.3 billion prepayment facility arranged by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Bloomberg reports. The funds will be repaid using crude cargoes from the NNPCL. Recall that two-thirds of the largest syndicated loan raised by Africa’s biggest oil producer was disbursed in January.

Nigeria Sets Sights On Sustainable Blue Economy Development With AU Support (Arise News)

The federal government in collaboration with the African Union (AU) through the African Union – Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) is set to develop a national Blue Economy Strategy for Nigeria. This was revealed by the Minister Of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola at a stakeholders consultative workshop to define priority issues for development of National Blue Economy Strategy for Nigeria in Abuja on Monday.

Speaking at the event, Oyetola hinted that considering the huge potential of the national marine resources, the institutionalisation of the expanded partnership committee on sustainable blue economy in Nigeria was approved with the view to develop a strategic plan for the national blue economy. This, he revealed, was what has eventually resulted in the creation of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.

African Economies Projected to Grow by 3.4 % in 2024, But Faster and More Equitable Growth Needed to Reduce Poverty (World Bank)

Increased private consumption and declining inflation are supporting an economic rebound in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, the recovery remains fragile due to uncertain global economic conditions, growing debt service obligations, frequent natural disasters, and escalating conflict and violence, according to the World Bank’s latest Africa’s Pulse report. Transformative policies are needed to address deep-rooted inequality to sustain long-term growth and effectively reduce poverty.

The report highlights that external resources to meet gross financing needs of African governments are shrinking and those available are costlier than they were prior to the pandemic. Political instability and geopolitical tensions weigh on economic activity and may constrain access to food for an estimated 105 million people at risk of food insecurity due to conflict and climate shocks. African governments’ fiscal positions remain vulnerable to global economic disruptions, necessitating policy actions to build buffers to prevent or cope with future shocks.

“Inequality in Africa is largely due to the circumstances in which a child is born and accentuated later in life by obstacles to participating productively in markets and regressive fiscal policies,” said Gabriela Inchauste co-author of a forthcoming World Bank report on tackling inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa. “Identifying and better addressing these structural constraints across the economy offers a road map for a more prosperous future.”

Africa’s Pulse calls for several policy actions to foster stronger and more equitable growth. These include restoring macro-economic stability, promoting inter-generational mobility, supporting market access, and ensuring that fiscal policies do not overburden the poor.

Africa must improve trade to resolve challenges – WTO (Graphic)

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has urged African countries to implement policies that will enable the continent to derive maximum benefit from global trade. The Head of Commodities and Agriculture at the WTO, Dr Edwini Kessie, said increased trade and effective trade policies were key in helping to resolve the myriad of challenges faced by the continent.

Dr Kessie said one of the ways leaders and policy makers on the continent could tackle some of the challenges was by placing emphasis on trade, which he stressed had become the catalyst for economic growth, reducing poverty and creating jobs and opportunities for billions of people. Trade, he said, had added more value to economies and made them more productive due to increased competition and specialisation. He said Africa had been a beneficiary of trade but stressed that more needed to be done for the continent to derive more benefits from global trade.

Last Frontier To Unlock Africa’s E-Commerce Potential (CIO Africa)

Last month was six years since the grand dream to create a single African market for 1.2 billion people plus took a concrete step and therefore now is a good time to reflect on how far we have come and what we need to do to achieve this goal. March 21 was the sixth anniversary since the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and there have been many gains made that are catalyzing efforts to achieve the goal of a seamless continental market.

One area that has the potential to create a borderless and efficient market as envisioned by AfCFTA is Africa’s e-commerce space which Statista estimated hit the $40 billion-mark last year, this is still small in comparison to other markets but is still commendable considering that the market was worth an estimated $29 billion in 2022. Translated this is a 38 per cent increase.

For successful e-commerce to happen there must be massive investments in three critical areas. First, a good, affordable, and reliable internet network must be available. Consumers, in turn, need to access these services by possessing internet devices and affording internet plans. Second, there must be a reliable and efficient payment system. Buyers and sellers must be able to freely and efficiently trade, including having internet-enabled devices that can allow for reversal of transactions. Third, physical infrastructure must be in place i.e. good roads and of course, a physical address system or distribution points must be in place to ensure goods delivered can easily be accessed.

Linking a borderless Africa: Leveraging AfCFTA’s potential to drive business and economic growth (The Business & Financial Times)

Successful economies, societies and regions have long opted for cooperation, consolidation and integration against division, separation and isolation. The ‘roads’ to sustainable economic development and prosperity are long with many stops, even some dead ends and yet seldom has a society reached this destination without bringing its neighbours along for the journey. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a momentous milestone in the modern history of our continent. It’s a recipe for catalysing our centrality and bridging the chasms that separate us.

AfCFTA can solve the crippling impacts of dysfunctional supply chains that bleed our businesses and consumers. We’ve all heard of the three-week truck journeys for goods moving a mere 1000 kilometers from our ports to various cities – journeys that take 1-2 days elsewhere. In today’s interconnected global economy, trade is the lifeblood of prosperity. It facilitates economic growth, fosters innovation, and creates opportunities for nations to prosper.

Ministry Striving to Create Resilient Food Processing Ecosystem, Strengthen Industry (ENA)

Various policies and strategies that strengthen the food processing industry have been developed and efforts exerted to create a more resilient food processing ecosystem, according to Ministry of Industry. A forum on “Sustainable Business Growth and Improved Resilience in a Supportive Food Processing Ecosystem” forum was held in Addis Ababa.

Ministry of Industry representative Dugassa Dunfa said on the occasion that supporting the food processing industries in technological, business, and market systems so that they can manufacture and distribute safe and nutritious food is pivotal in tackling the country’s food security crisis. Currently, there are over 1,600 food processors, including medium and large industries, which play a vital role in safe food production, distribution, job creation, and import substitution.

Preparations gear up for the 10th Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development in Addis Ababa (UNECA)

The 10th Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD-10) will be held in hybrid format on 23-25 April 2024 at the headquarters of the African Union Commission (AUC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The theme of the forum is “Reinforcing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063 and eradicating poverty in times of multiple crises: effective delivery of sustainable, resilient and innovative solutions.”

“ARFSD-10 is a timely opportunity to address shortcomings and capitalize on emerging opportunities to ensure robust, accelerated and timely implementation of the SDGs and Agenda 2063. In addition, participants will play a key role in mobilizing Africa’s inputs for the Summit of the Future to be held in September 2024,” he adds.

Eastern Africa Set for Digital Leap with World Bank Investment and Regional Financial Hubs (Techweez)

The African Development Bank’s 2023 East Africa Economic Outlook forecasts that growth in the region will surpass 5%. Hence, the region is positioned to enjoy strong economic performance this year, despite global economic headwinds and regional challenges. This positive outlook is a combination of a number of factors, among them, geography. East Arica, is a critical gateway to international trade, in close proximity to the Middle East, Red Sea, and Asia.

This geostrategic advantage has recently been amplified by the World Bank’s significant backing of a groundbreaking initiative to create a unified single digital market across the region. The $130 million project, dubbed the Eastern Africa Regional Digital Integration Project – II (EARDIP-SOP-2) is taking an innovation-first approach with potential for revolutionary yield.

Revolutionary payment system overhaul propels progress towards a digital economy (Capital Newspaper)

Ethiopia is taking significant strides in transforming its payment landscape by integrating a comprehensive digital payment system. This strategic shift aims at fostering a more inclusive and efficient economic growth, marking a pivotal moment in the country’s journey towards a digital economy.

Solomon Damtew, the Director of the Payment and Settlement Systems Directorate at the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), emphasized the critical nature of this transition. “The adoption of digital payment systems is not a luxury but a fundamental necessity,” Solomon stated, underscoring the efforts to create a conducive environment for digital transactions across Ethiopia.

In a bid to standardize financial transactions, Ethiopia has introduced a QR Code Standard. This initiative addresses the previously fragmented QR Code payments, ensuring uniformity and interoperability among different financial service providers. The standardized QR Code is designed to streamline and secure digital transactions, making it easier for businesses and consumers alike to embrace the digital payment landscape.

Digitalization a great enabler to achieve sustainable goals (Malawi Nyasa Times)

Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority, (MACRA) says Malawi as one of the land locked and least developed countries requires digitalization as its great enabler in order to achieve it’s sustainable development goals by the year 2030.

MACRA director general Daudi Suleman lamented that Malawi is currently in a situation whereby alot of people are not connected to the internet as the country is sitting at 34.6 percent of Malawians who are connected to the internet in the population of 20 million people and that 73 percent of Malawian has the potential to connect to the internet that can also help to unlock new opportunities and the economy of this country.

He was saying this at the opening of a two-day International Telecommunications Union, (ITU) regional workshop on cost models for data services and international internet connectivity where his organization is hosting.

Harmonization of policies to accelerate ICT investments in Africa (KBC)

Information, Communication and Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary for Eliud Owalo has attributed low investments in Africa’s ICT sector to outdated laws. According to Owalo, harmonization of better ICT policies in the continent are key to attracting the much needed investments to allow rapid growth in the sector. He singled out policies such as the now repealed 30pc local shareholding rule for foreign companies to invest in Kenya’s ICT sector as a hindrance to foreign direct investment.

“In Kenya, for example, we have managed to waive the 30pc local content requirements that necessitated that ICT companies must have 30pc local ownership. What is the purpose of having a law that impedes foreign direct capital investment? That is the direction that we need to go as Africa, making sure that there is foreign direct capital investment while at the same time also protecting our own local interests as Africa,” said Owalo. This comes as Kenya targets to increase increase investments to expand ICT infrastructure to support the digital economy.

How maritime trade disruptions are hurting global food security (Devex)

Northern Ethiopia currently faces a severe food shortage. A drought has stricken the region, disrupting livelihoods, crops, and livestock. High food prices, which began during the COVID-19 pandemic, have reduced everyday purchasing power. Meanwhile, armed conflict between the Ethiopian National Defense Force and militia groups is hindering the delivery of aid. The situation has compelled USAID to write that Ethiopia faces a crisis “or worse” levels of food insecurity.

But another compounding factor exists more than 1,500 miles away: Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Prior to the war, Ethiopia imported 301,000 tons of wheat from Ukraine, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute. While Ukrainian wheat is not a majority of Ethiopia’s food source, the disruption of shipping routes on the Black Sea, coupled with other constraints, makes a fragile situation even more perilous.

“Today there are three routes that are of concern,” said Maximo Torero, chief economist of the Food and Agriculture Organization in a recent interview. “Of course, the Black Sea… the second one is the Red Sea, and the third one is the Panama [Canal].”

Enhancing Global Trade: Strategies for Sustainable Growth (Global Trade Magazine)

Global trade serves as the lifeblood of the world economy, fostering economic development, creating job opportunities, and driving innovation. By embracing technological innovations, strengthening multilateralism, fostering inclusive trade policies, promoting sustainability, investing in infrastructure, enhancing trade facilitation, facilitating trade finance accessibility, and harnessing regional integration, nations can collectively advance towards a more prosperous and sustainable global trading system.

Sustainability has to be the anchor for development in 21st century: UNGA President Dennis Francis (Deccan Herald)

UN General Assembly President Dennis Francis has said that there is no conflict between promoting sustainability and economic growth and development, underscoring that sustainability has to be the anchor for development in the 21st century. Francis will convene the UN’s first-ever ‘Sustainability Week’ April 15-19 under the theme ‘Paving the Way for a Sustainable Future’ at the world body’s headquarters here. The week will feature dedicated events focused on sustainability in critical sectors such as tourism, infrastructure connectivity, transport, energy and debt.

“The reality is that sustainability has to be the anchor for development in the 21st century. Since we are talking about prioritizing people and the planet, the sustainability dimension of things lies at the very heart of everything we are seeking to do developmentally in the UN,” Francis, President of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly, told PTI in an exclusive interview here.

“We have identified five key areas or economic sectors that we think have extraordinary potential for really transformative change.… and we know these five sectors have a great impact on sustainability. They are tourism, transportation, infrastructure, energy and debt” sustainability,” Francis said.

Decarbonisation Policies Lag in Major Economies: BloombergNEF Report (edie)

New research has revealed that the world’s 20 biggest economies have made little headway in improving their decarbonisation policies over the past year, raising concerns about whether the global Paris Agreement on climate will be achieved.

This is according to BloombergNEF’s fourth annual edition of the G20 Zero-Carbon Policy Scoreboard, ranking countries on the basis on their decarbonisation progress. Each nation was evaluated on a scale of 0 to 100%, with factors considered including the extent of government support allocated for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the effectiveness and strength of these initiatives and the policy implementation process. Additionally, metrics were used to assess the impact of these policies in initiating tangible changes at the grassroots level.

According to the scoreboard, the EU, the UK and the US have maintained their positions as global leaders in decarbonisation efforts. However, despite retaining the top spots, these countries have failed to significantly improve their performance from the previous year. On average, there has been a slight decline of 1% point among the top scorers.

​New data shows majority of companies are overlooking plastic-related risks (Climate Action)

The data reveals, for the first time, the extent of companies’ awareness of their contribution to the plastic crisis, and presents a strong baseline for accelerating action at the fourth round of Global Plastics Treaty negotiations (INC-4) later this month, where mandatory corporate disclosure is on the table. Governments can accelerate this by including mandatory corporate disclosure on plastics in the Global Plastics Treaty being negotiated in Ottawa later this month.

Quick links

Ghanaian and Senegalese entrepreneurs to benefit from African Development Bank Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund (YEI MDTF) grant for green jobs in natural resources (Africa.com)

AfCFTA-focused Afro-Italian relations deepened with Italian President Mattarella’s visit to Ghana (3news)

How Vulnerable is Sub-Saharan Africa to Geoeconomic Fragmentation? (IMF)

Bridging Africa’s Trade Finance Gap: Trade and Development Bank to Speak at IAE 2024 (Energy Capital & Power)

Indian trade charm offensive targets East Africa (APAnews)

BRICS: 2 New Countries Express Interest To Join the Alliance (Watcher Guru)

This Is Going to Hurt: Weather Anomalies, Supply Chain Pressures and Inflation (IMF)


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