Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

South African fossil fuel subsidies hit record R118bn in 2023 (Engineering News)

A new study has found that South Africa’s fossil fuel subsidies tripled between 2018 and 2023, rising to R118-billion from R39-billion over the period, with subsidies having been increased largely in response to the surge in fuel prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Titled ‘Blackouts and Backsliding: Energy Subsidies in South Africa 2023’, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) report calculates that oil and gas subsidies more than doubled over the five years to R52-billion compared with R23-billion in 2018. The value-added tax exemption on the sale of petroleum, diesel and illuminating paraffin remained the highest-value oil and gas subsidy at R30-billion, but other oil and gas subsidies also increased.

“Over 700 Ghanaian Products Absorbed Under AfCFTA’s Guided Trade Initiative” (The Presidency Ghana)

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has during the State visit of the President of Guinea-Bissau Umaro Mokhtar Sissoco Embaló, announced the giant strides being made by Ghanaian products under the Guide Trade Initiative of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Following the maiden roll out of the Guided Trade Initiative, President Akufo-Addo said, over 700 AfCFTA self-defined products from Ghana such as cosmetics, processed foods, coconut oil, Shea butter and garments, have been rolled out and targeted by the AfCFTA market under the Guided Trade Initiative which was launched in October 2022.

Speaking at a Joint Press conference at the close of bilateral engagements with President Embaló and his Ministerial team from Guinea Bissau who are on State visit to Ghana, President Akufo-Addo said such transformative showing, “will give us the best opportunity to derive maximum benefit from our abundant natural resources and from our participation in the AfCFTA, and help bring progress and prosperity to our people”

Kenya’s Miraa Exports to Somalia Suffer Due to High Levies (Business Day Africa)

Kenya’s miraa exports are taking a severe blow from steep levies, compelling traders in Somalia to halt purchases of the stimulant from Kenya due to its dwindling competitiveness in the market. This development is adversely impacting local farmers who are unable to sell their produce due to the lack of market options, given that Somalia stands as the primary destination for miraa exports from Kenya.

To access the lucrative Somali market, Kenya’s stimulant is burdened with a hefty $4.5 levy per kilogramme, rendering it financially unviable for buyers in Mogadishu. Kenya’s miraa traders argue that with the commission in place, the stimulant in Mogadishu must sell for upwards of $30 for a bundle, which many consumers cannot afford.

Uganda traders in a fix over tight rules on China imports (The East African)

Ugandan small-scale traders who buy goods from China are grappling with gaps in cargo documentation, rising import tax bills and bureaucracy even with advanced trade management tools from the taxman. A directive by the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) that requires importers to submit master and house bills of lading for all cargo containers arriving in the country, has left the traders who prefer consolidation of cargo in a dilemma.

A master bill of lading refers to a freight document that provides details about the ownership of goods packed in a container, names of the shipping company, cargo destination, supplier’s names and Cost Insurance Freight (CIF) value among others.

“A cargo container that arrives in the country must have a master’s bill of lading and a house bill of lading attached to it in case of multiple batches of cargo. But some containers arrive from China with a master’s bill of lading while the house bills of lading are missing.

Navigating the nexus of hunger, food waste and sustainable development in Ghana (MyJoyOnline)

According to the African Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization, it is concerning that Africa is currently not making significant progress towards fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 targets. According to the recently released Food Waste Index Report 2021, Ghana is the only country in the African region where the household waste estimate has achieved a high level of confidence.

Kenya’s Sugar Pricing Committee Cuts Cane Prices by 14 Percent (Business Day Africa)

Kenya’s Sugar Pricing Committee has implemented a 14 percent reduction in the price of sugarcane, responding to a concurrent decrease in the cost of the commodity on the retail market. In the most recent review, the committee, mandated with periodically assessing sugarcane prices, revised the cost from Ksh5,900 per tonne in March to Ksh5,100, marking one of the sharpest cuts in recent months.

“The second Interim Sugar Pricing Committee held a meeting on Thursday April 4, 2024 in Kisumu. During the meeting to review sugarcane price, the committee resolved that the new sugarcane price will be Ksh5,100 effective Monday April 8,2024,” said the Head of Sugar Directorate Jude Chesire in a letter to stakeholders. The directorate cited a notable decline in retail sugar prices as the driving factor behind this adjustment.

Border remains open for importation of potatoes (The Namibian)

Potatoes maintained their place on the open import list as the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) closed the border for the importation of six of the 20 horticultural products on the special controlled products list for the period 1-30 April. This underscores the challenges local farmers are facing in meeting demand for the staple crop and seven other crops.

According to a notice to all horticulture traders issued by chief executive Fidelis Mwazi on 25 March, the border is closed for the importation of all types and sizes of butternut, cabbage, English cucumber, green pepper, pumpkin and watermelon, except for exclusions.

Uganda and South Sudan commit to enhance cooperation and border operations at the Elegu/Nimule border post (EAC)

Government officials, trade representatives and other stakeholders from the Republic of Uganda and the Republic of South Sudan convened at Nimule Border on Tuesday for a high-level joint border sensitisation mission focused on strengthening cross-border trade relations and fostering regional integration. The mission provided a platform for in-depth discussions on various issues impacting trade between the two Partner States, with a particular emphasis on the implementation of One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs) and other trade facilitation measures.

A key highlight of the mission was the in-depth review of the performance of the OSBPs, which aim to streamline clearance processes and enhance security measures at border points. Stakeholders underscored the importance of consolidating various government agencies into one central location to expedite clearance times and simplify procedures for cross-border traders.

Southern African Development Community (SADC) Member States meet to validate Regional Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (Ventures Africa)

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Southern African Development Community (SADC), have organized a three-day workshop to validate the SADC Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP). From 8 to 10 April 2024, more than 80 representatives from SADC Member States, environment and agriculture sectors, development partners and the private sector will review and validate the revised draft SADC BSAP.

Biodiversity initiatives in the region have been guided by the first SADC Regional Biodiversity Strategy of 2008 and the 2010 SADC Regional Action Plan. The reviewed SADC BSAP will cover a 10-year period (2025-2035) and will be aligned with the African Union’s Biodiversity strategy and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

Niger, ECOWAS Bank Sign MoU to Finance Important Projects (This Day Live)

The Niger State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development, to finance four priority projects totaling $114 million in various socio-economic sectors. At the occasion of the ECOWAS Investment Forum (EIF) that took place between April 4 and 5, 2024, in Lome, Togo, the Niger State Government signed the MoU with the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development.

The projects to be financed include the construction of the Madalla-Suleja -Maje dual carriage road ($30m), the construction of Madalla Green Economic Market ($11m), the construction/conversion of the former secretariat into School of Medical and Health Sciences(S40 m) and the construction of eight International truck-trailer parks in Makwa, Tapa, Lambatta, Bida, Makera, Dikko, Tagina and Kontagora ($43m).

Platinum-linked green hydrogen set to be world’s ‘new oil’, Forbes article highlights (Engineering News)

There’s no climate solution without hydrogen. It’s the missing piece of the clean energy puzzle, says a global CEO-led initiative that brings together leading companies with a united vision. This initiative has ballooned to 150 multinationals companies from its modest 13-leader 2017 launch at World Economic Forum.

The global Hydrogen Council it has advanced into now represents the entire value chain of hydrogen, which is planet earth’s most abundant element, as well as being renewable and non-polluting. “We need to embrace hydrogen as a global energy solution now more than ever,” is what is being stated by this council, amid hydrogen development taking place left, right and centre across Asia, Europe, the Americas and to a lesser but moderately advancing extent in Africa.

Meanwhile, Forbes magazine’s contributor on energy and climate Ken Silverstein commented that it’s just a matter of green hydrogen getting its legs for it to become the world’s ‘new oil’ that will to replace the non-sustainable energy source that currently drives the global economy.

Gas Resources Will Drive Economic Growth, Industrial Development For Nigeria- Kyari (The Whistler Newspaper)

The Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.) Mr. Mele Kyari, has reiterated the crucial role of natural gas in fuelling economic growth and industrial development in Nigeria. Kyari, who was speaking at the public presentation of the book “The Rise of Gas: From Gaslink to the Decade of Gas” authored by Engr. Charles A. Osezua, the GCEO highlighted gas’ global acceptance as a crucial energy source that sustains economic growth and drives industrial activities.

The GCEO underscored the significance of prioritizing natural gas production and supply, particularly in the context of geopolitical dynamics and energy security in the global economy. With Nigeria boasting substantial gas reserves exceeding 200 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) and a potential to reach 600 Tcf, the GCEO said it is pertinent Nigeria leverages the gas resource for sustainable development, energy security, and job creation.

WTO forecasts rebound in global trade but warns of downside risks (WTO)

In the latest “Global Trade Outlook and Statistics” report, WTO economists note that inflationary pressures are expected to abate this year, allowing real incomes to grow again — particularly in advanced economies — thus providing a boost to the consumption of manufactured goods. A recovery of demand for tradable goods in 2024 is already evident, with indices of new export orders pointing to improving conditions for trade at the start of the year.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said: “We are making progress towards global trade recovery, thanks to resilient supply chains and a solid multilateral trading framework — which are vital for improving livelihoods and welfare. It’s imperative that we mitigate risks like geopolitical strife and trade fragmentation to maintain economic growth and stability.”

Transatlantic air cargo market bucks the global trend with a weak start to 2024 (Xeneta)

The Transatlantic air cargo corridor has had a weak start to the year, which is in stark contrast to the global market. This is one of the world’s top three air cargo corridors, but in the first two months of this year demand from Europe to North America was down by 4% compared to the same period in 2023 and 5% lower than 2019 levels. Interestingly, this trend has also been seen within ocean freight shipping on the Transatlantic trade, which saw a 4% year-on-year decline in demand in January.

The global air cargo market paints a different picture, with double-digit year-on-year growth (+11%) in the first two months of 2024 and +3% compared to the same period in 2019. This has been driven by factors such as disruptions in the Red Sea and strong demand for e-commerce out of China.

Airlines to take back control of payment (IATA)

The IATA Financial Settlement Systems (IFSS) continue to perform an essential service for global airlines, facilitating the movement of funds across the air travel value chain while maintaining extremely high levels of efficiency and security.

“As indicated by participants in the IFSS, potential opportunities could bring the value the IFSS offers to these other forms of payment as it does for BSP sales,” says Albakri. “We want to know where we need to move to in the next three-to-five years,” says Muhammad Albakri, IATA’s SVP for Financial Settlement and Distribution Services.

“We want to know where we need to move to in the next three-to-five years,” says Muhammad Albakri, IATA’s SVP for Financial Settlement and Distribution Services. “Where is the value in the IFSS and how should the scope be improved? It must continue to be aligned with airline needs.”

New UN report calls for trillions more in development investment to rescue Sustainable Development Goals (United Nations)

A new UN report today says financing challenges are at the heart of the world’s sustainable development crisis – as staggering debt burdens and sky-high borrowing costs prevent developing countries from responding to the confluence of crises they face. Only a massive surge of financing, and a reform of the international financial architecture can rescue the Sustainable Development Goals.

The 2024 Financing for Sustainable Development Report: Financing for Development at a Crossroads (FSDR 2024) says urgent steps are needed to mobilise financing at scale to close the development financing gap, now estimated at USD 4.2 trillion annually, up from USD 2.5 trillion before the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, rising geopolitical tensions, climate disasters and a global cost-of-living crisis have hit billions of people, battering progress on healthcare, education, and other development targets.

Related: Massive investment and financial reform needed to rescue SDGs (UN News)

SDG: International cooperation critical for mobilising finances to meet 2030 development agenda (Nairametrics)

Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has stated that international cooperation will be critical to mobilize the financial resources needed to meet the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development. She disclosed this in her statement which formed part of the United Nations “2024 Financing for Sustainable Development Report” launched on Tuesday, April 9, 2024. The report says urgent steps are required to close the development financing gap, now estimated at USD 4.2 trillion annually.

“As the global community gears up for the fourth international conference on financing for development in 2025, the WTO envisions a transformative event that mobilizes financial resources at speed and scale and leverages the full spectrum of complementary policy tools to deliver sustainable economic growth and development for people around the world.

“With only five years to reach the Sustainable Development Goals, anticipation surrounding the conference is palpable, particularly in light of the setback dealt to the pursuit of the SDGs by the COVID-19 pandemic and the wider poly crisis of international conflict, environmental strains, debt distress, and other challenges to future growth and stability.

World’s biggest economies pumping billions into fossil fuels in poor nations (The Guardian)

The world’s biggest economies have continued to finance the expansion of fossil fuels in poor countries to the tune of billions of dollars, despite their commitments on the climate. The G20 group of developed and developing economies, and the multilateral development banks they fund, put $142bn (£112bn) into fossil fuel developments overseas from 2020 to 2022, according to estimates compiled by the campaigning groups Oil Change International (OCI) and Friends of the Earth US.

The G7 group of biggest economies, to which Japan and Canada belong, pledged in 2022 to halt overseas funding of fossil fuels. But while funding for coal has rapidly diminished, finance for oil and gas projects has continued at a strong pace. Some of the money is going to other developed economies, including Australia, but much of it is to the developing world. However, richer middle income countries still receive more finance than the poorest.

Global Warming Will ‘Decimate’ G20 Economies Without Unity: UN Climate Head (Barron’s)

UN climate chief Simon Stiell on Wednesday urged G20 nations to unite in tackling global warming, saying that allowing geopolitical divisions to sideline this common threat would “decimate” their economies. “Sidelining climate isn’t a solution to a crisis that will decimate every G20 economy and has already started to hurt,” Stiell said as he pressed for a new finance deal to help developing countries respond to global warming.

World Must Prioritize Productivity Reforms to Revive Medium-Term Growth (IMF)

The world economy faces a sobering reality. The global growth rate—stripped of cyclical ups and downs—has slowed steadily since the 2008-09 global financial crisis. Without policy intervention and leveraging emerging technologies, the stronger growth rates of the past are unlikely to return.

Faced with several headwinds, future growth prospects have also soured. Global growth will slow to just above 3 percent by 2029, according to five-year ahead projections in our latest World Economic Outlook. Our analysis shows that growth could drop by about a percentage point below the pre-pandemic (2000-19) average by the end of the decade. This threatens to reverse improvements to living standards, and the unevenness of the slowdown between richer and poorer nations could limit the prospects for global income convergence.

However, our latest analysis shows that there’s hope. A variety of policies—from improving labor and capital allocation across firms to tackling labor shortages caused by aging populations in major economies—could collectively rekindle medium-term growth.

Quick link

WTO members review six regional trade agreements (WTO)

‘Success of India’s G20 Presidency Makes Voice of Global South Stronger’: Brazilian Envoy (ETV Bharat News)

CO2 Watchdog Approves Carbon Credits for Value Chain Emissions (BNN Bloomberg)

Banks must adapt to survive as commodity finance demand slumps (Global Trade Review)


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