Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

South Africa seeks to secure global plastics pollution treaty by balancing competing interests (Engineering News)

South Africa will seek to secure a legally binding global plastics pollution and marine litter treaty in negotiations at upcoming global meetings by balancing competing demands, Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy told the media on April 12.

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment will participate in the fourth Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4) meeting to be held in Ottawa, Canada, from April 23 to 29, as well as at a subsequent meeting to be held in early December. With only 85 hours of negotiating time available during the April meeting to secure such a treaty, South Africa will recommend that a lifecycle approach to plastic production, use, recycling and disposal be agreed upon in the first draft of the text of the agreement.

Statement by DIRCO and the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of South Africa (EEAS)

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa and the Delegation of the European Union to South Africa regret the misrepresentation made by the media outlets Bloomberg and News 24 yesterday, 8 April 2024 regarding the relationship between the Republic of South Africa and the European Union.

We would like to reject the claim made by these media outlets that the Republic of South Africa has not responded to several requests by the European Union to hold a bilateral South Africa-European Union Summit during 2023. On the contrary, South Africa and the European Union have maintained a regular exchange throughout 2023 in order to prepare their bilateral Summit. This includes a Ministerial Forum in South Africa in January 2023, bilateral contacts at Heads of State level, and ministerial visits to both Pretoria and Brussels.

we also reject the claim made by Bloomberg and News 24 that the delays to the summit are sending a negative signal about future relations between the EU and South Africa. In fact, the above-mentioned regular high-level visits and engagements illustrate the strength, depth and wide-range scope of the strategic partnership between the European Union and South Africa.

Namibia’s Gas Development to Alleviate SADC Power Woes (Energy Capital & Power)

Poised to start production in 2026, the Kudu Conventional Gas Development in Namibia’s Orange Basin could transform the country into a major regional gas exporter. According to Namibia’s national oil company NAMCOR, the development holds an estimated 1.3 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas, unlocking a windfall of potential revenue for the government and new energy supplies for the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Meanwhile, a series of significant hydrocarbon discoveries in the deepwater section of the Orange Basin by energy supermajors TotalEnergies and Shell have raised gas estimates to up to 8.7 tcf. If proven commercially viable, these finds have the potential to more than double Namibia’s GDP by 2040. Insights into Namibia’s path to becoming an integrated gas producer will be shared at this year’s Namibia International Energy Conference (NIEC), taking place in Windhoek on April 23-25.

Study launched on value chains for critical raw materials (New Era)

The EU-funded AfricaMaVal project (AfricaMaVal.eu), implemented by the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), together with the Namibian company Odikwa Geoservices, recently launched a ‘Country Case Study Namibia’ report. The report, launched on Tuesday at the Geological Survey of Namibia, is an assessment of the investment potential in the domestic mining sector.

The report provides an overview of the geological setting and Extended Critical Raw Materials (ECRM) endowment in Namibia. It shows investment opportunities for extraction and local value addition into these value chains. The report further touched on Namibia’s robust legal framework, labour regulations, the taxation regime, trade barriers and uncertainty about protected areas.

Tanzania seeks homegrown solutions to fortify booming digital economy (The Citizen)

To solidify its position as a leading African digital hub, Tanzania must cultivate its domestic cybersecurity industry and implement cyber insurance, according to experts who convened at the recent 3rd Tanzania Cybersecurity Forum. This was among the 11 resolutions reached when Tanzania hosted the 3rd Cybersecurity Forum in Arusha, with participants believing that by doing so, financial losses post-cyberattacks would be mitigated.

Kenya proposes maritime treaty to defuse Ethiopia-Somalia tensions (The East African)

Kenya has proposed a regional maritime treaty to defuse tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia over a deal allowing Ethiopia to set up a naval base and giving it port access in Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland, a top Kenyan official said on Thursday.

Landlocked Ethiopia agreed on January 1 to lease 20 kilometres of coastline in Somaliland, a part of Somalia which claims independence and has had effective autonomy since 1991, offering possible recognition of Somaliland in exchange. That prompted a defiant response from Somalia and fuelled concern the deal could further destabilise the Horn of Africa region.

The treaty Kenya is proposing in consultation with Djibouti and regional bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) would govern how landlocked states in the region can access ports on commercial terms, Korir Sing’oei, Kenya’s principal secretary for Foreign Affairs, told Reuters.

Ethiopia faces tough devaluation decision to secure IMF bailout (The East African)

Ethiopia may have to decide on a big currency devaluation sooner rather than later to secure a rescue loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which left the country last week without reaching a much-needed deal with authorities. East Africa’s most populous country, already struggling with high inflation, became the third African state in as many years to default on its debt in December.

Ethiopia hasn’t received any IMF funds since 2020 and its last lending arrangement with the fund went off track in 2021. The federal government and a rebellious regional authority signed a deal in late 2022 to end a two-year civil war.

Ethiopia earns US$617 million from exporting products in eight months (TV BRICS)

Ethiopia’s economy earned $617 million from exports of products manufactured in the country in the last eight months of the current fiscal year, as reported ENA, citing the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration. The ministry said it was referring to export goods whose production is supervised by the ministry. The ministry said revenues from product shipments rose by US$80 million compared to the same period last year.

S. Sudan to host regional monetary affairs committee meeting (Sudan Tribune)

South Sudan is preparing to host the East African Community (EAC) monetary affairs committee meeting that will bring together all the governors of central banks in the region. South Sudan’s central bank governor, James Alic Garang, announced that all the governors of the central banks from member states that form the regional body would start arriving in the country from April 26 and 27 2024 and will stay until May 3.

“The first two days will focus on technical committee meetings or working groups. They will review the progress. Usually, the review focuses on conversion criteria,” he explained. One of those, according to Garang, revolves around the import cover, meaning they look at the country’s growth reserve and see that relative to how many imports they can cover in several months.

Zanzibar to host EAC aviation conference (Tanzania Daily News)

Zanzibar is set to host the sixth Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency (CASSOA) conference, scheduled for May 16th-17th, 2024. The event will spotlight sustainable environmental issues in the aviation sector.

Speaking to journalists in Dar es Salaam on Friday, Hamza Johari, the Director General of the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA), announced that the conference will convene key aviation stakeholders, including airlines, airports, managers, and security officials from East African Community (EAC) member countries. Mr Johari highlighted that the sixth EAC-CASSOA conference will delve into exploring and revitalizing the space industry, with a focus on restoring consumer confidence and increasing awareness of opportunities related to current space innovations.

Survey reveals lack of AfCFTA awareness among women and youth in business (The Business & Financial Times)

According to a situational analysis conducted by the Aya Institute for Women, Politics and Media, there is a lack of detailed information on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) among women and youth in business. Programmes Coordinator of the institute, Bridget Biney, explained that information about the protocol has primarily reached technical experts and businesses, leaving women and youth in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector with little to no knowledge about AfCFTA.

“We’re facing a significant challenge where there’s limited or insufficient information about the AfCFTA; it’s not widely known. Currently, discussions about the AfCFTA protocol and related matters are mainly confined to technical or business circles. However, we have the opportunity to demystify the AfCFTA for every aspiring entrepreneur or young person interested in business, making the agreement accessible and understandable to all,” she noted.

UK lifts tariffs on east African flower exports to boost trade (Africanews)

The United Kingdom has announced the temporary suspension of export tariffs on cut flowers originating from East Africa. Effective from April 11, 2024, to June 30, 2026, this suspension marks a pivotal moment in trade dynamics between the UK and East African nations.

The suspension of tariffs is particularly beneficial for flower growers in countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda, which are renowned for their flourishing floral industries. These regions rely heavily on exporting cut flowers to international markets, with the UK being a key destination.

By removing export tariffs for a period of two years, the UK aims to streamline trade processes and reduce costs associated with exporting flowers to the UK market. This initiative not only enhances the competitiveness of East African flower exports but also strengthens the economic ties between the UK and the region.

pdf Business is blooming in East Africa – UK suspends tariff for flower exports: Press Release, 11 April 2024 (179 KB)

Risch, Coons Introduce Legislation to Renew Trade Partnership Between U.S. and Sub-Saharan African Countries (US Foreign Relations Committee)

U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Chris Coons (D-Del.), introduced the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Renewal and Improvement Act of 2024 today to renew and strengthen a key trade program with sub-Saharan African countries. AGOA is a trade preference program that facilitates deeper investment and stronger commercial ties between the United States and sub-Saharan African countries. First enacted in 2000, AGOA is due to sunset next year.

“AGOA plays a significant role in U.S.-sub-Saharan Africa trade and investment, as well as in U.S. foreign policy. This bipartisan bill aims to refine AGOA’s eligibility criteria, increase transparency, and hold U.S. agencies accountable for their advice to the president,” said Risch. “This legislation will bolster Congress’ involvement in the eligibility process and oversight, demonstrating a strong commitment to AGOA. I encourage my colleagues to swiftly reauthorize AGOA and the next administration to pursue a broader, two-way strategy with Africa that goes beyond trade preferences and meets the needs of the 21st century.”

pdf A Bill to reauthorize the African Growth and Opportunity Act in the Senate of the United States - 118th Congress, 2nd Session (341 KB)

pdf AGOA Renewal and Improvement Act of 2024: Sens Chris Coons & James Risch - Summary (110 KB)


AAFA rally behind 16-year AGOA extension to sustain US, African trade stability (Just Style)

AGOA extension welcomed – Dion George (Politicsweb)

The Bahamas to Host 2024 Afreximbank Annual Meetings and AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (Afreximbank)

The Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) have today signed the Agreement for The Bahamas to host the 31st Afreximbank Annual Meetings (AAM) and the third edition of the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF). The AAM will be held in Nassau, The Bahamas, from 12 – 14 June 2024.

Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Afreximbank, said: “Afreximbank’s historic decision to hold the 31st Afreximbank Annual Meetings in The Bahamas will be the first time it has been held in the Caribbean. There is a hugely positive outlook for many African and CARICOM countries – as demonstrated by the IMF’s forecast that seven African countries and one CARICOM country will be in the top 10 fastest growing economies globally – so cementing closer links between the two regions is of clear mutual benefit to accelerate growth and prosperity.

“We are in an era where some major global economies are reacting to geopolitical tensions by restricting international trade to prioritise their domestic industries. This partial move away from the rules-based trading system, where international trade is conducted according to agreed-upon transparent, non-discriminatory, and impartial rules, threatens the longstanding reliance of African economies on global support for shared growth and prosperity. In this context, the theme for the31st AAM and the 3rd ACTIF is ‘Owing Our Destiny: Economic Prosperity on the Platform of Global Africa.’ This theme reflects our focus on broadening the discourse to determine solutions to the challenges that affect African Caribbean economies, the policy issues required to promote growth, development and prosperity across Africa and the Caribbean, and to accelerate intra-African trade and investment flows, including with the diaspora.”

China tops FDI confidence index of emerging markets (Asia News)

China topped the most recent Kearney’s 2024 Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index emerging market rankings and jumped from the seventh to the third spot in the world rankings. The report examines investor perceptions of foreign direct investment flows over the next three years and deems that investors remain optimistic about the global economy.

Globally, 88 percent of respondents plan to increase FDI over the next three years, up 6 percent from last year, according to the report. As high as 89 percent of respondents believe that FDI will play a more important role in building their companies’ profitability and competitiveness over the next three years.

The report also pointed out that although investors are more optimistic about overall FDI trends, they are cautious about increasing risks in the global operating environment. Eighty-five percent of respondents believe that rising geopolitical tensions will affect their investment decisions, with some companies choosing to invest in nearshore or friendshore markets as a result. In addition, investors predict that further tightening of business regulations in both developed and emerging markets may pose risks for investment in the coming year.

Digital Economy Summit to forge sustainable future (with photos) (Government of Hong Kong)

Digital Economy Summit (DES) 2024 has kicked off today (April 12) at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) with the theme “Smarter Technovation for All: Forging a Sustainable Future”. The two-day Summit is expected to attract over 4,000 attendees from close to 40 countries/regions to listen to insights from over 100 renowned technology visionaries, industry pioneers and business leaders from home and abroad on how cutting-edge technologies and innovative applications are reshaping the urban landscape and modern digital economy from the perspectives of sustainability, connectivity, and resilience.

Building on the resounding success of the previous edition, this year’s DES features an action-packed programme with eight thematic forums, examining a wide array of trending innovation and technology (I&T) topics and future developments in new quality productive forces, artificial intelligence (AI), business innovation, smart industrialisation and supply chain, smart mobility, new energy, smart finance, Web3.0, as well as smart living and inclusion.

See also: Twelve core recommendations given to govt on fast-tracking digital economy development (The Standard)

Industrial Policy is Back But the Bar to Get it Right Is High (IMF)

Governments have traditionally used targeted interventions known as industrial policy to make domestic producers more competitive or promote growth in selected industries. While some developing countries continued to use it, industrial policy fell out of favor across most of the world for years, because of its complexity and uncertain benefits.

Now, industrial policy appears to be back everywhere. The pandemic, heightened geopolitical tensions, and the climate crisis raised concerns about the resilience of supply chains, economic and national security, and more generally about the ability of markets to allocate resources efficiently and address these concerns. As a result, governments came under pressure to have a more active industrial policy stance.

Trade growth likely to pick up in 2024 in spite of challenging environment (WTO Blog)

The latest edition of the WTO’s “Global Trade Outlook and Statistics” foresees a gradual recovery in world merchandise trade volume in 2024 and 2025. This follows a contraction in 2023 driven by the lingering effects of high energy prices and inflation in advanced economies, particularly Europe. So, what does our forecast indicate?

Specifically, we expect merchandise trade to grow by 2.6% in 2024 and 3.3% in 2025 after falling by 1.2% in 2023. However, there is a downside risk due to regional conflicts, geopolitical tensions and economic policy uncertainty.

In value terms, merchandise trade fell 5% in 2023 to US$ 24.01 trillion but the decline was mostly offset by a 9% increase in commercial services trade, which reached around US$ 7.54 trillion. Total goods and services trade was only down 2%. A particularly bright spot for services was the global exports of digitally delivered services, which reached US$ 4.25 trillion in 2023, up 9% year-on-year, accounting for 13.8% of world exports of goods and services.

WTO: Africa’s exports to grow by 5.3% in 2024, fastest in the world (Asaase Radio)

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is projecting that exports from Africa will increase at the fastest pace in 2024 by 5.3% when compared with other regions. This is contained in the World Trade Organization’s trade outlook for 2024 According to the report, the continent’s exports will exceed pre-pandemic levels, but imports will continue to limp as a result of higher energy and commodity prices.

Moving forward, the report warns that geopolitical tensions and policy uncertainty could limit the extent of the trade rebound. Food and energy prices could again be subject to price spikes linked to geopolitical events. The report’s special analytical section on the Red Sea crisis notes that while the economic impact of the Suez Canal disruptions stemming from the Middle East conflict has so far been relatively limited, some sectors, such as automotive products, fertilisers and retail, have already been affected by delays and freight costs hikes.

Strong import volume growth of 5.6% in Asia and 4.4% in Africa should help prop up global demand for traded goods this year. However, all other regions are expected to see below average import growth, including South America (2.7%), the Middle East (1.2%), North America (1.0%), Europe (0.1%) and the CIS region (-3.8%).

Development aid hits record high but falls for developing countries (UNCTAD)

For millions of people, ODA means having electricity, medical care and food on the table. It means an opportunity for a better future. ODA, also referred to as aid, is the most stable and predictable source of external financing for developing countries, especially in times of crisis. But international crises leave visible marks on it, generating new demands and reshuffling priorities.

A new report by the UN Global Crisis Response Group entitled “Aid under pressure“ analyses the shifts in ODA. Despite reaching record levels in 2022, ODA decreased by $4 billion for developing countries, marking a 2% drop. Over 70 developing countries, including 24 least developed countries and 15 small island developing states, suffered declines. The affected countries are home to more than 2.9 billion people. Moreover, ODA fell $143 billion short of the Sustainable Development Goal 17 target.

In 2022, members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) devoted just 0.37% of their gross national income (GNI) to ODA. Had they met the SDG 17.2 aid target of 0.7%, they could have almost doubled aid inflows to developing countries.

Quick links

Embracing regional integration could be SA’s way out of its financial pickle (EWN)

China continues to dominate an expanded BRICS (East Asia Forum)

Italy to invite African, South American leaders to G7 summit (Reuters)

G20 members make limited progress on decarbonisation (EnvironmentJournal)

Paving the way for a sustainable future: A conversation with UN General Assembly President Dennis Francis (UN News)

Opinion: Moving from hype to reality – how green hydrogen’s role in the energy transition is evolving (Engineering News)


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