Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News
Photo credit: John Hogg | World Bank

South Africa puts biggest trade partner in its crosshairs over R20 billion and 100,000 jobs (BusinessTech)

South Africa said it has taken a preliminary step toward filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the European Union over its treatment of citrus imports from the country.

Two years ago, the EU imposed requirements for additional refrigeration of incoming fruit from South Africa, which lags behind only Spain as an exporter of the produce, to combat incidences of Citrus Black Spot, a fungal disease that leaves dark spots on fruit.

Last year, according to the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa, South Africa shipped $644 million of citrus such as oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and mandarins to the EU. The EU’s moves increased costs and slashed shipments from South Africa, which competes with Spain for the citrus market. “The industry cannot afford the almost R2 billion that is needed to comply with the EU’s trade-restrictive regulations,” Thoko Didiza, South Africa’s agriculture minister, said in the statement.

South Africa’s trade watchdog suffers ransomware attack — warns of data leaks (MyBroadband)

The International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) has warned its employees and trading partners that their data may have been breached following a ransomware attack it suffered on 2 January 2024, according to a News24 report, The publication has seen an ITAC statement from Monday, 15 April 2024, revealing it had been hit by a security breach locking employees out of its system and encrypted files.

Following the attack, the ITAC shut down its systems to update security measures, including its firewall. ITAC chief commissioner Ayabonga Cawe said that despite these measures, private information of ITAC employees, service providers, and importers, among others, had been accessed during the attack.

“We are publishing this notice to alert all stakeholders to the fact that there is a chance this security compromise may affect them,” News24 quoted Cawe as saying.

Industrialisation and Trade Ministry engages stakeholders on economic policies (Namibia Economist)

The Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade held a crucial public consultation among stakeholders to discuss four pivotal policy and legislative frameworks. These frameworks included the draft Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Bill, National Informal Economy, Startups and Entrepreneurship Development Policy (NIESED), Namibia Investment Promotion and Facilitation Regulations, and the National Cooling Strategy.

Addressing the esteemed gathering, Minister, Lucia Iipumbu, expressed gratitude for the participation of stakeholders, acknowledging the invaluable insights they bring to shaping Namibia’s economic future. The discussion aimed to garner input on these frameworks critical to the country’s growth and development.

Commencement of trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement: 1st April 2024 (Ministry of Trade and Industry, Botswana)

The Ministry of Trade and Industry is pleased to announce that trade under preferential terms of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) can commence from the 1st April, 2024. This follows the publication of the Tariff Concessions and Rules of Origin for imports from participating AfCFTA members in the Government Gazette Extraordinary of 8th March, 2024.

The commencement of trading under this landmark Agreement provides the Private Sector with market access to the larger African market of 1.3 billion and will stimulate industrial development, investment and job creation which are in line with Botswana’s Vision 2036. This will result in wider and increased market access for Botswana’s exports in the African continent. The Private Sector will also access a wide range of inputs or raw materials from the continent at competitive prices. The Agreement also supports growth of Women and Youth owned businesses.

The public is informed that trading will be with countries that have completed their respective national processes for trading under the AfCFTA. 

National Single Window project will facilitate regional integration – Tinubu (Daily Nigerian)

President Bola Tinubu has said that the introduction of the National Single Window, NSW, project would facilitate national and regional integration. Mr Tinubu said this during the inauguration of the National Steering Committee of the NSW on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. He said that Nigeria would key into the global revenue enjoyed by other global financial systems benefiting from the single window initiatives of ease of doing business.

The single-window system or single-window concept is a trade facilitation concept which allows an international (cross-border) trader to submit information to a single agency. It reduces having to deal with multiple agencies in multiple locations to obtain the necessary papers, permits, and clearances to complete their import or export processes.

“The national single window is a game changer that will revolutionise the way we conduct trade by simplifying government trade compliance through a digital platform. We unlock the doors to economic prosperity, and all other opportunities. “This initiative will link our ports, government agencies and key stakeholders by creating a seamless and efficient system that will facilitate trade like never before.”

Zimtrade targets Zambia’s Agritech Expo (New Zimbabwe)

Trade promotion agency, ZimTrade has tabled plans to connect local companies to the Zambia Agritech Expo set to kick off later this week. The high-level event in Zambia showcases the latest agricultural technology, products, and services which include precision agriculture technology, irrigation systems, seed and fertilizer innovations, livestock management solutions, and agricultural machinery and equipment among others.

This year’s event is expected to run between the 18th to the 20th of April at the Golden Valley Agricultural Research Trust Research Centre in Chisamba. Agricultural inputs and implements present lucrative export opportunities for local manufacturers with market data showing that the exports of agricultural inputs and implements grew from US$606 billion in 2019 to US$828 billion in 2022.

Ghana fails to secure debt deal with international bondholders (The East African)

Ghana has failed to secure a workable debt deal with two bondholder groups in its push to restructure $13 billion of international bonds, the government said on Monday, in a blow to its efforts to swiftly emerge from default and economic crisis.

Formal talks were on hold for now after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicated that the deal would not fit its debt sustainability parameters, the government said in a statement. “We will regroup to continue negotiations until we reach a deal that is consistent with IMF debt sustainability targets,” the office of Finance Minister Mohammed Amin Adam said on X, after the government had released its regulatory statement.

Aviation: Eswatini Hosts Pioneering Workshop on Gender Equality (COMESA)

The aviation sector, known for its high technical demands and significant economic impact, has historically seen lower participation rates of women, especially in technical and leadership roles. As part of a broader initiative to tackle these disparities and foster an inclusive environment that supports the careers of women in this dynamic field, COMESA is leading an initiative to sensitive girls on the range of careers available in aviation.

On 10 – 12 April 2024 the Kingdom of Eswatini, in collaboration with COMESA, hosted a three-day workshop in Sibane, Eswatini aimed at promoting gender equality and expanding career opportunities for women in the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean (EA-SA-IO) region’s aviation sector.

3rd Sub-Committee on Tax and Illicit Financial Flows of the Specialized Technical Committee on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning, and Integration (African Union)

The Sub-committee is tasked with spotlighting and providing practical solutions to issues around tax and IFFs and making recommendations for the approval of STC and implementation by the stakeholders. Its focus remains to devise measures to unlock domestic resources for the development of Africa and its people.

Despite its vast economic potential, Africa faces challenges in mobilizing domestic resources to fund development initiatives. Historically, the Continent as the rest of the developing world, hardly participated in making the global tax and financial architectures. This has often disadvantaged Africa, leading to inequitable access to capital, revenue losses, illicit financial flows, Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) and hindered economic progress.

Currently, Africa loses around USD 89 billion annually to illicit financial flows (IFFs), equating to 3.7% of its gross domestic product (GDP), while tax incentives contribute to a further $220 billion loss. The loss through IFFs increased from what was reported through the findings of the High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows in 2015, that shows Africa was losing more than US$50 billion annually in IFFs. Addressing these issues requires concerted efforts to promote fiscal transparency, enhance efficiency, and ensure accountability in tax administration.

SADC holds a Retreat for Member States Focal Points for Trade in Services (SADC)

The Directorate of Industrial Development and Trade (IDT) at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat convened a Retreat for Member States’ Focal Points for Trade in Services, held from 25-27 March 2024 in Centurion, South Africa. The main objective of the Retreat was to provide a strategic and less formal forum, outside negotiating meetings, for delegates to visualise the future and how to position the region’s services sector to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)market access opportunities.

The meeting was to develop a 15-year Regional Strategy on Trade in Services and a 5-year Action Plan. During the Retreat, the delegates forged a shared understanding of the developments, strategies/approaches, opportunities, and challenges in negotiating and implementing regional trade in services liberalisation commitments. As crucial input into the Strategy and Action Plan, the delegates considered the findings and recommendations of the study on “How to Improve SADC Services Sector Competitiveness to Take Advantage of AfCFTA Market Access Opportunities”.

Zambia and DRC to implement an Innovative transboundary battery and Electric vehicle Special Economic Zone (UNECA)

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa (SRO-SA) and Afreximbank in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry organised a technical meeting to review the findings and recommendations of the prefeasibility study for implementation of a Transboundary Battery and Electric Vehicle industry Special Economic Zone in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia.

The joint Battery and Electric Vehicle (BEV) initiative on the establishment of a value chain in the electric battery and clean energy sector is supported at the highest political level in both countries. In the DRC, the President established the Congolese Battery Council and appointed its leaders by Presidential Decree No 0314/02/2023. In Zambia, the Ministers of Commerce, Trade and Industry (MCTI), Finance and National Planning, Mines and Minerals Development and Technology and Science were specifically tasked by the Republican President, to spearhead the initiative and a technical committee to support the processes on the initiative was inaugurated. Following the signing of the framework agreement in March 2023, Afreximbank and UNECA retained ARISE Integrated Industrial Platforms to prepare a prefeasibility study on the Transboundary Special Economic Zone. ARISE submitted the draft prefeasibility report to the two member States in December 2023 for their review.

Lower economic growth and trade disruptions in 2024 to impact development (UNCTAD)

While the global economic slowdown in 2023 was less severe than originally projected, UN Trade and Development in its latest Trade and Development Report Update warns that further growth deceleration could be expected in 2024.

UN Trade and Development Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan strongly urges concerted multilateral action and a balanced policy mix, underlining that global policy coordination remains the key to safeguarding the global economy amid shifting trade patterns, soaring debt, and mounting cost of climate change all of which disproportionately affect developing countries.

Rising protectionism, disrupted maritime routes due to geopolitical tensions and climate change threaten global trade, the report says. In 2023, the global economy grew by 2.7%, but international trade in goods decreased by 1%. Although there has been some recovery in 2024, it's unlikely that merchandise trade will be a significant driver of growth this year.

Saudi Arabia bolsters first-ever Global Supply Chain Forum (UNCTAD)

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through its ports authority, has contributed funds to bolster the first-ever Global Supply Chain Forum, organized by UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and Barbados. Set for 21 to 24 May in Bridgetown, the forum will unite government officials, business leaders and experts from around the world to tackle global logistics challenges magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical shifts, climate change and rising maritime freight rates.

“The Saudi Ports Authority, MAWANI, reaffirms its dedication to boosting global supply chain resilience and promoting international cooperation,” the port authority said in a statement.

Global supply chains, vital for producing and distributing goods ranging from cars to clothes, foods and medicines, are under unprecedented strain. Attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea, severely disrupting Suez Canal shipping, along with turmoil in the Black Sea from the war in Ukraine, and the impact of drought-induced water level reductions in the Panama Canal have given rise to a complex crisis affecting key trade routes.

Global Economy Remains Resilient Despite Uneven Growth, Challenges Ahead (IMF)

Despite gloomy predictions, the global economy remains remarkably resilient, with steady growth and inflation slowing almost as quickly as it rose. The journey has been eventful, starting with supply-chain disruptions in the aftermath of the pandemic, an energy and food crisis triggered by Russia’s war on Ukraine, a considerable surge in inflation, followed by a globally synchronized monetary policy tightening. Many large emerging market economies are performing strongly, sometimes benefiting from a reconfiguration of global supply chains and rising trade tensions between China and the US. These countries’ footprint on the global economy is increasing.

Global growth bottomed out at the end of 2022, at 2.3 percent, shortly after median headline inflation peaked at 9.4 percent. According to our latest World Economic Outlook projections, growth this year and next will hold steady at 3.2 percent, with median headline inflation declining from 2.8 percent at the end of 2024 to 2.4 percent at the end of 2025. Most indicators continue to point to a soft landing.

The Great Reversal: Prospects, Risks, and Policies in International Development Association (IDA) Countries (World Bank)

The report, The Great Reversal: Prospects, Risks, and Policies in International Development Association Countries, offers the first comprehensive look at the opportunities and risks confronting the 75 countries eligible for grants and zero to low-interest loans from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA). These countries are home to a quarter of humanity—1.9 billion people. At a time when populations are aging nearly everywhere else, IDA countries will enjoy a growing share of young workers through 2070—a huge potential “demographic dividend.” These countries are also rich in natural resources, enjoy high potential for solar-energy generation, and boast a large reservoir of mineral deposits that could be crucial for the world’s transition to clean energy.

Yet a historic reversal is underway for them. This is widening the income gap between these two groups of countries. . The extreme-poverty rate is more than eight times the average in the rest of the world: one in four people in IDA countries struggles on less than $2.15 a day. These countries now account for 90% of all people facing hunger or malnutrition. Half of these countries are either in debt distress or at high risk of it. Still, except for the World Bank Group and other multilateral development donors, foreign lenders—private as well as government creditors—have been backing away from them.

Plastics Dialogue discusses work plan for implementing MC13 statement, welcomes expansion (WTO)

At a meeting on 12 April, participating members of the Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade (DPP) discussed the 2024 work plan for implementing the Ministerial Statement announced at the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13), with the aim of achieving more concrete, pragmatic, and effective outcomes by the next ministerial conference. They welcomed Argentina, Mongolia and North Macedonia as new members of the Dialogue, bringing the number of co-sponsors to 79.

Quick links

Navigating The Future: Ethiopian Digital Economy Foresight (The Reporter Ethiopia)

Worsening hunger grips West and Central Africa amid persistent conflict and economic turmoil (FAO)

African Natural Resources Management and Investment Centre issues new report: “Further processing of wood products in Africa will contribute to the continent’s industrialization and integration” (AfDB)

Global Gateway: The EU launches new regional initiatives in Africa to boost youth mobility and skills, including the unique Africa-Europe Youth Academy (International Partnerships)


Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel +27 21 880 2010