Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

South Africa to Keep Anti-Dumping Duties on Chicken Imports From US (Bloomberg)

South Africa’s trade minister approved a recommendation to maintain anti-dumping duties on frozen bone-in chicken portions originating in or imported from the US.

Following an investigation that started in December 2022, the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa, known as ITAC, concluded that the expiry of duties on these poultry portions would likely lead to the continuation or recurrence of dumping, and material injury to the chicken industry in the Southern African Customs Union, according to a Government Gazette Notice.

W Cape State vets at the centre of efforts to increase agricultural exports (SAnews)

Western Cape State veterinarians have been lauded for the province’s efforts to increase agricultural exports. According to the Western Cape MEC for Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, the province is responsible for 55% of South Africa’s primary agricultural exports, with nearly 50% being livestock or livestock products.

Meyer said the Western Cape Department of Agriculture’s Veterinary Services recently launched its innovative online electronic Export Certificate Office System (ECOS). “ECOS provides the customer with a 24-hour export facilitation service, reducing the export certificate application process from days to minutes. The platform streamlines the export process and ensures compliance with international standards. Exports contribute to foreign exchange earnings and a 5% increase in exports will lead to approximately 22 000 new jobs in the agriculture sector in the Western Cape,” he explained.

Consultations ongoing for continental free trade area (The Namibian)

The Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade is hosting Special Economic Zone (SEZ) consultations countrywide as the country prepares itself for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. During the consultation in the Erongo region on Monday, trade minister Lucia Iipumbi said the establishment of the zones would boost industrialisation, enhance exports and push economic growth.

“Special Economic Zones have over the years proven to be a catalyst for economic transformation around the globe. This is done through creating specific areas with favourable business conditions and incentives advanced by the government,” she said.

“Past experiences of investments in Namibia points to unfavourable free trade agreements, particularly for unskilled workers, women, the informal sector and sustainability,” the report states. The ministry is doing the consultations on the draft SEZ bill, the informal economy, start-ups and entrepreneurship development policy, Namibia investment promotion and facilitation regulations and a national cooling strategy.

EAC seeks to standardise fuel transportation tankers (Monitor)

Representatives from seven East Africa Community (EAC) member states are in Kampala to discuss measures that will lead to standardisation of road tankers, among which include vehicles that transport petroleum products, liquefied petroleum gas, raw materials for soap, and cooking oil production, among others.

The week-long discussion, which started on Monday led by the EAC Secretariat, seeks to harmonise procedures for calibration and verification of road tankers to ensure consistent measurements within the region. This, the EAC Secretariat noted is a key measure that will facilitate intra-EAC trade and movement of liquefied products across the region.

Ms Stella Apolot, the EAC Secretariat principal standards officer, said yesterday that the harmonisation will largely factor in different legislations across the region to come out with measures that will be easy to implement among member countries. “We all know the importance of road tankers and we need to ensure that whatever capacity is brought from partner state to another is the same.

Kenyan trucks with tonnes of potatoes stuck at border after Uganda raises levy (The East African)

Close to 30 trucks from Kenya loaded with tonnes of Irish potatoes are stuck at the Busia border after the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) increased the withholding tax by up to 10 times. Another 20 trucks were reportedly impounded by the tax agency in Jinja, about 120km from the Busia border, on April 12 when the new withholding tax policy was implemented.

According to importers of Irish potatoes from Kenya, they have been paying a withholding tax of Ush120,000 (about $32) for each truck. Now, URA, they say, requires them to pay Ush1,200,000 ($315) for each truck.

Ghanaian stakeholders engaged on AfCFTA Youth and Women Protocol (GhanaWeb)

In an unprecedented mobilization of business leaders and young entrepreneurs across Ghana, the Ghana Chamber of Young Entrepreneurs (GCYE), with support from the German Corporation for International Cooperation GmbH (GIZ) under its AfCFTA support programme, spearheaded a series of stakeholder dialogues aimed at integrating and maximizing the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) protocol for women and youth.

These crucial dialogues were meticulously planned and executed by Bizgrotec, a leading consultancy firm known for its innovative approaches in business growth and technology.

This strategic move was driven by a dual objective: firstly, to gather insights, inputs, and recommendations from women and youth-led businesses on the nuances of the AfCFTA Women and Youth protocol; and secondly, to collaboratively develop strategies that would bolster the participation of young and female entrepreneurs in the burgeoning opportunities presented by the AfCFTA.

Government opens up to private sector to solve logistical challenges (Ghana News Agency)

Dr Stephen Amoah, a Deputy Finance Minister, has articulated the government’s readiness to partner with value chain stakeholders to solve logistical challenges in the country to boost intra-African trade. Such collaboration, Dr Amoah said would be critical in making Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) thrive in the country, while boosting their participation under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

He was speaking with the media after a forum on “Making logistics work for Ghanaian SMEs to trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area,” in Accra on Tuesday, April 16.

Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Review: Seychelles (UNCTAD)

The review of Seychelles’ National Innovation System (NIS) and the implementation of its 2016-2025 national Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy and Strategy (STIPS) suggests a range of policy actions and institutional reforms. These recommendations are essential for invigorating the NIS, thereby enabling Seychelles to harness STI and entrepreneurship effectively to achieve the goals set in Vision 2033 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Many of the provisions of the STIPS remain unimplemented, primarily due to the weakened institutional capacity characterized by a lack of personnel and dedicated funding. Of these, the failure to establish the proposed National Research Fund, as envisioned in the Policy and Strategy, has hindered the country’s ability to mobilize domestic and international resources for STI. The STIPS, while focused on innovation and entrepreneurship, lack adequate provisions for science-informed policy-making and governance of emerging technologies like AI and Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies. This indicates a need for the policy to be updated or thoroughly revised.

Petrol Import Costs Fully Recovered, NNPCL Insists (Leadership News)

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has said it recovered full costs from the products it imports into the country. The company also dismissed any insinuation with regard to return to petrol subsidy. Chief corporate communications officer, NNPC Ltd, Olufemi Soneye, told our Correspondent that since the ousting of petrol subsidy by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the subsidy regime has ceased to exist.

“It is important to emphasise that the subsidy is no longer in place. Contrary to allegations, petrol subsidy has not been reinstated.” Soneye affirmed during the conversation. This is coming after the chief executive officer of Rainoil Limited, Gabriel Ogbechie, reportedly said the federal government has resumed the payment of the controversial fuel subsidy following the devaluation of the Naira in the foreign exchange market.

Experts want Nigeria to address trade imbalance with partners (Businessday NG)

The Federal Government has been urged to improve on the use of technology in trade transactions with partner countries to avoid distortions in the event of pandemic that could orchestrate the lockdown of the economy in the future. Bamidele Ayemibo, the lead consultant at 3T Impex Consulting Limited, gave the charge at the unveiling of the annual trade finance survey in Nigeria, 2024 held in Lagos recently.

According to Ayemibo, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a major setback to export trading in particular among developing countries, with Nigeria suffering huge losses. Ayemibo also emphasised the need for proper understanding and monitoring of trade finance and international trade among those in the banking sector in Nigeria. He called on the government and banks to have a framework to foster partnership in industry participation and audit to know if the banks are doing the needful with their staff.

Kenya keen on trade deal with US before elections, AGOA lapse (The Star)

Agriculture, environment and workers’ rights took centre stage in the Kenya-US trade talks , with the former seen to push for a deal before November. This comes amid concerns that this year’s US Presidential elections could further derail the process, with a possibility of pushing talks into 2025 when the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) expires.

During the 11-day physical meeting (negotiating round) in Washington between April 2-4, the two sides also discussed textual issues on anticorruption; and Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises, and continued conceptual discussions on inclusivity. The US delegation was led by Assistant United States Trade Representative (USTR) Constance Hamilton while the Kenyan delegation was led by Principal Secretary for Trade Alfred K’Ombudo.

The meeting follows an in-person negotiating round under the US-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) held in Nairobi between January 29-31, this year.

Related: African coalition applauds AGOA 16-year renewal bill to boost trade prospects (Just Style)

African countries incurred $69B in debt service payments in 2023: Al-Mashat (EgyptToday)

Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation, Rania Al-Mashat, called upon the international community to scale up debt swap programs for climate action. The minister emphasized the importance of reducing financial burdens while advancing sustainable development goals in a high-level event with the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Meetings.

Al-Mashat drew attention to the pressing needs of developing countries, particularly in Africa, where there is a substantial shortfall in climate financing. The continent requires an estimated $200 to $400 billion annually until 2030 to address climate-related challenges. Meanwhile, African countries paid approximately $69 billion in debt service payments in 2023 alone, servicing their outstanding sovereign debts.

The event, titled “Debt Swap for Climate Action,” focused on exploring the debt swap mechanism as a means to support climate-related initiatives and facilitate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Al-Mashat highlighted the potential of debt swaps to enhance countries’ fiscal capacity, enabling them to expand investments in climate action.

The Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism receives $7.3 million to boost agricultural productivity and smallholder farmers’ income (AfDB)

Global Affairs Canada(link is external) has provided $7.3 million in funding to the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism (AFFM) to enhance sustainable agricultural productivity and smallholder farmer livelihoods, particularly women and youth across Africa. The financing will aid the Mechanism in replicating its credit guarantee programs, enabling fertilizer importers and aggregators to access the product on credit. It will also boost efforts to improve soil health and provide technical assistance to farmers.

New Partnership Aims to Connect 300 million to electricity by 2030 (World Bank)

The World Bank Group and African Development Bank Group are partnering on an ambitious effort to provide at least 300 million people in Africa with electricity access by 2030.The World Bank Group will work to connect 250 million people to electricity through distributed renewable energy systems or the distribution grid while the African Development Bank Group will support an additional 50 million people.

“Electricity access is the bedrock of all development. It is a critical ingredient for economic growth and essential for job creation at scale. Our aspiration will only be realized with partnership and ambition. We will need policy action from governments, financing from multilateral development banks, and private sector investment to see this through,” said Ajay Banga, World Bank Group President.

Red Sea Crisis and implications for trade facilitation in Africa (UNCTAD)

The end of 2023 and the first quarter of 2024 are marked by major disruptions to global maritime trade flows as ships entering the Gulf of Aden and sailing through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal continue to face attacks by Yemen-based Houthis. This new wave of disruption follows the unprecedented global logistics crunch caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its fallout in 2020-2022 and the war in Ukraine since 2022. It also compounds the challenges caused by the reduced ship transits in the Panama Canals resulting from the impact of drought on water levels.

The disruption in the Red Sea and increased shipping traffic around Africa underscore the need for African countries and ports to scale up ongoing efforts aimed at implementing trade facilitation measures, taking up digitalization and mainstreaming green processes to reduce port congestion and expedite the clearance of goods.

The 2020-2022 upheaval in global logistics and the war in Ukraine have exposed the vulnerability of extended supply chains to disruptions and exposed instances of ill preparedness. The Red Sea crisis and the Panama Canal situation are further emphasizing the need to strengthen transport and trade in the face of disruption and consider how to respond, cope, recover and adapt to the new operating conditions.

In this context, a key question arises: Can African countries leverage the current disruption and explore how, by improving their trade facilitation environment, they can take advantage of the business opportunities that may arise from the additional traffic passing through their ports? Put differently, could the additional port calls that are currently mostly motivated by bunkering activities stimulate maritime trade? Could the additional port activities motivate additional imports and exports?

WTO members hold focused discussions on harnessing digitalization to facilitate trade (WTO)

At a meeting of the Committee on Trade Facilitation on 16-17 April, members kicked off discussions on utilizing digital tools to optimize the movement of goods across borders in line with the committee’s decision to focus on this topic in 2024. Members heard presentations on national experiences with using digitalization to facilitate trade. The committee intends to explore this topic in further meetings and summarize discussions at the end of the year.

Three sub-topics were addressed at the meeting, namely: using data and technology to simplify trade; promoting the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement through the digital revolution and smart technologies; and digitalization of border procedures. Ten delegations shared their experiences: China, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Japan, Pakistan, Peru, the Dominican Republic, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Togo.

WTO, FIFA take steps to advance cotton initiative unveiled at MC13 (WTO)

At its first meeting since the launch of the “Partenariat pour le Coton” at the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in February, the Steering Committee of the WTO-FIFA Cotton Initiative on 18 April pledged to intensify work to deliver concrete results for African cotton-producing countries, notably the Cotton Four (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Mali) plus Côte d’Ivoire. They welcomed two new partners — the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) — as members of the Steering Committee.

The “Partenariat pour le Coton” was unveiled by WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and FIFA President Gianni Infantino on 25 February. The initiative aims to strengthen the WTO-FIFA cotton partnership and support African countries’ participation in cotton value chains. The launch marked a milestone in the partnership following the signing of the WTO-FIFA Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in

Push to tax polluters, mega-rich to pay for climate action takes off (Devex)

An international tax task force and G20 nations are discussing proposals for global taxes to raise funding to fight climate change and inequality in low- and middle-income countries.

Meeting on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund-World Bank Spring Meetings on Wednesday, a small group of countries discussed how to design a set of levies on fossil fuel producers, aviation, maritime shipping, and financial transitions to unlock much-needed climate and development cash.

Launched at the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai last year and co-chaired by Barbados, France, and Kenya, the international tax task force has committed to assessing the impact of different levies and their political and technical feasibility.

The group is due to present its initial findings at COP 29 in Azerbaijan in November and hopes to rally a coalition of the willing around a set of feasible options for climate taxes at the COP 30 talks in Brazil in 2025.

Embrace innovation ‘to make sustainable transport a reality for all’ (UN News)

Opening its High-level Meeting on Sustainable Transport, Assembly President Dennis Francis urged countries to seize the opportunity to shape a green, inclusive and prosperous future for today and generations to come. ”From public transport to maritime transport, we must embrace innovation-driven approaches – to make sustainable transport a reality for all,” he said.

He stressed that with over one billion people, roughly one-eighth of the planet, lacking access to all-weather roads, “our foremost priority must be to ensure equal access to sustainable transport, particularly for countries in special situations and vulnerable communities.” He drew attention to Landlocked Developing Countries, Small Island Developing States, and Least Developed Countries and the obstacles to sustainability they face, such as inadequate infrastructure, lack of maintenance capabilities and impaired resilience to climate change.

See also: From Africa to Maryland, Transport Knowledge Knows No Borders (World Bank)

The Managing Director’s Global Policy Agenda, Spring Meetings 2024: Rebuild, Revive, Renew (IMF)

The global economy has shown remarkable resilience, and appears headed for a soft landing. But buffers have been eroded, growth prospects are lackluster, and vulnerable countries are at risk of falling further behind. While inflation has fallen, it remains above target in many countries. Against this background, the key policy priorities are to: (i) rebuild buffers; (ii) revive medium-term growth; and (iii) renew the IMF’s commitment to ensure that our policies, lending toolkit, and governance are fit for purpose. Central banks need to finish the job on inflation, carefully managing its descent to target. With a soft landing in sight, policymakers’ focus needs to shift to fiscal consolidation to safeguard public finances.

Reviving growth prospects will require accelerating structural reforms and joint efforts by countries to tackle transformational challenges. Firmly grounded in its mandate, working with its members, and in partnership with other international organizations, the IMF will continue to serve its members

Related: IMF, World Bank cite significant progress in debt restructuring cases (Reuters)

Quick links

China Boosts Agricultural Trade with South Africa, Deepening Economic Ties (TDS News)

Seizing the opportunities of African trade requires robust risk management (African Business)

ECOWAS Needs to Have a Face (The Republic)

Nearly $450 billion was spent on the SDGs — where did it go? (Devex)

Reducing supply risk of critical materials for clean energy via foreign direct investment (Nature)

Positioning in global value chains: A new dataset available for global value chain analyses (CEPR)


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