Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

South Africa aims to set up three JET-aligned skills development zones (Engineering News)

Three Just Energy Transition (JET) skills development zones focusing on renewables and grids, electric vehicles and green hydrogen value chains are proposed for implementation under the larger JET Investment Plan (JET-IP), for which pledges of $11.5-billion have been made by several developed countries.

The zones will be anchored to specific educational institutions, most likely technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges selected for their proximity to the priority sectors, where education and training will be tailored towards a specific JET focus and where catalytic interventions will be undertaken and partnerships with business developed.

The South African government’s JET-IP outlines the need for R1.5-trillion-worth of investment in the renewables, new energy vehicles and green hydrogen sectors between 2023 and 2027 to support the country meet its goal of reducing its carbon emissions to as close as possible to the lower band of the emissions range submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, namely between 420- and 350-million tons by 2030.

I. Coast cocoa trade destroying Liberian forest – Report (The New Dawn Liberia)

At a major event on Monday, April 22, 2024, in Brussels, the authors of an investigation revealed that companies sourcing cocoa from Côte d’Ivoire are promoting the destruction of forests in neighboring Liberia. The conclusions of the field investigation presented by IDEF representative Bakary Traoré highlight that the traceability mechanisms used by these companies are flawed and do not comply with the new anti-deforestation regulation published on June 9, 2023, in the Official Journal of the European Union. The investigators argue that these mechanisms should be replaced by the robust and transparent national traceability system now in place in Côte d’Ivoire.

“Work is currently underway in Côte d’Ivoire to set up a national traceability system. Under this system, all plots of land in Côte d’Ivoire will be geolocated, and producers will be registered. A map of producers, including a barcode system, will also indicate what individual farms are able to produce and track their sales. Our investigation shows the importance of speeding up the work begun by the Ivorian authorities,” explains Bakary Traoré, Executive Director of the Ivorian NGO (IDEF) and the report’s main author.

“Current traceability systems were set up by the chocolate companies and are controlled by them. They are not transparent, and our investigation found them to be flawed. To resolve the problem and comply with new European regulations, traders in raw materials will have to change their approach.”

US, Nigeria to hold conference on digital economy, emerging technology (Tribune Online)

The United States of America and Nigeria are set to discuss digital economy, emerging technology and the development and implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Nigeria. Mr Arthur Brown, the Deputy Chief of Mission, at the U.S. Embassy, Abuja, made the disclosure at the closing ceremony of a four-day workshop on National Artificial Intelligence Strategy in Abuja, recently.

“In less than two weeks, the United States and Nigeria will hold a Bi-National Commission, a conference with high-level U.S. government officials coming to Abuja to discuss, among other things, the digital economy and emerging technology. “We want to foster deeper partnerships and work together to create programmes and policies that will drive robust, resilient and inclusive economic growth. “Looking ahead, we hope to build on the momentum of these four days workshop with an Al conference in Lagos to deepen the linkages between our economies.

“We want to align Al governance to ensure that Al is deployed in a safe, secure, transparent and trustworthy manner,” he said.

EAC Multinational Road of Kenya/Uganda: Kisumu - Busia/Kakira - Malaba Expressway set to boost intra-regional trade in the Northern Corridor (EAC)

The feasibility studies for the 256km multinational Kisumu-Kisian-Busia/Kakira-Malaba-Busitema-Busia expressway is set to start soon after EAC officially handed over the site to the consultancy firm named GOPA Infra Gmbh of Germany together with ITEC Limited of Kenya. The expressway that will run from Kisumu in Kenya to Kakira, a town Jinja district, will involve rehabilitation of the existing two-lane single-carriageway to bitumen standards and the upgrading of the same into a two-lane dual carriageway over a 104km stretch.

The $1.4 million feasibility study project funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) will determine the economic viability of upgrading the existing multinational road sections from single carriageway to expressway standards. The studies will be carried out as one integrated project but in two distinct packages to determine the economic feasibility of developing the corridors that connect the two countries to the port of Mombasa.

COMESA Begins Implementing Trade Remedies Regulations (COMESA)

COMESA has begun the comprehensive implementation of its Trade Remedies Regulations, aimed at recommending measures to prevent potential losses that its Member States might incur due to unfair trading practices and unforeseen surges in imports during business transactions. The Regulations were adopted way back in 2000, but their application has largely been concentrated in the enforcement of the Safeguard Measures. Specifically, the Regulations together with the COMESA Treaty have been useful in the management and application of the Kenya Sugar Safeguard measures. These have effectively been applied to protect the country’s sugar sector.

Dr. Mohamed Kadah, COMESA’s Assistant Secretary-General in charge of programs, noted; “Trade liberalization alone cannot deliver anticipated benefits to all Member States equally. There are bound to be winners and losers in the trading arena.”

The full implementation of the regulations follows the inaugural meeting of the Trade Remedies Committee, which commenced on April 24, 2024. This committee was established as directed by the COMESA Council of Ministers during its 44th meeting in November last year, to ensure wider coverage of remedies. The operationalization of the Committee signifies the beginning of the implementation of the trade remedies regulations. It is expected to promote fairness and stimulate intra-regional trade within the COMESA free trade area (FTA), which currently consists of 16 participating Member States.

AmCham Business Summit 2024 kicks off, trade ties top agenda (The Exchange Africa)

The fourth edition of the regional American Chamber of Commerce Kenya (AmCham) Business Summit, has officially kicked off in Nairobi, Kenya, under the theme, ‘Catalyzing The Future of US-East Africa Trade and Investment’. This year’s forum underscores AmCham Business Summit as the premier platform for strengthening bilateral trade and investment between the United States, Kenya, and East Africa.

In a keynote speech, Rebecca Miano, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Investments, Trade, and Industry welcomed the delegates to Nairobi, Kenya, while highlighting the Kenya and US cordial relationship enjoyed over the last 60 years. She highlighted the recent United States-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) MoU signed between Kenya and the US to address investment-related challenges and promote business opportunities emphasizing the importance of the partnership between Kenya and the US in areas such as infrastructure, health, renewable energy, and the digital economy.

She said, “This summit aims to provide opportunities for trade and investment by facilitating a forum to matchmake and create opportunities that initiate, advance and close deals. The Summit also resonates very well with Kenya’s government’s agenda, commonly known as the Bottom-Up Transformation Agenda, which aims to transform the economy and create a business-friendly environment at all levels.

Financing African hydrocarbon projects needs a segmented approach (Engineering News)

In an era in which raising finance for major hydrocarbons projects is increasingly challenging, the developers of such projects in Africa should consider segmenting them and separately seeking finance for each segment. That advice was given by Africa Finance Corporation Senior Associate Shao Olumide. He was participating in a panel discussion at the 2024 African Refiners and Distributors Association conference, in Cape Town.

Globally, investors were moving away from hydrocarbons projects, including fossil fuel refineries, he pointed out. But investors not willing to invest in a refinery itself might very well be prepared to invest in infrastructure ancillary to, but essential for, the operation of the refinery, such as roads, piers and other port or terminal infrastructure.

Efficient commodity exchange platforms key for Africa’s economic growth (UNECA)

Efficient and effective financial and commodity exchange markets are crucial for economic growth, as well as for equitable, inclusive, and sustainable development of the continent, says Antonio Pedro, Deputy Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Mr. Pedro was speaking at a virtual High-Level Dialogue on Regional Commodity Exchanges as Means to Boost Investments, Production and Industrialization in Africa hosted by ECA Sub-Regional Office for Eastern Africa in Kigali, Rwanda.

According to the ECA Deputy Executive Secretary, a total of 14 commodity exchanges on the continent have agreed to harness their collective potentials under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The ECA advocates for developing regional commodity exchanges because Africa has a large commodity base that can support regional exchanges and the development of regional value chains.

“These exchanges are centralized platforms by design that make it easier to aggregate, standardize, and improves market issues by lowering transactions costs and promoting transparent pricing. In addition to encouraging price discovery, this economic infrastructure,” said Mr. Ngabitsinze. “By aligning supply chains more closely with market demands and providing an outlet for surplus production. This exchange underpins the development of our missing industries, such industrial linkages essential for shifting from primary agriculture to value added manufacturing.”

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and African Union launch new publications to strengthen agribusiness in Africa (ZAWYA)

In a move to advance agricultural entrepreneurship and agribusiness development across Africa, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the African Union (AU) have unveiled two new publications on agribusiness incubators and public-private partnerships.

The first publication, Agribusiness Incubation and Acceleration Landscape in Africa is an in-depth analysis and mapping of over 430 enterprise support organizations across the continent, aiming to fill the gap in publicly available information on agribusiness incubation and acceleration programmes and their impacts. The second publication, Guide for the Design and Implementation of Public-Private Partnerships for Agribusiness Development in Africa, aims to support African countries in crafting sustainable and inclusive public-private partnerships (PPPs) for agribusiness development. It draws on lessons learned from across Africa.

China urges developed countries to fulfill climate finance commitments at G20 meetings (Global Times)

China has urged developed countries to expedite the implementation of their climate finance commitments, helping developing countries in climate actions with financial and technological assistance. The stance was made during G20 meetings, held on Wednesday and Thursday, aimed at enhancing technical and capacity-building support for developing countries.

During the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting under the 2024 G20 Brazilian presidency in Washington DC, China’s Finance Minister Lan Fo’an called for all parties to adhere to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities in climate actions, asking developed countries to implement their climate finance commitments, according to the website of China’s Ministry of Finance. Lan emphasized China’s commitment to refining policies and standards that support green development, including fiscal, financial, investment and pricing systems.

UN chief calls for all hands on deck at Climate Promise 2025 launch (UN News)

The Climate Promise 2025 aims to accelerate efforts from local to international levels to take more ambitious steps to ensure the global temperature does not heat up beyond the 1.5° limit, a goal set with the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the initiative, driven by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), recognises an important truth in the climate battle: “it is not all doom and gloom”.

“Many countries have the will to take more ambitious steps on climate action, but the world needs to mobilise to ensure there is a way,” he said at the Below 1.5 by 2025: The Plan launch event.

The UN chief said the Climate Promise 2025 represents the entire UN system coming together, helping governments rise to the moment, seize the opportunity and create new national climate plans aligned with the 1.5° limit. UNDP’s Climate Promise has already worked with 128 countries on the last round of national climate plans to increase quality and ambition. “Done right, national climate plans double as national investment plans and reinforce national development plans,” the UN Secretary-General said. “They can catapult sustainable development, connecting billions to clean power, boosting health, creating clean jobs and advancing equality.”

See also: AfDB calls for collective support for developing countries hit by climate change (AfDB)

Data Blog - Thirty years of trade growth and poverty reduction (WTO Blog)

Between 1995 and 2023, total world trade – goods and commercial services– saw strong growth, averaging 5.8 per cent per year. This translates into an almost fivefold increase in world trade. The growth of world trade outpaced that of global gross domestic product (GDP), which increased by an average of 4.4 per cent per year over the same period.

Over the past three decades, the rapid economic growth facilitated by trade in developing and emerging economies has significantly transformed trade patterns. Trade between developing economies expanded at a rate of 9.7 per cent per year, surging from less than a tenth of global trade in 1995 to nearly 25 per cent by 2022, reaching a total value of US$ 6.1 trillion. In contrast, while trade between developed economies accounted for over half of global trade in 1995, by 2022 this proportion had declined to 39 per cent, confirming a relative shift in trade flows towards developing and emerging economies.

Strong calls for innovative financing and reform of the international financial system to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa (UNECA)

In a strong call to stakeholders at the opening of the tenth Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD-10) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General said urgent action is needed to increase capital flows into developing countries, particularly in Africa to make the SDGs stimulus a reality. She also urged the international community to support Africa in its efforts to deliver its vision for development through the SDGs 2030 agenda and Agenda 2063.

“Debt servicing in Africa is at an all-time high due to external shocks, leaving very little fiscal space or nothing to invest in sustainable development.” Furthermore, debt servicing “accounted for a staggering 47.5% of government revenue in Sub Saharan Africa last year. This is the primary expenditure on essential services, as well as investments in the continent’s future in areas of education and health,” she said.

According to Ms. Mohammed, at least $500 billion a year is needed to scale up affordable long-term financing for development, alongside structural reforms within the very institutions and rules that make up the international financial architecture.

Related: Africa’s Leadership, Collective Voices Key for Scaling Up Key Transitions, Investment Pathways to Sustainable Development, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Regional Forum (UN Press)

Money Flowing in Wrong Direction, Secretary-General Tells Development Financing Forum Follow-up, Urging Better Funding Models for Debt-Ridden Developing Countries (UN Press)

Financing is the fuel of development. Yet many developing countries are running on empty. This is creating a sustainable development crisis. A crisis of lingering poverty and rising inequality. A crisis of hunger, lack of education and shattered infrastructure. A crisis of climate catastrophe and shocks that are becoming more frequent and acute. And a crisis that, if left unchecked, will undermine stability, prosperity and peace for decades to come.

The world faces an annual financing gap of around $4 trillion to reach the SDGs — a sharp rise from the $2.5-trillion gap one year before the COVID-19 pandemic. This growing financing gap is matched by a growing financing divide — between those countries that can access financing at affordable rates, and those that cannot… We must continue pushing for an SDG Stimulus of $500 billion annually in affordable long-term finance for developing countries. The Stimulus was welcomed by world leaders at the SDG Summit and in the Group of 20 (G20) New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration. Now it’s time to move from words to action and deliver affordable, long-term financing at scale.

Minister Haddad announces the creation of a G20 Roadmap for multilateral bank reforms (G20 Brasil 2024)

“Development banks need to intensify their efforts and work together effectively and at scale,” said Finance Minister of Brasil, Fernando Haddad, during a ministerial meeting of the Finance Track, held in Washington, USA. Brasil will develop an evidence-based G20 Roadmap for multilateral bank reforms to make multilateral development banks better, bigger and more effective. At the center of the effort is the guarantee that the banks’ support will continue to be geared towards national development priorities, providing concrete benefits to the countries favored by their investments.

The reform of global governance institutions is one of the priorities of Brasil’s G20 presidency. Building on the work of previous G20 presidencies, Brasil will develop a G20 Roadmap for reforms of multilateral development banks (MDBs) to make MDBs better, bigger and more effective. The Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad, presented on Thursday (18), in Washington, United States, the main ideas that will guide the construction of the Roadmap.

According to the minister, “to drive transformative development, multilateral development banks need to intensify their efforts and work together effectively and at scale,” he affirmed.

Digital Economy Conference demonstrates important collaboration among key sector players (NewsDay)

A Digital Economy Conference held on the opening day of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) on Tuesday, bringing together key players in the ICT sector, demonstrated a new level of collaboration among key players in the industry. The Conference, themed ‘Embracing the Digital Economy’, was organized by the Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services.

Key topics discussed in detail at the Conference – a first of its type – include Emerging Technologies and Innovation, Regulatory Framework and Governance for a digital economy, Digital Infrastructure to support a digital economy, and the Digital Skills Development needed to achieve the digital economy.

Minister Mavetera, said the digital economy stands as a cornerstone of progress in the 21st century, driving innovation, creating opportunities and revolutionising the way people conduct business and interact with the world. “In the digital age, our economy is no longer bound by physical constraints. It is defined by the flow of information, the exchange of ideas, and the connectivity that binds us all,” she said.

Small Island Digital States: How Digital Can Catalyse SIDS Development (UNDP)

Digital is positively impacting lives and livelihoods across SIDS – improving the reach and effectiveness of government and public service delivery, providing exciting new opportunities for citizen engagement and empowerment; and shaping new products, sectors, and opportunities. It also draws on digital products and services, initiatives, and innovations being shaped and delivered by UNDP Country Offices across the global SIDS community.

Discussion at the G20 centered on the inequality in Artificial Intelligence infrastructure (G20 Brasil 2024)

On April 17, 2024, in Brasilia, a side event at G20 Brasil tackled the challenges of uneven distribution of Artificial Intelligence (AI) assets and infrastructure, exploring potential solutions for governments, the private sector, and civil society. This meeting, under the umbrella of the G20 Dialogues and facilitated by the Digital Economy Working Group, convened global experts to deliberate on “Artificial Intelligence for Social Equity and Sustainable Development.”

Fernanda Martins, Director of Research at InternetLab, emphasized that Artificial Intelligence poses challenges to the development and sustainability of democracies, highlighting the importance of discussing AI governance. “Given the current historic moment and the rise of authoritarian governments around the world, examining a technology of such magnitude underscores the critical need for a discerning approach, social responsibility, and partnership between countries to ensure the ethical use of AI,” stated the Director of Research.

For Martins, the Global South represents the majority of the world’s population and its data is extracted for the benefit of a minority that historically gains from technological advancements. Therefore, regulatory discussions must take a comprehensive approach, considering factors such as race, gender, sexuality, social status, territorial distinctions, and national identity.

AI Will Transform the Global Economy. Let’s Make Sure It Benefits Humanity (IMF)

The rapid advance of artificial intelligence has captivated the world, causing both excitement and alarm, and raising important questions about its potential impact on the global economy. The net effect is difficult to foresee, as AI will ripple through economies in complex ways. What we can say with some confidence is that we will need to come up with a set of policies to safely leverage the vast potential of AI for the benefit of humanity.

In a new analysis, IMF staff examine the potential impact of AI on the global labor market. Many studies have predicted the likelihood that jobs will be replaced by AI. Yet we know that in many cases AI is likely to complement human work. The IMF analysis captures both these forces.

See also: AI to increase participation of disabled persons in digital economy (KBC)

Quick links

New instrument on Customs valuation adopted at the 58th TCCV Session (WCO)

Scaling Up Co-Financing for Greater Development Impact (World Bank)

Crypto community reacts as BRICS considers launching stablecoin for international trade settlement (FXStreet)

Global Report on Food Crises: Acute hunger remains persistently high in 59 countries with 1 in 5 people assessed in need of critical urgent action (FAO)


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