Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

US official announces business partnership with Kenya (Voice of America)

About 1,300 delegates and 400 companies participated in the fourth American Chamber of Commerce summit in Nairobi, Kenya, where Kenya’s president William Ruto says his country is ready for business – and means business. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced a partnership “to harness artificial intelligence, facilitate data flows and empower digital upskilling with Kenya.” The partnership, she said, is the first of its kind with an African nation to promote the safe development and deployment of AI. In addition, seven private-sector deals on digital transformation and commitments were made involving companies including the NBA, CISCO, Pfizer, and Qualcomm. Two new grants by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency were announced to expand semiconductor fabrication in Kenya and the construction of a fiber network along the railways.

Coca Cola’s Namibia recycling partnership turns bottles into brighter futures (Engineering News)

An investment of more than $1.2-million through a partnership between Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) and plastic packaging company Plastic Packaging has culminated in the opening of a new polyethylene terephthalate (PET) flaking plant in Okahandja, Namibia. The plant is expected to double the capacity of the only mechanical recycler of plastic waste in the country.

“The Coca-Cola system aims to drive systemic change through a circular economy for packaging. We are leading the industry to help collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one we sell by 2030,” said CCBA chief public affairs, communication and sustainability officer Tshidi Ramogase. “We have a responsibility to help solve complex plastic waste challenges facing our planet and society, and we’re leveraging our scale and reach to achieve our sustainability goals and reduce packaging waste.”

Fuel tax blocks aid to hunger-ravaged South Sudan, UN says (The East African)

South Sudanese authorities are holding up United Nations fuel tankers over a tax dispute, jeopardising the delivery of millions of dollars of aid during a humanitarian crisis, the UN mission there said. The trucks were held up at depots and the Ugandan border on Wednesday despite assurances from the minister of Humanitarian Affairs a day earlier that a new tax on trucks carrying fuel and other supplies did not apply to UN humanitarian operations, a spokesperson for the mission said. The Trade Ministry order this week, announcing the tax, said the $300 charge on each goods truck entering and leaving the country was intended to help the government maximise revenue collection by addressing undervaluation and fraud.

“As of now, the trucks are still held up. The mission is continuing to engage intensively at the highest levels to resolve the situation,” Priyanka Chowdhury, acting spokesperson for the mission, known as UNMISS, told Reuters.

DRC returns Chinese firm’s mineral shipments with high radiation levels (The East African)

Mineral shipments from a Congolese copper and cobalt operation majority-owned by China’s Zijin Mining Group Co Ltd were returned due to overly high radiation levels, the Congolese Mines minister said in a letter seen by Reuters on Monday. The letter, dated April 12, informed the COMMUS project in which Zijin owns a 72 percent stake that the ministry had suspended its licence while it investigated the issue.

“I am informed of the return of your shipments that exported ... mineral products to South Africa on the grounds that their radioactivity content exceeds the regulatory threshold,” Mines Minister Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayi said in the letter. COMMUS, based near Democratic Republic of Congo’s southern city of Kolwezi, produced 129,000 tonnes of copper and about 2,200 tons of cobalt in 2023, ministry data shows.

A separate internal directive by the ministry, seen by Reuters, outlined what steps its investigation would take. These include verifying COMMUS’ compliance with export procedures and assessing what risks the presence of radioactive materials might have posed to the export chain.

Malawi Ratifies the Tripartite Free Trade Agreement (COMESA)

Malawi has ratified the Tripartite Free Trade Agreement, bringing the total number of state that have done so to 12. Now, only two are remaining to reach the requisite threshold of 14 to enable the agreement to enter into force. The ratification instrument, signed by Malawi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Nancy Tembo was delivered to the office of the Secretary General of COMESA, Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe, on 23 April 2024.

The Tripartite FTA is an inter-regional co-operation and integration arrangement amongst countries of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). To date, 22 Member States have signed the TFTA Agreement, and 12 have ratified it. These are Egypt, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Eswatini, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

The Tripartite FTA was launched in June 2015 in Egypt to enhance integration among the Tripartite Member/Partner States for their mutual benefit and to pursue the development of common programmes which will enable all parties to utilise the available resources effectively. In addition, it is intended to harmonise trade and investment regimes and in particular to establish a Free Trade Area amongst COMESA, EAC and SADC; enhance inter-REC economic cooperation.

Build robust system to reap benefit of AfCFTA – Prof. Boateng urges African countries (Graphic Online)

The Board Chairman of the Mineral Income Investment Fund (MIIF), Professor Douglas Boateng, has stressed the need for African countries to build a robust supply chain system to enable the continent to reap the full benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). He said although the agreement was made to ensure the free movement of goods and services, it had not been achieved due to a lack of supply chain management.

“Free movement is critical to supply chain management and I think that the barriers and the silo thinking within the continent must discontinue so that goods can move across freely,” he said. Prof. Boateng was speaking in Accra yesterday at the Women in Supply Chain Forum which was held on the theme: “Unlocking Growth Through Integrated Supply Chain Management; A Personal Catalyst.”

Aviation Experts Identify Barriers to Intra-African Trade, AfCFTA Implementation (This Day Live)

At the 2024 MRO Africa Conference held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from April 23-25, stakeholders acknowledged that air transport as catalyst for economic development is the bedrock that would buoy and enhance trade and tourism; when there is free movement of people across nations with liberalised inter-state movement.

“So, we need to create an environment to develop the traffic, the affordability of fares. That is why the single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) is important, also the African Continental Free Trade Area. If there is no activity between countries, it is difficult for an airline to open a route. And also, we are seeing still some visa restrictions between African countries. This also should be solved. And I think African airlines also are not cooperating much. We have commercial agreement. This is something which needs to be changed,” Secretary General of African Airlines Association (AFRAA), Mr. Abdelrahmane Berthe, said.

Brazil signs Lusophone Compact agreement to boost private sector in Africa (AfDB)

Brazil has officially joined the Lusophone Compact, an initiative working to accelerate private sector development in Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa, known as the PALOPs (Angola, Cabo Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tome and Príncipe). The country’s minister for Planning and Budget Simone Tebet signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the president of the African Development Bank Group Dr Akinwumi Adesina on Monday 22 April in the capital Brasilia. The memorandum was also signed by ambassadors present from Portugal and Portuguese-speaking African countries.

Data is essential to debate women’s participation in foreign trade (G20 Brasil 2024)

Female participation in international trade is still insignificant. Women-led companies are less likely to access foreign markets and benefit from these opportunities. According to the International Trade Center (ITC), women own only around 20% of exporting companies in the world. That is why G20 members have emphasized in recent years the need to accelerate progress towards inclusive international trade that involves initiatives to boost women’s participation.

According to Tatiana Prazeres, Foreign Trade Secretary at the Ministry of Development, Industry, Trade and Services (MDIC), in general, the vast majority of G20 member countries measure the participation of women in the economy. Notably, however, most of them do not have disaggregated data on women’s participation in international trade. The term disaggregated data refers to the separation of information collected into smaller units to reveal underlying trends and patterns. They can identify, for example, the sex, race, or age of certain population groups to measure participation in foreign trade.

Timely reforms of the global financial institutions and architecture crucial for sustainable development and financing for development in Africa (UNECA)

African ministers and senior officials at the tenth session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD-10) are calling for timely reform of the global financial institutions and architecture for sustainable development and financing for development in Africa. This they say is the unified African message to the Summit of the Future to be held in September 2024 in New York. The message, which comprises commitments aligned with Africa’s priorities is to be delivered as part of the planned pact of the future to be delivered at the Summit.

In their declaration on the effective delivery of sustainable, resilient and innovative solutions to reinforce the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063 and to eradicate poverty in times of multiple crises released at the closing of ARFSD-10 in Addis Ababa, the ministers called upon the participants at the Summit of the Future to consider and adopt, as part of the planned pact of the future, the reforms for sustainable development and financing for development in Africa.

The declaration calls for the need to ensure the existence of global financing mechanisms that give African and other developing countries access to adequate and equitable concessional financing and to affordable market-based resources to accelerate sustainable development. In addition, there is a need to reform international tax governance.

AfCFTA: PAMA, MAN To Champion Ratification Of Single Currency (New Telegraph)

The MAN president said that the single liberalised market for free trade in goods and services, which African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) offers, could boost Nigeria and other countries in the continent in terms of export by more than $600 billion with wage gain of more than 10 per cent, if AU leaders aggressively campaign for the ratification of the continent’s single currency at the highest level. As Nigeria commences formal export of locally produced commodities to South Africa, Rwanda, Cameroon and Kenya this month under the Guided Trade Initiative of the African Continental Free Trade Area, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and PanAfrican Manufacturers Association (PAMA) are closely working with African leaders to champion the ratification and adoption of a single African currency.

CIBN, partners advocate PAPSS adoption for Africa’s $3trn market (News Agency of Nigeria)

The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) says adoption of cross-border payment systems will boost trade and fast-track projected three trillion dollars borderless market needed to reverse poverty in Africa. Mr Ken Opara, President, CIBN, said this on Thursday in Lagos at a road show organised by Pan African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) in collaboration with CIBN and the National Action Committee on AfCFTA (NAC-ACFTA).

Opara said that easy cross-border payment system across Africa would accelerate economic growth, foster healthy business relationships, and support the realisation of AfCFTA objectives. “At the forefront of facilitating the achievements of the objectives of AfCFTA is the Pan-African Payment & Settlement System (PAPSS), developed by Afreximbank and the African Union, as an instrumental force in propelling the economic and financial integration of the African continent,” he said. He said over 80 per cent of intra-African payments currently go through either Europe or the United States, a process Afreximbank estimates costs as much as 5 billion dollars in fees and compliance costs.

Standard Bank mobilises debt fund to support sustainable infrastructure in Africa (Engineering News)

Financial services firm Standard Bank has committed to Acre Impact Capital’s Export Finance Fund I to support the financing of sustainable projects in Africa. Acre Impact Capital manages Export Finance Fund I, which seeks to invest in climate-aligned and sustainable infrastructure projects in renewable energy, health, food, water security, sustainable cities and green transportation, thereby providing access to essential services to predominantly underserved communities across the continent.

“As the largest African bank by assets, operating in 20 African countries, we understood first-hand the importance of backing this unique fund as a platform for converging new sources of capital for investment on the continent. “We are delighted to be part of this market-first fund working with our partners at the European Investment Bank, FSD Africa, Trimtab, Ceniarth and others. Acre’s backers collectively realise that this platform represents a new model for blending finance sources for Africa, with the potential to meaningfully address the funding gap for essential infrastructure,” says Standard Bank Investment Bank export and agency finance head Greg Fyfe.

BII, Citi launch $100m facility to boost trade finance in Africa (Trade Finance Global)

British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor, has partnered with Citi to launch a $100 million risk-sharing facility. This initiative aims to bolster the trade finance availability for SMEs and corporates in frontier and emerging African markets. The agreement was signed during the World Bank’s Spring Meetings in Washington and seeks to enhance the business prospects of enterprises that are currently constrained by financial limitations.

The BII and Citi collaboration will assist local businesses in accessing finance to import economically valuable goods, including transportation, critical equipment, and machinery. This support is crucial for fostering the growth of manufacturing sectors in various African nations such as Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

The need for this funding has become more pressing as local enterprises face difficulties in securing necessary imports. These challenges are the result of high inflation, escalating interest rates, and rising commodity prices following the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Consequently, the trade finance gap in Africa has widened significantly, increasing by about a third since the pandemic began, from $81 billion in 2019 to $120 billion in 2023.

Carbon tax on fossils fuels, marine and aviation transport could generate additional development financing for Africa (UNECA)

A carbon taxation regime covering carbon tax on fossil fuel, maritime transport, and aviation could generate additional funds to support the Africa energy transition, says Claver Gatete, Executive Secretary of ECA at a dialogue on carbon markets and development held on the sidelines of the tenth Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD-10) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“If combined with other policy measures, carbon tax could help to mitigate those residual emissions that cannot be addressed by carbon credit markets or subsidies and technologies. Such a tax could allow countries to improve responses to their commitments to contribute to reducing climate instability,” said Mr. Gatete.

In reference to ECA’s preliminary studies in exploring to benefits of carbon tax, Mr. Gatete noted that carbon tax in the global supply chains could allow countries like Egypt and Ethiopia to reap substantial revenues that could be reallocated to research and development in the aviation and marine transports.

COP29 climate summit host Azerbaijan defends oil and gas investments (Engineering News)

Azerbaijan, host of this year’s UN climate summit, will defend the right of oil and gas producing nations to invest in the sector, the country’s president said on Friday, noting that despite climate targets, fossil fuel demand remains strong.

“As the head of the country which is rich with fossil fuels, of course, we will defend the right of these countries to continue investments and to continue production because the world needs it,” Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev told a climate conference in Berlin on Friday. “But at the same time, countries with fossil fuel ... should be among those who demonstrate solidarity with respect to issues related to climate change,” he said.

Last year’s UN climate summit in the United Arab Emirates ended with a global agreement calling for “transitioning away from fossil fuels” to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Burning fossil fuels for energy is the main source of the greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change. Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions increased to a record high last year, International Energy Agency data show.

A New Study Reveals How Renewables Could Power Africa By 2040 (Africa.com)

Over half of Africa’s people – about 600 million – lack access to even the bare minimum of electricity. The tough question to answer is how access can be extended without adding to global warming by relying on fossil fuels. We – a team from Rwanda and Germany who work in the field of renewable energy scientific modelling – set out to find the answer by building the Renewable Power Plant Database Africa, the first on the continent. It’s a database of available open access data on hydro, wind and solar energy sources that we’ve analysed.

The database shows that some countries, such as Nigeria and Zimbabwe, have enough projects in the pipeline to potentially transition away from fossil fuels by 2050. And that 76% of all electricity required on the continent could come from renewable resources by 2040. This would happen if the capacity of existing hydro-, solar and wind power plants were fully utilised and if all plants currently on the drawing-board were built.

Critical minerals boom: Global energy shift brings opportunities and risks for developing countries (UNCTAD)

As the climate emergency intensifies, demand is surging for minerals that are critical for renewable energy technologies like solar panels, wind turbines and electric vehicles (EVs). The booming demand poses significant opportunities and challenges for developing countries rich in critical energy transition minerals, especially those grappling with commodity dependence – when 60% or more of a country’s merchandise export revenue comes from raw materials.

UN Trade and Development has identified 110 new mining projects worldwide, valued at $39 billion, with $22 billion invested in 60 projects in developing countries. The new critical mineral mining projects needed offer opportunities for many developing countries, especially in Africa. The continent boasts over a fifth of the world’s reserves for a dozen metals essential to the energy transition, including 19% of those required for electric vehicles. But to fully capitalize on their mineral wealth, developing countries must go beyond merely supplying raw minerals and advance up the value chains.

Critical Minerals Africa 2024 to explore Lobito Corridor’s role in streamlining mineral trade (African Mining Market)

Multinational commodity trader Trafigura and Kamoa-Kakula entered a long-term agreement with the Lobito Atlantic Railway consortium to transport critical minerals via the Lobito corridor in February 2024. In addition, Canadian mining firm Ivanhoe Mines made its inaugural copper shipment from the Kamoa-Kakula Copper Complex in the DRC via the corridor, reducing transit time from 25 days to 8 days. The developments highlight the pivotal role of regional critical minerals value chains, such as the Lobito Corridor, in streamlining the trading of critical minerals and fostering socioeconomic development.

The Critical Minerals Africa (CMA) Summit, taking place on 6th – 7th November, in Cape Town, will host a panel discussion exploring the role of the Lobito Corridor in supporting large-scale projects to advance resource monetization. With the DRC, Zambia and Angola intensifying the exploitation of critical minerals to bolster export revenue, the Lobito Corridor serves as a blueprint for attracting fresh investments to advance infrastructure and mining developments.

African ICT Ministers Issue ‘the Nairobi Declaration’, Committing To Foster A Connected And Empowered Africa, As Connected Africa Summit 2024 Wraps Up In Nairobi (Modern Ghana)

Fourteen Ministers in charge of Technology in Africa, have issued the Nairobi Declaration on Fostering a Connected and Empowered Africa. The Ministers who convened at the Ministerial Exclusive Round Table Forum at Connected Africa Summit 2024 under the leadership of Ministry of ICT & Digital Economy Cabinet Secretary, Eliud Owalo, deliberated on harnessing the potential of digital technologies for the advancement of the continent, endorsing a collaborative vision for a digitally empowered Africa.

Emphasizing the centrality of digitalization and digital infrastructure to modern economies, the Ministers pledged to harness digital infrastructure and technologies to drive inclusive economic growth of at least 5% annually within the next decade. The declaration comes as curtains closed on the Connected Africa Summit 2024 which kicked off on Monday at Uhuru Gardens.

Anti-counterfeit body intensifies fight against illicit trade (Capital News)

The Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA) is in the process of implementing varied methods to fight trade in illicit goods that costs Kenya upwards of Sh40 billion annually. The ACA Executive Director Dr Robi Mbugua Njoroge said the Authority has entered a Memorandum of Agreement (MoUs) with other related government agencies and regional countries to collaborate in joint efforts to curb the thriving trade in counterfeit goods.

Addressing the media in Nairobi, Dr Mbugua said the Auditor General had flagged anti-counterfeit trade as a menace to the economy that costs the exchequer over Sh40 billion in unpaid taxes. Dr Mbugua said: “We have already started establishing frameworks of collaboration with neighbouring counties, specifically with Uganda and Tanzania to help stop cross-border illicit trade both ways.”

High-level dialogue marks 30 years of TRIPS Agreement (WTO)

In her opening remarks, DG Okonjo-Iweala stressed that – already in 1994 – the TRIPS Agreement articulated the compelling idea that the intellectual property (IP) system exists to promote the mutual interests of both producers and users of technological knowledge in a way that promotes social and economic welfare and that balances rights with obligations. Developing economies have increasingly tailored TRIPS Agreement implementation to their domestic needs, leveraging IP rights for technology transfer and economic growth.

Why the pursuit of SDGs would yield better outcomes with stronger IP systems (Nation)

The theme for the 2024 World Intellectual Property (IP) Day – “IP and the SDGs: Building our common future with innovation and creativity” – shines a light on the undeniable fact that innovation and creativity are vital to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In a world facing numerous challenges, such as climate change, resource scarcity, and public health crises, leveraging intellectual property to drive sustainable development for our common future has never been more critical. Explicitly referencing the importance of innovation is SDG-9 – “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation”. 

IP protection underpins creating a fair and equitable society that values innovation and creativity. This is essential for achieving the broader aims of SDG-16. Securing the rights of contributors is essential for sustainable development, and SDG-16 provides a framework that promotes “peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provides access to justice for all, and builds effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions” at all levels in the IP ecosystem.

How Counterfeits Undermine Sustainable Development (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

Intellectual property rights are a priority trade issue for CBP, as the implications extend beyond economic impact to touch American consumers, global communities, and the very health of our planet. On this World Intellectual Property Day, it’s crucial to acknowledge the harmful impact of counterfeits on sustainable development, which has implications for our entire planet and the people living on it.

Related news:

World Intellectual Property Day highlights the link between innovation and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (WCO)

World IP Day 2024: Intellectual Property as a Catalyst for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals in Africa (Inventa)

Quick links

Digital innovation: The path to Nigeria’s economic diversification (Businessday NG)

Developing digital tools to help build Africa’s blue economy (The Fish Site)

ARFSD Spotlights Critical Role of Voluntary Local Reviews in SDGs and Agenda 2063 Progress (UNECA)

Russia Leads Charge for De-dollarization in Africa Ahead of BRICS Summit (Africa24.it)

African Consultative Group Meeting: Statement by the Chairman of the African Caucus and the Managing Director of the IMF

E-commerce negotiators finalize “technical discussions” and outline next steps (WTO)

Bridging the Ingenuity Gap: Ideas for a Vibrant G20 (ORF)


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