Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

NCOP approves Climate Change Bill (Engineering News)

The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) has approved the Climate Change Bill. “The Climate Change Bill will provide the much-needed legal framework to regulate activities that contribute to climate change; ensure an effective response in all spheres of government and by society at large; ensure a just transition; and maximise the opportunities afforded to our economy by the global shift to a green economy,” says Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy.

“The NCOP’s approval of the Climate Change Bill is a landmark in our response to climate change. Since 2011, when we outlined South Africa’s response to climate change in our National Climate Change Response White Paper, we have been putting in place the instruments for an integrated response.

The Bill is expected to shortly become law, with the assent of the President.

pdf South Africa Climate Change Bill, 2022 as amended by the Portfolio Committee on Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (National Assembly) (113 KB)

Rail Reform In South Africa: Progress And Challenges (Railways Africa)

A brief discussion on the future of rail transport in South Africa with Ngwako Makaepea, Deputy Director General of Rail Transport, during the PRASA celebration in Cape Town on 23 April 2024.

Ngwako highlights the Department of Transport’s commitment to advancing rail reform, emphasising the importance of laying down foundational building blocks for a robust system. He discusses key initiatives such as the freight logistics roadmap and the establishment of the Transnet Infrastructure Manager.

Ngwako further explores the significance of private sector participation in rail projects, detailing the department’s collaboration with stakeholders to ensure a conducive framework for investment. Despite challenges and delays, he remains optimistic about the progress of rail reform and the adoption of private-sector participation frameworks.

Ngwako reflects on the broader regional impact of rail connectivity, highlighting initiatives to enhance interoperability and collaboration with neighbouring countries within the SADC region. He reiterates the transformative potential of rail infrastructure, not only in enhancing domestic mobility but also in strengthening regional ties and fostering economic prosperity across borders.

De Beers Group to relocate Auctions headquarters from Singapore to Botswana (De Beers Group)

De Beers Group today [25 April 2024] announced it is relocating the De Beers Group Auctions business headquarters from Singapore to Botswana. The relocation supports De Beers’ focus on streamlining its operations and enhancing the efficiency of its activities, while also facilitating further development of the diamond sector in Botswana.

De Beers Group’s decision to relocate its Auctions headquarters to Gaborone reinforces its commitment to developing Botswana’s diamond industry. It also reflects confidence in the country’s capabilities and growth agenda. De Beers Global Sightholder Sales moved from the United Kingdom to Botswana in 2013, and has now operated successfully in Gaborone for more than a decade. The move of the Auctions business headquarters will enhance efficiency, strengthen partnerships, and support the development of key diamond industry skills in Botswana.

As the relocation process takes place over the coming months, De Beers Group Auctions will be pausing operations and sales events until the move has been completed to support a smooth transition process and to ensure that customers continue to receive the high level of service that they expect.

Kenyan Farmers Get Fertilizer Boost with $2 million Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism Credit Guarantee (AfDB)

In a significant step to advance food security in Kenya, the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism has launched a project that will help deliver nearly 8,000 tons of fertilizers to 100,000 smallholder farmers, boosting harvests and incomes.

Through its Fertilizer Financing for Sustainable Agriculture Management Project, the Mechanism will provide a $2 million partial trade credit guarantee and a grant of $219,000 to Apollo Agriculture Limited(link is external), a Kenyan corporation, to facilitate the company’s fertilizer sales.

Land-Linked Zambia Event Highlights Zambia’s Railway and Transport Vision for Regional Integration (Railways Africa)

During the Land-Linked Zambia event held on April 4-5, 2024, Honourable Frank Tayali, Zambia’s Minister of Transport and Logistics, outlined the nation’s ambitious plans to become a central transport hub in Southern Africa. The conference, themed ‘Connecting Zambia by Land,’ brought together industry experts to discuss enhancing trade, investment, and the seamless movement of goods and services across Zambia and beyond.

Minister Tayali highlighted the strategic development of key transport corridors that include the Walvis Bay-Ndola-Lubumbashi Corridor, the Lobito Corridor, the Nacala Corridor, the North-South Corridor, the Beira Corridor and the Central Corridor. These corridors are pivotal in transforming Zambia into a land-linked nexus, leveraging its rich resources and strategic location to boost regional connectivity.

Minister Tayali emphasized the importance of regional cooperation, noting recent meetings with representatives from Mozambique, Malawi, and Namibia to tackle trade and logistical challenges, particularly along the Nacala Corridor. These discussions are crucial for addressing infrastructure needs and regulatory harmonization to foster a conducive environment for trade.

Ministry posts over 287 mln USD minerals export (Ethiopian Press Agency)

The Ministry of Mines revealed that 287. 28 million USD was secured from minerals export during the last nine months of the current fiscal year. Mines State Minister Million Mathewos told the Ethiopia Press Agency (EPA) that a plan was set to earn 387.28 million USD from minerals export for the reported period while the performance achieved 74.11 percent of the target.

According to him, 3.023 tons of gold, 69.79 tons of tantalum, 11,176.4 of lithium ore, 100.563 tons of ornamental minerals and 32, 141.65 tons of industrial minerals were exported to the foreign market during the nine months. The income was made by supplying over 43,491 tons of minerals to the foreign market. This current revenue surpassed that of the past year same period by 114.19 million USD.

Tunisia: Trade deficit shrinks 4.16% to TND 1,540.1 million in March 2024 (TAP)

The monthly trade deficit shrank 4.16% in March to TND 1,540.1 million compared to the previous month, reads the National Institute of Statistics (INS) monthly report on Foreign Trade at Current Prices, March 2024. Exports posted a third consecutive monthly fall in March, down 1.3% compared to February. This was due to a drop in exports in several sectors, except for the energy sector, currently recovering after three months of continuous decline. However, exports in the energy sector edged up again after three months of continuous decline, posting a noteworthy rise of 196%. The mining, phosphates and by-products sector rose by 42.9%.Imports fell by 2% in March 2024. All product groups contributed to this fall, with the exception of energy products.

Sudan gold revenues ‘unaffected by war’ (Dabanga Radio TV Online)

Although the war between the Sudanese army and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has continued since mid-April of last year, gold exports have allegedly not stopped or been affected by the war. In interviews with Radio Dabanga, one economic analyst called for further regulation of gold exports, while another was sceptical about the reports given the current situation in Sudan.

At the end of last week, the Sudanese Mineral Resources Company announced a gold export report in the first quarter of this year which generated revenue exceeding $428 million for the Central Bank of Sudan (CBoS). These revenues did not reduce the rise in the price of the US dollar against the Sudanese pound, which continues to decline without any state control, and have a negative impact on livelihoods.

According to expert and economic analyst Mohamed El Nayer, this is a good thing. “If Sudan continues to export gold at the same rate, CBoS could make over $2 billion by the end of the year,” which will have a positive impact on the exchange rate. In 2022, gold exports exceeding $2 billion per year made up over 50 per cent of all exports from Sudan. According to the World Gold Council, that year Sudan was the world’s 16th-largest gold producer and the fourth-largest gold producer in Africa.

The economic expert pointed out that rationalising imports could also reduce Sudan’s trade deficit. He suggested stopping the import of non-essential goods, “given that the situation does not require importing all goods.”

Traders worry over rising extortion on Nigeria-Benin border (Daily Trust)

Traders, clearing agents and drivers have expressed concerns over the proliferation of checkpoints mounted by security operatives on the Seme Border-Mile 2 corridor. They alleged that many of the “illegal” checkpoints were mounted to extort them, a situation they said was stifling their businesses. The Seme-Mile 2 corridor is a major route that links Nigeria with neighbouring Benin Republic and other countries. Thousands of Nigerians and visitors from the two countries transact businesses along this corridor on daily basis.

The Comptroller-General of the NCS, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi, had, during his first visit to the Seme Border last year, assured the business community that the Service will look into the proliferation of the checkpoints. The Customs boss had, during his opening remark at the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) stakeholders retreat held in Lagos last September, admitted that stopping at several checkpoints along the route was causing impediments to facilitating trade. He however stated that the Service had reduced the number of checkpoints in the corridor from 60 to three, in order to ease business.

President Ruto: Agricultural Innovation Key to Poverty Reduction (Ventures Africa)

Agricultural innovation and technology remain key to poverty reduction, President William Ruto has said. The President pointed out that innovation has the potential to introduce economies to the possibilities of the digital economy and increase intra-Africa trade, thus accelerating regional integration. With innovation, he said, barriers become bridges, borders transform into portals and challenges turn into opportunities.

President Ruto made the remarks during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair held in Bulawayo where he was the chief guest.

A Big Win for East Africa with the Inclusion of Open Science in the EAC STI Policy (EAC)

The 3rd East African Community (EAC) Regional Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Conference, held from 6 to 8 March, 2024 in Nairobi, Kenya, marked a significant milestone for the region with the launch of the  pdf East African Regional Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2023-2033 (9.27 MB) and the East African Regional Intellectual Property (IP) Policy 2023-2033.

Setting this achievement apart, is the inclusion of Open Science principles and guidelines in the new policy framework. This marks a first for the region and Africa and is set to unlock the full potential of scientific research and drive sustainable development across East Africa.

This historic achievement was the culmination of concerted efforts by a strategic partnership between the Training Centre in Communication (TCC Africa), Public Library of Science (PLOS), and the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO). The collaboration began in 2022, with the shared vision of promoting Open Science principles and practices and empowering researchers across the EAC Partner States.

ECOWAS participates in high-level workshop on regional integration (ECOWAS)

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is participating in the “High-Level Workshop on Regional Integration”. This hybrid workshop, organised both physically and virtually, kicks-off in Kasane, Botswana from Sunday 28 April 2024 and extending through Tuesday 30 April 2024 and is under the theme “43 Years of Regional Integration: Where are we and way forward”.

The primary objective of the workshop is to cultivate a deeper understanding, foster better collaboration, and coordinate regional integration efforts to advance the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Integration Agenda.

Women urged to take advantage of AfCFTA (Graphic Online)

The Namibian High Commissioner to Ghana, Ambassador Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, has called on women entrepreneurs in Africa to leverage opportunities in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to export their products beyond the borders of their countries.

Ambassador Ashipala-Musavyi further encouraged networking among businesses across the continent, especially among women. She underscored the critical role of women in promoting sustainable livelihoods and called for more partners to support to help them to develop their entrepreneurial skills to increase production.

Touching on the AfCFTA protocol, she said “It’s a platform for us to learn from each other. It speaks to Africa’s unity because no one country can basically succeed on her own. So we need to network and to learn from each other. We are facing challenges in trade, common challenges and we need to learn from one other”.

The High Commissioner also emphasised that “If we do not network, if Ghanaian women for example do not go to Namibia and see what is in Namibia, and our women don’t come here (Ghana), we are not going to be successful in trading. So we need to get out of our comfort zones, learn about the continent, what it is that the continent has to offer and harness our strength and see how we can move the continent forward”. She also called for a regional sensitisation of the protocol to enhance cross border trade.

Agoa to be expanded to all of Africa and extended to 2041 (The East African)

The US Congress has put forward proposals that would see the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) extended to 2041.Senators Chris Coons of Delaware and James Risch of Idaho last week introduced the bipartisan Agoa Renewal and Improvement Act of 2024, which would see Agoa cover 54 African countries. The extension is expected to integrate Agoa with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to support the development of intra-African supply chains.

Speaking in Nairobi during the fourth edition of the regional American Chamber of Commerce Kenya (AmCham) business summit, US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said the plans to extend Agoa were on course. “President Biden and our administration have made it a priority to renew Agoa. It is the decision of the US Congress, so we have to work with some of the members,” Ms Raimondo told The EastAfrican. Coons and Risch’s proposed update would push Agoa beneficiaries to increase their exports under the agreement.

“This bipartisan bill aims to refine Agoa’s eligibility criteria, increase transparency, and hold US agencies accountable for their advice to the president,” Senator Risch said. The proposed bill will require an Agoa Forum to be held annually no later than September 30.

African Leaders Unveil Bold Transformation Agenda at Summit, Backed by Powerful New Coalition (World Bank)

In a historic show of unity, 19 African Heads of State assembled at a major summit committed to focusing development aspirations across the continent. This ambitious agenda, aiming to dramatically improve lives and create new opportunities, positions the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) as a cornerstone for success.

Beyond pronouncements, the summit witnessed the birth of a significant partnership—a coalition uniting civil society, foundations, the private sector, and young people. The new coalition will champion a robust and ambitious replenishment of IDA’s resources, fueling Africa’s development engine.

A post-summit communique detailed leaders’ unwavering commitment to strengthen governance, unlock private sector potential for job creation, mobilize domestic resources, and deliver on climate change promises. Additionally, they prioritized increased energy and digital access, alongside enhanced resilience to climate change and conflict.

$4 Trillion is New Annual Financial Target to Save Sustainable Development Goals, says African Development Bank’s Adesina (AfDB)

African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina has emphasized the critical need for significantly increased financing to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Speaking at the Islamic Development Bank’s 50th anniversary celebrations in Riyadh, he highlighted a growing annual financial shortfall of $4 trillion, a gap that threatens to derail efforts to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

African Development Bank President said the current annual gap of $4 trillion, up from $2.5 trillion in 2015, has been propelled by recent global economic pressures and the lingering impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. He detailed the critical role of multilateral development banks in addressing these needs through increased collaboration and innovative financial solutions.

In his call to action to achieve the ambitious goals set forth by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Adesina said, “the call by the UN Secretary General for a $500 billion per year SDG stimulus package should be fully supported.” “The developed countries need to increase support by devoting at least 0.70% of their gross national income to official development assistance,” Adesina added, among other critical actions.

Global Economy will Require $15tn to Finance Long-Term Solutions, Sustainable Infrastructure Projects, Says IsDB President (This Day Live)

The President of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, has stated that the global economy will require $15 trillion to finance long-term solutions and sustainable infrastructure projects. Al Jasser stated that the world needs long-term solutions, and sustainable infrastructure projects, stressing that financing these projects requires a paradigm shift. He also stated that estimates suggest a staggering $15 trillion infrastructure financing gap by 2040.

Speaking at a side event with the theme: “Leveraging Islamic Finance for Developing Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure at the 2024 IsDB Group Annual Meetings,” Al Jasser, noted that the traditional public financing mechanisms fall short of meeting the growing demand for infrastructure projects. He revealed that to address these challenges and mobilise sufficient funding for long-term investments, there is a need for a fresh approach, adding that this is where Islamic finance emerges as a ray of light.

“We stand at a crossroads. COVID-19 exposed vulnerabilities in infrastructure, draining public resources and reversing development progress. One-third of least-developed countries are now worse off than pre-pandemic. Without immediate action, their development outlook could further deteriorate. “Least-developed countries hold tremendous economic potential waiting to be unleashed. Boosting investments in social and physical infrastructure is key to reducing poverty, enhancing health and education, and creating jobs. It also strengthens resilience against future shocks, such as pandemics and climate change.”

Iran, Africa explore a sea of economic opportunities (Tehran Times)

In a remarkable gathering of diplomatic and economic significance, Tehran, the bustling capital of Iran, plays host to a congregation of economy ministers representing over 40 African nations at the esteemed second Iran-Africa International Summit, slated from April 26th to 29th.

In his address at the opening ceremony, President Raisi expressed Iran’s unwavering commitment to fortifying economic ties with the African continent. President Raisi envisaged a future where the fruits of Iranian productivity in agriculture, industry, medicine, and healthcare could find resonance in African markets. “Our agricultural produce, industrial output, and medical advancements stand poised for export to Africa,” he affirmed, echoing Iran’s proactive engagement on the global economic stage.

“Even amidst the tempest of Western sanctions and disruptions, Iran has stood in solidarity with the peoples and nations of Africa,” President Raisi asserted, highlighting Iran’s enduring commitment to fostering constructive partnerships.

Interview: UNECA expects more Chinese, other foreign investments in developing Africa’s EV industry (Xinhua)

China and other foreign investors are welcome to partner with local companies to develop Africa’s budding electric vehicle (EV) industry, a senior official from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has said.

Although there is some distance to go for Africa in terms of EV productive capacity and supportive ecosystem, Africa has begun exploring opportunities and taking significant steps in this regard, leveraging its vast green mineral resources that are key inputs into EVs, Eunice Kamwendo, director of the UNECA Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa, told Xinhua in an interview Thursday.

“The joint Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)-Zambia Batteries for Electric Vehicles Initiative is a case in point which seeks to build productive capacities for EV manufacturing in the two countries starting with production of sulphates and precursors for lithium-ion batteries for EVs,” Kamwendo said in her e-mailed response to Xinhua from Zambia where UNECA Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa is located.

Harnessing Sub-Saharan Africa’s Critical Mineral Wealth (IMF)

From electric vehicles to solar panels to future innovations, the global transition to clean energy is set to further heighten demand for critical minerals. Between 2022 and 2050, demand for nickel will double, cobalt triple and lithium rise tenfold, according to the International Energy Agency. With sub-Saharan Africa estimated to hold about 30 percent of the volume of proven critical mineral reserves, this transition—if managed properly—has the potential to transform the region, the latest Regional Economic Outlook reports.

Sub-Saharan Africa is already at the center of global critical mineral production. The Democratic Republic of Congo accounts for over 70 percent of global cobalt output and approximately half the world’s proven reserves. South Africa, Gabon and Ghana collectively account for over 60 percent of global manganese production. Zimbabwe, alongside the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mali, hold substantial but yet-to-be-explored lithium deposits. Other countries with significant critical mineral reserves include Guinea, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zambia.

With growing demand, proceeds from critical minerals are poised to rise significantly over the next two decades. Global revenues from the extraction of just four key minerals—copper, nickel, cobalt, and lithium—are estimated to total $16 trillion over the next 25 years, in 2023-dollar terms. Sub-Saharan Africa stands to reap over 10 percent of these cumulated revenues, which could correspond to an increase in the region’s GDP by 12 percent or more by 2050. Given the volatile nature of commodity prices and the unpredictability over the future direction of technological innovation, these estimates have a high degree of uncertainty—but the general direction is certainly encouraging.

The region can generate even greater windfalls by not only exporting raw materials but processing them as well. Raw bauxite, for instance, fetches a modest $65 per ton, but when processed into aluminum it commands a hefty $2,335 per ton, in end-2023 prices. Yet the thousand trucks a day that carry unprocessed lithium from Zimbabwe to ports for shipping to China show that local processing options for critical minerals are too often limited.

Related: EAC’s ‘fragile’ states set for fastest GDP growth (The East African)

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has named South Sudan, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as the East African Community (EAC) member states poised for the quickest economic growth trajectories in the 2024-2025 period. This, is despite the three being the most conflict-stricken in the region.

The IMF’s latest regional economic outlook report for Sub-Saharan Africa published last week forecasts a 1.2 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth for South Sudan, from 5.6 to 6.8 percent, even as it grapples with economic disruptions and humanitarian support problems caused by the war in neighbouring Sudan.

GDP growth across the region is projected to hit 4.0 percent in 2025, after rising from 3.4 percent in 2023 to 3.8 percent in 2024, and two-thirds of the countries anticipate further growth in 2025.The report, however, warns that risks remain as governments continue to grapple with financing shortages, high borrowing costs and impending debt repayments.

Africa’s youth urged to advocate for multilateralism to secure a better future (UNECA)

Young people should participate in the reform of the United Nations system to deepen global cooperation and protect their interests, the Assistant Secretary-General of Youth Affairs, Felipe Paullier, has said. In a keynote address at the African Youth Consultative Forum on the UN Summit of the Future 2024 held in Addis Ababa, Mr. Paullier said the youth must be part of the discussion process in the countdown to the Summit of the Future because multilateralism augurs well for youth inclusion in securing a better future.

Describing the Summit of the Future as an opportunity for transformation in the UN system and the future of the youth, Mr. Paullier said the world needs a different multilateral system because ‘we are not going to be able to address the challenges of our grandchildren if we continue to work with a system that was designed by our grandparents’.

Related: ECA’s Claver Gatete urges youth to raise their voice in shaping Africa’s development (UNECA)

Customs software upgrade set to bolster trade for developing countries (UNCTAD)

ASYCUDA, which provides an integrated and automated system for customs data, is the largest technical cooperation programme run by UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD).New features of the ASYCUDAWorld software are up and running, helping enhance risk management, customs data gathering and compatibility with external systems, while further reducing paper use.

“The latest version of ASYCUDAWorld brings cutting-edge IT capabilities to make international trade more reliable and secure,” says Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of technology and logistics at UN Trade and Development. “The upgrade complies with international standards, follows best practices, and was made in collaboration with user countries,” Ms Sirimanne adds.

For more than 40 years, the ASYCUDA programme helps digitalize and expedite customs clearance processes across over 100 user countries, including many of the world’s most vulnerable economies. The ASYCUDAWorld software is already live in 38 least developed countries, 23 landlocked developing countries, and 41 small island developing states. Countries that have implemented ASYCUDAWorld can have 100% of their cross-border trade transactions processed through the system.

Creating credible carbon market in Africa (Africa Renewal)

Carbon markets are trading systems in which carbon credits are sold and bought. Companies or individuals can use carbon markets to compensate for their greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing carbon credits from entities that remove or reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One tradable carbon credit equals one tonne of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent amount of a different greenhouse gas reduced, sequestered or avoided. When a credit is used to reduce, sequester, or avoid emissions, it becomes an offset and is no longer tradable.

Quick links

How low income earners battle for survival amidst rising inflation (Daily Trust)

At the Threshold: The Increasing Relevance of the Middle-Income Trap (IMF)

Integrating trade facilitation into climate strategies (Barbados Today)

The Pitfalls of Protectionism: Import Substitution vs. Export-Oriented Industrial Policy (IMF)

WTO members review safeguard actions during latest biannual committee meeting (WTO)


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