Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Lower income consumers are being priced out of the car market (Engineering News)

TransUnion Africa CEO Lee Naik says a tough economic environment characterised by cost-of-living challenges, high fuel costs and currency depreciations have resulted in a notable decline in vehicle sales and financing in South Africa. However, while this contraction is expected to persist, manufacturers and dealerships are stepping up their efforts to help consumers enter, or re-enter the auto market, he notes.

TransUnion this week released its Vehicle Pricing Index (VPI) for the fourth quarter of 2023. Actions that vehicle manufacturers and dealerships are taking to egg on sales numbers include discount structures, incentives, trade assistance mechanisms, interest rate reductions on loans, and a focus on monthly payments rather than gross prices. “These efforts show innovation in an otherwise stagnant sector,” says Naik.

Enhanced regulation, law enforcement needed to combat scrap metal theft (Engineering News)

Enhanced regulation and enforcement are needed to address the challenges of scrap metal theft in South Africa and potentially lift the ban on scrap metal exports, research and advisory firm Birguid analyst Noquele Dube says. She explains that the scrap metal industry contributes R15-billion to South Africa’s gross domestic product and employs about 350 000 people, according to the Metals Recycling Association of South Africa (MRA).

More than 60% of scrap metal revenue is generated from the mining, manufacturing and construction industries. Scrap metal is the combination of waste metal, metallic material and any product that contains metal that can be recycled from previous consumption or product manufacturing. Valuable scrap metals in South Africa include copper, aluminium, steel and lead owing to their high demand, limited availability and economic value.

In 2023, South Africa’s scrap metal exports totalled R5.2-billion, with manganese at R2-billion, iron and steel at R1.6-billion and aluminium at R1.1-billion accounting for 80% of the exports, Dube says. Leading markets for these exports included India, at R1.6-billion; Japan, at R1.1-billion; the US, at R707-million; and China, at R322-million, she says.

Kenya monopoly of Uganda oil imports to end (The East African)

Uganda will start importing fuel directly from next month in a deal with Vitol Bahrain which the country hopes will supply cheap petroleum products. Energy and Mineral Resources Minister, Ruth Nankabirwa, told oil marketers in a circular that Uganda National Oil Company’s (Unoc) maiden cargo of super petrol and diesel would arrive between June 18 and 26.

Uganda has negotiated prices with Vitol Bahrain in the hope of lowering pump prices below the current rates that are largely determined by the deal that Kenya signed with three Gulf oil majors. The start of Unoc’s direct fuel imports marks an end to decades of relying on Kenya for the critical commodity, either through the Open Tender System (OTS) or the current government-backed deal.

Trade Facilitation: Customs Launches ‘Advance Ruling’ System (PRNigeria News)

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), in conjunction with the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP), has launched an auspicious scheme aimed at enhancing trade facilitation. The scheme, which is tagged: Advanced Ruling, will also help to create a more transparent business environment for the Service’s stakeholders.

Speaking at the project’s launching on Thursday, Comptroller-General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi described ‘Advanced Ruling’ as a critical mechanism that allows traders to obtain binding decisions from Customs administrations on the classification, origin, and valuation of goods before importation. Appreciating the stakeholders and partners for gracing the event, CGC Adeniyi emphasised that the launched project will also serve as a tool for reducing compliance costs and fostering a conducive business environment for traders.

Nigeria Accedes to the Establishment Agreement for Afreximbank’s Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA) (Afreximbank)

The Federal Republic of Nigeria has acceded to the Establishment Agreement for the Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA), the development impact investment platform of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). Nigeria joins the ranks of countries acceding to the Establishment Agreement of FEDA, becoming the 16th nation to do so. This underscores the increasing backing the Fund enjoys among African nations.

This announcement comes three decades following Afreximbank’s establishment in Nigeria, a key milestone that boldly demonstrates Nigeria’s continued commitment to supporting Afreximbank and FEDA’s missions. FEDA sees new memberships as critical to broadening its scope of interventions and its mission of delivering long-term capital to African economies, with a focus on industrialization, intra-African trade and value-added exports.

Food inflation still unbearable (Daily Trust)

The National Bureau of Statistics’ (NBS) data on inflation in March 2024, showed that food inflation climbed to 40 per cent, in spite of the marginal increase in general inflation to 33.2 per cent, a sign that the increase in the cost of food items outpaces inflation in other sectors. Specifically, the NBS data shows that food inflation on a year-on-year basis was caused by increases in prices of garri, millet, and akpu (uncooked fermented, yam tuber), water yam, dried fish sardine, mudfish dried, palm oil, vegetable oil, beef feet, beef head, liver, coconut, watermelon, Lipton tea, Bournvita, and Milo.

The month-on-month increase in the cost of these items, between February 2024 and March 2024, was put at 3.74 per cent. At this rate, food inflation in Nigeria is about 10 per cent away from hyperinflation, usually put at 50 per cent increase in prices, year-on-year.

The food inflation in Nigeria is a pointer to food insecurity, mainly caused by conflicts in the states considered the food baskets of the country. It could be blamed on the inconsistent agricultural policies of government that do not guarantee consistent production of food for the population. However, the NBS has been ringing the alarm bell over rising food inflation since 2023.

President Boakai Launches Liberia Digital Transformation Project, Targeting 10,000 Youths (FrontPageAfrica)

President Boakai has launched Liberia’s Digital Transformation Project, targeting 10,000 youths nationwide. This initiative fulfills his commitment made during his first state of the nation address in January. He emphasized the importance of leveraging Information Communication Technology (ICT) to create jobs for Liberian youths. The goal is to empower 10,000 young people with digital skills within the first half of 2024.

President Boakai expressed his excitement about leading Liberia’s digital transformation, stating that adapting to the digital age is crucial for the country’s progress. He highlighted ICT as a key player in Liberia’s development, supporting various sectors and driving the nation’s development agenda.

How The Gambia offers a roadmap for diaspora engagement (WEF)

Across Africa, governments have enacted a range of measures to engage their diasporas. Countries in all parts of the continent – from Zimbabwe to Nigeria, The Gambia to Kenya – have all implemented diaspora engagement initiatives. This sharpened focus on the diaspora is not happening in a vacuum. It is an acknowledgement that Africa’s diaspora remains under-tapped and that it is key to the continent’s development. The African Union has long recognized the diaspora as the ‘sixth region’ of Africa, underscoring its importance and role in driving forward the continent’s development agenda.

There are 281 million international migrants globally. Of these, more than 40 million were born in Africa. While African international migrants are a small slice of the continent’s more than 1.2 billion people, they make outsized contributions to their countries of origin and their destinations. Migrants and their descendants everywhere – including those from Africa - make significant contributions across a range of spheres, enriching societies in various ways.

In 2022, remittances to sub-Saharan Africa totalled $53 billion and were forecast to reach $54 billion in 2023. Several countries across the continent are hugely dependent on remittances; inflows to The Gambia, for example, comprised nearly 30% of its gross domestic product (GDP), the largest share of GDP in Africa. Evidently, migrants and their descendants are pivotal drivers of development. Functioning as vital bridges between host and origin countries, they facilitate essential economic, social, political and cultural exchange.

To achieve single currency, EAC must move from words to action (The New Times)

Members are today, Friday, May 3, concluding a week-long meeting in Juba, South Sudan, which brought together central bankers from the East African Community (EAC) to discuss how the region can fast-track plans aimed at adopting a common currency. Such discussions have happened from the day the region adopted the Monetary Union protocol in 2013, which was a foundation upon which countries in the region would build on to converge their currencies.

A single currency was to be adopted by 2024. Members resolved to extend the timeline by 10 more years to 2031. That is strange considering that, more than ever, currency convergence is a necessity to protect the region against external shocks such as growing depreciation of local currencies.

SADC discuss Madagascar industrial development (SADC)

The SADC Secretariat held a series of meetings with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Republic of Madagascar on April 29, 2024, in Antananarivo, to discuss progress on the implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and the ratification process for SADC Industry Protocol

The Republic of Madagascar signed this Protocol in 2019, and the objective of the meeting was to sensitise the government of Madagascar to ratify it. The Secretary-General of the Ministry of Industry highlighted that Madagascar had achieved support for the industrialisation project from various partners, such as the promulgation of the investment law, the establishment of the industrialisation pact between public and private sectors, the One District One Factory (ODOF) which is a competitiveness enhancement project for the industries in the districts. These programs necessitate Madagascar to ratify the Protocol on Industry, which will promote industrialisation at national and regional levels.

AU: Africa’s Fertilizer Consumption Rising, but Below Target (teleSUR)

Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, commissioner for agriculture, rural development, blue economy and sustainable environment (ARBE) at the AU Commission, said that despite producing around 30 million metric tons of mineral fertilizer annually, many African countries still heavily rely on imports, particularly non-phosphate-based fertilizers, leaving them vulnerable to market shocks.

“As a result, African soils have reached a tipping point with low levels of soil organic matter and nutrient stocks,” Sacko said during a virtual media briefing held in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, on the upcoming Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit that is scheduled to take place on May 7-9. Sacko said that the optimized use of mineral and organic fertilizers, along with complementary inputs, can drive higher productivity, profitability, soil health improvement, and climate resilience.

Afreximbank to discuss Mobilizing Investment in African Energy at IAE 2024 (Blueprint)

The Director of Project and Asset-Based Finance for the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Helen Aigbe Brume, will discuss financing Africa’s energy growth at the Invest in African Energy (IAE) forum in Paris.

Committed to financing and promoting intra- and extra- African trade, Afreximbank plays a leading role in developing African energy projects that target industrialisation and economic development. In Angola, the multilateral financial institution is investing in the Cabinda oil refinery, set to double the country’s refining capacity upon completion and reduce reliance on and associated emissions from imported refined petroleum products. In Nigeria, Afreximbank is developing the country’s first indigenous floating LNG facility with UTM Offshore, as well as a $60-million gas processing facility with Alphaden Energy & Oilfield, with a view to unlocking gas resources for Africa’s enhanced energy security.

IAE 2024 is an exclusive forum designed to foster collaboration between European investors and African energy markets. Taking place May 14-15, 2024, in Paris, the event offers delegates two days of intensive engagement with industry experts, project developers, investors, and policymakers.

Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger urged to “reconsider” decision to leave ECOWAS (APAnews)

The Council of the Wise Men, created by ECOWAS in 2005, is an important instrument for the promoting peace, security and stability in West Africa. Under the chairmanship of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the Council of Elders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) held a two-day retreat from 29 to 30 April 2024 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The meeting, which centred on the theme “Benefiting from the existence of the Council of the Wise to respond to the current challenges of governance, peace and security in the ECOWAS region,” was an opportunity for the Wise Men of the region to reaffirm their commitment to regional unity, peace and security. In its final communiqué received by APA, the Council of the Wise Men, expressed its call for more coordinated approaches’ within ECOWAS, both in its exchanges with the structures of the member states and in the development of regional responses, particularly with regard to preventive action and mediation.

With this in mind, the members of the Council expressed their “concern at the declaration by Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger of their intention to withdraw from the Community,” inviting the “three Member States to reconsider their position in the general interest of their populations and of regional integration.”

See also: ECOWAS: Navigating regional dynamics and the imperative for unity (Daily Trust)

There are a lot of opportunities for India under AfCFTA (GhanaWeb)

Speaking at the 4th Session of the India-Ghana Joint Trade Committee held in Accra on Thursday, May 2, 2024, the Deputy Trade Minister of Trade and Industry stated that, “With the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), we believe that there are a lot of opportunities for India in the area of pharmaceuticals, automotive; vehicle component manufacturing for example, garment and textiles.”

“These are areas that we want to have a very deep corporation and with the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area I know you know, that for the first time, Africans have decided to do business among ourselves, this customs union have become the biggest in the whole world. Even bigger than the ACP now,” he stated.

India to support Namibia in developing digital payment system (TV BRICS)

According to the source, the two organisations have signed an agreement to this effect, which envisages collaboration in building a platform based on the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) introduced by India at the national level, with strong security elements. This collaboration marks a strategic leap in strengthening Namibia’s financial infrastructure and promoting inclusive economic growth.

The co-operation aims to expand digital financial services and strengthen real-time payment transactions for merchants and citizens of the African country. This is reported by Prensa Latina, a partner of TV BRICS. It also ensures the advancement of future technological developments and market requirements.

India-Nigeria trade officials meet as China’s investments in Africa falter (The Indian Express)

Amid an ongoing property crisis in China that has put brakes on its investments in Africa, Indian officials held a Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meeting with their Nigerian counterparts last month, the commerce and industry ministry said on Friday (May 3). This comes after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last year said that the ripple effects of China’s slowing economy extended to sovereign lending to sub-Saharan Africa, which fell below $1 billion last year—the lowest level in nearly two decades.

China’s influence on Africa is such that a one percentage point decline in Beijing’s growth rate could reduce average growth in the region by about 0.25 percentage points within a year, IMF said, adding that for oil-exporters, such as Angola and Nigeria, the loss could be 0.5 percentage points on average.

Nigeria is the second-largest trading partner of India in the Africa region. Bilateral trade between India and Nigeria stood at $11.8 billion in 2022-23. In the year 2023-24, the bilateral trade stands at $7.89 billion showing a declining trend. With a total investment of $27 billion, approximately 135 Indian companies are actively engaged in Nigeria’s vibrant market. These investments traverse diverse sectors, encompassing infrastructure, manufacturing, consumer goods, and services.

African Development Bank President calls for ‘bold and innovative approach’ from multilateral development banks to tackle global challenges (AfDB)

Dr Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank Group, emphasised the urgent need for a “bold and innovative approach” from Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) to effectively address the rapidly evolving challenges facing the world. Adesina highlighted several transformative initiatives that align with both the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063. The African Development Bank president was speaking on Tuesday 30 April at the Islamic Development Bank’s 50th-anniversary symposium, titled Envisioning Future Value Propositions for MDBs: New Horizons for Cooperation.

Tinubu positioning Nigeria to earn from digital economy – Shettima (21st CENTURY CHRONICLE)

Vice President Kashim Shettima has restated the determination of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration to position the country’s vibrant youth population to benefit from the digital economy by creating access to jobs. He stated this in an address at the 2nd Chronicle Roundtable organised by 21st Century Chronicle Newspaper in Abuja, on Thursday, with the theme: “Tinubu administration’s economic and social agenda: How it will transform Nigeria.”

Citing the example of outsourcing, he noted that Nigeria, with a population whose average age is 16.9 and high English language proficiency by the majority, was well positioned to be a major player in the global outsourcing market, earning huge foreign exchange.

He said it was in realisation of the potential inherent in the digital economy that the administration was coming up with policies and initiatives that would help the youth in particular, take advantage of the opportunities.

Fintechs and AI seen as key to boosting financial markets in Cemac region (Business in Cameroon)

African fintechs and artificial intelligence (AI) are being touted as key to boosting the financial markets, particularly in the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (Cemac) region. The recommendation comes from the third edition of the Africa Capital Markets Forum (ACMF), held in Douala, Cameroon, on April 24-25.

“We must embrace emerging technologies like blockchain, AI, and fintech, which offer not only increased transparency but also the possibility of rationalizing and securing financial transactions across our borders,” said Adel Elaroussi, director of financial services at CDG Capital, a Moroccan bank.

African fintechs offer innovative and accessible solutions that can facilitate access to financial markets for populations. However, it is essential to have an official contract validated by the Central African Financial Market Surveillance Commission (Cosumaf) for them to operate as legitimate actors in buying securities or collecting funds for management companies, according to David Ekwabi, marketing director at Maviance, a company specializing in digital financial services and software development.

See also: Enhancing Digital Transformation: Innovations and Obstacles in East Africa (Africa.com)

U.S. trade pact extension opens opportunity for FG to strengthen naira (Businessday NG)

Nigeria is yet again provided with an opportunity to take advantage of Africa’s trade pact with the U.S. to export its local products to the world’s biggest market as there is a high possibility the agreement would be extended. The U.S. Congress has put forward proposals that would see the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) – which allows SSA countries to export up to 7,000 products duty and tariff-free to the U.S. extended to 2041. Experts say the extension is to enable countries like Nigeria, which did not take full advantage of it to do so now especially in earning foreign exchange and strengthening its naira currency amid acute dollar scarcity.

Nigeria’s non-oil AGOA exports have remained stagnant, primarily comprising a few agricultural products and handicrafts. Experts attribute Nigeria’s low non-oil AGOA exports to the lack of competitiveness of the country’s manufacturers. They stated that the country must make its products competitive by addressing major challenges limiting manufacturing in the country.

Intellectual property, a key tool to promote trade, new businesses and FDI (Khmer Times)

Intellectual property is an essential tool for promoting trade in goods and services, new businesses and micro, small, and medium enterprises, and foreign direct investment (FDI) through value-added, commercialization, creation of a source of finance, innovation promotion, and research and development through technology transfer.

The remarks were made by Mrs. Cham Nimul, Minister of Commerce and Chair of the National Committee for Intellectual Property requested all stakeholders to work together to prevent intellectual property infringement, which is an obstacle to innovation, and strongly hoped that Intellectual Property Day 2024 will continue to cultivate a familiar spirit in promoting awareness-raising campaigns, which is closely linked to the people’s lives and benefits all areas of society.

At the end of the celebration, Nimul and Vanndy presided over the launching ceremony of five intellectual property-related projects, including 1) Inclusive Growth Project: Promoting Cambodian Entrepreneurs with Disabilities through Intellectual Property Education and Business Branding, (2) Project for Skill-based Learning and Mentoring for Design School, (3) Launch of IP Web Application, (4) Launch of Distance Learning Platform on Intellectual Property, and (5) Launch of Intellectual Property Analysis Programme for Business.

This year’s celebration of the World Intellectual Property Day 2024 was held under the theme “IP and SDGs: Building our common future with innovation and creativity.”

Navigating the Future: G20 Nations and Their Ecological Footprint Projections Toward 2050 (Environment+Energy Leader)

According to a study from the University of Sheffield, only Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and Russia among the G20 are expected to achieve a positive ecological footprint by the milestone year 2050, the target date for achieving net zero emissions globally.

The research, conducted by Professor Lenny Koh of Sheffield’s Energy Institute and published in Scientific Reports, marks the first forecast of ecological footprints for all G20 nations over the next three decades, underscoring a critical need for environmentally sustainable economic and industrial practices. Leveraging sophisticated forecasting tools like ARIMA, Auto-ARIMA, and Prophet models, combined with innovative AI technologies, the research team enhanced the accuracy of future environmental impact predictions.

The findings from the study advocate for an integrated approach to environmental policy-making that harmonizes economic, technological, and social strategies. There is a pressing call for adopting sustainable energy sources like solar and wind, investments in green infrastructure, and promoting sustainable urban and industrial practices.

The Global Good Governance Summit wraps up with a strong focus on aligning good governance (ZAWYA)

The Global Good Governance Summit was held in Manila, Philippines, under the auspices of the Global Good Governance Programme organised by Cambridge IFA. This summit convened to discuss and deliberate on strategies for fostering a sustainable future. The theme of the summit revolved around bridging the gap in achieving the SDGs and the role of effective leadership in bringing together governments, corporations and social sectors to create impactful strategies, overcome challenges, and lead the way towards a sustainable and prosperous future for all.

Dr Humayon Dar, Chairman of the Cambridge Global Good Governance Programme underscored the crucial role of governance in private business as well as within the charity sector, emphasising the importance of transparency and accountability. “Governance is continuously evolving. From a simple notion of the act or process of governing or overseeing the control and direction of something (such as a country or an organisation), it has now embraced reporting, transparency, sustainability, corporate social responsibility and a lot more. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals have given the concept a wider and more comprehensive scope.”

Goods Council takes stock of progress to improve its functioning, advance WTO reform (WTO)

The Council for Trade in Goods (CTG) agreed in October 2023 to periodically hold informal sessions where experts from the WTO Secretariat would present the digital tools available and members would be given an opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions on possible improvements. The outgoing Council Chairperson, Ambassador Adamu Mohammed Abdulhamid of Nigeria, noted the value of these sessions in providing members with a better overview of WTO digital tools and a better understanding of how these tools can assist members’ delegations, especially to prepare for committee meetings and follow up on them.

Quick links

A stronger and more responsive financial system: UN expresses support for Brazilian positions at G20 (G20 Brasil 2024)

International Decade of Sciences for Sustainable Development Forum opens in Beijing (UNESCO)

AfCFTA: A Beacon of Hope or a Failed Project? (Friedrich Naumann Foundation)

Navigating the crossroads: Actionable cooperative measures to address global development challenges (Middle East Institute)

The world wealth gap has grown post pandemic but where has it been worst (Devex)


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