Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Shell confirms plan to divest from SA downstream operations (Daily Maverick)

“Shell has decided to reshape the Downstream portfolio and intends to divest our shareholding in Shell Downstream South Africa (SDSA),” the oil giant said in a statement in response to Daily Maverick’s queries. It said this decision was taken in the wake of a comprehensive review of “… the Downstream and Renewables businesses across all regions and markets in line with Shell’s focus on performance, discipline, and simplification”.

This confirms weekend reports in City Press and Sunday Times that Shell planned to exit South Africa. Shell provided no comment on the reports that it was also locked in a row with its BEE partner Thebe Investments over the value of the latter’s stake. In its latest energy transition strategy report in March, Shell said it planned to divest from 1,000 service stations in 2024 and 2025 as it pivots to charging options for the electric vehicle market. It seems that South Africa’s service stations fit that bill.

The move will mark the end of an era as Shell has been a fixture of South Africa’s energy landscape for 120 years — a presence that saw it targeted by anti-apartheid campaigners in the 1980s.

Climate commission model points to the growth potential of green industrialisation (Engineering News)

The initial direct cost of placing South Africa on an energy transition pathway over the coming five years in line with its decarbonisation targets is calculated at a hefty R1.5-trillion in the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan (JET-IP). Less visible, however, are the socioeconomic costs associated with failing to pursue the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) goal of reducing carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2-eq) emissions to the lower end of the NDC range of between 420-million and 350-million CO2-eq tons in 2030.

The lower target is said to be compatible with South Africa’s fair contribution to helping to cap the global rise in temperatures to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. To assess these direct and indirect costs, the Presidential Climate Commission (PCC) and Cambridge Econometrics have applied Cambridge Econometrics’ E3ME model in a bid to understand the trade impacts of future policy choices and the economic impacts associated with the environmental damage caused by higher temperatures.

Why poultry farmers are ill at ease with Kenya-US trade negotiations (The East African)

Kenya’s poultry farmers say the country risks becoming a dumping ground for US poultry and dairy products, as Nairobi and Washington work on a deal. Last week, poultry farmers raised fears that the US-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investments Partnership (Stip) agreement would allow cheap poultry imports; likely to result in the loss of Ksh172 billion ($1.3 billion) annually if implemented. According to the Poultry Breeders Association of Kenya, the loss would come from a projected 75 percent reduction in demand for local poultry products.

“It’s not just the poultry producers who would suffer, but also the numerous supporting industries that rely on a thriving Kenyan poultry sector: From maize farmers to feed suppliers to transportation services, the ripple effect would be felt far and wide, potentially destabilising the delicate balance of the entire agricultural ecosystem.” said Timothy Mulwa, the association’s chairperson.

But Kenya’s Trade Cabinet Secretary (CS) Rebeca Miano has sought to allay the fears, saying that the Stip negotiations are not on market access but to lay a level playing field for trade between the two countries. “The negotiations are about creating an investment and trade environment. It has nothing to do with products, market access or any value chain. And I don’t know where this narrative has come from...We are just raising standards of what the US would expect and that is the first phase of Stip,” Ms Miano told The EastAfrican.

Kenyans Urged to Invest in Women for Sustainable Development, Healthy Communities (Tuko.co.ke)

There is often a prevailing notion that empowering women is merely about giving them a seat at the table or a voice to speak. But true empowerment goes far beyond that—it is about providing women with the tools and opportunities to shape their own futures. Financial empowerment is a driver that enables one to experience a better quality of life, thrive, and grow healthy communities.

A common barrier faced by women, especially in developing countries like Kenya, is the lack of access to capital to finance businesses. Whereas financial access between men and women has narrowed from 8.5% in 2016 to 4.2% in 2021, as per data from the Financial Sector Deepening Kenya (FSD Kenya), there is still a long way to go in closing the gender gap.

Without the financial means to start and grow businesses, women remain constrained in their ability to be economically empowered. This not only limits their ability to realise their potential but also reduces their agency to determine their quality of life.

The disparity in access also extends beyond Kenya to the rest of the continent. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), only 37% of women in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to bank accounts, compared to 48% of men - a gap that has widened over the past years.

In spite of political tensions, DRC-Rwanda trade goes on (The East African)

Cross-border trade between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda appears to defy their open conflict, which has lately shown signs of escalating. Residents on both sides of the border have refused to be tied down by the political tensions, trading freely despite some border restrictions. Congolese government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said the border between Goma in the DRC and Rubavu district in Rwanda is one of the busiest in Africa for commercial traffic.

According to the World Bank, “Petite Barrière is the busiest pedestrian crossing point in the Great Lakes region, with more than 50,000 people crossing every day.” When the crisis between the DRC and Rwanda came to a head in 2022, the Congolese authorities did not barricade the borders between the two countries, instead moving the border closure to 3pm from 5pm. Business has remained brisk.

Cross-border trade is encouraged beyond the countries of the region and there is no official policy in Kigali or Kinshasa forbidding civilian interactions for trade.

Kinshasa moves to curb trade in ‘blood minerals’ (The East African)

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has protested alleged fuelling of conflict on its territory by multinationals buying “blood minerals” to fuel the energy and digital transformations. Kinshasa has accused United States smartphone giant- Apple of paying for minerals without critically looking at the suppliers.

The accusation is not the first by Kinshasa levelled against outsiders for fuelling the war in eastern DRC, but this time round, the Central African nation has issued a formal warning to Apple for “using minerals from national mines that are illegally exploited and fuelling the war.”

Kinshasa was banking on details contained in a new report by the expert members of the strategic coordination of the International Justice Taskforce. Their report, Blood Minerals-Le blanchiment des 3T de la RDC par le Rwanda et des entités privies, highlights the serious human rights violations suffered by people living in the mining regions of the east of the country.

Shippers’ Council, ITC to tackle cross-border trade barriers (The Sun Nigeria)

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has entered into partnership with the International Trade Center (ITC) to tackle the challenges impeding cross-border trade especially multiple checkpoints. This commitment was made yesterday when a delegation from the ITC led by Associate Programme Officer, Richard Eke-Metoho, paid a courtesy visit to the NSC headquarters on Friday.

ITC is a co-implementer under the ECOWAS Agricultural Trade Programme which aims to improve intra-regional agricultural trade at border- crossing points. Speaking during the meeting at the Council’s headquarters, Associate Programme Officer, ITC, Richard Eke-Metoho, said the visit was part of the team’s ongoing study to identify areas for improvement in trade facilitation, particularly at border-crossing points. However, he lamented that female traders are fast becoming a subject of sexual harassment along the Seme-Krake trade route.

Unified Payments gateway licence: What it means for digital economy (Businessday NG)

Nigeria’s digital economy will get a facelift following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s move to award a Payment Terminal Service Aggregator (PTSA) licence to Unified Payments, the second such licence to be issued after 13 years. The Nigeria Interbank Settlement System PLC (NIBBS) had been the sole licensee in the country since it was issued the first PTSA in 2011.

The second licence to Unified payments resolves industry concerns about channelling all transactions through a single aggregator - NIBBS, as has been the case for some years. NIBBS played a crucial role in the rise of digital payments, enabling instant interbank transfers, Point of Sale (PoS) transactions, and the growth of the fintech sector.

This is evident in the growth of electronic payments in the country. In 2021, the value of digital payments through the NIBSS was N278.38 trillion, up 70.90 percent from N162.89 trillion in 2020. This grew to N395.47 trillion and surged to N611.06 trillion in 2023. However, it has limitations, evident during a recent push for a cashless economy by the CBN. The strain on the single gateway led to transfer delays and highlighted the limitations of Nigeria’s payment infrastructure.

World Bank Provides $68 Million Through The Gambia GIRAV Project to Increase Smart Agricultural Productivity (World Bank)

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a $68.00 million financing for The Gambia Inclusive and Resilient Agricultural Value Chain Development (GIRAV Project), of which US$10.00 million equivalent is from the International Development Association Crisis Response Window - Early Response Financing.

The project will address food insecurity by scaling-up implementation of impactful activities such as: improving water availability and land tenure to foster climate resilient agriculture and supporting improved water and sanitation in the targeted areas.

“This funding boost for GIRAV will address various critical needs: replenishing diverted resources, tackling food crises with climate-smart solutions, enhancing rural infrastructure for resilience, and advancing land administration, particularly for female farmers,” said Aifa Fatimata Ndoye Niane, Senior Agriculture Economist and Project Task Team Leader.

AU invites Nigeria and South Africa to bid for AFRIMAs hosting rights (Music In Africa)

The African Union Commission (AUC) has extended official invitations to Nigeria and South Africa to bid for hosting rights for the next two editions of the All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMAs). The development was conveyed in a letter signed by the AUC’s commissioner for health, humanitarian affairs, and social development, Minata Samate Cessouma, with the organisation stressing alignment with its policies for the strategic transformation of Africa through social integration. Described by the AU as a “global platform for celebrating and developing Africa’s diverse musical talents and cultural heritage,” the scheme has held eight editions, with Nigeria hosting five of them while South Africa has yet to host an event.

300 exhibitors to secure deals at West Africa Trade Show (The Nation Newspaper)

Over 300 exhibitors in the food retailing , hospitality and supply value chain from 40 countries will be exploring opportunities to secure business deals for their products as the Food & Beverage West Africa Trade Show gets underway in Lagos next month. Participants from Italy, Indonesia, Thailand, Turkey, India, USA, China, Egypt, Dubai, Pakistan, and Russia, will also utilise the programme to engage business activities with buyers/importers/distributors from across the region.

the West Africa Trade Show will also provide a window for businesses across the world to access key decision makers across the continent on how to grow the food and beverage value chain, especially how to grow the export of coffee, tea, sauces, spices, condiments, meat and poultry, rice, machinery, packaging and equipment in an efforts to contribute significantly to the gross domestic product (GDP).

EA transporters fault costs, logistical barriers on Northern, Central Corridor (The East African)

Cargo transit costs and logistical issues on the central and northern corridors continue to hamper cross-border trade among East African Community (EAC) member States. This was one of the main takeaways from an East African Business Council (EABC) webinar held last week on both corridors, which connect landlocked EAC countries to the ports of Dar es Salaam and Mombasa.

Participants pointed to lethargy in implementing initiatives such as the One-Stop Border Posts (OSBPs) under the Single Custom Territory (SCT).

Jonathan Sessanga, representing the EAC secretariat, blamed “interventions” by partner States for creating new non-tariff barriers besides sub-standard infrastructure at some border points, that cause delays and additional costs for traders.

The Shippers Council of Eastern Africa (SCEA) and Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority (NCTTCA) cited high road transport rates and disparities in levying road user charges across the EAC partner States among major issues to be addressed. According to Pauline Ukwalu of the SCEA, road transport rates from Mombasa to Kampala (Uganda) in 2023 stood at $1.97 per container but were lower from Kampala to Mombasa at $1.36. The rates for Kigali (Rwanda), Juba (South Sudan) and Goma (Democratic Republic of Congo) were $2.50, $2.60 and $3 respectively.

Four EAC partners join the Kenya-Uganda SGR project (The East African)

Four East African Community member states this week joined the Kenya and Uganda joint project to develop a modern railway on the Northern Corridor. But lack of funds continues to haunt the joint standard gauge railway (SGR), which terminated in Naivasha, in Kenya’s Central Rift region. On Friday, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan joined SGR Cluster Joint Ministerial Committee and committed to engage development partners in seeking funding for the railway to ease movement of goods on the Northern Corridor.

During the meeting in Mombasa, the ministers in charge of infrastructure acknowledged the fundraising challenges the project has faced in the past five years.

The two governments agreed on the search for the money, which could include loans or an arrangement for the public-private partnerships to extend railway from Naivasha to Kampala before extending to Rwanda and South Sudan.

See also: Is the proposed East African single currency a pipe dream? (The New Times)

AfCFTA: S’East shippers tasked on opportunities in non-oil exports (The Sun Nigeria)

Exporters of locally manufactured goods and agricultural produce in the South East have been advised not to cut corners, but to do proper documentation of their products to attract appropriate and adequate payments in return.

They were reminded of the guided trade initiatives enunciated by the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by 53 of the 54 member countries in the African Union (AU), to enable cross border trade without hitch; a development that is aimed at boosting production, buying and selling essential goods and services within the continent.

The charge was contained in a paper on, “AfCFTA Market Opportunities: Prospects and Challenges,” presented by the Head, Development Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Umuahia, Mr Kelechi Adiele, during a one-day sensitisation seminar organised by the Aba zonal office of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), South East Zone.

AfCFTA: Competitive capacity, key to market access — Manufacturers (Vanguard)

For Nigeria to reap maximum benefits from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has identified the ability of local manufacturers to compete around the continent as key to gaining market access under the deal. Though AfCFTA has not fully taken off, the Guided Trade Initiative (GTI) under the trade deal has commenced with the participation of a few countries, excluding Nigeria that is just about to sign off for the guided trade.

Nigerian manufacturers have consistently lamented over various factors that have constrained the competitiveness of the sector, warning that without tackling them the country will be at a disadvantage under the continental trade deal. Director-General of MAN, Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said that the manufacturing sector has not had the microeconomic and infrastructure support needed for growth and the ability to compete.

AfCFTA, ZenPay to Develop Portal for Seamless Intra-African Trade (Business Post Nigeria)

A portal to facilitate intra-African trade is to be developed by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat in collaboration with Zenpay Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Zenith Bank Plc.

The digital platform, according to a statement, will be known as SMARTAfCFTA, and will streamline and unlock vast opportunities for trade across the African continent, providing information like trade indicators, market trends, custom tariffs, trade agreements, Rules of Origin, market access requirements of relevant jurisdictions, export potentials, export diversification indicators and contact details of business partners in target markets and other trade-related information about Africa.

Speaking at the signing of the agreement last Friday in Lagos, the Chairman of ZenPay, Mr Ebenezer Onyeagwu, emphasised that, “This initiative is not driven by profit but by the need to support the AfCFTA “It aims to create a unified African market, enhancing economic integration and standardising customs and practices. As we advance this agenda, we expect to see significant growth and improvement in intra-Africa trade.”

Unlocking Africa’s $1 Trillion Food Economy: The Role Of Global Aid And Sustainable Technology (Africa.com)

Global aid is crucial to realizing Africa’s $1 trillion food economy. It can help promote sustainable growth by targeting obstacles, enhancing resilience and unleashing the continent’s agricultural capabilities. Global aid is also vital for nurturing trade and economic integration, which are fundamental to Africa’s agricultural development agenda. The African Development Bank forecasts a potential surge in the food and agriculture market from $280 billion annually to $1 trillion by 2030.

However, to achieve that, this aid must be effectively and efficiently directed to tackle the root causes of food insecurity on the continent: infrastructure, logistical challenges and lack of access to finance and digital technology. Therefore, strategic collaboration and investments are needed to prioritize Africa’s agricultural transformation and sustainable development objectives.

Africa-US Business Summit: Chakwera dines with US investors, woos them to invest in Malawi (Malawi Nyasa Times)

Malawi leader Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, on Sunday met United States of America (USA) based investors at the Malawi-Texas Roundtable in order for him to outline investment opportunities Malawi is having poised under Agriculture, Tourism and Mining (ATM).

During the meeting the President underlined the urgent need for the country to break free from the shackles of poverty through strategic investments. Speaking during the Malawi-Texas Business Roundtable on Sunday, President Chakwera emphasized the significance of attracting investors who prioritise sustainable development over exploitation.

Touting Malawi’s potential, President Chakwera welcomed a diverse group of business leaders keen on exploring investment opportunities in priority sectors to Malawi’s growth Malawi’s dubbed ATM Strategy (Agriculture, Tourism and Mining). “I have convened this Business Roundtable to provide a platform for you to present your companies and portfolios to my officials,” he said while emphasising his administration’s commitment to facilitating a conducive environment for investment.

Under the ATM strategy, Malawi prioritises cooperation and investment in increasing productivity through commercialisation and digitisation, enhancing value through industrialisation and promoting sustainability through climate-smart business practices.

See also:

US-Africa trade deal turns 25 next year: Agoa’s winners, losers and what should come next (The Conversation)

How the AGOA Reauthorization Process Could Help Diversify U.S. Critical Mineral Supplies (Carnegie Endowment for International Pea)

Global megatrends and the quest for poverty eradication (UNCTAD)

Global megatrends such as income inequality, climate change, demographic shifts, technological progress, and urbanisation are shaping the future of societies. Yet, their quantitative impacts on development are neither well understood nor established. This paper examines the individual and combined effects of these global forces on poverty, using both cross-section and panel estimation techniques on a global dataset covering the period from 1995 to 2019.

Regarding the direct effects, it finds that inequality, urbanization, and technology are the megatrends with a robust impact on poverty in both the long and medium terms. Demographic shifts and climate change have some impact on poverty, but the results depend on the samples and specifications considered. Furthermore, the paper finds that in addition to their direct effects, technology, urbanization, and demographic shifts affect poverty through their interactions with income inequality.

And now, BRICS eyes creation of a central bank for currency issue (domain-b.com)

China, with backing from Russia and South Africa, is planning an onslaught on the mighty dollar by introducing a new currency, to be issued by a proposed BRICS central bank that would combine the strengths of the respective currencies of the five countries in the economic forum.

The development follows an earlier proposal by Russia and China for setting up of an independent BRICS payment system using digital and blockchain technologies, as part of a move to end the dominance of US dollar in global payment system.

Reports citing sources at the BRICS-sponsored New Development Bank (NDB) said the forum is now looking at the prospects of creating a central bank for BRICS that would eventually be issuing a common currency for member countries of the forum. Chinese state-backed newspaper Global Times in a report on Saturday quoted South African Ambassador to China Siyabonga Cyprian Cwele as saying that member countries of BRICS will be meeting this month to discuss the proposal in detail.

Preliminary Stocktake of G20 Strategies and Practices: a contribution to the Brazilian G20 Presidency’s Global Initiative on Bioeconomy (CPI)

This Global Stocktake objective is to provide a preliminary stocktake of how G20 members are advancing the bioeconomy as a basis for (a) facilitating members’ learning and engagement, (b) enabling G20 members’ action and (c) increasing cooperation in areas of common interest.

The Global Stocktake is a response to the highly significant growth potential of the bioeconomy. In its report ‘A Status of the Global Bioeconomy’, the World Bioeconomy Forum estimates the total value of the bioeconomy from various announcements around the world to be of the order of US$4 trillion. The Forum predicts considerable growth in the global bioeconomy. For example, China assesses that its bioeconomy will be valued at US$3.3 trillion by the end of 2025, whereas India is registering double-digit growth rates in recent years. The World Bioeconomy Forum concludes that “…its value will rise to US$30 trillion by 2050, which is a third of the global economic value” (World Bioeconomy Forum, 2022).

This Global Stocktake aims to represent an initial framing exercise by the G20 Initiative on Bioeconomy for advancing a bioeconomy that is equitable, regenerative of biodiversity, supportive of climate action and an enabler of the sustainable transition of the real economy.

Quick links

Cameroon: the majestic Obala interchange eases outbound traffic flows to the west of Yaoundé (AfDB)

Driving economic growth through technology (Economy Middle East)

How remittances are worth more than all development funding combined 107554 (Devex)

Intergovernmental Group of Experts on E-commerce and the Digital Economy, seventh session (UNCTAD)

OECD Ministerial Council Statement and Outcomes (OECD)

Cambodia formally accepts Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies (WTO)


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