Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Patel believes industrialist policy needs continued investment to yield full potential (Engineering News)

Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel has called for rapid scaling up of infrastructure spending, among other urgent initiatives, to ensure the current industrial policy can succeed. He was speaking at the launch of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition’s (dtic’s) newly launched Industrial Policy and Strategy Review at the newly established Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ), on May 7.

The review maps the measures and actions of government over the past five years under the Reimagined Industrial Strategy laid out by President Cyril Ramaphosa and reflects on the evolution of policy actions since the African National Congress (ANC) came to power in 1994.

“There is a need to increase levels of investment to at least R400-billion to R500-billion a year in fixing public infrastructure, drawing on private and public sector resources, with a combination of delivery mechanisms, including build-operate-transfer, public-private partnerships and public sector financing models,” Patel explained. He added that further development and scaling up of South Africa’s green industrialisation was needed, which includes the production of electric vehicles and components, green hydrogen and critical minerals processing needed in the battery value chain.

See also: South Africa remains an “attractive investment destination” – President Ramaphosa (SAnews)

Amazon launches online shopping service in South Africa (The East African)

Amazon launched its online shopping service in South Africa on Tuesday, challenging a number of online retailers dominated by Naspers’ Takealot.com. Africa’s most advanced economy is usually seen as a good entry point for companies to expand into the continent and Amazon could be doing the same, analysts have said in the past.

The launch of its service comes at a time when South Africa has seen a sharp rise in online shopping after the pandemic created an opportunity for e-commerce to finally take hold, with retailers doubling down on investments in response.Amazon.co.za will offer same-day delivery and next-day delivery with more than 3,000 pickup points. Shoppers will get free delivery on first orders, followed by free delivery for subsequent orders above 500 rand ($27.07), it said in a statement.

“Building a strong relationship with South African brands and businesses is incredibly important to us. We want Amazon.co.za to be the place where they can reach millions of customers,” said Robert Koen, managing director of Amazon Sub-Saharan Africa.

Zimbabwe aims to use FDI to develop a competitive economy by 2030 (Engineering News)

Zimbabwe held an investment conference on May 2 and 3 in South Africa wherein its officials explained that the country of 16-million people wants to use local and international investments into key sectors of its economy to further develop the country by 2030. This objective is encapsulated in its National Strategy Vision 2030 and, to attract investors, the country has entered into negotiations to settle compensation claims linked to land seizures from farmers two decades ago, as well as to settle its international debt default to tap into international finance markets.

The objective of the National Strategy Vision 2030 is to marshal collective national efforts to achieve inclusive economic growth, social transformation and, most importantly, provide a high-quality of life for all people by 2030, said Ambassador of Zimbabwe to South Africa David Hamadziripi. “The implementation of the vision offers opportunities for domestic and foreign investors to exploit, and there are significant opportunities in agriculture, mining and mineral beneficiation, manufacturing, healthcare, tourism, infrastructure and services, among others,” he said.

Shippers’ Council, Centre Partner Against Cross-border Trade Barriers (Leadership News)

The Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) and the International Trade Centre (ITC), have entered into partnership in order to tackle the challenges impeding cross-border trade across the nation’s land borders. LEADERSHIP reports that trade barriers such as multiple checkpoints, language, sexual assault, bribery and corruption among others were challenges hindering cross border trade in West Africa.

However, speaking when a delegation from the ITC led by associate programme officer, Richard Eke-Metoho, paid a courtesy visit to the NSC headquarters, said the visit was part of the team’s ongoing study to identify areas for improvement in trade facilitation, particularly at border-crossing points. Eke-Metoho, lamented that female traders are fast becoming a subject of sexual harassment along the Seme-Krake trade route. “We have had instances where women moving goods along the Seme-Krake trade route have been sexually harassed by security officials stationed at different checkpoints. “Officials of government agencies stationed at these routes in the border area sometimes ask for sex in exchange for allowing goods to pass.

NOG 2024: Nigeria, Others Harnessing Gas To Boost Economy (Leadership News)

Nigeria is set to lead other African nations towards harnessing gas and other cleaner and greener energies to drive their industrialisation journey. Nigeria as well as other African countries are investing in gas infrastructure and promoting its utilisation, and by extension are addressing energy poverty and environmental challenges. Nigeria, boasting gas reserves of over 200 trillion cubic feet (TCF), recently announced plans to execute a gas strategy that will trigger the nation’s industrialisation and economic growth.

To transform the energy sector in West Africa, leveraging natural gas to drive economic growth and development is key and Gas for industrialisation contributes to increasing energy transition progress across the region, says Eyesan. Through the Decade of Gas Initiative by the Nigerian government, industry leaders have continually conveyed a collaborative approach aimed at unlocking the country’s energy resources.

To drive progress in Sub-Saharan Africa’s energy market, energy stakeholders, government officials, regulators, and key industry players are convening at NOG Energy Week 2024 to deliberate on policies aimed at meeting West Africa’s energy demand. The event, themed ‘Showcasing Opportunities. Driving Investment. Meeting Energy Demand,’ is scheduled to take place from 30 June – 4 July at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja.

Cocoa for EU grown inside deforested land in top source countries, report says (The East African)

Importers of cocoa into Europe are flouting European Union laws by selling beans from deforested African land while mislabelling its origins. A new report lists cocoa merchants as fuelling the felling of trees in Liberia while disguising the beans as originating from neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire. Liberia, one of the countries in Africa still recovering from civil war, has struggled to replant trees, most of them cut down during the conflict two decades ago. And, while agribusiness has been encouraged to tackle both poverty and land rehabilitation, cutting down trees for cocoa farming violates EU laws on environment and business.

Of late, the EU has been putting clauses in various trading agreements to focus on conservation for all businesses directly engaging with the European markets. Yet the report by an Ivorian NGO known by its French acronym IDEF is calling on EU officials and governments of affected African nations to work on cocoa certification schemes that prevent illegal exploitation of African farmers, one of the largest bloc of cocoa producers in the world.

Tunisia develops roadmap for transition to green economy (TV BRICS)

The textile industry in Tunisia has recently produced a plan that describes the actions required to guarantee a smooth shift to a green economy. This was reported by Tunis Afrique Presse, a partner of TV BRICS. Technical committees set up to oversee the “Green Transition of Tunisian Textiles” project – a ground-breaking programme spearheaded by the Tunisian Textile and Clothing Federation (FTTH) with the goal of advancing the ecological sustainability of the country’s textile sector – developed the roadmap.

By 2030, the programme hopes to recycle 90 per cent of wastewater, use 100 per sent renewable electricity, cut corporate carbon dioxide emissions by 30 per cent, reduce textile waste by 50 per cent, and certify 100 textile enterprises. The roadmap was created after being signed on May 2 to facilitate the transition of the Tunisian textile industry to year-round, environmentally friendly operations. It lays out parameters for the sector’s shift to a green economy.

2024 Article IV Consultation with Guinea (IMF)

Guinea’s growth is expected to decelerate to 4.1 percent in 2024 amid fuel shortages and rebound to 5.6 percent in 2025, sustained by a resilient mining sector. Policies for 2024 aim at mitigating the impacts of the fuel explosion while minimizing deviations from medium-term growth and economic development objectives. In the medium term, mobilizing domestic revenues, especially from the mining sector, modernizing tax administration, improving public finance management and investment efficiency, as well as increasing spending on education, health, and social protection, while anchoring spending on available resources, will help boost productivity and reduce poverty.

Guinea remains at moderate risk of debt distress, with some space to absorb shocks. The implementation of structural reforms will help manage Guinea’s vulnerability to domestic and external shocks and achieve sustained and inclusive growth. In this context, there is need to ensure that the Simandou iron ore project delivers the expected benefits for the Guinean economy, as well as to adapt to and mitigate climate change, address gender disparities, and to strengthen governance and transparency by fighting corruption and improving the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime (AML/CFT). The implementation of the 2023 safeguards assessment recommendations will also be critical.

Annual Meetings 2024: Reforming the global financial architecture to free up financing for Kenya and in Africa overall (AfDB)

“Today, Africa has $640 billion in outstanding debt and pays nearly $70 billion in interest every year. It would only be fair for us to have a financing mechanism that treats us on an equal footing”. Kenyan President William Ruto’s call at the African Union’s 5th biannual coordination meeting in Nairobi in July 2023, was unequivocal: the global financial architecture must be reformed so that Africa is no longer the world’s poor relation.

For President Ruto, courageous decisions are needed to keep Africa’s countries’ debt burdens from being too onerous. The time has now come for this. The African Development Bank Group, Africa’s leading development finance institution, will make this issue a top priority at its annual meetings -- “Africa’s Transformation, the African Development Bank Group and the Reform of the Global Financial Architecture.” To be held in Nairobi from 27-31 May 2024, the meetings will provide a platform for Africa to take up the challenge of reforming global financing institutions as outlined by President Ruto and other African leaders, and to propose a way forward.

The Commissions of ECOWAS and WAEMU have ratified the seminal Action Plan of the ECOWAS-WAEMU Cooperation Agreement, aimed at rigorously enforcing competition regulations across West Africa (ECOWAS)

In a concerted effort to bolster synergies and ensure a seamless and effective implementation of competition policies, the commissions acted upon the mandates issued by the leaders of both Commissions during the pivotal 18th ECOWAS-WAEMU interinstitutional meeting held on 8 March 2019, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. It was within this framework that the ECOWAS Regional Competition Authority and the WAEMU Competition Directorate devised a comprehensive cooperation protocol, subsequently submitted for formal ratification.

This foundational agreement was complemented by a meticulously crafted action plan, which addressed key areas such as the harmonization of legislation and procedural frameworks, enhancement of institutional capacities, and fostering of information exchange and strategic partnerships. The action plan was refined with precision during intensive sessions from 2 to 4 May 2024 at the ECOWAS Residential Representation in Abidjan, and thereafter advanced for evaluation and endorsement by the Commissioners of the relevant departments.

Climate change could derail EAC economies, central bank bosses warn (The Standard)

Central banks from the East African Community (EAC) bloc are raising the alarm on climate change and its impact on the regional economies. They see it as a major threat to the region’s economies and are now calling for a stronger response from respective governments. Led by Kenya’s Central Bank (CBK) Governor Kamau Thugge, the banking regulators warned in a statement that the negative impacts of climate change are already evident. They emphasised that inaction would only exacerbate the damage, harming people’s well-being and driving up future costs.

The governors issued the dire warning in a communique seen by The Standard after a special meeting of the East African Community (EAC) Monetary Affairs Committee (MAC) held last week. While the region’s economic outlook appears promising, Kenya and other EAC countries remain vulnerable to climate change alongside other global challenges, the central bankers warned.

Nigeria needs more public-private partnership for digital economy, says U.S. (The Guardian Nigeria)

United States Government, yesterday, said that Nigeria needed more international Public-Private Partnership to unleash the full potential of its digital economy. The U.S. Consul-General to Nigeria, Will Stevens, said this during a tech policy speech and insightful fireside chat at the Lagos Business School, Lekki, Lagos. The theme of the event was “Unleashing Potential: Thriving in the Digital Age.” He said that without partnerships, it would be hard to unleash the talents that could boost the country’s economy.

“We need African solutions to global problems. We need to be harnessing the talents, solutions and an ingenuity that’s here on this continent to address some of the huge problems that are facing us around the world,” he said. On how the country has progressed in tech, Stevens said Nigeria was already thriving in the digital age, noting that Information and Communication Technology currently accounted for 22 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). “Nigeria is moving very fast as ICT accounts for three times more than oil and gas, which the country supposedly has in abundance.”

Nigeria’s Digital Economy Gets Boost with Partnership Between BoI, AfDB, NITDA (Arise News)

The Bank of Industry (BoI), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) have partnered to drive digital literacy in Nigeria. According to a statement, the Managing Director, BoI, Olasupo Olusi, at the bank’s Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (iDICE) stakeholders’ forum in Lagos, explained that with a youthful growing population and increasing urbanisation, activities in the digital and creative sector have continued to increase, maintaining that it was imperative to further drive productivity in the Nigerian economy.

According to him, the creative and digital economy was central to the economic strategy of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s transformation plan, as the digital and creative sector plays a key role in driving employment creation, reducing poverty and inequality in the polity. “With such recognition, there is a need for us to reposition our focus on ways to improve the activities and output from the digital and creative economic space. Such repositioning involves the introduction of a transformative initiative as the iDICE programme,” he said.

India-Ghana trade talks focus on textiles & digital economy (Fibre2Fashion)

The 4th session of the India-Ghana Joint Trade Committee (JTC) was held in Accra recently, spotlighting significant opportunities in textiles, digital economy, renewable energy, and other sectors. The meeting, co-chaired by Amardeep Singh Bhatia, additional secretary, department of commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry of India, and Michael Okyere-Baafi, Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry of Ghana, took place from May 2nd to 3rd, 2024.

During the discussions, both nations emphasised the potential for enhanced cooperation in textiles and garments, alongside the digital infrastructure, as critical areas for bilateral trade and investments. Trade discussions also explored benefits under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). Additionally, discussions on the possibilities of signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on digital transformation solutions and a local currency settlement system were explored, reflecting the commitment to deepening digital economic ties, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a press release.

China-Africa Digital Cooperation: A Step Towards Mutual Development (Africa24.it)

At the China-Africa Internet Development and Cooperation Forum held in Xiamen, officials and representatives from China and various African countries reiterated their commitment to working together for digital cooperation. Key topics included cooperation in the digital economy, technology, cyberspace security, and online media. Both sides emphasized the mutual benefits of collaboration, sharing development opportunities, and enhancing online security to achieve win-win results.

The China-Africa Digital Cooperation Forum not only underscores the expanding partnership between the regions but also highlights the commitment to mutual development, strengthening economic ties, and fostering a shared future. This collaboration is essential in shaping the global digital landscape and advancing economic growth and stability in both China and Africa.

Owalo Urges Digital Sovereignty & Data Governance In Africa (CIO Africa)

Eliud Owalo, the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Information, Communications and Digital Economy has called for digital sovereignty and data governance in Africa as he officially opened the Network of African Data Protection Authorities (NADPA-RAPDP) Annual General Meeting (AGM) and two-day Conference at Windsor Golf Hotel and Country Club. The event, which brings together data protection authorities across Africa and data protection stakeholders, is aimed at formulating strategies to promote Regional Data Governance for Digital Transformation.

In his remarks, the CS acknowledged the unique challenges and opportunities faced by African countries in asserting control over their digital future, while navigating the influences of global competing interests and ensuring that partnerships contribute to sustainable growth and job creation. “I encourage you to explore the current state of digital sovereignty and data governance in Africa and discuss strategies for shaping a prosperous and self-determined digital landscape,” he said.

AI Development Holds Key to Economic Growth, Social Progress says Expert (This Day Live)

In an ongoing mission to combat poverty and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Artificial Intelligence (AI) emerges as a potent yet underutilized tool says Tomi Alagbe, a renowned software developer. Alagbe emphasizes the need for concerted efforts, particularly in developing countries, to harness AI’s potential and bridge existing inequality gaps. He added that AI presents a unique opportunity for Nigeria and Africa at large to address pressing development challenges and drive innovation across various sectors.

Highlighting Nigeria’s demographic trends and economic landscape, he explains AI’s capacity to introduce transformative technological solutions. “The establishment of an ethical framework is imperative to ensure the sustainable and inclusive development and deployment of AI technologies,” Alagbe affirms. The tech expert says he envisions AI’s impact as far-reaching, with the potential to uplift millions by providing scalable solutions that enhance livelihoods.

Experts Advocate For Inclusivity And Sustainability In Africa’s Digital Marketplace Poised To Reach $72 Billion By 2026 (Forbes Africa)

According to the Beyond Borders 2024 report, a digital commerce study, the African continent’s digital economy is poised to reach $72 billion by 2026. However, amidst this growth, experts note that there are challenges that must be addressed to ensure inclusivity and sustainability.

Research and advisory firm Caribou Digital, in collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has undertaken a research initiative, The Platform Livelihoods Project, which delves into the workings of Africa’s digital workplace, shedding light on the experiences of millions who rely on digital platforms for their livelihoods. One revelation from the research is the reliance of African farmers on digital marketplaces. For instance, 27% of Kenyan farmers utilize platforms like Meta (Facebook) to sell produce and exchange vital information.

Unlocking the potential of Africa’s soils for a food secure continent (AU)

Africa is the only continent endowed with natural ingredients that can easily be used to greatly expand agricultural production. Africa has 60 percent of the world’s available arable land, the largest share globally, and suitable for agricultural production expansion, and abundant untapped water resources. Agriculture is the source of livelihood for 70 percent of the population on the continent. The African Union Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) adopted in 2003, is Africa’s policy framework for agricultural transformation, wealth creation, food security and nutrition, economic growth and prosperity for all.

The convening of the Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit is therefore timely for a comprehensive review of the state of Africa’s soil health to recalibrate the strategies being deployed to boost the productivity of soils towards higher and sustainable gains in crop yields, economic growth, and the overall well-being of the African citizenry.

The Summit hosted in Nairobi, Kenya from the 7th-9th May 2024, is held under the theme “Listen to the Land” which seeks to evaluate the state of Africa’s soil health, while reviewing the progress made since previous commitments by African leaders to boost fertilizer use for agricultural growth in Africa. The theme is a Call to Action for stakeholders to pay attention to the needs of the land in terms of soil nutrients, soil moisture, essential minerals, soil organisms, impact of climate change, and consider adopting regenerative practices, policies and approaches that will improve the long term value of land as a critical asset for farmers. The goal is to unlock the potential of Africa feeding Africa, and Africa feeding the world.

Quick links

Empowering women leaders for gender equality in the digital economy (UNCTAD)

How do Taxes Drive the Sustainable Development Goals? (Inter Press Service)

World Migration Report 2024 Reveals Latest Global Trends and Challenges in Human Mobility (IOM)

Achieving sustainable forest management remains UN forum’s goal (UN News)

Recipe for livable planet (World Bank)


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