Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Agbiz hopes for more SA agricultural exports with the BRICS+ nations (IOL)

The Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) has said that while BRICS+ remained a political grouping with no formal trade structure, the bilateral agreements between the BRICS+ countries for increasing trade were encouraging. Agbiz chief economist Wandile Sihlobo yesterday said that South Africa would continue prioritising the widening of agricultural exports in this grouping, but also keep supplying its key export markets. “South Africa’s agricultural sector still has room to grow and trade is essential to the sector’s growth strategy.”

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Egypt are some of the newest [BRICS+] members. These two countries present enormous opportunities for widening South Africa’s agricultural exports. Egypt spends about $16billion (R294bn) a year importing agricultural products from the world market. These are mainly wheat, maize, soybeans, palm oil, beef, apples and pears, dairy, cotton, potatoes and tea, among other products,” he said. “It is here that South African grain farmers, traders and beef producers should focus on increasing exports.”

SA urges Africa to embrace AfCFTA for economic growth (African Insider)

The Department of Sport, Arts, and Culture’s Acting Director-General, Dr Cynthia Khumalo, has urged African nations to seize the economic opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) during the launch of Africa Month in Bloemfontein. The AfCFTA agreement is anticipated to establish the world’s largest free trade area in terms of the number of participating countries.

“As we move swiftly towards accelerating the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, we do so fully aware and taking advantages presented by this progressive continental trade arrangement that will see the heritage and creative sector benefiting significantly by doing business amongst ourselves as Africans.”

Botswana galvanises efforts to derive AGOA benefits (Fibre2Fashion)

Botswana has finalised its national response strategy for the US Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) by identifying potential sectors for export to the United States. The strategy includes a detailed implementation schedule with actions and activities for specific sectors to be undertaken by various stakeholders. The launch date is yet to be announced.

This was conveyed recently by Botswana’s assistant minister of trade and industry Biggie Butale to a women’s leadership forum in Gaborone, according to a report in a regional weekly newspaper for southern Africa. Butale urged manufacturers to produce commodities of high standards for the US market.

Demica underpins expansion of supply chain finance to Nigerian businesses (African Review)

The supply chain finance solutions from Demica, a leading fintech, has been selected by African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and Sterling Bank to provide approved payables finance to Nigerian businesses and suppliers through the AFREXIMBANK TRADELINK. “The launch in Nigeria is a first step in Afreximbank’s plans to introduce payables finance across Africa in partnership with leading African financial institutions,” said Gwen Mwaba, director and global head, trade finance, Afreximbank. “The product, which will deploy world-class technology and a collaborative delivery model, aligns with the bank’s vision of transforming Africa’s trade, and will contribute towards achievement of the bank’s strategic objective of reducing the trade finance gap in Africa, especially for the SME segment.”

AFREXIMBANK TRADELINK, is part of Afreximbank’s digital Africa Trade Gateway which provides African corporates and banks with the digital tools they need to access market information and connect with buyers and sellers.

Fresh demands arise for delayed competition, consumer protection laws (The Independent Uganda)

The COMESA Competition Commission together with Fidelis Leadership Institute have launched a training program on consumer protection and competition laws, amidst calls for the implementation of the relevant laws in Uganda.

Recently, President Yoweri Museveni assented to the Competition Act 2023 but it is yet to be operationalized due to the absence of the relevant regulations and policies. But the country is yet to have a Consumer Protection Law that would directly protect consumers against issues like unfair pricing, poor and substandard products and services, among others, despite the debate and demand being on for more than 10 years now.

Sam Wetasa, a member of the COMESA Competition Commission said the government, itself has been a culprit of the violation of competition and consumer protection rights, because there are no laws. But even with the laws, he says, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, which is the supposed custodian of the law will find it difficult to enforce the laws, especially where the government is itself a culprit, giving the example of the digital motor vehicle number-plate saga.

Hussein Musiho, who represented the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Trade, Industry and cooperatives, the biggest challenges the implementation of the laws will encounter, will be the lack of knowledge, both by the business operators and the consumers.

EAC Monetary Affairs Committee addresses regional economic challenges, progress on Monetary Union (New Vision)

The 27th Ordinary Meeting of the East African Community (EAC) Monetary Affairs Committee (MAC) convened on May 3, 2024, in Juba, South Sudan. Reflecting on the economic performance of the EAC region in 2023, the Committee acknowledged a range of growth rates ranging from 2.8 percent to 8.1 percent, largely attributed to advancements across key sectors and commitment to the implementation of policy reforms that have promoted private and public investment in some Partner States.

Looking forward, the Committee foresees continued regional growth outpacing global and Sub-Saharan Africa benchmarks, supported by sustained public investment, enhanced export performance, and pro-private sector measures. However, the region grapples with challenges, including adverse global financial conditions, geopolitical turmoil, and climate change ramifications, resulting in the amplification of challenges like high fuel and food import prices, market access costs, and currency and reserve pressures.

WCO supports the East African Community in enhancing Customs efficiency (WCO)

The World Customs Organization (WCO), in partnership with the East African Community (EAC), convened a meeting on EAC Customs Management Act and Regulations. The meeting took place from 15 to 20 April 2024, in Mombasa, Kenya, and was organised with the support of the EU-WCO HS-Africa Programme, funded by the European Union.

Legislative drafters and Customs experts from the EAC Partner States, along with the EAC Secretariat, gathered to draft amendments to the EAC Customs Management Act of 2004 and Customs Management Regulations of 2010 in preparation for the 25th Meeting of the Sectoral Council on Legal and Judicial Affairs (SCLJA) scheduled for May 2024. The purpose of these amendments is to enhance the operational effectiveness of the EAC Customs Law.

The WCO is engaging on several initiatives with the EAC to support Customs reform and efficiency, and harmonization of procedures.

We need to establish more viable African carriers to help facilitate trade (GhanaWeb)

Allen Kilavuka, the Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Airways, says there is a need to establish more viable African carriers to help facilitate trade among the various countries on the Continent. He said Kenya Airways was collaborating closely with other African Carriers to develop a viable entity to serve the continent and stand strong against any competition.

Mr Kilavuka was speaking to journalists during his recent visit to Ghana. The visit is a follow-up visit by Kenyan President, William Ruto earlier this month and officials from the Kenyan Tourism Board in February.

The CEO said, “we need to be involved more in the travel market to develop the aviation market, we recommend collaboration and cooperation with other airlines.” Mr Kilavuka said Ghana was a critical market for the Airline because it was the Company’s Hub in the West Africa Region, adding that they had developed Accra as the hub, simply because of the support from regulatory agencies as part of their operations.

6th WCO Global AEO Conference opens in Shenzhen, China (WCO)

On 8 May 2024, the 6th WCO Global AEO Conference was launched in Shenzhen, China, by the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Mr. Ian Saunders. This event, themed “Harnessing the Power of AEO Programmes for Inclusive and Sustainable Global Trade,” attracted over 1,200 attendees from 108 countries.

In his opening speech, Secretary General Saunders thanked the GACC for their collaboration in organizing the conference and for their relentless efforts to ensure its success. He stated that, “AEOs epitomize the synergy between Customs authorities and the business community, fostering a collaborative environment where trade efficiency and security are paramount. The significance of AEOs transcends mere operational benefits; the AEO programme embodies our shared commitment to a transparent, secure, and resilient trade ecosystem.” He stressed the importance of amplifying the benefits of AEO programmes across the full spectrum of global trade participants and underscored that the strength of the programmes is magnified when there is engagement with a diverse range of stakeholders. He added that, by integrating more MSMEs into the AEO family, Customs will enrich the tapestry of global trade.

Africa-Arab investment and trade forum: Empowering economic growth across borders (Financial Express)

The 10th Edition of the Africa-Arab Investment and Trade Forum, held from May 4-5, 2024 in Algiers, Algeria, marked a significant milestone in fostering economic collaboration and growth across continents. Under the theme “The Way to African Market,” representatives from the business and economic communities across Africa gathered to strategize and propel forward the economic agenda for the region.

In collaboration with key stakeholders such as the African Union, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA/NEPAD), the forum brought together a diverse range of participants including government officials, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and representatives from various sectors. The forum was attended by 43 Countries from the African Union, Middle East, Europe and Asia.

Addressing the road to African markets, participants highlighted the importance of developing a continental regulatory framework to regulate technology giants and promote a digital single market under the AfCFTA. Additionally, leveraging local capabilities for technology innovation and fostering a conducive environment for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) were highlighted as key priorities.

Members discuss progress on WTO-FIFA cotton initiative, trade trends, World Cotton Day (WTO)

At the WTO’s Cotton Day on 7 May, the Cotton-4+ countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Côte d’Ivoire), and other cotton-producing developing economies reviewed the progress made in implementing the WTO-FIFA Memorandum of Understanding on Cotton, notably the launch of the “Partenariat pour le Coton” in the margins of the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in February. Participants also discussed the latest market trends in cotton trade, negotiations on cotton and plans for World Cotton Day 2024.

IFC Report Highlights Gender Gap in Trade Finance and Identifies Potential Solutions (IFC)

Specific features of trade finance amplify the difficulties faced by women-led businesses and their ability to participate in trade, according to a new report released today by IFC. The report, Banking on Women Who Trade Across Borders, examines the challenges women entrepreneurs face in accessing trade finance and provides solutions to alleviate them.

To better understand the challenges, IFC conducted interviews with women entrepreneurs and financial institutions across Africa and Latin America. The exchange of goods and services between entities in different countries often involves a complex set of transactions, multiple institutions, as well as financial intermediaries. To add to the complexities of cross-border trade, SMEs and specifically women-owned or led SMEs in emerging markets experience various levels of difficulty in getting financing from banks.

AU says $15 billion needed to increase manufacturing of mineral fertilizers in Africa (Nairametrics)

The African Union (AU) says a $15 billion private sector investment is required to guarantee an increase in local manufacturing of mineral fertilizers in Africa. The bloc explained that regional cooperation in fertilizer policy, research, and development as well as investment pooling for production capacity will facilitate cross-border trade in Africa.AU plans to increase local production of mineral fertilizers by 2033.

“A significant $15billion of private sector investment will be needed to increase the local manufacturing of mineral fertilizers.” For accelerated impact, the target is to triple the local production of organic and inorganic fertilizers by 2033. “Consolidation of financial tools like trade credit guarantees, working capital, and targeted subsidies is therefore necessary in order to minimize market distortions, lower expenses, encourage innovations and fortify input supply chains.”

Opening Remarks at The Opening Ceremony of H.E. Amb. Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development (AU)

This year’s [2024 African Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit] is set to evaluate the state of Africa’s soil health, while reviewing the progress made since the 2006 Abuja Declaration, which aimed to boost fertilizer use for agricultural growth. Despite multiple efforts, Africa falls short of the Abuja Declaration targets.

Despite producing around 30 million metric tons of mineral fertilizer annually, many African countries still heavily rely on imports, particularly nonphosphate-based fertilizers, leaving them vulnerable to market shocks. We all remember what transpired with the ongoing Russia/Ukraine crisis due to reliance of several Africa countries on grains and fertilizer from these two countries and the need to build food sovereignty in Africa by raising the productivity with a view to feeding 2.4 million people by 2050. We are taking up these issues in our Post Malabo process which would unveil a 10-year plan for Africa’s Agriculture.

COMESA Advocates for Policy Harmonization on Trade in Fertilizers and Soil Health Products (COMESA)

The COMESA Secretariat is currently participating in the ongoing Special Summit of the African Union on Fertilizer and Soil Health in Nairobi, Kenya. During the Summit on Tuesday, 07 May 2024, COMESA Secretary General Chileshe Kapwepwe addressed attendees, highlighting the concerning decline of soil health in many parts of Africa. She emphasized that this decline poses a threat to the resilience of agricultural systems and sustainable food production.

Kapwepwe noted that compromised soil health inhibits the soil’s ability to respond to yield-enhancing inputs such as fertilizers and improved crop varieties. This situation increases the vulnerability of smallholder farmers and rural communities to external shocks. African governments need to enact enabling policy, legal and regulatory frameworks to guide, support and incentivize the sustainable use of fertilizers and other soil resources,” she said in her statement delivered by Dr Mohamed Kadah, Assistant Secretary General in charge of Programmes.

She added that regulatory provisions for sustainable soil management should address all possible uses of fertilizers and other soil health products and their impacts on the soil and the wider ecosystem, while ensuring consistency and streamlined processes across all concerned governmental agencies.

African Development Bank advocates for agritech scaling, partnerships and affordable fertilizer access at Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit (AfDB)

Representing Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development Dr. Beth Dunford will this week lead a delegation of agriculture, agribusiness, fertilizer and partnership specialists to the Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit in Nairobi. The event will explore solutions to widespread declines in farmland soil quality and build consensus on an African Fertilizer and Soil Health Action Plan. The summit will also adopt an African Union Commission initiative to enhance the health and productivity of African soils.

As part of its Feed Africa strategy to boost yields and build resilience, the African Development Bank is committed to ensuring African farmers have access to the inputs they need, including fertilizer and high-quality seeds.

Dr. Martin Fregene, the Bank’s Director for Agriculture and Agro-Industry, said, “The importance of fertilizer financing in achieving our shared aspirations cannot be overstated. The Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit presents another opportunity to advance our collective goals - bridging the supply gap of fertilizers in Africa and contributing to a flourishing agricultural landscape.”

El Niño Sees African Union Insurance Agency Pay Out $60 Million (Bloomberg)

The African Union’s climate insurance agency will pay out at least $60 million to four southern African nations to help them offset the impact of a drought that’s been driven by the El Niño weather pattern, its director general said. Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique will receive payments at the end of the harvesting season in a few weeks time, Ibrahima Cheikh Diong, who leads the African Risk Capacity agency, said in an interview in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

The drought has reduced the corn crop by at least three-fifths in Zimbabwe alone, and the insurance payouts will equate to a fraction of what it needed to alleviate the impact. Still, Diong said, the money will be dispersed way before support is forthcoming from the World Bank and other sources, and provide immediate relief while governments mobilize more resources from their own budgets and from donors.

Empowering Africa’s Circular Economy Transition to Secure a Global Future (AfDB)

In the face of the triple crisis of climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss, Africa finds itself at a pivotal moment. As it seeks to advance towards a green and sustainable future, the continent finds itself increasingly key to advancing the global climate action agenda. As a result, the urgent need to shift to a circular economy has never been more critical, and the African Development Bank, through the Africa Circular Economy Facility (ACEF) and the African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA), is at the forefront of these efforts.

At the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) held in Brussels from April 15 - 18, the two Bank-supported entities emphasised Africa’s crucial role in the global shift towards circular economy and outlined strategic measures to fast-track this vital transition.

With Africa’s population projected to double to 2.5 billion by 2050 and 83 percent of its countries heavily reliant on natural resources for revenue and economic growth, the continent’s future steps could either bolster global climate efforts or set them back, depending on whether emissions profiles resemble those of countries such as Botswana or Egypt, which produce comparable levels of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

Committee on Market Access hosts second thematic session on supply chain resilience (WTO)

The Committee on Market Access held a thematic session on supply chain resilience on 6 May, building on a session held on this topic in November of last year. The session featured presentations from China, the European Union, India, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Pakistan, the United Kingdom and the United States, with speakers outlining their domestic experiences in bolstering supply chain resilience.

The panel discussed the challenges facing global supply chains. China’s presentation offered insights into how to approach supply chain resilience. The presentation highlighted China’s effort to construct a modern infrastructure and adhere to a multilateral trading regime with WTO as its cornerstone.

Manufacturers falling short on supply chain transformation – report (The Manufacturer)

The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with global consultancy Kearney, has released a new White Paper exploring the actions manufacturing leaders are taking to redesign their global value chains along key trends that are reshaping those and transforming manufacturing systems.

From Disruption to Opportunity: Strategies for Rewiring Global Value Chains,” is based on a survey of 300 global operations executives as well as 30 consultations, revealing a playbook of proven strategies enacted by leading manufacturers to redesign and future-proof their value chains in response to global challenges. However, the results also indicate a significant gap between strategic intent and operational delivery.

Kiva Allgood, Head, Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Supply Chains, World Economic Forum: ”Value chains are being reshaped by increasingly frequent disruptions stemming from emerging technologies, climate change and geopolitical challenges. As these disruptions grow in intensity, it is important that manufacturers prioritise redesigning and fortifying value chains to not only navigate turbulences but also design value chains that are fit for the future, delivering positive economic, social, and environmental impact.”

Renewables provided record 30% of global electricity in 2023, Ember says (Engineering News)

Growth in solar and wind power pushed renewable generation to a record 30% of global electricity production in 2023, putting a global target to triple renewable capacity by 2030 within sight, a report by think tank Ember said. Cutting fossil fuel use and emissions in the power sector is seen as vital to meeting global climate targets. More than 100 countries at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai last year agreed to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030.

Ember’s Global Electricity Review showed renewable sources provided 30.3% of global electricity last year, up from 29.4% in 2022 as growth in projects, particularly solar, increased capacity. The report predicted continued renewable growth would see fossil fuel power production fall by 2% in 2024 and push overall fossil fuel power production to less than 60% of global electricity production for the first time since at least 2000, when Ember’s data begins.

Speech: Geopolitics and its Impact on Global Trade and the Dollar (IMF)

After years of shocks—including the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—countries are reevaluating their trading partners based on economic and national security concerns. Foreign direct investment flows are also being re-directed along geopolitical lines. Some countries are reevaluating their heavy reliance on the dollar in their international transactions and reserve holdings.

All of this is not necessarily bad. Given the recent history of events, policymakers are increasingly—and justifiably—focused on building economic resilience. But if the trend continues, we could see a broad retreat from global rules of engagement and, with it, a significant reversal of the gains from economic integration.

Quick links

What to expect in Agoa’s next chapter (Business Daily)

Global trade ties resembling Cold War era; sanctions fueling gold purchase by China bloc: Gita Gopinath (The Indian Express)

Top 20 Logistics API For The Supply Chain Industry (Artelogic)

The Changing Face Of FDI (Global Finance Magazine)

The biggest economies in the world in 2024: South Africa vs China, Russia and the USA (BusinessTech)


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