Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

ECN unveils first gazetted energy policy to foster sustainable development (New National Star)

The Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) on Wednesday unveiled the Gazettes of the National Energy Policy (NEP) and National Energy Master Plan (NEMP) for the enhancement of energy sector performance through proper coordination and implementation of government policies.

The documents, being the first gazetted energy policy unveiled in Abuja, is the revised NEP which was approved in conjunction with NEMP in April 2022 by former President Muhammadu Buhari and gazetted in March 2024. It is said to be a very comprehensive document that has, in a very professional manner, translated the 2022 revised NEP into actionable projects, programs and action plans needed to ensure the attainment of the objectives of the NEP.

Nigeria: 2024 Article IV Consultation (IMF)

Over the last decade, Nigeria’s growth has just about kept up with population dynamics. Poverty has increased, and food insecurity is rising. The government is constrained by low domestic revenue mobilization. Governance problems remain pervasive. The external environment—cost of financing—remains difficult, high oil and gas prices notwithstanding. The new administration has set out on an ambitious reform path to restore macroeconomic stability and develop a pro-growth reform agenda

An El Niño-fueled drought kicks Zimbabwe into climate action (Devex)

Since last summer, the El Niño weather phenomenon has wreaked havoc on agricultural production worldwide. That is prompting some governments to act quickly to build their climate resilience. El Niño is caused by warmer sea surface temperatures. It occurs on average every two to seven years and typically lasts about a year. In some areas it causes drought and in others, heavy rain.

Southern Africa is experiencing a particularly brutal El Niño season, with one of its driest Februarys in 40 years and widespread crop failures. The governments of Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi have all declared national disasters due to El Niño-linked droughts. Last month, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the country would need $2 billion to feed the 2.7 million people who would go hungry this year.

Zimbabwe’s government is now discussing a climate change law to advance mitigation and adaptation measures, though civil society leaders say they haven’t been properly consulted. “Climate change mitigation is a national food security issue which must be taken seriously,” economic specialist Vincent Musewe tells Lungelo.

No one will die of hunger, says President (ZBC News)

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has reassured the nation that no one will die of hunger as government has put in place measures to cushion Zimbabweans from ensure food security despite the looming drought. We have put in place measures through the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development to ensure that our communities our food secure.

Zambia suspends tax on maize imports (The East African)

The Zambian cabinet has approved the suspension of tax on all imported maize to address shortage caused by drought, Chief Government Spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa said on Wednesday. The Ministry of Finance was instructed by the cabinet to immediately carry out the decision, he told a press briefing. While the government will be at the center of importing maize for strategic reserves, the private sector is also encouraged to seize the opportunity and engage in maize imports, Mweetwa said.

In February, the Zambian government declared a state of national disaster and emergency following poor rains that affected crop production. About 9.8 million people have been adversely affected by the drought, with 6.6 million in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, according to the government.

Ethiopia earns $835m from coffee export in 9 months (The East African)

Coffee exports have brought Ethiopia $835 million in revenue over the past nine months, an industry institution said Tuesday. The country exported 174,596 tons of coffee to the international market during the first nine months of the current Ethiopian 2023/24 fiscal year that started on July 8, the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority (ECTA) said. In addition to the traditional Ethiopian coffee importing countries, the Ethiopian government has been able to create new markets in recent years, state-run Ethiopian Press Agency quoted Shafi Oumer, ECTA deputy director-general, as saying.

Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the United States, Germany and Japan are the major destinations of Ethiopia’s coffee exports over the years.

Regarded as the origin of Arabica coffee, Ethiopia is one of Africa’s largest producers and exporters of coffee. Coffee production is dubbed as the backbone of the country’s agriculture-led economy. Widely recognised for its rich coffee quality and flavor ranging from winy to fruity and chocolatey, the country’s coffee is in great demand across the globe.

Ghana Gears up on Cyber Resilience in the Digital Economy (Ventures Africa)

With Africa losing US$4 billion annually to cybercrime, the aggressors of the digital realm are gaining the upper hand. GITEX AFRICA 2024 (www.GITEXAfrica.com), the continent's largest tech and startup exhibition, taking place from 29-31 May in Marrakech, Morocco, provides a platform for leaders and executives of Africa’s tech ecosystem to share insights on cybersecurity’s crucial role in Africa’s digital economy.

As Ghana’s digital economy continues to evolve at a rapid pace, with an ever-increasing reliance on digital infrastructure, so too does the inevitable exposure to cybersecurity and data protection threats. Acknowledging the paramount importance of cybersecurity and its role in protecting sensitive information, preserving trust, and contributing to the resilience of digital infrastructure, Ghana is proactively and strategically working to enhance its cyber resilience.

Topics under discussion at the GITEX Africa Cybersecurity Forum include the role of high data costs in security vulnerability, Africa’s shortage of cybersecurity professionals, and the impact of poor security measures. Dr Albert Antwi-Boasiako, Director General of Ghana’s Cyber Security Authority, will share his insights on how Ghana is tackling these challenges.

Tunisia’s Sustained Recovery Requires Quick Action to Take Advantage of Opportunities (World Bank)

Tunisia’s economic recovery slowed in 2023, due to a severe drought, tight financing conditions and a modest pace of reform, leaving the country’s growth below pre-COVID levels, and making it one of the slowest recoveries in the Middle East and North Africa region, according to the Spring 2024 edition of the World Bank’s Economic Monitor for Tunisia.

The report, Renewed Energy to the Economy, forecasts growth rates of 2.4 percent in 2024 and 2.3 percent in 2025-26, assuming easing of drought conditions and some progress in fiscal and pro-competition reforms. The report emphasizes Tunisia’s improved external balance, its narrowing trade deficit supported by favorable international prices, and its external financing needs that remain significant. The report underscores the urgency of addressing the drivers behind the external financing challenges, including energy deficit, debt service, and level of capital inflows.

Despite gains in the tourism and export sectors, Tunisia’s economy was affected by the impacts of drought-related losses that led to an 11 percent drop in agriculture, underlining the need for adaptation to climate change. These losses have been compounded by limited domestic demand, penalizing sectors such construction and trade.

Benin blocks Niger oil exports over border dispute (BBC)

Benin has prevented neighbouring Niger from using its port to export its first crude oil, as a border dispute rages between the two nations. Relations between the two nations soured after the military staged a coup in Niger last year. Benin and other West African nations imposed sanctions on Niger, including border closures, in a bid to force the military to hand back power to the elected government. The sanctions by the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) were eased in February, and were expected to normalise trade relations with Niger. But Niger refused to open its land border for goods coming from Benin.

“If you want to load your oil in our waters, you must consider that Benin is not an enemy country and that [its] territory cannot be the subject of illicit trafficking or informal exchange,” he said on Wednesday. “If tomorrow the Nigerien authorities decide to collaborate with Benin in a formal manner, the boats will be loaded,” he added.

Benin’s move puts at risk Niger’s plan to begin exporting oil - the landlocked country has been producing about 20,000 barrels per day primarily for domestic consumption due to the lack of an export route.

Uganda crowned best investment destination in Africa (Business Insider Africa)

Uganda has been named the top investment destination in Africa at the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM) in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Uganda through its investment authority has won the ‘best investment destination in Africa’ award in 2024. State Minister for Investment Evelyne Anite said the gold award was bagged at the Annual Investment Meeting (AIM).

According to statistics from the Ugandan embassy in the UAE, Uganda has attracted over $1 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from the UAE in the past two years. The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED) has noted that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows into Uganda increased from $1.36 billion in April 2022 to $1.5 billion for the year ending April 2023.

See also: BRICS+ Business Forum at AIM Congress 2024: Key Players Discuss Reshaping Global Economic Landscape (ARMENPRESS)

Africa Prosperity Dialogues 2025 to be launched on May 13 (GBC Ghana Online)

The Africa Prosperity Network (APN), in collaboration with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat and the Office of the President of the Republic of Ghana, is to launch the Africa Prosperity Dialogues (APD) 2025. The launch which is scheduled for Monday, May 13, 2024, will be held at the Africa Trade House, AfCFTA Secretariat in Accra.

The unveiling of the APD 2025, a side event at the 3i Africa Summit, will highlight the pressing need for increased investments in integrated infrastructure networks across Africa to facilitate the seamless connectivity of people, businesses, and markets across the continent.

In a statement, the Network said presentations and discussions at the ceremony will explore strategies aimed at accelerating infrastructure development, fostering regional integration and harnessing the opportunities presented by the AfCFTA.

Africa: End the Negative Narrative, Africa is Thriving – AfDB Chief (allAfrica)

The highly-anticipated AllAfrica Media Leaders’ Summit (AMLS) is convening in Nairobi, Kenya, to address the urgent need for a thriving and independent media landscape across Africa. Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), delivered a keynote address stressing the need for a new narrative about Africa.

Adesina said the world of information is undergoing a dramatic transformation. The rise of the Internet, social media, and mobile phones has led people to rely less on traditional media sources like radio, TV, and newspapers. This shift means that more and more people are getting their news and entertainment online, with billions expected to have smartphones by 2030, especially in Africa. However, this new online world also presents challenges, as the ease of creating and sharing content, including potentially false information, can make it difficult to tell what’s true and what’s not.

“The rise of the Internet, digital and social media platforms has shifted the focus of audiences on reliance on radio, TV and print publications. “It is a whole new world where the lines between fact and fiction can become blurred,” he added. “Subsequently, positive and good news on Africa goes missing, unmarred, or even simply missing.”

Public-private partnerships essential to unlock SADC opportunities (SAnews)

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are essential to unlock economic opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in the transport and logistics industry for the movement of goods across the continent, says the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA).

“Collaboration between the private sector and government is key to unlocking opportunities. For instance, the Lobito Railway Corridor is a brownfield project, where the private sector identified the opportunity and partnered with government,” DBSA Senior Deal Originator Bongo Bacela said on Thursday. The Lobito Corridor project entails the construction of almost 350 miles of rail line in Zambia, along with hundreds of miles of feeder roads, linking the southern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the northwestern part of Zambia to regional and global markets via Angola’s Port of Lobito.

The Lobito Corridor ushers in myriad new opportunities for economic growth and development that will unlock the region’s commercial competitiveness. This infrastructural investment is a powerful catalyst for the establishment of small businesses along the railway transport routes, fostering local economic growth.

ECOWAS focuses on empowering Agri-Food Value Chains (News Ghana)

The ECOWAS Commission organized the 5th Meeting of the ECOWAS Regional Trade Facilitation Committee (RTFC) in Cotonou, Benin from 30th April to 3rd May 2024. The meeting aimed to advance the status of regional trade facilitation initiatives within the ECOWAS region whilst focusing on enhancing the implementation of existing initiatives, addressing non-tariff barriers, and strengthening the agri-food value chain.

On behalf of Madam Shadiya Alimatou Assouman, the Honourable Minister of Industry and Trade of Benin, Mr. Benjamin ALAMENOU welcomed participants to Cotonou. In his remarks, he outlined the need to overcome trade barriers to realize the vision of free trade and the importance of initiatives like the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS), Brown Card Scheme, and Common External Tariff (CET) towards achieving the ECOWAS Vision 2050. He called upon Member States to leverage the meeting as a platform for engaging in productive discussions to collaboratively address trade barriers and foster regional trade growth.

The representative of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment from the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Chairperson of the meeting, Mr. Usman ABDULLAHI highlighted the importance of fostering a strong regional trade ecosystem in the face of a challenging global environment. He reinforced the importance of cooperation and collaboration between the NTFCs in promoting trade facilitation.

African Union endorse 2024 Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit (Africa Science News)

African Heads of State and Government committed to revive the nutritional balance of the continent’s exhausted soils. Making what they called The Nairobi Declaration, the African leaders encapsulated the key discussions, with a focus on fostering multi-stakeholder partnerships and investments to drive policies, finance, research and development, markets, and capacity building for fertilizer and sustainable soil health management across Africa.

Notably, the leaders made 13 commitments namely, to triple domestic production and distribution of certified quality organic and inorganic fertilizers by 2034 to improve access and affordability for smallholder farmers. Throughout the three-day summit, it was emphasized that years of excessive use without adequate replenishment had resulted in severe depletion of the continent’s soils, hampering their capacity to sustain optimal crop yields.

pdf Draft Nairobi Declaration on Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit Nairobi, Kenya | 9th May 2024 (406 KB)

Creative Economy in Africa on the rise (The Exchange Africa)

Two decades ago, the orange economy or what we famously refer to today as the creative economy, would not have been considered a transformative sector propelling growth in Africa. However, according to the United Nations Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the creative economy is one of the world’s fastest-growing sectors, creating employment and income for millions globally.

According to the United Nations (UN), a creative economy features a cycle of creation, production and distribution of goods and services that uses creative and intellectual capital as primary inputs. Africa is beginning to see promising potential for their creative flourishing in film, arts and crafts, fashion, design, video, photography, music and more. As Africa plays catch up, a trade report by Afreximbank indicates that Europe, North America, Asia and the Pacific account for around 93 per cent of an estimated $2.25 trillion generated each year globally by creative industries and 85 per cent of jobs created by the sector.

According to UNCTAD Africa’s share of the global creative economy remains significantly low, accounting for only around 2.9 per cent of global creative goods exports, representing at least $58.4 billion and less than 1 per cent of the continent’s African GDP.  It is safe to say that creatives are at an unprecedented stage where the attention economy is becoming prevalent daily. Forbes considers attention a transaction in the world’s most valuable currency. The value of attention has never been more apparent than in the staggering $853 billion in global net advertising revenue generated in 2023 alone.

See also: Fund to invest in SA’s creative, cultural industries announced (SAnews)

Growing Africa’s share of global trade (Business Daily)

The results of the 2023 World Trade Report, which emphasises the need for re-globalisation to tackle critical global concerns through improved cooperation, inclusivity, and sustainability, serve as evidence of this. The report highlights the significance of regional economic integration through agreements like the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to optimise trade agreements and reduce intra-regional trade costs in Africa.

First UN civil society forum held in Africa heralds ‘inclusive’ Summit of the Future (UN News)

Bringing together civil society actors, government representatives, senior UN officials, young changemakers, academic and other stakeholders, the UN Civil Society Conference is the premier event on the civil society calendar at the United Nations, ahead of the Summit of the Future, set for this coming September.

Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General, in a video message to the event, began by expressing deep condolences to the victims of the devasting floods in Kenya and reiterating the United Nation’s continued commitment to supporting the Kenyan Government during this challenging time.

Dennis Francis, President of the UN General Assembly, speaking via video message, said: “For the Summit to serve as a catalyst for impactful global action, we need robust collaboration and buy-in from those directly affected to drive its action-oriented outcomes.” Referring to the documents that are expected to emerge from the Summit – the Pact for the Future, the Global Digital Compact and the Declaration on Future Generations – the Assembly President said, “we need you, civil society, to play a critical role in this process.”

What African countries need to tap more from extended Agoa (The East African)

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) is a landmark piece of trade legislation enacted by the United States in 2000. Its goal is to promote economic growth, development and poverty reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa by providing qualifying countries with duty-free access to the US market for over 6,500 products. By eliminating import tariffs and quotas, Agoa aims to stimulate trade, attract foreign investment and foster economic integration between the US and African nations.

Agoa has made strides in boosting exports from eligible African countries to the US. Between 2001 and 2021, the annual value of US imports from Agoa-eligible countries nearly tripled, from $8.15 billion to $21.8 billion. The trade preferences have particularly benefited sectors like apparel, textiles, agriculture and light manufacturing. However, Agoa’s impact has been uneven across the region. Some countries have used the opportunities more effectively than others.

As Agoa approaches its 25th anniversary next year, policymakers are considering extending it for a further 16 years. I recently conducted a comprehensive review of scholarly articles and policy reports that analyse the impact of Agoa on the economic performance of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Zero Draft of HLPF Outcome Commits to Accelerated Action in Years to 2030 (SDG Knowledge Hub)

The agreed outcome of the 2024 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) is under discussion among UN Member States in “zero draft” form. Informal consultations on the draft Ministerial Declaration continue from 7-8 May 2024. The zero draft is informed by inputs from delegations in writing and during the second informal consultation on 19 April 2024.

In the zero draft, governments “pledge to redouble [their] efforts to achieve a more sustainable world” and “commit[] to bold, ambitious, accelerated, just, and transformative action in the six years to 2030” and look forward to the Summit of the Future in September as an opportunity to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs. They reaffirm international cooperation, multilateralism, and international solidarity as “the best way” to address today’s global challenges.

Related: Revised Zero Draft of UNGA Resolution on ECOSOC, HLPF Reviews Available

Quick links

Trade Liberalisation Kicked Away African Development Ladder (Inter Press Service)

Proposed BRICS grain exchange worth monitoring (World-Grain.com)

Great Power Conflicts Pose Global Challenges, says Amitabh Kant, Advocating Focus on Sustainable Development Goals for Stability and Equity (India Education)

How do Taxes Drive the Sustainable Development Goals? (Global Issues)

Harnessing Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (UNSDG)


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