Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Minerals Council, Geoscience, IDC going all out to boost South African exploration (Engineering News)

A collective effort was apparent on Friday when Minerals Council South Africa, the Council for Geoscience and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) spoke on the same platform to promote a return to growth in the shrinking South African mining industry.

Minerals Council South Africa CEO Mzila Mthenjane, Council for Geoscience CEO Mosa Mabuza, Junior Exploration & Mining Leadership Forum chairperson Errol Smart, who is also the CEO of Orion Minerals, IDC Junior Mining Fund executive Siyabonga Mahlangu and many others showed common thought and vision on what must be done effectively and transparently as quickly as possible.

Valuable unity of purpose was apparent during the all-embracing webinar, which was facilitated by Minerals Council Junior Mining Desk manager Grant Mitchell and attended online by 120 people.

“As a country, we are certainly going to be one of the key players in the move to transition to a low carbon future and need to extract critical minerals that are going to be necessary for us to be able to move forward and achieve a low-carbon future,” Mthenjane highlighted. “To be able to do that it’s important that we have a very good understanding of the landscape of our minerals across the breadth and depth of the country.

Ruto, Museveni meeting gives glimmer of hope to traders (The East African)

Ugandan and Kenyan traders may have reason to smile after President Yoweri Museveni met his Kenyan counterpart William Ruto this week, with their discussions centred on the removal of the non-tariff barriers that have hindered trade between the two biggest trading partners in the region.

Museveni was in Kenya for a three-day state visit and accompanied by officials, including Agriculture Minister Frank Tumwebaze. The two presidents directed their respective ministers of Trade to convene “as soon as possible” to address the NTBs that continue to stifle Uganda-Kenya trade. Uganda remained Kenya’s biggest trading partner in terms of exports for the period ending October 2023, according to data published by the Kenya Bureau of Statistics (Kebs) in early January.

China back to funding SGR connecting Kenya and Uganda (The East African)

Kenya has secured a commitment from China’s Exim Bank for the funding of the standard gauge railway line from Naivasha to the Uganda border. Kipchumba Murkomen, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary of Roads and Transport, said that Pan-African lender African Development Bank and Kenya’s own Railway Development Fund would complement the Chinese as Nairobi and Kampala continue to woo more financiers for the cross-border project.

Mr Murkomen spoke to The EastAfrican as President William Ruto hosted his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni on Thursday at State House, Nairobi, where the two leaders threw their weight behind the joint project, which is meant to go all the way to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The line will provide the required regional competitive advantage to improve regional connectivity with links to Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and DRC. There is pressure on Kenya and Uganda to extend it to the Great Lakes region, especially the resource-rich DRC, as Tanzania pushes on with its electrified line headed in the same direction on the Central Corridor.

Benin: a government and African Development Bank project launched to boost the fisheries and aquaculture sector (AfDB)

Benin and the African Development Bank officially launched the Project to Promote Sustainable Aquaculture and the Competitiveness of Fisheries Value Chains in Cotonou on 15 May 2024, to increase the contribution of fisheries and aquaculture sector to food security and local economies.

“A significant part of the fishing community in Benin has waited a long time, and now the project is underway,” said a delighted Gaston Cossi Doussouhoui, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock Farming and Fisheries. “We have men and women who rely on fishing for their livelihood and had no way of realizing their potential. Moreover, fisheries and aquaculture were seen as the poor relation to the agricultural sector. Our plan is to reverse that by taking advantage of the political will that now exists,” he continued.

Guinea: 2024 Article IV Consultation (IMF)

On December 18, 2023, the explosion of a major fuel import and storage facility led to fuel shortages and new urgent financing needs. The blast caused 25 deaths and 457 injured as well as widespread fuel shortages, affecting transportation and economic activity. The relatively strong mining sector is sustaining growth, although growth is expected to decelerate to 4.1 percent in 2024, lower than the 2019-23 average of 5.1 percent.

AfCFTA Viability Questioned As Dangote Reveals He Needs 35 Visas to Travel Across Africa (Tekedia)

At the Africa CEO Forum Annual Summit, Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest person, laid bare the significant travel challenges he faces with his Nigerian passport, revealing that he needs up to 35 visas to travel across the continent. His revelation, which does not come as a surprise to many, underscores the formidable barriers to achieving the ambitious goals of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Speaking directly to President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Dangote vented his frustrations about the cumbersome visa processes required for travel across the continent. “I still complained to President Kagame. I told him that as an investor, I have to now apply for 35 different visas on my passport, and I told Mr. President, I really don’t have the time to go and be dropping my passports in embassies to get a visa,” Dangote said.

He highlighted the stark contrast between the ease of movement for Europeans and the restrictive conditions for Africans. Using Patrick Pouyanne, chairman of Total Energies, as an example, Dangote noted, ”You don’t need 35 visas on your French passport. This means you have a freer movement than myself in Africa.”

Spiro Agrees to US$50 Million Debt Facility with Afreximbank to Accelerate Expansion (Afreximbank)

Spiro, the largest electric vehicle company in Africa, is pleased to announce it has signed heads of terms for US$50 million debt facility with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). This landmark agreement was signed in Kigali, Rwanda during the Africa CEO Forum, highlighting Spiro’s commitment to enhancing sustainable transportation on the continent.

“This partnership with Afreximbank is a pivotal development for Spiro,” stated Kaushik Burman, CEO of Spiro. “The $50 million USD debt facility will significantly enhance our operational capabilities and help us expand our footprint to more African countries. It’s a testament to the confidence in our business model and our contribution to sustainable development in Africa.”

Business diplomacy and Africa’s development (TheCable)

From May 16 to 17, over 2,000 of Africa’s business leaders, investors, policymakers and political leaders as well as their counterparts from around the world met in Kigali, Rwanda under the auspices of the Africa CEO Forum 2024 to discuss the continent’s development, opportunities and challenges. The theme this year was “At the Table or On the Menu? A Critical Moment to Shape a New Future for Africa.” President Paul Kagame and a few African heads of state and government were there.

The Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation said: “African leaders cannot sit back and watch the 4th Industrial Revolution transform the rest of the world while leaving Africa falling further behind. We have to create our own ‘table’ by using technology to unlock the power of our youth, giving Africa a greater voice in the world. It’s today’s leaders who will determine whether or not we grab this opportunity.”

Emerging global geo-political context should compel Africans to collaborate to come out of the challenges – Wamkele Mene (3News)

The Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, Wamkele Mene, has said that it has become necessary for Africans to collaborate on how to tackle their challenges. He says that the emerging global geo-political context should compel us Africans to collaborate to find ways of coming out of the challenges the continent is facing

Speaking during the opening ceremony of the 3i Africa Summit in Accra on Monday May 13, he said “The existential economic sovereignty of our continent is precisely why the African Continental Free Trade Area was established so that we can leverage on this market of 1.4 billion people, which by 2050 is projected to be the 8th largest economy in the world with $16.3 trillion 27 years from now but if we don’t deploy these digital technologies, all of us are going to be discussing where we got it wrong.”

Import restrictions in Nigeria, other African markets complicating business operations – IMF (Nairametrics)

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has stated that the challenge of import restrictions in Nigeria and other African countries complicates business operations. The Fund stated this in its Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa entitled, “A Tepid and Pricey Recovery,” where it explained that the twin challenges of import restrictions and foreign currency shortages could mar the post-pandemic recovery in terms of profitability of companies across the region.

It stated, “Moreover, several countries are facing challenges like foreign currency shortages or import restrictions (for example, Angola, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nigeria) which have complicated business operations. This comes at a time when companies in the region have just turned a leaf and returned to pre-pandemic profitability.”

ECOWAS senior trade officials convene in Abuja to validate regional instruments to foster Economic integration (ECOWAS)

Senior Trade Officials from ECOWAS Member States gathered in Abuja, Nigeria, from 15th to 16th May 2024 to consider regional instruments towards enhancing regional economic integration and trade. The overall objective of the 2-day meeting was to review, validate, and recommend regional trade policy instruments to the Ministers of Trade and Industry. In addition, the Meeting also considered the region’s participation at and the outcome of the 13th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC13).

In his opening remarks on behalf of Madame Massandjé TOURE-LITSE, Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture, Mr. Kolawole Sofola, the Director of Trade for ECOWAS, reaffirmed the Commission’s dedication to strengthening economic integration and tackling current trade issues. “Our concerted efforts today are geared towards ensuring our trade policies respond to the changing realities, and promote prosperity in our region,” said Mr. Sofola. He urged Member States to build on various regional, continental and multilateral Decisions and Instruments, including the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme, the African Continental Free Trade Area, as well as the outcome of the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference.

Regional launch of the fourth continental biennial review report on agricultural growth and transformation and the preliminary consultation on ECOWAP/POST Malabo agenda (ECOWAS)

The Directorate of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the national and regional stakeholders of the agriculture sector, the African Union, and representatives of the sector’s six stakeholder groups convened to officially launch the fourth Biennial Review on agricultural growth and transformation and to start the conversation on the next ten years for the ECOWAS Agriculture Policy (ECOWAP) and Post Malabo Agenda. The event, which incorporated online and offline participation with a total of 98 participants, was held on the 16th and 17th of May 2024. It featured distinguished facilitators, experts, and ECOWAS officials in a detailed agenda to promote in-depth analysis, discussion, and action planning.

Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso Ignore ECOWAS Peace Offer, Form New Confederation (Gistmania)

In a significant geopolitical shift, ECOWAS has lifted sanctions on Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso, aiming to reconcile the three nations with the regional bloc after their announced withdrawal. This development comes as the trio finalizes plans to form a confederation, marking a notable transformation within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region.

The new alliance, named the Confederation of the Alliance of Sahel States (AES), signals a departure from their colonial ties with France and a pivot towards closer relations with Russia. The announcement was made following a meeting of the foreign ministers of the three nations in Niamey, the capital of Niger, on Friday, May 17, 2024.

Niger’s Foreign Minister, Bakary Sangare, confirmed the completion of a draft text outlining the institutional and operational framework of the AES. “The objective was to finalize the draft text relating to the institutionalization and operationalization of the Confederation of the Alliance of Sahel States,” Sangare stated.

Experts laud progress on impending Abidjan-Lagos highway project (GhanaWeb)

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB), has organized a Stakeholder Consultation and Validation Workshop for the Spatial Development Initiative (SDI) study of the Interim Report for the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor from May 14 to 16, 2024, in Accra, Ghana.

The experts deliberated on the results of the SDI study, including a comprehensive roadmap for the development of the Abidjan-Lagos corridor, considering economic, social, environmental, and logistical factors, that will enable them to obtain funding and support from international organizations, governments, and private investors.

Mr. Sediko DOUKA, ECOWAS Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy, and Digitalization, represented by Mr. Chris APPIAH, Acting ECOWAS Director of Transport, at the opening of the all-important workshop, emphasized that the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Highway Project was being implemented not just as a road project but as an integrated “Economic development corridor” which will also catalyze the deployment of other important sectors such as Trade, Industry, Agriculture, Energy, Environment, ICT, and Tourism.

AU eyes increased investments, trade between Africa, Arab nations (Nairametrics)

The African Union (AU) has called on Arab countries to revitalize their investment and trade commitments across the African continent. This appeal aligns with the Nigerian government’s ongoing efforts to attract foreign investments from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr. Moussa Faki, made this call during the 33rd session of the Arab Summit in Bahrain, which concluded on May 16, 2024.

In his address, Mr. Faki highlighted the significant role that Arab countries can play in advancing joint Arab-African initiatives and realizing the mutual priorities and ambitions of both regions. He emphasized the historical context of the Africa-Arab partnership, which was first ratified in 1977 to serve as a framework for economic collaboration between the two regions. Currently, nine African states, including Egypt and Morocco, are part of the Arab League. Mr. Faki’s call for increased Arab investment comes at a time when Africa is seeking more economic opportunities to boost its development.

Report on Africa’s digital economy, China-Africa cooperation released in Kenya (PR Newswire)

A report on Africa’s digital economic development index and China-Africa cooperation on the digital economy is released in Nairobi, Kenya, on May 10, 2024. [Photo provided to China.org.cn] Jointly published by the China-Africa Economic & Trade Research Institute and Datasparkle, the report provides observations and analyses of Africa’s digital economy evolution and explores avenues for collaboration between China and Africa in the digital realm.

Xiao Hao, acting secretary-general of the China-Africa Economic & Trade Research Institute and deputy dean of the School of Economics and Trade of Hunan University, spoke on Africa’s rapid digital progression at the release of the report. Xiao said that, due to various factors like geography, society, and culture, significant disparities exist in digital technology adoption and accessibility across different African regions and demographics, leading to a noticeable digital divide.

China’s approach to digital economic growth, characterized by priority on infrastructure, continuous innovative applications, and technological innovation-driven development, offers valuable insights for other nations or regions seeking digital transformation, he said.

pdf Africa Digital Economy Development Index and China-Africa Digital Economy Cooperation Report 2024 (6.70 MB)

AGOA extension top agenda in Ruto US trip (The Star)

President William Ruto will seek to save the Agoa deal set to expire in June next year as he starts a four-day state visit in the US. The African Growth and Opportunity Act is a law enacted by US Congress in May 2000 to assist the economies of Sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya. The deal waived restrictions and tariffs, allowing goods from African countries special access to the US market.

Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Korir Sing’oei and State House Spokesperson Hussein Mohamed said Ruto will meet top congressional leaders on Wednesday. During the meeting, he will make a case on why the law should be enhanced and extended.

A handbook by the Ministry of Trade says Kenya is among the first Sub-Saharan countries to qualify for trade preferences under Agoa. Some of the benefits include, duty-free treatment for apparels made in Kenya, permission to use third-country fabric under the special rule for apparel and the ability to cumulate product value across Agoa-eligible countries. Sing’oei said, the President will leverage on the strategic trade and investment partnership framework to push a case for preferential treatment of Kenya in the Agoa deal. The framework is still under negotiation between the two countries.

Related: US still allows compliant SMEs to export non-oil products under AGOA -Williams, NACC President (The Sun Nigeria)

Sub-Saharan Africa is a hotbed of illicit trade, UN says (The East African)

In the shadowy realm of wildlife trafficking, Sub-Saharan Africa emerges as a hotbed for illicit trade routes and clandestine operations fueling the multi-billion-dollar industry.

Recent data contained in the World Wildlife Crime Report 2024 reveals this region accounts for a staggering 19 percent share of seizures of wildlife materials worldwide, underscoring its status as one of the most common sources of trafficked wildlife. Between 2015 and 2021, the flow of illegal wildlife trade surged from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, constituting 44 percent of all recorded seizures.

Related: How EU-type track-and-trace system could eliminate East Africa illicit trade (The East African)

Africa Realises Notable Progress in Strengthening Disaster Risk Reduction (AU)

Progress continues to be realised in Africa towards accelerating the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. This outcome emerged at the 21st session of the Africa Working Group on Disaster Risk Reduction (AWGDRR).

The three-day event was held in Kigali, Rwanda, from 16 to 18 April 2024. It was themed “From Commitment to Action - Path to Accelerate the Programme of Action for the Implementation of the Sendai Framework in Africa.”

Amjad Abbashar, Chief of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Regional Office for Africa, noted, “Climate change risks are becoming increasingly complicated and difficult to manage. They are characterised by compounded and cascading risks that cut across several sectors.”

El Nino-hit Southern Africa launches $5.5BN humanitarian appeal (Mmegi Online)

In a communique issued after eight Southern African Development Community heads of state met virtually, the regional organisation noted that El Nino had caused drought and floods across Southern Africa affecting 61 million people. The last time SADC appealed for humanitarian assistance following El Nino was in 2016, through a $2.7 billion (P29.6bn at 2016 rates) request.

At a virtual heads of state Summit attended by President Mokgweetsi Masisi and chaired by Angolan president, João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, the SADC leaders said the US$5.5 billion was aimed at augmenting domestic resources of the affected member states. This includes efforts for resource mobilisation from national, regional, and international partners in response to the impacts of El Niño induced drought and floods.

“Summit noted the multifaceted and cascading impact of the El Niño induced drought and floods across multiple sectors, including Agriculture and Livelihood Security, Food Security, Nutrition, Health, Water and Energy, and called for coordinated, integrated, and harmonised interventions to address the adverse impact of El Niño,” the communique reads.

ECA and partners discuss new strategies for sustainable development in Africa (UNECA)

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) successfully convened its 2nd Partners Meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The event brought together over 45 global partners to discuss the implementation of ECA’s multi-year integrated programs aimed at fostering robust partnerships and mobilizing essential resources. The meeting addressed significant challenges highlighted at the 56th Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Economy and Development Planning and the 10th Africa Regional Forum for Sustainable Development.

ECA’s Executive Secretary, Claver Gatete outlined ECA’s strategic focus on developing regional value chains, particularly in agro-processing and minerals, aiming to transform the African continent into a significant investment destination. This initiative supports the broader goals of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by “shifting from potential to actualized economic powerhouses.”

Global economic growth improves but ‘downsides’ lurk (UN News)

The global economic picture has improved since January, but vulnerabilities remain, the mid-year update of the World Economic Situation and Prospects report published on Thursday has revealed. The world economy is forecast to grow by 2.7 per cent in 2024, up from 2.4 per cent projected at the start of the year. Growth will reach 2.8 per cent in 2025, representing a slight increase. These changes are mainly due to better-than-expected performance in some large developed and emerging countries, notably Brazil, India, Russia and the United States.

In the case of Africa and LDCs in general, prospects are revised downward to about 3.3 per cent growth in 2024. “This is particularly worrying because Africa is home to about 430 million living in extreme poverty and close to 40 per cent share of the global undernourished population,” Shantanu Mukherjee of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) explained. Furthermore, two-thirds of the high inflation countries listed in the report are on the continent. 

Growth of digital economy outperforms overall growth across OECD (OECD)

The information and communication technology (ICT) sector grew by an average of 6.3% between 2013 and 2023, about three times faster than the total economy across the 27 OECD countries analysed.

The first volume of the OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2024 released today also shows the ICT sector maintained this strong performance during 2023 with an average growth rate of 7.6%. In many OECD countries, 2023 was a record year for ICT sector growth, with five OECD countries (the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands) achieving growth rates above 10% in 2023. While all OECD countries showed positive ICT sector growth on average over the 10-year period, a 10 percentage-point gap exists between the highest and lowest performers.

Crimes against nature: UN agency puts environmental legislation under scrutiny (UN News)

“Stronger legislation can help deter potential and repeat offenders and expand the range of investigative tools and resources for law enforcement to stop crimes that affect the environment,” said Angela Me, Chief of Research and Analysis at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), presenting the report. Launched in Vienna, ‘The Landscape of Criminalization’ is Part One of the first-ever Global Analysis of Crimes that Affect the Environment report.

Wildlife and waste are the areas where most countries (164 and 160, respectively) include at least one related criminal offense in their national legislation. In contrast, soil and noise pollution (99 and 97, respectively) are the areas where the fewest countries have criminal provisions.

Quick links

Investment opportunities in South Sudan’s emerging gold industry (The Exchange)

African food systems are better understood as food baskets not value chains (The Zimbabwe Independent)

Fair Trade Reimagined: Beyond Ethical Sourcing To Local Value Addition In Africa (Africa.com)

Are pandemic treaty negotiations dividing the Africa group? (Devex)

Data new oil of the digital economy (China Daily)


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