Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Multimodal Inland Port Association launched (Engineering News)

The Multimodal Inland Port Association (MIPA), which seeks to address a critical need in South Africa’s logistics landscape, was launched in South Africa last week. The association aims to act as the unified voice for inland ports across the nation, focusing on promoting, supporting, and advocating for the increased movement of cargo from road to rail.

“Transporting more cargo by rail has become an imperative, considering the growing cost of logistics in South Africa. It is no longer just a nice-to-have,” says MIPA chairperson Warwick Lord. The MIPA aims to reform the rail industry through private investment, foster trade activities that meet social objectives and facilitate the transfer of goods from road to rail. By optimising industrial and logistics activities through efficient multimodalism, logistics costs will be reduced, and efficiency will be improved, the MIPA posits.

“We aim to create one voice for inland ports, driving workable multimodal solutions that deliver efficiency, cost reduction, and much-needed resilience to the South African supply chain. By doing so, we can mitigate the impact of external shocks and ensure stability in the logistics sector,” says Lord.

The MIPA’s strategy to drive more cargo from road to rail includes using multi-nodal technology and improving collaboration with other freight hubs and stakeholders, to optimise each supply chain link from a cost and efficiency perspective.

The Kingdom of Eswatini launches its 2nd National Financial Inclusion Strategy (2023-2028) (SADC)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat, through the European Union-funded Support to Improving the Investment and Business Environment in the SADC Region (SIBE) Programme, has supported Member States, namely: Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar and Malawi in developing their National Financial Inclusion Strategy as a way of domesticating the SADC Strategy on Financial Inclusion and Small Medium Enterprises access to finance.

Following the successful development of its second National Financial Inclusion Strategy (2023-2028), the Kingdom of Eswatini launched this Strategy on 23rd May 2024 during the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) Gala dinner

The Strategy was officially launched by Hon. Neal Rijkenberg of Minister of Finance the Kingdom of Eswatini, who highlighted that the Government of Eswatini continues to place Financial Inclusion as an important priority for broad economic inclusive growth. This is to ensure that all economically active Emaswati are provided equal opportunities to create welfare, reduce poverty, improve livelihood by build resilience against unexpected shocks. He also emphasised that Financial Inclusion is not only opening bank accounts or accessing credits, but also about empowering people, in particular women, youth, people with disabilities and forcibly displaced people to take control of their financial future, enabling them to save, invest and protect themselves against unexpected shocks and hurdles. Hon. Rijkenberg further indicated that Financial Inclusion is about fostering economic growth, reducing inequality, and creating more inclusive and sustainable society.

Cautious optimism as Kenya, Uganda trade in sugar, milk resumes (The East African)

A section of Uganda businesses resumed trading with Kenya after the signing of a memorandum by Presidents William Ruto and Yoweri Museveni in Nairobi last week, ending longstanding issues chocking cross-border commercial activities. While trade in sugar and milk has resumed, businesses are still cautious, as a number of taxes, including those on Kenyan juice, are yet to be reviewed. Simon Kaheru, vice-chairman of the East African Business Council, who also chairs the Ugandan Private sector, told The EastAfrican that the Nairobi meeting was very helpful in opening up the two countries to trade.

“So far, a number of our members involved in some sectors that were previously affected by the blockades have begun trading once again. We have had confirmation specifically from the sugar and dairy sectors that the situation has improved,” he said.

During President Museveni’s state visit to Kenya, the two East African Community (EAC) founding Partner States signed seven memoranda in public service management, education, SME development, sports, youth, trade and investment sectors. The leaders also agreed to resolve the trade wars by adhering to the EAC’s protocols on the Customs Union and the Common Market.

Kenya, US investment manager sign $3.6bn highway deal (The East African)

Kenya’s highways authority and US infrastructure investment manager Everstrong Capital have signed a $3.6 billion agreement to build a 440 km highway between the capital and port city Mombasa, the company said on Thursday. A bigger highway between Mombasa and Nairobi has been on the wish list of successive governments aiming to ease congestion on the busy road to and from the port.

“The project anticipates attracting investments totalling $3.6 billion, sourced from international investors, development agencies, pension funds and an exceptionally large number of Kenyan private investors,” Everstrong said in its statement.

AfDB’s €209.17 Kenyan Highway Project to be Completed in December (MarketForces Africa)

The African Development Bank (AfDB), says it’s 209.17 Euros Kenol—Sagana—Marua Highway Project in Kenya will be completed in December. Mr Richard Malinga, AfDB’s Transport Engineer and Desk Manager of the project said this when he briefed newsmen in Nairobi on Sunday shortly after inspecting various projects.

“The work started in October 2020 and has advanced, so essentially, by the end of this year, it will be completed. “The project will ensure regional connectivity, reduce travel time and create wealth for people around the region,” he said. The Kenol – Sagana – Marua Highway Project involves the reconstruction of an 84km road linking Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, with the commercial and agricultural towns of the Central and Upper Eastern regions.

Ghana’s debt restructuring takes another step forward (The East African)

Ghana has agreed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with its bilateral creditors, including China and France, to restructure $5.4 billion of debt, the government said on Friday, one-and-a-half years after the West African country defaulted. The MoU paves the way for the executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to approve the disbursement of $360 million under Ghana’s $3 billion, three-year bailout programme, which is expected next month.

Once signed, the agreement would form the basis of a deal to restructure loans with its official creditors under the Paris Club of creditors, agreed in January.

Ghana was the second country in Africa after Zambia to default on most of its $30 billion external debt during the pandemic as the exporter of gold, cocoa and oil battled to emerge from its worst economic crisis in a generation. Ghana’s economy has since started to recover, with inflation easing from 54.1 percent in December 2022 to 25 percent in April 2024 and 2023 growth of 2.9 percent exceeding the IMF’s 2.3 percent.

Together with Zambia and Ethiopia, the world’s second-biggest cocoa producer is reworking its debt under the G20 Common Framework, a process set up during the pandemic to speed up debt overhauls. However, progress has been slow, holding back the countries’ economic recoveries and access to much needed overseas loans, aid and investment.

Afreximbank, Others Validate Nigeria’s Readiness To Host African Energy Bank (Leadership News)

The technical inspection team from the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO) and AfreximBank– the joint promoters for the establishment of the African Energy Bank – (AEB), has just completed their mission to validate Nigeria’s readiness to host the headquarters of the African Energy Bank (AEB), set to be established in July 2024. This is as President Bola Tinubu has approved a $100m investment by Nigeria for class A shares in the proposed AEB the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources announced.

The permanent secretary at the ministry, Nicholas Agbo Ella, who disclosed this in a statement issued on Friday, said the approval now positions Nigeria favourably to win the bid to host the multilateral $5 billion Africa Energy Bank, which will finance Africa’s hydrocarbon deposits of oil, gas, and condensates and support energy transition and net zero 2060 commitments.

FG Urges South-east Businesses to Embrace ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (This Day Live)

The federal government has called on businesses in the South-east region to take advantage of opportunities offered by the ECOWAS Free Trade Liberation Scheme (ETLS) to boost their businesses. Minister of the Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, made the call yesterday, during a workshop on ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) in Awka, Anambra State capital.

The minister who was represented by the Director, Department of International Organisation in the ministry, Ambassador Obinna Onowu, enumerated some of the benefits of gains and opportunities offered by the ETLS. He said: “The primary goal is to establish a customs union among all member states (ECOWAS) with the ultimate objective of completely eliminating customs duties and implementing a unified customs policy.

“The ETLS represents an ideal opportunity to foster greater economic integration, and unlock the immense potential of intra-regional trade,” he explained. He stated that the ministry had already organised similar sensitisation in Kano in 2020, and, in Lagos in 2023 for manufacturers, importers and exporters in the North-west and South-west zones, respectively. The minister emphasised that the ministry viewed holding the programme in the South-east as very critical because of the huge number of the stakeholders in the region.

Tinubu reiterates commitment to sustainable development in Niger Delta (Peoples Gazette Nigeria)

President Bola Tinubu has reiterated his government’s commitment towards the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region. Mr Tinubu, at the inauguration of the 27km Ogbia-Nembe road in Bayelsa, said his administration was serious about delivering democracy dividends to Nigerians.

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) jointly funded the multimillion naira road project which had seven bridges. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Mr Tinubu, represented by Abubakar Momoh, the Minister for Delta Affairs, urged Nigerians to make meaningful input towards the success of his administration. He said the road project, which took 18 years to be completed, had brought relief to the 14 communities within its corridors.

‘Ghana is at forefront of implementation of ACFTA’ (MyJoyOnline)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration says Ghana is at the forefront of implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement. According to the Deputy Minister, Mavis Nkasah-Boadu, the government has a keen interest in implementing the ACFTA initiative because the framework has provided a distinct platform for African businesses. She said this while speaking at the just-ended 3rd Made-in-Ghana Bazaar held at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC), spearheaded by the Ministry.

“The government of Ghana is keen on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. The ACFTA framework has provided a unique opportunity for intra-African trade and Ghana is at the forefront of the implementation of this agreement,” the Minister emphasized. She added that Ghana has been able to trade with other African countries over the years, courtesy of the ACFTA-guided initiative, which was launched in October 2022 to pilot the implementation of the agreement.

Visa’s New Study Unveils Emerging SME Megatrends in Nigeria, Highlighting Significant Opportunities for Issuers (Ventures Africa)

A new study from Visa, the SME Megatrends report, delves into the ever-evolving financial landscape for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. The report identifies significant opportunities for growth and innovation, particularly in the digital and financial domains, with clear insights that can be leveraged by issuing banks to unlock new revenue opportunities and gain a competitive edge.

Rapid digital acceleration in Sub-Saharan Africa’s SME sector presents a wealth of new revenue opportunities for issuing banks who, by facilitating access to essential financial products and services, can tap into this potential, leading to an expanded customer base, increased transaction volumes, and heightened revenue prospects within the digital payments landscape. By working in partnership with Visa, issuing banks can deliver bespoke financial products tailored to SMEs’ unique needs to promote inclusive economic growth actively.

Egypt is an exceptional location for submarine internet cables: Deemah Al-Yahya, Secretary General of the Digital Cooperation Organization (Ahram)

Secretary-General of the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO), Deemah Al-Yahya, stressed in an interview with Ahram Online the importance of Egypt regionally and internationally due to its young talents in digital technology and entrepreneurship and its strategic location as a meeting point for submarine cable routes, the lifeline for internet services and digital economy.

Al-Yahya indicated that the organization has launched many initiatives to improve the efficiency of the technological infrastructure in member states and enhance foreign direct investment opportunities, thereby achieving tangible economic booms.

She added that the DCO currently has 16 member states, mostly from the southern hemisphere, representing 800 million people. Al-Yahya noted that the DCO provides promising opportunities for cooperation and joint integration.

Agricultural Boom Drives 29.5% Increase in CEMAC Export Prices in Q1 2024 (Business in Cameroon)

The composite index of commodity prices exported by Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) countries rose by 6.8% in the first quarter of 2024, quarter-on-quarter. According to the report on the price trends of key export products by these member states, recently published by the Bank of Central African States (BEAC), this increase “was driven by the rise in prices of non-energy products (20%), offsetting the decline in energy product prices (-4.9%)”.

The BEAC report highlights that agricultural products were the main driver behind the surge in global commodity prices exported by CEMAC countries. Agricultural product prices surged by 29.5%, while forest product prices increased by only 1.9%. Meanwhile, global prices for metals and minerals declined by 1.1%, and fishery product prices fell by 0.5%.

Despite maintaining “their upward trend since the third quarter of 2023”, commodity prices on “commodity markets remain subject to strong pressures from geopolitical, macroeconomic, and climatic uncertainties,” reads the report.

EAC Central Bank Governors meet in Juba as single currency race debate heats up (The Standard)

East African Community partner states are in the process of harmonising critical policies and putting in place the requisite institutions to attain a single currency as outlined in the EAC Monetary Union Protocol. The EAC common market - consists of eight countries including Somalia, the new member state. Others are Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. It was set up in 2010 and currently comprises almost 300 million people.

Although the EAC has over the decades made progress in economic integration, like many other trade blocs it has struggled to overcome. The EAC Monetary Union Protocol, which was signed on November 30, 2013, aims to converge the currencies of the partner states into a single currency. The convergence of the currencies of all seven EAC partner states into a single currency was to take 10 years, which means the regional bloc was to have a common currency by 2024.

In the run-up to achieving a single currency, the member countries have to harmonise their monetary and fiscal policies, as well as their financial, payment, and settlement systems.

Africa ready for broader ICT collab, says minister (ITWeb)

Communications minister Mondli Gungubele has emphasised the need for collaboration among African countries, in order to build a collective future in the digital era. The minister was speaking on the occasion of this year’s Africa Day, which was celebrated over the weekend.

This year’s Africa Day was held under the theme: “Educate an African fit for the 21st century”, encouraging member states to build resilient education systems for increased access to inclusive, lifelong, quality and relevant learning in Africa. Noting the progress African countries have made in regards to internet usage, Gungubele stressed that the future requires universal digital connectivity.

“At a time when the continent is experiencing rapid population growth and urbanisation, the importance of digital infrastructure cannot be overstated. There is a growing trend of collaboration among African nations to pool resources and expertise to develop and maintain digital infrastructure. “By working together, African countries can share the cost of building and maintaining digital infrastructure, making it more affordable for each country.”

African Union at crossroads, needs urgent reform, AUC chair declares (Peoples Gazette Nigeria)

Liberation, and progress in development and integration are now a reality. This has been the result of the vision and leadership of the founding fathers and current leaders, but also and above all, of your mobilization by the hundreds of millions across the Continent, your many sacrifices, your unshakeable endurance to ensure that the sun shines and warms planet Africa.

Peace and security, the solution to the crises that are ravaging some of our countries, terrorism, the degradation of the natural environment, youth and female unemployment, migration, the retreat of democratic values, unconstitutional changes of government, all these require a real increase in mobilization, sacrifices and coherent struggles to put a definitive end to all of these evils.

The Organization of African Unity, born of the pain of our struggles, now finds itself at a real crossroads. We must reform resolutely and courageously to become what our founding fathers wanted us to be, which is, a powerful lever for unity, liberation, integration and the defense of African dignity in relation to ourselves but also in relation to others.

African Development Bank Annual Meetings 2024: African Development Bank Secretary General joins South African leaders to highlight investment opportunities of enlarging BRICS alliance (AfDB)

The BRICS Alliance, together with the new member additions, provides immense trade and investment opportunities for the African continent, Prof. Vincent O. Nmehielle, Secretary General of the African Development Bank Group, said at an event on the sidelines of the African Development Bank’s 2024 Annual Meetings in Nairobi on Monday 27 May.” These countries are emerging economies with a growing middle class and a substantial consumer market; expanding into these markets will lead to growth opportunities for the continent,” Nmehielle said.

Redirect SDRs to Development Banks – AfDB urges IMF as calls grow for global reform (MyJoyOnline)

The African Development Bank Group is making a strong case for the rechanneling of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to development banks especially those in emerging markets. The Multilateral body argues that given the peculiar economic meltdown faced by most developing countries across Africa, an “innovative” solution will be required to unlock more development financing for the continent.

Although SDRs Serve as a supplementary international reserve asset for countries all over the world, Only 20 organisations have been designated as ‘prescribed holders’ of the SDRs, excluding other multilateral, private organizations and individuals to draw directly on these funds.

However, the African Development Bank says it is time for reform. Vincent O. Nmehielle, Secretary-General of the African Development Bank in his remarks to reporters at the commencement of the 2024 Annual Meetings in Nairobi Kenya, noted that Africa needs transformation in terms of socioeconomic development, a situation which he believes requires much more work to be done in achieving this set objective.

The Secretary-General pointed out that the international financial architecture, which was designed “mainly to resuscitate Europe after the Second World War” ought to be reviewed as he alludes to the desire of AfDB to champion the agenda of “Africa’s Transformation, the African Development Bank Group, and the Reform of the Global Financial Architecture” which forms the theme for this year’s annual meeting taking place in Nairobi, Kenya.

Small islands urgently need a new development paradigm (UNCTAD)

Small island developing states (SIDS) occupy limited terrestrial land area, yet boast substantial biodiversity and control nearly 30% of global ocean resources. But their systemic and structural vulnerabilities to shocks have increased over the years, fuelled by a lack of economic diversification, remoteness, smallness and limited international economic interaction, including through trade. They have a high trade-to-GDP ratio, but they persistently record negative trade balances.

SIDS also suffer from a lack of resilience and vulnerability to external shocks: debt unsustainability and the inability to access financing limit their fiscal space and restrict private sector investment and growth. Environmental threats have also become more dire in the face of climate change and frequent disasters.

Related: Small island States meet in Antigua and Barbuda charting new course to sustainable prosperity (UN News)

Quick links

Digital financial inclusion key for Comesa’s growth (The Standard)

How instant payment systems across Africa can be the role model for the world (CNBC Africa)

China Slammed in G-7 Show of Unity Threatening Trade Escalation (Bloomberg)


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