Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Closest election in 30 years as South Africans vote (BBC)

South Africans are voting in the most pivotal election since the racist system of apartheid ended in 1994, which could see the African National Congress (ANC) lose its majority for the first time in 30 years. As he cast his vote in Soweto, President Cyril Ramaphosa said he had “no doubt” that people would once more show confidence in the ANC. John Steenhuisen, leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), described the poll as the first opportunity for change in 30 years.

Opinion polls have consistently suggested that the party will lose its parliamentary majority for the first time, forcing it to enter into a coalition with one or more opposition party. “We are entering the next phase of our democracy, and it is going to be a big transition,” political analyst Richard Calland told the BBC. “We will either become a more competitive and mature democracy, or our politics will become more fractured.”

Follow live updates via Bloomberg.

South Africa’s trade and competition minister Patel to exit cabinet after election (Reuters)

South Africa’s trade, industry and competition minister Ebrahim Patel said on Friday he will retire from cabinet after the May 29 national election, the latest longstanding economics figure from the ruling African National Congress to step down from government. President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed Patel as trade minister in 2019. Prior to this, he was the Minister of Economic Development.

Statement by Minister Ebrahim Patel, The Department of Trade Industry and Competition

During the 15 years, the world changed significantly. I entered Cabinet in the wake of the 2008/9 global economic crisis, with the SA economy entering a recession.

In the period since then, the challenge of climate change has become more urgent, geopolitical tensions are sharper, volatility is now baked into economies and technological innovation and the rise of artificial intelligence is reshaping our world. During this period we saw state capture locally and the fight against it, the biggest pandemic in 100 years leading to the deepest recession globally since the second world war, war in Europe that led to food, fuel and fertilizer price spikes, continued conflict around the right of Palestinians to statehood, and droughts, floods and unsettled weather patterns.

And yet, within this period we have seen considerable progress too, with careful navigation by firms and policy-makers to get the economy back on a growth trajectory and jobs recovery.

Duties are charged in cedis – GRA (The Business & Financial Times)

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has announced that duties and taxes imposed on imported vehicles are always done in Cedis and not dollars or any other foreign currency, contrary to speculations circulating in some media setups. In an official statement signed by the Communication and Public Affairs directorate urging the public to disregard such claims, GRA outlined the process for calculating duties and taxes on imported vehicles.

According to the GRA, the calculation of import duties on the vehicles begins with determining the Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) values from the country of origin.

According to management of GRA, duties and taxes imposed by the Customs Division are strictly in accordance with the Customs Act 2015 (Act 891). They assured the public that GRA is dedicated to their mandate of mobilizing revenue with integrity, fairness and transparency.

China accounts for half of foreign direct investment in Ethiopia (Peoples Gazette Nigeria)

Ethiopia attracted $3 billion in foreign direct investment in the first 10 months of the current Ethiopian Fiscal Year 2023/2024, which started July 8, 2023. Hanna Arayaselassie, chief commissioner of the Ethiopian Investment Commission, said the commission planned to attract $3.5 billion in FDI in the current fiscal year, ending on July 7, 2024.

“The figure is a bit short of the FDI inflow target set for the first 10 months of the Fiscal Year 2023/2024, but exceeded that of the same period 2023,” said the commissioner. Ms Arayaselassie said although sizable investments have come from other parts of the world, China has been the top source of foreign direct investment in Ethiopia, adding that “China’s investment is accounting for almost 50 per cent of all FDI inflow into the country.”

Second-hand clothing drives $73.5m economic impact in Africa (Just Style)

The affordable clothing options provided by SHC sellers also empower citizens from low-income households to access essential apparel items.

The study, titled “Job Creation in Africa’s Second-hand Clothing Sector”, was commissioned by the Humana People to People development network. It estimates the SHC trade contributes more than $73.5m annually in tax revenues, funds that support critical public services and infrastructure across just five African nations – Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.

In February 2022, concerns were raised about the negative impact of the second-hand clothing trade with sub-Saharan Africa, hobbling the development of the region’s clothing and textile sector, while some experts warned its removal would not be easy. However, Humana People to People’s study found that with each tonne of imported used clothing sustaining an average of 6.5 jobs, the SHC workforce represents up to 25% of total services employment in these countries.

CEMAC: Oil and gas drive 4.9% decline in Q1 2024 energy export prices (Business in Cameroon)

Energy product prices exported by Cemac countries continued their decline, dropping by 4.9% between Q4 2023 and Q1 2024, following a 1.8% decrease in the previous quarter. The latest Composite Index of Commodity Prices (ICCPB) from the Central Bank of Central African States (Beac) attributed this downturn to weakening prices in the global oil and natural gas markets.

Explaining the drop in prices, particularly for crude oil, Beac cited “slowing global demand, coupled with increased non-OPEC supply, and high levels of US inventories.” Regarding natural gas, the price decline resulted from “a combination of factors, including very high European stocks, robust production in the United States, and moderate demand due to favorable weather conditions.”

Kenya to inject $100m in AfDB, two other African multilateral lenders (The East African)

Kenya will increase its shareholding in three key African financial institutions, including the African Development Bank (AfDB), by $100 million as a show of confidence in efforts to solve the continent’s problems.

President William Ruto on Wednesday said at the opening ceremony of the AfDB annual meetings in Nairobi that the extra capital injection would also go to the Cairo-headquartered African Export-Import (Afrexim) Bank, and the Bujumbura-based Trade and Development Bank (TDB).The new investments are meant as a show of confidence in the institutions to help mobilise more financing from within and beyond the continent, according to Dr Ruto.

“Nations in this continent, we must begin to understand that if others are to believe in our institutions, we must believe in them first, as the owners...We must believe in ourselves for others to believe in us, and we must invest in these institutions for others to invest in them,” he said.

2024 Annual Meetings: African Development Bank President outlines gains of historic 2023 Dakar 2 Summit (AfDB)

Since the Dakar 2 Summit, six African countries have set up Presidential-level Councils to drive implementation of the Country Food and Agriculture Delivery Compacts agreed at the summit, while another twelve countries are at various stages of establishing their councils. At that summit, $72 billion was mobilised for agriculture development and transformation across Africa. Now the Bank has committed to invest $2.9 billion to support these Compacts, and also appointed two Special Envoys to coordinate and support the Presidential Delivery Councils.

African Development Bank Group president, Dr Akinwumi Adesina announced this on Monday 27 May, in Nairobi, Kenya, at an event on the sidelines of the 2024 Annual Meetings, to take stock of the progress made since the Dakar 2 Summit which was convened by the Bank and the Senegal government in January 2023.

Adesina concluded with five important “needs” required for agricultural transformation in Africa: the need to raise agricultural productivity; the need to significantly expand private sector financing for agriculture; the need for younger farmers in the agriculture sector; the need for significant policy support to de-risk agriculture financing; and the need for effective collaboration and cooperation.

African Development Bank Group to boost its financing capacity by over $70 billion as it launches new Ten-Year Strategy (AfDB)

The African Development Bank Group unveiled its new pdf Ten-Year Strategy 2024–2033 (1.28 MB)  today, a blueprint to confront Africa’s pressing challenges and to help put the continent firmly back on track towards sustained economic growth and prosperity.

Unveiling the strategy during the Bank Group’s Annual Meetings in Nairobi, Kenya, African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina said, “As Africa’s premier development finance institution, and Africa’s solutions bank, we are acutely aware that the next decade will be decisive in transforming the continent.

The strategy, approved by the Board earlier this year, sets out decisive and urgent actions the Bank will take to support African countries navigate the unprecedented global and regional challenges. These actions will build on Africa’s multiple unique assets and reignite momentum towards achieving the African Union’s Agenda 2063
“The Ten-Year Strategy outlines how the Bank will invest in Africa’s best asset: its vibrant young men and women. Africa’s population, which is the fast growing in the world, presents the continent with an unparalleled demographic window of opportunity,” Adesina said.

Annual Meetings 2024: Confident Financiers say public-private partnerships are key for Africa’s transformation (AfDB)

African financiers have outlined how the recent pandemic, COVID-19, and the challenges of the climate crisis have provided opportunities to transform the continent. Speaking at an event organised by Moody’s on the sidelines of the Africa Development Bank Annual Meetings in Nairobi, they concluded that Africa has great potential to build resilient and successful economies despite the climate crisis which has already led to extreme weather conditions across the continent.

“We need good governance and ease of doing business so global investors are comfortable to come in, we need African countries to come together to share best practice and we need to discuss how Africa can up its game. The pandemic presented us with opportunities to rethink and restructure our economy and now we’re reaping the benefit of that,” Governor of the Bank of Mauritius Harvesh Seegolam said.

There is room for all to benefit in re-designing global financial architecture (The New Times)

President Paul Kagame has said that the world should come to a point of action to redesign the global financial institutions’ architecture given that there is room for everyone to benefit. On May 29, during a Presidential Dialogue at the five-day AfDB Annual Meeting, in Nairobi, Kenya, President Kagame said that it is a no-brainer that things that were designed 50 years ago cannot work now. “Things have changed and a re-think of a new design that fits the purpose must be into play. There is no question about it,” he said, adding that the task at hand is finding the pathway to implementation.

“Africa’s interests must be taken care of, beginning with ourselves...it has to be with one voice but also loud, clear, and effective. For that to happen, we think about working together and representation,” he said, adding that it is about self-representation with loud voices rather than just numbers. “The reform we are talking about is how to disrupt the current architecture so that it includes significantly and visibly the interests of our continent.”

“Commitment to Energy Efficiency is a Commitment to Our Future,” Says AU Commissioner Abou-Zeid at 9th Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency (AU)

The 9th Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency, held on 22 May 2024, has gathered key leaders and stakeholders from around the world in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss the future of energy efficiency.

In her opening remarks, Commissioner Abou-Zeid highlighted the importance of energy efficiency as the one of the major solutions to Africa’s pressing energy access gap, particularly concerning the lack of electricity and clean cooking solutions. “With over half a billion people in Africa lacking electricity and almost a billion lacking clean cooking facilities, energy efficiency stands as the primary fuel for progress” she stated. It not only offers a pathway to modern energy services but also aligns with climate action objectives. She added: “By optimizing energy usage, efficiency initiatives reduce costs, enhance business and industrial competitiveness, and foster energy equity.”

RMB says Indo-Africa trade corridor booming, expected to hit $100bn by 2025 (IOL)

South Africa’s corporate and investment bank, RMB, yesterday said the Indo-Africa trade corridor had surged to a staggering $95 billion (R1.75 trillion) in size, showcasing a dynamic and growing economic partnership between the regions. Ritesh Sharma, head of foreign investment and trade for RMB’s India team, said this marked a significant increase from only $5 billion in 2002, highlighting the corridor’s impressive trajectory.

Sharma noted that while the initial trade focus was on energy products, the corridor had witnessed remarkable diversification in recent years. “By our estimation, we expect the value of trade in the corridor to hit $100bn next year… India’s exports to Africa now encompass a wider range of products, including agri-products like rice, wheat and meat ($8bn), pharmaceuticals ($4.5bn) and automobiles ($4.2b). Projects, machines, iron and steel, electronics and yarn/clothes are other significant and growing categories.”

Five Presidents and four Prime Ministers from African and CARICOM countries to headline the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum and Afreximbank’s 2024 Annual Meetings in Nassau, The Bahamas (Afreximbank)

Ghanaian President H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Prime Minister of The Bahamas H.E. Hon. Philip Davis, Prime Minister of Barbados Hon. Mia Mottley, and Guyana President H.E. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, will be among the leading top headliners at the 31st Annual Meetings (AAM) of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the 3rd AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF), which are taking place jointly in Nassau, The Bahamas, from 12 to 14 June 2024.

The three-day AAM and ACTIF, which is being held under the overarching theme ‘Owning our Destiny: Economic Prosperity on the Platform of Global Africa’, will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, plenaries and fireside-type conversations. These will focus on discussing and determining solutions to the challenges that affect African – Caribbean economies, the policy issues required to promote growth, development and prosperity across Africa and the Caribbean, and how to accelerate intra-African trade and investment flows, including with the diaspora.

AAM and ACTIF are attended by business and political leaders, banking industry professionals, trade and trade finance practitioners and other parties involved in economic development from across Africa, the Caribbean and beyond. The Meetings, which have been ranked among the most important gatherings of economic decision makers in Africa and CARICOM, are covered by the African, Caribbean and international media.

A detailed programme of the event is available at: https://2024.afreximbankevents.com/programme/

India may not favour immediate re-opening of BRICS membership, say sources (BusinessLine)

India is worried about several countries, such as Thailand, Bangladesh and possibly Turkey, queuing up for membership in the BRICS grouping immediately after six nations were allowed entry into the bloc in January this year. It is trying to prevent an immediate re-opening of membership and wants a gap, preferably of five years, before more members are admitted, sources have said.

“New Delhi wants a gap of about five years before admission of a second group of countries into BRICS is considered as it believes that a minimum time would be needed for the bloc to adjust its functioning after admission of the six new members on January 1 2024. It has emphasised this in recent meetings of senior officials and sherpas,” a source tracking the matter told BusinessLine.

With more than 30 countries queued up for admission, the issue of further expansion of the BRICS is likely to come up in the meeting of BRICS Foreign Ministers in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, on June 10-11.

China-Africa cooperation will continue unhindered by external noise: African envoys (Global Times)

Cooperation between China and Africa will continue to expand under a series of initiatives, including the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), despite certain external forces’ attempt to undermine China-Africa ties, several ambassadors of African countries to China said in a recent interview with the Global Times.

In recent years, China-African trade has flourished, with the BRI yielding significant results. This year marks a significant year for China-Africa relations, with a new session of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to be held. China aims to use the FOCAC as an opportunity to deepen cooperation under the BRI and the three major global initiatives, fostering a higher-level China-Africa community with a shared future, according to Chen.

Experts share how national plans can help Commonwealth member states combat plastic pollution (The Commonwealth)

The Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance (CCOA) is propelling global efforts to combat plastic pollution, a growing menace to our oceans and environment. As part of its ongoing Blue Dialogues webinar series, the Commonwealth Blue Charter programme recently convened a virtual event titled, National Action Plans to End Plastic Pollution.

This timely discussion, hosted in partnership with the CCOA and Common Seas, focused on the development and implementation of national strategies to tackle this pressing environmental challenge. The webinar brought together policymakers, researchers, and environmental advocates from across the Commonwealth, a testament to the organisation’s longstanding leadership in promoting sustainable development and environmental conservation.

Heidi Prislan, Blue Charter Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat, stressed: “The urgency to address plastic pollution is paramount. While global agreements are crucial, national action plans are essential for driving tangible progress within Commonwealth member states.”

Climate change, fighting hunger, and global governance reform: President Lula highlights Brasil’s proposals for the G20 during meeting with the president of Benin (G20 Brasil 2024)

The priorities of Brasil’s G20 presidency were addressed by President Lula on Thursday (23), in Brasilia, during a meeting with the President of Benin, Patrice Talon. The Brazilian leader reiterated the strategic agenda of Global South countries this year at the forum that brings together the world’s largest economies. “Although we are not historically responsible for climate change, we must fight alongside each other for the expansion of climate finance targets at the Baku COP, and for the adoption of more ambitious NDCs at the Belém COP in 2025,” highlighted Lula.

In addition to climate change, President Lula also addressed the other priorities of Brasil’s G20 presidency, reiterating the Global South countries’ strategic agenda. “Alongside the African Union—who is participating as a full member for the first time—we have been warning about the debt issue. What we are seeing today is an absurd net export of resources from the poorest countries to the richest countries,” stressed the president of Brasil.

The President reported that the G20 International Financial Architecture Working Group (IFA) is going to promote a debate with African experts in June—the results of which will be taken to the subsequent G20 Finance Ministers meeting. Lula also mentioned the proposal to tax billionaires presented by minister Fernando Haddadat a meeting of the G20 Finance Track in January, in São Paulo.

Fossil fuel subsidy reform meeting advances work plan after MC13 (WTO)

WTO members participating in the Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform (FFSR) initiative discussed how to make progress on concrete action steps outlined in the 2024-2025 work plan at a meeting held on 28 May. This work programme, adopted at the 13th Ministerial Conference in February, covers three key areas: enhancing transparency, tackling energy crisis support measures, and identifying and addressing harmful fossil fuel subsidies.

The 2024 Global Food Policy Report stresses urgent need for transformative action to achieve sustainable healthy diets and improved nutrition (IFPRI)

In the face of growing challenges posed by unhealthy diets, all forms of malnutrition, and environmental constraints, the 2024 Global Food Policy Report (GFPR) — released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) — underscores the importance of transforming complex global food systems to ensure sustainable healthy diets for all.

“To meet our ambitious global development goals on diets and nutrition, we need innovative research across the food system that informs and supports large-scale equitable impacts. People and the planet are at the heart of our efforts, and so our priorities for research and action center on understanding how to make sustainable healthy diets aspirational, affordable, and accessible for all,” commented Ismahane Elouafi, Executive Managing Director, CGIAR.

WTO members review farm policies, discuss food security, transfer of technology (WTO)

At a meeting of the Committee on Agriculture on 23-24 May, WTO members reviewed the progress of various issues under the Committee’s work mandate, as well as high-interest topics such as food security, technology transfer and transparency. Members also continued the regular peer review of each other’s farm policies to ensure compliance with WTO disciplines. A counter-notification regarding one member’s domestic support was also discussed.

Translating critical raw materials demand into development (WEF)

Demand for critical raw materials is surging due to their role in clean energy technologies, with projections indicating potential supply shortages. Developing countries, particularly in Africa, which holds 30% of global mineral reserves, are key sources of these minerals. Sustainable mining and leveraging natural resources for economic advancement are crucial. Significant investment and tailored national policy approaches are needed to support this green industrialization pathway.

To address supply-demand gaps in critical raw materials, countries are forming state-to-state partnerships to foster new projects and ensure supply resilience. A World Economic Forum white paper unpacks the various models the deals pursue and priorities for developing countries to achieve sustainable and economic benefits through these partnerships.

All nations want to master and benefit from their energy resources and the energy transition. Scaling up critical mineral supply offers significant opportunities but countries must consider where to integrate into clean technology value chains.

Developed countries materially surpassed their USD 100 billion climate finance commitment in 2022 - OECD (OECD)

Developed countries provided and mobilised USD 115.9 billion in climate finance for developing countries in 2022, exceeding the annual 100 billion goal for the first time and reaching a level that had not been expected before 2025.

According to new figures from the OECD, in 2022 climate finance was up by 30% from 2021, or by USD 26.3 billion. This is the biggest year-on-year increase to date and means that the 100 billion mark was reached a year earlier than the OECD had previously projected, albeit two years later than the initial target date of 2020.

Quick links

Why Is It Still so Difficult to Travel within Africa? (okayafrica)

Embracing Africapitalism: Path to sustainable development and economic empowerment (MyJoyOnline)

India ‘AI mission’ investment to double, digital economy to touch $1 trillion mark (CoinGeek)

Are these 5 trends disrupting or driving logistics growth? (WEF)


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