Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Supply-side support will be required if South Africa aims to join green industrialisation race (Engineering News)

Stable demand remains a prerequisite if South Africa has any prospect of stimulating industrialisation in the renewable-energy and battery storage value chains, Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS) senior economist Gaylor Montmasson-Clair has reiterated. But absent complementary supply-side measures – including tax and financial incentives, as well as an active trade policy – the country will struggle to attract green manufacturing investment in what is now a highly competitive global environment.

In fact, Montmasson-Clair, who is also facilitator of the yet-to-be-launched South African Renewable Energy Masterplan (SAREM), counsels that South Africa will have to prepare a compelling investment case if it is to emerge as a market participant. One that cannot rely solely on rising demand for solar panels, wind turbines and batteries, nor on the country’s natural resource advantages and its current relative attractiveness as a manufacturing location when compared with its peers.

Orange export volumes will be lower than initially expected (Engineering News)

The Citrus Growers’ Association of Southern Africa (CGA) has revised downward its estimates for Navel orange exports this season to 22-million 15 kg cartons. The association initially expected 25.6-million cartons to be exported, but had to revise this estimate by 14.5% following consideration of factors brought up by the Orange Focus Group. The export estimate for this season’s oranges is also 11% lower than that of last year when South Africa exported 24.8-million cartons of Navel oranges.

Navels make up about 17% of the entire South African citrus export volume. The projected export figure of 15 kg cartons of Valencia oranges has also been reduced to just over 56-million, which is a 4% reduction from the estimate at the beginning of the season. It is, however, early in the Valencia season and a further reduction is possible.

EU-Kenya: Council takes final step to allow the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (Council of the EU)

The Council today adopted a decision on the conclusion of the EU-Kenya Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). This will boost trade in goods and create new economic opportunities, with targeted cooperation to enhance Kenya’s economic development.

“This agreement will strengthen our cooperation with Kenya, the economic hub of East Africa. Workers, businesses and traders on both sides will benefit from this shared commitment to sustainable development, including labour rights, the environment and climate action,” said Belgian minister of Foreign Affairs, European Affairs and Foreign Trade.

The agreement will provide duty-free, quota-free EU market access to all exports from Kenya (except arms) as soon as it enters into force, as well as partial and gradual opening of the Kenyan market to imports from the EU. The agreement includes binding provisions on trade and sustainable development, such as climate and environmental protection and labour rights, and a transparent dispute resolution mechanism. This is the most ambitious economic partnership agreement the EU will have with a developing country when it comes to sustainability provisions.

The EU is Kenya’s first export destination and second largest trading partner, totalling €3.3 billion of trade in 2022 - an increase of 27% compared to 2018.

Kenyan president returns from Washington with $200m for sustainable housing and EVs (Afrik 21)

It has been more than fifteen years since the White House last received an African leader on a state visit. And it is Kenya, a country with sixty years of bilateral cooperation with the United States of America, that has been chosen to renew this diplomatic tradition. During his stay in Washington D.C. from 20 to 25 May, President William Ruto reaffirmed his desire to act as a mediator between Africa and the West. This message was well received by his counterpart Joe Biden at a time when the dual influence of Russia and China is advancing on the continent.

During this presidential trip, the US Development Finance Corporation (DFC) signed a series of agreements with Kenya worth a total of $251 million. In this package of funding, $180 million will be devoted to sustainable housing and $20 million to electric mobility.

Nigeria’s e-commerce value hit $9b in 2023 - Export council (Daily Trust)

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) said that the country’s E-commerce value rose from USD675.68 million in 2022 to USD 9.02 billion in 2023. The Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the council, Mrs. Nonye Ayeni disclosed this at a one-day sensitisation workshop on the implementation of the developed national e-commerce strategy organised by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) in Kaduna.

Mrs. Nonye noted that the country is the 38th largest market for E-commerce ahead of Pakistan and behind Finland with an expected yearly growth rate of 12 per cent between 2021 to 2025. While describing e-commerce as a powerful tool for sustainable growth and development in Nigeria, she noted that it has the potential to unchain new opportunities, create jobs and increase access to markets both locally and globally.

Beira trade corridor to benefit Zambia (Times of Zambia)

Early this month Cabinet, chaired by President Hakainde Hichilema, sat and approved that Zambia signs and ratifies the Beira Development Corridor Agreement (BDCA). The BDCA is amongst the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Once ratified, it will be the fifth corridor agreement that Zambia will have ratified since the New Dawn administration took over office in 2021.

The Beira Corridor undertaking comes just months after the US and European Commission-backed multimillion-dollar Lubito Corridor including the Angola-Zambia railway link project took centre stage. Being a landlocked country surrounded by eight countries, it is envisioned that Zambia stands to highly benefit from regional trade corridors such as the Beira Corridor.

ICAO And Uganda Sign Agreement To Boost Aviation Development (Miirage News)

The safe, secure, and sustainable development of Uganda’s aviation sector will be supported by a new capacity development and implementation agreement with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). 

Under this Management Services Agreement (MSA), ICAO will provide Uganda with a comprehensive portfolio of implementation support products and services, including access to ICAO’s expert roster, project management, and customized training packages. This collaboration will focus on helping Uganda heighten its application of ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs), policies, and plans. 

The first initiative under the agreement will be the development of a new National Air Navigation Plan for Uganda. This strategic framework will guide the development and implementation of air navigation services and infrastructure in Uganda over the next 15 years, ensuring alignment with international aviation standards. The plan aims to bolster the safety, efficiency, and capacity of Uganda’s air navigation system. 

Africa’s biggest salt refinery, Electrochem to start operations in August 2024 (MyJoyOnline)

The Executive Board Chairman of McDan Group, Dr. Daniel McKorley, has announced that Electrochem Ghana Limited will begin processing refined salt in commercial quantities by August this year. Dr. McKorley made the disclosure when members of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) visited the project site in Ada in the Greater Accra region.

“We are building one of the biggest refineries in Africa. By August, it should be up and running. This is a product (salt) with high demand. Once we complete the ports and the refinery, we’ll produce for the industry”. He stated that the demand for salt for industries and manufacturing will guarantee the success of the refinery.

“Salt has 14,000 uses, and we plan to produce for both export and local consumption. What we have here is unparalleled—99.9% sodium chloride, intended for serious industrial use. It’s environmentally friendly, and we are not retailing but selling to wholesalers because this is a big factory," Dr. McKorley said.

IMF Staff Concludes Mission for 2024 Article IV (IMF)

Congo’s economic recovery softened in 2023 to reach 2 percent, mainly reflecting an unexpected downturn in oil production, heavy floods, power outages, and weaker public investment. Growth is expected to strengthen to 2.8 percent in 2024, and sustain the momentum in the medium term, primarily driven by the non-oil sector as hydrocarbon production stagnates.

The Article IV consultation focused on safeguarding fiscal sustainability and unleashing the potential for a strong, resilient, and inclusive growth, which rests on steady progress on structural reforms. Policy priorities include improving public finance management, boosting domestic revenue, rationalizing energy subsidies, strengthening governance and transparency, enhancing the business environment, promoting financial inclusion, accelerating economic diversification, prioritizing social spending, and addressing Congo’s climate adaptation and mitigation needs.

Women-owned firms open to intra-African trade than male ones (Capital Business)

Businesses owned by women are more open to intra-African trade than male ones, a new survey shows, highlighting the need for market diversification. The research focused on trade-led industrialization featuring auto, personal care products, clothing, and textile value chains, which offers women and youth support for inclusive value chain industrialization.

These findings are important as state parties are beginning to implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. AfCFTA is an ambitious initiative to create a single continental market for goods and services, supported by the free movement of people and capital.

Trade Law Center (tralac) Executive Director Trudi Hartzenberg highlighted progress made by AfCFTA towards supporting women entrepreneurs to take up new trade and value chain opportunities under the Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade to address the systemic challenges faced by women and youth traders.

“From the research findings, we have noted that substantially, women-owned businesses are more likely to focus on intra-Africa trade than the male-owned enterprises,” said Ms Hartzenberg. With support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), tralac carried out a gendered analysis of value chains in the AFCFTA, drawing on existing data on trade and value chains. The research survey was conducted with over 500 small, medium, and micro enterprises covering 21 countries in East, West, and Southern Africa.

Standard Chartered commits to supporting clients and businesses to leverage AfCFTA (The Business & Financial Times)

Head, Corporate and Investment Banking at Standard Chartered Bank Ghana Plc, Xorse Godzi, has reiterated the bank’s commitment to collaborating with clients, key stakeholders and policymakers. “With the enormous potential AfCFTA offers, we are committed to collaborating with our clients, businesses, key stakeholders and policy makers to build partnerships between the public and private sectors to realise this opportunity,” he said

The bank aims to build partnerships between the public and private sectors to unlock the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). According to him, the bank, through its trade desk, offers thought leadership and advisory on AfCFTA to clients and is keen on bringing everyone in the value chain together to understand what is happening and how it can support them.

Mr. Godzi, speaking at the 8th Ghana CEO Summit on the topic “Reigniting business growth under AfCFTA,” also underscored the need for CEOs and business leaders to leverage their influence with the government to shape policy. He underscored the importance of establishing a regulatory framework to facilitate business operations, including initiatives such as providing tax holidays and grants, simplifying customs procedures, and investing in infrastructure, among others.

Niger extends olive branch to ECOWAS with invite to join new alliance (Business Insider Africa)

In September 2023, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali formed a regional alliance; the Alliance of Sahel States (AES), outside of ECOWAS which they formerly belonged. They did this with the goal of improving their collective security measures and fostering socioeconomic growth for their populations. Additionally, they did this in the face of sanctions Niger received from ECOWAS.

Despite the disagreements that had led to the formation of the AES, Niger has decided to encourage ECOWAS members to join the group. The Minister extended the invitation at the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank, in Nairobi, Kenya, as seen in a report by Sputnik. This invite follows Ghana and Nigeria’s push for the Senegalese President Bassirou Diomaye Faye to support the reunification of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso inside the ECOWAS.

ECOWAS urges Nigeria, other member states to champion investment promotion (Peoples Gazette Nigeria)

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has called on member states to promote investment to engender sustainable development in the sub-region. ECOWAS acting director of private sector investment Anthony Elumelu made the charge during a meeting of the technical committee of the Association of Investment Promotion Agencies of West African States (IPAWAS) on Thursday in Abuja.

Mr Elumelu said that the event aimed to allow all member states to shape IPAWAS’ form and structure as the regional platform for cooperation in investment promotion and facilitation. He noted that member states’ continuous support and collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission would enable investors to accept the subregion as the most favoured destination for investment drives.

41 African countries set for stronger growth in 2024, keeping continent second fastest growing region in the world—African Development Bank’s Economic Outlook (AfDB)

African economies remain resilient, despite challenges that are testing economies worldwide. According to the latest African Development Bank Group’s African Economic Outlook, 41 countries on the continent are projected to experience stronger growth rates in 2024 than they did in 2023.

The report unveiled at the Bank’s Annual Meetings on Thursday in Nairobi, described Africa’s growth potential as ‘remarkable’. The continent will retain its 2023 ranking as the second fastest-growing region after developing Asia in 2024 and 2025. The theme of the 2024 AEO, “Driving Africa’s Transformation: The Reform of the Global Financial Architecture,” aligns with the Bank’s Annual Meetings’ theme.

African Development Bank President Dr Akinwumi Adesina said while the Bank was proud of the growth projections of many African countries as reflected in the report, it was not blind to the challenges. “Africa’s future is bright, but need to make sure we tackle governance, transparency, accountability, and management of our natural capital. We need to make sure resources are used for the benefit of the people of this continent… The kind of resilience we are talking about cannot happen unless we deal with the issue of climate change.”

African Leaders Join African Development Bank’s Call for Action to Reform the Global Financial Architecture at its 2024 Annual Meetings (AfDB)

With $200 billion invested in development projects across the continent since its establishment in 1964, the African Development Bank Group is leading the charge in transforming Africa’s development landscape, as a solutions bank.At the institution’s 2024 Annual Meetings in Nairobi, six African Presidents joined the Group’s President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina’s call for action to reform the global financial architecture to unlock more resources to scale up Africa’s economic transformation.

Kenya’s President William Samoei Ruto emphasized the need for change, saying, “Today, we assert that transforming the international financial architecture is imperative to give Africa a fair chance to turn its immense potential into opportunities to overcome multiple challenges and develop inclusively and sustainably.”

ECOSOC Committee for Development Policy Contributes to HLPF 2024 (SDG Knowledge Hub)

The Committee for Development Policy (CDP) of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has published a report addressing the challenges and opportunities of innovation ecosystems for development, structural change, and equity. A contribution to the theme of ECOSOC’s 2024 session, the report will inform deliberations during the 2024 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in July.

The theme of the 2024 session of ECOSOC and the 2024 session of the HLPF is ‘Reinforcing the 2030 Agenda and eradicating poverty in times of multiple crises: The effective delivery of sustainable, resilient and innovative solutions.’ Titled, ‘Committee for Development Policy: Report on the Twenty-sixth Session (4-8 March 2024),’ CDP’s report updates on the Committee’s triennial review of the least developed countries (LDCs), monitoring of countries that are graduating or have graduated from the list of LDCs, discussion of graduation in the global context, and other activities related to supporting a smooth transition from the LDC category.

AI to add $15trn to global economy: DMCC (Trade Arabia)

Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) has highlighted the $15 trillion opportunity brought to the global economy by the widespread use and adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), particularly in highly tradeable sectors. Whilst trade is set to grow by 2.6% in 2024, the anticipated scaling up and adoption of generative AI alongside a wider surge in e-commerce and digital services trade will drive global trade resilience in the years to come, DMCC noted at the Singapore launch event of its latest biennial Future of Trade thought leadership report.

This will herald a paradigm shift in the operating environment, as businesses use AI to optimise supply chains, enhance efficiency and reduce costs through predictive analytics. AI will bring data-driven market insights to capture new business opportunities, and AI-powered trade finance solutions will streamline transactions. The impact will be most prominent in highly tradeable sectors such as computers and electronics, machinery, IT services, transport equipment and electrical equipment – all deeply embedded in international trade and sectors where 90% of current AI-related patent filings are concentrated.

First WTO workshop on customs valuation notifications concludes in Geneva (WTO)

A customs valuation workshop taking place in Geneva from 22 to 24 May brought together 26 government officials from developing and least-developed WTO members. The participants benefited from guidance on preparing their government’s pending notifications to the WTO Committee on Customs Valuation in line with their WTO obligations.

Under WTO rules, members are required to notify developments in national laws and regulations on customs valuation and a checklist of issues regarding their legislation. "This workshop was organised in response to the need to improve the level of WTO members’ notifications regarding the Customs Valuation Agreement," he said.

WTO members hold first formal meeting on dispute settlement reform (WTO)

WTO members met at Heads of Delegation level on 30 May for their first formal meeting on dispute settlement reform, with an initial focus on how to resolve issues regarding appeal/review and accessibility. The facilitator of the process, Ambassador Usha Dwarka-Canabady of Mauritius, said the discussions revealed a “strong appreciation for the dispute settlement system overall” as a core element of the WTO system.

At their 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) in June 2022, WTO members acknowledged the challenges and concerns with respect to the dispute settlement system, including those related to the Appellate Body, and agreed to conduct discussions with the view to having a fully and well-functioning dispute settlement system accessible to all members by 2024. That commitment was reaffirmed by members at the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) earlier this year.

IP and the SDGs: building our common future with innovation and creativity (Times of Malta)

In today’s interconnected world, where global challenges like poverty, inequality, climate change and healthcare persist, the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs) serve as a blueprint for creating a better and more sustainable future for all.

At the heart of achieving these goals lies the power of innovation and creativity, driving progress and transformation across various sectors. Intellectual property (IP) plays a crucial role in fostering this innovation ecosystem, propelling us towards a future where the SDGs can be realised.

However, while IP can be a powerful tool for driving progress towards the SDGs, it is essential to ensure that it is used in a manner that balances the interests of creators with the needs of society as a whole. Moreover, it is crucial to recognise the role of IP in promoting international cooperation and technology transfer, particularly between developed and developing countries. By facilitating the exchange of knowledge and expertise, IP can help bridge the technological gap and empower developing nations to address their specific challenges in achieving the SDGs.


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