Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Persistently poor GDP growth most significant feature of South Africa’s economic performance (Engineering News)

South Africa’s continued disappointing economic growth remains the most significant feature of the country’s macroeconomic performance, North-West University Business School economist Professor Raymond Parsons has said following the release of the first-quarter GDP figures by Statistics South Africa on June 4. “The negative GDP figure of -0.1% quarter-on-quarter again reflects how difficult it has been for the economy to gain momentum in the recent past,” he noted. 

Parsons said the persistent decline in per capita income over several years has meant that South Africa, as a whole, has become poorer. “South Africa needs to break out of its low-growth trap in order to more successfully tackle the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality,” he said.

Trade deficit of N$3.1 billion recorded in April (Namibia Economist)

The trade balance for April 2024 stood at a deficit of N$3.1 billion, marking a decrease from the N$4.6 billion deficit recorded in March 2024 and an increase from the N$1.2 billion deficit reported in April 2023.

According to trade data released by Namibia’s Statistics Agency this week, trade composition by partner, South Africa emerged as the country’s largest market for both exports and imports. The export basket for April 2024 primarily consisted of minerals such as precious stones (diamonds), uranium, non-monetary gold, and petroleum oils, with fish being the only non-mineral product among the top five exported items.

Affordable Smartphones Boost Kenya’s Digital Economy and Financial Inclusion (Innovation Village)

Kenya’s proactive approach to digital inclusion is yielding promising results, with the widespread adoption of locally-assembled, low-cost smartphones transforming the nation’s digital landscape. The East Africa Device Assembly Kenya (EADAK) plant, a public-private partnership, has produced over 490,000 4G-enabled handsets since its establishment late last year, with a significant portion already in the hands of consumers.

“Our proposition as a government is that with digitalization, we should be able to collect enough locally-generated revenue to the extent that we can sort external debt and finance local budgetary requirements,” said Eliud Owalo, cabinet secretary for information, communication, and digital economy.

Ghana’s New Ship Repair Dock Project Funding Sealed As Financiers Sign $94 MN Syndicated Loan (AfDB)

A consortium, including the African Development Bank, has signed an agreement to extend $94 million in senior debt funding to PMD Assetco Limited (PMD) for the construction and operation of a floating dock ship repair facility in Ghana’s western Takoradi port. Other consortium members are the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB), and Petra Pension Schemes.

With this milestone, the project, nicknamed “Shiprite,” has secured the total commitment of all providers for the required $137 million in capital. When completed, the facility will house a new 13,500-ton lift-capacity floating drydock, 30,000 square meters of reclaimed land, a 200-meter jetty, a modern workshop, offices, and heavy marine equipment.

Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice President, Intra-African Trade and Export Development Bank, Afreximbank, emphasized the project’s strategic significance: “The strategic location of this facility will provide shipowners whose vessels trade within the Gulf of Guinea with world-class repair and maintenance services.”

1D1F not complete solution for industrialisation, says AGI’s Seth Twum Akwaboah (MyJoyOnline)

The CEO of the Association of Ghana Industries, Seth Twum Akwaboah, says government’s flagship ‘One District One Factory’ (1D1F) initiative, while beneficial, is not a complete solution to the country’s industrialisation challenges. According to him, the policy must be complemented by a conducive environment where factories can operate independently of government support, engage in significant business activities, export, expand, and thrive.

“The incentive rate is very important, and indeed the idea of providing incentives to attract investment into some of these areas that may not be that attractive to the typical private sector operators. So that is important. Another aspect that makes it feasible and very important is the value chains working,” Mr Akwaboah said. “If you only set up a factory and you don’t have the raw materials provided in a consistent, reliable, and regular manner, you have a problem with the production volumes.

He noted that currently, some major companies rely on local sourcing of materials but face shortages, sometimes resulting in the need for imports of these raw materials needed for the factories to operate, including those in the agricultural sector. The CEO stressed the necessity of a robust agricultural sector that produces and supplies raw materials at competitive prices to support industrial activities.

IMF Executive Board Completes 2024 Article IV Consultation with Seychelles (IMF)

Seychelles’ real GDP growth is estimated at 3.2 percent in 2023 compared to 15 percent in 2022. Tourist arrivals rose to about 91 percent of the pre-pandemic high (2019) but spending per tourist was flat. Information technology was the main impetus of non-tourism growth, along with fishing and construction. However, unseasonably heavy rains and flooding combined with an industrial explosion in December contributed to a contraction in manufacturing.

Looking ahead, real GDP growth is projected to rise to 3.7 percent in 2024, and annual average inflation is expected to reach 1.2 percent. While the external current account is expected to remain broadly stable, gross foreign exchange reserves are projected to reach $751 million by end-2024, equivalent to 3.4 months of imports. Potential downside risks include Seychelles’ high vulnerability to external shocks (such as volatility in commodity and shipping prices), climate-related events, or disruptions to tourism.

IMF Executive Board Concludes 2024 Article IV Consultation with Djibouti (IMF)

After the negative shock of the pandemic and a weak recovery in 2021, the November 2022 peace agreement in Ethiopia bolstered the Djiboutian economy. Growth is expected to have reached about 7 percent in 2023, supported by the rebound in port activity and construction. Inflation is expected to have averaged around 1.8 percent in 2023 and projected to remain subdued.

The economic outlook remains cautiously optimistic for 2024 and the medium-term albeit subject to considerable uncertainty. Regional risks, including potential trade disruptions, pose challenges in a context of tight budgetary resources. Stronger-than-expected trade from Ethiopia could support growth, and fully addressing the debt burden could improve debt sustainability and create fiscal space.

Prioritise innovation-friendly policies for sustainable development - Govt urged (Graphic)

The best way to ensure sustainable development is for the government to continue to pursue policies that favour innovation and industrialisation. The Chairman of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) in the Greater Accra Region, Tsonam Cleanse Akpeloo, who proposed, said it was a sound policy environment that allowed innovation and ideas to thrive and create sustainable jobs for national development.

“This calls for government to make available financing through reduced policy rate so that innovators and entrepreneurs can have access to cheaper loans to promote their ideas,” he said. Mr Akpeloo, who made the call at the Falling Wall Foundation’s Lab Ghana last Friday, stressed that the government must create tax incentives to support the growth of innovative ideas.

Shettima wants Africa to prioritise intra-continental trade (Businessday NG)

Vice President Kashim Shettima has called on African countries to prioritise intra-African trade over foreign investments that often exploit the continent’s resources. Speaking at the Africa Economic Summit 2024, in Abuja, Shettima emphasised the need to boost African trade globally and within the continent itself.

“African nations remain at the base of the global index, meaning that we need to now go beyond looking for foreign investors to come and explore and exploit what they need for sophisticated manufactures from the deep underbellies of our motherland”, Shettima stated.

The vice president, who was represented by Tope Fasau, his special adviser on economic affairs, also urged African countries to incentivise their vast number of highly knowledgeable citizens around the world, especially those with exceptional expertise in science, technology, and the arts, to return and contribute to transforming the continent.

He highlighted the importance of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) as a key initiative to enhance intra-African trade. However, Shettima noted that the implementation of AfCFTA has been slow and called for a renewed effort to accelerate its growth. “African nations must understand that this is a mutually beneficial initiative,” he added.

Greening Africa’s trade (The East African)

From March 23 to 25, 2024, the global freight and logistics industry experts gathered in Amsterdam, Netherlands for the second annual Smart Freight Week, hosted by Smart Freight Centre (SFC). This event marked a substantive step toward greening Africa’s trade.

The conference’s theme, “A Journey to an Efficient and Zero-Emission Logistics Sector,” underscored the alarming rise in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from freight activities along Africa’s major trade corridors. Despite Africa’s low global emissions at less than three percent and relatively minimal per capita emissions, its rapid increase in emissions — ranking third under the fastest-growing emissions category as indicated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its 6th Assessment Report — threatens its trade potential with the global market demanding environmentally friendly products and is an urgent call for immediate and decisive action.

Stakeholders in the aquaculture industry urged to take advantage of AfCFTA (MyJoyOnline)

Stakeholders in the aquaculture industry have been urged to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). Speaking at the Aquaculture Awards 2024, Executive Director of Tarzan Enterprises, Ziad Hamoui emphasised that, Ghana is not the only country facing value chain disruptions. He advised industry players to turn the challenges into opportunities to enable them to tap into prospects beyond Ghana.

“Ghana is not the only country that has to deal with challenges such as value chain disruptions, inflation, or price increases. It cuts across the continent. The AfCFTA is not a magic wand. It is actually a catalyst that allows rapid African development but stakeholders need to keep in mind that not only should they focus on creating one large market but focus on manufacturing,” the guest speaker advised.

“As we celebrate the achievements and impact in the sector, we must also acknowledge the challenges that lie ahead. Climate change, environmental degradation and socio-economic disparities continue to present formidable obstacles to the sustainability and resilience of aquaculture systems worldwide. Nevertheless, in the face of these challenges, we find opportunities to innovate, collaborate and pave the way for a more sustainable and inclusive future,” she said.

Joint green efforts by Africa, China key to growth (China Daily)

Africa’s vast potential for renewable energy, combined with China’s technological expertise and investment capacity, presents a unique opportunity for mutual economic growth, experts say. This collaboration can drive sustainable development, alleviate energy poverty and stimulate economic activities across the African continent, they said.

Speaking during the African Development Bank Group’s annual meeting in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, which concluded on Friday, Kevin Kariuki, the bank’s vice-president for power, energy, climate and green growth, said the continent needs to tap into renewable energy for industrial growth. “I believe that by investing in Africa’s renewable energy infrastructure, China can help build large-scale solar farms, wind farms and hydroelectric plants. These investments can provide reliable and affordable energy, which is crucial for economic growth.”

The continent has not fully tapped into its renewable energy sector, according to the State of Africa’s Infrastructure Report 2024 published last month by the Africa Finance Corporation. This has continued to affect its economic growth rate, especially in the manufacturing sector, the report said. “Our inability to tap into the renewable energy sector continues to slow down our growth rate,” African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina said.

Korea cements ties with African nations in key mineral supply chains (The Korea Herald)

South Korea and African nations have pledged to intensify cooperation for enhanced trading while supporting Africa’s path for shaping a future of sustainable co-prosperity. The 2024 South Korea-Africa Summit, the inaugural summit between Korea and 48 African countries, kicked off in Seoul on Tuesday.

The summit meetings come amid Africa’s increasing strategic significance, with abundant natural resources needed for producing next-generation batteries like cobalt, lithium, manganese, nickel and graphite. Despite Africa’s strong economic potential, with its growth rate of 3.2 percent, exceeding the global average of 2.9 percent last year, cooperation between Korea and Africa has remained weak.

On Monday, Yoon held talks with leaders of 11 African nations -- Lesotho, Cote d’Ivoire, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Togo, Rwanda, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde on Monday. He had summit meetings with his Sierra Leone counterpart on May 31 and leaders of Tanzania and Ethiopia on Sunday.

To bolster cooperation with the continent, Korean companies should tap into sectors that lead Africa’s growth such as manufacturing, mineral, energy and startups tied to information communication technology and green technology, the Federation of Korean Industries, which consists of Korea’s business leaders, said on Tuesday.

“Africa’s supply chain cooperation in eco-friendly industries like electric vehicles will become more important as the continent produces more than 60 percent of the world’s cobalt and 70 percent of the world’s platinum,” the FKI said in a report.

Speech - DG Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala - Economic integration through WTO accession and membership (WTO)

This Forum provides a valuable platform for discussions on systemic issues and practical considerations related to the WTO through the regional lens of Central Asia. These exchanges are timely and much needed. The region, as a whole, has been seeking to position itself as an attractive economic hub in the context of shifting geopolitical dynamics. And what better place to reflect on these issues than here in Almaty, in the “heart” of Central Asia?

Long-distance trade played a major role in the cultural, religious, and artistic exchanges that became synonymous with this region in antiquity. In ways still very recognizable today, the trade routes of the Silk Road for centuries served to transfer raw materials, foodstuffs, and luxury goods from areas with surpluses to others where they were in short supply. More recently, with the fading of old, ideological battle lines and the establishment of new transportation links, Central Asia has become a distinct geographic and economic entity, and trade promises to once again become a driver of growth, employment, and development across the region.

Global Container Port Performance Index 2023 (World Bank)

The newest global Container Port Performance Index (CPPI), developed by the World Bank and S&P Global Market Intelligence, reveals that East and Southeast Asian ports excelled in 2023, accounting for 13 of the top 20 places. More than 80% of merchandise trade is transported by sea, so the resilience, efficiency, and overall performance of ports is crucial to global markets and economic development.

Regional disruptions impacted port performance everywhere, according to the new report. “While the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath eased further in 2023, container shipping continues to be an unpredictable and volatile sector,” said Martin Humphreys, Lead Transport Economist at the World Bank. “Major ports need to invest in resilience, new technology, and green infrastructure to ensure the stability of global markets and the sustainability of the shipping industry.”

Despite its relatively low ranking, Dar es Salaam Port in Tanzania managed to shave ship arrival times by 57%.”There is a greater awareness and focus on resilience and efficiency of maritime gateways and greater understanding of negative impact of port delays on economic development,” said Turloch Mooney, Head of Port Intelligence & Analytics at S&P Global Market Intelligence. “The highly interconnected nature of container shipping means the negative effect of poor performance in a port can extend beyond that port’s hinterland and disrupt entire schedules. This increases the cost of imports and exports, reduces competitiveness and hinders economic growth and poverty reduction.”

A world of debt Report 2024: A growing burden to global prosperity (UNCTAD)

Public debt can be a powerful tool for development, enabling governments to finance critical expenditures and invest in a better future for their people. However, when public debt grows excessively or rapidly, it becomes a heavy burden, particularly for developing countries. Recent events have worsened this challenge. The rise in global interest rates since 2022 further strained public budgets in developing countries. High interest payments are outpacing the growth in essential public expenditures such as health, education, and climate action. In the developing world, home to 3.3 billion people, one out of every three countries spends more on interest payments than on these critical areas for human development.

Global Leaders Forum: Charting a new development course in a changing world (UNCTAD)

The 60th anniversary of UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD) will center on the Global Leaders Forum themed “Charting a new development course in a changing world” (12-14 June, Palais de Nations, Geneva). Exploring new strategies for development, the Global Leaders Forum will focus on integrated treatment of trade and development, and the interrelated issues of finance, technology, investment and sustainable development. The forum aims to inspire fresh perspectives on development thinking to address the complexities of “polyglobalization”, characterized by growing economic diversity and decentralization, amidst the rising interdependence of countries on a global scale.

Countries around the world have a major opportunity to set stronger plans for achieving the global goal of tripling renewable power by 2030 (IEA)

New analysis from the International Energy Agency (IEA) finds that countries have a significant opportunity over the coming months to develop clear plans for boosting renewable power that could help move the world closer to achieving the COP28 goal of tripling global capacity by 2030.

COP28 Tripling Renewable Capacity Pledge: Tracking countries’ ambitions and identifying policies to bridge the gap, published today, finds that while renewable power is at the heart of achieving international energy and climate goals, very few countries have explicitly laid out 2030 targets for installed capacity in their existing Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs, under the Paris Agreement. Official commitments in NDCs currently amount to 1 300 gigawatts (GW) – just 12% of what is required to meet the global tripling objective set in Dubai.

Quick links

Is the US-NATO relations with Kenya bound to weaken the resolve to EAC integration? (New Vision)

Trade agreements: How African states are resisting pressure from the North but not managing to assert their priorities (Equal Times)

Electronic certificate of origin seen key in intra-Arab trade development (Gulf Times)

Women who trade: Strategies for empowerment across borders (Trade Finance Global)

Kremlin welcomes Turkey’s reported desire to join BRICS (Reuters)

What’s the global orange juice supply crisis - and should Australians be worried? (The Conversation)


Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel +27 21 880 2010