Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Namibia’s audacious plan to become a global green hydrogen hub (Engineering News)

From modest beginnings, Namibia is banking on a whole new supply chain taking shape — from the production of hydrogen that’s turned into ammonia for transportation, to associated “green” products — that would place it at the forefront of a developing clean technology, and finally put it on the map. Europe, for its part, sees a means of furthering its green transition and bolstering energy security after it lost natural gas from Russia. The European Investment Bank has pledged a €500-million ($544-million) loan toward developing green hydrogen in Namibia, with the Netherlands’ Invest International contributing to a planned $1 billion Namibian hydrogen fund.

If Namibia’s green hydrogen gambit does pay off, it could foster decades of development. And Namibia needs development wherever it can get it, according to Trevino Forbes, the mayor of Walvis Bay. The goal has to be “to capitalize on this resource of ours,” he said.

Raising agricultural productivity and private sector investment can help Zambia achieve sustained and inclusive growth (World Bank)

While Zambia’s economy is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and a previous recession, a new Country Economic Monitor (CEM) report shows pathways that can support the country’s productivity to enhance economic transformation, create better jobs, and deliver sustained and inclusive growth.

The new CEM, launched today, titled Unlocking Productivity and Economic Transformation for Better Jobs, shows that structural issues persist in the Zambian economy despite remarkable economic growth in the 2000s decade, as growth has not been inclusive enough to significantly reduce poverty and create enough good jobs. The Zambia CEM provides a deeper analysis of the country’s economic landscape. It dissects Zambia’s growth performance and the limitations of its growth model. During the 2010s decade, the economy was not resilient enough, and thus COVID-19 hit an economy that was already struggling, triggering a recession and leading to the external debt default in 2020.

Afreximbank commences the project development activities for an African Quality Assurance Center (AQAC), in Imo State Nigeria (Afreximbank)

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has announced the commencement of project development activities of its second African Quality Assurance Center (AQAC) in Ngor Okpala, Imo State, Nigeria, in collaboration with Bureau Veritas. Project development activities were launched at an event held on 3rd June 2024 in Imo State and attended by His Excellency Senator Hope Odidika Uzodinma, Governor of Imo State, where the Bank showcased a prototype design for the project and introduced Bureau Veritas, a world leader in Testing, Inspection and Certification, as the technical partner to support the operations and management of the facility.

Speaking at the event in Imo State, Mrs. Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice President, Intra-African Trade and Export Development Bank, Afreximbank said: “The commencement of project development activities of the AQAC in Imo State marks a significant step forward in Afreximbank’s mission to enhance Nigeria and the continent’s export potential. By ensuring that “Made in Africa” goods and products meet international standards and technical regulations at export markets, we are not only boosting trade but also fostering economic growth across the continent in line with the Bank’s mandate.”

African Development Bank Annual Meetings 2024: Experts call for a new financial mechanism to mitigate foreign exchange risk in energy financing (AfDB)

At a session organised on Thursday, 30 May 2024 by the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group as part of its 2024 Annual Meetings in Nairobi, debates focused on rethinking how clean energy projects are financed in Africa. Wale Shonibare pointed out that for Africa to meet its energy and climate targets by 2030, annual investments of $200 billion are needed whereas investments in 2022 were less than $90 billion.

“African countries need to increase their national savings and pool their natural resources so that they can use these resources to raise the funds they need for investment in energy infrastructure. That calls for a paradigm shift in project financing in Africa," he said.

Achieving the paradigm shift depends on three key factors. First, access to long-term sustainable financing that mitigates currency risk and keeps electricity tariffs affordable in a context where 600 million Africans still  lack access to electricity. Second, African counties must pool and harness their wealth to attract international investors to projects that earn local currency without the need for government guarantees. Third, the continent must make best use of its rare mineral wealth. Many of these minerals are essential for clean energy technologies and should create new export markets.

Dr Adesina tells the Invest Africa Debate: “We’re Taking Africa to the World” (AfDB)

The 10th Invest Africa Debate has opened in the City of London’s prestigious Guildhall. Adesina addressed more than 200 African investors with a rousing appeal on trade and investment into Africa: “Infrastructure is essential for trade. The Bank has invested $50 billion into Africa in the last eight years. That’s the largest of any institution. There’s now no project that the Bank can’t finance and that’s a different Africa. We’re taking Africa in the world and bringing the world to Africa.”

He added it was important to debunk certain myths and stereotypes. “Africa is not any riskier than any other part of the world. It’s important to give people the confidence to invest. That’s why the Bank supports investors.”

Former emerging world finance chiefs call for debt reworks to enable climate spending (Reuters)

A group of prominent former emerging market finance chiefs is pressing global leaders to incorporate external shocks and climate change into debt sustainability calculations, according to a letter published on Wednesday. The 21 signatories, including Nigeria’s Lamido Sanusi, Colombia’s Jose Antonio Ocampo, Pakistan’s Reza Baqir, Argentina’s Martin Guzman and South Africa’s Tito Mboweni, also called for debt relief to enable struggling emerging economies to meet climate investment targets.

The World Bank has warned that high borrowing costs and slowing growth have sparked a “silent debt crisis“ that has thrown climate, health and education spending goals into question across the developing world.

Zambia this week became the first poor nation to emerge from debt default under a rubric designed by the G20 dubbed the Common Framework. But some have said the debt relief – estimated to have reduced Zambia’s debt by some $900 million and spread future payments over a much longer time frame – was insufficient.

New report provides a ranking of sustainability around the world (Phys.org)

As the world continues to face new challenges connected to climate change, how do we tally national and global efforts toward achieving sustainability goals and addressing intensifying environmental concerns? For the last 25 years, the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) has collaborated with the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) — essentially, an evidence-based and multi-faceted sustainability scorecard. While there has some been progress toward sustainability in recent years, the 2024 EPI highlights many areas for improvement.

This index offers a summary of sustainability around the world by ranking 180 countries based on climate change mitigation, ecosystem vitality and environmental health. The EPI uses 58 different performance indicators within 11 categories to score each country, track trends and identify successful policy interventions. The EPI scores are a way to spotlight not only how countries have fared in their efforts to address a wide range of environmental challenges, but also how they compare with one another. They evaluate nations on adherence to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement and the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

Critical minerals: Africa holds key to sustainable energy future (UNCTAD)

Africa’s vast deposits of minerals critical to the global energy transition, such as cobalt, copper and lithium, can power a sustainable energy future, UN Trade and Development Secretary-General, Rebeca Grynspan, said. She spoke during an event held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and online on 4 June as part of the organization’s 60th anniversary celebrations.

The event themed “Maximizing Africa’s potential: Leveraging demand for critical minerals to boost inclusive growth and sustainable development” explored ways to optimize the development benefits of these minerals. “Cobalt, manganese, graphite, lithium are not just elements on the periodic table,” Ms. Grynspan said. “They can be the building blocks of a new era – powering our homes, driving our vehicles, and connecting our world. Catalyzing a green revolution that can lift millions out of poverty and create a fairer world.”

The UN Economic Commission for Africa’s deputy executive secretary, Antonio Pedro, said adding value to critical minerals in Africa could make the continent a competitive hub for green industrialization. “Imagine the potential if African minerals are processed into African batteries, installed into African cars that are driven across the continent and the world,” he said. “This would accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and the electrification of transport systems on the continent, create decent jobs and make Africa a competitive hub for green industrialization,” Mr. Pedro added.

See also: The unintended consequences of investment policy on critical minerals investment (World Bank Blog)

Extreme events pose risk to global economy (G20 Brasil 2024)

Extreme weather events are becoming an increasingly significant threat to the global economy. Data from the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Risks Report 2024 show that the effects of climate change are one of the most pressing concerns for the next two years and could worsen over the decade, causing severe economic losses and affecting the growth of countries. The risks are particularly high for developing ones, more vulnerable to climate disasters. The study also reveals that frequent storms, floods, and droughts can destroy infrastructure, impact financial stability, and disrupt supply chains by raising agricultural production costs and intensifying global inequality. The way forward is a concerted worldwide effort to mitigate these risks.

According to Cristina Reis, Undersecretary for Sustainable Economic Development at the Brazilian Ministry of Finance’s Secretariat for Economic Policy, the global effort to face this scenario entails “preparing countries to avoid these climate risks, promoting economic development paths that are environmentally sustainable and socially just”.

WTO report notes increasingly positive impact of technical assistance activities (WTO)

The WTO’s Annual Report on Technical Assistance, released on 6 June, reveals a strong rebound in technical assistance and capacity-building activities in 2023 following three years of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital technologies are increasingly being integrated into these activities while teaching methods are regularly adapted to enhance the effectiveness of the activities in improving the trade know-how of government officials from developing economies.

“More than just a year of recovery, 2023 witnessed the first visible signs of sustainable transformation in the delivery of technical assistance activities”, WTO Deputy Director-General Xiangchen Zhang said in the foreword. “The constraints of the last few years and their associated effects have pushed us in a forced march towards reinventing our practices and curriculum. Donors should be congratulated for their generous contributions throughout these difficult times.”

UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD) releases annual report 2023 (UNCTAD)

Themed “Trade: Unlocking sustainable strategies for people, planet and prosperity”, the report outlines how UNCTAD adapted to deliver for its 195 member states amid the evolving global challenges of 2023.While some economies navigated a soft landing, many developing countries continued to suffer disproportionately from weak growth of trade and investment, growing debt burdens, supply chain disruptions, and the ongoing climate crisis. Led by Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan, UN Trade and Development redoubled its efforts to advocate for developing economies on the world stage, while continuing to advance its three pillars of work in the fields of research and analysis, consensus building, and technical cooperation.

UN Report Calls for Holistic, Adaptable Policy Approaches to Achieve SDGs (SDG Knowledge Hub)

The UN has issued the UN Secretary-General’s report exploring the long-term impacts of current trends on the realization of the SDGs. The report calls for tangible and holistic responses at all levels that prioritize policies aimed at revitalizing inclusive, sustained, and sustainable economic growth while reversing geoeconomic fragmentation. The report underscores that the multiple and interlinked challenges facing the world today affect countries’ capacity to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs, as pledged by world leaders in the political declaration of the 2023 SDG Summit.

The report concludes that in order to eradicate poverty and achieve the SDGs, policy approaches aimed at revitalizing sustainable economic growth and reversing geoeconomic fragmentation “need to be adaptable to rapidly changing labor markets” and their increased digitalization. Such approaches would also “need to include measures aimed at promoting skills training while addressing unfavorable labor outcomes.”

Ken Ashigbey: Integrating Mobile Money systems essential for African business dev’t (Citinewsroom)

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Dr. Ing. Kenneth Ashigbey, has expressed concern over the challenges in financial transactions on the continent. Speaking at a press briefing to announce the upcoming Interoperability Conference Symposium in Accra, he indicated that mobile interoperability would foster business growth across the continent and expand financial inclusion if properly implemented.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Africa Prosperity Network, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, urged political and industry leaders to support this initiative to boost intra-African trade. “We are told that the technology is there. We are told that the resources are there, but it needs political will… [W]e believe that if we can get interoperability working, particularly in the areas where tens and millions of medium, small, and microscale enterprises on the continent operate, it will make meaningful, the whole idea of intra-African trade.”

Quick links

AfCFTA: Is skills availability a barrier to success? (IT Web)

AfCFTA; can Africa do it alone? (The Business & Financial Times)

Senators rally support for Africa trade deal amid competition with China (The Hill)

BRICS: Europe puts an end to its dependence on Russian gas (Cointribune)


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