Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

VW, Isuzu Spurn South Africa’s Efforts to Kick-Start EV Industry (Bloomberg)

Volkswagen AG and Isuzu Motors Ltd. have expressed skepticism about South Africa’s plans to develop electric and hydrogen-powered vehicle industries. While the government in February announced that automakers will be allowed to claim a 150% tax deduction on investment in facilities to make the vehicles, the local heads of both companies said they’ll stay focused on internal combustion engine vehicles.

The country’s automotive industry, which accounted for more than 271 billion rand ($14.5 billion) in exports last year, is currently dependent on shipments to the European Union where legislation is expected to gradually reduce demand for vehicles that run on diesel and gasoline.

BMA refutes claims of inefficiency at ORTIA (SAnews)

Border Management Authority (BMA) Commissioner, Dr Michael Masiapato, has refuted claims regarding the functionality and efficiency of the OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) passenger movement processing system. The BMA has noted with concern several erroneous reports suggesting that systemic transitions are taking place at ORTIA in Gauteng. The authority said these false reports have caused unnecessary concern among travellers and stakeholders.

“The current processing systems at BMA Immigration services is fully operational and designed to handle the high volume of traffic efficiently. “There are no system challenges at ORTIA or any of our ports, contrary to the claims made in the public domain. Our records indicate that average processing times at ORTIA remain within acceptable international standards. “We continuously monitor and analyse processing times to identify and address any potential bottlenecks,” Masiapato said.

Republic of South Sudan: 2023 Article IV Consultation (IMF)

South Sudan is a very fragile post-conflict country, and one of the most vulnerable in the world to climate change effects. The spillovers from the fighting in Sudan have exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation. Two-thirds of South Sudan’s population was exposed to acute food insecurity prior to the outbreak of the conflict in Sudan and the situation has worsened due to a large and growing number of refugees, and a sharp increase in fuel and food prices in the border areas with Sudan driven by trade disruptions. The Sudan war has also delayed the needed repair of the pipeline that transports South Sudan’s crude oil to international markets through Sudan. As a result, oil exports have since mid-February 2024 collapsed to about one-third of their previous level. This has increased significantly the fiscal financing and balance of payments gaps given that oil exports account for nearly 90 percent of fiscal revenues and 95 percent of exports.

Tunisia stands to gain from its membership to AfCFTA to become Africa’s gateway, says Anis Jaziri (African Manager)

Tunisia stands to gain from its membership to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which offers a number of incentives to investors, including exemption from customs duties, so that it can become a gateway to Africa, President of the Tunisia-Africa Business Council (TABC) Anis Jaziri said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the opening of the 7th edition of the Financing Investment & Trade in Africa (FITA 2024), held on June 11-12 in Tunis, Jaziri added that this event offers Tunisia the possibility to become an economic gateway to sub-Saharan Africa, indicating that “the important number of participants testifies to the confidence in Tunisia as a strategic investment destination given its openness to Europe and Africa.”

As for the Nigerian market, Jaziri said it is a market with over 200 million people, including 100 million muslims, adding that 35 Nigerian businessmen will partake in this forum and that a business mission to Nigeria will be organised next September.

The African Continent remains a land of opportunity, wealth, growth and intelligence despite the various challenges it faces, citing migration, climate change and political crises, Minister of Industry, Energy, Mines Fatma Thabet Chiboub said. These challenges can be beaten, she argued, calling for natural resources to be harnessed and for African industry to be developed.

SADC Ministers responsible for Gender and Women’s Affairs urges Member States to prioritise appointment of women in politics and decision-making positions (SADC)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Committee of Ministers Responsible for Gender and Women’s Affairs met virtually on 07 June 2024 to review progress in the implementation of the SADC Gender Programme. The Ministers encouraged Member States to prioritise appointment of women in political positions and key decision-making positions.

The Ministers discussed and made decisions on the following issues: Gender mainstreaming in SADC; implementation of the Regional Multi-Dimensional Women’s Economic Empowerment Program (RMD-WEEP); Women, Peace and Security Agenda; Women in Politics and Decision-Making Positions; and commitment to the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

ACTESA and ISAAA AfriCenter Sign MoU (COMESA)

The Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA AfriCenter) to implement the COMESA Biotechnology Implementation Plan (COMBIP). The MoU signed in Lusaka on 5 June 2024 outlines several areas where ISAAA AfriCenter and COMESA-ACTESA will work together which includes rolling out a communications strategy on agricultural biotechnology and biosafety to raise awareness and address misinformation through facilitating appropriate stakeholder engagement platforms.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, COMESA-ACTESA Chief Executive Officer Dr John Mukuka said the institution is looking forward to the collaborative effort that the MoU brings as the two parties are ready to work together and implement the activities. “We are happy about this collaboration because we believe that increased awareness and understanding of agricultural biotechnology and biosafety in the COMESA region is needed and a more informed public discourse is long overdue,” Dr Mukuka added.

ECOWAS makes case for promotion of Healthy Building Blocks to Strengthen Multilateralism at the United Nations (Modern Ghana)

Desirous of promoting the cherished ideas of multilateralism and the accepted principles of mutual coexistence across regions and races, the Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS has taken its evolving building blocks for the strengthening of multilateralism to the United Nations UN. The ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Amb Abdel-Fatau Musah made this in-road on the occasion of the ECOWAS @ 49 high-level event which held at the ECOSOCC chamber on the 7th of June, 2024 at the UN headquarters in in New York, USA.

Amb Musah Musah who was standing in for the ECOWAS Commission’s President Omar Alieu Touray, used the occasion to draw meaningful correlation between regionalism, democracy and development in the West Africa.  Today, he noted, the West African regional block holds aloft its big dream of interconnectivity whether on land, at sea and in the air, and has established a good number of entities and integration schemes in this regard, such as common external tariff as well as a few others billed to boost economic interdependence including some others that are still in the works.

Global financial reform takes centre stage at African Development Bank annual meeting (African Business)

Speaking at the 59th annual meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB), held in Nairobi in May, Dr. Benedict Okey Oramah, Afreximbank President, noted that Africa’s economy, while beset by challenges ranging from high debt to lower global capital inflows, has remained remarkably resilient amidst the challenging backdrop. However, growth without transformation and regional integration will not be impactful. “At ACET, we define economic transformation as growth that is accompanied with improvements in diversification, export competitiveness, productivity, technology, and human well-being,” Mavis Owusu-Gyamfi, executive director and incoming CEO and president of the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) told delegates.

Owusu-Gyamfi also called for faster regional integration. “We must trade with each other and not just look outward. The rest of the world wants our raw materials and we need finished products. Let’s collaborate to build these finished products and first sell them in the region and over time we will gain access to global markets,” she observed. This, she says, will require African countries to ratify the AfCFTA protocols so that skilled people can move freely across the continent to take jobs where they are available, and so that “the individual pieces that make up a finished product can move across countries quickly and safely.”

AfDB, AU, IFAD Advance Ties to Boost Africa’s Food Production (This Day Live)

Top development organisations have pledged to forge partnerships to expand the Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils (VACS) that would build resilient African food systems based on diverse, nutritious, and climate-adapted crops grown in healthy soils. They made the pledge recently at the sidelines of the African Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit in Nairobi where they called on African countries to join the VACS strategic partnership by aligning with the AfDB’s flagship initiative known as Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT).

The AfDB Group Vice President, Dr. Beth Dunford, said: “I am excited to see how the bank through its TAAT initiative, the United States Department of State, the African Union, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and CGIAR centers are developing a relationship to advance the work of VACS, also Feed the Future and the African Union Fertilizer and Soil Health Action Plan, and the Soil Initiative for Africa.”

MDBs’ common approach to measuring climate results (AfDB)

At COP28, multilateral development banks (MDBs), including the African Development Bank, agreed to develop a common approach for measuring and reporting climate results. Historically, MDBs have jointly reported climate finance volumes, but this has not fully captured the tangible impacts of these interventions. The new agreement aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the outcomes of climate investments, enhancing learning and identifying areas needing additional support.

The common approach adopted by MDBs ensures transparency, consistency and comparability across institutions and contributes to global efforts to establish standardized frameworks for assessing climate progress. It represents a significant advancement in the way climate finance impacts are measured, reported, and utilized to drive effective climate action worldwide.

Webinar discusses leveraging digital technologies to revolutionize customs operations (WTO)

The WTO hosted on 10 June the third session in its webinar series on trading goods in the digital era, showcasing the transformative potential of digital technologies in customs operations and the need for continued innovation and collaboration. The webinar emphasized the increasing adoption of technologies such as electronic data interchange, blockchain, artificial intelligence and big data analytics by customs authorities.

DDG Paugam: WTO system prerequisite to achieving steel decarbonization, climate goals (WTO)

In a keynote speech delivered at the opening of the worldsteel annual Open Forum in Brussels on 11 June, Deputy Director-General Jean-Marie Paugam underlined the importance of the WTO and the multilateral trading system in achieving global climate change objectives. A “fragmented system of uncoordinated environment-related trade policies will only hinder decarbonization efforts, contrary to our shared goals,” he declared.

Forward together: Making trade work better for the planet (UNCTAD)

The global production and distribution of goods contribute to about a quarter of all carbon dioxide emissions and to a significant share of biodiversity loss and global pollution. UN estimates show that agricultural expansion alone drives 88% of global deforestation.

In 2021, about 17% of global exports were biologically based products, rising to 40% for low-income economies. Global exports of plastics have more than doubled in value since 2005, reaching nearly $1.2 trillion in 2021. The fast-growing digital economy adds to the impact on the environment, increasing waste, energy consumption and emissions. Global e-waste surpassed 53 million metric tons in 2019, and data centers consume 6% to 12% of global energy. 

In this context, trade remains an underutilized or misused tool in climate action. It can enhance access to energy-efficient goods and the technologies needed for the energy transition and climate change adaptation and mitigation. Aligning trade more with climate and environmental objectives can create new, sustainable opportunities.

Other articles in the Forward together series:

Building more diverse and resilient economies

Making e-commerce and the digital economy work for all

Navigating the growing challenges of public and external debt

Global Growth Is Stabilizing for the First Time in Three Years (World Bank)

Global growth is projected to hold steady at 2.6% in 2024 before edging up to an average of 2.7% in 2025-26. That is well below the 3.1% average in the decade before COVID-19. Overall, developing economies are projected to grow 4% on average over 2024-25, slightly slower than in 2023. Growth in low-income economies is expected to accelerate to 5% in 2024 from 3.8% in 2023. However, In advanced economies, growth is set to remain steady at 1.5% in 2024 before rising to 1.7% in 2025.

“Four years after the upheavals caused by the pandemic, conflicts, inflation, and monetary tightening, it appears that global economic growth is steadying,” said Indermit Gill, the World Bank Group’s Chief Economist and Senior Vice President. “However, growth is at lower levels than before 2020. Prospects for the world’s poorest economies are even more worrisome. They face punishing levels of debt service, constricting trade possibilities, and costly climate events. Developing economies will have to find ways to encourage private investment, reduce public debt, and improve education, health, and basic infrastructure. The poorest among them—especially the 75 countries eligible for concessional assistance from the International Development Association—will not be able to do this without international support.”

Brics discusses trading in local currency, African Union, and Palestine (Business Standard)

In a meeting in Nizhny Novgorod, in western Russian on Tuesday, Brics nations carried on talks of enhanced use of local currencies in trade and financial transactions between the member countries, support to African units and its peace efforts in the continent, and support to Palestine’s bid for full membership in the United Nations (UN). A joint statement issued after the meeting reaffirmed the Brics foreign ministers’ commitment to strengthening the Brics Strategic Partnership under three main pillars: Politics & security, economy & finance, and cultural & people-to-people exchanges.

The meeting on Tuesday was the first ministerial gathering following the 2023 Brics expansion, which saw Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE join the original members: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

Here are some key points discussed by the Brics group:

  • The ministers highlighted the G20’s crucial role in international economic cooperation and welcomed the African Union’s inclusion as a member during the G20 New Delhi Summit. They expressed support for the consecutive G20 presidencies of India, Brazil, and South Africa from 2023 to 2025, aiming to address global economic inequalities and imbalances.

  • Ministries also agreed to continue following the “African solutions to African problems” principle and supporting peace efforts undertaken by the African Union, and African sub-regional organisations.

  • The ministers stressed the importance of fully implementing the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement. They opposed unilateral protectionist measures that disrupt global supply chains and supported an inclusive, rules-based multilateral trading system, with special treatment for developing countries.

  • The ministers highlighted the importance of enhancing the use of local currencies in trade and financial transactions among Brics countries, referring to paragraph 45 of the Johannesburg II Declaration, which tasked Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors to consider the same.

  • The ministers also advocated for a transparent, inclusive, non-discriminatory and rules-based multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at its core, with special and differential treatment for developing countries, including least developed countries. They committed to provide support for the necessary WTO reform with the aim of strengthening resilience, effectiveness and efficiency of the organisation.

pdf Joint Statement of the BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs International Relations, Nizhny Novgorod, Russian Federation, 10 June 2024 (215 KB)

Putin confirms Brics’ independent payment system in the pipeline (Bizcommunity)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has confirmed that Brics is developing its own independent payment system. Addressing a crowd of 12,000 attendees from more than 100 countries of the world at the 27th annual St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Putin said such a transaction system would be “unmoved by political pressure, abuse and external sanctions”.

The proposed new Brics payment system stands to form the backbone of cross-border payments that will strengthen the financial, technological and personal sovereignty of Russia, increase its production capacity and increase the competitiveness of Russian products both in foreign markets and in its own domestic market.

“It is no secret, of course, that the reliability of, and trust in Western payment systems has been thoroughly undermined, and by the Western countries themselves. Together with foreign partners, we will increase the use of national currencies in foreign-trade settlements, and increase the safety and efficiency of such operations through the Brics line.”

Putin underscored the importance of Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt having recently joined Brics, and emphasised how this has increased the group’s contribution to global GDP to 36%, and which now represents 46% of the world’s population.

“Brics has significant potential to welcome new members, and there is strong interest from partners across various continents to develop these connections. We, of course, welcome, support, and will continue to develop relations within the framework of Brics, not only in the fields of economics, finance, and security, but also in other areas where humanitarian co-operation is paramount,” Putin said. “We will act, taking into account global challenges and objective trends, emphasising the growing opportunities of national economies.”

BRICS gathered in Geneva to discuss a new digital order (Africa.com)

We need some form of international agreement on the regulation of digital ecosystems, especially given the development of AI technologies,” emphasized Alexey Ivanov, Director of the BRICS Competition Law and Policy Center. The UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Webinar on Competition law and policy approaches towards digital platforms and ecosystems in cooperation with the BRICS Competition Law and Policy Centre and the Brazilian Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) was held on June 3, in Geneva, Switzerland.

The digitalization of the economy – legislature, trade, customs, logistics, etc. – is just entering its most active stage of development, itself a preparatory stage for the automation of the economy. One of the most pressing issues now, at the initial stage of digitalization, is still the streamlining and creation of a regulatory framework for future global processes. This includes the issue of antitrust regulation, both within individual countries and various interstate associations, such as the EU or BRICS.

“Today, the actions of antitrust agencies in different countries remain disparate and fragmented. Lack of consensus leads to weakened enforcement, and ecosystems increase anti-competitive pressure on the market. Antitrust law is on the verge of losing its relevance and strength in the digital economy. We need some form of international agreement on the regulation of digital ecosystems, especially given the development of AI technologies,” emphasized Alexey Ivanov, Director of the BRICS Competition Law and Policy Center.

Quick links

Thought Leadership Webinar on Transforming Education in Africa calls for commitment to support and expand the second chance education programs (AU)

Empowering China-Africa Trade: Stanbic Bank Kenya’s Initiatives (Africa24.it)

UN Trade and Development: Pioneering global economic and development thought for decades (UNCTAD)


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