Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

President Mnangagwa rallies local businesses to embrace AfCFTA opportunities (The Chronicle)

President Mnangagwa has rallied Zimbabwean businesses to be aggressive and take full advantage of the vast trading opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). He was addressing the 10th CEO Africa Roundtable conference in Victoria Falls today, which runs under the theme: “The Future of Africa: Modernise, Reshape and Grow”.

“In line with this year’s theme of modernisation, my Government is committed to significantly improve trade facilitation, reduce clearance times, and enhance the efficiency of cross-border operations along transport corridors, leveraging on Zimbabwe’s strategic geographic location in the Southern African Region,” said President Mnangagwa.

The President said by aligning the development of the North-South Corridor, Border Post upgrading, modernisation initiatives, and the principles of the African Continental Free Trade Area, a strong foundation for seamless regional integration is laid.

Digital transformation: A pathway to address Nigeria’s unemployment crisis (Businessday NG)

Nigeria, with its vibrant and growing youth population, is standing at a crossroads. The nation is grappling with an alarming unemployment rate of 33.3 percent, one of the highest in the world. This crisis is particularly severe among young Nigerians, who represent a significant segment of the population. Yet, amid this daunting challenge, digital transformation shines as a beacon of hope. It offers a path forward through job creation and skill development, essential for driving economic growth and ensuring stability.

Digital revolution is reshaping economies around the globe, propelling growth and innovation at an extraordinary rate. A recent study predicts the global digital economy will soar to $23 trillion by 2025, underscoring the immense transformative potential of digital technologies. For developing nations like Nigeria, digital transformation presents a golden opportunity to unlock new economic prospects, boost productivity, and pave the way for sustainable development.

EAC finance ministers present 2024/25 national budgets (The East African)

East African finance ministers are presenting their spending plans for the 2024/2025 fiscal year against a backdrop of a fragile operating environment fuelled by rising public debts, high fuel prices, falling household and business incomes and global geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, which are colluding to stifle economic growth in the region.

Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwandan finance ministers will be outlining their budgetary allocations to key priority sectors to bolster economic growth and the various taxation measures to fund the budgets. However, the ministers face a delicate balancing act in adopting revenue-raising policies that do not push the economies into debt distress and discourage regional trade and investment through punitive taxation measures.

No agreement in Africa on proposed merging of economic groups (The Standard)

Presidents and finance ministers from eleven central African countries have failed to agree on merging three economic blocs. Analysts say breaking down economic barriers among member countries of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, CEMAC, the Economic Community of Central African States, ECCAS, and the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries CEPGL will boost trade and growth in a region that is said to be among the poorest and most conflict-ridden in the world. But after a meeting in Cameroon’s capital, officials say combining the three economic blocs will take longer than the leaders of the regions expect.

Gilberto Da Piedade Verissimo is the president of ECCAS. He says the process of merging the economic blocs is taking longer than planned because of a lack of political will, conflicting interests and bureaucratic duplication among 3 rival economic groups. He says each time there is a leadership change, ECCAS officials start explaining the importance of fusing the economic blocs for the general interest of the eleven central African states to new governments all over again because different leaders have different understandings of the combination.

Verissimo said merging economic blocs will stop the duplication of regional projects such as airlines, roads, electricity, agriculture and aquaculture, making it easier for funding agencies to invest in such projects.

Experts of Ministries in charge of Industry recommend revised standards and instruments (ECOWAS)

In the framework of the implementation of the ECOWAS Quality Policy (ECOQUAL), the ECOWAS Commission held a meeting of Experts of Ministries in charge of Industry to consider draft standards and instruments to ensure quality, reduce technical barriers to trade and facilitate access to market at regional, continental and international level.

The Industry Experts reviewed and validated the revised ECOWAS Standard Harmonization Model (ECOSHAM) which considers latest development and aligned with the African Standards Harmonization rules and procedures, 58 draft ECOWAS Standards (ECOSTANDs) on textile value chain aiming at ensuring quality and the well-being of the consumers of the region and a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) for acceptance of Inspection Certificates aiming at facilitating cross-border trade and reducing time and cost for quality control.

At the end of the meeting, the Experts recommended the instruments for endorsement by the Ministers in charge of Trade and Industry and thanked the ECOWAS Commission for its coordinating and supporting role as well as for the level of commitment made towards deepening regional integration through Quality promotion, Standards development and intraregional trade.

Committee on Market Access holds first thematic session on greening the Harmonized System (WTO)

The Committee on Market Access held on 11 June a first exploratory session on “greening” the Harmonized System (HS), the system used to classify traded goods, and how this relates to the work of the WTO. The session featured presentations from the WTO Secretariat, World Customs Organization (WCO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS) Secretariat, and the Government of Ecuador on how the HS could be adapted to help WTO members achieve their environmental objectives.

The session built on the WCO report published in April 2023 summarizing the outcomes of a series of symposia on “Visualising a greener HS” from October 2022 to January 2023. These events sought to discuss and identify potential changes to the HS in order to make it more supportive of environmental policy needs in future editions and included participation from WCO members and various stakeholders.

Robust investments in infrastructure are essential to ensure universal access to the internet (G20 Brasil 2024)

Currently, according to Giga Project data, around 2.6 billion people around the world have no access to the internet. Universal connectivity will not be achieved without a massive investment in digital infrastructure. A proposal to overcome this challenge was presented on Tuesday (11) during a G20 Digital Economy Working Group event.

Universal and meaningful connectivity. One of the priorities of the Digital Economy Working Group under Brasil’s G20 presidency is also one of the pillars of the struggle to overcome social inequality in an increasingly connected and digital world. Presently, around 2.6 billion people around the world have no access to the internet, according to data from the Giga Project, a UNICEF and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) initiative.

On Tuesday, the G20 Digital Economy WG side event “Digital Infrastructure Investment Initiatives: bridging the financial gap for significant universal connectivity” presented the Digital Infrastructure Investment Initiative (DII) proposed by the International Telecommunication Union, knowledge partner of Brasil’s presidency in the Digital Economy Working Group.

The goal is to address the challenges and opportunities that are inherent to digital infrastructure and to the need for investments in the sector, presenting examples of financial mechanisms that are capable of leveraging universal and meaningful connectivity around the world.

Trade can resume its role as driver of poverty reduction (World Bank Blog)

International trade soared as the world recovered from the Covid-19 induced economic crisis. In 2022, the value of traded goods and services was 24 percent higher than in 2019, before the pandemic struck. But in 2023, trade hit a wall, barely eking out a 0.1 percent gain over the previous year, as underlined in the World Bank’s Trade Watch. It took strong growth in services trade to make up for the first decline in goods trade in 20 years outside of a recession.

Where do we go from here? The World Bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects report predicts that trade will recover slightly in 2024 and 2025 as pre-pandemic patterns reassert themselves. Trade is expected to mirror projected weak growth in global output and investment.

On the other hand, pessimists might say that 2023 marks the beginning of a new normal for trade in a world best by geopolitical tensions, climate-related shocks, and increased protectionism in advanced and large economies. That dark scenario spells trouble for developing countries, which need trade, foreign investment, and participation in global value chains to eliminate poverty and ensure their green transition.

US apparel negotiator urged to tackle unfair trade policy (Just Style)

USTR apparel negotiator White made her inaugural trip to a major hub of American textile production facilities and visited six plants in total in North Carolina, including American & Efird, Parkdale Mills/US Cotton, TSG Finishing, Shuford Yarns, Schneider Mills, and Unifi. White was shown recent textile and apparel industry innovations, the facilities’ advanced manufacturing capabilities and the role the domestic sector plays in supplying the US military and personal protective equipment (PPE).

White also participated in a roundtable discussion at Gaston College’s Textile Technology Center where US textile executives underscored the domestic textile supply chain’s $64.8bn output in 2023 and the benefits of its over 500,000 workforce. However, the attendees also warned of severe economic headwinds from foreign trade practices and so-called inadequate enforcement of trade laws.

OECD Digital Economic Outlook 2024: perspectives of the future (Telefónica)

The rapid advancement of interdependent digital technologies is driving significant economic and societal transformations. The OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2024 (Volume 1) provides an in-depth look at the fast-paced advancements in digital technologies that are reshaping our economy and society, underpinning digital transformation and their impacts.

Over the past decade, the ICT sector has grown approximately three times faster than the total economy in OECD countries, reaching an average growth rate of 7.6% in 2023. This highlights the sector’s resilience and importance.

As digital transformation intensifies and their social and economic impact deepens, the need for evidence-based policies becomes more urgent. The OECD have used Google Trends data to nowcast trade in services during the COVID-19 period and to develop weekly estimates of GDP growth rates. Additionally, the OECD AI Policy Observatory uses non-traditional data to measure the real-time use and diffusion of AI technologies. However, the extent of digital transformation is difficult to measure in terms of the monetary value of the digital economy due to a lack of timely and comparable data across countries.

G20 leaders call for global cyber regulations (Cyber Daily)

Global leaders have met to discuss the importance of cyber security in an increasingly digitally connected world, as part of the G20 Digital Economy Working Group this week. Leaders from the 20 participating countries, including Australia, China, Japan, Russia, the UK, and the US, met in the city of São Luís, the capital of Maranhão, Brazil, for the meeting.

On Monday (10 June), the group held a seminar on security in digital economies, discussing the issues that increased digital connectivity brings to security and privacy, particularly with the growth of developing technologies like artificial intelligence (AI).

The discussion was centred on “four priority axes: universal and meaningful connectivity; information integrity; digital government; and artificial intelligence”, according to the G20. Minister Amaro said that global cooperation is key in thwarting digital threats.

Afreximbank Launches 2024 African Trade Report and African Trade and Economic Outlook Report at AAM 2024 (Afreximbank)

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) today launched its African Trade Report 2024 and African Trade and Economic Outlook Report 2024 at the Afreximbank Annual Meetings (AAM) 2024 in Nassau, The Bahamas. The latter report forecasts that African economies will grow on average by 3.8% in 2024 – slightly ahead of predicted global growth of 3.2% – prior to increasing by 4% in 2025. The Report, titled ‘A Resilient Africa: Delivering Growth in a Turbulent World,’ provides an analysis of the economic environment, trade patterns, debt scenarios, and future projections for African economies.

Dr. Yemi Kale, Afreximbank’s Group Chief Economist and Managing Director of Research and International Cooperation, said ongoing global challenges undermined the performance of Africa’s trade, which contracted by 6.3% in 2023 after expanding by 15.9% in 2022, while intra-African trade expanded by 3.2% over the same period. The Chief Economist said: “This performance is reflective of the resilience of the African economy and the potential impact of the African Continental Free Trade Area’s (AfCFTA) single market for the continent as a tool to protect them from global shocks,” adding, “Our analysis in the report also revealed large untapped potential in intra-African trade, especially with respect to machinery, electricity, motor vehicles, and food products.

Intra-Africa exports surge (The Zimbabwe Independent)

Africa’s intracontinental commerce is on the rise, accounting for 16,3% share of total trade in recent years, according to Kwazulu-Natal premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube. While this figure may seem modest compared to other regions, it hints at the vast untapped potential within the continent’s borders.

“Reflecting on the journey thus far, it’s evident that Africa has traversed great distances,” she said at the 31st Afreximbank Annual Meetings incorporating the 3rd AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum. “Gone are the days when our continent was mired in conflict, disease and famine, shackled by the weight of its colonial past. Today, we stand tall amidst a landscape of democracy, open economies, and relative political stability.”

Afreximbank’s Annual Meetings 2024 Calls for Africans Across the Globe to Unite (Afreximbank)

Heads of State, Ministers, government officials, and renowned captains of industry were among the over two thousand delegates attending day one of the 31st African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) Annual Meetings (AAM) being held in Nassau, The Bahamas from June 12-15. Themed “Owning our Destiny: Economic Prosperity on the Platform of Global Africa,” the first day of the Meetings called to strengthen the linkages between Africa and the Caribbean, the sixth region of the African Union. These meetings are considered crucial for economic decision-makers in Africa and the Caribbean and are covered by the African, Caribbean, and international media.

Ms. Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, emphasised the significant trade potential between Africa and the Caribbean, projecting trade to reach US$1.8 million annually by 2028. She suggested it is time to explore establishing a free trade area between Africa and the Caribbean. “Trade agreements are one way to help bring down barriers and open new opportunities,” said Ms Coke-Hamilton.

ITC commits to promoting African-Caribbean trade (IITC)

Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton delivered her opening remarks at the ‘Economic Transformation for Global Africa in a Polycrisis World’ session during the 2024 Afreximbank Annual Meeting and the 3rd AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum.

The ties between Africa and the Caribbean run deep, and it’s these ties that can and must carry us through some of the biggest threats that we face, especially in today’s polycrisis world. Challenges like climate change, which bears down on us daily, putting current and future generations at risk. Challenges like supply chain disruptions, or food insecurity, or environmental degradation, or the COVID-19 pandemic’s aftermath, all of which can undo years of economic progress in short order.

But if we’re going to tackle these challenges head-on, we need more trade and investment between Africa and the Caribbean. That’s what can make economic transformation possible, and in a way that benefits both regions by drawing on our shared ties, hopes, and potential.

ITC’s newest research with Afreximbank, which we will soon publish, shows that trade between Africa and the Caribbean holds enormous potential—$1.8 billion for goods and services annually by 2028, to be exact. But we have a long road ahead of us if we’re going to actually achieve that potential in practice, because getting to that number means getting rid of all trade frictions and getting investments into the right sectors.

CARICOM pilot of shared currency system ‘soon’ (Barbados Today)

The pilot of a potentially ground-breaking scheme to allow CARICOM nations to trade using each other’s currencies without a third-party currency is to start “soon”, Central Bank of Barbados governor Kevin Greenidge has revealed.

Greenidge, who chairs the CARICOM group of central bank governors, said regional governors agreed last month to push ahead with a Caribbean version of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) which was launched by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in January 2022 to reduce reliance on hard currencies like the US dollar for transactions between African nations.

If successfully replicated in the Caribbean, the system could allow goods and services to be paid for directly in the currencies of the respective CARICOM nations involved, rather than being settled in a third currency like the US dollar. Proponents argue the payment system would reduce transaction costs, minimise the need for holding substantial foreign currency reserves, facilitate smoother intra-regional trade and lead to lower retail prices for consumers. In October, 11 CARICOM central bankers unanimously agreed to adopt PAPSS as the preferred system for settling intra-regional trade transactions.

Members add good practice guide to TBT transparency tools, advance work on triennial review (WTO)

At its meetings on 4-7 June, the Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) finalised a good practice guide to support members wishing to comment on other members’ proposed TBT regulations before they are finalised. The Committee also considered 38 proposals regarding the on-going triennial review of the TBT Agreement. Members raised 61 trade concerns at the meeting, of which seven were raised for the first time.

DG Okonjo-Iweala welcomes President Assoumani of Comoros to the WTO (WTO)

Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala met with the President of Comoros, Azali Assoumani, on 12 June at the WTO. The President announced that his country had taken the first step to ratify its imminent WTO membership, which was approved at the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi in February. Both leaders subsequently discussed next steps for the entry of Comoros into the WTO.

Both leaders reiterated the important role that trade and the WTO play in developing and expanding the economic base and export potential of Comoros, particularly in sectors such as tourism, finance and digitalisation. Regional cooperation and integration, including through the African Continental Free Trade Area, was highlighted as another key element for further economic diversification.

Quick links

‘Where will we go?’ Taxing times for East Africa’s ‘mitumba’ women (Nation)

Becoming the Mining Hub of Africa: Detrimental to Inclusive and Sustainable Development of Ghana (Modern Ghana)

Reforms to Improve Service Delivery, Boost Tax Revenues, and Strengthen Accountability and Transparency in Liberia (World Bank)

UN chief underscores UNCTAD’s essential role in shaping a fairer, more sustainable global economy (UNCTAD)

Evaluation praises work of STDF in helping developing countries meet SPS standards (WTO)


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