Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

South Africa eyes partnership with Nigeria after hitting N1 trillion trade in Q1, 2024 (Nairametrics)

President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa says he will sustain a strategic partnership with Nigeria. This is after his country emerged as Nigeria’s top trading partner in Africa in Q1, 2024, hitting over N1 trillion, according to data from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The South African side assured of strategic partnership resulting in “economic integration” in Africa.

“South Africa regards Nigeria as a strategic partner in the context of bilateral relations, the West Africa region, and the continent in the pursuance of the African Agenda, South-South cooperation and in the promotion of a rules-based International System. “Our two countries share a common vision on issues of political and economic integration in Africa,” the South African government tweeted.

Namibia is helping its top companies compete globally (WEF)

In Namibia, we know that many businesses are now under increasing pressure to green their supply chains and reduce emissions across their product lines. That’s why the government has established the Namibia Sustainable Supplier Database in partnership with the World Economic Forum. The database platform is a searchable online tool of Namibian businesses. Investors and global firms looking to source from Namibia can view company details as well as their engagement with five sustainable development criteria.

The database is easy to navigate, and users can filter results based on specific criteria to connect with suppliers that best suit their needs. For Namibian businesses, it is an opportunity to showcase sustainability efforts in sectors like tourism, mining, and agriculture, where the country is an exporter, and to help position Namibia at the forefront of the green transition.

Minerals account for approximately 60% of Namibian exports, followed by farm and fish exports. Tourism contributes to 6.9% of the country’s GDP. These figures reinforce the importance of finding supply chain and investment partners interested in supporting our companies’ sustainability efforts.

Namibia’s Oil and Gas Could Boost Economy Without Hurting Other Sectors (The Namibian)

Namibia’s partnership with the global community and local enterprises reveals a desire for an industrialised future by utilising its resources. The country has begun to overhaul its regulatory structure and fiscal policies to attract investment and encourage economic growth through oil, gas and renewable energy. This presents enormous opportunities for both domestic and international businesses.

Namibia boasts 11 billion barrels of oil and 2,2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, paving the way for enhanced exploration and production for neighboring countries. This is supported by a report from the Bank of Namibia (BoN), which shows that the oil and gas sector generated N$33,4 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) between 2021 and 2023.

As Namibia’s population ages and becomes more urbanised, we must recognise that the country will need more energy. For the socio-economic and economic domains, oil will be indispensable. Therefore, we need to realise this is a long-term development. It should be highlighted that Namibia has a long way to go in terms of oil and gas expertise, so we must be willing to welcome the international community to share their knowledge and skills. It requires a lot of capital and the infrastructure is costly. Namibia needs both experience and foreign direct investment in the industry to develop this infrastructure.

To avoid dependence on the oil and gas industries, we should diversify economic endeavours and maintain balance across sectors and implement appropriate national and economic strategies to ensure mining, agriculture and other essential sectors are not isolated. We have the opportunity to use this transformation to drive competitiveness and assist Namibia to achieve economic independence.

Agronomic board stops specific vegetable imports to protect farmers (The Namibian)

The Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) has imposed a closed border policy on specific vegetables for June to protect local farmers. According to a recent report by Simonis Storm Securities, the policy aims to strike a balance between supporting local producers and ensuring consumer access to fresh produce.

“We’re implementing a closed border policy for specific vegetables this month,” noted the report. “This includes beetroot, butternut, cabbage and onions. By limiting imports, we create a more favourable environment for our domestic growers to thrive,” noted the report. The NAB’s closed border policy for specific vegetables aims to stimulate domestic production and reduce reliance on imports.

Mozambique loses between 60 and 70 million dollars due to illegal fishing (Club of Mozambique)

Mozambique loses between 60 and 70 million dollars a year as a result of illegal fishing and tax evasion by vessels not licensed to carry out maritime operations.

According to the spokesperson of the National Maritime Institute (INAMAR), Leonid Chimarizene, who was speaking in Maputo, at the 2nd Meeting of the Operational Working Group of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Fisheries Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre (MCSCC), in order to reduce the number of cases, the government, in partnership with other SADC member countries, is working to combat illegal fishing.

“A vessel that is not on the legal circuit ends up damaging the country in various ways. Illegal fishing can’t be combated individually, that’s why the countries of the region are here”, Chimarizene said.

Zim ready to expand EU trade relations (The Herald)

Zimbabwe stands ready to expand trade relations with the European Union in line with its open for business mantra, the Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ambassador Albert Chimbindi, has said. On Tuesday, Amb Chimbindi met the director-general of the EU External Action Service Ambassador Rita Laranjinha on the sidelines of the EU-Sadc Ministerial Meeting in Luanda, Angola.

Amb Laranjinha acknowledged the ongoing trade negotiations between the EU and Zimbabwe and the progress made so far, as well as where the two are heading. “We know that there are ongoing negotiations between the EU and Zimbabwe on trade matters, and I think that we’ve made good progress in that regard on the understanding where we can continue to take these negotiations forward. That would be very, very important.”

Congo focuses the new industrial strategy, supported by ECA, on developing priority value chains and promoting the private sector (UNECA)

The Sub-Regional Office for Central Africa of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, in partnership with the UNDP Congo Country Office, has begun supporting the Republic of Congo in setting up its Master Plan for Industrialization and Economic Diversification (PDIDE). The PDIDE being formulated should serve as the basis for transforming the Congolese production system towards a low-carbon, greener economy. This industrial strategy should be accompanied by a skills revolution and capacity development.

According to Adama Ekberg Coulibaly, Senior Economist at ECA Central Africa Office, “the PDIDE is a framework for joint commitment to ensure the collaboration and coordination of all stakeholders called upon to implement the common roadmap that will enable the Congolese economy to diversify its sources of growth”. The development and implementation of a Master Plan for Industrialization and Economic Diversification would not only increase the contribution of the Congolese industrial sector to GDP, but also make the most of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), for which Congo has adopted an implementation strategy.

Equatorial Guinea adopts its national strategy for implementing the AfCFTA and takes a big step towards the African single market (UNECA)

The Republic of Equatorial Guinea has validated its national strategy for implementing the AfCFTA and now holds the keys to its strategic positioning in the African single market. At the end of a technical and multi-sectoral review workshop organized by ECA’s Sub-Regional Office for Central Africa and the Ministry of Trade and SMEs promotion, the action plan enabling Equatorial Guinea to take the most advantage from the AfCFTA was validated.

The strategy’s vision is to make Equatorial Guinea a reference trading partner in the continental economic space by 2029. This is based on a specific objective of ensuring commercial and productive integration of the national economy within the framework of the continent’s single and liberalized market.

To achieve this, the validated action plan is built on 7 axes and will help the country to: adapt and implement national trade policies that are coherent and oriented towards stimulating trade with Africa; streamline its trade by reducing the cost and duration of transporting goods from Equatorial Guinea to other markets in Africa; integrate regional value chains through improving local manufacturing capacities for made in Equatorial Guinea products; develop and finance infrastructure projects with an emphasis on multimodal transport and energy; improve access to information on trade and investment opportunities in Africa, strengthen private sector access to trade financing for the production and marketing of products of Equato-Guinean origin on the African market; promote the free movement of people, investments and factors of production.

Equatorial Guinea can count on its comparative and competitive advantages that the strategy calls for densification: tourism, the blue economy and the export potential of oil, methanol and wood.

Ghana must revamp economic policies for sustainable future - NDPC Chairman (Modern Ghana)

There is a need for a thorough re-evaluation of Ghana’s economic policies and strategies to achieve sustainable development, the Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Professor George Gyan-Baffour, has said. “Since Ghana’s independence in 1957, all governments have been implementing economic policies and strategies to achieve sustainable development,” he stated. However, he acknowledged that Ghana’s economy has remained vulnerable to external shocks, exposing “cracks in our economic policies and strategies.”

Prof. Gyan-Baffour underlined the importance of consolidating the small economic gains Ghana has realised and initiating more forward-looking economic policies and strategies to strengthen our economic growth to achieve sustainable development. He highlighted the unveiling of Ghana’s Vision 2057, a long-term development framework aimed at transforming the country into an upper-middle-income economy by its 100th anniversary of independence.

Nigeria’s Digital Economy recorded minimal growth in Tinubu’s first year as president (Premium Times Nigeria)

During his election campaign, President Bola Tinubu presented an 80-page policy document titled “Renewed Hope 2023—Action Plan for a Better Nigeria.” The document outlined strategies for how the Tinubu administration would place Nigeria on its path to economic rebirth.

Under a segment titled ‘The Digital Economy: Taking Advantage of The Fourth Industrial Revolution’, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate highlighted seven focus areas. He promised that Nigeria’s employment rate and the digital economy would record a boost through ICT-enabled outsourcing, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Tech manufacturing, E-Commerce, Government Digital Services, and improved Broadband penetration and Blockchain development.

In October 2023, the Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, headed by Bosun Tijani, launched its strategic blueprint. According to the ministry, the document will help “accelerate the diversification of the Nigerian economy by enhancing productivity in the critical sectors through technological innovations.” The document identified knowledge, policy, infrastructure, innovation, entrepreneurship and capital, as well as trade, as the five core pillars that will accelerate the nation’s economic growth. 

But how well have these strategies been implemented, and has Nigeria’s digital economy indeed seen a turnaround in the past year?

Strengthening productivity, institutions and e-commerce in Senegal (Trade for Development News)

Senegal is a relatively stable West African country bordered by Mali, Mauritania, Guinea Bissau and Guinea. 60% of its population of 16.7 million is young (under 35 years old) and predominantly urban. Senegal is known as the “Gateway to Africa” due to its location at the most western point of the continent, an intersection of major maritime and aerial routes.

Senegal’s lower middle-income economy is characterized by a Gross Domestic Product of USD 27.68 billion and a per capita Gross National Income of USD 1,599 (2022). Mining, construction, tourism, fishing and agriculture are prime drivers of the economy. After recording negative growth due to COVID-19, Senegal recorded economic growth of 6.5% in 2021, followed by a decline to 4.2% in 2022 due to adverse climate effects, a reduction in investments and a global economic downturn due to the Ukraine war. In 2021, Senegal met two of the three LDC graduation criteria, human per capita and human assets, and is due for reassessment in 2024.

The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF)’s support in Senegal focused on five key areas: better integration of trade into national development strategies; strengthening of institutional capacities in the public and private sectors; improvement of the business environment; development of agricultural value chains, mainly in the mango and cashew nut sectors; and development e-commerce capability.

Afreximbank signs term sheet to finance new terminal at Cameroon’s Douala Port (Afreximbank)

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has signed an indicative term sheet with APD-Cameroon for the financing of the development and operation of a new port terminal in Douala, Cameroon, estimated to cost EUR210 million. According to the term sheet, the proposed facility will be in two tranches in Euro and Central African Francs (XAF) of up to EUR147 million, with a proposed Afreximbank participation of EUR80 million.

Addressing guests at the signing ceremony, which took place as part of the ongoing Afreximbank Annual Meetings (AAM2024), Helen Brume, Director of Project and Asset Based Finance at Afreximbank, said that the facility would help to address the “significant infrastructure financing gap” which remained on the African continent.

“By signing this term sheet, we are committed to helping our countries bridge this gap. We applaud the initiative of APD-Cameroon, which through its commitment to this project, is helping to promote an innovative financing mechanism through a public-private partnership, thereby, reducing the financial burden of these strategic investments on the Government of Cameroon,” said Mrs. Brume.

Somalia Expects 3.1 percent GDP Growth, Rebounding from Drought and Commodity Price Shocks (World Bank)

Somalia’s economy is expected to grow at 3.1 percent in 2023 up from 2.4 percent in 2022. This rebound in growth was driven by improved weather conditions and policy reforms instituted by the government to reach the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Completion Point.

The latest Somalia Economic Update notes that the medium-term growth outlook will remain modest, with growth projected at 3.7 percent in 2024 and 3.9 percent in 2025. While this growth faces significant risks, including persistent climatic shocks, security threats, and global economic shocks, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) continues to maintain broad-based fiscal stability. Inflationary pressures have also eased, driven by declining food prices, improved weather, and easing of global commodity prices.

“Addressing climate challenges and risks is essential for sustainable and resilient economic growth,” said Kristina Svensson, World Bank Country Manager for Somalia. “There is an urgent need for the Government of Somalia to support sustained and long-term growth, anchored on macroeconomic stability, broad-based structural reforms, and longer-term resilience to climate change at the whole-of-economy level.”

Stakeholders Call For Education, Standardisation To Boost Intra-Africa Trade (News Agency of Nigeria)

The stakeholders said this on Wednesday in Abuja at the ongoing 30th General Assembly of the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO). The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Anite, said a symbiotic relationship existed between education, sustainable development, industrialisation, and trade in the 21st century. The minister was represented by her Permanent Secretary, Nura Rimi. According to Anite, the ministry considers these essential for economic efficiency, trade facilitation, and tackling developmental challenges. She said standardisation was a strategic pillar for governments, stakeholders, and the standardisation community.

“As provided under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), it is necessary to create awareness of the role of standardisation in sustainable development to catch up with the rest of the world. “Standards shape our everyday lives, drive economic efficiency, facilitate trade and are the fulcrum for tackling the challenges of moving towards a more sustainable and resilient development model,” she said.

The minister called for enhanced synergy and collaboration among African nations and ARSO member states to implement the AfCFTA agreement effectively.

Airbus has identified unserved air routes to, from and within Africa (Engineering News)

On Thursday, at the AviaDev Conference in Windhoek, Namibia, Airbus released its latest report on commercial aviation in Africa. The 53-page report is titled ‘Exploring the horizons: A study of unserved air routes to, from and within Africa’. “Despite significant traffic between certain city-pairs, some identified routes still lack regularly scheduled non-stop flights,” pointed out Airbus market intelligence and consulting director Geert Lemaire. “Factors such as restrictive bilateral air service agreements, economic variables, and challenges and capacity, frequency and operating cost efficiency contribute to these routes remaining unserved.”

Perhaps surprisingly, several of the unserved routes identified by Airbus involve major cities, including Cape Town (South Africa), Dakar (Senegal), Douala (Cameroon), Lagos (Nigeria) and Nairobi (Kenya). Establishing scheduled services on the currently unserved routes across the continent would impel economic growth, increase connectivity for travellers, and deliver a significant revenue boost for African airlines.

Afreximbank and Africa CDC pledge US$2 billion facility in support of Africa Health and Pharmaceutical Products Manufacturing (Afreximbank)

African Export-Import Bank and the Africa Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) have renewed their partnership with a new cooperation agreement announced today on the sidelines of the Global Forum for Vaccine Sovereignty and Innovation in Paris, France. Through this collaboration, Afreximbank has committed a US$ 2 billion facility to the “Africa Health Security Investment Plan” to support the health product manufacturing ambition of the continent. This initiative will focus on the African Pooled Procurement Mechanism (APPM) and the Platform for Harmonized African Health Products Manufacturing (PHAHM).

African pharmaceutical companies face severe impacts of the global health, security and economic challenges, yet they are the drivers of investments and technology advancements that the health sector needs. Low investor confidence, lack of appropriate infrastructure, trade related barriers, and regulatory challenges are some of the constraints to investment in Africa’s health sector.

Closing the investment gap will be crucial to achieving the African Union’s ambition of manufacturing 60% of vaccines needed locally by the year 2040 as well as implementing all other countermeasures necessary to ensure self-reliance especially during crises such as pandemics and outbreaks.

4th Meeting of the ECOWAS Ministerial Steering Committee for the Amilcar Cabral submarine telecom cable project (ECOWAS)

On Friday 14 June 2024, Bissau, the capital of Guinea Bissau, hosted the 4th Meeting of the Ministers of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)/Digital Economy and those of Finance and/or Planning of the ECOWAS Member States involved in the Amilcar Cabral submarine telecoms cable development project.

The Amilcar Cabral submarine telecoms cable development project involves 6 ECOWAS countries: Cabo Verde, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Its aim is to establish a fibre-optic submarine cable link that will provide redundant international connectivity for these countries, which currently have only one landing station, and to increase the international bandwidth available to Internet users in the countries concerned. It will improve the quality, reliability and accessibility of international telecommunications services, bringing tangible socio-economic benefits to the target countries.

During the meeting, the Ministers adopted the principle of starting the project with the two countries that have already mobilised the necessary resources, even if it means finding a formula or framework for reimbursement by the other four countries under an agreement to be prepared by ECOWAS and signed by all the parties.

Boosting Africa’s digital economy: FADB unveils roadmap for growth (The Sun)

A significant step towards a thriving digital Africa was taken this week with the launch of the Federation of African Digital Businesses (FADB). This new initiative, formed by leaders from key ICT organisations across eight African nations, aims to unlock the continent’s digital potential and propel economic growth.

The FADB’s establishment, solidified by the signing of the Marrakech Declaration, signifies a landmark collaboration between the public and private sectors in Africa’s digital landscape. The founding members outlined a set of strategic goals to address Africa’s digital challenges and unlock growth opportunities: Improved Business Environment; Universal Digital Access; Empowering Local Entrepreneurs; Enhanced Digital Skills; Financial Inclusion; Streamlined Regulations; and E-commerce Growth.

Africa: Foreign investment in clean energy boosts sustainability momentum (UNCTAD)

Foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to Africa fell by 3% to $53 billion in 2023, according to the latest World Investment Report released on 20 June. Two of the largest recipient economies – Egypt and South Africa – drove the overall trend. During the year, the estimated value of international project finance deals in African nations declined by 50% to $64 billion. This follows a 20% drop in 2022.

However, the continent attracted a growing share of global greenfield megaprojects, six of them valued above $5 billion. Topping the list was a green hydrogen project in Mauritania, a least developed country in Northwest Africa. This project is expected to generate $34 billion in investment, an amount several times greater than the nation’s GDP. Africa also received more than $10 billion in project finance for wind and solar electricity production, with the largest projects located in Egypt, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

Value chains for electric vehicles also prompted foreign investments. The largest deals announced included one to establish a $6.4-billion electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in Morocco. The main economies investing in the continent, by FDI stock, are the Kingdom of the Netherlands, France, the United States, the United Kingdom, and China.

Global foreign investment weak in 2023, funding for sustainable development sectors drops over 10% (UNCTAD)

In 2023, global foreign direct investment (FDI) decreased by 2% to $1.3 trillion, according to the latest World Investment Report. When excluding the impact of a few exceptions, the report reveals a sharper decline of over 10% in global foreign investments for the second consecutive year. This decline is driven by increasing trade and geopolitical tensions in a slowing global economy.

While the prospects for FDI remain challenging in 2024, the report says that “modest growth for the full year appears possible”, citing the easing of financial conditions and concerted efforts towards investment facilitation – a prominent feature of national policies and international agreements.

With the global push to attract and retain financial flows, online information portals and single windows have proliferated to foster a conducive business and investment climate. For developing countries, digitalization not only provides a technical solution, but also a stepping stone for wider digital government implementation to address underlying weaknesses in governance and institutions which often hinder investment.

Interview: New quality productive forces advance UN Sustainable Development Goals, says former UN Under-Secretary-General (Xinhua)

China’s effort to develop “new quality productive forces” injects new momentum into achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, said Erik Solheim, co-chair of the Europe-Asia Center and former under-secretary-general of the United Nations.

The concept of “new quality productive forces” was first proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2023, which encapsulates China’s successful combination of technological innovation and green development, he said, adding that China’s effort in this regard is crucial for the global green transformation.

“China is now the core of global green development and an indispensable force in the global green transformation,” said Solheim, noting that countries seeking green development without cooperating with China will “pay more time and cost.” Solheim highlighted China’s role in high-tech industries, saying that alongside Silicon Valley, “China is the other center of industrial and high-tech development in the world.” He said Chinese companies supply nearly 60 percent of the global green product market, including the photovoltaic industry, driven by continuous technological innovation.

Secretary-General: We Must ‘Reimagine a World Where Trade Is a Force for Shared Prosperity - Not Geopolitical Rivalry’ (UN India)

UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks to the Global Leaders Forum for the sixtieth anniversary of UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in Geneva on 12 June

Today, the clarity and commitment of UN Trade and Development are more relevant than ever. Geopolitical divisions are rising; inequalities are growing; the climate crisis is hitting many developing countries hard. And new and protracted conflicts are having a ripple effect across the global economy.

The international financial architecture has been exposed as outdated, dysfunctional and unjust. It has failed to provide a safety net for developing countries mired in debt. And the international trading system is challenged on all sides; teetering on the verge of fragmentation. Trade has become a double-edged sword: a source of both prosperity and inequality; interconnection and dependence; economic innovation and environmental degradation. In this context, I welcome the reforms to UNCTAD initiated by Secretary General Rebeca Grynspan.

G7 Pledges to Accelerate SDGs, Transition from Fossil Fuels This Decade (SDG Knowledge Hub)

The Group of 7 (G7) leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US, with the EU, have wrapped up a three-day summit, united in their “steadfast commitment” to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They pledged to redouble their efforts to accelerate progress towards the SDGs, including by transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems in this decade.

The 36-page Apulia G7 Leaders’ Communiqué reiterates the Group’s “enduring unity and determination to meet global challenges… as the international community confronts multiple interconnected crises.” It reaffirms the leaders’ “shared belief in democratic principles and free societies, universal human rights, social progress, and respect for multilateralism and the rule of law.” The document further signals the leaders’ intention to support more effective, inclusive, and equitable global governance and to safeguard international peace and security while upholding “the free and open rules-based international order.”

Why energy efficiency is as important as renewables growth (WEF)

By 2050, global electricity demand is expected to more than double from today’s levels due to population growth and increased electrification of things like transportation and heat-intensive manufacturing processes. Even though more renewable energy will be available, it will not be enough to meet our decarbonization goals. We need to focus on managing demand to make faster progress.

Changing how we use energy is crucial for both energy security and cutting emissions. We need to prioritize energy efficiency on a par with switching to renewable energy, especially in the next decade. And as the world grapples with this crucial transition towards more sustainable energy systems, we must listen to insights from the developing world. Many of these countries are already working to transform energy demand and can offer invaluable lessons as the rest of the world navigates this transition.

Boosting energy productivity is not only good for the environment but also financially rewarding. If certain measures are taken by 2030, it could create a roughly 30% reduction in energy intensity and up to $2 trillion in annual savings. Existing technologies and solutions deployed and sectors like industrial manufacturing, transport and the built environment could have the most impact.

Quick links

Enhancing trade flexibility and facilitating trade finance: UNCITRAL’s latest on negotiable cargo documents and negotiable electronic cargo records (Trade Finance Global)

OPEC Fund Development Forum 2024: Sustainable development and private sector growth (Trade Finance Global)

Global Gas Flaring Jumps to Highest Level since 2019 (World Bank)

Facilitator briefs members on start of formal dispute settlement reform work (WTO)


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