Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Streamlined PPP framework could unlock infrastructure investment (Engineering News)

In February, the National Treasury asked for public comments to be submitted in respect of the newly drafted amendments to the National Treasury Regulations (NTR) 16, and key elements of municipal public-private partnerships (PPPs) legislation, to bring it in line with recommendations based on a complete review of the PPP framework.

“The National Treasury has received a substantial number of comments. The process of reviewing the comments received from the public- and private-sector stakeholders is in progress,” a National Treasury spokesperson says, adding that the in-house process to address the comments has to receive legal approval to ensure that due procedure has been followed in addressing the comments. This could lead to potential delays.

“There is a compelling case to use PPPs, considering the challenges faced by the South African fiscus. Unfortunately, there has been a decline in the procurement of services through PPPs in South Africa recently, and the State is eager to reignite private-sector investment in PPPs to accelerate infrastructure development while applying capital to other pressing needs of the State like healthcare, social welfare [and] education,” law firm White and Case says.

China’s Tsingshan $1bn steel plant in Zimbabwe starts production (Engineering News)

China’s nickel giant Tsingshan Holding Group has started production at its $1-billion steel plant in central Zimbabwe, a company official said on Thursday. Tsingshan’s Dinson Iron and Steel Company will produce 600 000 metric tons of carbon steel annually during the first phase of its operations, project director Wilfred Motsi told reporters during a tour of the plant. “We have started to produce pig iron, which is a raw material used for the production of steel. By July, that’s when we will start to produce the actual carbon steel,” Motsi said. He did not say how long the first phase would last.

Uganda signs deal with UAE to build new international airport (The East African)

Uganda has signed a pact with a business association from the United Arab Emirates to build a new international airport, President Yoweri Museveni’s office said on Friday. The deal for the country’s third such airport expands the UAE’s economic footprint beyond its interests in the renewable energy and oil and gas industries.

The main airport is Entebbe, on the northern shores of Lake Victoria, in central Uganda. Kabalega International Airport in the oil-rich Hoima District in western Uganda is under construction. The UAE’s Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry will build the airport just outside the Kidepo National Park in the northeast near Uganda’s border with Kenya, Museveni’s office said in a statement, without giving the cost. Construction will start in August, said Abdallah Sultan Al Owais, chairman of the Sharjah business body.

Formal financial inclusion in Rwanda grew 39% in 2020-2024 (The New Times)

The number of Rwandans who have access to formal financial services and products increased by more than 38.8 per cent to 7.5 million between 2020 and 2024, a new report published by Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR) on June 20, found. That implies that 92 per cent of Rwandans have access to formal financial services, which the report describes as services offered by institutions that are governed by a legal precedent of any kind.

Those services are offered by banks, mobile money operators, insurance and pension companies, microfinance institutions, Saving and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs), as well as regulated non-deposit taking financial institutions. The increase in access to formal financial services was driven mainly by mobile money, insurance, and pension.

IMF approves over $900m to support Tanzania budget, climate change fight (The East African)

The IMF said on Thursday its executive board approved funding for Tanzania of $786.2 million to help tackle climate change while also completing a separate review allowing for the disbursement of $149.4 million for budget support. Tanzanian authorities are committed to continue implementing reforms to preserve macro-financial stability, strengthen economic recovery, and promote sustainable and inclusive growth, the International Monetary Fund said in a statement.

In the last three years, President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s administration has undertaken various economic reforms with ambitions to return the country’s economic growth to the pre-pandemic real gross domestic product growth rate of six percent to seven percent. Tanzania’s economic reform programme remained strong, the IMF said, adding that economic growth rebounded in 2023 after slowing down in 2022. Tanzania’s economy, which relies on tourism, mining, agriculture and manufacturing, has remained resilient in the face of back-to-back extreme weather events and climate change, driven by a surge in the services sector, according to the World Bank.

Zambia reviews and validates the draft Report of the implementation of Zambia’s National Industrial Policy (UNECA)

The Ministry of Commerce, Trade, and Industry (MCTI), in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa (ECA SRO-SA) organized a workshop to review the outcomes of the mid-term review of the implementation of Zambia’s National Industrial Policy (2018-2027) and to validate the Implementation Plan for the National Industrial Policy (2024-2027). The review ascertained the extent to which the policy has been deployed, identified successes, challenges and how these can inform the calibration of the implementation plan for the remainder of the life of the policy.

The remarks by ECA SRO-SA were delivered by Ms. Olayinka Bandele, Chief, Inclusive Industrialization on behalf of the Director, Ms. Eunice Kamwendo. She emphasised the importance of industrialisation in diversifying the country’s economic base; create jobs and address youth unemployment; reduce poverty and inequality; facilitate green transitions and strengthen food systems and noted that, “The vision is to transform Zambia and promote industrial development agenda focused on growth, diversification, upgrading of industrial capacity, and enhancing competitiveness of the nation’s manufacturing sector, as well as the promotion of quality infrastructure to support industrialization was imperative”. She underscored that review was critical as it allowed for adjustment of the new plan to implement the policy to accommodate other emerging issues including the AfCFTA and green industrialization.

EU begins dispute settlement proceedings against Algeria to defend European companies (European Commission)

On 14 June 2024, the EU has launched a dispute settlement case against Algeria and requested consultations with Algerian authorities to address several restrictions imposed on EU exports and investments. The EU considers that, by imposing these trade restrictive measures since 2021, Algeria is not respecting its trade liberalisation commitments under the EU-Algeria Association Agreement.

The EU’s aim is to engage constructively with Algeria with a view to removing the restrictions on several market sectors, spanning from agricultural products to motor vehicles. These include an import licensing system with the effects of an import ban, subsidies contingent on the use of local inputs for car manufacturers, and a cap on foreign ownership for companies importing goods in Algeria.

In light of unsuccessful efforts to resolve the matter amicably, the EU has taken this step to preserve the rights of EU exporters and EU companies operating in Algeria who are adversely affected. The Algerian measures also harm Algerian consumers, due to an unduly restricted choice of products.

Ethiopia Working to Combat Deforestation, Degradation & Climate Change through Various Intiatives (ENA)

The Government of Ethiopia is working on landscape restoration through various initiatives to combat deforestation, degradation and climate change, Ethiopian Forestry Development Director-General Kebede Yimam said today. The nation has also developed policies, strategies and plans to protect foresters, he stated, recalling the Green Legacy Initiative as one of government efforts to combat environmental degradation, deforestation, and climate change.

Therefore, the director-general stressed that it’s important to work in collaboration with various stakeholders for effective land management and restoration in a research based and holistic manner. Kebede made the remark at a workshop on disseminating research findings and policy implications of landscape approach and climate-smart agriculture.

The primary goal of the workshop organized by International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is to promote policy actions for eco-regional and landscape development approaches and climate-smart agriculture and to share important research findings in order to hasten Ethiopia’s transformation to a sustainable food system.

African Development Bank, WFP project boosts wheat production in war-torn Sudan amid soaring hunger (AfDB)

An emergency wheat production project in Sudan financed by the African Development Bank and executed by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has increased wheat production in the country by up to 70% in targeted project locations across five states within the past year. The African Development Bank provided a total of $75 million to WFP for the implementation of the Sudan Emergency Wheat Production Project over the course of two years.

“This development comes at a critical time for Sudan, which is facing a looming hunger catastrophe due to the ongoing conflict, that has slowed down production in the past agricultural season,” Nnenna Nwabufo, the Bank’s Director General for Eastern Africa region said. “Given the great potential that agriculture offers even under circumstances of active conflict, and with famine in Sudan on the horizon, threatening millions of lives, this project has brought a lot of hope.”

73 per cent of Mozambican population does not have access to internet (Club of Mozambique)

The Minister of Transport and Communications, Mateus Magala, announced on Wednesday that around 73% of the Mozambican population does not have access to Internet services. Speaking in Maputo, at the launch of the VaMoz Digital project, Magala said: “We are challenged to change the paradigm, identifying innovative, environmentally friendly solutions that rely on the active involvement of the private sector to provide Internet to all.”

“We cannot conduct digital transformation without highly trained technicians in Cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, robotics, 5th generation networks, just to name a few”, he said. The government expects the technical team implementing VaMoz Digital to present concrete proposals for legal reform and new negotiation models in the field of the digital economy, spectrum sharing, infrastructure and incentives for rural coverage of Internet services.

Bridging Progress: African Development Bank powers The Gambia’s leap into the future (AfDB)

The African Development Bank’s investments in The Gambia’s energy sector have significantly improved access to affordable and reliable electricity, with at least 70% of Gambians projected to have power by the end of 2024 (50% in rural areas), according to a recent Bank country progress report. Notable projects include an interconnection with Senegal, which provides 50 megawatts of power to augment the Gambia’s bulk supply system. The report, approved by the Bank Group’s Board on 13 June 2024, reflects results obtained halfway through the execution of the Bank’s 2021-2025 Country Strategy Paper (CSP) for the Gambia. It highlights remarkable achievements in the country’s energy, agriculture, and transport sectors.

‘SADC must make use of bilateral or multilateral agreements’ (The Standard)

Industry and Commerce minister Nqobizitha Ndlovu says Sadc must us bilateral or multilateral agreements to strengthen cross-border value chains, amid a political tiff between Zimbabwe and Zambia. The minister made the remarks in recognition of the forthcoming Sadc Industrialisation Week.

Speaking in the meeting with Sadc ambassadors ahead of the scheduled ‘Sadc Industrialisation Week’ slated to run from July 28 to August 2, Ndlovu said the region needed to come up with strategies that supported the livelihoods of its people. Hence, he said, there was a need to be innovative and promote industrialisation of the region through infrastructural development and trade.

“Realising the importance of moving together as we approach our Sadc Industrialisation Week, which we look forward to and hope that it will be a success for our economies as a region,” Ndlovu said in the meeting in Harare on Wednesday this week. “As the governments of Sadc, we saw it important and befitting that we continue to discuss around how we industrialise our region, how we grow our economies so that we create employment so that we improve the standards of living of our people,” he said.

Push to increase traffic volumes on subcontinent a priority for new rail body (IOL)

Increasing the railway network traffic of the subcontinent will be among the key priorities of the new Southern African Railway Association (Sara). This was revealed at a media briefing at The Capital Hotel in Cape Town on Thursday where Hishaam Emeran, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) CEO, was elected as the new Sara president. Sara is the association of railway companies in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

“Rail transport is crucial for rebuilding our economies. As the board we had a meeting and agreed there is a need to be more proactive in order to see tangible outcomes.

“We are in the process of developing a strategic plan for both freight and passenger railway operations. Looking at the target achievements, we noted a slight decrease in the target volumes and this will be addressed in the implementation plan,” said Emeran. He emphasised that co-operation between the countries would also benefit the regions in terms of socio-economic development and creating jobs. Some challenges identified were investment, infrastructure, rolling stock and the need for improved technology.

Nixon Dlamini, Sara Vice-President and CEO of Eswatini Railways, said that the goal was to move goods seamlessly and they were hoping to expand Sara board membership to include the private sector.

Official Launch of ECOWAS Gender Programmes in Côte d’Ivoire (News Ghana)

The ECOWAS Centre for Gender Development (ECGD) has launched its gender programmes in the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, marking a significant milestone in advancing gender equality and empowerment within the region.

The initiative is part of the ECOWAS Gender Strategy and Action Plan 2020-2030, focusing on gender-sensitive disaster risk reduction and other critical areas. It underscores ECOWAS’s commitment to collaborating closely with Member States, regional and international institutions, and civil society organizations to promote gender equality at all levels.

Programmes Launched included support for Women Processors: Economic empowerment of women involved in agricultural, fishery, and craft product processing through technical and financial assistance, enhancing their economic independence; and 50 Million African Women Speak Project: Creating a virtual platform to empower women entrepreneurs through networking, sharing information, and accessing financial resources across Africa.

Market integration is a process, says AfCFTA secretariat amid challenges (The Guardian Nigeria)

The Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat, Wamkele Mene, has dismissed talks that the AfCFTA arrangement was being rushed, saying there is no trade agreement where all members were ready at the same time. Indeed, there have been concerns about countries’ readiness for the trade deal; many are yet to address issues bordering strategies and customs procedures.

Specifically, pre-existing nuances that are peculiar to African markets in terms of alignment with Western partners, language, visa restrictions, currency, insecurity, Customs Union, existing trade agreements in regions, dependence on commodity exports, infrastructure, low manufacturing activities among others, raise concerns about the expected progress from the AfCFTA market.

Similarly, with outstanding issue of Rules of Origin (RoO) dominating negotiations, the African Union (AU) has equally said the principle of reciprocity will define the exchange of tariff concessions between state parties under the AfCFTA. With free movement of persons within the continent still a major challenge, there are also concerns about services that would be effectively rendered without harassment and intimidation among trade partners.

“The most important point that I want to emphasize is that Africa is now trading under new rules, new preferences, because we want to build a single integrated market on the African continent. It may take some time before each of us sees the direct benefit. We are not going to be deterred by our critics who say they don’t see evidence that trading has actually started,” Mene said.

Africa’s trade growth lies in harmonised standards, integrated economic blocs (The Guardian Nigeria)

“Africa has been rightly described as the next frontier and in fact, in some places they say the whole world is waiting for Africa and the challenge is, is Africa responding to the rest of the world? Actually, if you look at the rest of the world, you look at Asia, America; you actually can see that we are the only ones who have not had the rapid developments that translate to growth,” says Director-General of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and President of ARSO, Dr. Joseph Odumodu.

“I think there is a huge disconnection between Africans and the rest of the world because Africa is still the only continent that is dependent a lot on agriculture for sustenance. I have heard it said so many times that no economy can develop if it focuses only on supplying crude raw materials to the rest of the world and basically that is what we have being doing.

“We grow cocoa in Africa, we send to Europe and then we go to Europe and buy chocolates at maybe twenty times more. We bring crude oil from the grounds and we sell them abroad and then we go abroad and buy petroleum products in the process. But now there is development coming into Africa, for me there is technology coming into Africa, to the extent that now we know what to do and I think knowing what to do is the basic.”

Afreximbank backs new intra-African trade company with US$1bn investment (Global Trade Review)

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is spending US$1bn to fund the launch of an initiative designed to grow intra-Africa trade and increase SME access to finance.

The African Trade and Distribution Company (ATDC) is a partnership between Afreximbank, Arise Integrated Industrial Platforms (Arise IIP) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat. The ATDC will focus on expanding access to regional and global markets for smallholder farmers and SMEs by providing financing, warehousing, logistics, regulatory advice and prospecting.

ATDC will also distribute processed goods and raw materials from Arise’s industrial zones, which are currently active in Gabon, Togo and Benin. These zones focus on improving Africa’s export market by turning African raw materials into finished goods, a key concern for AfCFTA member states.

2024 Ibrahim Forum Report - Financing Africa: where is the money? (Mo Ibrahim Foundation)

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s latest report,  pdf Financing Africa: where is the money? (3.84 MB) provides a comprehensive analysis of both the financial needs deemed necessary for Africa to meet its development and climate goals and the resources that are currently available.

The report makes the point that the resources mostly exist, but either lack the relevant processes to be effectively allocated where needed, or, significantly when it comes to domestic resources, are either dormant or misused.

Commenting on the release of the report, Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, said: “We need a complete change of paradigm. This is not about Africa coming to the developed world with a begging bowl and developed countries considering how much more they can pledge. This is about smarter money, not just more money. As this report outlines, the money is already there. But current processes prevent resources from being used to properly address the challenges.

“Steps must be taken to reform the international financing system and update African debt structuring, risk assessment and mitigation and aid conditionalities. Even more, our continent must stop squandering its own assets and take proper ownership and responsibility. In short, we must apply good governance to ensure these assets are adequately leveraged for the best interests of our people.”

Experts Converge in Douala to review the 11th draft edition of the flagship report on Assessing Regional Integration in Africa (UNECA)

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), is convening an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) in Douala, Cameroon, from 20 to 22 June 2024, to review the eleventh draft edition of the flagship report on Assessing Regional Integration in Africa (ARIA-11) under the theme “Delivering on the African Economic Community: Towards a Continental Customs Union and Common Market”.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), adopted in 2018 as part of Agenda 2063, is a key initiative to accelerate Africa’s economic integration. While the AfCFTA represents a significant departure from the roadmap outlined in the Abuja Treaty, it facilitates the realisation of its core objectives, including the establishment of a continental customs union and common market. The ARIA-11 report assesses Africa’s progress towards these integration goals, particularly since the implementation of the AfCFTA.

Microsoft urges Africa to leverage AI for youth empowerment, growth (The Guardian Nigeria)

Microsoft has called on governments in Africa to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) for youth empowerment and growth. Microsoft said Africa has a unique opportunity to influence what the future of work looks like in these early days as large language learning models (LLMs) are evolving, and the environment for applications is still new.

The American technology firm, along with other industry experts, in the ‘ pdf AI and the Future of Work (21.62 MB) ’ Africa whitepaper, noted that nearly one billion people in Africa are currently under the age of 35 with the continent projected to be home to almost half of the world’s youth population by the turn of the century, in effect making up half of the potential global workforce of the future.

Chief Technology and Solutions Officer at Microsoft Africa, Ravi Bhat, said: “We see a significant role for generative AI to not only transform the work environment but also foster opportunities for the youth to create jobs, innovate and help drive economic growth and stability across the continent.”

See also:

Fintech recommits to linking African businesses to global trade opportunities

Firm launches digital platform to empower artisans, informal sector

Logidoo Unveils Revolutionary Europe-Africa Trade Route to Catalyze Market Access and Economic Growth (TechBuild.Africa)

In a calculated move poised to fundamentally change cross-border trade between Europe and Africa, Logidoo, a pan-African logistics company proudly announces the launch of a new logistics corridor, set to begin its operations in June 2024.In collaboration with Skynet for domestic operations and IRsalkom for cross-border operations, this initiative aims to ensure a seamless logistics experience for businesses and strengthen economic growth as well as market expansion for African businesses following the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).

Logidoo’s introduction of the corridor will significantly enhance intra-African trade volumes, simplify logistics across borders, improve trade with European markets, and open new avenues for African products. Also, by enhancing logistics and trade facilitation, this corridor is expected to drive economic growth, increase trade volumes, and contribute to the realization of AfCFTA’s goals.

Since its launch, by offering innovative cross-border logistics solutions, the logistics company has played a crucial role in fostering business growth and has gained significant traction in the e-commerce and logistics sector. Their approach has enabled businesses to reach new markets more efficiently, overcoming traditional barriers to trade and logistics.

The Arab Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) Program Partners with Tunisia Africa Business Meeting to Drive Economic Growth and Food Security (Africa.com)

The 4th Meeting of the Arab-Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) Board of Governors (BoG) alongside the 11th Meeting of the AATB Executive Committee (EC) will take place on July 1-2, 2024, in Tunis, Republic of Tunisia. In addition, AATB will be a strategic partner and sponsor the Tunisia Africa Business Meetings (TABM) 2024.

A main highlight of the event will be a roundtable discussion on “Bridging the gap on Food Security”. In 2023, AATB launched an initiative designed to address the pressing challenges of food security in the region. This program aims to enhance agricultural productivity, ensure sustainable food systems, and improve the livelihoods of communities across Arab and African countries.

Business e-commerce sales and the role of online platforms (UNCTAD)

In 2021, approaching US$ 25 trillion of e-commerce sales were generated by businesses across 43 developed and developing economies accounting for around three quarters of worldwide GDP. This represents a 15 per cent increase over pre-pandemic (2019) levels and sales are estimated to have risen a further 10 per cent - to almost $27 trillion - in 2022.

The share of business turnover generated through e-commerce varies widely in the economies analysed, from less than one per cent to as much as 30 per cent. In almost all cases, the majority of e-commerce sales by businesses are made to other businesses or organizations. In most, the share of business-to-consumer sales is less than a quarter. While developing economies generate around 40 per cent of global GDP, their share in business e-commerce sales is considerably lower.

The bulk of e-commerce sales across these 43 developed and developing economies, which also account for around three quarters of exports globally, occur between buyers and sellers resident in the same economic territory. It is estimated that digitally ordered exports (i.e. international e-commerce sales) from these economies were worth around $2.5 trillion in 2021. This equates to around 13 per cent of total exports of goods and services. However, as there is limited data on digitally ordered trade, this estimate is relatively uncertain.

World leaders launch programme to boost vaccine production in Africa (Al Jazeera)

French President Emmanuel Macron has joined several African leaders to kick off a planned $1.1bn project to accelerate vaccine production in Africa, after the COVID-19 pandemic exposed inequalities in access to inoculation. The launch of the African Vaccine Manufacturing Accelerator at an event in Paris on Thursday will provide financial incentives to boost local vaccine manufacturing in the continent.

African Union Commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat welcomed the initiative, saying that it “could become a catalyst for promoting the pharmaceutical industry in Africa and fostering collaboration between member states”. Africa imports “99 percent of its vaccines at an exorbitant cost”, he said. Macron said the programme “will be an essential step towards a genuine African vaccine market”.

The European Union said the bloc and its member states will contribute $800m to the vaccine manufacturing scheme. It said the programme will offset start-up costs and ensure demand for vaccines made in Africa.

Quick links

More Asian nations want to join Putin, Xi in expanded BRICS (Engineering News)

Zebra Study: Only 16% of Manufacturers Have Real-Time Visibility into Manufacturing Production (Zebra Technologies)

WCO Smart Customs Project kickstarts with dynamic online meetings with National Contact Points (NCPs) (WCO)

Investor-State Dispute Settlement: A Key Feature of the Trade Policy Response to Climate Challenges (CSIS)

WTO members advance on plans to deepen exchanges on environmental measures (WTO)


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