Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

South Africa seeks panel reviews of EU measures affecting imports of citrus fruit (WTO)

South Africa has requested the establishment of two dispute panels to review European Union measures affecting the import of South African citrus fruit into the EU. The measures in question concern import restrictions imposed by the EU to control spread of the insect Thaumatotibia leucotreta, or False Codling Moth, and the fungus P. citricarpa, known as “citrus black spot.” Consultations with the EU aimed at resolving the dispute took place but did not resolve in a mutually agreed solution. The request was considered at a meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) on 24 June. This is the first time that South Africa has requested the establishment of a panel under the WTO’s dispute settlement system.

South Africa said that in both cases, the EU measures were not based on scientific principles, are maintained without sufficient scientific evidence, and are more trade-restrictive than necessary to achieve the EU’s appropriate level of protection. South Africa also said the EU failed to account for regional differences with regards to pest risk in the application of the measures. The measures are having a severe impact on South Africa’s citrus exports, which provide jobs to more than 140,000 people in the country, it added. Moreover, the measures affect other countries in the region that depend on South Africa’s infrastructure for their citrus fruit exports.

TNPA Appoints Grindrod SA As The Preferred Bidder For Port Of Richards Bay Container Handling Facility (Railways Africa)

Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has appointed Grindrod South Africa (Pty) Ltd (Grindrod SA) as the Preferred Bidder to develop and operate a container handling facility at the Port of Richards Bay, as part of plans to drive improved port efficiency and service levels. This development will enable an increase in the port’s container handling capacity from 50,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) to 200,000 TEUs per annum, in alignment with the TNPA KZN ports master plan. 

The strategic location of the proposed container handling facility at Richards Bay Port will serve the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal province effectively, providing vital proximity to the hinterland market. This positioning is anticipated to lower logistics costs and reduce transportation lead times, benefiting both local and regional economies.

No respite for coffee lovers as higher global prices stoke local inflation in SA (ZAWYA)

According to Statistics South Africa, South Africa’s consumers breathed a sigh of relief as headline inflation steadied to 5.2% year-on-year in May 2024. Food inflation, however, decelerated further to 4.3% year-on-year in May 2024 from 4.4% in April 2024 underpinned by declines in bread and cereals, milk, eggs and cheese, oils and fats, and sugar, sweets, and desserts prices. However, drilling deeper into the data shows a continued stickiness on the upside for coffee products.

Instant coffee (250g) rose by 2.1% month-on-month and was sharply higher by 30.6% year-on-year at R63.28. After posting marginal monthly gains in the prior two months, ground coffee or coffee beans (250g) strongly rebounded 4.9% month-on-month at R105.30 in May 2024 which is 12.7% higher year-on-year relative to 6.8% year-on-year in April.

Uganda Coffee Report: Production, Trade and Consumption All Rising (Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine)

Uganda’s coffee production and exports are expected to rise in 2024/25, thanks to favorable crop conditions, targeted interventions to combat pest and disease, and the maturation of young plants. Uganda’s green coffee exports are expected to rise slightly from 6.52 million to 6.58 million bags in 2024/25, driven by higher production. The EU, United States, Morocco and India remain Uganda’s main coffee export destinations. These and other predictions are outlined in the new USDA Foreign Agriculture Service annual report on the Uganda coffee sector.

To comply with the new EU deforestation-free products law (EUDR), the Ugandan government is planning to register all coffee farmers and establish a national traceability system, according to the report. The government is also negotiating a “Territorial Approach” to traceability as an interim measure.

Africa states turn to information exchange to boost tax revenues (The East African)

Amid increasing fiscal pressures and debt sustainability in African countries, governments are now making use of exchange of information agreements available to them more than ever. Last year, the amount of tax revenue raised by countries on the continent from exchange on information (EOI) requests increased steeply from $71.5 million in 2022 to hit $2.3 billion, the highest level in over 10 years, according to the Tax Transparency in Africa Report 2024 published by the Africa Initiative last week. This was a result of increased use of EOI and automatic exchange of information (AEOI) between countries to net tax cheats stashing money and other assets in offshore accounts to evade taxes in their home countries.

Exchange of information requests are appeals by a country’s tax authority to another country for disclosure of data on the financial accounts, assets held or income earned by their citizens in foreign countries. Traditionally, African countries have utilised the avenues available for such EOI arrangements much less that others. The requests Africa has received over the years has been significantly larger than those they sent, highlighting their slow adoption of the agreements.

How Mombasa beat Djibouti, Dar in new World Bank port ranking (The East African)

Mombasa port bypassed its main Eastern African competitors, Djibouti and Dar es Salaam, in the latest World Bank global ports index over ship delays and non-tariff barriers. According to the newly released Container Port Performance Index (CPPI) 2023, increasing business bottlenecks in the Djibouti port, a facility touted as the region’s maritime hub, resulted in a drastic drop from position 26 in 2022 to 379 in 2023.The port of Dar es Salaam dropped 55 places from 312 to 367, blamed on inefficiencies.

This year, Ethiopia, the most populous country in the region, cited increasing insecurity in the Red Sea and Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) in the Djibouti port as some of the factors that led Addis to intensify its quest to have an alternative corridor for its imports and exports, with the country looking to the Lamu port.

Uganda, Tanzania fresh produce volume via Mombasa on the rise (The East African)

The volume of fresh produce from Tanzania and Uganda exported using reefers through the port of Mombasa, Kenya has increased to six percent, compared to last year. The Mombasa port recorded 6,813 20-foot equivalent units (Teus), helped by the installation of 1,367 reefer plugging points in its port facilities since last year. Reefers are refrigerated containers.

The $380 million Business Environment and Export Enhancement Programme, implemented by TradeMark Africa to push for radical decarbonisation of value chains that deliver fresh produce is yielding fruit, with more traders preferring sea to air in transporting fresh produce. Consumers, especially in Europe, have been on the frontline in this push. Currently, perishable goods approvals through the Mombasa port are done at the point of loading, and permit approvals are granted by the KenTrade-operated National Electronic Single Window System.

EU-Nigeria Business Forum To Promote Bilateral Trade, Investment Stability (Leadership)

The Nigerian and European business leaders, policy makers and institutional stakeholders will converge on Abuja on July 2 to identify and explore investment opportunities along specific value chains during the 9th European Union-Nigeria Business Forum. The Forum is being organised by the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, in close coordination with EU member states and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment. It will be organised under the theme “Investing in jobs and a sustainable future,” at Abuja’s Continental Hotel.

EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Samuela Isopi said: “It is important to note that for the first time since its inception, the 2024 edition of the EU-Nigeria Business Forum will be held in Abuja. This will provide an opportunity for the EU, its Member States and the private sector from Europe and Nigeria to engage the new administration on their investment agendas in a transparent and inclusive manner, with a view to fostering confidence and commitment to a stronger and sustainable partnership.”

Commerce Chamber Raises Concern Over Incessant Increase In Foodstuffs Prices (Leadership)

The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) expresses deep concern over the persistent rise in commodity prices, which is adversely affecting small-scale business owners and escalating poverty levels in the country. The surge in prices of essential food items such as rice, beans, cassava flour, tomatoes, pepper, onions, and others has aggravated the plight of the average citizen, rendering basic meals increasingly unaffordable for many households

Official records from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicate a staggering 35.41 per cent food inflation rate in May 2024. However, on-ground observations suggest that the true food inflation rate exceeds 50 percent, highlighting the severity of the situation and its dire impact on livelihoods. Experts attribute this economic hardship to the drastic depreciation of the national currency, the naira, which has significantly eroded citizens’ purchasing power. The resulting exchange rate volatility has disrupted businesses, increased production costs, and thwarted projections for economic growth.

‘Trade Modernisation Project Will Increase Customs’ Revenue’ (Leadership)

The President, Nigerian Association of Master Mariners, Capt. Tajudeen Alao, yesterday, said the federal government’s Trade Modernisation Project (TMP) will stimulate quicker cargo clearance at the nation’s seaports and airports. Alao who stated this in Lagos noted that the establishment of the project would also boost Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and enhance the country’s global visibility. He observed that the world had moved beyond conventional methods of doing business with the advancement of technology.

He continued, “Consider the time when we had to carry files around; now everything is done through ICT. Nigeria must modernise, and I am glad this initiative is underway. The master mariner emphasised that "without trade, growth is impossible and that creating an atmosphere conducive for trade, is essential to reap its benefits.”

Somalia moves closer to enjoying perks of joining EAC (The East African)

Somalia held a consultative road map meeting last week, which would see its legal structures aligned to those of the East African Community (EAC) to enable it to benefit from the regional bloc. The one-week meeting, attended by EAC partner state delegates, was aimed at developing a comprehensive roadmap for Somalia’s integration into the EAC, marking a significant step towards bolstering regional cooperation and economic integration.

In the meeting held in Nairobi from June 17 to 20 and chaired by South Sudan’s Under-secretary in the Ministry of East African Affairs Beny Gideon Mabor, Somalia was taken through the four pillars of the EAC, to enable it to align them with its constitution and national laws. The EAC is made up of four pillars, Customs Union, Common Market, Monetary Union and Political Federation.

The roadmap outlines essential activities categorised into national and Community-oriented initiatives. These include aligning Somalia’s legal framework with established regional standards that would ensure its participation in EAC programmes and activities. Once Somalia is fully integrated into the EAC, it will enjoy free movement of goods and persons within the region. Its goods will no longer attract duty within the EAC, among other benefits.

Ethiopia Customs sharpens its Rules of Origin skills through advanced training workshop (WCO)

Under the framework of the EU-WCO Rules of Origin Africa Programme, funded by the European Union, the World Customs Organization, in partnership with the Ethiopia Customs Commission (ECC), held a national advanced training workshop on rules of origin for Ethiopia Customs and the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association. The workshop was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 17 to 21 June 2024 with the objective to assist ECC in enhancing its knowledge and application of preferential rules of origin and contribute to a seamless implementation of the AfCFTA and other relevant FTAs.

During the workshop, participants gained a deeper understanding of key concepts for proper origin determination, including possible flexibilities such as cumulation, tolerance rules and the absorption principle, as well as related operational and procedural issues, such as origin certification and verification. Case studies made the concepts more tangible and relatable, and allowed the participants to detangle the spaghetti bowl of rules of origin in various free trade agreements applicable in Ethiopia. Participants also had the opportunity to observe the practical application and management of rules of origin through a field visits to a producer of originating textile products and to discuss how ECC can further facilitate trade for economic operators trading under preferential trade agreements.

EAC States on a joint roadmap to foster digital transformation as EACO Congress kicks off in Nairobi (Financial Fortune Media)

The EAC member States have been urged to speak in one language if the quest to achieve a Cross-sectoral EAC Regional Digital agenda is to be fully attained. Digital transformation remains a top priority for the EAC bloc, but to succeed, member States will have to focus on two elements; affordability (of digital services and processes) and access. This was the resounding plea at this year’s 29th Annual Assemblies and the EACO Extraordinary Congress taking place in Nairobi.

The week-long convention is expected to provide the EAC member states with an opportunity to reflect on our individual and collective efforts to leverage the power of digital transformation to grow our economies. By aligning the EAC around a shared vision for digital transformation and establishing a Shared Services Platform, the member states will in the next week seek to overcome the issue of fragmented systems and redundant investments within each Partner State, enabling harmonized, efficient, and scalable ubiquitous digital services across the region.

COMESA Investment Forum (CIF 2024)

The COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA), will inaugurate the COMESA Investment Forum (CIF 2024) on 27th June, in Tunis, Tunisia. This highlevel forum offers participants an unparalleled platform for promoting trade and investment within the COMESA region. This year’s edition takes place against an important backdrop with Tunisia, having joined COMESA in July 2018, offering a strategic gateway to the region’s extensive market. The theme for this year, “Unleashing Potential: Cross-Border Trade and Investments,” reflects the need for policymakers and the private sector to collaborate more closely and take decisive actions to advance and fast-track development across the region through enhancing cross border investment and trade flows.

CIF 2024 aims to spotlight the diverse business opportunities across COMESA Member States, encouraging cross-border trade and investments. It fosters an environment where business leaders from the region can explore and seize these opportunities.

Speaking about the forum, Heba Salama, CEO, COMESA Regional Investment Agency, is looking forward to welcoming the Tunisian business community to CIF 2024: “With its 21 member states, COMESA is at the forefront of promoting economic unity across Africa. I would like to encourage both our COMESA Investment Promotion Agencies and leading investors and businesses from Tunisia to discuss and explore joint trade and investment transactions. We are committed to working closely with business leaders and investors to foster robust economic growth and regional cooperation.”

Global coffee production to rise by 7 million bags in the new crop, says USDA (Th Economic Times)

Coffee production in the world is projected to increase by 7 million bags, or 4.1%, in the new crop that in most countries starts in October, the United States Agriculture Department (USDA) said on Thursday in a biannual report. The USDA said total production of the beans will rise to 176.23 million 60-kg bags from 169.18 million bags previously, mostly due to higher output in top grower Brazil and to a recovery in robusta grower Indonesia after last year’s dismal crop that was hit by the El Nino climate pattern.

Consumption was projected up 3.1 million bags to 170.6 million bags, the department said, adding that exports from producing countries to non-producing ones are expected to rise by 3.6 million bags to 123.1 million bags.

Beyond competition: How Europe can harness the UAE’s energy ambitions in Africa (ECFR)

Since 2020, the UAE has strategically expanded its involvement in Africa, marking a significant shift in its foreign policy and becoming an influential middle power on the continent. The monarchy has focused particularly on Africa’s energy sectors, increasing its stakes in oil and gas, renewables, and in critical minerals. This is driven by its ambition to become a global leader in the energy transition and backed by its substantial logistical and financial resources. This growing engagement presents challenges for Europe, as the UAE captures market shares and promotes a green transition model that resonates more with African countries’ needs and ideology.

However, Europe shares some common goals with the UAE and Africa, such as expanding renewable energy and increasing Africa’s access to energy. European countries should pursue a strategy of “co-opetition” towards the UAE, balancing competition in areas in which they have comparative advantages with cooperation in areas of mutual interest. By cooperating with the UAE, the EU could help fast-track the implementation of green initiatives in Africa and promote pragmatic solutions for the energy transition, possibly also improving its appeal as an inclusive partner in the global south.

How China-Africa collaboration will catalyse agricultural productivity (The Guardian Nigeria)

The Executive Director, National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, Abia State, Prof Chiedozie Egesi, says leveraging on technological advancements and fostering collaborative research between China and Africa would act as catalyst towards enhancing agricultural productivity and sustainability across the Global South.

He disclosed this during the workshop on China-Africa Agricultural Science and Technology (S&T) Cooperation Through South-South and Triangular Cooperation Mechanism Agenda, held in Sanya Hainan, China. Prof. Egesi recommended several measures to boost agricultural productivity and sustainability, which include capacity-building, joint research initiatives, infrastructure development, policy support and private sector engagement.

Thailand’s pursuit of BRICS membership (ORF)

In May 2024, Thailand officially submitted its application to join BRICS, positioning itself as the first Southeast Asian nation to do so. The Thai cabinet approved the draft of the official letter indicating the country’s intent to become a member, reflecting Thailand’s strategic ambition to boost economic growth and competitiveness on the global stage, diversify international partnerships, and elevate geopolitical influence.

Currently, BRICS countries collectively account for 22.8 percent of Thailand’s total trade. China stands out as Thailand’s largest trading partner among the BRICS nations, with trade reaching US$175 billion in 2023. Membership in BRICS could enhance this figure by providing access to new markets and reducing financial risks through diversified investments. Furthermore, Thailand could see an increase in foreign direct investment (FDI), especially from China and Russia, who are keen to strengthen their economic ties with the Southeast Asian markets.

Quick links

Ambidexterity for Africa – empowering African businesses for global competitiveness (The Business & Financial Times)

G20 Discusses Global Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Agenda (G20 Brasil 2024)

Leading Academics Urge UN to Extend, Reframe SDGs (Sustainable Brands)

Global supply chains at risk without new rules for digital trade (East Asia Forum)

Global survey reveals ‘truly astonishing’ consensus for stronger climate action (UN News)


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