Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

U.S.-Africa Trade Desk Secures $56 Million South African Table Grape Deal, Benefiting US Consumers and Boosting US-Africa Trade (Prosper Africa)

Prosper Africa is proud to announce the United States – Africa Trade Desk (USATD)’s first $56M trade deal for 700 containers (1,260,000 crates) of South African-grown table grapes to the U.S. The U.S.-Africa Trade Desk is a joint venture between Prosper Africa and Afritex Ventures, whose mandate is to bridge the gap between African agricultural suppliers and US buyers.

Signed at the Africa Pavilion at the Summer Fancy Foods Trade Show, this transaction will help US retailers keep product prices stable for U.S. consumers during the U.S. growing offseason, when commodity prices go up by 35%. The deal, financed with a structured trade facility by EAS Advisors and Scipion Capital, enhances value for African producers by providing firm off-take prices and removing market volatility.

Shipping will commence in the first week of November 2024 and continue through April 2025, filling the gaps of the US domestic growing season. USATD will facilitate the entire transaction, providing an end-to-end solution that bridges the gap between retailer needs in the U.S. and African production.

South Africa risks losing billions pledged for climate finance (Engineering News)

South Africa is risking a $9.3-billion climate finance pact by delaying the closing of a number of coal-fired power plants, a panel appointed by the country’s environment minister said. In an agreement known as the Just Energy Transition Partnership, South Africa won the bulk of the pledges from some of the world’s richest nations in loans, grants and guarantees in 2021. They offered to help the country reduce its dependence on coal for power generation on condition it phased out a number of its older plants using the dirtiest fuel.

The worst power cuts on record last year prompted Eskom, the State power utility, to delay shutting down the facilities. Eskom has said it has decided to postpone the decommissioning of three power plants — Grootvlei, Hendrina and Camden — until 2030.

South Africa picks a fight with its biggest trade partner (BusinessTech)

South Africa, the world’s second-biggest citrus exporter, has asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to set up two panels to adjudicate disputes over its citrus fruit exports to the European Union. South Africa disagrees with EU measures taken against its exports to combat the incidence of Citrus Black Spot, a fungal disease, and the spread of the false codling moth, which damages the fruit. South Africa maintains that citrus black spots cause blemishes on the fruit skin, but they don’t affect the quality.

In response, the European Union said it regretted South Africa’s decision to pursue panel proceedings in the two cases but maintained that its pest control measures are entirely justified,” the WTO said in a statement on Monday.

Tanzania meat export surged significantly in 2023, Livestock ministry says (The East African)

Tanzania’s meat exports have seen a significant rise, jumping from 1,774.3 tonnes in 2022 to 14,701.2 tonnes in 2023, Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Abdallah Ulega said Monday.Ulega said the growth in meat exports attributed to the government’s efforts to revitalise the livestock sector, including a substantial increase in budget allocation for the sector, rising from Tsh32.1 billion (about $12.2 million) in the 2021/2022 fiscal year to Tsh112 billion shillings (about $42.6 million) in the 2023/2024 fiscal year.

Speaking at the launch of the World Bank’s The 21st Tanzania Economic Update Report in Dar es Salaam, which focuses on the livestock sector, Ulega said Tanzania’s development of critical infrastructures is important for enhancing the transportation of livestock and related products to both domestic and international markets.

Uganda, EAC trade deficit hits sh219b-report (New Vision)

During April 2024, Uganda traded at a deficit with the East African Community (EAC) amounting to $58.59m (about sh219b), a reduction from the $193.75m (sh724b) deficit recorded the previous month, the latest official figures show. This (reduction) was majorly on account of a significant decline in imports from Tanzania, which fell by $142.67m when compared with the previous month, the report on the performance of Uganda’s economy for May 2024 that was recently released by the ministry of finance said.

EAC Records Increase In Internet Connectivity, Mobile Money Services (Kenya News)

The East African region has witnessed remarkable advancements in network coverage, a surge in mobile and internet subscriptions, as well as notable growth in mobile money services.

These developments have been pivotal in driving socio-economic growth, fostering digital inclusion, and enhancing connectivity across East Africa.

Speaking during the unveiling of the 2023 statistics report on the telecommunications sector in the East African region during the 29th Annual Assemblies and Extraordinary Congress in Kenya, Dr. Ally Simba, Executive Secretary of the East Africa Communication Organisation (EACO), said the extent of coverage of basic mobile connectivity has been influenced by factors such as infrastructure, investment, and regulatory environments.

Simba said the mobile industry in East Africa is experiencing significant growth, with the average mobile penetration rate across the region reaching 100 per cent in 2023.

This growth outpaces both the average for the ITU Africa Region (92 per cent in 2023, up from 82 per cent in 2021) and the global average (111 per cent in 2023, up from 107 per cent in 2021).

Uganda should retaliate against Kenya’s persistent trade bans (Nilepost)

The decision by the Kenyan government to block Uganda’s milk again from accessing their market has drawn mixed reactions from analysts and economists. Some describe the decision as an internal political issue in Kenya while policy analyst Andrew Mwenda says it’s high time Uganda retaliated.

Uganda exports milk to the Egyptian market, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Ethiopia and Tanzania, among other countries, with the latest sealed deal being the Algerian market that is absorbing 1.4 billion liters of milk worth Shs1.8 trillion. Statistics indicate that dairy exports bounced back at Shs379.6 billion from Shs341.8 billion in the Financial Year 2022/2023.

Uganda’s dairy sector continues to count losses as the country’s largest export market for milk, Kenya, again blocked export. Consequently, Uganda risks losing over Shs10 billion. Mwenda believes it’s high time Uganda retaliated as Kenya’s internal political issues continue to hinder business among the two states.

Kalu decries trade imbalance between Nigeria, South Africa (The Nation)

Deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu, has decried the growing trade imbalance between Nigeria and South Africa, saying Nigerian businesses need more support to measure up in the foreign land.

Kalu spoke at a meeting with a cross-section of the Nigerian Committee in South Africa, on the sidelines of the ongoing 3rd Ordinary Session of the 6th Parliament of the Pan-African Parliamentary (PAP) in Johannesburg, South Africa.

He said: “Our relationship with the Republic of South Africa is long-standing and multifaceted, encompassing both triumphs and challenges.

“Despite the significant volume of trade between Nigeria and South Africa –reaching US$2.9 billion in 2020 – there are still several grey areas that need our attention. Operational hurdles faced by Nigerian investors wanting to do business in South Africa, and issues concerning people-to-people relations remain major concerns.”

Highlights of the Country Brand Ranking 2024 (Bloom Consulting)

The latest edition of the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking in Trade reveals dynamic shifts in the performance of Nation Brands globally. This year’s results are influenced by ongoing geopolitical events, digital identity’s increasing importance, and evolving global trade dynamics. Notably, these shifts in rankings will provide a perspective of comparison in future rankings considering the recent geopolitical unrest in key global trade routes.

So, who has climbed and who has dropped in this year’s Trade edition?

Despite Brexit, the United Kingdom (UK) held off the United States of America (USA) for a consecutive year, marking the second time that a country other than the USA holds the first position since the inception of the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking. The UK maintained a high Net FDI and CBS Rating (AA), which compensated for the past decrease in D2 Digital Demand. Its multidimensional strategy keeps it at the forefront of the global economic stage.

In Africa, South Africa regains the top spot, driven by a surge in technology investment, while Burkina Faso and Senegal make impressive strides.

This year’s Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking Trade Edition underscores the evolving global economic landscape, where digital and physical metrics play crucial roles in shaping the performance and perception of Nation Brands.

SON quality policies may assist Nigeria tap into $35bn intra-Africa trade earnings per annum -Minister (Tribune Online)

MINISTER of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka Anite, says the policies of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) will assist Nigeria and other African countries tap into the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement-stimulated $35 billion per annum intra-Africa trade earnings. Anite, while declaring open the 30th Assembly of African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO), in Abuja, said development and implementation of standards, technical regulations, conformity assessment procedures, accreditation, metrology, capacity building and enforcement activities will boost intra-Africa trade, particularly trade in value-added production and commerce across all sectors in the continent.

She said, “I like to believe that the current standardisation activities at the national, regional and continental levels will require robust synergy and collaboration among African nations and ARSO member states to re-lubricate the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, especially with respect to enhancing a common regulatory framework in the context of TBT annex 6, article 5.

“Although only 35 of the 43 African nations that ratified AfCFTA agreement (piloted in six African nations of Kenya, Rwanda, Cameroon, Ghana, Tanzania, Mauritius, Tunisia and Egypt), all being ARSO members, they will largely benefit from AfCFTA strategies of reducing tariffs and non-tariff barriers among member nations.

Energy Prices Continue Rise, Fuel Transportation Costs Nationwide (This Day Live)

The prices of major fuels, including Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) or petrol, diesel, as well as gas continued to rise in May 2024, taking their tolls on transportation costs nationwide. Latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the average retail price paid by consumers for petrol in May was N769.62, indicating a 223.21 per cent increase compared to the N238.11 recorded in May 2023. Likewise, comparing the average price value with the previous month, April 2024, the average retail price increased by 9.75 per cent from N701.24.

Ministry of Transport optimistic to increase agricultural exports through SATCP (Malawi Nyasa Times)

Ministry of transport and public works is optimistic that through Southern Africa Trade and Connectivity Project (SATCP), the country is going to open up trade by removing barriers to trade within Malawi and international market particularly using Nacala and Beira corridors as the country thrives to increase agricultural exports.

Deputy director in the department of policy and planning in the ministry of transport and public works Charles Mtonga said the project seeks to address barriers to trade arranging to physical barriers like infrastructure which includes roads and ports as well as non-tax barriers which include procedures and strategies that countries use to facilitate trade.

“As we open up the corridors we will make it bigger and better so as to increase flow of traffic. We have also to look at our exports production as we are working on making our corridors better, so in this project we have a sub-component which is looking at production using the SMEs as the project stipulates, so through the funding from World Bank in this project we are working in providing grants to the identified producers who are SMEs to produce more in increasing our value chain aiming at expanding our export base,” Mtonga said.

Trade: Morocco to simplify procedures for AfCFTA (APAnews - African Press Agency)

Morocco’s Customs and Indirect Tax Administration (ADII) has launched an initiative to dematerialise certificates of origin for exports to AfCFTA member countries, using the BADR system. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a flagship initiative of the African Union (AU), aims to strengthen intra-African economic and political ties. By removing state protection on production, employment and consumer standards, free trade aims to create a single market for goods and services, thereby facilitating trade between African countries.

The dematerialisation of certificates of origin is part of Morocco’s drive to modernise and integrate its economy into this vast free trade area. The BADR system now enables applications for certificates of origin to be made at the time of export declaration, incorporating specific functions for entering information in line with the AfCFTA

This step forward will simplify export procedures, improve the traceability of trade and harmonise commercial practices at continental level. Morocco is thus demonstrating its serious commitment to greater regional integration, with the hope of seeing intra-African trade multiply and intensify.

Equatorial Guinea: New Report Proposes a Way Forward to Develop a Safe and Inclusive Digital Economy (World Bank)

In the wake of new challenges and its prolonged oil-dependency, Equatorial Guinea’s government is aiming for economic diversification as a key course of action for growth and stability. The adoption of digital technologies has the potential to increase the productivity of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and stimulate innovation, increasing productivity, and create high-skilled jobs in Equatorial Guinea. Digital transformation could therefore play a critical role in diversifying Equatorial Guinea’s economy in the upcoming years.

The Digital Economy Country Diagnostic for Equatorial Guinea, developed by the World Bank and the Government of Equatorial Guinea and supported by the Digital Development Partnership (DDP), notes that, while many Sub-Saharan African countries are undertaking digital transformations, Equatorial Guinea must step up its efforts to capture a larger share of the dividends of the digital economy. The report focuses on challenges and opportunities facing Equatorial Guinea along the five foundations of the digital economy: digital infrastructure, digital public platforms, digital financial services, digital businesses, and digital skills.

“Looking at the size of Equatorial Guinea’s economy, digital marketplace platforms can help firms to expand and access other markets, which could be especially important to stimulate the development of the private sector in the country,” said Aissatou Diallo, Resident Representative for Equatorial Guinea.

Beac Urges Swift Rehabilitation of Sonara to Protect Cemac’s Foreign Reserves (Business in Cameroon)

The Governor of the Bank of Central African States (Beac), Yvon Sana Bangui, urged Cameroonian authorities to speed up the rehabilitation of the country’s oil refinery, Sonara. Speaking at a press conference after the second ordinary session of Beac’s Monetary Policy Committee (CPM) for 2024, Bangui emphasized the need to restore Sonara quickly.

Since a fire destroyed the refinery in May 2019, Cameroon has been importing all its finished petroleum products, including gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and some domestic gas. This has weakened Cemac’s foreign exchange reserves, he explained. “Today, all countries in the sub-region import finished petroleum products. This weakens our external position,” Bangui warned.

Beac projects that Cemac’s reserves will reach CFA7,285 billion by the end of 2024, covering 4.79 months of imports. Cameroon, the economic engine of Cemac, has been contributing 70-80% of these reserves. The massive importation of finished petroleum products since the Sonara fire has eroded these shared reserves. This prompted Bangui’s call for a rapid rehabilitation of Sonara to restart crude oil refining and reduce the need for importing finished petroleum products, thereby preserving foreign exchange reserves.

SADC to Convene 24th Virtual Meeting of the Ministerial Task Force and 34th Committee of Ministers of Trade (SADC)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will hold the 24th virtual meeting of the Ministerial Task Force (MTF) and the 34th Committee of Ministers of Trade (CMT). These significant meetings will be chaired by His Excellency Mr. Rui Miguêns de Oliveira, Minister of Industry and Commerce of the Republic of Angola.

During the meetings, the Ministers receive a comprehensive update on the implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063). The update will cover the Strategy’s pillars of Industrialisation, Competitiveness, Regional Integration, and Cross-Cutting issues. Additionally, the meetings will address the implementation and consolidation of the SADC Free Trade Area (FTA) focusing mainly on Angola’s accession to the Protocol on Trade, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) accession to the Protocol on Trade, and tariff liberalization.

The Ministers will discuss the Draft Annex on Safeguard Measures and the Draft Amendment and Implementation Modalities of Annex VII.

In the area of customs, the Ministers will discuss the alignment of the SADC Protocol on Trade with selected measures from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), amendments to SADC Rules of Origin, and the alignment of Appendix I of Annex I of the Protocol on Trade related to Rules of Origin with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) Harmonized System 2022. On a related matter, the Ministers will deliberate on the implementation of the SADC Regional Authorized Economic Operators’ (AEOs) Framework, the SADC Regional Customs to Business Framework, and the SADC E-Certificate of Origin (eCoO). Progress on the harmonization of customs procedures, processes, and documentation will also be reviewed, along with the development of the SADC Rules of Origin Verification Guidelines for the implementation of Annex I of the Protocol on Trade (Rules of Origin) Framework.

The meeting schedule is as follows: Senior Officials-CMT will meet on 24 June 2024, followed by the Senior Officials-MTF on 25 June 2024. On the morning of 27 June 2024, the Committee of Ministers of Trade will convene, and in the afternoon, the Ministerial Task Force will hold its session.

Inaugural COMESA Week to Publicise Regional Programmes Launched in Madagascar (COMESA)

The inaugural COMESA Week aimed at raising public awareness on various regional integration programmes being implemented by the 21-member bloc has kicked off today Monday 24 June in Madagascar. This also marks the launch of activities to commemorate the organisation’s 30th anniversary later this year.

The COMESA Week features a mini expo that has attracted small scale entrepreneurs, a media sensitization forum on regional integration was held, while a multi-stakeholders’ dialogue focusing on women and the youth and an engagement with students at the University of Antananarivo are planned for the week. The climax of the activities will be the 5th COMESA Federation of Women in Business (COMFWB) Trade Fair and Business Conference on 28 & 29 June 2024 which will bring together national chapters of the COMFWB from COMESA Member States and women entrepreneurs from Madagascar and across the region. Various international and local corporates have come together to support these events.

Creating an Intra-African Tourism Map is Essential for Sustainable Economic Development (The Namibian)

It is no secret that Africa is a diverse continent with a rich cultural heritage waiting to be explored. Through this, tourists have a chance to experience Africa’s traditions, languages, cuisine and tapestry, not forgetting its most sought after natural landscapes, as well as flora and fauna. For Africa to fully benefit from its tourism wealth, a significant opportunity lies in the economic benefits which intra-Africa tourism presents.

The Namibian Tourism Satellite Account Report revealed that during 2022 the gross value added for the tourism industries in Namibia was estimated at 6,9%. With a total national gross domestic product of N$206,2 billion in 2022, N$14,3 billion was contributed by the tourism sector. As a fast growing economic sector, African states should embrace and understand the economic impacts and prospects of independent and thriving tourism industries.

Intra-African tourism has the potential to reduce the continent’s reliance on international tourism, as witnessed during the Covid-19 pandemic. The decline in African tourism activity, which was outwardly held together by international travellers, is proof that by promoting travel within Africa, countries can diversify their tourism markets. This also reduces their vulnerability to external factors, such as global economic downturns or travel restrictions.

African Group to table plans to revamp WTO rules for green industrialisation (The New Times)

Last week, the African Group at the World Trade Organization (WTO) again asked for changes to the WTO’s rules, saying they want the rules to be fairer for developing countries, especially when it comes to things like government support for green businesses (like solar or wind power) and attracting investments in clean technologies. They believe the current WTO rules make it harder for the developing countries, especially those in Africa to grow their economies in an environmentally friendly way.

The group made the call at the June 19, meeting of the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment in Geneva where the trade rules body has its headquarters, according to a Geneva-based trade official. The group, which first flagged this proposal at the General Council meeting last month, said it will present a work plan in July.

China catches up with EU’s exports to Africa, but imports far less (The Corner)

The European Union has a historically strong economic relationship with Africa, but its dominant position has gradually been challenged by the rise of China, especially as a key exporter to Africa. In 1995, China’s exports to Africa were only $1.8 billion, significantly lower than the EU’s exports of $45 billion. However, after nearly thirty years’ of increasing its manufacturing capacity, China’s exports to Africa reached $164 billion in 2022, only 12% lower than the EU’s $187 billion.

Conversely, the importance of the EU and China as markets for African exports varies significantly. So far, the EU remains the leading market for Africa, while Chinese imports have been growing at a slower pace. Despite much higher GDP growth than the EU, China’s imports from Africa amounted to only $118 billion in 2022, whereas the EU has sustained its imports from Africa, which further increased to $247 billion in 2022. Consequently, China held a substantial trade surplus of $40 billion with Africa in 2022, whereas the EU had a trade deficit of $61 billion with Africa.

See also: Why strong regional value chains will be vital to the next chapter of China and Africa’s economic relationship (CNBC Africa)

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