Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News
Photo credit: Mobisol

South Africa strikes US deal to export table grapes (Freight News)

Prosper Africa has announced the United States-Africa Trade Desk (USATD)’s first $56 million trade deal for 700 containers of South African-grown table grapes to be imported to the US. The US-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 Food Show, this transaction will help US retailers keep product prices stable for consumers during the country’s growing off-season, when commodity prices go up by 35%. Shipping will commence in the first week of November and continue until April 2025. 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. USATD will facilitate the transaction, providing an end-to-end solution that bridges the gap between retailer needs in the US and African production.

Last year was pivotal for the power sector, Energy Council says (Engineering News)

2023 was a pivotal year for South Africa’s power sector, as unprecedented loadshedding undermined the economy and society, industry organisation the Energy Council of South Africa says. “We can confidently state that we have turned the corner on loadshedding. We have emerged stronger and better positioned to tackle the many sector reform challenges that now lie ahead,” adds Energy Council CEO James Mackay in a report on discussions at the organisation’s 2024 AGM.

Local beef set for EU market dominance (The Patriot)

The Botswana beef is poised for dominance in the lucrative European Union (EU) market bolstered by the availability of sophisticated equipment used for testing chemical residuals in meat donated to the National Agricultural Research and Development Institute (NARDI) courtesy of the SADC-EU support. The equipment has been handed to Botswana through the EU-SADC Economic Partnership Agreement Support Programme (Residues Project) which commenced three years back at the tune of P88 million value.

Speaking during the handover ceremony in Gaborone on Thursday at the NARDI-Botswana National Veterinary Laboratory (BNVL), Head of Cooperation – European Union Delegation to Botswana and SADC Clement Boutillier said the equipment will position Botswana as beef exporting hub to the EU market.

He said EU in particular offers huge market potential for Botswana beef and there is indeed room for increasing the volumes of export, adding that they have noted with excitement the efforts made by the Botswana government to improve the beef value chain through importation of quality breeding stocks.

Rwanda’s horticulture sector grows through Horti-Export Phase 2, targets job creation (The New Times)

Rwanda’s horticulture sector holds huge potential in contributing to the country’s economic growth, specifically in increasing export revenues and creating decent jobs for youth and women. This was witnessed through the second phase of the Horti-Export project since 2021, which was funded by GIZ under its “Special Initiative - Decent Work for a Just Transition” which focuses on creating decent jobs and improving working conditions of workers within beneficiaries’ operations and beyond.

This was emphasised by agriculture sector players on Friday, June 28, 2024, during discussions aimed at learning from experts and peers, and leveraging collective knowledge and experiences to address challenges and seize opportunities in the horticulture sector.

Ethiopia, South Sudan to build 220km cross-border road (The East African)

Ethiopia and South Sudan are set to build a 220-km cross-border road, following a $738-million financial agreement signed in May 2023.South Sudan’s Transitional National Legislative Assembly on Tuesday ratified the Ethiopia-South Sudan financial agreement to build a cross-border highway, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Thursday. The ministry said the project aims to enhance connectivity and bolster economic ties between the two neighboring countries, underscoring the growing cooperation and mutually beneficial relationship between Ethiopia and South Sudan. According to the financial agreement, Ethiopia will cover the cost of the road project.

The deal designates South Sudan as the borrower and Ethiopia as the financier, and the repayment involves crude oil from South Sudan to Ethiopia.

FDI inflows to Nigeria drops 35% amid multinationals’ exodus (Businessday NG)

Foreign Direct Investment inflows in Nigeria declined by 35.2 percent in the first quarter of 2024 as more multinationals continued to exit the country. According to the latest capital importation report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), FDI fell to $119.2 million in Q1 from $183.9 million in the previous quarter. But it rose on a year-on-year basis by 150.4 percent from $47.6 million.

The country’s harsh business environment which has worsened by the removal of petrol subsidy and naira devaluation has forced seven multinationals to exit one of Africa’s biggest economies in the last 11 months. This situation could affect the country’s $1 trillion economy target by 2030. Direct investment reduced due to high operational rates and insecurity challenges in Nigeria which are waning investors’ confidence, said Adeola Adenikinju, president of Nigerian Economic Society (NES).

Nigeria Selected as Host of $5B Africa Energy Bank, Kickstarting New Era of O&G Funding (African Energy Chamber)

African intergovernmental organization the African Petroleum Producers’ Organization (APPO) has selected Abuja, Nigeria to host the headquarters of the newly established Africa Energy Bank (AEB). A strong advocate for development of oil and gas in Africa, the African Energy Chamber (AEC) – serving as the voice of the African energy sector – congratulates Nigeria on this significant achievement, expressing its full support for the decision. This move will not only strengthen Nigeria’s role in the African energy landscape but will streamline funding for African projects, placing the continent on track for widespread industrialization and economic growth.

Nigeria’s selection followed a meticulous review process, with the decision made during the 45th Extraordinary Session of the APPO Ministerial Council – held virtually on July 4, 2024 and chaired by the Minister of Hydrocarbons of the Republic of the Congo Bruno Jean Richard Itoua. Following a review by the AEB Headquarters Ministerial Selection Committee, the committee evaluated criteria including socio-economic factors, safety, security and accessibility. The thorough selection process underscores the careful consideration given to Nigeria’s capabilities and strategic importance.

Somalia banks on fisheries week to unleash Blue Economy boom (The Standard)

Somalia is now banking on its inaugural National Fisheries Week to unleash the successes of the Blue Economy. Launched on Wednesday by the Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy, the week-long event aims to celebrate the country’s rich marine resources and promote their sustainable management. Somalia’s Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre said the event provides an opportunity for the government to showcase its marine resources potential while identifying opportunities and addressing challenges within the fisheries sector while providing robust support to the communities. He said the main focus is to delve deeper into the crucial themes of sustainability and collaboration.

Women in Six African Countries to Benefit from $100M AfCFTA Fish Project (Business Day Africa)

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), in collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation and TradeMark Africa, have launched a four-year fisheries programme aimed at creating over 240,000 jobs and increasing trade in fish and fish products by $100 million by 2028. The initiative seeks to tackle the structural challenges faced by women and youth in the fisheries sector.

It will provide training, improve market and finance access, strengthen supply chain linkages, develop digital solutions, simplify trade regulations, ensure compliance with standards, and facilitate cross-border market access. It stems from the AfCFTA Secretariat’s collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation, which began with the development of the AfCFTA private sector strategy. TradeMark Africa will implement the programme, targeting Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Nigeria, and select island states.

Embracing the AfCFTA: Empowering women and youth in Zimbabwe (The Chronicle)

As the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) becomes a reality, Zimbabwe stands at a pivotal juncture. The potential benefits of this historic trade agreement are vast, particularly for women and youth-led Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

However, unlocking these benefits requires strategic action and a commitment to overcoming long-standing barriers. The AfCFTA aims to create a single market for goods and services, facilitating free movement of businesspeople and investments. For Zimbabwe, this presents an unprecedented opportunity to boost intra-African trade, enhance economic growth, and drive sustainable development. Yet, for these benefits to be realised, we must focus on inclusivity, ensuring that the traditionally marginalised groups — women youth and persons with disabilities — are at the forefront of this economic transformation.

Women and youth-led MSMEs are critical to Zimbabwe’s economy, yet they face significant challenges. Available data shows that only one percent of MSMEs in Zimbabwe currently have access to regional markets for export purposes. This low participation is attributed to limited access to finance, inadequate marketing skills, and an uneven regulatory environment. Moreover, 67 percent of women in trade reported a lack of access to trade-related information, policies, regulations, and market opportunities

No need for single currency in Africa, MoMo interoperability the best option (Citinewsroom)

Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is proposing a policy shift in the adoption of a single currency among African countries. He is rather suggesting interconnected payment platforms including interoperable Mobile Money service as a far better alternative in bridging the financial divide and boosting intra-Africa trade.

African leaders have been focusing solely on macroeconomic stability across the continent as a key factor in the use of a common currency. However, Dr Bawumia argues that Africa’s inability to meet the economic convergence criteria for the rollout of a homogeneous currency to boost cross-border trade indicates that a seamless payment regime can only be achieved through financial interoperability systems.

“Making mobile money interoperable allows our citizens across the continent to trade seamlessly and so this is where I believe as African countries we need to focus on. One of the common problems of achieving a common currency was the difficulty of our respective countries in achieving the macro-economic convergence.”

World Bank launches $2.5B program to boost digitalization in Africa (Devex)

The World Bank has launched a new $2.48 billion program that aims to increase internet access and inclusive use of digital services to more than 180 million people across eastern and southern Africa. The Inclusive Digitalization in Eastern and Southern Africa, or IDEA, Program, launched last week, will focus on tackling common digital challenges including poor internet coverage due to infrastructure gaps, low usage due to the high cost of data and devices, limited digital skills, and lack of digital identification needed for online transactions. “The IDEA program shows the World Bank’s commitment to digitization,” Tim Kelly, the bank’s lead ICT policy specialist, told Devex.

More investment in skills development is key to Africa’s growth potential (OECD)

Improving access to, and the quality of, skills development will help Africa harness the growth potential of a fast-growing and increasingly skilled workforce of young Africans, according to the 2024 edition of Africa’s Development Dynamics: Skills, Jobs and Productivity, published today.

Eighty-five percent of the total expected increase in the global working-age population by 2050 will be in Africa. The working-age population (15-64 years old) will almost double in Africa by that year, from 849 million in 2024 to 1.56 billion in 2050. Those new entrants to labour markets will be more educated than previous generations, as the total number of young Africans completing secondary or tertiary education will more than double, from 103 million to 240 million, between 2020 and 2040. They will be looking for work in dynamic economies; Africa’s GDP growth is projected to increase from 3.2% in 2023 to 3.5% in 2024 and reach an average rate of 4.0% in 2025, outpacing Latin America and the Caribbean (2.5%), and close behind developing Asia (4.8%), compared to 3.2% for the world.

Africa’s Development Dynamics 2024 identifies several policy recommendations to help close Africa’s educational and skills gaps:

Develop national skill strategies for emerging high-potential sectors specific to each African country, including the new skills required by digital and green industries. Improve the productivity and employability of informal and especially female workers through training and the recognition of skills acquired in informal activities. Invest in technical and vocational education and training institutions, fostering stronger partnerships with the private sector to develop more relevant curricula, particularly in digital skills. Harmonise regional frameworks for skills development: strengthen international partnerships and university exchanges.

The report also looks at strategic areas where Africa’s five regions have the highest potential to increase productivity thanks to a better skilled workforce: mining in Central and Southern Africa, digital in East Africa, renewable energy in North Africa and agri-food in West Africa.

AU Commission emphasizes the need for coordinated policies at all levels for inclusive growth and sustainable development (AU)

Achieving the peaceful, united, prosperous, and powerful Africa We Want, under Agenda 2063, requires coordinated policies at all levels to drive inclusive growth and sustainable development. Despite various continental strategies and development plans, African economies have faced fluctuations in GDP growth rates, with challenges such as debt dynamics, COVID-19 impacts, weak governance, and infrastructure limitations. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) presents opportunities for growth, but misalignment of public policies hampers progress. The focus is to be on enhancing coordination between macroeconomic and sectoral policies to achieve sustained high economic performance and break the cycle of poverty.

Against this backdrop, the Department of Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals (ETTIM) of the African Union Commission (AUC) is hosting the 7th African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration, under the theme “Enhancing Macroeconomic and sectoral policies coordination in Africa: challenges, opportunities and policy priorities for inclusive growth and sustainable development”, in Tunis, the Republic of Tunisia.

The Chair of the STC Bureau Mr. Abner Thulani, highlighted the African Union’s role in shaping the global agenda and advocating for reforms in the international financial architecture. “It is important that we find common positions on areas of mutual concerns such as the reform of the global financial architecture. It is not a secret that the current international financial system is not fit for purpose to resolve Africa’s development challenges and even deal with the current crises,” said Mr. Abner Thulani.

The AATB Concludes its 4th Board of Governors Meeting with Landmark Agreements to Enhance Arab African Trade and Cooperation (Afreximbank)

The Arab Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) Program announces the successful conclusion of its 4th Board of Governors (BoG) Meetings, held alongside with the Tunisia Africa Business Meeting (TABM) from 2 July 2024, in Tunis, Tunisia. This event marks a milestone in advancing trade, economic cooperation, and regional integration between Africa and the Arab world. The 11th Executive Committee Meeting which was held on 1st July featured high-level sessions focused on areas such as agricultural sustainability, food security and the economic empowerment of Arab and African nations.

During his welcome remarks, Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Afreximbank and Chairman of the AATB Executive Committee said, ”In recent years, a new form of cooperation for mutual benefit has ushered in a new era in Arab-Africa economic relations. The AATB program has further expanded these relations and provided a platform for growing trade and investment relations between the two regions. With its focus on Trade, Investment, Insurance, and Infrastructure, the Program provides a platform for enhancing this expansion and deepening of relations. This is particularly important in the context of the AfCFTA which has created an integrated market of 1.3 billion people with a combined GDP of over US$3.4 trillion”.

Global trade resumes growth in first quarter of 2024 (UNCTAD)

Global trade trends turned positive in the first quarter of 2024, with the value of trade in goods increasing by around 1% quarter-over-quarter and services by about 1.5%. According to the latest Global Trade Update released by UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on 2 July, the growth was primarily driven by increased exports from China (9%), India (7%) and the US (3%). Conversely, Europe’s exports showed no growth and Africa’s decreased by 5%. Trade in developing countries and South-South trade increased by about 2% in both imports and exports during the first quarter of 2024.

The report expects the increase to add approximately $250 billion to trade in goods, and $100 billion to services trade, in the first half of 2024 compared to the second half of 2023.

G20 Sherpa, Finance Meet Task Forces to Finalize Proposals (Mirage News)

Meeting of Task Forces proposed by Brasil’s G20 presidency with the forum’s Sherpa and Finance tracks highlighted priorities such as reducing inequalities and combating climate change. The event reiterated Brasil’s role as a leader in global initiatives and demonstrated the evolving integration of the two tracks since the first formal meeting in Brasilia in December 2023.

The importance of concrete and coordinated actions to face the climate crisis was highlighted at the opening of the meeting. Ambassador André Corrêa do Lago, heading the Climate Change Task Force, emphasized the need to integrate this issue into government policies and financial flows. “We need to think outside the box to drive true transformation,” he said.

Lyrio characterized the meeting as a moment to make a general assessment and prepare the way for the second half of Brasil’s G20 presidency-in which there will be a concentration of ministerial meetings and the preparation of the Summit of Heads of State that will be held on November 18 and 19, in Rio de Janeiro. “This is the negotiation stage of documents that will be used both in the ministerial and the Leaders’ meetings. It is an opportunity to advance the priorities that Brasil has established for the agenda, which so far has been very well received by the other countries,” he said.

Iran ready to cooperate with BRICS members to create financial entity: CBI Governor (Tehran Times)

The Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Mohammad Reza Farzin has proposed the establishment of an intergovernmental organization within BRICS, similar to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).Farzin made the suggestion on Thursday as he addressed the International Banking and Financial Conference in St. Petersburg where he arrived a day earlier for talks aimed at developing monetary and banking interactions between Iran and Russia. He said that the formation of a FATF-like organization within BRICS aims to enhance banking cooperation among BRICS member states. The success of these initiatives will depend on the willingness of BRICS members to collaborate and overcome challenges.

WTO members call for reinvigorating discussions on services trade (WTO)

WTO members brainstormed on ways to reinvigorate the WTO’s work on services trade at a meeting of the Council for Trade in Services on 4 July, in line with recent mandates given by ministers. They also discussed how to increase the participation of least-developed countries (LDCs) in services trade, among other issues.

Members continued discussing the proposals set out in a communication by the WTO’s LDC Group submitted last December on operationalizing the “LDC Services Waiver”, under which members can notify preferences for LDC services and service suppliers. A total of 51 members have notified preferences so far. The objective of the waiver is to boost the participation of LDCs in services trade. Members reiterated their continued support for putting the waiver into practice at the 12th Ministerial Conference in June 2022 and at MC13.

Members discuss future work of the Goods Council, review trade concerns (WTO)

At a meeting of the Council for Trade in Goods (CTG) on 2-3 July, delegations heard from the Chair of the Council regarding her consultations with members on the future work of the body and agreed to hold an informal meeting in September to discuss the new ideas by members. The CTG also reviewed more than 40 specific trade concerns raised by members, including six new trade concerns.

Quick links

Kenya: What are the consequences of the withdrawal of the finance bill? [Business Africa] (Africanews)

Ecowas summit: 6 steps the leaders can take to restore stability and growth in west Africa (The Conversation)

Strategic trade and investment policies key to Africa’s economic renaissance (The Star)

Q&A: Trade is Key to Climate Action. How Can Multilateral Development Banks Help Make it Sustainable? (Asian Development Bank)


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