Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac Daily News


tralac Daily News

tralac Daily News

Functional transport sector is key to a successful economy (SAnews)

Transport Minister Barbara Creecy says an efficient and functioning transport sector is key to a successful economy. “Our roads and rail network are the arteries of our nation, [they] should move people and goods safely, speedily and affordably across the length and breadth of South Africa and facilitate our connectivity with the African continent and the wider world,” Creecy said on Monday.

The condition of roads, logistical and capacity issues affecting the freight network and road safety are just a few of the problems that have plagued the sector in recent times, she said at the opening of the South African Transport Conference currently underway in Pretoria.

She added that the 7th Administration is aware of the challenges and aims to address them comprehensively throughout the next five-year term. “Areas of focus include key logistics corridors handling commodities that are essential to the export market and economic growth (such as coal and iron ore), addressing backlogs and congestion at strategic border crossings such as Komatipoort and Beitbridge, combatting congestion in key national highway corridors such as the N1 and N3, as well as interventions to combat cable theft and maintenance backlogs at Transnet.

Opinion: American pork exports deserve full access in South Africa (Agri-Pulse)

Every trade agreement requires strict enforcement of its terms, and unfortunately, South Africa has failed to live up to its commitments under AGOA by directly targeting American pork exports and our hog farmers. For years, South Africa has unlawfully restricted access for U.S. pork products based on unscientific and baseless claims. These limitations create needless uncertainty for hog farmers and prevent South Africans from consuming nutritious and affordable American pork while South African businesses and farmers enjoy preferential access to American markets. It’s unfair and a complete violation of the terms of AGOA.

In our letter, we ask that U.S. pork exports receive fair treatment in the South African market and further encourage USTR to use every tool at its disposal to enforce the clear provisions of AGOA. South Africa cannot use its own faulty “scientific” standards to prevent American pork from being sold, and it is vital that the Biden administration make that crystal clear in bilateral discussions.

Pork production is an important economic engine for our rural communities and the American economy. This industry creates good jobs, feeds families, and represents a vital component of American agriculture. As members of the House Ways and Means Committee and representing the top pork-producing states in the country, we will continue to advocate for our hog farmers, demand strict enforcement of our trade laws, develop new export opportunities for U.S. pork, and ensure that the Biden administration upholds its commitment to our producers on the global stage.

Cameroon Exports First Aluminum Ingots to Algeria under AfCFTA (Business in Cameroon)

On July 5, 2024, Cameroon’s Minister of Commerce, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, presided over the ceremony at the Douala port marking the first containerized export of 99.4 tons of aluminum ingots under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The shipment, consisting of four 20-foot containers of aluminum ingots produced by the Cameroon Aluminum Company (Alucam), is destined for Alfilect, an Algerian company. The ingots will be used as components in the manufacture of electrical cables.

“This is the culmination of negotiations that began in Egypt in November 2023 at the Intra-African Trade Fair between the Cameroon National Shippers’ Council (CNCC), which hosts the ad-hoc subcommittee responsible for monitoring and operationalizing the guided trade of the unified African market in Cameroon, and Alfilect,” said Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana. The government official noted that this marks the first containerized export of Cameroonian goods to Algeria under this new regime, aimed at strengthening trade between the two countries.

OECD Green Growth Policy Review of Egypt 2024 (OECD)

Egypt is a rapidly growing emerging economy and a demographic heavyweight on the African continent. High population growth, land-use change, pollution and climate change are increasingly putting pressure on the natural environment, including on its rich biodiversity. Egypt has achieved relative decoupling of greenhouse gas emissions from economic growth, though it needs to further mainstream climate action across sectors and progressively raise ambition. As one of the world’s most water-stressed countries, greater use of economic instruments would help address scarcity and improve water quality.

This is the first Green Growth Policy Review of Egypt. It examines progress towards sustainable development and green growth over the past decade. The 40 recommendations aim to help Egypt improve its environmental performance, giving a special focus to building climate-smart, resilient and inclusive cities.

Chad Hosting Refugees in an Inclusive Manner (World Bank Blog)

Chad’s economy has proven resilient despite the war in neighboring Sudan, and spillover effects on trade, public expenditure, and inflation. GDP growth in 2023 is estimated at 4.1% (1% per capita). This growth is underpinned by oil production (an increase by 4.4%). Non-oil GDP is estimated to have grown by 4.1% (from 2 % in 2022), driven by public investment. After recovering from the 2022 floods, the agricultural sector is estimated to have contributed 1.6 percentage points (ppts) to growth.

Investment, primarily government-driven, is the main growth driver on the demand side, contributing 7 ppts to growth. In contrast, private investment is estimated to have fallen due to increased interest rates and crowding out effects. The boom in public investment has led to an increase in imports, resulting in a 2.4% of GDP current account deficit in 2023. Inflation eased to 4.1% in 2023, owing to the base effect of high inflation in 2022 (5.8%) and the deceleration in food inflation resulting from improved agricultural production.

National digital economy, e-governance bill scales first reading at Reps (Daily Post Nigeria)

The National Digital Economy and e-Governance bill has scaled through its first reading at the House of Representatives. The bill, which was sponsored by the Chairman of the House Committee on Digital and Information Technology, Adedeji Dhikrullahi Olajide, aims to provide a legal framework for the development and regulation of the digital economy.

“This bill is a crucial step towards harnessing the potential of our digital economy and positioning Nigeria as a key player in the global digital landscape,” Olajide said. He disclosed that the committee would go on a nationwide consultation process, engaging with stakeholders, industry experts, and the general public to gather input and feedback on the bill.

The National Digital Economy and e-Governance Bill seeks to establish a regulatory framework for the digital economy, promote digital literacy and skills development, enhance cybersecurity, and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.

Opening Remarks by Ms. Hanan Morsy at the Expert Meeting of the 7th STC on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration (UNECA)

Since the 6th Session of this STC in Nairobi in July last year, we witnessed economic, social, and environmental conditions getting worse instead of improving in many African countries:

Escalating trade fragmentation and rising protectionism is causing havoc in the global global supply chains, posing a significant threat to our food and energy security, and inevitably leading to a surge in cost of living. Shockingly, the year 2023 witnessed a staggering 1624 instances of restrictive trade measures implemented worldwide, marking a stark increase from the 1364 interventions in 2022, and a mere 367 back in 2018. To fortify economic stability of our nations, It is imperative to strengthen regional collaboration, fostering growth of resilient regional value chains.

On regional integration and regional value chains, ECA has been actively advocating and advancing the AfCFTA – which is the theme of our Conference of Ministers next year – and supporting its implementation. The development of regional value chains, based on comparative advantages of our countries, cannot be overemphasized. Its success depends not only on harmonization of trade policies and removal of trade barriers, but also on liberalisation of intra-African investment, efficient cross-border transport and payment systems, and creation of an enabling environment for the private sector. The role of political will, trust and good governance is also key for the success of the pan-African project. Africa can no longer depend on commodities and raw materials and be at the bottom of global value chains. Instead, we shall seize the opportunity of green industries for value addition and inclusive and just development.

Experts from SADC, 40 African Countries Underscore Gender Data Financing as Crucial for Development (UNECA)

More than 130 senior public sector officials from 40 African countries and senior representatives from SADC, the African Union Commission (AUC) and regional and international development agencies including the African Development Bank (AfDB), UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and UN Women will convene to take stock of Africa’s progress and gender perceptions in the Addis Ababa Declaration on Population and Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and the 3rd Africa Program on Gender Statistics.

Held under the theme Pooling Together for Gender Statistics: Financing the Numbers that Make Women and Girls Count, the 6th AGSF is also aimed at linking gender statistics financing for accelerated progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE) to the upcoming 4th International Conference on Financing for Development in 2025 as well as a follow up to the Addis Ababa action agenda. It further aims to make better use of limited resources and time through sharing best practices and developing common strategies to rationalize, harmonize, and improve the measurement and use of gender statistics in Africa.

High Turnout for the Inaugural COMESA Investment Forum in Tunisia (COMESA)

The COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA) working with the Government of Tunisia and funding from the European Union 11th Development Fund (EDF11) organised a successful first ever COMESA Investment Forum (CIF 2024) which had participation from national investment agencies from all 21 COMESA Member States.

More than 350 prominent figures, including ministers, decision-makers, businesspeople, investors, representatives from the Tunisian private sector were joined by officials from investment agencies and authorities from the 21 states.

The event was officially opened by Tunisia’s Secretary of State for Small and Medium Enterprises at the Ministry of Economy and Planning, Samir Abdel Hafeez who expressed Tunisia’s eagerness to host the forum as it contributed to the creation of a platform to be used for exchanging vital information and contacts for key actors in the business world.

He also expressed hope for Africa to play a larger role on the regional and global stage through such forums and contribute to solving global crises. “These aspirations are legitimate and achievable given the rich natural resources of the continent through enhancing joint cooperation, whether government or with the private sector as we are doing here,” Minister Hafeez said.

Djibouti maximizes the benefits of the AfCFTA for the private sector (UNECA)

The Republic of Djibouti’s geographic and strategic position makes regional integration and trade essential components of its economic growth and resilience. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), with its stated benefits of market opening, economic diversification, improved competitiveness, promotion of regional value chains and attraction of African and international investment, can make a substantial contribution to this.

However, to benefit from these opportunities, an optimal implementation strategy is crucial, as countries need to strengthen their ability to trade in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Agreement. This also requires strong political determination, sustained improvement in institutional skills and infrastructure, full involvement of all stakeholders and constant enhancement of technical skills.

The Republic of Djibouti ratified the ZLECAf agreement in May 2022. Moreover, in its efforts to implement the agreement, the country has already developed, with the support of the ECA, a National Implementation Strategy with clear and detailed action plans, including capacity building for stakeholders representing both the public and private sectors.

Taking this into account, the Government of Djibouti, in collaboration with the ECA, is planning to hold a national workshop in Djibouti from July 9 to 11, 2024, to improve the understanding of the various stakeholders of the rules, instruments, procedures and opportunities for trade and investment in the context of the AfCFTA.

WTO monitoring shows members acting to facilitate trade despite protectionist pressures (WTO)

“This Trade Monitoring Update underscores the resilience of world trade despite the challenging geopolitical environment. Even in a context of rising protectionist pressures and signs of economic fragmentation, there are governments around the world still taking meaningful steps to liberalize and facilitate trade. This attests to the benefits of trade for people’s purchasing power, business competitiveness and price stability,” said Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

pdf WTO Trade Monitoring: Latest Trends - 8 July 2024 (224 KB)

Trade Watch (Second Quarter 2024) (World Bank)

Early data pointed to a continued mild recovery in goods trade in 2024, with mixed performance across industries and regions. Trade in services grew in the first quarter of 2024, with significant increases in travel and construction; international tourist arrivals neared pre-pandemic levels, though regional variations persisted. Global container capacity stress and shipping rates remained high in May 2024, primarily due to disruptions in the Middle East and the Mediterranean Sea.

pdf Global Trade Watch 2024 - Quarter 2 (3.40 MB)

BRICS countries back Russia’s initiative to create grain exchange (TASS)

The BRICS countries supported Russia’s initiative to create a grain exchange, Agriculture Minister Oksana Lut told reporters following the 14th meeting of the BRICS agriculture ministers. “We are grateful to all BRICS member countries… for their support of the Russian initiative to create the BRICS grain exchange. Now, in accordance with the instructions of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, we will work together with our colleagues on the creation and development of this platform and the development of the possibility of settlements in national currencies of the BRICS countries,” Lut said.

Global meeting focuses on fisheries and aquaculture’s vital role in tackling food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty (FAO)

The 36th Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI36) began today at the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome. This week’s (8-12 July) COFI36 meeting will focus on the vital role of fisheries and aquaculture in tackling food insecurity, malnutrition, and poverty, stressing their ability to alleviate hunger, drive sustainable growth, and reverse environmental degradation.

“An increasingly expanding global aquaculture sector is driving the supply of fish and fishery products to new records. In 2022, aquaculture overtook capture fisheries as the main supplier of aquatic animals. Ensuring the expansion of sustainable aquaculture is of fundamental importance for consumers,” QU Dongyu, the Director-General of FAO, said in a video message at the opening of the session.

Last month FAO issued the latest edition of its The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) report which showed that world fisheries and aquaculture production hit a new high of 223.2 million tonnes in 2022 and in his message, Qu pointed out that aquatic foods must contribute further to the fight against hunger and malnutrition for a growing population.

Quick links

What should be South Africa’s vision for its G20 Presidency in 2025? (UNDP)

Exploring Digital Innovation in Promoting the AfCFTA (Modern Ghana)

Explainer: Looming AGOA expiry puts US apparel buyers off (Just Style)

USA and China fighting ‘enterprise tech trade war’ in Middle East and Africa, analysts warn (The Stack)


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