Current Trade News

The price of commodities globally have not only recovered post 2020, but surpassed pre-pandemic levels in some cases – and African exporters are well placed to take advantage of this in the international markets.
Commodity prices across the globe have increased when compared to 2020 for various reasons, including an increase in demand following the pandemic and strategic commodity price increases in West Africa. So far, 60% of the requests on the Orbitt platform were trade-related, from companies seeking financial support to meet increasing trade demand.
The increase in the price of agricultural commodities has been noted across the market, and is projected to keep increasing – presenting an opportunity for commodity traders as demand across the globe increases. Thirty-one percent of the trade-related funding requests this year were to support agricultural commodity trading.
From the requests analyzed, the most prevalent funding requirements came from companies trading cashews, cocoa, rice, sesame and edible oils. For these five commodities, the majority of the funding requests originated from West Africa, East Africa or companies operating across all regions. Many source commodities from Ghana, Tanzania, Benin and Nigeria.
Most of these companies were exporting commodities from their source countries to Asia (35%) or to Europe (32%), implying increased foreign currency revenue. At a time where investors are increasingly looking for ways to mitigate risk and further secure their investments, this is a significant advantage for these companies when seeking financial support.
Additionally, companies are more regularly working with collateral managers and using banking instruments to further secure their trading activities.
The Orbitt Perspective
Global commodity prices have increased notably this year, specifically agricultural commodities, presenting an opportunity for African commodity traders. As a result, companies exporting these commodities from Africa to the international markets continue to seek financial support to increase their trading capacity and meet the increasing demand.
Source: African Business
THE government plans to introduce a special department for business, investment and industrial development in all 185 district councils, which will enable regional business officers countrywide to have full autonomy to manage business and investment in the country.
The plan was revealed on Tuesday by the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office responsible for Investment, Geoffrey Mwambe during a two-day seminar for regional business officers held in Dodoma.
According to Mr Mwambe, his Ministry would accomplish the plan in collaboration with the Ministry of State, President's Office, Regional Administration and Local Government, the Ministry of Trade and Industries and the President's Office Public Service Management.
Minister Mwambe underscored the need for regional business officers to catalyse processes for business and investment in the country that is why the government wanted to have a special department to facilitate the matter.
Mr Mwambe further wanted business officers in all regions to supervise loans that ought to be provided to women, youth and People with Disabilities from the Prime Minister's Office.
"Currently these loans are being supervised by community development officers but in reality this should not be in their capacity because they do not know business issues as per their professions," he insisted.
The Investment minister further said regional and district business officers need to help groups obtaining loans from the government to process proper business plans as many of them took loans without knowing how properly to utilize them. He also called for the need to establish regional business centres, which would help to formalise all businesses in the country.
Earlier on, Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) Executive Director, Dr Maduhu Kazi said his office had coordinated a special seminar for business officers from across the country in order to have an extended exclusive army to prefect business and investment in the country.
Speaking at the same occasion, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Prof Godius Kahyarara said his ministry would remain focused as President Samia Suluhu Hassan had already provided her direction on matters regarding to investment in the country.
He also insisted on the government's plan to have industrial Parks in all the regions countrywide in efforts to attract business and investment.
Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Thursday pledged that over 10 million households will have access to electricity in their homes for the first time by 2024 in the framework of the "Energy for All" Programme, intended to secure universal access to electrical power.
Nyusi reaffirmed the government's commitment to achieve this goal at the inauguration of a power supply system in Macate district, in the central Mozambican province of Manica. This cost 238,000 US dollars disbursed by the government, and will benefit 250 households. Presently, 66 connections have been established.
"Six months ago, I announced the abolition of the electricity connection fee, a move intended to fast track new connections and hasten the achievement of universal access to energy. We are not only encouraged but enthusiastic with the results attained so far. About 500 new consumers are connected to the national grid, every day," Nyusi said.
Since the elimination of the fee, Nyusi added, 115,317 households have been connected, while neighbourhoods and other public spaces have been illuminated, thus transforming the lives of many Mozambicans.
"Macate is now in a position to improve its production levels and we would like to urge the district to step up such levels to justify the investment we have made," Nyusi stressed, pointing out that the impact of electricity goes beyond the economic front. Energy answers the consumption needs of households and its availability will leverage the use of health and education facilities, thus boosting the quality of life.
Because of these reasons and the urgent need to shake up the productive sectors, Nyusi advised the local government to spread the productive use of electricity, by promoting investment in sectors such as agriculture, tourism, fisheries, and agro-processing.
From now on, Nyusi said, the milling facilities must operate at full swing in Macate, and there should be an expansion in the size of the district capital, as a place to make a living and to do business.
Nyusi also urged every resident of Macate to stage a tireless struggle against possible vandalism and theft of electrical equipment, since such behaviour undermines collective welfare. "It is good to see electric lighting at night, but suddenly a criminal comes and rips out the cables to make a snare for poaching", he said.
The darkness into which Macate used to plunge every night is a thing of the past, and so Nyusi asked every resident to safeguard the correct functioning of the system and ensure the longevity of the equipment, taking into account that it is a collective asset.
THE government said yesterday that it is finalizing some amendments in the Non Citizens (Employment Regulation) Act, 2015, purposely to open up doors for foreign investors to operate efficiently and boost investment in the country.
Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said in Parliament that the government has set priorities in various areas citing investment, developing skills, agriculture, environment and Population and Housing Census among others to boost economic growth in the country.
The list also included improving petty traders' sector and providing them with identification cards, ensuring constant supply of medicines and medical equipment, universal health insurance and many other That was when the leader of 'Government Business,' in the House was winding up the parliament session, adding that on investment, the government was working hard to address all challenges, which delay investment development in the country.
Elaborating, the Premier said wooing of investors was one of major issues that were raised during the budget session, and that the government has considered all contribution from Members of Parliament on the matter.
"I would like to inform the Parliament that the government is finalizing procedures for major changes to create friendly environments for investors to set up businesses easily in the country," he pointed out.
Equally, the Prime Minister noted that the government has already met and collected opinions from various stakeholders to be discussed and accommodated in the new document.
"We have involved Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (Tucta), Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE), the Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) and Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), our aim is to ensure all challenges are addresses," he said.
Mr Majaliwa told the Parliament that the government has so far, managed to identify areas that were causing challenges and thus affecting investment activities in the country.
"We have identified all challenges areas and our focus now is to clear the situation," he said.
Apart from focusing on amending the Act, the Premier said the government has started applying the Online Work Permit Application and Issuance System (OWAIS) since April 23, this year, adding that during the pilot study; at least 500 applications have been attended in the new system.
"We are continuing to receive opinions from our clients on the effectiveness of the new system for improvements, which is set for official launch in August, this year," he said.
Elaborating, he said the new system has reduced the time for processing work permit from 14 days to three days. On health sector, Mr Majaliwa said the government has continued to maintain the availability of medicines in various health facilities countrywide.
He said the availability of 312 types of essential drugs has reached 75.6 percent and that the government has provided 191bn/- for purchasing them, estimated as 95.5 per cent of the funds being allocated to them.
He said the government through the 2021/22 budget has set strong strategies that will lead to the improvement of health sector, where so far only 8,224,271 of Tanzanians (14.7 per cent) have access to health services through Health Insurance.
In doing so, the government in its capacity has ensured that more Tanzanians acquire National Insurance Fund for reliable and quality health services.
On agriculture sector, the Premier said at least 4,616 Tanzanians are beneficiaries of skilled agriculture programme in five regions of Dar es Salaam, Singida, Tabora,Arusha and Coast. Hence, he ordered the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure availability of wheat and grapes seeds as well as others and fertilizers are availed to boost agriculture growth in the country.
Moreover, the Prime Minister said the government is focusing on making improvements on petty traders' identification cards, as well as improving and protecting environment so that all sectors benefit for the mutual development of the nation.
From March 30, 2021, the Parliament among other things received President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who addressed them especially in April 22, 2021. In her speech, the Head of State revealed her major focus, which included boosting the investment sector to raise economic growth in the next five years.
Moreover, the Parliament has passed the Financial Bill 2021, the Written Laws (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act, 2021.The Bill proposed amendment of three laws, namely the Interpretation of Laws Act, Cap.1, the Land Disputes Courts Act, Cap. 216 and the Magistrates' Courts Act, Cap. 11.
Also the Bill of amendments for the Road Traffic Bill 2021 was read in the House for the first time, as well as the house passing the third five year national development plan.
The country's power suppliers, Malawi Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has in the last 12 months lost an estimated K1 billion through vandalism of its property.
Escom Public Relations Manager, Innocent Chitosi has revealed that vandalism of the organisation's property, such as transformers, meters, towers and cables cost the utility company an estimated K1 billion from June 2020 to date.
Chitosi deplored such behaviour saying it derails the organisation to provide quality service delivery to the clientele.
"We appeal to all Malawians that should they see any one vandalising Escom's property they must report them to the police," said Chitosi.
Meanwhile, a man is battling for his life in Blantyre due to burn injuries he suffered while allegedly tampering with an Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) powerline tower in Machinjiri Township in the early hours of Wednesday.
Chitosi, said Chileka Police officers found Chrispin Kadzibwa, who is from Area 18 in Machinjiri, barely conscious underneath the tower.
"Police found him lying on his back. There was a hacksaw next to him. Kadzibwa had serious burn wounds all over his body.
"The police took him to Lunzu Clinic where he was in turn, referred him to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital," Chitosi said.
He urged members of the public to desist from tampering with Escom property and report those found doing such malpractices, saying such criminal acts affect electricity supply.
Last week, Police in Dedza District arrested four people for allegedly tampering with an Escom electricity meter box at Magomero Trading Centre, Traditional Authority Chilikumwendo, on June 22 2021, in the district.
The offences carry a custodial sentence.
According Chitosi, Escom has embarked on an anti-vandalism campaign in the Southern Region to sensitise members of the public to the dangers of tampering with the Corporation's property.
"We appeal to the general public to stay away from tampering or stealing ESCOM's electrical property, it is dangerous and life-threatening. The wages of stealing electrical property is death," warned Chitosi.
The Cannabis Regulatory Authority (CRA) has called for the creation of structured markets for cannabis growers in the country.
CRA board chairperson Boniface Kadzamira made the call in Lilongwe on Monday during Cannabis Licence-holder's Engagement meeting for the Central Region growers.
He said growing of medicinal and industrial hemp would be most effective if there are structured markets in place so that growers are able to sell their products.
Kadzamira pointed out that once growers have access to structured markets that lead to steady markets of their products, the industry stands a chance to grow.
"We need to find our own markets within or outside the country. We need to work with the government to develop such markets instead of depending on the promises by investors willing to buy our products. If we will not have structured markets, it will be no work done," he added.
The CRA board chairperson said universities and research institutes should start working on the local variety to see how effective it could be in the country since it would be in the same family of medicinal hemp.
Kadzamira said local varieties have proven to be marketable and fetch more money in European and overseas markets.
He said the country would have cannabis products in the next six months since the growers are going to plant in the coming rainy season.
"We are growing foreign varieties of cannabis but we need to move and develop our own varieties which should be accessible to all growers. We have huge potential with our own varieties which are marketable," Kadzamira said.
Acting Director General for CRA, Ketulo Salipira, said before awarding a licence to a cooperative, the latter needs to develop a clear business plan on how they would conduct their business.
He added that the cooperative leadership needs to be cleared by Police to ensure that they have no criminal record regarding dangerous drugs before.
A member of Monkey Bay Cooperative, Beatrice Mwale, said cannabis growing has provided an opportunity for small holders to work in groups.
She said the crop looks promising to the growers and that investors are keen to buy the products for sale on the local and international markets.
"We stand a very good chance of improving our economic status as farmers if we can handle it well to our advantage by using the available openings and opportunities at stake," Mwale added.
Source: Nyasatimes