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Desiderio Consultants Ltd. is a think tank and a network of independent professional international development consultants established to promote and influence customs & trade-related policies in African nations to achieve trade facilitation reforms aimed at improving international and regional trade
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PAPSS for dummies

The Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) is a centralized payment, clearing and settlement system for intra-African trade payments jointly developed by the AfCFTA Secretariat and Afreximbank which has been rolled out end of September 2021. It aims at streamlining and securing money flows across African borders by simplifying transactions made by using one of the 42 local currencies that are currently adopted in the continent. The system allows traders to complete these transactions in almost real-time (in less than two minutes) for a low fee. A recently published article explains in simple terms why this system has been developed and what are the advantages for African traders, along with its challenges. We will try to further simplify its content to explain the main reasons that are at the basis of the functioning of the PAPSS.

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AfCFTA Digital Trade Protocol workshop ongoing in Ethiopia

Today, 6 December 2023, a workshop was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and the AfCFTA Digital Trade Protocol that is under negotiation. The purpose of the workshop was to help businesses in Ethiopia (especially those from the ICT sector) to understand the AfCFTA and the Digital Trade Protocol in particular, so to prepare them to seize the opportunities offered by this regulation to expand their operations to other African markets.

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Processed critical minerals as an opportunity for the industrialization of Africa

The global run towards a low-carbon economy has brought to the fore the importance of several minerals judged critical to this transition. These minerals include lithium, cobalt, graphite, manganese, and others essential to producing clean energy technologies, including solar panels, wind turbines, rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), and grid battery storage. Developing countries hold large reserves of these minerals, about one quarter of them being concentrated in Africa. Among the countries that are rich of such minerals, there is the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which produces about 70 per cent of cobalt ore worldwide, mainly directed to China, that is particularly voracious of such material. According to the UNCTAD technical note on critical minerals, the demand for some of such minerals is expected to increase rapidly. The estimates are a 115 per cent growth for the cobalt and 454 per cent for lithium in the period from 2022 to 2030.

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New scenarios enrich the traditional models of regional economic integration in Africa

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the newly-formed Alliance of Sahel States (ALS) recently met on November 30 and 1th December 2023 in Bamako, Burkina Faso, and proposed the establishment of a Confederation between Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger with the creation of a roadmap for the establishment of a monetary union with the adoption of a new currency to replace the CFA franc. The ALS (in French: Alliance des États du Sahel, AES) is a mutual defense pact created by the three States on 16 September 2023 following their suspension from ECOWAS, as a reaction to the threats from this Regional Economic Community to intervene militarily to restore the civilian rule after the coup in Niger of 26 July 2023.

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EU Commission report on the implementation and enforcement of the EU Trade Policy: can lessons be drawn for Africa?

The report of the EU Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the Implementation and Enforcement of EU Trade Policy gives an overview of the trade policy of the EU towards third countries and territories, including developing countries. It is interesting to analyse the general lines of the document to learn lessons that can be useful for shaping the trade policy of other regional and sub-regional actors in Africa.

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