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South Africa, Botswana partner to extend rail links. Here’s why

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Regional neighbours, South Africa and Botswana have agreed to fund the improvement and extension of rail links between the countries.

South African state-owned logistics firm Transnet said revealed on Friday that the agreement is in a bid to boost trade and better connect Botswana to export markets.

There has been scabbles across Europe to meet coal needs after a ban on imports of the fossil fuel from Russia, and coal-rich countries like Botswana are looking to cash in on the surge in demand.

South African firms, Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) will collaborate with Botswana Rail (BR) to fix parts of the 126 km (78 mile) rail line between Swartruggens, in South Africa’s North West province, and Mafikeng, on the border with Botswana, helping South Africa’s landlocked northern neighbour get its minerals, including thermal coal, to market.

Although the actual financial terms were not disclosed, the project is expected to revamp will enable heavy haul trains to travel from Botswana to South Africa’s ports of Richards Bay and Durban, TFR said. The project aims to be up and running in the next 24 months.

According to TFR, the two rail companies will work together to fight the “scourge of cable theft and infrastructure vandalism” that is impacting rail services.

South Africa and Botswana recently celebrated twenty eight years of bilateral relations, it is hoped that the new train agreement will further enhance the relationship.

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AfreximBank to train African companies under AfCFTA

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The African Export-Import Bank declared that it would begin a programme of capacity building to enable African companies to capitalize on the advantages of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

The continental bank said in a statement on Wednesday that its academy will oversee the capacity-building initiative in coordination with the AfCFTA Secretariat.

With 54 of the 55 members of the African Union signing the AfCFTA, the number of participating countries makes it the largest free trade area in the world.

According to Afreximbank, the American University in Cairo will work with them to offer the training, slated to take place in September in Cairo, Egypt.

The bank declared that it will concentrate on the AfCFTA’s commercial ramifications and the many opportunities it offers African businesses.

“Afreximbank is a key supporter of the implementation of the AfCFTA, whose focus is on transforming Africa from a fractured, commodity-dependent group of economies to a vibrant, integrated single market of about two billion people with a combined GDP of about $3.4tn,” said Dr. Yemi Kale, Group Chief Economist and Managing Director of Research at Afreximbank, in response to the program.

“In this regard, we believe that well-informed and prepared businesses are key to driving intra- and extra-African trade and investment. Through this training program, which is one of the numerous capacity-building initiatives the Bank has put in place to promote intra- and extra-African trade and investments, we aim to empower African businesses to fully exploit the vast opportunities created by the AfCFTA, thereby enhancing their competitiveness and contributing to sustainable economic growth in Africa.”

Additionally, Tsotetsi Makong, Head of Capacity Building and Technical Assistance at the AfCFTA Secretariat, emphasized the significance of capacity building for the AfCFTA’s successful implementation.

Makong said, “Investing in capacity building for the corporates and SMEs will ensure that home-sourced investments are mobilised and deficits with third country markets reduced, proving the AfCFTA to be the single most important instrument that de-risks the African continent in its entirety when it comes to investments.”

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Ghana: Inflation decreases to 22.8%

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According to the statistics office, Ghana’s consumer inflation decreased for a third straight month in June, falling from 23.1% in May to 22.8% year over year.

Samuel Kobina Annim, a government statistician, stated at a press conference that the June inflation was mostly caused by a decrease in non-food inflation, which fell to 21.6%, sufficient to offset a rise in food inflation.

The West African nation that produces oil, gold, and cocoa is struggling to recover from a financial catastrophe.

Last week, it overcame a significant obstacle to restructure its foreign obligations when its official creditors verified that the suggested debt rework was not unduly advantageous to bondholders.

In Ghana, the rate of inflation was approximately 9.98 per cent higher than the previous year. By 2029, inflation in Ghana is expected to have dropped to 8% from its peak of about 17.5% in 2016.

Economists say that a stable economy of a nation should aim for a constant inflation rate of two to three per cent. The rise in consumer goods and services prices over a specific period is known as inflation.

Excessive money supply is often the cause of high inflation rates, which can lead to hyperinflation—that is, inflation that happens too quickly and swiftly, devaluing currency and even triggering a recession or even an economic collapse.

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