As container ships re-route their voyages away from the Red Sea, a windfall was anticipated for South Africa’s ports. Instead, capacity challenges mean there is not enough space for ships to dock, let alone refuel.

South African container ports rank among the most inefficient according to the World Bank, owing to infrastructure gaps. Port operator Transnet saw its losses top $300 million in 2023, with port and rail failures estimated to be costing the economy up to $19 billion a year.

Durban, South Africa’s main container port has particularly struggled to handle increased traffic diverted from the Red Sea, with ships having to wait up to twenty days for dock space.

Some shipping lines have chosen to call Namibian or Mauritian ports instead.

Our guest this week is Marisa Lourenco, an independent political and economic risk analyst focusing on southern Africa. She provides insight into South Africa’s infrastructure woes and how a lack of investment and maintenance of key infrastructure has rendered the country’s ports uncompetitive.

Burundi-Rwanda trade hit by border closure

Burundi closed its border with Rwanda. While the reasons are political, the decision has shut trade between the two neighbors.

In 2022, Rwanda’s exports to Burundi were worth $3.8 million. As Diana Iriza reports, Rwandan traders, transporters and manufacturers are scrambling to find new markets.

Uganda: New tool to increase grain quality

Some of Uganda’s maize exports to Kenya and South Sudan were found to contain aflatoxins, prompting a temporary ban. The contamination stems from poor post harvest and storage protocols.

Now, a campaign targeting multiple stakeholders across the food value chain is underway to increase grain quality and safety.

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