News Archive August 2015

tralac’s Daily News selection: 28 August 2015

The selection: Friday, 28 August

Raising voices for women cross border traders in West Africa: report (WCBT)

The “Raising Voices for Women Cross Border Traders in West Africa Project” seeks to map women’s organisations in the ECOWAS sub-region and their potential to support the capacity building, advocacy and development of women cross border traders, through serving as platforms for the articulation of their challenges and aspirations. In general, the project aims to make concrete information available to all stakeholders, including the ECOWAS, National Governments and Development Partners, for planning of further interventions to support women cross border trade in West Africa. The women cross border traders of West Africa form a significant group of those involved in informal trade across the sub-region. Women cross border traders are not a homogenous group. [Download]

Economic empowerment of African women through equitable participation in agricultural value chains (AfDB)

The report highlights five major constraints that can limit women’s productivity and full inclusion into the agricultural economy: lack of access to assets, lack of access to financing, limited training, gender-neutral government policy, and time constraints due to heavy domestic responsibilities. The report highlighted three broad areas for action that could begin to address the specific constraints women face in each focus country: [Download]

Report calls for overhaul in mining laws to include women (UNECA)

A new report on Women in Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) in Africa has called for a policy overhaul in the mining sector for inclusive and active participation of women. The research project, a partnership between ECA and UN Women, aimed at contributing to the diversification of the mining sector in Africa to include women as a necessary for economic empowerment and social transformation. Preliminary findings of the report, which includes case studies from Zambia, Tanzania, DRC, Ghana and Guinea-Conakry found that the legal and policy framework in the mining and extractive industries made it difficult for active participation and inclusion of women in those sectors. Access to affordable capital financing was the single most constraint for women miners says the report. [Download]

Caucus of the African Governors of the World Bank, IMF: remarks by Thabo Mbeki (Thabo Mbeki Foundation)

We would therefore like to appeal that you yourselves should continue to demonstrate the political will to tackle the matter of the illicit outflows by helping to ensure that each of our countries does indeed adopt the required legislation and build and capacitate the necessary state institutions so that each of our countries has the ability to intervene in a sustained manner to curb and end the illicit outflows. As we visited various African countries in the course of preparing our Report, the matter of radically improving the capacity of our state institutions arose quite insistently. Our Report contains some suggestions in this regard. We believe that as Finance Ministers you have a particular responsibility in this regard.

As we prepared our Report we were also privileged to interact with the leadership of both the World Bank and the IMF at their respective headquarters in Washington D.C. We were very pleased with the keenness they showed to do everything necessary to help combat the illicit financial outflows. We humbly suggest that now that our Panel’s Report has now been issued and in the light of the supportive decisions of the Conference on Financing for Development, you should, as Governors of the World Bank and the IMF reengage these important institutions to influence them to attend to the issue of the illicit outflows in a systematic and sustained manner.

We have already drawn your attention to the important decisions on the matter of the illicit financial outflows which were taken at the Conference on Financing for Development. In this regard we believe that you should also establish a properly structured process to interact with the African representatives at the UN in New York, and also our other representatives at the EU in Brussels who would also have access to the European Parliament, as well as our representatives in Paris who can interact with the OECD.

African tax experts to meet in Cape Town (Cape Business News)

Academics, researchers, tax administrators, students, tax practitioners, consultants and decision-makers on fiscal and tax policy in Africa will gather in Cape Town from 2 to 4 September for the inaugural conference of the African Tax Research Network. The conference, with the theme “Contemporary Tax Challenges for African Countries”, will provide an opportunity for the delegates to discuss different aspects relating to national, regional and international tax matters. Academics and practitioners from around the world have been invited to submit papers which will be discussed at the conference. [ATRN www]

2015 AGOA Forum: selected updates

South Africa: Officials happy after AGOA meeting (IOL)

AGOA renewal raises African hopes of unhindered exports to US  (Apparel)

Kenya: Opportunities in the wake of Barack Obama visit (Daily Nation)

Kwame Owino: 'Expect changes to China's economic diplomacy with Africa' (Daily Nation)

For African nations that have recently thought of playing China against the West, it may be time to dust up and reconsider that policy. This is because even if the worst were to happen and a full-blown recession was to affect China’s economy, it would emerge from that in the medium term. What will change is China’s commitment to economic diplomacy with more keenness to make choices for its economic assistance among African countries.

UAE plans to build free trade zone in Uganda (Daily Monitor)

UAE Ambassador to Uganda Abdulla Mohammed Al Takkawi said if they got such land, more investors from the Emirates would set up shop in Uganda, adding that the National Bank of Abu Dhabi wants to invest in some projects here. “The one in charge of free trade zones in Dubai came here; he wants a place by the lake and a main road,” Mr Takkawi said yesterday while meeting Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga. “Business people prefer it that way. When we get it, he will come here and bring business people with him.”

Trade-related updates from SA cabinet meeting: (GCIS)

Cabinet approved South Africa to join the Advisory Centre on World Trade Organisation Law in Geneva.

Ms Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter appointed as Deputy DG, International Trade and Economic Development, Department of Trade and Industry.

Mr Tshediso John Matona appointed as Secretary for National Planning, Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.

SA's Minister of Finance, Mr Nhlanhla Nene, assumes Presidency of the Council of Ministers of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group.

South Africa: DTI presentation on up-scaling private sector investment (AgBiz)

This past week the Director General of the Department of Trade and Industry, Mr Lionel October, presented to the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry on investment trends. Investment trends are more than just a good indicator of future economic growth as business confidence and investment are fundamental to such all important growth.

Minister Davies conditionally approves ITAC recommendation for tariff increases of steel (dti)

South Africa: Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to COP21 (AgBiz)

The framework for South Africa's INDC is premised on South Africa's national position in the international climate negotiations, including the differentiated obligations of developed and developing countries, and a balanced consideration of development and climate imperatives. The INDC further reflects South Africa's expectations for the outcome of the Durban Platform negotiations being a legal agreement that balances adaptation, mitigation and means of implementation.

Rwanda: Officials await IGAD's El Nino predictions (New Times)

Apparently, not only Rwanda but other regional countries too are waiting for the IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC), a regional organisation dedicated to provide warning against climatic hazards and destructive weather to member countries, to shed light on the looming danger, if any.

The New Development Bank: identifying strategic and operational priorities (Observer Research Foundation)

To aggregate diverse and informed perspectives on both strategic and operational aspects of the bank's functioning, the Observer Research Foundation and the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP) organised an intra-BRICS Experts Workshop on 18-19 June 2015 in New Delhi. The workshop was convened as part of India's knowledge support to the Russian Presidency of BRICS. The following suggestions are based on the most relevant inputs shared during the workshop. Many of the suggestions are also potential areas for further research.

China’s economic slowdown: What it means for Africa (The News Hub)

Global slowdown opportunity for Kenya to put house in order (Business Daily)

Dangote to build Kenya cement plant in $1.48bn Africa deal (Business Daily)

A Chinese firm has signed a deal worth $1.487 billion with Nigeria-based cement giant Dangote Group to build cement plants in several African countries including Kenya.

Conversations on the Global Trade and Investment Architecture: E15 Initiative update


This week in the news

Catch up on tralac’s daily news selections for the past week:

The selection: Thursday, 27 August 2015

The selection: Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The selection: Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The selection: Monday, 24 August 2015


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This post has been sourced on behalf of tralac and disseminated to enhance trade policy knowledge and debate. It is distributed to over 300 recipients across Africa and internationally, serving in the AU, RECS, national government trade departments and research and development agencies. Your feedback is most welcome. Any suggestions that our recipients might have of items for inclusion are most welcome. Richard Humphries (Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Twitter: @richardhumphri1)

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tralac’s Daily News selection: 28 August 2015

28 Aug 2015
The selection: Friday, 28 August Raising voices for women cross border traders in West Africa: report (WCBT) The “Raising Voices for Women Cross Border Traders in West Africa Project” seeks to map women’s organisations in the...
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African tax experts to meet in Cape Town

Academics, researchers, tax administrators, students, tax practitioners, consultants and decision-makers on fiscal and tax policy in Africa will gather in Cape Town from 2 to 4 September for the inaugural conference of the African Tax Research Network (ATRN).

The conference, with the theme “Contemporary Tax Challenges for African Countries”, will provide an opportunity for the delegates to discuss different aspects relating to national, regional and international tax matters. Academics and practitioners from around the world have been invited to submit papers which will be discussed at the conference.

The conference, at the Garden Court on Nelson Mandela Boulevard, will be addressed by former Minister of Finance, Trevor Manuel, and tax commissioners from around the continent, including the South African Revenue Service Commissioner, Tom Moyane. Other prominent speakers include:

  • Dr Edward Larbi Siaw, Tax Policy Advisor and Head of Policy Unit, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Ghana;

  • Dr Anthony Mothae Maruping, AU Commissioner for Economic Affairs;

  • Patrick Mukiibi, Commissioner Tax Investigations of Uganda Revenue Authority;

  • Gaperi Henry, Commissaire Général, Office Togolaise des Recettes (OTR) ; and

  • Dr Adam Elhiraika, Director of the Macroeconomic Policy Division, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

Some of the topics under discussion will include the major drivers of revenue losses on the continent (such as illicit financial flows and trade mispricing) and how the continent can maximise domestic revenue. The ATRN conference consists of two parts: there will be three policy panel discussions and several research sessions where more than 40 academic and policy papers will be discussed.

There will be a panel discussion on how investing in improved tax systems can make a critical difference to improve the nexus between policy and administration and enhance domestic revenue mobilisation, promote foreign direct investment, transparency and accountability and improve the standard of living in Africa.

Another panel will discuss the outcomes of the third International Conference on Financing for Development, which took place in Addis in July 2015, the implications for Africa and the role of African organisations.

Case studies from, among others, Burundi, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Morocco, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia, Togo, Liberia, Zanzibar, Angola, Ethiopia and Tanzania, will also be discussed.

ATRN chairperson, Dr Nara Monkam, said that they had sought out high-quality submissions that further the knowledge and understanding of national, regional and international tax matters. Some of these papers will be discussed and debated at the conference.

ATRN was born out of the African Tax Administrators Forum (ATAF) and is the first African based network of academics and researchers that deals with tax policy, legislation and administration at an academic and policy discussion level.

ATRN’s board consists of academics and researchers from, among others, the University of Nairobi in Kenya, Stellenbosch University, the University of South Africa, the University of Bambey in Senegal, the University of Rouen in France, the National School of Statistics and Applied Economics in Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire,) the National School of Administration and Magistracy in Benin, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and the Rwanda Tax Authority.

ATAF is the coordinating body for tax issues in Africa. It is a platform to promote mutual cooperation among tax administrations throughout Africa, and works towards developing state building and governance in Africa. ATAF is currently represented in about 40 countries throughout the continent.

ATAF executive secretary, Logan Wort, said the launch of ATRN was an important initiative to promote greater research capacity on matters of taxation in Africa. One of ATRN’s aims was to develop thought leaders in tax matters on the continent and to broaden the base of tax experts.
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African tax experts to meet in Cape Town

28 Aug 2015
Academics, researchers, tax administrators, students, tax practitioners, consultants and decision-makers on fiscal and tax policy in Africa will gather in Cape Town from 2 to 4 September for the inaugural conference of the...
1 ~ 491

China’s economic slowdown: What it means for Africa

How the depreciating yuan and plummeting global commodity prices threaten to undermine investment in African people and businesses

On August 24th, or what is now being referred to as China’s “Black Monday”, with the Shanghai Composite Exchange suffering its worst one-day loss in eight years, global investors immediately turned their focus to other major stock markets around the world and inevitably speculated about the extent of the falling Chinese share prices’ impact on Western economies. As BBC Economics correspondent Duncan Weldon writes, many market analysts are “always on the look out for the next 2008”, and in the opening hours of August 24th, it certainly seemed both the New York and London markets were in for a disastrous day. The Dow Jones initially fell by 1089 points, its largest drop in history, while the FTSE 100 and NASDAQ were down by 6% and 8% at their respective lowest points of the day.

However, by late morning it became clear the United States and Europe would survive the day relatively unscathed, with many drawing comparisons to the ‘flash crash’ of May 2010, when some of the world’s largest economies lost trillions of dollars in a span of 36 minutes, only to rapidly recover much of the loss. China – despite being the world’s 2nd largest economy – still maintains relatively restricted financial markets, thus cushioning the direct effect of Shanghai’s crisis on other major exchanges.

Far from being a fluke, though, “Black Monday” was symptomatic of deeper underlying problems in the Chinese economy, namely stagnating economic growth and poorly-timed policy choices. Two weeks prior to the crash, China’s government devalued the yuan against the U.S. dollar by 1.9%, followed by an additional 1.6% the next day, in response to slumping economic figures. Exports in July alone fell 8.3%, a shock compounded by declining commodity prices around the world. In effect, August 24th was merely the most crushing blow in a recent trend of lackluster growth in China’s economy that has potentially severe ramifications for the rest of the developing world.

No region stands to lose more than Africa, where last year’s total trade with China amounted to $220 billion. This is nearly three times higher than trade with the United States; in fact, the success of many U.S. development programs in Africa (i.e. the Peace Corps and especially the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) has not coincided with markedly increased interest from American businesses. China, on the other hand, has invested heavily in major infrastructural projects across the continent since the 1990s, and resource-rich African countries – including Algeria, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zambia – have rapidly expanded their export sectors to meet the booming demand for raw materials from Chinese firms.

In many ways, the Sino-African relationship has been mutually beneficial. About a million native Chinese currently reside in Africa thanks to greater business opportunities and substantial advances in average living standards. African consumers benefit from lower-cost Chinese goods, particularly cell phones, as well as vastly improved infrastructure. However, to a large extent, this relationship has sustained African economies’ heavy dependence on raw material exports to major powers, and if the recent drop in global commodity prices continues, many African countries will struggle to adjust. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development currently classifies 45 of the 54 sovereign states in Africa (including 43 of the 47 sovereign states in Sub-Saharan Africa) as commodity-dependent developing countries, defined as countries where the value of commodity exports exceeds 60%.

To further explain one particularly startling example, Angola is Africa’s second-largest oil producer and one of the most commodity-dependent economies in the world. Fuel exports, nearly all of which are crude petroleum oils, account for a staggering 99% of the country’s total merchandise exports and over 57% of its entire GDP. Furthermore, China – at about 45% – receives nearly four times more of that oil than Angola’s next largest export partner: the United States. The historical pretence for this overwhelmingly narrow focus, admittedly, is understandable. Angola is still recovering from a brutal 27-year civil war between two former liberation movements that killed over half a million citizens and devastated the country’s infrastructure. Nevertheless, pervasive collusion between politicians and the state-owned Sonangol Group, as well as multinational oil corporations operating in the country (including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and Total S.A.), has hindered economic progress and prevented businesses in other industries from acquiring key government contracts.

Simply put, this kind of extreme commodity dependence is unsustainable, especially in the numerous African countries lacking strong civil societies and legitimised political institutions. Crude petroleum has plummeted to less than half of its value from last year, while iron ore and copper prices continue to fall as a result of oversupply in conjunction with diminished demand from China and other large markets. All in all, global commodity prices are at a 16-year low, and for Africa in particular, China’s recent economic woes only exacerbate the problem. Even South Africa, the 2nd largest economy in Africa and one of the continent’s most stable democracies, is not insulated from the dangers of a Chinese recession. On “Black Monday”, the rand hit an all-time low of 14:1 against the U.S. dollar and, largely because commodity exports still account for about 60% of South Africa’s total merchandise exports, foreign-exchange brokers are shying away from the country’s currency and, by extension, its stock market. This has wide-ranging implications for the entire South African economy, as people see their purchasing power rapidly deteriorate and public utilities like Eskom – the largest producer of electricity in all of Africa, which has been forced to implement load shedding (local power outages) 99 days so far this year – feel the effects of massive budget shortfalls.

To be sure, the immediate effect of the yuan’s declining value will be less Chinese demand for African goods, but this is a problem that can be overcome by seeking alternative trade partners. The more troubling long-term impact is the possibility of less direct investment in African infrastructure, technology, and innovation. If the Chinese economy continues to stall, it will not be the multinational conglomerates and powerful business elites who suffer. It will be working-class Africans searching desperately for jobs and small businesses struggling to obtain capital for their operations. Although China certainly needs to do much more to promote diversification in African economies, its involvement in commodity trading inevitably coincides with better employment prospects for the urban poor and greater investment opportunities for entrepreneurs from Lagos to Johannesburg.

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China’s economic slowdown: What it means for Africa

28 Aug 2015
How the depreciating yuan and plummeting global commodity prices threaten to undermine investment in African people and businesses On August 24th, or what is now being referred to as China’s “Black Monday”, with the Shanghai...
1 ~ 491

AfDB unveils plan to empower African Women in Agriculture

The office of the Special Envoy on Gender (SEOG) and the Department for Agriculture and Agro-industry (OSAN) of the African Development Bank (AfDB) launched a new report, “Economic Empowerment of African Women through Equitable Participation in Agricultural Value Chains” on Thursday, August 27 at its headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The event gathered high-level participants, including stakeholders from both the private and public sectors from the countries and sectors examined by the report – cocoa, coffee, cotton and cassava sectors in Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Nigeria, respectively.

“This report prepares the ground to empower women, to take a leading role in the business of farming and agricultural value chains, regionally and globally,” said Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank.

Agriculture in Africa is poised to remain one of the most important economic sectors, accounting for around 25% of the continent’s GDP. Over 60% of its citizens rely on agriculture for some form of income. To transform the sector, the economic empowerment of women through boosting their productivity and raising their participation in commercial and higher value-add activities in agriculture is central.

Women make up almost 50% of the agricultural labour force in Sub-Saharan Africa. A total of 62% of economically active women in Africa work in agriculture, making it the largest employer of women. In some countries, such as Rwanda, Malawi and Burkina Faso, over 90% of economically active women are involved in agriculture.

“African women feed the continent and they can feed the world, too. But we must close the wide gap in wages and agricultural yields between men and women if Africa is to achieve full economic transformation,” said Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, the AfDB’s Special Envoy on Gender.

The report highlights five major constraints that can limit women’s productivity and full inclusion into the agricultural economy: lack of access to assets, lack of access to financing, limited training, gender-neutral government policy, and time constraints due to heavy domestic responsibilities.

The report highlighted three broad areas for action that could begin to address the specific constraints women face in each focus country:

  • Grow the number of large-scale agribusiness entrepreneurs by providing access to financing and training, and improving regional and global market links.

  • Make sure women are remunerated by setting them up as co-owners, improving productivity, and providing training in core business skills.

  • Increase women’s access to niche markets by producing and marketing women-only products.

The role of women is largely limited to the unskilled parts of production: few own the land on which they work, they are rarely remunerated for their labour and often do not control the income generated from the sale of agricultural produce.

For example, in Côte d’Ivoire, the report estimates women account for 68% of the labour in cocoa production, but receive only 21% of the income. Similarly, in Ethiopia, women account for 75% of the labour in coffee production and receive only 34% of the income.

This report will help to identify areas that the African Development Bank (AfDB) and its partners could target to empower women economically through agriculture as the Bank implements its Gender Strategy (2014-2018).


Download

» Economic Empowerment of African Women through Equitable Participation in Agricultural Value Chains (10.71 MB)

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AfDB unveils plan to empower African Women in Agriculture

28 Aug 2015
The office of the Special Envoy on Gender (SEOG) and the Department for Agriculture and Agro-industry (OSAN) of the African Development Bank (AfDB) launched a new report, “Economic Empowerment of African Women through Equitable...
1 ~ 491