News Archive January 2018

Kenya ranked 112 globally on key economic metrics

Kenya has been ranked 112 globally on macroeconomic stability, institutional strength, openness and human capital and remains behind 11 other African countries.

Mauritius, Botswana and Rwanda are the top-most in Africa in terms of future growth promise on account of the measured indicators, according to a newly released report by audit and financial advisory firm KPMG titled Growth Promise 2018.

By macroeconomic issues the report refers to government deficit and public debt while openness refers to the stock of foreign direct investment and total trade.

Other metrics used are infrastructure which refers to availability of financial services, the quality of transport and technology readiness.

Institutional strength

Rwanda is put ahead of most other African countries mainly because of its institutional strength that refers to the quality of regulation, judicial independence, transparency of government policymaking, control of corruption and business and property rights.

“Unpicking trends in the sub-indicators suggests that the real strides have been made via improvements in infrastructure, and in particular in tech-readiness,” said the report that uses Growth Promise Index (GPI) to rank countries with sub-indicators that also include human resources aspects such as education and life expectancy.

But it says that, across the globe, GPI scoring in macroeconomic stability has fallen due to the Great Recession (2008-to date) resulting from the financial meltdown in the US and its turbulent aftermath as well as the decline in commodity prices.

“Most regions fared poorly in this category, cancelling out possible gains in areas such as human development and infrastructure,” said KPMG.

Macroeconomic stability

Although the report does not reveal the details about Kenya, it shows that the country’s macroeconomic stability is still not as good as that of Egypt, Morocco, Cabo Verde, Ghana, Algeria and Tunisia.

Although Rwanda, Mauritius and Botswana have a higher overall GPI ranking than Kenya, they are behind on macroeconomic stability ranking.

Kenya’s budget deficit, for example, has hit a high of above eight per cent but is expected to fall to just above six per cent under the 2018/19 Budget Strategy Paper.

Public debt is currently at above 50 per cent of the gross domestic product, thanks to borrowing related to the standard gauge railway in the past few years. However, the debt is projected to fall below 50 per cent in the coming fiscal years.

The KPMG report adds that many countries still have a chance to improve on their finances.

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Kenya ranked 112 globally on key economic metrics

31 Jan 2018
Kenya has been ranked 112 globally on macroeconomic stability, institutional strength, openness and human capital and remains behind 11 other African countries. Mauritius, Botswana and Rwanda are the top-most in Africa in terms...
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South Africa Merchandise Trade Statistics for December 2017

South Africa’s trade surplus widens in December

South Africa’s trade surplus increased to R15.72 billion in December of 2017 from an upwardly revised R13.05 billion in the previous month, and above market expectations of a R10.05 billion surplus. It is the highest trade surplus since May of 2016.

Exports decreased 10.2 percent month-over-month to R104.3 billion in December of 2017, namely vehicles and transport equipment (-23 percent); machinery and electronics (-21 percent); base metals (-14 percent) and mineral products (-12 percent). In contrast, sales of vegetables jumped 31 percent. Main export partners were: China (11.6 percent of total exports); the US (7.1 percent); Germany (6.0 percent); India (5.4 percent) and the UK (4.3 percent).

Imports declined 14.1 percent month-over-month to R88.6 billion, mainly original equipment components (-58% of total imports); base metals (-30 percent); chemicals (-18 percent) and machinery and electronics (-15 percent). On the other hand, purchases of mineral products went up 23 percent. The most important import partners were: China (18.9 percent of total imports); Germany (7.9 percent); the US (6.4 percent); Oman (5.5 percent) and India (5.0 percent).

Considering the January to December period, exports went up 7.9 percent and imports rose a meager 0.7 percent, widening the country’s trade surplus to R80.55 billion surplus from a R1.05 billion in 2016.


The South African Revenue Service (SARS) today released trade statistics for December 2017 recording a trade balance surplus of R15.72 billion. These statistics include trade data with Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland (BLNS).

The year-to-date (01 January to 31 December 2017) trade balance surplus of R80.55 billion is an improvement on the surplus for the comparable period in 2016 of R1.05 billion. Exports for the year-to-date grew by 7.9% whilst imports for the same period showed an increase of 0.7%.

Including trade data with Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland (BLNS)

The R15.72 billion trade balance surplus for December 2017 is attributable to exports of R104.32 billion and imports of R88.60 billion. Exports decreased from November 2017 to December 2017 by R11.87 billion (10.2%) and imports decreased from November 2017 to December 2017 by R14.54 billion (14.1%).

Exports for the year-to-date (01 January to 31 December 2017) grew by 7.9% from R1 100.32 billion in 2016 to R1 187.45 billion in 2017. Imports for the year-to-date of R1 106.90 billion are 0.7% more than the imports recorded in January to December 2016 of R1 099.27 billion, leaving a cumulative trade balance surplus of R80.55 billion for 2017.

On a year-on-year basis, the R15.72 billion trade balance surplus for December 2017 is an improvement from the surplus recorded in December 2016 of R12.27 billion. Exports of R104.32 billion are 11.5% more than the exports recorded in December 2016 of R93.52 billion. Imports of R88.60 billion are 9.0% more than the imports recorded in December 2016 of R81.25 billion.

November 2017’s trade balance surplus was revised upwards by R0.03 billion from the previous month’s preliminary surplus of R13.02 billion to a revised surplus of R13.05 billion as a result of ongoing Vouchers of Correction (VOC’s).

Trade highlights by category

The main month-on-month export movements: R’ million

Section:
Including BLNS:
Mineral Products
-R3 655
-12%
Vehicles & Transport Equipment
-R3 272
-23%
Machinery & Electronics
-R2 083
-21%
Base Metals
-R1 953
-14%
Prepared Foodstuff
-R 854
-16%
Vegetable Products
+R 988
+31%
Total
-R10 829
91%

Total Movement

-R11 866

100%

The main month-on-month import movements: R’ million

Section:

Including BLNS:

Original Equipment Components
-R4 682
-58%
Machinery & Electronics
-R3 819
-15%
Chemical Products
-R2 172
-18%
Base Metals
-R1 535
-30%
Textiles
-R1 300
-33%
Plastics & Rubber
-R 665
-14%
Vehicles & Transport Equipment
-R 643
- 7%
Precious Metals & Stones
-R 598
-40%
Animal & Vegetable Fats
-R 596
-49%
Mineral Products
+R3 162
+23%
Total
-R12 848
88%

Total Movement

-R14 537

100%

Trade highlights by world zone

The world zone results from November 2017 (revised) to December 2017 are given below.

Africa:

Exports: R25 937 million – this is a decrease of R4 924 million from November 2017.
Imports: R8 307 million – this is a decrease of R1 852 million from November 2017.

Trade Balance surplus: R17 630 million – this is a deterioration of R3 072 million in comparison to the R20 702 million surplus recorded in November 2017.

America:

Exports: R9 170 million – this is a decrease of R3 420 million from November 2017.
Imports: R9 358 million – this is a decrease of R 140 million from November 2017.

Trade Balance deficit: R 188 million – this is a deterioration of R3 280 million in comparison to the R3 092 million surplus recorded in November 2017.

Asia:

Exports: R37 364 million – this is a decrease of R1 637 million from November 2017.
Imports: R42 082 million – this is a decrease of R4 396 million from November 2017.

Trade Balance deficit: R4 718 million – this is an improvement of R2 758 million in comparison to the R7 476 million deficit recorded in November 2017.

Europe:

Exports: R22 630 million – this is a decrease of R 715 million from November 2017.
Imports: R27 010 million – this is a decrease of R7 527 million from November 2017.

Trade Balance deficit: R4 380 million – this is an improvement of R6 813 million in comparison to the R11 193 million deficit recorded in November 2017.

Oceania:

Exports: R 776 million – this is a decrease of R 712 million from November 2017.
Imports: R1 568 million – this is a decrease of R 534 million from November 2017.

Trade Balance deficit: R 792 million – this is a deterioration of R 178 million in comparison to the R 614 million deficit recorded in November 2017.


Excluding trade data with Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland (BLNS)

The trade data excluding BLNS for December 2017 recorded a trade balance surplus of R7.51 billion. This was a result of exports of R93.40 billion and imports of R85.89 billion.

Exports decreased from November 2017 to December 2017 by R9.40 billion (9.1%) and imports decreased from November 2017 to December 2017 by R13.00 billion (13.1%).

The cumulative deficit for 2017 is R14.28 billion compared to R105.76 billion deficit in 2016.

Trade highlights by category

The main month-on-month export movements: R’ million

Section:

Excluding BLNS:

Mineral Products
-R3 520
-12%
Vehicles & Transport Equipment
-R3 008
-23%
Base Metals
-R1 686
-13%
Machinery & Electronics
-R1 563
-20%
Vegetable Products
+R1 018
+40%
Total
-R8 759
93%

Total Movement

-R9 402

100%

The main month-on-month import movements: R’ million

Section:

Excluding BLNS:

Original Equipment Components
-R4 682
-58%
Machinery & Electronics
-R3 613
-14%
Chemical Products
-R2 076
-19%
Base Metals
-R1 489
-30%
Textiles
-R 910
-29%
Vehicles & Transport Equipment
-R 655
- 7%
Plastics & Rubber
-R 639
-14%
Animal & Vegetable Fats
-R 595
-49%
Mineral Products
+R3 189
+23%
Total
-R11 470
88%

Total Movement

-R13 003

100%

Trade highlights by world zone

The world zone results for Africa excluding BLNS from November 2017 (Revised) to December 2017 are given below.

Africa:

Exports: R15 014 million – this is a decrease of R2 460 million from November 2017.
Imports: R5 599 million – this is a decrease of R 318 million from November 2017.

Trade Balance surplus: R9 415 million – this is a deterioration of R2 142 million in comparison to the R11 557 million surplus recorded in November 2017.


Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland (Only)

Trade statistics with the BLNS for December 2017 recorded a trade balance surplus of R8.22 billion. This was a result of exports of R10.92 billion and imports of R2.70 billion.

Exports decreased from November 2017 to December 2017 by R2.46 billion (18.4%) and imports decreased from November 2017 to December 2017 by R1.53 billion (36.2%).

The cumulative surplus for 2017 is R94.83 billion compared to R106.80 billion in 2016.

Trade Highlights by Category

The main month-on-month export movements: R’ million

Section:

BLNS:

Machinery & Electronics
-R 520
- 26%
Chemical Products
-R 293
- 23%
Base Metals
-R 267
- 29%
Vehicles & Transport Equipment
-R 263
- 22%
Prepared Foodstuff
-R 215
- 14%
Textiles
-R 212
- 30%
Plastics & Rubber
-R 145
- 24%
Mineral Products
-R 136
- 7%
Miscellaneous Manufactured Articles
-R 125
- 29%
Precious Metals & Stones
+R 47
+ 8%
Total
-R 2 129
86%

Total Movement

-R 2 464

100%

The main month-on-month import movements: R’ million

Section:

BLNS:

Precious Metals & Stones
-R 584
- 66%
Textiles
-R 389
- 54%
Machinery & Electronics
-R 206
- 57%
Chemical Products
-R 96
- 11%
Prepared Foodstuff
-R 59
- 11%
Vehicles & Transport Equipment
+R 13
+ 25%
Total
-R1 321
86%

Total Movement

-R1 534

100%

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South Africa Merchandise Trade Statistics for December 2017

31 Jan 2018
South Africa’s trade surplus widens in December South Africa’s trade surplus increased to R15.72 billion in December of 2017 from an upwardly revised R13.05 billion in the previous month, and above market expectations of a...
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African leaders call for “Partnership not Support” at Africa Business and Investment Forum

Their message was loud and clear: Africa requires partnership, not support.

African Heads of State insisted they have a clear mandate to work with both public and private enterprises, to ensure the business environment is favourable and attractive to the international business community.

The U.N. Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in partnership with Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), hosted Heads of State from five African countries, at the inaugural Africa Business and Investment Forum, held on January 30, 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The event was opened by H.E. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, the ascending Chairman of the African Union, and was joined by fellow Heads of State including H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, H.E. Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda, H.E. Mahamadou Issoufou, President of Niger, H.E. Macky Sall, President of Senegal, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, and H.E. Filipe Nyusi, President of Mozambique, who discussed diverse areas including Trade and Diversification, Energy, Agribusiness, and Health, in a series of roundtable discussions.

Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the U.N. Economic Commission on Africa, said: “Today’s Africa Business and Investment Forum demonstrated a real commitment by our African leaders that they are focussed on paving the way for private investors in the U.S. and the rest of the international community, to invest in Africa.”

The Forum brought together over 240 African and U.S. public and private sector leaders on the margins of the African Union (AU) Summit to discuss specific benchmarks and measures that can be implemented to support public-private-sector-led growth in Africa.

Over 150 CEOs and senior executives of key U.S and African companies, both multinationals and SMEs, also participated in the Forum, contributing to the ongoing dialogue around Africa to increase opportunities for business partnerships, secure commitments to as well as track the adoption of business-friendly policies, and showcase countries and policies that are contributing to an enabling environment for enhanced African regional and global trade and investment.

Africa ‘working tirelessly’ to create conducive environment for foreign investments

Africa is working tirelessly to get policy and legislative conditions right to ease the business environment and attract more foreign direct investment, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said. As a result, foreign direct investment flows to the continent were growing with a number of African economies now showing resilience to various internal and external shocks.

“Africa has been on the investment radar of many multinationals for decades now as witnessed by increased investment in infrastructure, agriculture, mining, manufacturing and tourism, to mention but a few. Still Africa’s market and resource potential remains untapped,” he said, adding the business environment in Ethiopia had improved remarkably in recent years.

He said his government is seeking to employ policies and strategies for positioning the country as an attractive investment destination for productive investors.

The Prime Minister applauded the ECA and the CCA for organizing the Forum, which he said will contribute to the enrichment of policy issues regarding transforming Africa through public-private partnerships in various sectors.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda also commended the CCA and ECA for, “This effort to draw business leaders into this conversation about public-private sector investment in Africa”.

“This is long overdue and I trust that it will become a regular event during our Summits,” he added. Mr. Kagame called for closer collaboration between the private sector and African governments to increase economic opportunity and entrepreneurship on the continent.

For his part, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said there was need for more private sector investment in power projects on the continent. He was speaking during a round table discussion on the need to increase power supply in Africa through cross border networks.

“Africa has huge potential for renewable power generation that the private sector should invest in,” he said, adding the continent was full of opportunities, not just challenges.

The leaders attended different roundtables which focused on African trade and diversification; increasing power supply; the business of agriculture, creating successful agribusiness; and advancing public private partnerships on non-communicable diseases.

Senegal’s Macky Sall urged African governments to work together with the private sector to ensure the continent can deliver low cost renewable energy that can be accessed by all.

Market

Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni urged American companies to invest in Africa. He said the continent was ripe for investment, adding African governments have and continue to address investors’ concerns to make it easier for them to bring their money to the continent.

Africa, he said, is a ready market, especially with the growing purchasing power of its people.

President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, said he was positive about the Continental Free Trade Area’s success.

“African Heads of State are fully committed and engaged in the CFTA process,” said Mr. Issoufou, adding Africa was the future. It is the continent on which you can count, he said.

Mr. Issoufou said the business forum was a great opportunity for Africa to inform investors about the benefits of the CFTA and progress made thus far.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, who attended the roundtable on the business of agriculture, said bold and coordinated efforts were needed as Africa moves from the old way of doing agriculture to new ways of farming.

He said the continent should invest in new technologies, research and education to ensure agriculture becomes cool for the youth and in the process ensure food security.

Mr. Nyusi said political will and vision was crucial if Africa is to scale up agribusiness on the continent through enabling policies that can link agriculture and trade thereby achieving sustainable equitable growth on the continent.

African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki hailed the ECA and the CCA for organizing the business forum, adding the continent was doing all it can to improve the ease of doing business for the benefit of its people.

U.S. Relationship

Millennium Challenge Corporation Acting Chief Executive Officer, Jonathan Nash, said the U.S. is committed to working with African nations “to realize the promise of a more peaceful, more productive, more prosperous world”.

“From promoting trade and economic progress to countering violent extremism, U.S. and Africa share a number of common interests,” he said, adding strategic investments in critical sectors can help the poorest people rise out of poverty – advancing security, stability and prosperity across Africa. 

“As we all know, the continent is home to some of the world’s fastest-growing economies and will be home to one quarter of the world’s consumers by 2030. U.S. companies and investors are increasingly aware of the continent’s economic potential,” said Mr. Nash.

“We value our partnership with countries across Africa, and we respect the people of Africa,” he said.

Florie Liser, President and CEO Corporate Council on Africa [CCA], said, “Today was a great opportunity for UN and AU leadership to hear the voice of international private enterprises and investors who want to do business with Africa, and ensure that business relations between the U.S. and the continent continue to grow. Our CCA members, and guests at the Forum, were hugely encouraged to hear from our continent’s leaders that Africa is an attractive destination for investment.”


Opening remarks by President Paul Kagame at the Africa Business and Investment Forum

Addis Ababa, 30 January 2018

Good morning. I want to thank all of you for being here with us this morning and for the insights you will be providing going forward in our discussions.

Despite the diverse backgrounds, I hear consistent messages that the success of business in Africa is critically important to our future.

I therefore commend this effort led by the Economic Commission for Africa, and the partners UNECA brought into this, to draw business leaders into this conversation at the African Union, and beyond.

This is long overdue, and I trust that it will be a regular feature of our Summits and of continental initiatives more generally going forward because I also have heard from many country leaders wishing to have this kind of interaction. So our job will be simple: Encouraging those who are already willing to move forward.

You should be aware that the ongoing institutional reform of the African Union includes provisions for increased engagement with the private sector.

But the primary objective of the reform is an African Union that is financed sustainably from our own resources. Governments can meet that commitment if the business sector is flourishing and paying taxes. We need active support from the private sector in fact. Without your voice, something essential is missing.

Several of the African Union’s most ambitious initiatives are designed to unshackle commercial activity and entrepreneurship, which is about providing a better quality of life to our citizens.

I am thinking about the Continental Free Trade Area, which we hope to conclude this year, as well as the free movement of people, adopted during this Summit, and the Single African Air Transport Market, which we inaugurated yesterday.

Let me say by the way, I remind Ali Mufuruki that he may wish to visit the Commission Headquarters for a different thing, and other business leaders here, I wish to remind you that you can go to the Commission for the African passport.

I hope I am not putting the African Union Commission Chair on the spot when they are not ready to provide them, but I know they have stockpiles of passports to give. Among those they want to give the passports to are country leaders, as well as business leaders, which will facilitate people to move across the continent without having to go through the hassles of visas.

These are very important measures for the competitiveness of African firms and their ability to expand to new markets and hire more employees, especially young people. And there are many other urgent frameworks for economic integration waiting to be finalised and applied.

I think it will happen more quickly if Africa’s business leaders keep advocating for Pan-African economic cooperation with policy-makers and the public, especially through the media.

I am happy to see that today’s roundtables, the way I have seen they are arranged, will be specific and full of practical detail. This makes it more likely that new public-private partnerships can be forged.

We need the private sector’s help in that regard.

Let me give the example of health. Inadequate medical care costs companies and the public sector a lot of money and lost productivity through illness and disability.

But the private sector is also part of the solution. A report from the International Finance Corporation a few years ago found that the majority of health services consumed in Africa are already supplied privately.

This doesn’t necessarily mean we should privatise our healthcare systems, but rather find ways to improve quality and access to healthcare.

In Rwanda, for example, we have entered into a public-private arrangement with a Spanish-Angolan firm to manage our largest hospital. What is being done there is already showing good success.

We are also partnering with an American company, Zipline, to pioneer the use of drone aircraft to deliver blood and other medical supplies to rural areas.

There is much more we can do when we cooperate, and this conference may generate innovative ideas which we can take forward.

We can work through the African Union, and also work with external partners, some of whom we also see here with us today, and we thank you for being here.

But more collaboration is also needed between government and business. I hope you can help make government behave more like business in the sense of focusing on accountability and results.

At the end of the day, we share the same goal of raising the well-being and prosperity of our citizens. That is what we must keep working towards.

I thank you once again for arranging this meeting, UNECA and the partners you brought in, especially helping to bring African business to work together with other partners, especially today with American businesses.

I want you to know that you can count on our support to make gatherings like this a tradition, and also keep realising the results that we want from them.

I wish you a very productive conference and I thank you very much.

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tralac’s Daily News Selection

Bilateral talks between Kenya and Tanzania to resolve existing non tariff barriers and enhance trade entered their 3rd day today. The Kenyan delegation is led by Dr Kiptoo while Prof Ole Gabriel leads Tanzania’s delegation.

Featured tweet, @CelestinMonga: 73% of the African Union’s budget funded from outside the continent. About 30 its 55 Members default either partially or completely on average, annually. Talking about independence, credibility and dignity? Lot of work ahead for all of us.

30th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly concludes: summary of decisions (AU)

On the African Continental Free Trade Area, the Assembly decides to hold an Extraordinary Summit on 21 March 2018, preceded by an Extraordinary Session of the Executive Council on 19 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda, to consider the CFTA Legal instruments and sign the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area and requested the AU Commission to convene an Extraordinary session of the STC on Justice and Legal Affairs to consider the said instruments prior to the Summit. The Assembly also adopted a protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community relating to Free Movement of Persons, Rights of Residence and Right of Establishment and its Draft Implementation Roadmap. [Egypt will chair the African Union’s 2019 Summit]

AU launches Africa Agriculture Transformation Scorecard: revolutionary new tool to drive agricultural productivity and development (AU)

The AATS, the first of its kind in Africa, captures the continent’s agricultural progress based on a pan-African data collection exercise led by the AUC’s Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture, NEPAD Agency and RECs, in collaboration with technical and development partners. Countries were assessed on the seven commitments in the Malabo declaration, across 43 indicators. The report reveals that only 20 of the 47 Member States that reported are on track towards achieving the commitments set out in the Malabo Declaration. Rwanda leads the top 10 best performers with a score of 6.1, followed by Mali (5.6), Morocco (5.5), Ethiopia (5.3), Togo (4.9), Malawi (4.9), Kenya (4.8), Mauritania (4.8), Burundi (4.7), and Uganda (4.5). The report sets the 2017 benchmark at 3.94 out of 10 as the minimum score for a country to be considered on track towards achieving the Malabo commitments by 2025. Regionally, East Africa performed best with a score of 4.2, followed by Southern Africa with a score of 4.02.

African Globalizers Report 2017: African firms taking the world stage (Konfidants)

This report is the first in a series of studies designed to understand the global journeys and global potential of African firms. How can Africa produce its own global giants? And why are they important to Africa’s global emergence? This maiden report focuses on 30 companies with $118.6bn in combined revenue. It provides a first-hand big picture view – a snapshot – of the geographical reach of African firms in global markets. While future reports will delve into other metrices like the foreign assets, employment and sales of African Globalizers, this maiden edition (pdf) is deliberately focused on geographical reach – first as a conversation starter, and second as a baseline mapping exercise to enrich the conversation. The report focuses on four main questions: Who are the African Globalizers? Which global regions are they expanding into? What are the prospects of these firms growing into Africa’s global giants? What should be done to create a more a diverse group of globalizers from all parts of the continent?

Namibia has harmful tax system – EU (The Namibian)

According to the Outcome of Proceedings for the Council of the European Union dated 5 December 2017, Namibia is not a member of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. Additionally, the outcome of proceedings says Namibia has not signed and ratified the OECD multilateral convention on mutual administrative assistance, as amended, and also did not implement the basic tax erosion and profit shiftings (Beps) minimum standards. The EU said Namibia did not commit to addressing the above issues by 31 December 2019, neither did it commit to amending or abolishing the harmful preferential tax regimes by 31 December 2018. Finance minister Calle Schlettwein yesterday confirmed the reasons for the blacklisting, but defended the notion that the country has a harmful preferential tax system.

Ghana-EU hold inception meeting on interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EU)

The first meeting of the EPA Committee under the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement between Ghana and the EU was held in Accra, Ghana on 24 January 2018. Extract from communique (pdf): The Parties agreed to set up an appropriate mechanism of monitoring of the implementation of the iEPA. The Parties agreed to start negotiating the procedures relating to a reciprocal Protocol on Rules of Origin of the Ghana-EU iEPA. The EPA Committee provisionally endorsed the transposition of the tariff nomenclature in HS 2017. The parties agreed to start reviewing the liberalization schedule. The Parties agreed to continue to exchange papers with the proposal of each Party on these matters with the view of finding an agreement on those issues during a technical meeting which would take place in July 2018 in Brussels.

Group trains 10,000 small trade women from EAC on cross-border laws (Business Daily)

More than 10,000 small-scale women traders engaged in cross-border business in the EAC have been trained on laws governing trade among the member countries. The women drawn from Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda Ethiopia and Eritrea have been trained on various areas including taxation laws and common market protocol. Eastern African Sub Regional Support Initiative For Advancement of Women (EASSI) project coordinator, Ms Ruth Warutere, said the women were also being sensitised on using official border posts while crossing the border. She said the organisation also helps the women traders get a certificate of origin, which exempts them from paying taxes of goods worth 2000 dollars. The organisation’s project officer, Manisurah Aheebwa, urged the East African member states to harmonise laws which don’t favour women in cross-border business. Ms Aheebwa said the traders from individual member states were facing complicated laws when doing business in neighbouring country due to absence of common market laws. [‘Mitumba’ traders linked to rising HIV spread]

@achiengca: Congratulations @KenTrade in partnership with the World Bank group will roll out free internet connectivity along key border posts. This is in an effort to drive the country’s regional and global competitiveness. Malaba, Busia, Namanga, Isibania, Taveta, (JKIA) and Kilindini.

Kenya to boost trade with Djibouti (HIVISASA)

“We want to explore an agreement, to work closely with Djibouti in the livestock sector. Using the window offered by Djibouti, we can improve our access to the Middle East markets,” President Kenyatta said. President Guelleh saw collaboration in the livestock area also helping Kenya to accelerate development of its leather industry — a key plank in the manufacturing segment of the Big Four agenda.

Nigeria: Minister inaugurates tomato monitoring team (The Nation)

Hajia Aisha Abubakar, the Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, on Monday inaugurated a tomato monitoring team to oversee the implementation of government policy to boost production of fresh tomato fruits. The team comprises Ministries of Industry, Trade and Investment; Finance; Agriculture; Raw Material Research and Development Council; Customs, CBN, NAFDAC and NARICT. Abubakar added that the private sector comprised MAN, Dangote Tomato Processing Limited, Erisco Food Industries Limited, Savannah Integrated Farms, GB Food, Tomato Jo’s and Springfield Tomato Processing Companies. According to her, the terms of reference of the team include to monitor the implementation of the policy and importation of tomato products and derivatives. She said the team would link research and development with the industry and will advocate for the growth and development of tomato industry.

Ghana: COCOBOD eyes Chinese market (GhanaWeb)

The Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) is vigorously exploring prospects in the Chinese market for the country’s premium cocoa products, for which reason meetings have been ongoing between the two sides. Cocobod also plans to make a good showing at the maiden China International Import Exposition to be held in Shanghai, 5-10 November. [GEPA expects $250m from cashew export in 2018]

‘The interests of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia are one,’ President Sisi says after tripartite summit in Addis Ababa (Ahram)

Immediately after the end of the summit, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said in press statements that the leaders of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan agreed on resolving all disagreements on the technical issues on the Ethiopian dam within one month. “There are no mediators in the Renaissance Dam negotiations” Shoukry added. The meeting between El-Sisi, Al-Bashir and Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Desalegn, which came on the sidelines of the AU summit, aimed at breaking the deadlock in negotiations over disputes on the impact of the GERD on downstream countries. Ethiopia and Sudan have not accepted the results of a report issued in March 2017 by a European consultancy firm on the potential impact of the dam on downstream countries, which concluded that the speed of construction could negatively affect Egypt’s water share.

$89bn lost in underuse of European Union free trade agreements, report shows (UNCTAD)

The full potential of European Union FTAs remains untapped to the tune of almost 72bn euros ($89bn), UNCTAD and the National Board of Trade Sweden say in a new report (pdf). This is the amount that European exporters overpaid because they did not take full advantage of the reduced tariffs offered by the FTAs that the EU as a bloc has signed with a variety of both developed and developing countries. “This report challenges some enduring myths on preference utilization in free trade agreements,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi and Anna Stellinger, Director-General of the National Board of Trade Sweden, write in the preface to the report. “For example, it is commonly believed that FTAs, in general, are not used to a high degree.” However, empirical data presented in the report indicates that companies in the EU mostly take advantage of FTAs with other countries but also that border-related aspects of their implementation might in some cases be more cumbersome than the provisions of the FTAs themselves.

The digital transformation and the transformation of international trade (ICTSD)

To facilitate the analysis of the role that trade agreements play or might play, this paper suggests a classification of the modes in which trade is conducted as it progressively shifts into the digital or digitally facilitated realm. It also identifies the areas where resistance has been encountered, categorises the nature of the measures that have been introduced, and reviews the approaches taken by the major digital economy players in framing regulations for digital and digitally enabled trade in the regional trade agreements in which they are engaged.

Towards a framework of standards on cross-border e-commerce (WCO)

The WCO E-Commerce Sub-Groups held face-to-face meetings at the WCO headquarters in Brussels (23-25 January). In his opening remarks, Mr. Luc De Blieck, WCO Deputy Director of Procedures and Facilitation Sub-Directorate noted that dynamic developments in the international supply chain driven by cross-border e-commerce and associated challenges required a new harmonized approach to ensure the speedy delivery of parcels across borders while ensuring compliance with all regulatory requirements including safety and security and revenue collection. He then invited delegates to work collaboratively in order to develop international standards on cross-border E-Commerce, as mandated by the WCO Policy Commission at its December 2017 session.

India Economic Survey 2018: State-wise exports included for the first time (Business Standard)

The Economic Survey 2018 stated that for the “first time in India’s history”, data on the international exports of states has been dwelt upon in the Survey. Such data indicates a strong correlation between export performance and states’ standard of living. “States that export internationally and trade with other states were found to be richer. Such correlation is stronger between prosperity and international trade,” it added. It has pointed out that five states - Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana account for 70% of the country’s exports. Talking about services exports, it stated that although world trade volume of goods and services is projected to accelerate this year, “enhanced global uncertainty, protectionism and stricter migration rules would be key factors in shaping India’s services exports”.

Today’s Quick Links:

The Africa Business and Investment Forum takes place today in Addis

Nigeria: ‘CBN removes 36 items from forex ineligibility list’

South Africa: Small Business Institute’s comments on the Competition Amendment Bill 2017

Nigeria to get private national carrier, says aviation minister

Nigeria trade office in Taiwan awaiting Nigerian relocation order

Morocco: Souss-Massa region to become platform of exports to Africa

Energy experts convene for Africa’s first energy modelling platform event

The International Budget Partnership posts the Open Budget Survey 2017 today

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tralac’s Daily News Selection

30 Jan 2018
Bilateral talks between Kenya and Tanzania to resolve existing non tariff barriers and enhance trade entered their 3rd day today. The Kenyan delegation is led by Dr Kiptoo while Prof Ole Gabriel leads Tanzania’s delegation....
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