tralac’s Daily News Selection
The 7th meeting of Continental Free Trade Area Continental Task force took place last week in Nairobi
Mr Nadir Merah, Acting Director and Head of Trade Division of the Department of Trade and Industry of the AU Commission, said the meeting following a week of work by the DTI staff and CFTA Unit, with some trade technical experts, where analysis and diagnosis of the options of the modalities (both goods and services) and their impacts on Member States including trade mapping/liberalization of CFTA Member States was carried out. Mr Merah concluded by informing participants that “finalization of this exercise was hindered by the lack of comprehensive and complete trade data. It is hoped that as the reports are given, RECs will complement the data gathering exercise based on their regional databases." The expected outcome of the 7th Meeting of the CFTA-CTF are revised modalities as well as draft legal texts and annexes on trade in goods and trade in services which will be ready for circulation to Member States for national consultation prior to the next NF meeting scheduled for March 2017.
Starting today, in Nairobi: the FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for Africa Food Standards Programme:
Keynote address by Dr Cris Muyunda (Vice President, CAADP Non State Actors Coalition) ‘SMEs and food trade – opportunities for building regional markets through use of Codex Standards’: To play a more meaningful role in transcontinental agri-food business, SMEs need support from public investments, complementing private investment and not only for infrastructure, policy and regulatory reforms are necessary, in particular addressing mis-aligned food safety regulatory frameworks. Strong national policies should set up conditions for food safety applicable to all, and not leaving safer food as a choice for richer populations, but guaranteeing the global access to safe food products, trough trusted national food control systems. With regard to the specific needs of SMEs, Codex food and feed standards address an important range of food products, with their safety as a core concern, and as such are a tool for SMEs to gravitate towards the satisfaction of needs for more diversified demand for food products.
Online platform for information sharing on food safety control systems: The primary use and purpose of the [prototype] platform is to facilitate information exchange between member countries. Secondary uses may include informing FAO, WHO and Codex work, including allowing for analysis to be undertaken on information submitted for presentation and discussion at RCCs. The platform’s success will depend on member countries seeing a need for and buying in to the development process. [Conference documentation, Twitter updates: @FAOWHOCodex]
The UN Data Forum opened yesterday in South Africa: downloads, Twitter updates from @UNDataForum]
Today, in Geneva: a briefing on the UN high-level oceans conference 2017 - The trade and development perspective (UNCTAD)
Trump team’s queries about Africa point to skepticism about aid (New York Times)
President-elect Donald J. Trump’s views of Africa have, until now, been a mystery. But a series of questions from the Trump transition team to the State Department indicate an overall skepticism about the value of foreign aid, and even about American security interests, on the world’s second-largest continent. A four-page list of Africa-related questions from the transition staff has been making the rounds at the State Department and Pentagon, alarming longtime Africa specialists who say the framing and the tone of the questions suggest an American retreat from development and humanitarian goals, while at the same time trying to push forward business opportunities across the continent. [Donald Trump queries Kenya’s health and terror funding]
Herman Cohen: ‘I forecast Trump will demand reciprocity in trade with Africa’ (ThisDay)
Q: As January 20 approaches, what are your expectations of a Trump Presidency for Africa? A: President-elect Trump has spoken of achieving "fairness" in international trade. He also wants American companies to increase their revenues, especially through exports. I have the feeling that he will ask African governments to accept reciprocity in trade relations. Right now, African countries can export their products to the USA duty free, while American exports to Africa pay customs duties. This is a one-way street relationship in bilateral trade relations. I can forecast that a future President Trump will ask for reciprocity. US exports to Africa should be duty free.
Q: According to Hayes there are new challenges for the CCA moving on, what do you consider to be those challenges and the way out? A: The big challenge, in my view, is maintaining interest in Africa within the American business community. Will they throw up their hands and say, China has taken over? Or will they say, we need to be aggressive in building new business relationships in Africa? The new CEO, Florie Lisier, will have to maintain a forward looking approach for US businesses in Africa.
Four related Trump-Africa policy commentaries: Stephen Lande: Florie Liser and shaping the next phase of the US–Africa Partnership (Habari Network), J Brooks Spector: The puzzle of Trump’s Africa policy (Daily Maverick), Charles Robertson: Will Trump hurt or help East Africa’s industrialisation? (Financial Times), Greg Mills: Is Trump a boon for Africa? (IOL)
Sub-Saharan Africa: US National Intelligence Council Global Trends
The political effects of these trends will vary considerably across the 49 countries, with some moving towards decentralization while others experiment with Rwanda-style centralization and authoritarianism. Most leaders will remain transactional and focused on political survival rather than political or economic reform. The generational transition in politics that many African countries will undergo in the next five years will be a telling indicator of future security and stability, with those that maintain the status quo risking instability and those that let power pass to the next generation probably better equipped to manage the technology- and development-induced changes to come. These transitions are also likely to play into ethnic divisions, heightening the possibilities for conflict. [Full report]
SA-Lesotho cross-border transport disputes: SA ministerial statement (GCIS)
According to preliminary investigation, legitimate cross border operators were prevented from conducting cross border operations from Lesotho into South Africa. The standoff between the two operators resulted in the Border Post being blocked on 2-4 January. However, following the intervention by various Stakeholders and Law Enforcement Authorities, the Border Post was reopened. Furthermore, it is important for the affected parties to keep in mind that the Cross Border Passenger Operations between South Africa and the neighbouring countries are regulated by the SACU Memorandum of Understanding on Road Transportation and SADC Protocol on Transport, Communications and Meteorology. The Department of Transport is aware of the on-going challenges and conflicts on the RSA/Lesotho corridor that negate the implementation of the SACU MoU and SADC Protocol.
Dangote announces establishment of truck assembly plant in Lagos (Premium Times)
The group said in a statement on Sunday in Lagos that the plant was floated by the group in partnership with National Heavy Duty Truck Group Company Limited, SINOTRUK, a Chinese firm. It quoted Anthony Chiejina, the Chief Corporate Communication Officer, Dangote Group, as saying that the plant, located in Ikeja, has the capacity to produce 10,000 trucks annually. He stated the before now, Dangote had been spending heavily on importing trucks to distribute its products both locally and across African countries. Mr Chiejina said the conglomerate owned a 60% stake in the assembly plant while SINOTRUK holds 40%, in a partnership that was formed in 2014. Nigeria is a major market for SINOTRUK products, with Dangote Group, operating the largest fleet in Africa, having over 10,000 trucks for the distribution of its products across the continent.
Tanzania: Chinese firm to invest $1bn in cassava sector (The Citizen)
Tanzania has signed a $1bn partnership agreement with a Chinese firm to commercialise cassava farming and processing, raising hopes to growers who have been grappling with the challenge of accessing reliable markets. Tanzania Agricultural Export Processing Zone Limited and Epoch Agriculture from China said they created an out-grower scheme that will ensure sufficient production of cassava for processing. The firm will also establish an industrial park comprising of factories to produce cassava flour, cassava starch, animal feeds, organic fartilizer and paper pulp, starting with three regions of Mtwara, Lindi and Coast, according to firm’s chairperson Dior Feng.
Rwanda oil survey stalls as talks with Chinese firm collapse (The East African)
Oil exploration in Rwanda has stalled after negotiations with Chinese firm BGP suddenly collapsed, The EastAfrican has learnt. The country expected to resume oil exploration in November last year when BGP — which also conducts explorations in Kenya and Tanzania — won a tender in May to explore for the “black gold” in Lake Kivu.
France-Africa Summit updates:
African leaders discuss strategies to expand continental export base (New Times): According to a post-summit communiqué, among the ways forward to be adopted include value addition, local content development among others. “The Heads of State and Government highlighted the need to promote inclusive growth, industrialization, value-addition, local content development and the diversification of African economies which will result in the creation of industries and real jobs,” the communiqué read in part.
Museveni warns on foreign interventions in Africa (Nigeria Today): Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has called on African countries to oppose foreign intervention in the continent if it lacks approval of appropriate and legitimate African bodies. Delivering a keynote address at the France-Africa Summit in Bamako-Mali on Saturday, Museveni said unilateral actions by international forces without the permission of the African Union or a legitimate national force is imperialistic and must be rejected completely. [Note: the full text of Museveni speech can be downloaded]
The inclusive growth and development report 2017 (WEF)
Around the world, no bigger policy challenge preoccupies leaders than expanding social participation in the process and benefits of economic growth. The report, which covers 109 economies, seeks to improve our understanding of how countries can use a diverse spectrum of policy incentives and institutional mechanisms to make economic growth more socially inclusive without dampening incentives to work, save and invest. The Report presents a new global index, the Inclusive Development Index (IDI), providing a richer and more nuanced assessment of countries’ level (and recent performance) of economic development than the conventional one based on GDP per capita alone. It also provides a policy framework showing the many factors that can drive a more inclusive growth process.
Have we hit ‘peak trade’? No, says research (WEF/VoxEU)
Our analysis, which we outline here, counters this view. Using a variety of approaches, together with data that allows us to track the paths of nearly 400,000 trade flows over the past 20 years, we push back against three primary variants of the peak trade argument.
A brave new world for global banking: McKinsey global banking annual review 2016 (MGI)
Emerging-market banks face a different challenge. They are structurally more profitable than their developed-market counterparts, with ROEs well above the 10 percent cost of capital in most cases but vulnerable to the credit cycle. Brazil, China, and Russia could have $50 billion in profits at risk, with China comprising $47 billion. A slower growth scenario could result in additional credit losses of up to $250 billion, of which $220 billion would be in China, our report finds, but with their current high profitability of $320 billion, Chinese banks should be able to withstand these losses.
Better Business, Better World: the report of the Business & Sustainable Development Commission
Today’s Quick Links:
Nigeria General Household Survey 2015-2016: data, documentation (World Bank)
South Africa: Poultry industry roasted (City Press)
South Africa: Changes coming to competition law this year (Business Day)
Botswana: Import ban triggers vegetable price hikes, shortages (Mmegi)
Maputo could be a mega-ship port (Maritime Executive)
Kenya: Millers grappling with new rules on importing wheat (Business Daily)
Djibouti-Ethiopia railway carries hope for pan-African trade (Financial Times)
ECOWAS defence chiefs meet, prepare for military action in Gambia (Premium Times)