Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection

Europe readies its ‘Marshall Plan’ for Africa (Politico)

If Europe wants to tackle the root causes of the migration crisis, the head of the European Investment Bank says it must do more business in Africa. “We are talking nowadays about Africa in terms of economic perspectives and strategies, while in the past we talked about Africa as a recipient of donations,” Werner Hoyer, president of the European Investment Bank, said in an interview with POLITICO at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “What is needed is not global social policy but down-to-earth investment. [Africa] has fantastic potential, but we need to mobilize the private sector. The idea of doing everything with grants is over.”

The Cologne Memorandum: ‘No Marshall Plan for Africa, Please!’ (Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki’s Blog)

This is a guest post from a collective of scholars and practitioners of development aid as well as diplomats who have served in Africa. They met at a conference of the Bonn Appeal in Cologne, Germany, to discuss the state of development aid for Africa and the conclusions to draw from it. They agreed on a Cologne Memorandum that includes a list of demands plus explanations.

South Africa: Shoprite Holdings operational update (pdf, Shoprite)

The Group’s non-RSA supermarkets recorded sales growth of 32.3% [for the six months to December 2016] assisted by higher inflation and achieved in the face of low commodity prices and forex shortages in certain countries. Growth on a like-for-like basis was 14.2%. Taken at constant currencies, sales grew by 51.7%.

Tanzania: TRA feat as collection soars (Daily News)

Revenue collection soared in the second half of last year to 7.27 trillion/-, up from 6.44 trillion/- in the corresponding period of the previous year. Tanzania Revenue Authority Director of Taxpayers’ Education, Mr Richard Kayombo, told reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the increase was equivalent to 12.74%. He said December posted a record high collection of 1.414 tri/-. “The increase in tax collection has been achieved through effective collection, emphasis on diligence, improvement of payment systems and covering of all corruption loopholes The boost was also precipitated by a mixture of factors such as mineral exploitation, manufacturing and general trade, which had fluctuated from time to time,” said Mr Kayombo. [This weekend: Executives of 50 foreign firms to discuss TZ industrialisation]

EAC gender equality Bill to address gaps in trade (New Times)

EAC partner states will be legally obliged to collectively promote participation of women and men in regional trade and sustainable economic growth, while considering gender dimensions to personal safety in cross border trade once a new Bill is passed this month. The East African Legislative Assembly is sitting in Kampala to, among others; consider the EAC Gender Equality and Development Bill, 2016, which makes provision for gender equality, protection and development in many aspects of the EAC’s integration agenda. The draft seen by The New Times partly indicates that in the process of engendering trade, countries shall: support national and regional associations of women in business; address gender and non-tariff trade barriers; and ensure gender analysis in diagnostic trade integration studies and other trade impact assessments.

EASSI: ‘Why EAC needs a gender barometer’ (New Times)

According to Elizabeth Ampairwe, the coordinator for women and girls’ empowerment at the Eastern African Sub-Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI), they are “in the final stages” and working towards having it published by end of February before a regional meeting is held to launch it in April.

Museveni urges EALA members: ‘Support, fast track East African integration process’ (Uganda Media Centre)

President Museveni asked all leaders in East Africa at different levels to make good use of the population of the region now standing at 162 million people which, he said, is the greatest resource the region has. He specifically asked the leaders to use the population as a bargaining tool to attract investments in the region saying that with 162 million producers and consumers of goods and services, the government through policy regulations should compel companies interested in selling to the region to produce from the region rather than from other countries and merely import to the region. [Museveni: ‘EAC drought is self inflicted’]

EAC bets on positive rating to unlock billions in donor funds (Business Daily)

The EAC is eyeing increased donor funding for its development projects after it passed the European Union’s financial risk test last year. In June, the EAC secretariat passed the EU’s fiduciary risk assessment , the first time in 10 years having failed the test in 2006 and 2008. The FRA was conducted by London-based consultancy firm, Moore Stephens LLP, which reviewed the bloc’s internal control, accounting records, external audits, procurement and sub-delegation. The bloc obtained an overall positive score after its accounting system, external audit and sub-delegation were found above board. It’s weak internal control system and poor procurement rules however failed the test.

Kenya, Mauritius set to be Africa’s financial hubs (Kenya Presidency)

President Uhuru Kenyatta said Kenya and Mauritius need to complement each other as the two nations have a similar approach in economic development. The President spoke when he met the Mauritius Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade Minister, Mr Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo, who paid him a courtesy call at State House. The Head of State said the two countries will sign agreements that will ensure Kenya and Mauritius become Africa’s financial, maritime and aviation hubs. "Africa is a natural corridor linking Asia and Europe, and our two countries should benefit from this key geographical location," President Kenyatta said.

UNCTAD launches multilingual online repository for National Trade Facilitation Committees

An interactive map shows users which NTFCs have already been formally established and the legal instruments they used such as decrees, ministerial decisions, and terms of references, among others. The repository also covers a wide range of topics including the scope of the organization, motivations for its establishment, frequency of meetings, membership, lessons learned, etc. Most significantly, the repository also provides contact information for individual committees, allowing all interested parties to go further and acquire additional information straight from the source. Users can also retrieve particular national cases to allow comparison of their NTFCs with those in other countries. The website has also been expanded to include additional trade facilitation resources such as guides, recommendations and guidelines for developing National Trade Facilitation Committees.

International trade: extracted from World Economic Situation and Prospects 2017 (UNDESA)

Global trade flows weakened further in 2016. At the slowest pace since the Great Recession of 2009, the volume of world trade is estimated to have grown by a meagre 1.2%. The downward shift in world trade growth in recent years has been significant: in the two decades prior to the global financial crisis, the average growth of the volume of world trade was about 7%, but it slowed down to below 3% cent between 2012 and 2016 (figure II.1). More worrisome is the substantial decline in the ratio of global trade growth to world gross product (WGP) growth, dropping from an average of 2:1 in 1980-2008 to 1:1 recently, and even lower in 2016.

Growth prospects in five African subregions: The report notes large differences in growth prospects among the five African subregions. East Africa is positioned to remain the fastest-growing subregion, with aggregate GDP projected to expand by about 6% in 2017 and 2018, helped by the rapid expansion of domestic markets and strong spending on infrastructure. West Africa is expected to see growth rebound from 0.1% in 2016 to 3.1% in 2017, as the projected increase in oil prices eases severe fiscal and external pressures in Nigeria. For several other West African countries, such as Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Senegal, the growth outlook remains strong, underpinned by large infrastructure investments and an improved domestic business climate.

Meanwhile, growth in North Africa is projected to accelerate from 2.6% in 2016 to 3.5% in 2017, contingent on a gradual improvement in the security situation. The growth outlook for Southern Africa is relatively subdued, with economic activity projected to improve modestly to 1.8% in 2017 and 2.6% in 2018. While South Africa is expected to benefit from a moderate recovery in the agriculture and mining sector, political uncertainty may weigh on investor sentiments. Growth in Central Africa is projected to strengthen from 2.4% in 2016 to 3.4% in 2017, as higher oil prices support export revenues and growth, particularly in Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. However, ongoing domestic political unrest will restrain economic activity in the Central African Republic and Gabon.

WEF updates: African leaders want more private investment, President Xi’s speech: full text, Top 5 stories from the first day, Conference website, Digital Transformation Initiative: unlocking $100 trillion for business and society

At Cape Town Data Forum: UN Women and partners seek ways to close gender data gaps

“Gender statistics are critical for setting priorities, planning interventions and assessing their impacts,” Purna Sen, the Director of Policy Division at UN Women, told a panel discussion. “They can put a spotlight on inequality and women and girls who are left behind.” The panel, titled ‘Gender Data for Decision-making: Strengthening the Links,’ was among the nearly 100 sessions and parallel events scheduled throughout the 15-18 January gathering in Cape Town, South African, of more than 1,400 data experts around the world. Ms Sen also pointed out that gender specialists often do not understand statistics and statisticians do not always understand gender. Based on the latest data from OECD-DAC, only two per cent of funds for statistical capacity building are dedicated to projects whose principal objectives are to strengthen gender statistics, she said. [Download: presentations from Day 1 of the UNDataForum]

Today’s Quick Links:

Kenya, Rwanda block chicken imports from Uganda after bird flu outbreak

How Mombasa port will look like in era of SGR, wider roads

Face-off over the Congo: the long rivalry between Kinshasa and Brazzaville

IGAD, FAO discuss their long term working relationship

Peter Penar: ‘The Gambia is testing West Africa’s resolve to protect democracy’

Theresa May commits to Brexit vote in UK Parliament (and text of speech)

Vilsack to take helm of US Dairy Export Council

Jim O’Neill: ‘Globalisation has made the world a better place’

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