Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection

Profiled, forthcoming events: Regional trade in Africa: drivers, trends and opportunities (3 February, ACP Secretariat, Brussels); 2017 African Economic Platform (20-22 March, Mauritius)

Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development invites comments on its new policy document: Africa and Europe – a new partnership for development and peace

In the last few months, we have defined the cornerstones of the Marshall Plan (pdf). Now we need your support. Our African partners, experts from the business sector, science and research, media and politics and all interested members of the public are invited to comment on our proposals and solutions and to develop them further. Because our plan is a living document. There is no ONE solution, ONE plan, ONE best way of responding to the challenges that Africa faces. Use this opportunity to contribute your ideas to the plan. We look forward to engaging in a constructive dialogue with you. [Note: send comment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.] [Germany’s ‘Marshall Plan’ for Africa unveiled] [Table of contents: 10 starting points for a Marshall Plan with Africa, Chapter 1: Africa – Europe’s partner continent, Chapter 2: The essence of the Marshall Plan, Chapter 3: The pillars of the Marshall Plan, Chapter 4: The foundations of the Marshall Plan, Chapter 5: Outlook]

Paul Kagame: Time to solve intra-Africa trade challenges (New Times)

“For how long and how many times do we have to keep talking about the kinds of problems we have in Africa? There is little in terms of showing how fast we are moving out of the problems. We keep talking for years, and nothing changes,” he said. “There is a contradiction in our quest for prosperity and development and the things we know we have to do but don’t do,” he said. Noting that some of the investments required in the continent’s development process are quite heavy to be solely undertaken by governments, Kagame said there was need for governments to work with the private sector through partnerships.

ECOSOCC Cluster operationalisation: Trade and Industry cluster (pdf, AU)

On Mapping Partnerships: The meeting appreciated the attendance of the Department of Trade and Industry of the Africa Union and hence recognized the need for the Cluster to conduct a mapping of the relevant stakeholders and forge strategic partnerships with the identified stakeholders at national, regional, continental and project Africa’s positions at global level. The meeting further agreed to strengthen the collaboration between the Cluster and the Department of Trade and Industry of the Africa Union and endeavor to participate in relevant meetings of the Africa Union Commission, Organs and other institutions. On Annual ECOSOCC Stakeholder Platform on Trade and Industry: The meeting agreed to host and organize an annual meeting on Africa Trade and Industry involving civil society organizations across the five regions of the African continent and other key stakeholders. These platforms will discuss among other issues related to compliance of AU policy instruments on trade and industry. The outcome of these platforms will finally feed into the STC on Trade. [Note: Eight cluster reports are available for download]

China-Africa investment treaties: do they work? (pdf, IIED)

International treaties to promote foreign investment are one prominent tool that China and sub-Saharan African states use in contemporary economic diplomacy. Globally, these international agreements increasingly are comprehensive regional or bilateral economic treaties with a chapter on investment. But the China-Africa agreements involve more narrowly focused bilateral investment treaties (BITs) between China and one African counterpart. This report explores the content of the China-Africa BITs, and whether they achieve their stated goal of promoting foreign investment. It draws on a literature review; a legal analysis of the treaties; and 55 interviews with Chinese businesses operating in sub-Saharan Africa’s natural resource and infrastructure sectors, and with industry experts. Because of significant data limitations, this report is an exploratory study that aims to pave the way to further research.

ICC reveals record number of new arbitration cases filed in 2016 (ICC)

According to preliminary statistics, a total of 966 new cases administered by the Court were filed in 2016 - involving 3,099 parties from 137 countries. Looking to the year ahead, ICC Arbitration statistics also reveal an increasingly busy period ahead with a record 1,592 pending cases - up by 61 cases compared with figures recorded at the close of business the previous year. Meanwhile, ICC Arbitration continues to build on its foothold in North and Sub-Saharan Africa with each region securing an approximate 50% increase in the number of participating parties. Despite increased competition in the market, Nigeria and Turkey both achieved new statistical records, accounting for 30 and 76 parties respectively. [Related: New Year, New Rules: How Singapore and Stockholm are vying for a piece of the investment arbitration pie, Comparative chart of international investment arbitration rules: a quick reference guide for the rules of several key institutions (SIAC, SCC, ICSID, UNCITRAL, PCA)]

India: Industry seeks foreign partners for trade pact (The Hindu)

India’s top industry bodies are attempting to build a coalition with counterparts in other nations with similar interests to give a fillip to the country’s proposal for a Trade Facilitation in Services (TFS) Agreement at the WTO-level. The proposed TFS pact, among other things, aims to make it easier for professionals and skilled workers to move across borders for short-term work, as well as ensure portability of their social security contributions. Two leading industry bodies — CII and FICCI — will next month hold a global seminar in Delhi and Mumbai on the topic.

Afreximbank’s new strategic plan targets $90bn disbursement over five years (Afreximbank)

The plan, dubbed “IMPACT 2021: Africa Transformed”, was approved by the Afreximbank Board of Directors during its 111th meeting which took place in Cairo on 10 December 2016. The new plan envisages an aggregate disbursement of some $90bn during the five-year period, reflecting the revolving nature of trade finance business, with disbursements in support of intra-African trade expected to reach $25bn. “IMPACT 2021: Africa Transformed” sets out four strategic pillars for the Afreximbank, namely: Intra-African Trade; Industrialisation and Export Development; Trade Finance Leadership; and Financial Soundness and Performance. It also defines a set of macro and corporate objectives and targets.

Botswana: Transporter dejected by Competition Authority’s embargo (Mmegi)

Local transport company, 4MS Group Holdings yesterday expressed its disappointment at the Competition Authority’s decision to block its deal with Transport Holdings. The CA on Friday announced it had blocked a bid by South African company, Transport Holdings to buy 4MS citing competition and public interest concerns.

Zimbabwe: Govt works on framework to refine SI64 (The Herald)

Speaking at a Ministry of Industry and Commerce 2017 strategic planning workshop here on Tuesday, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Mike Bimha said SI64 was serving its purpose, but needed to be refined. “We came up with SI64 as a measure to arrest a situation where the country had become a dumping ground for foreign products, of which were hopelessly sub-standard,” he said. “It was a precursor to resuscitation of the country’s industry. We want to follow that up with local content regulations, which will promote use of local products and raw materials to give impetus to our own industry.” He said SI64 was ad hoc in nature and that new regulations would reinforce and buttress its provisions. Borrowing from SI64, the regulations will also ring-fence a set of local products or those which the country has the capacity to produce, with the list being progressively expanded as capacity improves.

Boost for Kenyan farmers after KQ deal to export flowers to Australia (Business Daily)

Flower farmers have received a major boost after Kenya Airways agreed to a deal have an estimated 30 tonnes of freshly cut flowers exported monthly to Australia. “This is a major game changer for Kenya in terms of increasing trade exports of flowers to non-traditional markets. This partnership opens up the Australian market for exporters and is a business opportunity for us to generate revenue,” the national carrier’s Cargo Sales Manager Patricia Odida said on Thursday.

Zambia: Innovative solutions for resource mobilization (World Bank)

The Zambia mineral value chain, as in many resource-rich nations, is complex. From exploration to exports it involves a myriad of complex operations - from licensing, exploration, mining, beneficiation, sales, toll treating, taxation, royalties, issues of export permits and finally exports. The Zambian Government, however, believed that even complex systems can have simple solutions. It embarked on the Minerals Value Chain Monitoring Project (MVCMP) supported by the World Bank and funded by DFID, KfW, Finland, Norway and the GoZ. The successful completion of implementation of MVCMP, targeted in 2017, could be a game changer for Zambia. The benefits envisaged of the project are:

Nigeria: Plan to link mines to steel mill seen as Buhari test (Bloomberg)

Nigeria’s plan to build a railway to supply iron ore to its idle Ajaokuta steel plant could be the biggest sign yet that President Muhammadu Buhari is implementing his policy to diversify away from oil. The project began in 1979 with what the World Bank in 2002 called obsolete Soviet technology, and has never been finished. Ajaokuta cost more than $4.5bn from 1979 to 1993, according to the World Bank. The 275-kilometer (171-mile) railroad will link the plant to an iron-ore mine in the central Kogi state, the port city of Warri to the south and Kaduna state in the north before 2019, Transport Ministry Permanent Secretary Sabiu Zakari said in an interview this month. It will award the operating concession after that, he said. The project spans 24,000 hectares (59,305 acres), almost the size of the Maldives islands in the Indian Ocean.

Mozambique: Two new publications from the project ‘Inclusive growth in Mozambique - scaling-up research and capacity’ (UNU-WIDER)

Industries without smokestacks: Under the current international economic conditions, where Asian countries are strong competitors in the manufacturing commodities, low-income countries like Mozambique could attempt to compete in industries without smokestacks. Fruits and vegetables, agro-processing goods, and various tradable services are estimated to have contributed 1.9 per cent to annual average gross domestic product growth in 1993–2015, when the aggregate growth was 7.8 per cent. Around 80 per cent of the total labour force is dedicated to primary activities, producing 25 per cent of the aggregated value added in 2013–2015. The share of services in total exports was only 17 per cent in 2012–14. Although still relatively small, these industries have potential for growth, if Mozambique follows a diversified growth strategy.

Can integrated infrastructure investment plans contribute to more effective public spending?: Effective investment often requires coordination between different institutions and the management of political pressure to divert investment in support of private interests. It also requires the identification of appropriate sources of funds for different purposes. The preparation of an integrated infrastructure investment plan (IIIP) that uses structured approaches to review investment proposals has been suggested, and adopted in some cases, as an instrument to address these challenges and bridge the gap between national planning and sectoral budgeting.

Gender-differentiated impacts of tenure insecurity on agricultural performance in Malawi’s customary tenure systems (World Bank)

Many African countries rely on sporadic land transfers from customary to statutory domains to attract investment and improve agricultural performance. Data from 15,000 smallholders and 800 estates in Malawi allow exploring the long-term effects of such a strategy. The results suggest that (i) most estates are less productive than smallholders; (ii) fear of land loss, although not exclusively due to estates, is associated with a 12% productivity loss for females, which is large enough to finance a low-cost tenure regularization program; and (iii) failure to collect realistic land rents implies public revenue losses of up to $50m per year.

Adopted: The Cape Town Global Action Plan for Sustainable Development Data (UN)

The Global Action Plan (pdf) highlights the need for action in six strategic areas, including: innovation and modernization of national statistical systems; dissemination of data on sustainable development; building partnerships; and mobilizing resources. It also notes that all data producers – from civil society to private sector and academia – need to work together to fully address the needs of the 2030 Agenda, and calls for the application of new technologies and new data sources into mainstream statistical activities, as well as integration of geospatial data.

Today’s Quick Links:

Kenyan traders asked to observe cross-border trade regulations

Rwanda’s Minister for Trade, Industry and EAC sworn in as Ex-Officio Member of EALA

Nigeria: Abuja Light Rail 84% complete

Uganda rolls out SGR line construction to Kenya border

Klaus Tilmes: ‘Searching for new, better data to measure GVCs’

Cairo to receive 2nd tranche of $12bn IMF loan in April

PWC’s 20th CEO Survey: What’s on the mind of 1,379 CEOs around the world?

- - -


Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel +27 21 880 2010