Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection

AU Summit briefings today in Addis:

Mrs Rhoda Peace Tumusiime (Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture): Strengthening mutual accountability to achieve CAADP/Malabo goals and targets, Dr Aisha L. Abdullahi (Commissioner of Political Affairs): Youth participation and representation in governance and democratic processes in Africa

Profiled AU Summit agenda policy issues:

Executive Council, 25-27 January: Item: Outcome of the 5th Retreat of the Executive Council. The 5th Ministerial Retreat held in December 2016 focussed on (i) Global and continental political trends elections – positioning of Africa; (ii) Draft Commodities Strategy; (iii) Update on the implementation of Agenda 2063 and Integration. The Executive Council will adopt the recommendations made during the Retreat held in Addis Ababa, 8-9 December 2016.

Assembly of the Union, 30-31 January: Item (in closed session): Report of the Commission on the Continental Free Trade Area and the Mechanism to eliminate Non-Trade Barriers in Africa. The Assembly [in July in Kigali] requested the Commission “to present feasible options on how to eliminate non-trade barriers among African countries to foster intra-African trade”. The Commissioner for Trade and Industry, on behalf of the Commission, will submit a report on the implementation of this Decision to the Executive Council for consideration.

Briefing by Dr Anthony Mothae Maruping (Commissioner for Economic Affairs): ‘African Agenda 2063: what progress since adoption in 2015?’

After witnessing sluggish implementation of previous OAU/AU frameworks where lies the source of hope that there will be successful implementation of Agenda 2063? Lessons of experience prompted the African Union to avoid overlooking factors crucial for meticulous implementation of frameworks. 11 pointers:

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma: welcome remarks to 30th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council

Zambia markets candidates for AU positions at AU summit

tralac’s Gerhard Erasmus: ‘Dealing with technical barriers to trade in the Continental Free Trade Area’

The CFTA will hopefully provide for better trade governance on national as well as regional levels. There should be binding legal instruments to ensure effective implementation, the protection of rights, remedies in case of violations of obligations, legal certainty, and institutional oversight. International agreements do not guarantee more trade and a better business climate but a well-designed legal construct which tackles underlying causes is a sine qua non for improving the present situation. For the CFTA to deliver on its promises some bold decisions about sharing national policy space and sovereignty are required.

Continental standards body urges members: ‘Set up more testing facilities’ (NewsDay)

The African Organisation for Standards is urging its members to set up more testing facilities to help certify products, as it moves to harmonise standards on the continent. This comes as the major theme for Arso in 2017 is to promote Africa-made products and shift trade that is heavily skewed in favour of the developed world to the continent. Speaking at a press briefing of the upcoming second edition of the Arso President’s Forum and Made in Africa Expo, the organisation’s president, Eve Gadzikwa said testing facilities would allow African-made goods to compete on the market. The forum will be held from 1-4 March in Victoria Falls.

African Digitalisation Maturity Report 2017: ‘Digitisation could boost Africa by R4 trillion’ (Business Report)

The adoption of digitalisation by African countries could add $300bn (R4 trillion) to the continent’s economy by 2026, with South Africa poised to derive the most benefits. This is according to an inaugural report released on Monday by global technology firm Siemens. The 2017 African Digitalisation Maturity Report (pdf) was conducted by the company to benchmark levels of digitalisation in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia, with emphasis on the sectors of transport, manufacturing and energy.

The Western Indian Ocean’s blue economy can thrive: here’s how (The Conversation)

Few readers will have heard the term “Western Indian Ocean”. Yet, this 30 million square km of ocean off the coasts of ten east and southern African countries supports some 60 million people living within 100km of the shore. The annual economic output of the ocean is estimated to come fourth in line behind the region’s biggest economies – South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania. It produces more than $20.8 billion in goods and services every year. So a key question is: can the ocean economy in the Western Indian Ocean grow and support those countries’ aspirations in coming decades? Remarkable and sobering findings, and possible answers, are contained in a new report. It was led by the World Wildlife Fund, the Boston Consulting Group and CORDIO (Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean East Africa) East Africa. [The author: Ove Hoegh-Guldberg]

UK-South Africa joint trade statement

Bilateral trade in goods and services between the UK and South Africa stood at £7.6 billion in 2015, with UK exports of goods and services increasing by 25% in the last decade. South Africa’s exports into the UK have increased by over 5% on an annual basis for the last decade. South Africa is the third biggest trading partner for the UK in the Commonwealth. The meeting was an opportunity for ministers to discuss existing links as well as opportunities to further develop these. Both ministers committed to strengthening ties as the UK prepares to leave the European Union and to work together to identify trade and investment opportunities that will benefit not only the UK and South Africa, but across the wider southern Africa and Africa region.

SA must shut down dumped chicken imports to prevent industry collapse (Business Day)

SA needs to act quickly and implement the technical barriers used by other countries — phytosanitary measures, health checks and demands for abattoir certification — that can help protect the South African chicken industry. Chicken dumping is becoming a national crisis. If nothing is done, the country could have another 130,000 jobless people by Christmas 2017, leaving about 1.3-million family members and other dependants without food or income. That grim prospect is a call to action for the policy makers who can prevent it. [The authors: Agmat Brinkhuis is chairman of the South African Poultry Association, Scott Pitman is MD of RCL Foods’ consumer division, Katishi Masemola is general secretary of the Food and Allied Workers Union] [Chicken fight rocks SA-Europe trade relations (Bloomberg)]

South Africa: Treasury acts to fortify steel industry (Business Day)

The Treasury has designated fabricated structural steel with 100% local content for procurement by state entities, in a move that might protect the domestic industry from a "blood bath". The instruction note, dated 13 January, is a long-awaited development that could kickstart large-scale infrastructure projects in SA. It is also a non-tariff response to the financial crisis, which decimated the world’s steel industry.

Swaziland: Market Assessment Report – December 2016 (Ministry of Agriculture, GoS)

Swaziland produced 34,000 tonnes for the 2016-17 marketing season, down from 94,000 tonnes in 2015-16 (-64%) and down from the five year average (2011-2015) of 92,000 tonnes (-63%). In terms of national requirements, Swaziland has produced only 20% of its national cereal requirement for the 2016-17 marketing season. The remaining 80% (197,000 tonnes) will need to be imported from South Africa, up from the five year average of 62%. Food prices, especially maize, have been falling in Southern Africa for most of 2016. The price of maize meal in Swaziland however has not seen a similar reduction in 2016. Maize meal was on average 53% more expensive in Swaziland in August/September 2016 compared to the southern African average.

Tanzania: Dar seeks 2tri/ - development funding from World Bank (Daily News)

Tanzania’s government is seeking a $785m (over 1.7tri/-) soft loan from the World Bank to execute development projects in the next fiscal year, Finance and Planning Minister, Dr Philip Mpango, revealed yesterday. According to the minister, the projects include implementation of the second and third phase of the Bus Rapid Transit in Dar es Salaam which is expected to cost 425 million dollars (about 950bn/- ) and the 305 million dollar (678bn/-) expansion of the Dar es Salaam port. Expansion of the Dar es Salaam port requires 600 million US dollars (over 1.3tri/-), but the World Bank has offered 305 million dollars for the first phase of the project," Dr Mpango elaborated.

Debates at the EALA:

Address gender-based violence in the region: A resolution to that effect, moved by Hon Shyrose Bhanji, unanimously sailed through the House as it condemned all act(s) of gender-based violence, urging EAC citizens to refrain from the same. The legislators further urged the Partner States to step up public awareness campaigns against all acts and practices of gender-based violence and to take up measures including strengthening legislation to curb the same.

New Bill outlawing discrimination against Albinism in the offing: An EAC Protection of people with albinism Bill, 2016 is in the offing with the House granting its mover, Hon Shyrose Bhanji leave to introduce the Bill. The object of the Bill is to prohibit the discrimination against people suffering with albinism and to ensure affirmative action in their favour. It also stipulates the sanctions against those who indulge in suffocating the rights of persons with Albinism. The Bill hopes to put in place sanctions including conviction of those who discriminate against albinos.

Christine Lagarde: Standing with the Central African Republic (IMF)

After shrinking almost 40% in 2013, the Central African Republic’s economy has a long way to go. Infrastructure has been shattered. Agriculture, forestry, and mining have not returned to past levels of output. Institutional capacity remains weak. And the security situation in some parts of the country is still tenuous. To complicate matters, rebuilding is taking place at a time of slow growth affecting both the global economy and that of Sub-Saharan Africa. Commodity prices have fallen, and access to external finance is more constrained. These issues are particularly relevant to the CEMAC region, where the difficult challenges of low oil prices and fragile regional security are having a severe impact.

Enhancing regional partnerships among top priorities for UN Peacebuilding Commission in 2017 (UN)

Strengthening the UN’s partnerships with the African Union, empowering women and youth, and greater cooperation with the World Bank will be among the key priorities this year for the UN Peacebuilding Commission, its new chair, Cho Tae-yul, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the UN, said yesterday. The six countries currently on the Peacebuilding Commission agenda are Burundi, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Central African Republic.

Today’s Quick Links:

Home-grown African wealth funds seeking foreign partners to fix infrastructure gap

Zimbabwe: Rapid Results Initiative expected to boost exports

Sustainable agriculture, better-managed water supplies, vital to tackling water-food nexus – UN

Erin Collinson: What Tillerson’s leadership could mean for US development policy

US seeks enhanced India market access after Trans-Pacific Partnership pullout

Trump must re-engage Africa to halt Chinese inroads

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