tralac’s Daily News Selection
Starting today, in Mauritius: ‘Cross-border banking and regulatory reforms: implications for Africa from international experience’
Call for papers: ‘Public economics for development’ (WIDER Development Conference, 5-6 July 2017 in Maputo)
Profiled, key decisions of the AU Summit (Désiré Assogbavi Blog)
Focus on key priorities with continental scope: (i) The AU should focus on a fewer number of priority areas, which are by nature continental in scope, such as political affairs, peace and security, economic integration (including the Continental Free Trade Area), and Africa’s global representation and voice, (ii) There should be a clear division of labour and effective collaboration between the African Union, the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the Regional Mechanisms (RMs), the Member States, and other continental institutions, in line with the principle of subsidiarity.
Political management of the Union: (i) The African Union Assembly shall handle an agenda of no more than three strategic items at each Summit, in line with the Me’kelle Ministerial Retreat recommendations. Other appropriate business should be delegated to the Executive Council, (ii) The Assembly shall hold one Ordinary Summit per year, and shall hold extraordinary sessions as the need arise, (iii) In place of the June/July Summit, the Bureau of the African Union Assembly should hold a coordination meeting with Regional Economic Communities, with the participation of the Chairpersons of the Regional Economic Communities, the AU Commission and Regional Mechanisms. Ahead of this meeting, the AU Commission shall play a more active coordination and harmonisation role with the Regional Economic Communities, in line with the Abuja Treaty;
Justin Yifu Lin: ‘Africa’s path for industrialization’ (DIE Blog)
Mauritius shows the path ahead. In the 1970s, the government set up industrial parks to process textiles and garments for export. At the time, most of the owners were from Taiwan or Hong Kong; today, more than 70% of the island’s industrial companies are locally owned. A carefully focused export strategy is crucial. The international development community and many African governments want to work toward regional integration, linking the markets of 54 African countries. This might have its advantages, but it should not be a priority. Africa today accounts for just 1.9% of global GDP, compared to 21% for the United States and 23% for Europe. Developing countries must use their limited resources in the most effective way, and there is no question where the most attractive opportunities in Africa are to be found. For example, instead of investing heavily in the infrastructure needed for regional integration, a country like Ethiopia would be better off building industrial parks and linking them by road to ports in Djibouti. [Léonce Ndikumana: A global agenda for achieving sustainable development in Africa]
Botswana: Bureau of Standards tightens imports pre-shipment inspection (Mmegi)
As part of this move, the standards watchdog stopped accepting letters of authority and certificates of conformity from importers issued by National Regulators for Compulsory Specifications. Speaking to BusinessWeek this week, BOBS public relations officer, Kagisano Makonyela said the bureau does not have any recognition agreement with NRCS hence it does not accept or recognise the NCRS letters of authority and certificate of conformity. “However, in the past BOBS accepted these documents from NRCS mainly through memorandum of understanding between BOBS and the South African Bureau of Standards as NRCS was initially part of the SABS,” she said.
Botswana: Sefalana enters South African market (Mmegi)
Plans for the fast-moving consumer goods giant, Sefalana Holdings Limited to follow its competitor, Choppies into the South African market are taking shape with the retailer expected to open its first store in May. At the announcement of the financials for the half-year ended October 31, 2016, the group stated that it will use a large part of the P351 million raised recently through a rights offer to support its expansion plans into South Africa. Recently, the group used part of the proceeds from the rights issue to enter the Lesotho market through the takeover of that country’s largest cash and carry outlet, TFS Wholesalers.
The Export Import Bank of China and Angola’s sovereign wealth fund have announced plans to invest in the development of the country’s first deepwater port. José Filomeno dos Santos, the chairman of the Angolan fund, said China would make a loan of up to $600m and that his fund would provide about $180m for the construction of the port, which would have a total cost of $1.1bn. The port will be located in Cabinda.
The RGS 2016 has retained the eight aggregated indicators of governance, namely: (1) Rule of law, (2) Political rights and civil liberties, (3) Participation and inclusiveness, (4) Safety and security, (5) Investing in human and social development, (6) Control of corruption, transparency and accountability, (7) Quality of service delivery, (8) Economic and corporate governance. Most improving sub-indicator: Compared to previous scores, out of 37 sub-indicators, 10 have improved their score by + 5%. The best improving sub-indicator is SMEs development and Cross-Border Trade of Economic and Corporate governance indicator, which has improved by +13.78 % in the RGS 2016.
Rwanda: Govt seeks to expedite cross-border services agreements (New Times)
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and East African Community Affairs, Innocent Safari, has called on professionals, professional associations and regulatory bodies (ministries, departments and agencies) to suggest solutions that will bring about legal environment for cross-border movement of services and service suppliers. Addressing stakeholders at the 2nd National Consultative Forum on Professional Services, Safari said that the government attaches a lot of importance to the services sector, since it contributes 48% of Rwanda’s GDP. The forum aimed to discuss the regulation of non-regulated professions in the country and to assess the implementation of the already-concluded EAC Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs).
Uganda comes to the rescue as East Africa faces maize shortage (The EastAfrican)
In the past three months, Uganda has exported more than 28,000 tonnes of maize worth $14m to the region, as countries such as Burundi struggle with the highest maize prices recorded in recent times. This year, Uganda has sold 13,312 tonnes of maize to its neighbours with the bulk going to Tanzania (7,240 tonnes), followed by Rwanda (3,566 tonnes), then Kenya (2,506 tonnes) as food insecurity reaches alarming levels across various parts of the region. [Rising South African wheat crop will weigh on imports]
Uganda: Is the collapse of the Economic Partnership Agreement looming? (Daily Monitor)
As it stands now, the Economic Partnership Agreement seems to have hit a dead end, Daily Monitor has learnt. The ministry of Trade under the express directive of President Museveni will not proceed with the signing of the EPA until all the East African Community (EAC) partner states are in agreement with the details contained in the deal as well as its repercussions on each of the member’s economy. [EU tightens border controls on Uganda’s vegetable exports]
Nigeria: FG orders 48-hour visa issuance to foreign investors (This Day)
Okechukwu Enelamah, the minister of industry, trade and investment, said the federal government had issued a directive to this effect, noting that it was important to make it easy for potential investors to do business in Nigeria. He said President Muhammadu Buhari had already launched the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) whose purpose was to identify and reduce bureaucratic processes and regulations that impede the private sector. He added that the federal government, through PEBEC, had been working on three priority reforms areas with 17 quick wins to reposition the investment to climate.
Based on the structure of existing deals between 42 countries, the benefits of an agreement with the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, or with Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China and South Africa, would be “very small compared with the costs from leaving the EU single market,” London-based Niesr said in a report. While the institute predicts that leaving the single market could lead to a long-term reduction in total U.K. trade of 22-30 percent, it sees the increased trade resulting from new deals equaling just 2.2 percent and 2.6 percent. The findings, which were initially published in a Jan. 27 blog, forecast no upswing at all in services trade -- which accounts for the majority of the U.K.’s economic activity. [DFID’s first Economic Development Strategy was released yesterday: download (pdf)]
The Principles for Positive Impact Finance: Banks, UN set standards on channelling investments for sustainable development (UNEP)
Nearly 20 leading global banks and investors, totalling $6.6 trillion in assets, have launched a United Nations-backed global framework aimed at channelling the money they manage towards clean, low carbon and inclusive projects. The Principles for Positive Impact Finance (pdf) - a first of its kind set of criteria for investments to be considered sustainable - provide financiers and investors with a global framework applicable across their different business lines, including retail and wholesale lending, corporate and investment lending and asset management.
India: Economic Survey 2016-17
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