tralac’s Daily News Selection

News

tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection

Diarise: launch of the Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition in Africa 2016 (23 February, Freetown)

ECA statutory documents, prepared for the Conference of Ministers 2017 (23-28 March, Dakar):

Review of the intergovernmental structure of the Economic Commission for Africa (pdf): The document sets out an assessment of the preliminary findings and recommendations of the review, and also its methodological limitations, with a view to highlighting the need for a further detailed study, because of the inconclusive nature of most of the findings. The analysis is based on the secretariat’s empirical knowledge and experience gained in the implementation of previous resolutions on the subject of the intergovernmental structure, together with the views and suggestions made by secretariat staff during the review process. The document concludes with a set of proposed actions that the Commission may wish to consider in this regard.

Report of the Executive Secretary on the activities of the Economic Commission for Africa (pdf): The report provides an overview of the major events and activities undertaken by ECA (April 2016 to March 2017) in response to its broad mandate of fostering economic and social development in Africa. In addition to the issues presented in the report, a number of key strategic areas of involvement are highlighted, underlining the Commission’s most significant contributions.

ECOWAS plans to sensitise border officials on free movement (Leadership)

Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Honourable Moustapha Cisse Lo, has said ECOWAS will conduct visits to the west African borders to sensitise border officials on the community’s provisions on the free movement of goods and person in the region. “There are obstacles to free movement along out borders. Our intention is to conduct visits to the border posts to sensitize all these authorities on the border to give up these abnormal practices. In collaboration with the Commission, we (parliament) will conduct visits to the borders to create awareness and sensitise the officials.” In a related development, the speaker has said the parliament will convene a special seminar on the enhancement of powers of the parliament to dig deeper into the implications of an enhanced ECOWAS parliament. [ECOWAS cuts operational costs by $12m]

The latest West Africa Brief, from SWAC/OECD, is posted

TZ EALA members faulted for weak efforts in selling integration benefits (IPPMedia)

Lindi Regional Commissioner Godfrey Zambi has criticized Tanzania legislators in the EALA for not marketing business opportunities available in his region into the bloc. Zambi also observed that Tanzanian legislators into EALA were duty bound to sensitise not only Lindi residents but also other people in other regions on the opportunities available in the EAC bloc. “I believe the situation could be different with Lindi regional residents if they were aware of the business opportunities arising from East African common market. Very unfortunately leaders, including EALA members from Tanzania don’t seem to throw their weight into this matter,” Zambi said. Zambi was of the view it would be meaningless for the EAC integration project to be owned by the bureaucrats, leaving the general public, including Civil Society Organizations aside.

Rwanda, Burundi row hurting us: EAC chief (The Citizen)

Is Trump’s plan to repeal conflict minerals rule a gift for Rwanda? (The EastAfrican)

Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda launch EA destination portal (CapitalFM)

Hamid Ansari’s Africa visit aims to broaden India’s outreach efforts (Mint)

Vice-president Hamid Ansari left on Sunday on a five-day tour of Rwanda and Uganda in a bid to broaden India’s general outreach to resource-rich Africa and establish its footprint in sub-Saharan Africa. Ansari will be the first Indian leader to visit Rwanda, where the capital Kigali will be his first stop. His second stop will be Kampala, where the previous bilateral visit was in 1997 by then prime minister Inder Kumar Gujral. “Both Rwanda and Uganda are important from the viewpoint of our trade, especially in the pharmaceuticals, automobiles, mechanical appliances and machinery sectors,” joint secretary Malhotra said. “Our trade with Rwanda has doubled over the last five years while we are one of Uganda’s largest trading partners, we are also one of the largest investors in Uganda,” Malhotra said. [Related: Ansari is slated to address India-Uganda Business Forum, launch the India-Rwanda Innovation Growth Programme]

China should help build Africa e-commerce (Global Times)

Cross-border e-commerce is key to China’s drive to upgrade its foreign trade companies. Africa has increasingly become an emerging market for global cross-border e-commerce given its growing Internet access, rising number of cell phone users and consumers’ increased interest in online shopping. But the barriers to the African market cannot be ignored. Given these challenges, the Chinese government needs to start building supply chains and guiding e-commerce players to enter African markets and tap local potential. First, the government should orient Chinese business operations toward being fully localized when it comes to building cross-border e-commerce platforms. Chinese firms should be fostered to form strategic partnerships with Africa’s local e-commerce businesses. Global heavyweights including eBay and Amazon have performed poorly in the African market. By comparison, many African countries have viable local e-commerce firms. [The author, Song Wei, is attached to the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation]

Nigeria drops to fourth position as China’s trade partner (ThisDay)

Trade relations between Nigeria and China dropped last year with Nigeria losing her position as the second largest [African] trading partner with China. According to the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian, trade relations between the two countries nose-dived from about $15bn in 2015 to about to about $3.1bn in 2016; resulting to Nigeria’s drop from her second position to fourth as trade partners. “Nigeria-China trade is declining fast. Nigeria used to be China’s number two trade partner in Africa, but it’s now number four”, the envoy stated.

Tanzania: UK to double trade finance (Daily News)

British Prime Minister’s Trade and Investment Envoy to Tanzania Lord Hollick has announced doubling of UK’s government trade support for Tanzania to 750 million pounds (over 2tri/-). The announcement was made during Lord Hollick’s visit to Dar es Salaam this week, where he discussed the proposed UK investments by British firms and Tanzania’s priority infrastructure projects with a number of ministers and senior officials. The support is made available through UK Export Finance and UK government’s export credit agency.

Tanzania: Gold miner, TRA in talks to resolve major tax claim (IPPMedia)

Tanzania’s largest gold producer, Acacia Mining Plc (formerly known as African Barrick Gold), is in talks with the Tanzania Revenue Authority and other government authorities to try to resolve a major new dispute on whether or not the UK-registered firm has a taxable presence in Tanzania. Acacia Mining chief executive officer Brad Gordon confirmed the apparent impasse in a statement last week when announcing the company’s 2016 financial results, saying:

Africa must turn resources into manufactured export products (Business Day)

Africa’s abundant labour and low wages make it potentially competitive in the export of labour-intensive manufactures. But since labour productivity is low relative to China and other East Asian countries, abundant low-wage labour does not necessarily translate to low labour costs in production. Consider Ethiopia and Tanzania. Wages for producing polo shirts and wooden chairs range from about a tenth to half those in China. But polo-shirt workers in Ethiopia and Tanzania finish half the number of shirts workers do in China. For wooden chairs, they produce one or two for every 100 in China, pushing Tanzania’s costs to 19 times those in China and Ethiopia’s to 26 times. The young and growing workforce in Africa can be a global competitive advantage and a great asset in driving industrialisation if it is healthy and has the right skills. [The author, Dr Moses Obinyeluaku, is chief economist at the International Trade Administration Commission of SA]

Mcebisi Jonas: ‘Brokering a New Deal for SA’ (City Press)

We must also leverage the role of state capital in South Africa’s economy. The state currently owns and controls about 30% of the economy in highly strategic sectors, including state banking, information technology, energy, transport, aerospace and the weapons industry, and communication. In addition, the state owns about 25% of land and has an array of regulatory and administrative apparatus to influence the behaviour of capital. Hard questions must be asked about whether we are deriving optimal growth and inequality reduction outcomes from this state capital. We must also look at how our pension funds and union investment funds can be better geared to increase fixed investment in the economy. So, what is to be done? It is evident that the coincidence of unfavourable global conditions, the limitations of the 1994 Consensus and the growing recognition that we are stuck in a high inequality-low growth trap implies that we urgently construct a new consensus to transform the economy towards more equal and higher growth. In confronting these challenges, we need to consider a New Economic Consensus derived from three national obsessions: [The author is Deputy Minister of Finance]

Mozambique: Far-reaching impacts from large-scale agriculture projects (Food Tank)

With many African governments still feeding illusions instead of their people, and with land giveaways to big investors, local farmers are becoming more food insecure as their land rights erode. As a new report—and a compelling video documentary—on Mozambique and Zambia shows, even smaller, less egregious land acquisitions are undermining food security in some of the world’s hungriest countries.

Aliko Dangote: Charting way for Nigeria’s self-sufficiency in rice production (Leadership)

Within the next three years Dangote Rice Limited (DRL) is aiming to produce at least one million tonnes of high quality parboiled rice which will be made available to the Nigerian market, making the commodity affordable to ordinary Nigerians. “To achieve this, objective, our plans include cultivating about 160,000 hectares of irrigable rice farmland in selected states, including Sokoto State that will be cultivated to grow paddy during two cropping-seasons per year and achieve a minimum yield of five to six tons per hectare. DRL is committed to off-taking not less than 80 per cent of the paddy produced by the outgrowers. We will also develop our own farm operations to include seed multiplication capabilities. With this ambitious programme, DRL aims to boost the local economy, create jobs along the value chain and make a significant contribution to the transformation of subsistence farms into market-oriented agribusinesses.”

EU asks India to extend by 6 months trade pact with EU nations (Financial Express)

India’s existing trade and investment pacts with The Netherlands have come to an end in November while while similar pacts with several other EU countries will expire in the coming months. Orden said expiry of the pacts will make it difficult for the European countries to go for fresh investments in India, adding the EU want India to first give the extension to the pacts and then move ahead with the FTA which is known as EU-India Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).

Cross-border e-commerce is one of the fastest growth opportunities in retail (DHL)

The report reveals that cross-border e-commerce offers aggregate growth rates not available in most other retail markets: cross-border retail volumes are predicted to increase at an annual average rate of 25% between 2015 and 2020 (from $300bn to $900bn) – twice the pace of domestic e-commerce growth. The insights presented in th report are based on a proprietary survey of retailers and manufacturers with over 1,800 responses across six countries (US, China, UK, Germany, Brazil, Singapore), more than 60 in-depth interviews with retailers and manufacturers successfully shipping cross-border and with industry experts on cross-border e-commerce.

Today’s Quick Links:

Ghana: Transit trade figures pick up (GhanaWeb)

Herman Kasekende to head Standard Chartered Bank in Zambia (Daily Monitor)

Trump Administration considers change in calculating US trade deficit (WSJ)

Japan logs first trade deficit in five months in January at ¥1.09 trillion (Japan Times)

The growing importance of trade for India (Mint)

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