Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection

Featured infographic: 50 years of containership growth

Starting today: In Mombasa: Stakeholders workshop validation of Tripartite Harmonized Documents; In Dar es Salaam:Committee on Fiscal Affairs reviews implementation of the EAC Roadmap on Harmonization of Fiscal Policy Framework

Diarise: @SADC_News – a ministerial retreat themed #TheSADCwewant will be held on 12-14 March [ahead of the SADC extra-ordinary summit of Heads of States]

Tunisia prepares to join COMESA in October (COMESA)

Tunisia is preparing to join COMESA during the next Summit in October 2017. According to the Prime Minister and Head of Government, Mr Yousef Achahed, his country was ready to conclude the negotiations early in readiness for the accession to the COMESA Treaty. The PM made the remarks when he met a COMESA delegation led by the Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya. The Secretary General briefed the Prime Minister on COMESA and explained that the membership of Tunisia will be a single undertaking. “What this means is that it will require Tunisia to simultaneously join COMESA financial, technical, semi-autonomous and autonomous institutions,” the SG told the Prime Minister. COMESA has nine institutions, two specialized agencies and a judicial arm all located in different member states. Tunisia first applied for observer status in COMESA in 2005 but the matter was not concluded. Once successfully concluded, Tunisia will become the 20th member of COMESA.

ECOWAS: Stepping-stone for Morocco to conquer Africa (MWNews)

Professor El Moussaoui Ajlaoui sees that the “death of the Maghreb Union” (AMU/UMA), which was created to unify north African countries including Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania, has pushed Morocco to consolidate its relationships with west African countries. “The issues in the north of Africa might not be over within the upcoming ten years,” Ajlaoui said. “The political future in Algeria is at stake,– no one can predict what will happen, not to mention the difficulties that Tunisia faces to reach a democratic transition – while Libya has become a black hole.”

Analysis of Morocco’s trade policy: two-volume analysis from the AfDB

Volume 2: Impact of Morocco’s tariff policy on its position as a hub for the rest of Africa (pdf): The report begins by reviewing existing trade agreements and customs duties between Morocco and the African countries. It then analyses the trend of trade between Morocco and African countries and identifies how Morocco’s and Africa’s trade policies influence Morocco’s capacity to position itself as a hub for Africa. Finally, the report shows how the renegotiations of certain tariff agreements could be carried out to the advantage of Morocco and the other countries of the African Continent. [Volume 1: Impact of Morocco’s Tariff Policy on its Competitiveness (pdf)]

Tanzania among least contributors to EAC budget (IPPMedia)

So far, the country - which is also the chairperson of the EAC Heads of State summit that sits here next month, has contributed only 30% of its commitment to the community’s budget in the 2016/17 financial year. According to a financial breakdown on the partner states contribution made available to The Guardian at the weekend, Tanzania had by 31 January 2017 managed to contribute a meagre 30.47% of her stake. The figures show that five member states were each required to contribute to the EAC coffers $8,378,108, but Tanzania managed to dish out only $2,553,203. Tanzania is only ahead of Burundi, a country that has been plunged into chaos ever since the incumbent embattled President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intention to run for a third term in April 2015.

Related: Tanzania backs Comoro on SADC membership (Daily News), Burundi’s flirtation with SADC exposes East Africa’s political skeletons (The Standard)

Bruce Byiers: ‘Is the Nile Basin Initiative a ‘regional sailboat’ in choppy geopolitical waters?’ (ECDPM)

Should NBI therefore branch out into regional agricultural trade? One of the challenges of many regional organisations has precisely been ‘agenda inflation’ and on paper COMESA has the mandate – both on agriculture through CAADP, and on trade. While COMESA may be too large to focus on specifics, the best impact may come from NBI engaging with COMESA to ensure that concerns about water use, and energy production can be made part of a wider grand-bargain – think the European Coal and Steel Community. While there is a tendency to think that overlapping memberships is a constraint to effectiveness, de Waal and Ibreck recently cited the need in the Horn of Africa for “not only a multilateral approach, but also an approach of multiple and overlapping multilateralisms.” Multiple flotillas of sailboats may sound messy but perhaps that is the way to ensure that at least some can set sail while others founder or sink.

Open Letter to African Economic and Trade Ministers: ‘There’s a Trump in your future, like it or not’ (Daily Maverick)

But this will be hard work for representatives of the nations in Africa to go toe to toe with the Americans on trade. And it will be much more difficult than at previous times when the prevailing views in America on globalisation and trade were profoundly supportive of such things. Now, any potentially successful agenda for the continent in dealing with America on trade must take into conscious consideration and demonstrate the real potential for tangible, mutual benefits, rather than those useless, flaccid geopolitical payoffs that have just been derided in that most recent USTR report. [The author: J Brooks Spector]

10 Commonwealth policy priorities for trade and development (ODI)

Ahead of the 2017 meeting of Commonwealth trade ministers (9-10 March), ODI and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Trade Out of Poverty put forward 10 policy priorities for trade ministers to consider. [Download (pdf)]

Customs valuation and transfer pricing: East and Southern Africa workshop (WCO)

The topic of customs valuation and transfer pricing was the theme of a WCO Workshop for the East and Southern Africa Region (20-24 February, Harare). 22 participants from 17 ESA region countries took part in the event, funded by the China Customs Cooperation Fund and hosted by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority. Representatives of the South African Revenue Service, Uganda Revenue Authority and ZIMRA gave interesting presentations on their experiences regarding the themed topics.

South Africa: Why the Treasury and Malusi Gigaba are ‘still at odds over bill’ (Business Day)

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has ruled out any further compromise with the Treasury on the Border Management Authority Bill that is in the process of being finalised by Parliament’s portfolio committee on home affairs. His statement on Sunday that all concerns had been resolved conflicts with a statement by a spokesman from the office of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa that there was still a window of opportunity for the Treasury to reserve a role for the South African Revenue Service (SARS) in customs and excise collection at ports of entry. Treasury is concerned that the incorporation of the customs and excise function into the border management agency, which will fall under the Department of Home Affairs, will mean a fragmentation of the role played by SARS and will undermine revenue collection at a time when SARS is having difficulty in meeting its revenue targets. [Related: Justice, Crime Prevention & Security Cluster: post-SoNA media briefing]

Edible oils now on EAC list of sensitive goods (The EastAcfrican)

The import duty will be increased gradually over three years, to allow partner states to develop the capacity to meet the demand for raw materials. In 2017-2018, the rate will go up to 30%, in 2018-2019 to 35%, and up to 40% in 2019-2020. The decision follows recommendations by experts from the EAC partner states, who carried out a verification exercise from October 31 to November 6, 2016 in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, to establish how much oil was being imported within and outside the region from 2011 to 2015.

Tanzania: Acacia hit as gold, copper ore exports are banned (Daily News)

Acacia Mining’s shares fell as much as 19% on Friday after the company said it had stopped gold and copper concentrate exports from Tanzania following a ban by the government on unprocessed ore. Acacia, majority owned by Barrick Gold, has three gold mines in Tanzania that also produce copper. “At this stage, Acacia has ceased exports of gold/copper concentrate and is urgently seeking further clarification from the Ministry of Energy and Minerals,” Acacia said in a statement.

EA maize exporters to facilitate cross border trade in the region (IPPMedia)

Sellers of maize and other commodities from Ethiopia and buyers of the staple from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe will gather in Addis Ababa today for grain buyer mission to enhance economic cooperation and integration among the countries. Eastern Africa Grain Council Country Manager (Tanzania), Ikunda Terry, told ‘The Guardian’ on Friday that the grain buyer mission has been organised by the council in partnership with the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub.

SADC Protocol on Forestry: consultancy to undertake regional assessment of implementation

An Agenda for the Future of Global Business (Harvard Business Review)

To achieve those ends, we propose that business leaders support a new agenda, comprising seven areas of opportunity. The agenda goes far beyond political activism; it attacks root causes by committing to sustaining an inclusive model of economic growth. This action will entail making unfamiliar and uncomfortable choices, including balancing short-term returns with supporting economic and societal progress to strengthen enterprises for the long term. These are the seven areas: [The authors: Martin Reeves, Johann Harnoss]

Digital remittances and global financial health (World Bank)

A recently published Xoom/PayPal research paper compares the costs associated with digital remittance services with World Bank data on traditional global remittance prices. The study reveals that sending money overseas digitally cuts costs by nearly one-half. Moreover, because digital remittances are linked with existing banking systems in each country, money is transferred and received securely throughout the process. Other study findings include:

Today’s Quick Links:

Botswana targets Namibia, Zimbabwe to boost trade

Harare-Beitbridge highway dualisation project: IDBZ engages Canadian firm as co-transaction advisor

Africa Research Institute: The “silent crisis” of food price inflation in Africa

Operationalization of Trade Facilitation Committees: Côte d’Ivoire (7-9 March, Abidjan), Senegal (14-16 March, Dakar)

COMESA promoting projects worth $500m in Malawi

Mauritius, Jersey sign Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement

Nagy K Hanna: ‘How can developing countries make the most of the digital revolution?’

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