Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection

Featured infographics: Number of tourists from India, China, US increasing as trade ties with Kenya deepen

IORA Summit outcome: The Jakarta Concord (pdf, IORA)

We commit ourselves to...Enhancing Trade and Investment cooperation in the region by: (i) encouraging greater intra-IORA flow of goods, services, investment, and technology as a stimulus to further develop and grow our economies sustainably; (ii) exploring ways to improve the production capacity, competitiveness, and value addition of products from the region; (iii) promoting public-private partnership in infrastructure development; (iv) strengthening the involvement of the private sector, in particular SMEs, through regular dialogues and interactions between Governments and businesses, including women owned businesses; (v) continuing regulatory reforms to encourage competitiveness and innovation and promote ease of doing business; (vi) improving connectivity (institutional, physical, and people-to-people) in the Indian Ocean region, including facilitating the movement of businesspersons; (vii) recognising the importance to regional economic growth and skills development of producing value added goods and increasing participation in global value chains; (viii) promoting shipping, ports, transport and logistic alliances within the region and with other regions in the world; and (ix) encouraging the development of standards suitable to IORA Member States, taking into account international and national standards.

Indonesia offers its ‘Maritime Axis’ template to IORA (Jakarata Globe)

Indonesia wants more trade exposure with Indian Ocean Rim Association member countries, which could be achieved by leveraging the country’s so-called “maritime axis” ambition to spur economic growth in the region, President Joko Widodo said during the IORA Business Summit on Monday. But even though at least 70% of the world’s trade is being transported through the Indian Ocean — including oil and gas — trade between IORA countries had only grown to $777 billion in 2015 from $233 billion in 1994. [IORA Business Summit: address by President Jacob Zuma]

Looking west: PM Turnbull attends the first IORA Leaders’ Summit (ASPI)

It’s been difficult to get region-wide cooperation given an all-embracing concept of an Indian Ocean region which comprises up to 51 very different states - the IOR countries range from two of the most developed countries (Australia and Singapore) through to some of the least developed (such as Malawi, Zambia, Burundi, Ethiopia and Mozambique). As such, there’s been no real background in regional cooperation. While IORA remains an essential part of Indian Ocean region-wide cooperation, it’s still evolving to become more effective on soft security issues and beefing up trade and investment flows in the region. But partly due to a small contingent staffing IORA’s secretariat in Mauritius—the headcount was 9 in 2014, compared to its peer APEC, which had a staff of 49—the Association’s had fairly narrow project-focused agendas. [The analyst: Anthony Bergin]

Mahiga: Here comes SADC without frontiers (Daily News)

The Southern African Development Community is working on the region’s new passports acceptable across the SADC bloc, aiming to rekindle its economy through improved movement of its people. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Ambassador Augustine Mahiga: “These passports will be a better catalyst of ending challenges arising from movement of people.” He said it will also create a borderless region and continent. “It will significantly boost regional trade,” he stressed. Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation, Ambassador Ramadhani Mwinyi, told the ‘Daily News’ in Dodoma that SADC member states were “formalising the process and will soon have a single passport.” “They are working to ensure that an individual only uses one passport as an international travel document across the globe.” He said the current work between member states was to integrate systems to ensure an East African national who is also a member of SADC carries only one travel document. “It will also spell an end to immigration challenges facing neighbouring countries,” he added.

President Kagame’s address at the special sitting of the EALA

Of particular note for the EALA is the decision to direct more responsibility for the implementation of Africa’s common development agenda to the Regional Economic Communities. To that end, the Heads of State decided that the annual July summit of the African Union will be transformed into a coordination meeting with Regional Economic Communities. This means that greater contributions will be needed from all of you as East Africa’s legislators, both as strong advocates for the imperative of reform and as champions for closer cooperation between the East African Community and the African Union Commission. However, whether at the continental or the regional level, our goals will not be attained if we get lost in counterproductive divisions and prioritise narrow interests over the common good, as we keep seeing in various contexts. It is really about working together to advance everybody’s interests. There are two parts of this to keep in mind:

Rwanda: New report outlines roadmap to bolster manufacturing sector (New Times)

The study by Enabling Environments Development, a Mauritius-based consultancy firm, calls for increased access to affordable and reliable electricity by industrial players, review some of the tax laws and creation of a pool of skilled personnel to drive growth of the country’s manufacturing and export sectors. The survey conducted between December 2016 and February 2017 cited high electricity tariffs and supply woes as one of the biggest bottlenecks affecting industrial sector players in the country. It also identified high cost of transport, as well as taxes on some raw materials as some of the major challenges faced by Rwandan manufacturers, which it said were making the sector less competitive compared to their counterparts in the EAC region. Angelo Musinguzi, the KPMG tax manager and one of the experts that conducted the research, said the objective of the study was to ‘cost benchmark Rwanda manufacturers against other EAC sector’. He added that, according to the findings of the survey, Rwandan manufacturers were spending most of their profits paying electricity bills compared to their counterparts in the EAC bloc.

South Africa’s economy shrinks in the fourth quarter of 2016 (StatsSA)

A fall in mining and manufacturing production in the final quarter of 2016 pulled South African economic growth into negative territory, according to preliminary figures of GDP released by Stats SA. South Africa’s economy contracted by 0,3% quarter-on-quarter (seasonally adjusted and annualised). The mining industry’s 11,5% drop in production was the main contributor to the economy’s slowdown, brought about by a fall in production of coal, gold and ‘other’ metal ores, such as platinum and iron ore. Adding to the slowdown was manufacturing, contracting by 3,1% in the same quarter. This was largely a result of slower production in manufacturing sectors related to food and beverages, petroleum and chemicals, and transport equipment. All industries in the tertiary sector recorded positive growth rates, led by an increase of 2,6% in transport and communication services and an increase of 2,1% in trade, catering and accommodation services.

Nigeria: Merchandise Trade Intensity Index/Re-exports (National Bureau of Statistics)

The export intensity index compares the share of exports to each country in Nigeria’s total exports, with the share of world exports going to that country, and therefore gives a measure of the importance of that country to Nigeria as an export destination. A higher number denotes a stronger relationship, and an index of one indicates that exports to that country are what would be expected given global trade patterns. What does it tell us? Nigeria’s export intensity in the months of October, November and December 2016 was highest for South Africa with export intensities of 8.9, 7.3 and 4.1 respectively. Export intensity in Q4 2016 was also intense with India with export intensities of 5.8, 5.8 and 1.7 for the last three months of 2016. Spain and Netherlands also had high export intensities with export intensities of 4.8, 2.9 and 2.0 for Spain and 2.2, 1.5and 2.2 for the Netherlands. Although United States was one of Nigeria’s major trading partners, its export intensity was low with 0.6, 0.6 and 0.2 for the last three months of 2016.

CMG wants to make African port of Djibouti ‘new Shekou’ (China Daily)

Li Xiaopeng, president of CMG, said in an exclusive interview with China Daily: “Making full use of Djibouti’s geographical advantages, we are in the process of making the country the ‘Shekou of East Africa’-a hub for regional shipping, logistics and trade. We will use our experience in Shekou and adjust the model to local conditions. We will put this model into practice in countries such as Djibouti.” The group wants to use model of Shekou, dubbed “Port-Park-City” or PPC as a template to build an industrial park and subsequently a city to supplement the initial development of a port. With the majority of its port project in areas along the Belt and Road Initiative, the group owns a network of 46 ports in 18 countries and regions. CMG’s investment in overseas ports has reach $2 billion, with major projects in Sri Lanka, Djibouti, Nigeria, Togo, Turkey and France.

Zimbabwe: Ease of Doing Export Business rectified (The Herald)

The Government is amending at least 16 export regulations identified as impediments to ease of doing export business under the Ease of Doing Export Business Rapid Results Initiative, an official has said. Chairperson of the thematic group on export regulation Mr Benison Ntini told the review meeting that overall milestones made so far were at 82%. He said export regulations affecting each sector were identified. For instance, Statutory Instrument 8 of 1996 which lists the number of products that require export permits. “Draft amendments to the SI were completed by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, only four strategic goods are now left on the list,” said Mr Ntini. In line with the amended SI, only four goods remain and these are fertiliser, raw and refined sugar, timber and timber products. [Choppies Zim basks in profit]

Alleged Toyota cartel makes South Africa ‘uncompetitive’ says Competition Commission (Times Live)

The Competition Commission on Monday referred a car carrier company‚ Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd‚ for prosecution to the Tribunal for colluding on a tender for transportation of Toyota vehicles. “K-Line” is a Japanese company operating in South Africa. The commission believes action must be taken against it for price fixing‚ market division and collusive tendering involving the transportation of Toyota vehicles from South Africa to Europe‚ North Africa (Mediterranean Coast) and the Caribbean Islands via Europe‚ West Africa‚ East Africa and Red Sea (Latin America) by sea. “South Africa is a strategic hub for the trade of goods in and out of the Southern African region. Any cartel by shipping liners in this region results in inflated prices for cargo transportation‚” said the Commissioner of the Competition Commission Tembinkosi Bonakele.

AfDB engages stakeholders on suitable regulatory environment for investment in power sector

Officials of the AfDB and the African Forum for Utility Regulators held discussions with some 50 power regulators from across Africa during the 13th Annual AFUR and Annual General Assembly Conference, which took place from 27 February to 2 March 2 in Abidjan. The meetings focused on the regulatory environment required for the development of power infrastructure, the improvement of quality service and supply, and the promotion of access to energy in Africa. The meetings were timely as global investors are showing strong interest in burgeoning African power sector, but with very small investments being realized due to transparency and regulatory environment issues.

Measuring digital trade: towards a conceptual framework (pdf, Working Party on International Trade in Goods and Trade in Services Statistics)

The growing importance of what is commonly referred to as ‘digital trade’ and the emergence of new (and disruptive) players has resulted in increased interest from within the statistics community and amongst policy makers for the development of a statistical framework that captures these phenomenons. This paper aims to address these various policy demands, building on existing efforts to advance the development of a conceptual and measurement framework for digital trade; with explicit reference to key policy questions surrounding digital trade; drawing in particular from the OECD WPTGS 2017 Stocktaking Questionnaire.

Today’s Quick Links:

Afreximbank to intensify trade finance support to Tunisia

World Export Development Forum 2017 (25-26 October): update

Museveni roots for dialogue among River Nile Basin countries

West Africa can serve as a model for preventive diplomacy – UN political chief

Global Africa Spheres of Interaction conference: Africa – Japan – Europe

OECD: Economic Survey of India 2017

India’s manufacturing opportunity

Boosting productivity in Mexico through integration into Global Value Chains



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