Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection

Multimedia: Rwanda’s Paul Kagame – ‘All Africans want integration’ (Wall Street Journal)

State of Women’s Right in Africa (AU)

In Africa, women continue to be denied full enjoyment of their rights in every country, according to a new report released yesterday entitled Women’s Rights in Africa. It is the first in a planned series about women’s human rights on the continent that will address various thematic issues. There have been great strides in realising women’s rights in Africa – for example, female participation in African legislatures surpasses that of many developed countries. There are now provisions on sexual and gender-based violence, economic, social and cultural rights and non-discrimination in constitutions and policies across the continent.

ILO-Gallup report: Towards a better future for women and work: voices of women and men. The poll, which was conducted in 142 countries and territories, is representative of 98% of the global population. [Regional tables and country/territory dashboards (pdf)]

IORA Business Summit: joint declaration (FICCI)

Extract: We agree to increase private sector’s role in advancing economic growth and sustainable development in IORA countries through the following joint actions: (i) Strengthen collaboration and partnership in expanding and diversifying trade as well as investment flows in both directions commencing with prioritized sectors, focusing on the involvement of small and medium enterprises. (ii) Promote mutually beneficial trade cooperation among IORA countries by encouraging governments to eliminate trade barriers, refrain from the use of non- tariff barriers to trade, enhance trade in goods and services, and improve trade facilitation in general within an open, fair and rule based international trading system. (iii) Call upon governments, chambers of commerce and Industry, business associations and private sectors in general to take necessary and appropriate measures to increase direct trade between countries in the IORA region.

Profiled IORA commentaries: Hasjim Djalal: Collaborative capacity building in the Indian Ocean (Jakarta Post), C Rajah Mohan: Choppy waters, unsure navigator (Indian Express), A. Ibrahim Almuttaqi: Indonesia’s chairmanship and future of Indian Ocean (Jakarta Post)

UK trade options beyond 2019 (International Trade Committee)

In the report we consider the UK’s relationship with the WTO; the Free Trade Agreement the government plans to strike with the EU; the implications of the UK falling back on trading with the EU under WTO rules alone; and the UK’s future trading relationship with non-EU countries.

Patricia Scotland: Commonwealth advantage boosts prosperity for league of 52 countries (Business Day)

Nevertheless, recent research by the Commonwealth secretariat (Revitalising world trade: issues and topics for the Commonwealth, to be published on Friday) shows that most of the Commonwealth’s 52 members were hit by the global slowdown in trade: in 2015, world trade growth shrank 12%. So at a time of increasing protectionism, it is all the more important for Commonwealth and other countries to speak out for a free, fair and inclusive multilateral trading system that supports attainment of the sustainable development goals. The Commonwealth trade ministers meeting is one opportunity to do so.

China posts first monthly trade deficit in three years as imports soar (Reuters)

China’s imports surged 38.1% from a year earlier, the biggest increase since February 2012, official data showed on Wednesday, while exports unexpectedly fell 1.3%. That left the country with a trade deficit of $9.15bn for the month, the General Administration of Customs said.

Nigeria: Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020 (pdf, National Planning Commission)

3.2.1 Industrial and trade policy: Industrial policy is key to transforming Nigeria’s economy. In its application, the role of government is not to micro-manage the economy, run businesses or select winners. Rather, it is to establish an environment in which market-determined public private partnerships are established, with the goal of having the market efficiently allocate finite resources to achieve greater productivity, competitiveness and growth. Best practice industrial policy funds research, fosters innovation, and integrates domestic value chains (backward integration programmes) to benefit regional and global value chains. It encourages the emergence of “industrial commons”, aggregating suppliers’ networks with a base of industrial knowledge with positive spin-offs and multiplier effects. The ERGP aims to correct market failures and counter the type of internal and external shocks produced by economic and financial crises and negative business cycles. It will identify and support the sectors critical for growth and employment and consistent with the rules-based global economy. It will coordinate industrial and trade policy according to the Nigerian economy’s trade rules and economic priorities, and reflect these priorities in bilateral, regional, continental and global trade negotiations.

3.2.2 Digital-led strategy for growth: To modernize the Nigerian economy and make it competitive in the 21st century global economy, its industrial policy must be linked to a digital-led strategy for growth. The Smart Nigeria Digital Economy Project led by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (MITI) in partnership with the Ministry of Communication is designed to do just this. The Project’s objective is to increase the contribution from ICT and ICT-enabled activity to GDP by an estimated 10 per cent and create 2.5 million new jobs between 2017 and 2020.

Ethiopia Socioeconomic Survey 2015-2016: data, documentation now available (World Bank)

The Central Statistical Agency, in collaboration with the World Bank’s Living Standards Measurement Study team, launched the third wave (2015–16) of the Ethiopia Socioeconomic Survey panel data, on 22 February. The ESS is a nationally representative survey administered every 2 years that covers a range of topics including demography, education, health, savings, labor, welfare, and agriculture, food security and shocks. The data is collected in two visits: post-planting and post-harvest seasons. The survey follows the same households over time and collects a rich set of information, to allow for comprehensive panel data analyses that can help shape policies for a wide array of development sectors. Here are some interesting findings from the ESS 2015–16 survey:

Kenya: Sh60bn Lamu-Isiolo highway a landmark on Lapsset stretch (Business Daily)

Amid electioneering, we may be failing to notice a number of critical news items. Last week the Ministry of Transport announced a Sh60 billion funding for a 580 km bitumen road from Lamu to Isiolo. The funds are from the DBSA. I will explain why committing this road project is a very important and timely milestone. For Lapsset corridor completeness and effectiveness, there are three missing pieces requiring urgent implementation.  [The author: George Wachira] [Doubts over Kenya, Uganda rail funding as China snubs meet (Business Daily)]

Song Wei: China must address African rail project risk (Global Times)

Given the risks, the launch of high-speed rail projects in Africa is currently unfeasible. But transport infrastructure projects are still a priority in Sino-African cooperation. At the same time, some African countries have begun worrying if US aid might shrink under President Donald Trump. This will make financial support from China to Africa even more important. Therefore, China could help Africa build more railways such as the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway, which links the capital cities of Ethiopia and Djibouti and was launched last year, and promotes regional integration. To minimize risks, Chinese firms should focus on risk assessment: [The author is an associate researcher with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.]

Hassan El Houry: ‘How flying donkeys will boost trade in Africa’ (WEF)

In the past, the world was clearly split into developing and developed countries – with the latter boasting the most advanced logistics ecosystems. Today, the emerging markets of Africa are challenging this divide in the fields of transportation and logistics, and in some cases leapfrogging ahead of more mature markets. From a connectivity perspective these developments are giving rise to a new image of the future for Africa – one which is very different from today. Let’s explore three key highlights from a transportation and supply chain perspective and the implications for Africa in 2030.

Harnessing mobile technology to address the challenges faced by cross-border traders (pdf, SAUTI)

Sauti gained qualitative information from traders in open-air markets by conducting the following: (i) Surveys from a pool of 200 and then over 100 randomly selected traders. In total, over 150 from each side of the Busia border were interviewed in both surveys; (ii) Administering surveys one-on-one, targeting traders with experience in clearing commodities. Following data entry and analysis of the qualitative research, many of the key findings validated the initial assumptions that led Sauti to engage in this process of customer discovery:

Tanzania succeeds in African Mining Vision implementation (Daily News)

This is according to a new Introductory Guidance for Tanzania’s Mining Sector (pdf). The AMV wants the countries to achieve poverty reduction through improved mining regimes, tax revenue optimisation and the integration of mining into development policies at local, national and regional levels. The document, launched recently in Dar es Salaam by Minister of State in the Vice- President’s Office for Union Affairs and Environment, January Makamba, says the country has placed itself in a good position in implementing this initiative by the AU with a number of projects that had been launched in line with it. Developed by the Tanzania Chamber of Minerals and Energy in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature, the document includes another document entitled ‘Capacity Development in the Energy Sector and Extractive Industries’ .

Kenya: Lack of clear policy dims prospects of mining industry (Business Daily)

Mining Cabinet Secretary Dan Kazungu told the Business Daily that while the country may have been badly exposed previously due to lack of capacity to administer the industry well, efforts are underway to fix any costly loopholes. “It is true we have been exposed because we have not had adequate resources to properly monitor the royalties and these are chances people may have taken advantage of. We did not even have a policy until recently,” Mr Kazungu said after announcing the licensing of another Chinese firm to mine diatomite in Baringo County. We are soon coming up with an automated revenue management system, which will calculate royalties to minimise that exposure because without proper system then we are exposed. By next quarter, we should be done with that so that we don’t get cheated.”

LPI launches project to track progress in implementing the AU Declaration on Land (UNECA)

The AUC-ECA-AfDB Land Policy Initiative has launched a pilot project to track progress in the implementation of the AU Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in Africa. In collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute, the project will assess progress made in implementing the key decisions and commitments of the AU Declaration on Land at continental, regional and national level, beginning with ten pilot countries.

West Africa: Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement Phase II (World Bank)

The development objective of the Second Phase of Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement (REDISSE) Project for Africa is to strengthen national and regional cross‐sectoral capacity for collaborative disease surveillance and epidemic preparedness in West Africa. The project comprises five components:

WTO Members debate intellectual property and e-commerce, innovation and access to medicines (WTO)

Discussions centred on four proposals put forward by WTO members. Brazil introduced a paper on electronic commerce and copyright which was co-sponsored by Argentina. “Recent advancements in technology enable the ‘intellectual goods’ to be transferred in the digital environment,” Brazil said, suggesting that WTO members could stress the increased importance of transparency in the remuneration of copyright for authors and performers in the digital environment. The paper also proposes to maintain an appropriate balance between the interests of right holders and users of protected works in the digital environment, and to apply national copyright legislation in the territory where protected content is accessed across borders.

A paper put forward by Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay shares their experience of digital solutions for ensuring authenticity, integrity and privacy of online transactions within MERCOSUR, a Latin American regional trade bloc. Brazil said that a mutually recognized “electronic signature” could greatly facilitate trade across borders, especially for services trade. The European Union highlighted how trade-policy issues have an impact on e-commerce. The EU paper, co-sponsored by Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Korea, Mexico, Montenegro, Paraguay, Singapore and Turkey, identifies four clusters of issues relevant for e-commerce: regulatory frameworks, policies to ensure open markets, government initiatives facilitating the development of e-commerce and information sharing on e-commerce policies at the WTO. [Various downloads available]

Today’s Quick Links:

Mitsuhiro Furusawa: ‘Strengthening the International Monetary System’ (IMF)

India: Cabinet approves accession to global TIR customs convention (Business Standard)

Facilitating Asia-Latin America trade linkages (Inter-American Dialogue)

Margaret Myers, Kevin Gallagher: Chinese finance to LAC in 2016 (pdf, Inter-American Dialogue)

Revisiting the paradox of capital: the reversal of uphill flows (IMF)

OECD: Global Interim Economic Outlook, March 2017

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