Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection

Today, at the WTO: MIKTA Trade and Investment Workshop

Starting today, in Accra: AU Protocol on Free Movement of Persons in Africa: meeting of Member States Legal Experts (20-24 March)

CSAE Conference 2017 on the theme Economic Development in Africa (19-21 March, Oxford): the papers from the four trade sessions: Trade 1, Trade 2, Trade 3, Trade 4

Africa Development Week 2017 (23-28 March, Dakar); profiled documents submitted to the Tenth Joint Annual Meetings, on the theme Growth, inequality and unemployment:

Report of the AU sub-committee of Director Generals of Customs on the theme From barriers to bridges – implementing One Stop Border Posts for improved trade facilitation: From the discussions that took place after interventions by the panelists, the meeting made, inter alia, the following observations: (i) There is need for consolidation of OSBP concept in the REC Policy and Legal Framework given that as the regional integration intensifies, such as at Customs Union level, there will be a Common Customs Act; (ii) The RECs have to include all government agencies in the OSBP Regional Laws and to ensure that there is capacity building across the region to improve efficiency; (iii) Customs Administrations need to engage respective Parliaments for the ratification and domestication of all Protocols and other legal instruments for the effective integration in Africa. Parliaments should also help expedite the laws that will remove legal impediments to the trade facilitation measures. [African Institute for Economic Development and Planning: draft revised statute (pdf)]

Abdalla Hamdok: Can Africa surprise the world by delivering the Continental Free Trade Area by the end of 2017? (ERF)

Despite the recent global trends and the rise of nationalism and protectionism I would like to believe still the global mega partnerships are going to be pursued by Africa’s trading partners. The big question is, can Africa surprise the world by delivering the CFTA by the end of 2017 as anticipated and also doubling intra-African trade within this decade? The state of play within the African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and empirical work at ECA suggest that both are achievable. But for this to happen, there is a need to fast track the implementation strategy, including decisions on process and mechanisms. [The author is the acting Executive Secretary, UNECA]

World Bank Group announces record $57bn for Sub-Saharan Africa (RNA)

The bulk of the financing – $45bn – will come from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries. The financing for Sub-Saharan Africa also will include an estimated $8bn in private sector investments from the IFC, a private sector arm of the Bank Group, and $4bn in financing from International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, its non-concessional public sector arm. While much of the estimated $45bn in IDA financing will be dedicated to country-specific programs, significant amounts will be available through special “windows” to finance regional initiatives and transformative projects, support refugees and their host communities, and help countries in the aftermath of crises. This will be complemented by a newly established Private Sector Window - especially important in Africa, where many sound investments go untapped due to lack of capital and perceived risks.

Jim Yong Kim: Africa’s next level of economic transformation (Sudan Tribune)

At the same time, there are trillions of dollars of capital in the developed world seeking higher returns. We see tremendous opportunities in developing countries for private sector investment in areas like infrastructure, which is crucial for jobs and growth. To bridge this financing gap, we will work with governments and use our resources to de-risk and leverage more private sector investment. On 20 March, I will begin a visit to Tanzania and Rwanda to see how these countries have achieved results and what we can learn from their innovations. I hope to discuss the need for better coordination with the private sector in our efforts to help client governments improve the business climate and mobilise resources.

G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting:

Communiqué (pdf): We will deepen as well as broaden international economic and financial cooperation with African countries to foster sustainable and inclusive growth in line with the African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063. We launched the initiative “Compact with Africa” aimed at fostering private investment including in infrastructure. The initiative is demand-driven and respects country-specific circumstances and priorities. The initiative provides modules of good practices and instruments that could be applied in tailor-made investment compacts being implemented through the commitment of multiple stakeholders, such as individual African countries, International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and bilateral partners. [IMF Note prepared for the G20 meeting (pdf), IMF/OECD Tax Certainty report (pdf), G20 drops anti-protectionist pledge as price of US assent ]

Helmut Reisen: On MDB Balance-Sheet ´Optimization. The Communiqué released by G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Baden-Baden last weekend carries, beneath embarrassingly dropping their commitment to free global trade, a less noted declaration:

Extra Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government: communiqué

Summit received the report of the Ministerial Task Force on Regional Economic Integration and approved the Costed Action Plan for SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063. In approving the Action Plan, the Summit underscored high impact activities, effective monitoring and reporting and the role of the private sector as a key player in the implementation of the SADC industrialization agenda. Summit approved the resolutions of the Strategic Ministerial Retreat on the Regional Integration, which was held on 12th-14th March 2017 under the theme: “The SADC we want”. Summit noted progress on the operationalization of the 36th SADC Summit Theme, and urged Ministers of Finance and Investment supported by the Secretariat to finalize the SADC Resource Mobilization Framework and submit it for consideration in August 2017.

Consultative Meeting of IGAD Council of Ministers: statement

The key items on the meeting’s agenda were: the dire humanitarian situation in the IGAD region due to drought emergencies and cases of famine as well as regional peace and security issues particularly developments in Somalia and South Sudan. The Council further reaffirmed that it pursues a common and unified position on regional matters related to peace, security and humanitarian affairs particularly on the current situation in South Sudan and accords highest priority to address all outstanding issues in unison.

Is the East African Community broke? (EAC)

The activities of the EAC are perpetually grinding to a halt – unless immediate remedial measures are taken to remit the amount of US$ 24,016,930 owed to the EAC by the Partner States. Deeply concerned by this poor financial state of affairs, EALA has passed a resolution urging the Council of Ministers to immediately convene under matters of urgency to resolve the financial crisis in EAC by ensuring immediate and full disbursement of funds to the EAC. Currently: Kenya has contributed $4,395,707 (52.47%), Tanzania has contributed $2,553,203 (30.47%), Uganda has contributed $7,668,419 (91.53%), Rwanda has contributed $4,027,316 (48.07%) while Burundi has not contributed any amount to this financial year’s budget leaving an outstanding of $8,378,108, excluding arrears for the previous year amounting to $771,037.

Integration agenda not optional, Speaker Kidega (New Times)

During an interview with The New Times’ James Karuhanga, on the last day of EALA’s recent sitting in Kigali, Kidega talked about his frustrations with partner states that are stingy with funds, his worry that the East African Community’s integration agenda might suffer, and the issue of partner states that do not ratify important protocols that they negotiated and signed. [EALA not giving up on bills returned by Tanzania]

Nigeria to criminalise export of unprocessed minerals, says Minister (Premium Times)

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, said in Lagos on Thursday at a Town Hall meeting with interest groups in the mining sector that government was taking the decision to stop the activities of some foreign nationals who have been taking unprocessed minerals though illegal routes out of the country. He said government would support and encourage operators to set up plants, process the minerals here and then export it. The minister stated that the economic diversification and employment generation could only be realised with operators cooperating with government on the mining policy.

Tanzania: Foreign investors reportedly unnerved by rise of ‘populist politics’ (IPPMedia)

A surprise export ban imposed on gold and copper concentrate by the Tanzanian government has forced several Australian mining firms to seek urgent assurances about the future of their operations in the country, according to a report in Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. Perth-based Tanga Resources director John Stockley will fly to Tanzania today for talks with government officials after the country slapped a ban on the export of mineral concentrates and ores for metallic minerals, including gold, copper, nickel and silver. “If the Tanzanians wish to encourage foreign investment, they’re not helping by making these sorts of announcements,” Stockley said. [Miners now urge Tanzania govt to lift ore exports ban]

DRC sees Trump roll-back of Dodd-Frank law stoking insecurity (Bloomberg)

The suspension of Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act “in the long run, will jeopardize the stability and security of the DRC” by encouraging an “escalation in the activities of non-state armed groups,” Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu said in a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission dated March 13 and seen by Bloomberg. Kabwelulu confirmed March 18 by text message that he sent the letter, and said a Congolese delegation will meet with the head of the SEC and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday and Tuesday in Washington to discuss his government’s position.

A tale of three economies in Africa (StatsSA)

One of many comparisons between countries is the size of their economies. In the recent past, a number of people noted that Nigeria had overtaken South Africa as the largest economy on the African continent. Subsequently, articles were written about South Africa being pushed into third place by Egypt, only to regain the silver medal position shortly thereafter. So how accurate are comparisons of economic size?

Invest South Africa One Stop Shop launch: speech by President Zuma (GCIS)

We realised that we will not make headway with regards to investments unless we do something to make it easier to do business. The InvestSA One Stop Shops will be the focal point of contact in government for all investors to coordinate and facilitate with the relevant government departments involved in regulatory, registration, permits and licensing. Officials at the One Stop shop will ensure that we drastically reduce the red tape. As part of continuous improvement, InvestSA will coordinate inter-governmentally with the World Bank on a reform memo over a period of 3 to 5 years to improve South Africa’s Ease of Doing Business Rankings. We want to be reviewed by the World Bank and we are convinced that our rankings will improve considerably. The success of the One Stop Shop will depend on all stakeholders at the three spheres of Government supporting this initiative and improving turnaround times. It will also depend on good supervision and monitoring of the service.

South Africa: National Conference on International Migration (GCIS)

Speech by Minister Malusi Gigaba: To truly give meaning to Pan-Africanism, regional integration and Agenda 2063, we must make it easier for Africans to move in Africa. Towards this effect, we must: (i) work together to build maturity of civil registration and immigration management systems, (ii) clarify policy with respect to common market arrangements, and (iii) reconsider visa requirements and use innovative ways to ease movement where visas are required. SA’s international migration policy must contribute to nation building and social cohesion. As mentioned earlier, the migration policy shapes the future composition of the South African population. We must expand our narrow conceptions of who is a South African, previously defined in apartheid-colonial terms, to include new South Africans originating from all over Africa and the world.

Agriculture pulling Nigeria out of recession – Presidency (Premium Times)

Mr Shehu, who is the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, said that Nigeria only imported 58,000 tons of rice from Thailand in 2015 as against 1.2 million tons in 2014. He revealed that due to the country’s growing rice production occasioned by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s decision to deny foreign exchange for the importation of rice “parboiled rice mills’’ in some Asian countries were shutting down production. According to him, this is because Nigeria, which is one of the world’s largest importers of rice no longer, buys rice from them. “Five of such mills in Thailand servicing Nigeria have stopped production due to the withdrawal of our patronage,” he added.

World Happiness Report 2017: the Africa chapter

Much of Africa is struggling (pdf): The Africa chapter (led by Valerie Møller, with Benjamin J. Roberts, Habib Tiliouine, Jay Loschky) tells a much more diverse story, as fits the African reality with its great number and vast range of experiences. But these are often marked by delayed and disappointed hopes for happier lives (see Chapter 4).

Today’s Quick Links:

Nigerian government commends Dangote Cement for self-sufficiency feat

Tanzania: Despite controversy handing coalfield to Dangote Cement, a step forward

Ethiopia, Djibouti make trade deal as economic ties deepen

Rwanda, China outline new cooperation areas

COMESA Business Council-Mauritius business seminar

Rwanda is ready for business, Musoni tells Chinese investors

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