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tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection

22 Mar 2017

Starting today, in Stellenbosch: ICTSD workshop Leveraging services and digital potential for inclusive economic growth

Concluding today, in Geneva: UNCTAD’s Oceans Forum on trade-related aspects of Sustainable Development Goal 14

From last week’s MIKTA Trade and Investment workshop: Roberto Azevêdo’s speech, the presentations

African Economic Platform: updates

Mauritius Prime Minister calls for a single African market to promote African goods and services: What is now important is to take concrete actions in respect of the CFTA by aiming to complete the process of establishing an ambitious, comprehensive CFTA by December 2017. When Africa stands together in solidarity, when we start ‘Making across Africa’ for a single African market, we will see Africa rising. As leaders of the Continent, it will be our responsibility to find innovative ways to finance this vision of a united and integrated Africa. Finance Africa should therefore be our next step. Whether such finance comes from domestic resource mobilisation, accessing liquidity under various international funds, or other sources, needs to be identified.

Closing statement by Prime Minister of Mauritius: I am pleased to note that following the different fruitful discussions held among the participants, we have come up with a common strategy, focussed on four key areas: (i) The establishment of joint permanent commissions which will enhance business relations, particularly through the setting up of Industrial Parks and Special Economic Zones; (ii) State members to come up with concrete proposals to address the problem of skills mismatch through market related training; (iii) To address the impediments blocking seamless movement of goods and services; (iv) To promote a collaborative effort among the African financial services sector to in view of facilitating suitable investments.

Mugabe takes swipe at SA for not freeing up trade: Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the African Economic Platform, the veteran leader says some countries still wanted to dump their goods in other countries while those affected were battling to sell their goods and services to South Africa. Mugabe says free trade is important for regional integration. “In the SADC our region South Africa is our big boss because they are more developed than any of us. We have tried to economically think of how we can interact economically and culturally in the deference of the interest of our people. As you heard with the last speaker, the same has been happening in East Africa. It has not been that easy to be in step with each other.”

Bridges Africa: Is infrastructure the key to Africa’s economic transformation? (Volume 6, Number 2). Profiled contributions: (i) Christian Kingombe: How can transport infrastructure promote trade and sustainable development on the African continent? (ii) Niklas Malchow, Anna Waldmann: The development potential of cross-border infrastructure in Africa: a job creation perspective (iii) Yabin Wu, Xiao Bai: China’s infrastructure development strategy in Africa: mutual gain?

African Ministers adopt Declaration for the STC on Transport, Intercontinental and Inter-regional Infrastructures, Energy and Tourism

SADC to convene conference to present its energy infrastructure development plan to potential funders

ECOWAS and regional integration in West Africa (CSEA)

Based on a selected review of appropriate literature, the study (pdf) assesses the degree to which the organization has been able to achieve its agenda, focusing on the successes and challenges recorded, as well as political commitments to the regional body. Of particular importance is the extent to which ECOWAS takes cognizance of the need to reshape its agenda towards fostering all-inclusive education in the region. [The analyst: Muhammed Adekunle Yusuf]

From barriers to bridges: transforming the Ethiopia-Kenya border region (Huffington Post)

The Isiolo-Merille-Marsabit-Moyale road, is now complete; and it will be a transformational as it will link the region to Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa, and promote cross-border trade. In addition, this completes the Trans-Africa highway linking South Africa to Egypt. [The author: Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator, Kenya]

South Africa: 2016 Fourth Quarter statement (SA Reserve Bank)

Global trade volumes increased in the final quarter of 2016, while higher rand prices of South African export commodities contributed towards a strengthening in the terms of trade. The trade balance switched from a small deficit in the third quarter of 2016 to a sizeable surplus in the fourth quarter. The value of merchandise exports increased in the final quarter of the year alongside improved demand for domestically produced goods and higher commodity prices. Mining exports increased significantly over the period, in particular iron ore and coal exports. The value of merchandise imports receded further as domestic demand remained subdued. This coincided with a narrowing of the shortfall on the services, income and current transfer account, as the net income deficit narrowed following a notable increase in dividend receipts from abroad. Consequently, the deficit on the current account of the balance of payments narrowed significantly to 1.7% of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2016. For 2016 as a whole, the deficit narrowed to 3.3% of GDP from 4.4% in 2015. [Poultry woes not due to imports, says Association of Meat Importers and Exporters]

African tax authorities equipped with tools to deal with transfer pricing issues (UNECA)

The African Minerals Development Centre, together with the Minerals and Energy for Development Alliance and the World Bank, has delivered the first of two regional workshops on transfer pricing in Africa’s mineral sector. The four-day intensive training in Dar es Salaam drew on the Transfer Pricing Source Book developed by the World Bank and MEfDA as well as the work on fiscal harmonization and illicit financial flows in the minerals sector in Africa undertaken by AMDC. The forthcoming second workshop will be geared towards Francophone and Lusophone countries. In accordance with the forward-looking framework, the AMDC works to support governments to strengthen their fiscal governance in ways that curb illicit financial outflows from the sector.

Afreximbank and TDB close $500m syndicated loan facility for Kenya

The Trade Development Bank, formerly known as PTA Bank, and the African Export-Import Bank have closed a $500m dual-tranche syndicated loan facility for the Government of Kenya which acted through the country’s National Treasury. The facility, for which Afreximbank and TDB acted as joint mandated lead arrangers, is part of a $1.55bn debt package of three facilities being arranged and raised in parallel by the National Treasury in the first quarter of 2017. The Afreximbank and TDB-led facility comprises two tranches made up of a $200-million 10-year amortizing loan by TDB and a $300-million five-year amortizing loan provided in equal parts by Afreximbank and TDB. The two tranches will be syndicated to development finance institutions.

Trade and Development Bank to set up a Regional Headquarters in Mauritius (GoM)

Mr Admassu Yilma Tadesse pointed out that the Board of Governors of the TDB has already given its approval for the setting up of its second Headquarters in Mauritius. This initiative, he added, will consolidate the position of Mauritius as a financial centre at the COMESA. Established in 1985, TDB is a multilateral, treaty-based financial institution with immunities and privileges, and currently a balance sheet of about $4bn. The Trade and Development bank has its headquarters in Burundi and three regional offices in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Mauritius.

Towards a regional Univisa (SARDC)

The Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) Univisa was initially launched in November 2014. However, due to various challenges the system briefly stopped in December 2015, and later resumed in December 2016. Updating stakeholders on the implementation of the KAZA Univisa, the Zimbabwe principal director for immigration, Clemence Masango said a SADC Univisa is critical in promoting tourism in the region, adding that it was time for other countries in SADC to join the KAZA Univisa.

Achille Mbembe: Scrap the borders that divide Africans

Egypt poised to accelerate e-commerce growth with new e-commerce strategy (UNCTAD)

UNCTAD’s National E-commerce Strategy for Egypt outlines seven sub-strategies, some 30 recommendations aimed to strengthen Egypt’s performance in key policy areas, and six megaprojects. The new strategy report is supplemented by an action plan to support the implementation of the strategy. Through the strategy, the Government of Egypt set goals of raising the current level of e-commerce contribution to GDP and to doubling the number of its businesses currently selling online by 2020. [ECOWAS to boosts e-commerce through the postal sector]

Shifting fortunes and enduring poverty in Madagascar: recent findings (World Bank)

The report – Shifting Fortunes and Enduring Poverty in Madagascar: Recent Findings – analyzes the data of successive household surveys carried out by INSTAT and tries to reveal some of the dynamics that explains this lack of progress. Over the past fifteen years, Madagascar’s population has faced two political crises that have slowed economic growth, suffered severe climate shocks, and withstood the global rise in food prices. As a result, 70.7 percent of the people of Madagascar were living in poverty in 2012 and had not seen any significant improvement in their welfare. [Executive summary (pdf)]

Human Development Report 2016 (UNDP): Table 13, International integration (p 248, in Statistical Annex), provides indicators of several aspects of globalization. International trade is captured by measuring exports and imports as a share of GDP. Financial flows are represented by net inflows of foreign direct investment and flows of private capital, net official development assistance and inflows of remittances. Human mobility is captured by the net migration rate, the stock of immigrants, the net number of tertiary students from abroad (expressed as a percentage of total tertiary enrolment in that country) and the number of international inbound tourists. International communication is represented by the share of the population that uses the Internet, the number of mobile phone subscriptions per 100 people and the percentage change in mobile phone subscriptions between 2010 and 2015.

Brexit: Trade governance and legal implications for third countries (World Bank)

While precise impact of Brexit on the EU/UK trade and investment agreements with third countries will depend primarily on the terms of the withdrawal agreement to be concluded between them, most scenarios suggest an extensive process of amendment of the text and/or commitments in multilateral and bilateral agreements.

Economic upgrading through global value chain participation: which policies increase the value added gains? (World Bank)

First, the study finds that global value chain integration increases domestic value added, especially on the selling side, which holds across all income levels. Second, the results highlight the importance of policy for economic upgrading through global value chain integration. Although the study cannot claim causal evidence, all the assessed policy areas are consistently shown to mediate the effects of global value chains and magnify the gains for domestic value added. Third, a detailed analysis shows that several policy areas mediate the gains from global value chains more through integration as a seller. Finally, the study observes that many of the results are driven by high- and upper-middle-income countries.

A policy tool box for SADC member states to manage economic transformation and value chain development (pdf)

Uganda agricultural value chain development programme: ESMF summary (pdf)

Greening regional trade agreements: OECD workshop report (pdf, OECD)

The focus of the workshop was on chapters of RTAs that are concerned mainly with issues other than the environment, such as market access, investment, government procurement, technical barriers to trade, subsidies, implementation and capacity building. The objectives of the workshop were: (i) to highlight the opportunities and challenges in greening RTAs; (ii) to take stock of current experience and insights in greening RTAs from different regions and stakeholders; and (iii) to identify key knowledge gaps and the possible way forward in greening RTAs.

Today’s Quick Links:

East African Kiswahili Commission discusses strategy implementation plan

COMESA’s 20th Heads of State and Government Summit will take place in October, in Burundi

Ethiopia: WCO conducts diagnostic mission on Post-Clearance Audit

Calestous Juma: Why African countries banning imports of fruit and veg is a blunt tool

UNIDO, World Bank joint workshop on cooperation modalities: presentation (pdf)

Fifth China Round Table renews support for LDCs seeking to join WTO

ICC response to G20 Finance Ministers communiqué: “A retreat into protectionism would be the wrong response to this challenge”

China’s trading partners alarmed by food import controls

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