Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: World Bank

Underway, in Nairobi: IDEV AfDB‏ event on private sector-led growth, sharing evaluative knowledge to enhance the relevance, effectiveness, and impact of future private sector development activities

Underway, in Geneva: Plenary of the UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business

Starting tomorrow, in Accra: Establishing a trade facilitation roadmap in Ghana

AFD prepares a new Africa strategy: One Africa: challenges of a continent-wide approach (12 April, Paris)

Companies to inspire Africa 2017 (London Stock Exchange Group, partners)

The companies we list and profile boast an impressive average compound annual growth rate of 16%. On average, each firm employs nearly 400 people. While industry (including, for example, construction and mining) is the biggest sector to be represented (at 23% of companies in the report), it is also encouraging that financial services is the second biggest sector (at 16%), demonstrating that the continent holds great promise for both traditional and more recent economic success stories. And with sectors ranging from agriculture to healthcare and pharmaceutical, the composition of companies featured clearly shows a community of businesses that is richer and more varied than previously identified. It also highlights the unique role of female entrepreneurship, with approximately 12% of these high-growth companies led by female entrepreneurs, three times the average for companies across Africa. [58 Nigerian companies among fastest growing in Africa]

2017 – Africa at a tipping point (Mo Ibrahim Foundation)

The focus of the 2017 Forum is “Africa at a tipping point” and what needs to be done to ensure that Africa’s progress continues to rise rather than fall back. The result of this defining moment depends more than anything else on our ability to harness the energy, and meet the expectations, of Africa’s young people. 60% of the continent’s population are under 25 years of age. In 2050, Africa will be home to 452 million people between the ages of 15 and 24. Their drive, ambition and potential provide African countries with an extraordinary asset. But today, too many of them feel devoid of economic prospects and robbed of any say on the future of their own continent. The commodity cycle of the past decade may have super-charged many African GDPs but it created almost no jobs.

Brendan Vickers: African trade and integration in a post-Brexit world (CTRI, Commonwealth Secretariat)

For some SSA countries, like Botswana, Seychelles or Mauritius, the UK market is extremely important for their overall world exports; for others, the UK is a niche export market for specific goods: beef, coffee, tea, fish, flowers or vegetables. This presentation (pdf) outlines some policy options to avoid any trade disruptions post Brexit. For example, the UK could extend and improve EBA-type preferences for LDCs and provide transitional arrangements for SSA countries while paving the way for building a long-run trading relationship. Having now triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the UK should reassure SSA countries and LDCs that their market access into the UK after the two-years of withdrawal negotiations from the EU will be just as favourable as existing arrangements. Given Brexit-related uncertainties, such reassurances of trade continuity are imperative for investment decisions and future planning. [Rob Davies at CTRI launch: Enlarging free trade areas is key]

Related: San Bilal: After Article 50 - trade implications of Brexit for developing countries (video, ECDPM), The Commonwealth in the Great Global Trade Slowdown (pdf), The UK and Africa in the International System: priorities and engagement post-Brexit (20 April, Chatham House), Daniel Mminele, Andreas Dombret: Globalisation and free trade are not enemies

Enhancing intra-African trade: how will Nigeria’s service sector fare? (Nigerian Economic Summit Group)

In this Policy Brief we analysed the potential of Africa’s trade in services and examined Nigeria’s preparedness for gaining market access leveraging on its areas of strength. This report provided some recommendations such as the need for Nigeria to clearly define its proposition as we go into the CFTA agreement; the need for government to continuously engage the private sector to seek technical support and the urgent need for the National Bureau of Statistics to gather data relating to the value of service trade in Nigeria to aid decision making. Recommendation: NBS should commence the gathering of data on service trade. Currently, Nigeria does not have data on the value of services it exports and imports. This is a weak-link in the negotiation given the importance of such data in negotiating a fair deal for the country. The National Bureau of Statistics should expedite action in collecting data on the value of Nigeria’s trade in service (imports and exports) as already being done for trade in goods. Quality data should inform national planning and strategy for trade in services.

Mauritius launches National Export Strategy (ITC)

The launch in Port Louis comes after a series of multi-stakeholder consultations led by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Protection in collaboration with Enterprise Mauritius. Throughout the process, the International Trade Centre has provided technical support to the process. The National Export Strategy identifies seven sectors with high potential for export growth, employment generation and innovation. The strategy also aims to tackle economy-wide constraints for trade growth and in response sets out five key cross-sector focus areas that will support export development and competitiveness: the internationalization of SMEs; skills development; innovation; branding and institutional alignment.

Senegal: Trade policy and performance profile (tralac)

This paper examines the trade profile and performance of Senegal since 1960, with particular emphasis on the period since 2001. Over the course of 2015, Senegal’s macroeconomic performance was strong with a growth rate of 6.5%, making Senegal the second fastest-growing economy in west Africa (behind Côte d’Ivoire). Growth remained strong in 2016. The primary sector is the fastest-growing sector boosted by extractives, fishing, and agriculture, with the latter helped by good rainfall and strong outcomes from government programmes. Industry decelerated somewhat despite strong performances in construction, chemistry and energy, while services – which represent more than half of the total GDP - are still growing rapidly, thanks to advances in the transport and communications sectors. Exports have been growing rapidly, mainly due to stronger output. However, over the past 16 years, Senegal has consistently run a merchandise trade deficit, with imports significantly above exports each year. [The analyst: Ron Sandrey]

The Made in Africa Initiative: Senior Advisory Board launched (UNDP)

With the expected relocation of light manufacturing from China and other emerging market economies to Africa, African nations are perfectly poised to create the next manufacturing hub for global markets on the continent. However, there are a variety of challenges facing African nations as they look to modernize their economic structures. The Made in Africa Initiative looks to ensure that Africa takes full advantage of these opportunities, whilst ensuring that future industrialization follows a sustainable, inclusive model of growth. The Senior Advisory Board will provide intellectual and strategic guidance to assist and promote the universally agreed SDGs. In the long term it will provide a partnership to deepen the impact of production-led growth while ensuring sustainable dimensions in close response to demand from UNDP partner countries.

African Corridor Management Alliance: strategy document

The discussion on the role of economic corridors has intensified over the years. A number of studies and stakeholder sessions have highlighted the opportunities and challenges that must be appreciated in exploring the corridor-based development approach. The challenges include, but not limited to border transit time, infrastructure development, logistics capacity and transaction costs. Based on lessons from on-going economic corridors such as Maputo Development Corridor, Walvis Bay Corridor and ALCO, this approach has gained traction as an instrument to promote development that is rooted in the reliable and efficient creation of production capacity to utilize the natural resource endowment for economic transformation. This is to build on linkages for enhanced value chain to harness competitive and comparative advantages in the continent. [The authors: Luke Wasonga, Johny Smith]

Non-tariff barriers and ‘complaints’ in the EAC’s reporting process (ODI)

The third briefing (pdf) from a project examining the magnitude of NTBs affecting trade in the EAC and assessing the impact of their removal, this paper explores the difference between NTBs and ‘complaints’ identified and reported to the EAC, and suggests a way to streamline the process so that NTBs can be more quickly and easily resolved and intra-regional trade enhanced.

East Africa: Region to adopt new tax rules to protect it from cheap imports (The EastAfrican)

The region’s finance ministers will meet next month meet to agree on a new Common External Tariff on products like sugar, maize, wheat and rice, as well as customs-related taxation measures designed to protect local industries from cheap imports and unfair competition. Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury Henry Rotich said taxation measures that will be agreed on by the EAC ministers for finance will be communicated through the EAC Gazette Notice and implemented from 1 July. A group of 25 experts from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi has been tasked with the mandate of revising the CET and fine-tuning the existing rules of origin to enhance intra-EAC trade and attract new investments in the bloc.

Rwanda: Local farmers not benefitting from regional rules of origin - experts (New Times)

The issue was highlighted during the Grain Sector Consultative Workshop on the Rules of Origin in the proposed Tripartite Free Trade Area held on Friday in Kigali. It was organised by the Eastern Africa Grain Council. The main purpose of the workshop was to convene grain sector stakeholders in Rwanda to review the existing COMESA, EAC and SADC Rules of Origin for grain-related products and develop a National Grain Sector Position on the harmonisation of the Rules of Origin for the proposed TFTA. [Rwanda’s cross-border traders urge Tanzania to join e-cargo systems]

ECOWAS training workshops for tax auditors: update (ECOWAS)

The training sessions (20-24, 27-31 March in Lome, Togo) were targeted specifically at engendering effective and efficient risk-based audit of Multinational Companies operating in the Oil and Gas as well as the Mining Sectors. The main objectives of the train-the-trainers workshops in the fiscal audit of specialized sectors are to assist participants understand and appreciate the peculiar operations of the specialized sectors and harness their technical audit skills, tools and techniques to undertake efficient and effective professional audits, in addition to maximizing domestic revenue and compensate for any revenue loss that may arise from the trade liberalization schemes and Partnership Agreements in the region.

IGAD consultative meeting on current drought: communiqué (pdf)

Agree to: Strengthen regional, national and sub-national drought response coordination, as well as support integrated cross-border management across the region; Adopt a new way of working to address the underlying causes of vulnerabilities of the populations to recurrent shocks and stresses that focus on building resilience of communities and seeking durable solutions; Harmonise data and information management platforms on drought to improve responsive planning and investment.

Lake Chad Basin Region: UNSC debate, Presidential Statement (UN)

Follow-up: Encourages the Secretary-General, with a view to enhancing collaboration and responsibility among relevant entities and mobilizing resources for the region, to make a high level visit to the region, and invites him to consider undertaking a joint visit with the World Bank, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the President of the World Bank Group, and the President of the African Development Bank, to strengthen the focus on and commitment to the region of the international community. [DR Congo: Security Council extends peacekeeping mandate, but reduces troop strength]

African bloc junks Indian proposal to ease services trade, movement of professionals (Economic Times)

Citing high compliance cost, the group led by South Africa said provisions on single window, appeals and fast-track were difficult to comply with for many African countries. They also asked whether the proposed Trade Facilitation in Services agreement was “realistic” in the current political climate. India’s paper, however, found support from Brazil, Colombia and Turkey. A senior commerce ministry official said a large number of the WTO member countries supported the proposal .

India may dilute China-championed Asia trade pact (Mint)

A fear of being flooded by Chinese imports and an insistence on global mobility for its IT services workers is behind India reluctance to move forward. While Asia’s third-largest economy may eventually sign on to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), analysts say the end product could be so vague it has little benefit. China as well as RCEP’s chief negotiator have indicated the bulk of the deal could be wrapped up this year. But there’s no real solution to India’s resistance to lowering tariffs for China as well as Delhi’s penchant for caution on trade deals. Some analysts have suggested countries could even sign an agreement without India. The next round of talks is scheduled for the Philippines in May, after which negotiations move to India.

Today’s Quick Links:

UNU-WIDER: The practice of industrial policy - government—business coordination in Africa and East Asia

Bridges Africa: African experts consider ways to speed up CFTA negotiations

Adesina invites New Development Bank to join AfDB’s Light up and power Africa project (pdf)

How Trump, aides’ choices shape Africa policies

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