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

Featured tweet, infographic, @LopesInsights:

Attending @AfricaProg conf. Brexit impact on Africa. Even w/ underestimated figures Africa’s GDP would make AU G7 seat justified, like EU.

IGAD has posted the companion documentation to the State of the Region Report posted in yesterday’s selection.

Download: IGAD Regional Strategy 2016-2020: Framework (pdf), Implementation Plan (pdf)

Kenya: Economic Survey 2017 (KNBS)

International trade and balance of Payments (Chapter 7, para 7.23): Imports from Africa contributed 9.8% of the total import bill in 2016. However, the value of imports from Africa dropped by 6.0% to KSh 140.2bn in 2016 as shown in Table 7.10. COMESA accounted for 49.6% of total imports from Africa at KSh 69.6bn. Within COMESA, imports from Uganda dropped from KSh 22.3bn in 2015 to KSh 19.3bn. Similarly, imports from Swaziland and Madagascar declined by 10.7% and 67.1%, respectively. In contrast, expenditure on imports from Egypt rose by 16.3% to KSh 30.0bn, making the country second leading source of imports from Africa. South Africa accounted for 35.6% of total imports from Africa despite a reduction in the value of imports from KSh 61.3bn in 2015 to KSh 49.9bn in 2016, mainly due to reduction of iron and steel; and motor vehicles. Imports from Tanzania also contracted by 24.3% to KSh 12.8bn in 2016. [Nairobi a favourite for Fortune 500 firms, report says]

Africa Investment Index (Quantum Global)

Botswana is the most attractive economy for investments flowing into the African continent, according to the latest Africa Investment Index 2016 by Quantum Global’s independent research arm, Quantum Global Research Lab. According to the Index, Botswana scores highly based on a range of factors that include improved credit rating, current account ratio, import cover and ease of doing business. Commenting on the Index, Prof Mthuli Ncube, Head of Quantum Global Research Lab stated:

UNWTO Commission for Africa and High-level Meeting on Chinese Outbound Tourism to Africa: address by Dr Walter Mzembi (eTN)

The onus is on us, as African Ministers of Tourism, to get our act together, to intensify and accelerate our efforts – at national, regional and continental levels – to ensure, firstly, that our industry is accorded the respect and recognition it deserves within our own countries, regions and within the administrative structures of the African Union, and, secondly, to ensure that our individual and our collective efforts are directed – and let us give ourselves a definitive timeframe – towards growing Africa’s contribution to and its benefit from global tourism. An important part of our Agenda over the coming days is devoted to China’s outbound tourism flows and how we, as African nations, can mobilize ourselves – specifically at national and regional levels – to accommodate and service the 600-plus million tourists China is expected to unleash on the world by the year 2020. [Downloads: conference documentation]

International Monetary and Financial Committee:

Statement by Alamine Ousmane Mey (Minister of Finance, Cameroon) issued on behalf of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic...: We seize the opportunity to welcome the German-proposed G20 Compact with Africa initiative to foster long-term investment on the continent, and call on the G20 to swiftly expand the pilots to a larger set of countries and follow suit on partners’ commitment. We very much welcome the continued integration of capacity development with surveillance and the intended cooperation with new partners in support of IMF’s capacity development efforts as well as more flexible funding arrangements. We welcome the Fund’s work on the withdrawal of Correspondent Banking Relationships. We support a continued active role for the Fund to monitor risks and advise its membership on policies to help tackle the adverse impacts from CBR pressures, and endorse the multipronged approach, in collaboration with other agencies, to find a solution to this problem.

Statement by Mukhisa Kituyi (Secretary-General UNCTAD): Current macroeconomic data from the African continent is scarce but it suggests that a rebound from the exceptionally low rate of growth of 1.7% in 2016 may be underway, particularly if commodity prices and global trade activity continue to point upwards. Given that economic diversification has not happened in most African economies, financing for the required pace of investment to sustain economic growth will have to rely on either commodity exports or capital inflows. This makes African economies particularly vulnerable to changes of sentiment in commodity and capital markets. [Statement by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General]

Protectionism in developed nations to affect India, China, South Africa the most (Mint)

The IMF cautioned on Wednesday that in a scenario of rising protectionism in developed countries, the greatest deterioration in corporate balance sheets would occur in China, India and South Africa. “If protectionist pressures increase, the combination of declining global trade and growth would increase corporate vulnerability and borrowing costs, that may lead to financial stability risks in these economies,” it said in its Global Financial Stability Report. [Press conference transcript]

Snapshots: Heritage Foundation 2017 Index of Economic Freedom (pdf, USAID)

The 2017 Index of Economic Freedom (Index), published by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, measures economic freedom in 186 countries. The analysis for this snapshot is limited to 92 countries that received at least $2m in USAID assistance in fiscal year 2015, and are not considered high income countries using World Bank GNI per capita data for 2017, hereto referred to as USAID-assisted countries. While half of the bottom 10 ranked USAID-assisted countries were from the Sub-Saharan Africa region, two SSA countries were also in the top 10 USAID-assisted countries, Botswana and Rwanda. The top 10 ranked USAID-assisted countries showed more regional variation, with no single region dominating the rankings. [Index of Economic Freedom: dataset]

Kenya: Curbing illegal trade at ports of entry key to economic growth (Business Daily)

At current capacity, the scanners are able to clear more than 500 containers a day. The system works in tandem with X-ray cargo scanners deployed at major airports, Kilindini port, Consolebase CFS and inland container depot in Embakasi Nairobi. The KRA has further received a donation of three scanners from the Chinese government to support the existing scanners. With the growing volumes of trade and limited personnel, the project will ultimately be expanded to increase the scanning capability of the system to enable it clear 1,500 containers per day, as well as reduce duplication of activities and queues, which will improve the global competitiveness of the port.

Ghana can’t accommodate two single window operators – Minister (StarrFM)

A Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Carlos Ahenkorah, has observed that Ghana as a country and signatory to the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement is too tiny to accommodate two Single Window operators. He has therefore challenged the pioneer and only single window operator, Ghana Community Network Services Limited to speedily re-double its efforts in actualising the full breadth of Single Window operations in the country. He noted that GCNet had taken too long in securing the manifest, the seed document in clearance processes at the ports from source, a situation that may have encouraged other operators to exploit the loophole to try to secure that right from the International Air Transport Association.

Uganda: Government to spend Shs2 trillion on debt servicing (Daily Monitor)

Government will in the financial year 2017/2018 spend Shs2 trillion towards servicing the national debt in loans and interest, Finance minister Matia Kasaija has revealed. Speaking at a workshop organised by the Uganda Debt Network, Mr Kasaija said the need by the government to provide services such as health and education amid limited resources has led to increase in non-concessional and domestic loans, worsening the debt burden. [Debt Sustainability Analysis Report Financial Year 2015/16]

Uganda to open investment office in Doha, Qatar (Independent)

Museveni told the Qatar businessmen that “there is free entry and exit of investors in our country. Let the Islamic Bank come to Uganda and save investors from the challenge of high interest rates.” President Museveni noted that while the Arab region was close to Africa, not much trade was going on between the African continent and the Arab peninsula. He observed that there was need for the Arab region and Africa to work together, adding that Africa was a huge market that is growing.

Tanzanian gold miner Acacia to review operations if export ban persists (Reuters)

“If we get to a point where it’s a pure stalemate and we don’t see that dialogue there, then we are going to have to re-appraise,” Chief Financial Officer Andrew Wray told Reuters, adding that negotiations continued. “We are making contingency plans in the background of what we would need to do if we can’t resolve this.”

Namibia: Commodity export earnings generated N$25bn in 2016 (New Era)

Despite the cyclical nature of the minerals industry and some declining commodity prices, coupled with increasing financial market volatility, the country generated about N$25bn through export earnings and N$1.4bn in royalties during the 2016/17 financial year. These funds were collected from mining companies and mineral rights holders for the benefit of the State Revenue Fund. The growth in value was mainly driven by diamonds and the base metals industry, especially gold and copper cathode exports. These figures were revealed in parliament by Minister of Mines and Energy Obeth Kandjoze during the motivation of his ministry’s approximately N$208m budget for the 2017/18 financial year.

Zimbabwe: Rand adoption logical (NewsDay)

Going forward, if dollars continue to flow out of the formal system, as at present maybe we will have only two options left — either a full scale return to the Zimbabwean dollar or the much maligned rand. An immediate return to the local currency is not sustainable — significant long term damage can be done to this economy through a hurried and injudicious return of the Zimbabwean dollar. Unless we count on miracles, the only logical step to take is the rand, simultaneously addressing deep structural and macro imbalances, as necessary to get back our industry production to full capacity, increase exports, forex reserves and thereafter a graduated return of the local currency. [The author, Joseph Mverecha, is an economist attached to a Zimbabwean commercial bank]

Zimbabwe CTC to host COMESA competition policy workshop (Zimbabwe Daily)

The Competition and Tariff Commission is set to host a national sensitisation workshop on COMESA competition policy and law to raise awareness of the existence of regional and national competition laws. The workshop is set for 16 May in Harare. It is being hosted against the background that over 50 transactions involving cross-border mergers notified with the commission have involved the Zimbabwean market.

Zambia: Manufacturing on decline (ZNBC)

Mrs Mwanakatwe said statistics from the Central Statistical Office show that the wholesale and retail sectors are now the largest share of overall GDP averaging 18.3% per annum. She says the manufacturing sector’s contribution remains a paltry 9.2%. The Minister was officiated at the dissemination of research findings by Zambia Institute of Policy Analysis and Research on the expansion of supermarket chains in the country.

SADC launches qualifications framework (New Era)

Six SADC member states have agreed to pilot the alignment process and the outcome of this pilot will guide the roll-out of the alignment for the other nine SADC states. Implementation of the SADCQF also includes quality assurance and verification of qualifications. SADC created a set of 16 regional QA guidelines that set QA standards at a regional level. Member states must align their quality assurance mechanisms with the regional guidelines. To facilitate the verification of qualifications in the region, member states decided to create a regional qualifications verification network known as the SADC Qualifications Verifications Network.

Online course on trade and gender: call for applications (COMESA)

UNCTAD, in partnership with COMESA Secretariat, will organize a special edition of its online course on trade and gender for COMESA member States and professionals in the Secretariat from 29 May to 23 July 2017. The course will focus on analysing the links between trade, gender and development with the aim of:

Today’s Quick Links:

Zambia targets to borrow $1.6bn from IMF

UN, African Union sign new partnership framework: UN Secretary-General’s remarks

Kagame to Djibouti MPs: African unity not theory

South African group Sasol plans to build industrial park in Mozambique


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