Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Arne Hoel | World Bank

African trade policy processes starting today: alerts from @AUTradeIndustry

  1. The AU Trade and Industry 6th Strategic Stakeholders Retreat kicked off today at Premier Hotel in Midrand, South Africa.

  2. The 2nd Meeting of the Continental Free Trade Area Technical Working Groups to be held 24 April – 5 May, 2017 at Sarova Panafric Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya.

Sixth Tana High-level Forum on Security in Africa: downloads

Migration and Development Brief: Remittances to developing countries decline for second consecutive year (World Bank)

India, while retaining its top spot as the world’s largest remittance recipient, led the decline with remittance inflows amounting to $62.7bn last year, a decrease of 8.9% over $68.9bn in 2015. Remittances to other major receiving countries are also estimated to have fallen last year, including Bangladesh (-11.1%), Nigeria (-10%), and Egypt (-9.5%). The exceptions among major remittance recipients were Mexico and the Philippines, which saw inflows increase by an estimated 8.8% and 4.9%, respectively, last year. Remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa (pdf): With the firming of oil prices and improvement in global economic activities projected for 2017, remittances to SSA are projected to increase by 3.3%. Remittances to Nigeria, the largest regional remittance recipient, are expected to increase by 1.9%. Ghana, the second largest recipient in the region, is expected to receive 3.1% more remittances. Remittance inflows to Senegal, the third largest recipient, are expected to grow by 2.6%.

Trade and investment for decent work (pdf, AU)

USDOL will continue to engage with AGOA stakeholders, including African governments, the African Union, industry, and civil society to promote labor and trade coordination under AGOA. The 2017 AGOA Forum, to be held in Lomé, Togo, will continue the discussion of labor and trade coordination, targeting ministers and technical experts from ministers of trade across sub-Saharan Africa. Messaging from African ministers of labour to African ministers of trade about the importance of and political will to coordinate would be welcome at the AGOA Forum, as would the presence of a commission of labour ministers at the meeting. Issues for discussion: [Tabled at 2nd Session of the STC on Social Development, Labour and Employment, 24-28 April, Algiers]

UN body warns region against signing trade deal with EU (The EastAfrican)

The UNECA says in a report that if the EPA is signed, local industries will struggle to withstand competitive pressures from EU firms, while the region will be stuck in its position as a low value-added commodity exporter. “If the EAC-EU EPA is fully implemented, the region risks losing trading opportunities with other partners, industrial output, welfare and GDP,” the 45-page report seen by The EastAfrican says. The report titled Analysis of the impact of the EAC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement on the EAC economies is yet to be made public and is expected to be discussed by the Council of Ministers in the “days to come,” according to sources at the EAC Secretariat. The report, commissioned by the EAC Secretariat, is likely to further polarise the position of the Community’s members on the EPA, which Kenya and Rwanda have already signed. According to David Luke, co-ordinator of the African Trade Policy Centre at UNECA, the deal with Europe will be calamitous unless EAC countries are able to clearly define what their infant industries are, as well as identify sub-sectors they intend to protect.

Kenya: New OSBPs triple KRA custom revenue (Business Daily)

The Kenya Revenue Authority says it has tripled custom revenue collections in its seven border points after it began operating one-stop border posts in June 2016. The move, which put together bureaucrats involved in cross-border clearance processes under one roof, has also cut cargo clearance time from the previous three days to just under 1 hour, the agency said. KRA Western Regional Coordinator Kevin Safari said the simplified procedures have attracted traders into the cross order business as well as reduced smuggling hence the increased revenues.

Mauritius: External Merchandise Trade Statistics - February 2017 (GoM)

Balance of Visible Trade showed a deficit of Rs 5,647 million in February 2017 lower by 34.4% compared to the previous month and higher by 15.6% when compared to the corresponding month of 2016. France (16.4%), USA (11.3%), United Kingdom (10.7%), and South Africa (8.0%) were our major export destinations in February 2017 while our imports were mainly from India (17.0%), China (13.4%), South Africa (8.6%) and France (8.4%).

Updates on Egypt’s intra-African, agricultural trade policy processes:

Agriculture Export Council prepares to enter Africa: The Agriculture Export Council is working on the preparation of marketing and consumer studies for the African markets and is expected to finish them in May. The AEC also intends to raise exports of the sector to $2.26bn in 2017, up from $2.146bn in 2016, with an expected growth of 5%. Head of the AEC, Abdel Hamid Demerdash said the studies are based on exploiting the joint trade agreements between Egypt and the rest of the African countries, which will contribute to entering these markets with the help of intact economic trade plans. He explained that Egyptian agricultural exports to the markets of Africa are low in terms of size and value. He noted that Kenya is one of the most important countries to Egyptian exports; despite so, Kenya only receives 7,000 tonnes of agricultural exports per year from Egypt. He added that the total size of Egyptian agricultural exports to all markets in Africa is below $25m per year.

Horticultural Export Improvement Association prepares field studies for expansion in Africa: Chairperson of the Horticultural Export Improvement Association, Mohsen El Beltagy, said the plan to expand in the African markets will begin in September. The goal of the association is to account for the largest possible share in African markets, he stated, especially as many other countries have their eyes set on moving to Africa. He said that Egypt did not benefit from Africa at all, due to the lack of studies and weak exporting. Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia are the markets being targeted for entry, he stated. [ICTSD: Agricultural policies, trade and sustainable development in Egypt (pdf)]

Tanzania: Zambia yet to release timber trucks (Daily News)

Owners of trucks seized in Zambia carrying logs from DR Congo are counting a loss of 15bn/-. Their 600 trucks have been held for two months now. They are calling for immediate solution to the matter. Elaborating on the incurred losses, Deputy Chairman of the TATOA, Mr Elias Lukumay, said for the period of two months, the trucks could have generated a total of 15bn/- should they have been operating for the fact that each of them could bring in $10,000 for a return trip within that period. The association went on raising concern over the predicament of the drivers and conductors (about 1,200 of them), who are stranded in Zambia, saying that their safety and health were at risk due to insecurity at the DRC-Zambia border. The Zambian government impounded the consignment after alleging that the logs were harvested in that country. However, Tatoa maintains that the logs were in transit to the Dar es Salaam Port from the DRC and the drivers had all documents to prove that the logs were from the DRC.

Malawi: Aflatoxins cost Malawi k8bn yearly (The Nation)

Malawi is losing an estimated $11m (about K8 billion) annually due to availability of aflatoxins found in some grains and legumes including groundnuts and maize, Business News has learnt. Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (Paca) country officer Mphatso Dakamau said Malawi was once one of the leading exporters of groundnuts in the region but lost its market share in the early 1990s due to the availability of aflatoxins in groundnuts. Paca is an AU initiative operating in six countries: Senegal, Nigeria, Gambia, Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi. Deputy Director of Trade, Charity Musonzo, said there is light at the end of the tunnel for Malawi because the country will from next year start producing a bio control product, known as aflasafe, which is currently on trials in some districts.

COMESA: Livestock Forum for the Establishment of Regional Livestock Policy Hub

During the two-day meeting in Mauritius, the delegates critically reflected on potential responsibilities and contributions of the RLPH in the development of the livestock sector in COMESA; developed an action plan that included the steps to formalize the RLPH as a tool for livestock development within the COMESA Region. The Livestock Forum agreed on the following recommendations and way forward:

Angola: Chinese businesses quit after ‘disastrous’ currency blow (Bloomberg)

Tens of thousands of Chinese have left Angola because of the oil slump that’s hurt business and halted construction projects, according to the head of a commerce group. The number of Chinese workers and business owners has fallen to about 50,000, a quarter of what it was four years ago, Xu Ning, the chairman of the Angola-China Industrial and Commerce Association, said in an interview in the capital, Luanda. Those who stayed are recovering from a “disastrous” 2016, with most Chinese-led construction projects still halted, he said. “Last year was very bad, we lost a lot of money,” Xu said. “Many closed down their businesses and went back to China, crying.”

India: Visa crunch causes Dongri’s Nigerian garment trade to fray (Times of India)

But visas for Nigerian nationals have tightened since 2012, hitting both local traders and the city’s small Nigerian community. Approximately 3,000 business visas were issued last year, down from 9,000 in 2011, according to Sharad Srivastava, the first secretary (consular) of the High Commission of India in Abuja. He cites three reasons for the drop: closer scrutiny of documents; a dip in the Nigerian economy due to falling oil prices; and a weakening Naira, the national currency, with the consequent rationing of dollars by Nigeria’s Central Bank, which has affected Nigerian travel. As a result, wholesale sales on Mohammed Ali Road [in Mumbai] have fallen by 50-75%. Traders here have customers from other African countries - Sudan, Djibouti, Ghana, Tanzanian and Kenya - but most export depends on Nigerians.

Nigeria: Government fast tracks bill against sea pirates, illegal trade (Guardian)

Determined to ensure optimum safety, the Federal Government is concluding plans to put in place a new law to curtail the activities of illegal shippers and sea pirates on Nigerian nation’s waters. The bill on ‘Suppression of Piracy and other unlawful Acts at Sea,’ is currently with the executive arm of government waiting to be transmitted to the legislative chambers for proper processing into law.

Closing out the World Bank – IMF Spring Meetings: selected postings

African Consultative Group Meeting: Minister Kenneth O. Matambo (Chairman of the African Caucus) and Ms Christine Lagarde (MD of the IMF) co-chaired the African Consultative Group meeting at the IMF Headquarters. They issued the following statement after the conclusion of the Group’s meeting in Washington:

Press briefing by Abebe Aemro Selassie (IMF’s African Department): Lastly, on the bond notes in Zimbabwe. This is something we are beginning to look at. It’s, of course, a recent phenomenon. Zimbabwe is in a very, very difficult situation, as you know. There’s a limited amount of foreign exchange inflows coming in and no monetary policy tool. So, they are in a difficult circumstance right now. We think that, going down this one note route, in and of itself, will not address the challenges that the country has. So, it’s very important to have a more comprehensive policy package which also addresses a lot of the fiscal challenges that the country faces, a lot of the structural reforms that have to be done. So, it’s, again, more of a holistic package of reforms that are required to get Zimbabwe out of the place it’s in right now. [Middle East and Central Asia briefing]

Multilateral banks to deepen collaboration with private sector to boost inclusive, sustainable infrastructure: 2017 Global Infrastructure Forum Outcome Statement (pdf): The MDBs also agreed in April 2017 Principles to Crowd in Private Sector Finance and have agreed on their strategy to achieve this objective. The implementation of these principles and strategy will be of particular importance for scaling up investment in sustainable infrastructure. The MDBs are also working on a Joint MDB Statement of Ambitions, to be published in July, for Crowding in Private Sector to Support Infrastructure, which include specific commitment focusing on the operationalization of the Principles. [Annex to Outcome Statement: Action Progress (pdf; Mobilization of private finance by multilateral development banks: 2016 Joint Report (pdf)]

Communiqués: IMFC, Development Committee

G20 Compact with Africa: Germany, IMF strengthen capacity development cooperation

UN, World Bank sign new partnership to build resilience for the most vulnerable

World Bank Group, China-led AIIB agree to deepen cooperation (Reuters): They said in a joint statement that they are discussing more projects to be co-financed in 2017 and 2018. “Signing this memorandum of understanding fits into our vision of a new kind of internationalism,” AIIB President Jin Liqun said. “It deepens our relationship with the World Bank Group and sets up the mechanisms through which we can more easily collaborate and share information.”

Today’s Quick Links:

Nigeria: Federal Government approves 48hr for import, export trade deals timeline

Political differences between Burundi and Rwanda stifle Zambian trade

Hercules Haralambides: Globalization, public sector reform, and the role of ports in international supply chains

Competitive Enterprise Institute: Africa economic success depends on three big reforms

Malawi: Dalitso Kabambe appointed as new RBM Governor

Piyushi Kotecha: How African universities can lead climate-friendly development

OECD Working Paper: Climate-resilient infrastructure - getting the policies right (pdf)

Central bankers and inclusive growth: building a framework for financial inclusion (IMF)


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