Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Mauritius Ports Authority

Today, in London:

International Development Committee hearing on Forced displacement and food crises in Central and East Africa

Next week, in Nairobi:

the Asian African Legal Consultative Organization conference

The latest West Africa Brief is posted:

the Food Crisis Prevention Network meeting (10-12 April, Paris) – summary of conclusions (pdf)

Institutional reform of the African Union: remarks by President Kagame

There are two priorities to focus on in the time ahead, leading up to the next Summit. First, we need to accelerate the decision to finance the African Union with a levy on eligible imports. Everything else flows from this and we cannot afford to get bogged down. The second priority is to move quickly with those reforms, which can be implemented right away. One example is speaking with one voice, when Africa as a whole engages with external partners. Nobody benefits from the confusion inherent in the current method of doing business. The Chairperson of the Commission and the Chairperson of the African Union should take the lead. Another example is to agree on a binding mechanism to ensure that Member States are held accountable for respecting key African Union decisions, such as the ones on financing and institutional reform. These would be strong signals that we are serious about doing things differently.

The Southern African poultry value chain: regional development versus national imperatives (UNU-WIDER)

Extract from the conclusion (pdf): These developments notwithstanding, there is no coordinated regional poultry value chain in Southern Africa, but rather firm strategies which are regional in nature. As a result, while large firms have spread out throughout the region, they have invested in their destination countries mainly for domestic operations. Where they do export out of their destination countries, this is either for their own operations as in the case of CBH’s Ross Breeders exports from Zambia into its Botswana operations, or it is arm’s length transactions such as the large exports of maize and soya from Zambia into Zimbabwe. Other strategies that have negated the formation of an RVC are trade barriers, particularly NTBs. The NTBs, ranging from import limits to complete bans on finished goods, have contributed a great deal to the current structure of the value chain. Protection of the industries in most countries means that firms have to set up in those countries in order to take advantage of the opportunities found there. This indicates that only the large firms, with significant scale economies, could competitively make these investments, and also participate in a possible RVC. [The analysts: Phumzile Ncube, Simon Roberts, Tatenda Zengeni], [Olle Östensson: Local content, supply chains, and shared infrastructure (UNU-WIDER)]

Zambia announces indefinite ban on “In Transit” timber (TRAFFIC)

The decision addresses ongoing international concerns that the country is being exploited by smuggling networks to transport timber to lucrative markets overseas, with primary destinations including China and Viet Nam. Additional motivations for the ban include issues raised by the Namibian Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry. Namibia’s Chief Agricultural Scientific Officer said in a written letter to plant health officials that the country had been “experiencing serious problems with timber transported from the DRC and neighbouring countries via Zambia.”

Botswana-Mozambique state visit: trade, infrastructure issues

President Khama: It is also critical for our two countries to continue to redouble our efforts in accelerating implementation of strategic projects such as the development of a deep-sea port and a railway line linking Botswana with Mozambique. The development of this vital transport corridor, will go a long way in unlocking the economic potential of our two countries, and also contribute towards greater regional integration. I note with satisfaction that the Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation between Botswana and Mozambique continues to meet regularly in order to advance the implementation of our agreed commitments. Whilst we continue to expand the scope of our bilateral cooperation by signing additional bilateral agreements, it is however, critical that we ensure their effective implementation. This will ensure that our people benefit from tangible programmes and projects, which will help improve their living standards.

President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi: We believe that your participation in these and other projects could leverage socio economic development of our two countries and fast-track regional integration. In this context, the Government of Mozambique is expanding the capacity of the Port of Maputo in order to enable it to accommodate larger vessels and diversity of cargo. We believe this is yet another opportunity open for Botswana to utilise this potential for more exports and imports. This project could be complemented by the construction of the Tchobanine deep waters port which is still under consideration and negotiation. Tchobanine Port is posed as a strategic asset within the framework of effective growth and diversification of the economies of Mozambique, Botswana and Zimbabwe. The Port can go a long way in realising the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap.

Namibia-Zimbabwe: Geingob to visit Zimbabwe this week (The Namibian)

Ease of Doing Business: Nigeria’s FG reduces number of days for business registration (ThisDay)

This decision was part of the resolutions of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) meeting at the end of the 60-day action plan on Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria reforms held in the Presidential Villa on Monday. The council which took off on 21 February 2017 was set up by President Muhammadu Buhari, and chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. The council also set up a 24-hour timeline for company registration from the day application form is completed and all required documents made available while prospective business owners can now search on the CAC portal to avoid duplication of names. On trading across borders, some of the completed reforms, according to the report, include palletisation of imports, advanced cargo manifests, reduction in documentation requirements and scheduling of joint physical examination by the Nigeria Customs Service.

DRC: Miners told to move HQs as provinces vie for revenue (Bloomberg)

The Democratic Republic of Congo told local units of Glencore Plc, China Molybdenum Co., Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. and four other mining companies to relocate their head offices as newly demarcated provinces fight over tax revenue and control of mineral projects. The companies, all headquartered in Lubumbashi, the capital of Haut-Katanga province, must move to Kolwezi town in neighboring Lualaba, where their mines are based, Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu said in a 14 April letter, a copy of which was seen by Bloomberg and confirmed by the ministry. [In the DRC, artisanal mining is a remnant of the once-booming gem industry (Slate)]

DRC: SADC Organ Troika Ministerial Assessment

Tanzania: The shilling and top value losers in Africa (IPPMedia)

According to new data by audit firm Deloitte, the depreciation was the second highest in the EAC bloc after the Ugandan unit that shed its value by 30% and the ninth in Africa. The currency value loss chart leader was Egypt with a 61% average depreciation of the pound. The other currencies that lost value the most included the Mozambique’s metical (60%), Nigeria’s Naira (49%), Ghana’s cedi (45%) and Zambia’s kwacha (44%). Also in the list are Angola’s kwanza (41 per cent), Algeria’s dinar (29%), South Africa’s rand (24%), the West African franc (23%) and Ethiopia’s birr (15%). “Currencies on the continent have depreciated significantly against the US dollar since 2014 or, in the case of managed currencies, have been devalued. In some cases their value suffered further as a result of errant monetary policies that undermined investor confidence and heightened uncertainty,” Deloitte notes in a recent note titled: The repricing of Africa’s economies.

Ghana records 3.2m metric tonnes of imports from Africa (StarrFM)

This represented an increase of 1.1 million metric tonnes, or 57% increase, over the 2015 figure. The Ghana Shippers Authority’s outlook cites major items imported from the Africa regions as liquid bulk cargoes, mainly crude oil, LPG and petroleum products. Liquid bulk cargo therefore saw an increase of 94% over the 2015 figure. The chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority, Dr. Kofi Mbiah underscored that trade between Ghana and the West African sub-region is nothing to write home about. “Imports from other African countries accounted for 27% share of Ghana’s import trade and the large part of it is as a result of the importation of crude oil and that impact is significantly because indeed trade between our country and the West African sub-region is very small, nothing to write home about,” Mbiah noted.

South Africa-China science park cooperation: launch (GCIS)

We hope to build on the successful industrial development partnership that has emerged through the development of the Special Economic Zone in our Limpopo Province. Similar to China, we are implementing Special Economic Zones to accelerate manufacturing and mining production. Increasingly, innovation will play a bigger role in the production activities in these Zones. We are confident that we will be able to build an industrial development partnership in high-technology areas with global growth potential. This includes ICTs, advanced manufacturing, the bio-economy, and renewable energy. In advancing the current partnership, our analysis points to the development of multiple research and innovation spaces informed by but not bundled with a Special Economic Zone. In parallel to advancing a long-term high-technology industrial development partnership, we have identified short-term opportunities which will offer significant opportunities for China to expand its R&D and innovation activities into South Africa. [Speech by Minister Naledi Pandor]

The United States and China in Africa: what does the data say? (pdf, SAIS China-Africa Research Initiative)

With Chinese engagement increasing in Africa, observers have asked how US engagement is similar or different. How do oil exports influence Chinese and US trade relations with Africa? Why do Chinese and US firms favor investment in different African industries? What are the main sectors to which China and the United States provide loans in Africa? This policy brief analyzes CARI’s data on Chinese and US trade, FDI, and loans to Africa over the past 15 years to answer such questions.

Tanzania: China to punish traders in substandard goods (Daily News)

Chinese Foreign Affairs office in Guangdong Province is putting in place legislation that will severely punish its citizens or anyone found exporting substandard goods to Tanzania and other parts of the world. Speaking at a meeting with journalists, Deputy Director General of Foreign Affairs in Guangdong, Luo Jun, said Guangzhou is the economic city of many African traders, and thus any trader who will be found selling to them any substandard goods, will not only be charged with a criminal offence, but also face severe punishment. He said having the law in place, no one will be pardoned in the sale of low quality goods to dismiss allegations that China lacks mechanisms to deal with such crime.

Cocoa growers will work together on strategy to fight rout (Bloomberg)

“We are in a crisis, in a price crisis,” Louis Valverde, chairman of the International Cocoa Organization, said. “The last six months have been terrible, and the forecast is even worse.” Cocoa futures in New York have plunged more than 40% in the past year amid a worldwide glut caused by bumper harvests in West Africa. While many commodities have been saddled by oversupply in recent years, in markets such as crude oil, producers have been able to stem price losses by agreeing on output cuts. Now, growers of the chocolate ingredient plan on working together on strategy. “We can no longer make sole decisions,” Valverde said. “We now make decisions as a group.”

EAC: EALA hits the road on last phase of sensitisation

The twelve-day activity which started on 20 April, is premised on the theme EAC integration agenda: accessing the gains. The sensitisation phase hopes to bring EAC citizens up to speed on the overall integration process, promote liaison with EAC National Assemblies and key stakeholders and create awareness among the populace on the gains and challenges of integration. It also seeks to enhance mutual relationships between EALA and the citizens of the region.

Global survey reveals the impact of declining trust in the internet on e-commerce (UNCTAD)

Released at the UNCTAD E-Commerce Week in Geneva, the 2017 CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security & Trust shows that among those worried about their privacy, the top sources of concern were cybercriminals (82%), Internet companies (74%) and governments (65%). Lack of trust is most likely to keep people off e-commerce platforms in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, suggesting that the potential gains of e-commerce are not spread evenly around the globe. The survey also revealed great differences in e-commerce behavior when it came to how users are purchasing goods online. For example, in China, India and Indonesia, more than 86% of respondents expect to make mobile payments on their smartphone in the next year, compared with less than 30% in France, Germany and Japan.

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