Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Kevin Sutherland | Bloomberg

CFTA: Zambia may consider “a Brexit” (ZNBC)

President Edgar Lungu says the Continental Free Trade Area will only succeed if African countries enhance infrastructure development and regional trade. President Lungu also says the African Union and all economic blocks on the continent need to ensure equality so that CFTA benefits member countries. The President said this during a WEF panel discussion on fast tracking economic unification in Durban. President Lungu warned that some member counties like Zambia may consider a “Brexit” approach if the benefits of the CFTA are not shared equally. He however noted that the CFTA will make Africa an attractive investment destination and that countries should at all cost embrace the CFTA. President Lungu also advised African countries to be a part of the CFTA because at the moment most countries have nothing to protect.

Ghana’s Akufo-Addo wants Ghana-Togo borders open 24hrs (MyJoy)

President Nana Akufo-Addo said opening of the borders will give true meaning to the ECOWAS Protocols on Free Movement of Goods and Persons and will spur on progress and prosperity for both nationals. “The time for West African integration is now. Ghana and Togo should take the lead in converting ECOWAS into a true regional market, and, indeed, in helping to facilitate the wider efforts at continental integration and unity,” he added. [Nigeria may lift foreign currency restrictions on 41 imports]

African leadership and priorities debated in opening of WEF Africa (Devex)

The opening plenary of the WEF on Africa took the continent’s leaders to task for a raft of failures and laid out a set of policy priorities from education, to job creation and poverty alleviation that should drive development efforts and seek to address rising inequalities. Four out of five of the most unequal countries in the world - Swaziland, Nigeria, Namibia and South Africa - are in Africa, said Winnie Byanyima, the executive director of Oxfam International, at the panel. Tony Elumelu, a billionaire banker, investor and philanthropist from Nigeria, put it this way: “How can you even talk about development if you can’t feed yourself?” [Top stories from Day One]

Africa Competitiveness Report 2017: Which are Africa’s most competitive countries? (WEF)

According to the Africa Competitiveness Report 2017 (pdf), published today, African leaders have a choice. They can either put into effect structural reforms that improve people’s livelihoods or allow current, not-quite-adequate constitutional policies to unravel towards inequality and civil unrest. First, a little perspective: although Mauritius ranks first among African countries, it is still only at No 45 in the global index, a sober nod towards Africa’s slowing productivity levels after a decade of sustained growth. If Mauritius consistently outperforms its continental peers, it’s because its leaders have removed the hurdles that prevent so many other countries from achieving prosperity; in this case, streamlining its goods market, building solid infrastructure and promoting a healthy workforce. South Africa and Rwanda also do well and have improved their global ranking since the last index was released in 2015. Their continued growth can be attributed to the uptake of technology, efficient financial markets and a focus on strengthening institutions.

Starting with people: a human economy approach to inclusive growth in Africa (Oxfam)

A new Oxfam report, ‘Starting with people,’ sets out how Africa’s political and business leaders can use economic and taxation policy and social spending to build economies that work for all. Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam and co-chair of WEF Africa 2017: “Oxfam is not advocating a return to Africa’s economic past – we are championing economies that are fit for the future.”

NEPAD reprioritizes focus on intra-African trade via regional transport corridors (Devex)

NEPAD’s focus on regional trade facilitation will primarily target three corridors this year, including the North-South corridor (South Africa to Tanzania), the Central corridor (Tanzania to Burundi) and the Abidjan-Lagos corridor (Nigeria to Ivory Coast). There is also an ambition to have the Abidjan to Dakar (Ivory Coast to Senegal) corridor also come on board in the near future. In concrete terms, the agency has been instrumental in assisting the North-South corridor in formulating a memorandum of understanding of participating countries to help deregulate the movement of goods across southern Africa. And in West Africa, it helped recruit consultants to see how to expand the coastal Abidjan-Lagos highway project as a way to spur trade potential in the region. “We are working with ECOWAS to look at a multi-modal complex corridor for ground, sea and air cargo as a sort of first generation set of corridors that could work for Africa by looking at the movement of cargo and goods across West Africa,” Grey-Johnson said.

New Atlas shows energy potential of Africa and opportunities for investment (ICA)

Energy consumption in Africa is the lowest in the world, and per capita consumption has barely changed since 2000 shows a new Atlas released today (pdf) by the UN Environment and the AfDB at the World Economic Forum being held in Durban. Prepared in cooperation with the Environment Pulse Institute, United States Geological Survey and George Mason University, the Atlas consolidates the information on the energy landscape in Africa. It provides information in the form of detailed ‘before and after’ images, charts, maps and other satellite data from 54 countries through visuals detailing the challenges and opportunities in providing Africa’s population with access to reliable, affordable and modern energy services.

Leveraging digital to unlock the base of the pyramid market in Africa: waves of digital innovation in financial services (Deloitte)

New market entrants have started to disrupt traditional business models by introducing digital technology at various parts of the value chain. They leverage mobile technology to bring down costs, achieve reach and increase trust. This is a game changer for the financial services industry and is helping to unlock Africa’s mass market. This report looks at how these new entrants, through partnerships, mobile, data analytics and cloud technology, have made financial products and services available for previously excluded markets. Key takeouts from this report:

Inaugural Africa Data Revolution Report is launched (UNECA)

The first ADRR (pdf) focuses on mapping the data ecosystem in Africa with reference to the production, distribution and use of data by public, private and civil society actors, as they relate to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. It draws from in-depth case studies of national data ecosystems in 10 African countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland and Tanzania. The ADRR assesses the infrastructure requirements and the nature and impacts of prevailing protocols governing data production on the continent, openness, analysis, privacy and ethics in Africa, focusing on open data systems, big data and innovations.

Enabling the Digital Revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa: what role for policy reforms? (World Bank)

A report on the economies of countries in Africa’s Sahel focuses on a lack of access to information and communications technology, and comes up with ways of remedying it. AFCW3 countries urgently need to address the unfinished first wave of ICT sector reforms. These aim at affordable universal access to mobile voice and text services as a key enabler in the successful development of mobile money and broadband internet services. Aside from mobile internet access, our Regional Country Update also focuses on Malian agriculture and how it can reach its full potential in “dryland agriculture.”

Next week: Addis Ababa to host 6th World Hydropower Conference

The biennial conference, which is coming to Africa for the first time, will emphasise environmental and social aspects to look into during hydroelectric project planning stages, and a commitment to better hydro in an age when resource management is more important than ever.

New report details progress made by power pools in Africa, and challenges ahead (ICA)

A new report, Updated Regional Power Status in Africa Power Pools (pdf), from the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa has noted the progress made by Africa’s five regional power pools, and highlights the challenges ahead. The new publication provides a comprehensive update to the report first prepared by the ICA in 2011, which provided an overview of the status of Africa’s power pools. The new report includes analysis of updated data to detail the progress made in each of the power pools and identifies findings, trends, challenges and possible solutions for the respective regions of the pools, and the potential to build effective power markets in the regions. While commending the progress made, the report urges African countries to:

The art of laying bricks: infrastructure as an asset class (World Bank)

To meet this challenge, our two institutions – the IFC and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank - co-hosted a session moderated by AIIB’s Vice President Joachim von Amsberg at the recently-held 2017 Global Infrastructure Forum. The objective was precisely to discuss how to construct and promote infrastructure as a tradable asset class.

South African citrus industry appeals to Putin (Fresh Plaza)

The trade in citrus between Russia and South Africa has been under strain for the last three years. From 2014 to 2015 there was a 40% decrease in trade and over the period 2013 to 2016 the drop is dizzying: from 129,000t to 66,000t last year. The reduction in volumes is attributed to various factors, among them the Rouble-Rand and Rouble-US Dollar exchange rates (which some regard as the principal reason for the decrease), lower demand from Russia and also to the controversial foodstuff import labelling demands instituted by the Euro-Asian Economic Commission in 2011; applicable worldwide and fully enforced since February 2015. The Citrus Growers’ Association has now, after various fruitless attempts to raise their concerns with the Russian and EAC authorities, sent a letter directly to President Vladimir Putin as well as to the Russian Embassy in Pretoria.

The AfDB has posted a suite of reports on Sudan and South Sudan trade and development issues: Sudan: Darfur infrastructure development report (1.7 MB), Promoting bilateral trade between Sudan and South Sudan (1.7 MB), Private sector-led economic diversification and development in Sudan (18.4 MB), Sharing African Experiences: Challenges and opportunities for arrears clearance, debt relief and donor coordination in Sudan (861 kB)

Business recommendations on rules of origin in preferential trade agreements (ICC)

The new recommendations (pdf) were issued this week as customs and business representatives from all over the world convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to discuss the complexities behind rules of origin at the WCO Global Origin Conference. With limited progress being made in the Doha round of multilateral trade negotiations, countries are increasingly looking to bilateral and regional PTAs as an alternative. As a result, PTAs have multiplied, with over 400 such deals currently in existence, including “mega-regional” PTA negotiations such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. This proliferation of agreements has led to confusing and inconsistent market entry arrangements, which are particularly felt by small and medium enterprises that have fewer resources. As new PTAs increasingly overlap existing ones, diverging rules of origin regulations and procedures are becoming a trade barrier along the whole supply chain.

Challenges and opportunities experienced by small economies when linking into global value chains in trade in goods and services (WTO)

As a result of these fruitful discussions, the SVEs where able to identify specific challenges they face when linking into Global Value Chains in Trade in Goods and Services, and where able to gather some recommendations on how to mitigate such challenges. The following is a document that presents a summary of the outcomes of the discussions. With this basis, the group will continue its work and present proposals or support existing initiatives in the different committees in WTO, in order to facilitate the implementation of some of the recommendations contained in the document.

UNCTAD’s E-commerce week 2017: Consumer protection remedy, how to increase trust in e-commerce?

During a session themed “E-commerce and Consumer protection”, UNCTAD stressed the importance of consumer protection in creating an enabling environment for inclusive e-commerce. Key stakeholders identified areas where national and regional consumer protection frameworks and institutional capacities should be strengthened. Key outcomes and follow-up actions identified by participants:

- - -


Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel +27 21 880 2010