Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: ECIPE

Underway, in Oslo: Conference of Parties to FAO’s illegal fishing treaty. The first Meeting of the Parties to FAO’s bold new international treaty aimed at cracking down on illicit fishing opened yesterday, as delegates began hammering out ways to make the agreement a success.

Tomorrow, in New York: ECOSOC Special Meeting Innovations in infrastructure development and promoting sustainable industrialization. Download: concept note (pdf).

ITF’s 2017 Summit on Governance of Transport (31 May - 1 June, Leipzig) will focus on infrastructure, global connectivity, the right regulation for innovation, and urban access and mobility. A preview, by Nancy Vandyke.

UN Ocean Conference on trade-related aspects of SDG 14 (5-9 June, New York). Profiled conference backgrounder: summary document from Informal Preparatory Working Group 4.

COMESA Time Release Study: workshop update

A report on a study conducted in 10 COMESA member states to establish the time taken for Customs Clearance during import and export of goods and the causes of delays has been presented to the country delegates for adoption. The Time Release Study was carried out in the main ports of entry and exits of Djibouti, DRC, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Sudan, Uganda and Zambia. The findings and recommendations of the study were presented to the country delegates during a two-day regional workshop, 24-25 May, Lusaka. The objective of the workshop was to enable member states understand the details of customs clearance time and adopt trade facilitation measures that will reduce the cost of trade and deepen regional integration. The AfDB’s Zambia Country representative, Mr Damoni Kitabire, said many challenges face cross border trade in the region: “Unless Africa addresses the challenges facing cross border trade, the potential from international trade will remain elusive.” The recommendations of the workshop will be incorporated in the 2018-2020 COMESA Customs Work Program for the Trade and Customs sub-Committee.

Malawi, Zambia sign agreement on Mwami/Mchinji border post (Maravi Post)

Malawi and Zambia on Friday signed a bilateral agreement for a One Stop Border Post at the Mwami- Mchinji Border, whose main objective is to enhance trade facilitation through efficient movement of goods and people within the COMESA and SADC regions. Zambia’s Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Margaret Mwanakatwe, said the establishment of the OSBP will contribute to making the Nacala Corridor competitive in the near future.

Tanzania: Government firm on passports formality (Daily News)

The Tanzanian government has reiterated that foreigners, including nationals of other EAC member states, must use passports to gain entry into the country. This was stated by Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Susan Kolimba, in response to concerns on the issue, raised by some East African Legislative Assembly members on the matter. She told the House that the laws of the country had to be adhered to, among which were those related to immigration. Ms Susan Nakawuki (from Uganda) had wondered why Tanzania didn’t allow citizens of other members of the regional bloc to use Identification Cards at border-crossing points. She urged Tanzania to follow in the footsteps of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, which formalized the use of IDs, thereby easing movement of people from one partner state to the other. Dr Kolimba pointed out that Tanzania wasn’t part of the agreement that the three countries had struck, and would therefore stick to the passport-related formality. [Tanzania: Small-scale traders’ plea on passports]

Ministerial Committee on ECOWAS Institutional Reform: update

Liberia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Chair of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, Mrs Marjon Kamara, has expressed the wish to see a successful conclusion of the institutional reform process of the regional organisation. ‘Since 2006, ECOWAS initiated the institutional reform process that has lasted too long. We should strive to ensure a successful completion of the process.’ Members of the ad hoc Ministerial Committee will consider proposals relating to the institutional reform and then submit recommendations to the 78th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, 1-2 June.

Mauritius to implement priority projects from $500m line of credit from India (GoM)

Other issues raised [during the State visit of the Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth to India] pertained to the Mauritian-Indian partnership cemented in the agreement in the form of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) currently in negotiation. The CECPA will provide the opportunity for even greater flows of trade in goods and services as well as improve cross border investment between our two countries. The CECPA builds from the successful renegotiation of the Double Taxation Avoidance Treaty between the Mauritian and the Indian Governments in 2016, which has brought certainty to investments between our borders. Investments from Mauritius to India still represent a sizeable proportion of total investments, which provides much comfort in the terms of the new treaty. For Prime Minister Jugnauth, the revised treaty is in fact one pillar of our strategy: that of positioning Mauritius as a jurisdiction of substance to service the African continent and be the safety net for Indian investors willing to manage their investments in the region.

Thirteen African countries seal agriculture industrialization deal with India (AfDB)

The Indian Government is currently preparing an aide memoire – an informal diplomatic communication to all African countries – indicating proposed negotiating texts on identified fields of agriculture cooperation, he said at a session on “Africa-India Cooperation: Partnerships for Green Revolution”. India has made a proposal to provide vaccines to enable West African countries to deal with foot and mouth disease – an illness that affects livestock production. The Indian Government also spoke of its eagerness to advance cooperation through rapid expansion of agricultural trade between the two regions. To ensure a trade balance, the Indian Government is also ready to accept imports of key cereals and grains from African producers. One key import from Africa is expected to be pigeon peas, which the New Delhi-based Indian Government hopes to assist farmers in cultivating. The Indian Government believes both sides could exchange key commodities through trade – with India availing markets for millet produced from Africa, while India would look for opportunities to sell its wheat to the continent.

Zimbabwe: Govt loses out on mining tax (NewsDay)

According to an Afrodad report, “The impact of fluctuating commodity prices on government revenue in the SAC region – the case of platinum in Zimbabwe”, the country’s tax system was susceptible to transfer pricing. “Currently, Zimbabwe uses ad valorem based tax system, which is not optimal since it is based on export values, which are not only lower than production values, but also subject to transfer pricing by the mining companies and their sister companies in South Africa,” the report reads. “This indicates that a hybrid approach royalty system, incorporating both the unit-based method and value-based method would achieve better results in the platinum sector.” Afrodad said minerals, beneficiation in Zimbabwe was mainly being pushed through the mining sector policies rather than through the industrial policy, as the case in Japan and China.

South Africa: With GM’s exit, partnering with Africa for a regional car industry is essential (Business Day)

While developments at GM SA appear to be primarily driven by its parent company’s global strategy, with the outcome potentially having longer term benefits for SA, it does sound a warning. SA is falling behind its global competitors in terms of domestic market expansion and vehicle output growth. It is moving further to the periphery of the global automotive industry, making it more vulnerable to the global machinations of multinational corporations. If the ambitious targets of the industry’s master plan are to be achieved, all stakeholders will have to co-operate to a much greater degree than has been the case to date. It is critical that the country undertakes the structural reforms necessary to stimulate market growth and improve productivity levels. Collaboration with our African neighbours on the development of a regional automotive industry is also essential. In combination, these reforms should ensure that the highly unfortunate job losses at GM SA are not repeated elsewhere, and that SA’s leading manufacturing sector contributes more meaningfully to the industrialisation of the domestic economy. [The analysts: Justin Barnes, Anthony Black]

South Africa: Protection of the poultry industry is key to short-term survival, but is not the long-term answer (RNews)

Producers need to look at alternative solutions to ensure the industry’s long-term survival and to establish South Africa as a competitive global player. The first area of opportunity is exports. Only 1.4% of South Africa’s poultry is produced for export. The weakening rand presents a unique opportunity to develop sustainable exports. Producers need to work rigorously with the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries to secure access to export markets – especially in Africa. Access to the Middle Eastern markets is another avenue to be explored. The UAE and Saudi Arabia import almost all of their poultry. This is a significant market and should be considered by South African producers. [Comments by Chris Coombes, CEO of Sovereign Foods], [Growing resistance to South African products on the continent: here’s why]

Tanzania: Invest in economic diplomacy, MPs call on govt (IPPMedia)

Members of Parliament want the government to focus on economic diplomacy as well as attract foreign investments in agro-processing industries rather than relying on more attractive sectors such as tourism, minerals and gas. Records from the Tanzania Investment Centre show that in the recent past most foreign companies seeking investment in the country have been attracted by the mining and gas industries. Legislators from both sides of the House yesterday urged the government to explore opportunities in economic diplomacy to help increase foreign investments in the country to make Tanzania’s push for an industrial economy a reality. Debating the 2017/18 ministerial budget estimates for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, East Africa and International Cooperation, the lawmakers noted that Tanzania needed to make major investments in attracting foreign investors in alternative sectors to create jobs quickly and improve the national economy. The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence, Adadi Rajab, said the government should complete the process of formulating the new Foreign Affairs policy to create a vision that goes hand in hand with modern global economic diplomacy. [How Magufuli implements economic diplomacy]

Regional experts meet over Lake Kivu resources (New Times)

During the opening of the international workshop on monitoring and development of Lake Kivu resources in Bugesera District, experts discussed sustainable use of the lake’s resources, with a focus on the extraction of methane gas. Methane gas in Lake Kivu has an estimated capacity to produce 700 megawatts of electricity, which could go a long way in boosting economic activity in both Rwanda and DR Congo. Preliminary research has also pointed to considerable probability of oil reserves in the Lake Kivu.

Today’s Quick Links:

The principle of subsidiarity: the example of ECCAS in the Central African crisis (pdf)

South Africa: Zambezi Protocol providing strategic direction to identity-changing Chamber of Mines

Limpopo Corridor: Mozambique seeks $700m to build new road to South Africa

Governor of the Bank of Mozambique says the country’s public debt is “frightening”

Key highlights of the Namibia Labour Force Survey 2016 Report

Study to pick Tanzania’s top 100 mid-sized companies 2017 starts

COMESA special edition of UNCTAD online course on trade and gender launched

A Devex Q&A: EIF chief on why trade in LDCs needs to be rethought


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