Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Gilles Paire | Alamy

A reminder: The ECOWAS Heads of State summit takes place on Sunday

Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (17-19 May): presentations are now available for download

Advance notice: 13th Annual Meeting of the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa will take place in Rome, 19-20 October 2017. The theme: “Toward the promotion of smart and integrated infrastructure for Africa - an agenda for digitalisation, decarbonisation and mobility”

Delhi Declaration: A micro, small and medium enterprises co-operation framework to support intra-Commonwealth trade and investment (Commonwealth Secretariat)

The road blocks to trade for SMEs have been a focus of this inaugural summit. After hearing about the challenges being faced by SMEs at the high-level policy makers’ plenary session on the first day, organisers set up a working party. The group included policy makers, senior politicians and SMEs from across the Commonwealth, including Sekandi Abdul Hakim who spoke about his experiences of the global obstacles facing businesses like his. Within hours, it came up with the ‘Delhi Declaration’, a set of ten practical points which the group hopes will help remove the challenges preventing smoother trade relations and opportunities. The Indian Commonwealth Small Medium Enterprise Association will champion the proposal at the next Commonwealth trade ministers’ meeting and hopefully on to next April’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. But there are many hurdles to jump before that happens.

East African Legislative Assembly updates:

(i) The EAC Cross Border Trade in Professional Services Bill. The EAC Cross Border Trade in Professional Services Bill, 2017, which is expected to be a boost to the Common Market Protocol, was moved by Hon Fred Mukasa Mbidde. The Bill is premised on Article 104 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC under which the Partner States undertook to adopt measures to achieve free movement of persons, labour and services and to ensure the enjoyment of the right of establishment and residence of the citizens within the Community. The EAC Mining Bill 2017, moved by Hon Chris Opoka-Okumu hopes to provide legal framework for the regulation of mining operations in the Community. It seeks to implement the EAC Vision 2050 and specifically to operationalise Article 114(2) (c ) (iv) of the EAC Treaty which calls for harmonisation of mining regulations to ensure environmentally friendly and sound mining practices.

(ii) EALA longs for equal treatment of citizens in East Africa. The East African Legislative Assembly has resolved to have the EAC member states accelerate the harmonisation of laws, policies, curricula and certifications to equally treat the region’s citizens. The EALA members passed the resolution after receiving and debating a report on sensitisation activities in partner states, themed: ‘EAC Integration Agenda: accessing the gains”. [EALA shelves plans to inaugurate 4th assembly as Kenya delays picking its MPs]

WCO leads discussions on freedom of transit for landlocked countries: Global Transit Conference (10-11 July, Brussels)

WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya emphasized that “the key to unlock the potential of LLDCs is the implementation of international standards for efficient transit regimes, thus boosting international and regional trade for all countries.” He added that “the WCO Transit Guidelines, consisting of 150 guiding principles for efficient transit regimes, will be launched during this event. A wide range of subjects will be discussed, such as bridging Asia and Europe, accelerating regional economic development in Africa, American and other regions, and overcoming challenges of landlocked countries.” [Landlocked Developing Countries: Facts and Figures 2017, pdf]

Namibia: Fifth National Development Plan NDP5 (National Planning Commission)

Extract from President Geingob’s launch speech: The same story applies to income distribution. Average Namibian is seen to be rich, but in reality top 1% have the same income as the bottom 50%! International bodies, in particular the Bretton Woods Institutions, however, continue to classify countries by per capita income regardless of the type of income distribution. Based on averages, Namibia is currently rated as an upper middle income country, and will be on track to eventually become a high income country, perhaps even before the year 2030. I hope that from my earlier example it will be evident, why this does not speak to our developmental ambitions which are grounded in the principle of inclusivity. It will not be an achievement if by 2030 we reached high income status, but the majority of our people continued to be structurally excluded from meaningful participation in the economy and wealth creation. That is why we speak about inclusive development where individuals’ needs have meaning. That is why we say, inclusivity builds capability and spells harmony, while exclusivity spells conflict. Development based on exclusivity will, therefore, always be short-lived. That is why we keep on referencing to Professor Joseph Stiglitz, who postulates that sustained prosperity is shared prosperity. [Download, pdf (49 MB)]

Barclays makes early African exit with $2.8bn share sale (Reuters)

Barclays cut its stake in Barclays Africa Group to 15% sooner than expected on Thursday, ending more than 90 years as a major presence in the continent. The British bank, which under Chief Executive Jes Staley is firmly focused on Britain and the United States, said it was selling $2.83bn worth of shares in its African business due to strong investor demand. Barclays had said on Wednesday it would sell shares worth 1.5 billion pounds in its second rapid share sale since saying it would largely get out of Africa. [Malawian bank snaps up Barclays Zim]

Import controls in Zimbabwe: Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 and more (tralac)

A year after the promulgation of SI 64, the Minister of industry and Commerce Mike Bimha has publicly announced that the government of Zimbabwe is now scrapping the legislation, and will replace it with Local Content Policy. The cabinet minister is quoted saying SI 64 has “achieved its objectives of boosting industrial capacity utilisation, stimulating retooling and investment into new technologies in industries”. He also said the SI 64 ran into implementation challenges in terms of threat of retaliation from trading partners, trade-off between balancing existing employment within the retail and distribution outlets that import, and protection of the local manufacturing industries. Perhaps this is the appropriate time to look back and reflect on trade policy governance in Zimbabwe, and unpack what’s really happening to the economy. Very soon after this, a statement was issued to say that SI 64 was not scrapped. [The analyst: Brian Mureverwi]

One Belt One Road (OBOR) and Africa (Standard Bank)

More than ever before the onus is on African projects to remain relevant. It seems reasonable to argue that any African infrastructure projects that can fit into the still fluid OBOR narrative will be fast-tracked. Thereby, OBOR may build an additional framework – complementing FOCAC – for which Chinese government and corporate leaders and their counterparts can align their engagements. This means that Africa needs to provide a more systematic coordinated and industry-specific plan to remain at the centre of China’s foreign policy. At the same time, African governments must also focus sustainable development and determine the best policy mix and governance structures to China true to its often stated commitment to job creation and industrial upgrading of Africa. [The analyst: Jeremy Stevens]

Mozambique: Standard Bank and China’s ICBC set up local partnership

Standard Bank and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China have established a partnership to foster investment by Chinese companies in Mozambique, “through innovative financing solutions or banking services,” said António Macamo, director of Standard Bank. “ICBC is China’s largest commercial bank and the Standard Bank group is the largest in Africa and this partnership will make investment in Mozambique more comfortable and easier, given the experience of both institutions,” said ICBC representative Lubin Wang. The value of Chinese investment in Mozambique is $6.7bn, with trade between the two countries growing 4.98% to $424.88m in the first quarter of 2017.

Kenya’s SGR: Loans not a burden to Kenya — China (Daily Nation)

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming, who was in the country for the launch of the new railway, said the construction was an investment that would bring rewards to Kenya in the long run. “When a debt is put in the right project, it is not a burden,” Mr Zhang said in a statement. “The investment will give the money back since SGR is the largest infrastructural project in Kenya and it will lead to economic growth of the whole region, which means that the debt will be paid.” [Jaindi Kisero: There is still value to be unlocked from RVR]

Tanzania: ‘Smelting plant inevitable - with or without investor’ (Daily News)

Construction of mineral concentrate smelter is scheduled to start soon to discourage export of raw minerals, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said here yesterday. He told the National Assembly that there are investors who have expressed interest in construction of the smelters in the country, affirming that the government is determined to either invite them or construct the facility on its own.

Today’s Quick Links:

Statistics Botswana hamstrung to produce quality data

Nigeria’s Manufacturing Index Expands in May

WCO and JICA jointly support Kenya to address new challenges through Risk Assessment and Selectivity

‘Beginning of end for rogue fishing,’ says UN agency as more States back landmark treaty

FfD Forum Calls for combatting exclusion

Algeria: IMF concludes 2017 Article IV consultation, Selected Issues Paper


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