Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Bloomberg

Continental Free Trade Area Negotiating Forum updates

(i) Extract from an AU statement: Niger’s Minister of Trade and Private Sector, Mr. Sadou Seydou, underscored that the CFTA is a political exercise in order to reinforce African fragmented markets for the well-being of the African people. “It is a political declaration and affirmation of the idea of African Unity. Without the CFTA and the African Economic Integration, the rhetoric about African Unity will remain empty words with no importance. However, if the agreement is well crafted and implemented, its huge advantages will be profitable to future generations”, he said. Mr. Seydou also pointed out that it is important that the CFTA benefits to all countries in Africa whether they are Small, Big, Landlocked or Least Developed countries.

(ii) Election of CFTA Bureau: Nigeria’s Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe has been elected chairman of the CFTA Negotiating Forum. Other Bureau members are: First vice chairman (Swaziland); Second vice chairman (Ethiopia); Third vice chairman (Chad); Rapporteur (Algeria).

(iii) UNCTAD’s support to CFTA Negotiating Forum: A team consisting of the Head of the Regional Office for Africa as well as representatives from UNCTAD’s Statistics Division and the Trade Negotiations and Commercial Diplomacy Branch will be in Niamey for the next two weeks, providing technical input to support the process in areas such as mapping of intra African trade flows in both goods and services, analyses of regulatory frameworks that support pro-sustainable development engagements in trade in services and a dispute settlement model adaptable to the African context.

Mauritius: Budget Speech 2017-18 (GoM)

We are also setting up a National Economic and Social Council under my chairmanship to address key socioeconomic issues and strengthen dialogue with the private sector and civil society. The Council will meet on a quarterly basis. To boost up growth we will equally act on the demand side. Our embassies and consulates will channel more of their resources to export and investment-driven diplomacy in strategic markets. As Africa offers great prospects for our export sector and cross-border investments, we are consolidating our diplomatic footprint in Africa. Thus, a number of joint commissions will be held with countries such as Cote D’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar and Zambia. Our aim is to further enhance bilateral cooperation with these countries in various sectors, including trade, investment and capacity building.

This month, the first Special Economic Zone in Senegal will be inaugurated. Mauritius-Africa Fund is a partner in that venture. In fact, Phase 1 of the development of that Zone is completed and will give Mauritian companies access to warehouses and office spaces totalling 31,000 square meters on 13 hectares. Phase 2 of the development will be on 40 hectares. As regards Ivory Coast, the Mauritius-Africa Fund has secured access to land, on preferential terms, in the “Zone Franche de la Biotechnologie et des Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication” for Mauritian enterprises to undertake development projects.

Tanzania: Budget Speech 2017-18 (GoT)

Notwithstanding the aforementioned achievements, there have been some issues that dominated public debates regarding the stability of our economy, which I would like to elaborate. The issues include: liquidity squeeze, business shutdown and diminishing private sector confidence. [Related: Finance Minister’s speech on the Economic Survey Report 2016 (pdf) and the National Development Plan 2017-18]

Uganda: Budget Speech 2017-18 (Daily Monitor)

Uganda’s external and domestic Public debt amounted to $8.7bn as of 31st December 2016. In nominal terms this is equivalent to 33.8% of our GDP. However, when future debt payment obligations are discounted to today’s value, our Public Debt to GDP ratio stands at 27%. This is much lower than the threshold of 50% beyond which public debt becomes unsustainable. Uganda’s public debt therefore, is sustainable over the medium to long term. International reserves at end December 2016 stood at $3bn, equivalent to 4.2 months of imports of goods and services. This is close to the target of 4.5 months of import cover to be achieved in 2021, as agreed in the EAC Monetary Union protocol. [Background to the Budget Fiscal Year 2017-18]

Rwanda: 2017/18 Budget lays the ground for key infrastructure, manufacturing schemes (New Times)

The Government expects to finance 66% of the 2017/18 Budget domestically through tax and non-tax revenues, while it expects 17% of the Budget to come from both domestically and externally generated loans, and the remaining 17% obtained from foreign grants. Gatete noted the country’s positive direction toward self-reliance as the 66% rate in the Proposed Budget is an improvement from the current fiscal year’s 62% of domestically secured revenues for Budget funding. The boost in domestic revenues is attributed to a projected Rwf118.9 billion increase in tax revenue collection for the next fiscal year, hence the government has targeted to collect Rwf1,200.3 billion in taxes, up from the current fiscal year’s Rwf1,081.4 billion.

Social dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development: Economic and Social Council adopts five texts, including on Africa’s development

By the resolution titled “Social dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development”, the Council called on the international community to enhance support and fulfil its commitments in areas vital to Africa’s economic and social development. Calling inclusive and sustainable industrialization a critical engine of such development, the Council stressed the importance of taking measures to promote the dynamic diversification of African economies.

South Africa: National Assembly adopts controversial border authority bill (Business Day)

The National Assembly has voted to adopt the controversial Border Management Authority Bill at the third attempt. The bill was initially voted on in May and again earlier this week. However, on both occasions, opposition parties walked out in protest, leaving the house short of the quorum of 201 needed of the 400 MPs. On Thursday, ANC MPs turned out in droves, ensuring a quorum.

SA suspends all trade in birds and chicken products from Zimbabwe (pdf, DAFF)

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ Veterinary Services was, on 2 June 2017, notified of an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in one of the commercial chicken flocks in Zimbabwe. The virus has been typed as H5N8. South Africa keeps a close eye on the notifications reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health by trade partners. South Africa immediately suspended all trade in live birds and poultry, meat, table eggs and other unprocessed poultry products and communicated this to the Zimbabwean Chief Veterinary Officer. South Africa imports very little from Zimbabwe. All importers were immediately notified that their import permits were cancelled.

Zimbabwe: President rejects insurance Bill (The Chronicle)

President Mugabe has rejected the ZEP-Re (Membership of Zimbabwe and Branch Office Agreement) Bill, which sought to pave the way for one of Africa’s leading insurance firms to extend its business into the country. Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda on Wednesday announced in Parliament that the President had reservations on the Bill because it was not clear.

Rising shipping costs set to lift global food import bill to more than $1.3 trillion (FAO)

“Global food commodity markets are well-balanced, buoyed by ample supplies of wheat and maize and rebounding production of oilseed products. However, rising shipping costs and larger import volumes are set to lift the global food import bill to more than $1.3 trillion this year, a 10.6% increase from 2016,” said the Food and Agricultural Organization today in its biannual publication entitled Food Outlook. Rising import bills are forecast for all food categories except for fish, for which growing domestic market demand in many developing countries is being increasingly met by robust growth in their local aquaculture sectors.

OECD Ministerial Council: Chair’s Statement on International Trade, Investment and Climate Change, Ministerial Council Statement, USTR statement

Today’s Quick Links:

Africa, Europe are not threats to each other – Kagame

Deloitte: Nigeria’s Business Climate and Ease of Doing Business Initiatives (pdf)

ICTSD: WTO agriculture negotiators review Buenos Aires ministerial options

Commonwealth Trade: Small vulnerable economies and fisheries subsidies disciplines: issues, debates and alliances

Mauritius to sign Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures

AfDB: Infrastructure, Cities and Urban Development Department - Annual Report 2016 (pdf)

China’s Liu Zhenmin named new head of UN Economic and Social Affairs Department


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