Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: UN

Featured tweet, @AfricaSweMFA: 26 countries represented at the Nordic-African FM meeting in Nigeria [this weekend]. Great discussions on peace and security, trade and gender equality.

CFTA update: The 3rd Meeting of Senior Trade Officials starts today in Niamey, in preparation for the Ministers of Trade and Industry meeting (15-16 June).

Today in Addis: 31st IGAD Summit of Heads of States will address the deteriorating situation in South Sudan.

Starting today, in Berlin, Germany’s G20 Africa-Conference. The keynote speech will be delivered Federal chancellor Angela Merkel. Finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble will then welcome counterparts from Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco, Senegal, Rwanda and Tunisia as well as the President of the AfDB, Akinwumi Adesina, the MD of the IMF, Christine Lagarde and the President of the WBG, Jim Yong Kim. Tomorrow, German Central Bank Governor, Jens Weidmann, will open the Investment Symposium.

Starting today, in Libreville: 16th Session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment. Downloads: conference documentation

Starting tomorrow, in Geneva: Nigeria’s Trade Policy Review (13, 15 June)

Starting tomorrow, in Washington: the 2017 US-Africa Business Summit. Wilbur Ross, US Secretary of Commerce, will deliver a keynote address. The overarching conference theme, The US stake in Africa: a call for greater economic engagement, is explored through three main topics on each day: (i) Navigating the African market, (ii) Africa in a globalizing economy, (iii) Regional integration and the impact on trade and investment. [Explore: conference programme for daily sessions]

Cross-border co-operation networks in West Africa (OECD)

Long seen as artificial barriers inherited from decolonisation, West African borders now lie at the heart of policies designed to encourage regional trade and combat political instability. This rediscovery of the peripheries of the nation state has fostered a proliferation of institutional initiatives that aim to cultivate co-operation between countries, regions and municipalities while ensuring the protection and promoting the interests and rights of the people living in border regions. Despite these regional initiatives, the effective functioning of cross-border co-operation still remains largely unknown across West Africa. The purpose of this paper is to fill that gap, with an analysis of both the social structure and the geography of West African governance networks. On the basis of this structural and geographic analysis, policy recommendations are formulated aimed at implementing policies that are more place-based, more attentive to relations between the actors at play in co-operation, and more specifically adapted to the constraints and opportunities of the West African region. [The analyst: Olivier J. Walther]

Zimbabwe: Zimra cargo tracker cuts smuggling, fraud (The Herald)

Entry into cargo in transit declined by 62% since Government introduced the electronic cargo tracking system in a bid to curb smuggling and transit fraud of goods at border posts. Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa officially commissioned the country’s first anti-smuggling, transit fraud detection and curbing electronic system on 15 May 2017 in Harare. The system has been fully operational since 2 January 2017 and covers 18 transit routes, geo-fenced, under real time monitoring and tracking from the national revenue collector’s command centre.

Rwanda to adopt new system to curb delays of transit cargo (New Times)

Rwanda Revenue Authority is primed to adopt a multi-lateral transit framework that allows goods in transit to be cleared by customs, with the payment of duties and taxes suspended until they are cleared at final destination.The Transport Internationaux Routiers (TIR) system, officials at RRA said, will greatly boost the drive toward regional integration. According to Raphael Ugirumuremyi, the commissioner for customs services at RRA, Rwanda has since realised commendable progress in trade facilitation since the removal of non-tariff barriers by the East African region—but “some challenges” still exist, hence the need to further look into “possible solution”.

Trade facilitation: SADC approve R40m grants to Madagascar, Seychelles (Southern Times)

SADC has approved to give R20m each to Madagascar and Seychelles to improve their participation in regional and international trade. The grants were approved by the SADC Trade Related Facility programme steering committee, during its 7th meeting held in Gaborone last month. SADC has approved the funding for Madagascar to strengthen border agency capacity by developing and implementing guidelines for border agency coordination. SADC also wants Madagascar to improve the One-Stop-Shop for exporters through technical assistance towards its efficient operation and capacity building; to develop and implement a national trade promotion strategy; stakeholder capacity development; market research to identify tourism opportunities in the SADC region, especially targeting South Africa; and undertaking a number of trade promotion activities.

South Africa: Moody’s downgrades South Africa’s rating to Baa3, assigns negative outlook

The key drivers for the downgrade are: (i) the weakening of South Africa’s institutional framework; (ii) reduced growth prospects reflecting policy uncertainty and slower progress with structural reforms; and (iii) the continued erosion of fiscal strength due to rising public debt and contingent liabilities. The negative outlook reflects Moody’s view that the risks to growth and fiscal strength arising from the political outlook are tilted to the downside. It is unlikely that a political consensus will emerge which supports investment in the economy and reinvigorates the reform effort sufficiently quickly to reverse the expected negative impact on growth and on the government’s balance sheet. The opposite scenario, of heightened political dysfunction, continued gradual institutional weakening and diminished clarity over policy objectives, has a higher likelihood. [National Treasury statement (pdf)]

Ethiopia: Fitch affirms Ethiopia at ‘B’, outlook stable

Ethiopia’s average GDP growth in 2012-16 was 9.5%, much higher than the ‘B’ category median of 3.9%. GDP growth has been little impacted by two severe drought episodes in 2016-2017, reflecting an improvement in macroeconomic stability. This is attributable to a more efficient crisis management framework, higher agricultural productivity and lower dependence on agriculture due to the solid expansion in construction and to a lesser extent, services. Consequently, GDP growth slowed only moderately to 8% in FY16 (ending 7 July 2016) and has recovered to 10% in FY17, according to authorities’ estimates. Inflation has also remained contained below 8%. Lifted by high public investment aiming at bridging wide infrastructure gaps and a gradual pick-up in manufacturing, growth is expected to average around 8% over the next three years, below the 11% target set in the authorities’ Growth and Transformation Plan II but still much higher than peers. General government finances remain sound.

Tanzania: Dar Port savours double delight (Daily News)

The government through Tanzania Ports Authority, has signed a 36-month contract with a Chinese firm for the designing, construction, deepening and strengthening of the Dar es Salaam Port. According to the contract, China Habour Engineering Company Limitedwill design, construct, deepen and strengthen Dar es Salaam Port’s berths numbers 1 to 7. The upgrading of the berths will enable the Port to receive large cargo ships, hence it will be able to compete with the rest of the ports along the Indian Ocean coast. According to the Minister, the seven berths will be deepened from the current depth of eight metres up to 15 metres. “These measures will enable the Port to receive large vessels capable of carrying up to 19,000 containers.”

Tanzania: Domestication of Sustainable Development Goals: progress report by National Bureau of Statistics

Anzetse Were: How to develop light manufacturing in Kenya

Last week I attended a meeting organised by the ODI, ACET, and the Government of Ethiopia aimed at analysing and sharing lessons on the development of light manufacturing in Africa. The development of light manufacturing is an important part of Kenya’s plan for industrialisation as articulated in the Kenya Industrial Transformation Programme developed by the Ministry of Industry. The Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Arkebe Oqubay, made some interesting points about key features of light manufacturing of which countries should be cognisant as they implement industrialisation plans. Kenya can build on the successes being registered in infrastructure development and expedite the creation of SEZs, learning from countries like Ethiopia. However, the country needs a sharper focus on improving agricultural productivity, a more coherent skills development strategy, vastly improve investment facilitation and more effectively encourage public-private dialogue on the development of light manufacturing in the country. [ACET PACT Manufacturing Chapter launch]

Zambia: IMF concludes visit

The near-term outlook for the economy has improved in recent months, driven by good rains and positive sentiments in the financial markets as evidenced by increased foreign investor participation in the government securities market. A bumper harvest and increased hydroelectricity generation are expected to boost economic activity by more than previously projected.

Duty hurts Kenya’s flower export plan to China (Business Daily)

“The four per cent duty has made our flowers more expensive in China market compared to the EU countries where we sell duty-free,” Kenya Flower Council chief executive Jane Ngige at this year’s International Flower Trade Expo that was opened in Nairobi on Wednesday. “We are calling upon the Kenyan government to negotiate the removal of the tariff with China the same way flowers from Ethiopia access its market duty free,” Mrs Ngige said.

Kenya: Diaspora remittances rise to Sh44.7bn in Q1 (Business Daily)

Latest Central Bank of Kenya data shows that the remittances in the first three months of the year totalled $432.6m (Sh44.7 billion) compared to $415.6m in quarter one of 2016 (Sh42.1 billion at the March 2016 exchange rate). Last year, Kenyans abroad sent home a total of $1.72bn (Sh178 billion), making the remittances the largest source of foreign exchange for the country ahead of tourism and horticulture. “Remittances continue to do well and are now at just a little less than 2.5% of our GDP. They have grown even as remittances to sub-Saharan Africa fell by 6% in 2016,” said CBK governor Patrick Njoroge last week.

Tanzania: Government accuses Acacia of mining gold illegally (Bloomberg)

“The committee has established that Acacia Mining Plc has been conducting its mining business here in Tanzania contrary to the law,” Nehemiah Osoro, chairman of a committee ordered by President John Magufuli to conduct an audit of mineral exports over the past 19 years, said Monday in Dar es Salaam. Acacia’s shares dropped as much as 14% and were 5.8% lower at 282.60 pence by 9:34 a.m. in London. The company, which is majority owned by Barrick Gold Corp., said in an earlier statement that it has “fully cooperated” with the audit committee’s work.

Ghana: President Akufo-Addo announces new tax to support African Union (GBN)

“Indeed, Cabinet just approved a 0.02% deductions in all imports outside AU as a fund to support the activities of AU, so that AU will not go begging other countries for its citizens,” President Nana Akufo-Addo stated in a speech read on his behalf at the closing ceremony of a five day orientation workshop for newly appointed envoys in Accra. He reminded the envoys, who would be heading towards African countries that Africa remained a focal point of Ghana’s Foreign Policy objectives.

Oceans Conference: Call for Action

The week-long conference, where some 6,000 people participated, was the first time that the UN brought everyone together to discuss the challenges facing the world’s oceans. “When it comes to the ocean, it’s the common heritage of humankind. There’s no North-South, East-West when it comes to the ocean,” Mr. Thomson said. “If the ocean is dying, it’s dying on all of us.”

Today’s Quick Links

Top WTO judge says trade dispute system is clogged up

Mzukisi Qobo: How the G20 can support African countries

Pritish Behuria: The cautious return of import substitution in Africa

Africa aims to learn from Chile’s success in mining sector

Proposed: An EU Electrify Africa Hotspot

FAO/WFP update for UNSC: Monitoring food security in countries with conflict situations (pdf)


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