Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: John Seaton Callahan

The 5th SACU Summit takes place on Friday in Swaziland. Swaziland as the current Chair of SACU has successfully led a process that facilitated discussions within SACU on the transformation of SACU towards a developmental integration agenda. The Summit will receive and consider a report from Council on its activities with the purpose of providing strategic direction on development integration in SACU and to ensure that the SACU Agreement facilitates the implementation of this agenda.

CFTA Modalities on Goods and Services adopted in Niamey (UNECA)

The preceding technical discussions in the CFTA-NF and the STO paved the way for the AMOT to adopt the CFTA modalities or framework for goods and services liberalization. For the liberalization of trade in goods, it was agreed to liberalize 90% of tariff lines with flexibility accorded in the remaining 10% for sensitive and excluded products. Further disciplines will be established through negotiations for the timeframe for liberalization, qualifications for sensitive products, and for a method to review excluded products. The modalities for services encompass a common positive list approach for progressive services liberalization. The priority sectors for liberalization will be determined without any prior exclusion of any service sector or supply mode. Further work is envisaged to establish the new tariff schedules, to apply the disciplines on excluded and sensitive products, and on the terms of services liberalization in the priority sectors.

Minister Rob Davies on CFTA’s next steps: The President of the Republic of Niger has been mandated to report on the outcomes of the AU Ministers of Trade and progress made in the CFTA negotiations to the AU Summit next month. The meeting also discussed the preparations for the 11th Ministerial Conference of the WTO and agreed to have a dedicated informal session of African Ministers of Trade to engage and coordinate Africa's position on the WTO. Ministers further welcomed the offer of the Republic of Togo to host the 16th session of the AGOA Forum in August this year and agreed to assess future US-Africa relations in line with the new USA administration's Trade Policy released in March 2017.

ECOWAS summit outcomes:

(i) ECOWAS Authority reduces size of the Commission. The 51st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government has approved the recommendation for a reduction in the size of the Commission from 15 Commissioners to 9, and for a reduction of the number of Statutory Appointees to 17 in all Community Institutions as proposed by the Council of Ministers. The Authority called on the Ad hoc Ministerial Committee to ensure that each Member State gets at least one statutory position and instructed the President of the Commission to extend the reform to other Community institutions and take necessary measures to finalize the process. The Authority endorsed the seven-member Ministerial committee established by Council that will, with guidance from the Commission, propose modalities for the allocation of Statutory positions to Member States based on a credible, equitable and rotational system as well as existing Community Rules.

(ii) ECOWAS Authority directs Commission to reflect on the implications of Morocco’s request for membership. The Authority considered the request for membership to ECOWAS from the Kingdom of Morocco, the application for observer status from the Republic of Tunisia as well as the request for Associate Membership from the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. Regarding Mauritania, the Authority noted that pursuant to the directives of the Yamoussoukro Summit held on March 29, 2014, the President of the Commission provided an update on the initialing of the Association Agreement between ECOWAS and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania in Nouachott on May 5, 2017. Taking note of the initialing, the Summit called on Member States to sign the Association Agreement and directed Mauritania, being a former member of ECOWAS, should speed up the process for full membership to be able to enjoy all the rights and benefits of a Member State. For Tunisia, the Authority directed that the country be granted an observer status to ECOWAS, but directs the Commission to ensure that all necessary rules and procedures governing the granting of observer status to Community Institutions are in place. It directed the Commission to present this matter at its next Summit in Lome, Togo.

(iii) Economic performance and implementation of regional integration programmes. Concerning the free movement of persons and goods, the Authority took note of the country reports of the Task Force on free movement, which highlighted the continued impediment to the free movement of persons and goods within the ECOWAS region. The Heads of State and Government reaffirmed their strong commitment to the implementation of the provisions of the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Residence and Establishment. In this regard, the leaders agreed to speed up the introduction of the biometric identity card and removal of non-tariff barriers, to facilitate intra-community trade and enhance security in the region. With respect to the Customs Union, the Heads of State and Government welcomed the progress made in the implementation of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff by Member States and the development process of the Community Customs Code. They reaffirmed their commitment to the smooth and timely implementation of the ECOWAS CET, and thereby urged Member States yet to implement the CET to fast-track the process. [An interview with Kalilou Traore, ECOWAS Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Promotion]

Hubs and Spokes Initiative for promoting ACP trade extended (InDepthNews)

The Hubs and Spokes Programme, an innovative trade initiative for expanding opportunities for business, employment and prosperity in ACP countries, is to be extended until February 2019. Through the Programme, which is a joint initiative of the EU, ACP Group Secretariat, Commonwealth Secretariat and Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, trade advisers are placed in government ministries and regional organisations to provide support and build local capacity to develop trade policies. Six regional advisers (the hubs) and 16 national advisers (the spokes) are currently deployed by the Commonwealth Secretariat under the Hub and Spokes Programme. The OIF has also deployed 4 hubs and 16 spokes in Africa, resulting in a total of 10 hubs and 32 spokes deployed under the programme. Advisers are placed in the following countries and regional organisations:

Corporate Council on Africa’s US-Africa Business Summit: profiled speeches

(i) Wilbur Ross (US Commerce Secretary). I believe that, the more African nations partner with U.S. businesses, the better off both the United States and Africa will be. In 2016, US exports to Africa were approximately $21.81bn – nearly double the $10.96bn in US exports in 2000. Total trade between Africa and the US was approximately $48.3bn last year, up nearly $10bn since 2000. And our trade deficit declined in that period from $16.7bn to $4.7bn. All of these numbers are moving in the right direction, so let's work hard to have those trends continue. Our trade relationship is vital to the security and stability of both the United States and Africa. But our relationship with Africa has to continue its transition from being "AID-based" to "TRADE-based." To that end, having two-way trade agreements, not just temporary trade preferences, would create long-term, sustainable improvements to quality of life on both sides of the Atlantic. Bilateral trade agreements, rather than large, multilateral ones, can be very effective tools in meeting the long-term interests of the partners involved. And studies show that developing countries with liberalized trade tend to grow faster than those that don't. In the meantime, we must ensure countries currently benefitting from trade preferences granted by our AGOA continue complying with the eligibility requirements established in US law. The Administration takes these congressional requirements very seriously.

(ii) President Filipe Nyusi. Last week during the National Forum on Infrastructures, we stated that it is now time to look forward. Mozambique is sending vital signals of overcoming obstacles. During this month we launched the South Coral floating LNG project in the Ruvuma Basin, an investment which attracted 15 international banks and five credit agencies for exports. This is a major vote of confidence in Mozambique and in our Government. Hence our statement that Mozambique is back, foreign investments are secure. Mozambique possesses land for irrigation of about 3 million hectares, in more than eight priority river basins. The major advantage is the existence of a secure market of agriculture products at national, regional and international level.

(iii) Dr Akinwumi Adesina. We must all look at Africa differently. As Josh Becker, US co-founder and CEO of Impele, said of US companies' approach to Africa, "companies take their notebooks but not their checkbooks". Let me say to you today that Africa needs your checkbooks! To accelerate business investments in Africa, the African Development Bank will launch later this year the Africa Investment Forum –a totally transactional Forum to unlock global and regional institutional investors to Africa. And Africa funds must invest in Africa – this is a crucial point. We look forward to working with the US Government, the Corporate Council on Africa, and all of you on this.

G20 Africa Partnership – investing in a common future: address by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel

We in the industrialised countries have to consider whether we have always taken the right path in providing our traditional development aid. I don't think we have. We have to focus more strongly on each specific country's own economic development. That's what gave rise to the idea – proposed first and foremost by our Finance Minister and our Development Minister – of saying we need an initiative through which we don't speak about Africa, but speak with Africa. The result was the G20 Compact with Africa Initiative. We want to lend support for regional market integration, not least in order to enhance the transfer of technology and know-how. We also want to ensure that trade flows between Europe and African countries really benefit everyone. We still have a lot to do in this regard.

COMESA: Moving towards a seamless upper airspace

Subject to approval by COMESA Council of Ministers, the region will next year start implementing a seven year programme which will eventually culminate in the establishment of a seamless upper airspace based on harmonized civil aviation rules and procedures. The implementation of the first phase of the COMESA Seamless Upper Airspace Project has been agreed to by the experts from Member countries most of whom are currently working as individual countries when it comes to the aviation sector. Director of Infrastructure and Logistics Mr. Jean Baptiste Mutabazi described the project as critical for the regional economic bloc and its people. A team of experts from the Project Consultants EGIS AVIA of France led by Mr Thierry Debord made various presentations on the technical and financial feasibility study of establishing the project.

Rwanda to join regional anti-money laundering body (New Times)

Parliament has ratified Rwanda's membership of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group. The draft law was last week presented before lawmakers by Dr Uzziel Ndagijimana, the minister of state for economic planning. "Our region is prone to money laundering. We need to be prepared, exchange information with other countries and support each other in updating regulations and laws on money laundering as it is a dynamic trend," he said.

CEMAC: Strengthening competition and consumer protection (UNCTAD)

UNCTAD is embarking on a two-year project aimed at strengthening competition and consumer protection for the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, funded by the EU within the wider Trade and Economic Integration Programme (PACIE). The new programme will focus on the following countries: Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and São Tome and Principe. It will carry out the following activities:

Today’s Quick Links

Business Africa: Andrew Le Roux, president of the Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce, has been elected as the new second Vice President of Business Africa

East African Business Council AGM: new chairman and executive committee

Africa Renewal articles: Pension funds, insurance firms as key drivers of regional integration; Africa's quest for a cashless economy gains momentum

Trademark owners rush to register .africa domains

ECOWAS health, environment ministers meet in Abuja to adopt approach to emergencies

Brahima Coulibaly: Africa's race against the machines

Nominee for USAID administrator, Mark Green, sails through Senate hearing

Mauritius: Ranks 1st, in Africa, on 2017 Global Cybersecurity Index

Arab countries get 30% of Brazil's dairy exports

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