tralac’s Daily News Selection
A reminder that the SACU Summit takes place today in Swaziland.
tralac’s Weekly Newsletter is posted. Talkmore Chidede examines investment policy reforms in Africa: How can they be synchronised?
Peter Fabricius: Anthony Carroll, potential Trump pick for US ambassador to SA is ‘a good friend of South Africa’
President Kagame speaks out on US threat over used clothes ban (New Times)
President Paul Kagame has said that Rwanda will proceed with the planned phase-out of importation of second-hand clothes despite the threats that it could lead to a review of eligibility to access duty-free access to the American market. He said that despite the consequences of being locked out of AGOA, Rwanda is keen on developing its local textile industry. “Rwanda and other countries in the region that are part of AGOA, have to do other things, we have to grow and establish our industries,” Kagame said. “We are put in a situation where we have to choose; you choose to be a recipient of used clothes with a threat hanging or choose to grow our textile industries, which Rwandans deserve at the expense of being part of AGOA. This is the choice we find that we have to make. As far as I am concerned, making the choice is simple, we might suffer consequences. Even when confronted with difficult choices, there is always a way,” he added. [Background: USTR announcement]
Related commentaries on the out-of-cycle review:
New Times editorial comment: The Office of the United States Trade Representative must be aware that last year the US exported $281m worth of goods to the three mentioned countries. How can a mere $24m derived from second hand exports to the whole EAC region be an issue to the extent of damaging trade relations between the US and the EAC? Why should we agree to be dumping grounds for used things? How come no noise was made when the government banned the importation of used electric appliances such as refrigerators because of environmental reasons?
Tanzania: EAC urged to go ahead with plans to ban second-hand clothes imports (Daily News). Mr Salum Shamte, the Vice-Chairman of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation said yesterday that the plan by Tanzania and other EAC member states to ban second-hand clothes imports came at the most opportune time of promoting textile industries. “The government and the others in the EAC should maintain its position of banning imports of used clothes and shoes in favour of domestic manufacturing,” he told the ‘Daily News’ in an interview. Mr Shamte said EAC member states should be concerned with protection and promoting interests of their countries and the community just like what the US President, Donald Trump, does with ‘America first’ policy.
Inter-regional collaboration on mining policy: an interview with Dan Kazungu (Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Mining)
We have agreed with ministers for mining from Sub-Saharan Africa to plan a forum for African Mining Ministers so we can always have an agenda for African mining and create jobs and opportunities for our people. It’s in it’s infancy stage. We’re still trying to put it together. Kenya will be the convener for the meeting of African Mining Ministers so we can see how we can confront issues that are not country specific together. We want to see how we can collaborate to resolve these issues for the betterment of our peoples.
Simonetta Zarrilli: The case for mainstreaming gender in trade policy (UNCTAD)
Trade has an impact on women’s empowerment and wellbeing, and gender inequality has an impact on countries’ trade performance and competitiveness. Let us have a closer look at the two sides of the equation. Trade has an impact on gender through three main channels. UNCTAD is developing a toolbox for the ex-ante gender assessment of trade measures to support countries to carry out this task. While many developing countries are shifting their production and export strategies towards services, agriculture remains women’s main employer in many of them. This means that policies aimed at making agriculture more commercial and more technology- and export-oriented cannot ignore the implications for women. Let’s zoom in on some specific country experiences (Rwanda, Angola, Lesotho, Kenya). [The author is Chief of the Trade, Gender and Development Programme, UNCTAD]
Afreximbank’s support to Egypt: update
“Presently, the Bank’s exposure to Egypt amounts to $4.4bn, representing 37% of our portfolio,” he said, adding that Afreximbank’s non-funded support to the country, in the form of letters of credit confirmation and guarantees, exceeded $1bn. On support for Egypt’s trade with the rest of Africa, the President said that the Afreximbank was helping large Egyptian entities to become continental and global champions by supporting them to export to other African countries. Presently, such support amounted to no less than $1.5bn.
Kenya joins Africa’s big projects funder AFC (Daily Nation)
AFC chief executive Andrew Alli welcomed Kenya’s membership saying it was a critical step to AFC’s strategic positioning to inject funds into infrastructural development in the country. Other members are Rwanda, Uganda, Cape Verde, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra-Leone. “By improving Kenya’s infrastructure, AFC is making it a regional hub that promotes intra-regional trade links with better transport, telecommunications networks and power supply,” he said.
Namibia: Gross Domestic Product, Q1 2017 (pdf, Nambia Statistics Agency)
Year-on-year, the GDP for the first quarter of 2017 continues to contract by recording 2.7% compared to an increase of 4.1% registered in the corresponding quarter of 2016 (Figure 1). The poor performance was mainly attributed to construction and manufacturing, wholesale and retail and hotels and restaurants sectors that contracted by 44.9%, 10.7%, 7.4% and 9.3%, in real value added, respectively. The trade deficit continues to decline, recording N$1.3bn during the first quarter when compared to N$4.1bn recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2016. (Figure 3).
Lucy Corkin: Angola’s recurring oil challenges in a new context (Oxford Institute for Energy Studies)
Oil remains the source of approximately 98% of the country’s foreign exchange and 75% of government revenue. As such, it is likely that this time around there will be far more wide-ranging consequences for Angola, its oil industry, and the country’s major foreign investors, the international oil majors. This is particularly because the country’s two constants, which have represented political and economic stability, namely President Eduardo dos Santos and the ubiquitous role of Sonangol in the economy are about to change.
Nigeria foreign investment inflow declines 41%; lowest in 10 years (Premium Times)
The National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, on Wednesday said the total value of capital imported into Nigeria in the first quarter of 2017 was estimated to be $908.27m, the lowest in ten years. According to a new report tagged Capital Importation Report, when compared to the $1.55bn that the economy attracted in the fourth quarter of 2016, the figure represents a decline of $640.61m, representing 41.36%. The decline in investment inflow, the report said, was due to the fall in “other investment” and portfolio investments category made up of equity, which dropped from $176.44m in the fourth quarter of 2016 to $101.99m in the first quarter of 2017.
Nigeria: Investors cheer currency shift, want more (Reuters)
Nigeria’s recent tentative steps to free up its naira currency, particularly via a new trading window, have gone down well with some adventurous stock and bond investors who are cautiously returning to the markets they fled two years ago. Once considered one of the most promising emerging markets, Nigeria was hammered when it introduced draconian foreign exchange restrictions to counter the effects of the 2014 oil price crash. These will take years to unwind, some analysts fear, while others are concerned the new trading facility could come under pressure if oil prices were to take another tumble, or trade through it could slow if Nigeria’s currency reserves run low.
Ethiopian Airlines signs $1.5bn deal with engine maker Rolls-Royce as it expands fleet (Daily Nation)
Ethiopian Airlines has signed a $1.5bn deal with British engine maker Rolls-Royce as it continues to upgrade and expand its fleet to realise the ambition of dominating Africa’s skies. The deal means all the 10 new Airbus A350-900 aircraft that Ethiopian Airlines has recently ordered will run on Rolls Royce’s Trent XWB engines. The order also includes an engine maintenance plan for 14 of Ethiopian Airlines planes already in service or on order.
Africa’s mobile phone market declines in Q1 2017 – IDC (Guardian)
Overall mobile phone shipments for the first quarter of the year in Africa totalled 54.5 million units, down -8.2% from Q4 2016. This is according to the International Data Corporation’s (IDC’s) Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, which shows Africa’s mobile phone market started the year off with a drastic quarter-on-quarter decline. The prime driver of this downturn was a stark -17.6% decline in the smartphone segment, with shipments falling from 25.8 million units in Q4 2016 to 21.2 million units in Q1 2017, reveals the report. IDC further found when viewed year-on-year, the overall mobile market in Africa was up 8.4%, primarily due to feature phone shipments growing from 26.6 million units in Q1 2016 to 33.3 million units in Q1 2017.
A complete picture of the economic impact of counterfeiting and piracy: three reports (EUIPO)
Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods: mapping the economic impact is based on data supplied by the WCO, the EC’s Taxation and Customs Union Directorate General and the US Customs and Border Protection to give an accurate picture of the global economic impact of counterfeiting and goods piracy in international trade. Mapping the real routes of trade in fake goods is a follow-up report to Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods: mapping the economic impact. The study assesses the complex routes associated with the global trade in counterfeit goods. The analysis in this study uses a set of statistical filters to go further in clarifying the role of important provenance countries. It identifies key producing economies and key transit points for ten main sectors that are particularly vulnerable to counterfeiting. A Report on infringement of protected geographical indications for wine, spirits, agricultural products and foodstuffs in the European Union supplements the joint EUIPO/OECD report. The impact of these infringements on EU consumers was also estimated, with a loss evaluated at up to EUR 2.3 billion. [Downloads include the sector studies]
Today’s Quick Links:
SACU: WCO support for a regional approach on advance rulings
South Africa: Competition Commission rejects Japanese container line merger proposal (pdf)
Uganda’s first oil ‘may not’ flow by 2020
Uganda gets support for Gulu Logistics Hub construction
Acting President Osinbajo receives new ECOWAS chairman in Aso Rock
The Platform for Collaboration on Tax: new toolkit to provide guidance to developing countries
Côte d’Ivoire: Letter of Intent, Memorandum of Economic Financial Policies (pdf)
Benn Steil, Emma Smith: The retreat of the Renminbi