tralac’s Daily News Selection
Featured infographic, shared via @LopesInsights: AU reform proposals in one graph (Institute for Peace and Security Studies)
Starting today, in Addis: The Permanent Representative Committee meeting is the first statutory meeting of the 29th Ordinary Session of the Summit of the AU (27 June to 4 July). The PRC meeting will prepare the agenda of the AU Summit with appropriate recommendations for consideration by the Executive Council (30 June – 1 July).
African Ministers of Trade agree on level of ambition of 90% for trade in goods (Rwanda News Agency)
During discussions in Niamey, RNA’s André Gakwaya had an interview with the Commissioner of Trade and Industry at the African Union, Albert M. Muchanga talking about trade on the continent. RNA: The eight countries accepted the agreement? AM: No, the level of ambition is 90 %, that’s why we start from the liberalization process but there are eight countries who feel like we should have started at 85 %. And they are made their reservations. Now, we work with on this negotiation is the principal of variable geometry, but that we mean, countries which are not in the position to join the process can be given time for adjustments, so they can be given time to join us later. RNA: Is there a time frame for those countries to join? AM: That’s a sovereign decision, they’ll consider the possibilities and when they are ready, then they can be part of the negotiations. As I said, we’re in the negotiation, but we are going to submit the legal text to the ministers on the 1st of December. We are meeting from 30th Nov-1st Dec. But between now and December, there are going to be several meetings of negotiations and senior official. Everything must be finalized by Dec 31st this year.
The jobs gap: Making inclusive growth work in Africa (Tony Blair Insitute for Global Change)
The Jobs Gap (pdf) draws on our work in ten African countries over the past decade advising governments on how to make market-based sector development work in practice. The paper also provides four essential elements and a roadmap for governments and their international partners seeking to foster inclusive growth and create the jobs needed by Africa’s growing population. These are:
African politics meets Chinese engineers: The Chinese-built Standard Gauge Railway Project in Kenya and East Africa (pdf, SAIS CARI)
This paper examines the way local Kenyan politics have aﬀected implementation of the Standard Gauge Railway. It points to initial and immediate development opportunities for local content, jobs, and skills while arguing for a more rigorous assessment of the SGR’s economic development potential. Unless Kenya overhauls its governance framework on the issues outlined in this paper, infrastructure projects risk overshooting initial budgets and reducing the willingness of neighboring countries or foreign investors to engage in future initiatives in Kenya. [The analysts: Uwe Wissenbach, Yuan Wang], [Will SGR deliver on cost-cutting goal?]
South Africa: Musina Intermodal Terminal launched (dti)
The terminal, which is aimed at the containerised cargo market and the transportation of mineral ores such as coal, iron ore, chrome, copper and sulphur, is a stepping stone to bigger projects within and around the newly-designated Musina-Makhado SEZ. “The SEZ will significantly increase industrial production in the region. This will include steel and related inputs for producing steel and stainless steel, as well as increasing mining development and production. The SEZ will thus increase trade between South Africa and its neighbours. Regional integration will also be deepened,” said SA’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies. He stated that the project was designed to improve trade which is key to the regional integration agenda. According to him, it further speaks to the goals of moving up the value chain and industrialisation of the country. Davies also announced that the SADC tariff agreement with the east corridor would be finalised in July 2017 and said it was going to present new trading opportunities and open new markets for trading.
SA-DRC Bi-National Commission: a push for strengthened trade relations
South Africa and the DRC have reaffirmed their willingness to improve and strengthen their economic relations. This will be done through facilitating trade and removing all impediments constraining bilateral trade and investment. As such, President Jacob Zuma and President Joseph Kabila’s treaty on the avoidance of double taxation should be implemented soon as all legal requirements have been fulfilled. The BNC also saw the signing of the MoU between the Cross Border Road Transport Agency and the Office for the Management of Multimodal Freight. [Full text: BNC communiqué], [dti, KNCCI seminar: Exploring trade and investment opportunities between Kenya and SA]
Nigeria, Mexico trade hits $600m in 14 years (Business Day)
Mexican Embassy, Deputy Head of Mission, Rodrigo Tenorio, said the volume of trade between Nigeria and Mexico has grown exponentially from $166.5m in 2012 to $600m in 2016. He noted that Mexico sees Nigeria as a natural spring board to stand for the entire Africa and main goal is to make sure that Nigeria is known as number one economy in Africa. He said that the major challenge in the relationship between the two countries was that they did not know each other well. The Vice President of NMCCI, Chukwuemeka Elele, said that the Chamber was launched in December 2014 as part of efforts to further strengthen the bilateral trade relations, between the two countries. He said that the chamber had organised its first trade mission to Mexico in May 2015 with 35 Nigerian entrepreneurs participating. The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Nigerian Export Promotion Council and the Nigerian Export-Import Bank also participated in the trade mission. [Nigeria raises $300m from its first ever diaspora bond]
Tanzania: Govt bans sale of maize outside the country (IPPMedia)
Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa yesterday banned the sale of maize outside the country, saying export licences will from now on be sparingly issued on maize flour only. Premier Majaliwa warned those who export food produce for trade, saying stern measures will be taken against them since the country doesn’t have enough food. According to him, there had been increased cases of exporting food especially in borders of Tarakea, Horororo and Mwanga, saying that more measures should be taken to curb the incidents. He also ordered top police officials to take appropriate measures against policemen who facilitate the trade at the borders. [Govt impounds over 160 tonnes of maize en route to Kenya]
Three-day timeframe for investors’ permits in the pipeline (Daily News)
TIC Executive Director Geoffrey Mwambe made the revelation over the weekend in Dar es Salaam, hinting that by July next year, the permits will be issued within a day. He was speaking during a joint meeting with all public entities responsible for investment activities. According to latest figures, TIC registered a total of 242 projects worth $2bn between July 2016 and March 2017. Of these, 105 (43%) are Foreign Direct Investment sourced from China, India, Kenya, UK, Mauritius, Oman, UAE, Canada and the US, while 76 are joint ventures between local investors and their foreign counterparts.
The Third COMESA Annual Research Forum: implementation of COMESA University high on the agenda
Anchored under the theme: ‘Boosting intra-African trade through REcs: perspectives from COMESA Regional Integration Programme’, the forum (26-30 June, Kigali) seeks to strengthen the participation of governments and key stakeholders in the regional integration agenda by sharing and discussing research findings. Further, it seeks to create a common understanding on the region’s research priorities for COMESA as the largest REC in Africa. The other prime topic of the Forum is the implementation of the COMESA Virtual University of Regional Integration. The teaching programme is poised to start in September this year with the admission of the pioneer students at the Kenyatta University of Kenya for a Masters of Regional Integration. A total of 22 universities from COMESA Member States are collaborating in this programme and also participated in the review of 30 teaching modules in March this year. [60 experts attend the 3rd COMESA Annual Research Forum]
SADC ES reinvigorates cooperation with SADC-CNGO (SADC)
They deliberated on the need to meet more frequently to discuss, among other things, the operationalisation of the SADC Regional Poverty Observatory; the main elements of the SADC C-NGO campaign – the SADC WE WANT; roll-out of the SADC Monitoring and Evaluation system; implementation of the MoU and Common Plan of Action, as well as C-NGO’s contribution to the implementation of the conclusions of the Ministerial Retreat, to mention a few. Meanwhile, the SADC Secretariat continues to engage SADC Member States in sessions to explain the main features and objectives of the draft framework of engagement between SADC and non-state stakeholders. SADC C-NGO urged the two sides to involve civil society in policy-making at all levels and reinvigorate the overall cooperation between civil society and SADC policy organs. As a starting point, CNGO invited SADC to the CNGO Forum scheduled for 14th August, 2017.
Chokepoints and vulnerabilities in global food trade (pdf, Chatham House)
This report offers a first-of-its-kind analysis of chokepoints in the global food system, combining trade data from the Chatham House Resource Trade Database with a purpose-built model to map bilateral commodity flows on to trade routes. It identifies 14 chokepoints that are critical to global food security. Among low-income food-deficit countries (LIFDCs), a cluster of African countries have high exposure to maritime chokepoints with no alternative routes [Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda]. Many LIFDCs are also dependent on US exports and thus heavily exposed to US inland and coastal chokepoints. For example, Honduras sources 77% of its maize imports and 88% of its wheat imports from the US, and in Ethiopia the shares are 36% and 27%. [The analysts: Rob Bailey, Laura Wellesley]
Ghana public expenditure review: Fiscal consolidation to accelerate growth and support inclusive development (World Bank)
Despite the key role of the extractive industries, recent growth has been relatively inclusive, and Ghana achieved its Millennium Development Goal of halving the poverty rate by 2015. However, macroeconomic conditions have deteriorated since 2012, giving rise to substantial domestic and external imbalances. Although external shocks have underscored Ghana’s vulnerability to global commodity and financial markets, the recurring nature of its imbalances reflects deeper structural deficiencies in its macroeconomic policies and public financial management framework. A heavy focus on commodity exports has accelerated Ghana’s recent growth, but the country’s economic outlook increasingly hinges on a narrow range of volatile commodity prices.
Balancing financial stability, innovation, and economic growth: new WEF White Paper
In an effort to understand better the implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – a technology-led transformation that is fundamentally altering the way people work, live and relate to one another – the World Economic Forum has prioritized a review of the financial system through the launch of a new initiative: Balancing Financial Stability, Innovation, and Economic Growth. As part of this initiative, the Forum has held a series of roundtable discussions and completed interviews with industry executives and experts to examine the technological transformation taking place in financial services. This White Paper (pdf) provides a summary of findings identified during the ongoing discussions and interviews, which at a very high level can be condensed in the following four points:
Today’s Quick Links:
Zimbabwe: Gideon Gono appointed as SEZ Board chair
Egypt officially joins Trade Facilitation Agreement
Reconsider stand on EPA – EU envoy tells Nigeria
Madagascar is Afreximbank’s newest participating state
World Bank: DRC diagnostic of water, sanitation, hygiene, and poverty
OECD: Summary of discussions of Freedom of Investment Roundtable, 17 October 2016 (pdf)