Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: AFP

tralac’s Weekly e-Newsletter is posted: SACU, Monitoring Regional Integration in Southern Africa Yearbook 2015/2016 (and more)

Concluding today, in Maputo: WIDER Development Conference Public Economics for Development. Access the conference papers, presentations

Tomorrow, in Kampala: Tripartite Committee of Sectoral Ministers meeting. The main agenda item will be an update on progress with TFTA negotiations.

Economic Development in Africa Report 2017: African tourists emerge as powerhouse for tourism on the continent (UNCTAD)

Tourism in Africa is a flourishing industry that supports more than 21 million jobs, or 1 in 14 jobs, on the continent. Over the last two decades, Africa has recorded robust growth, with international tourist arrivals and tourism revenues growing at 6% and 9%, respectively, each year between 1995 and 2014. By collecting and comparing data from two different periods, 1995–1998 and 2011–2014, the report reveals that international tourist arrivals to Africa increased from 24 million to 56 million. Tourism export revenues more than tripled, increasing from $14bn to approximately $47bn. As a result, tourism now contributes about 8.5% to the continent’s GDP.

The First Ten-Year Implementation Plan of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 aims at doubling the contribution of tourism to the continent’s GDP. To meet this target, tourism needs to grow at a faster and stronger pace. To realize the potential of intraregional tourism for the continent’s economic growth, African Governments should take steps to liberalize air transport, promote the free movement of persons, ensure currency convertibility and, crucially, recognize the value of African tourism and plan for it. Another important theme highlighted in the report is the mutually beneficial relationship between peace and tourism. [Dubai’s tourism body targets Eastern Africa]

The role of the services economy and trade in structural transformation and inclusive development: UNCTAD Secretariat note (pdf)

At the international level, efforts are needed to advance a global services trade agenda in the international trading system that is supportive of the Sustainable Development Goals, and includes preferential treatment, flexibilities, experimentation, adjustment mechanisms and support and capacity-building for developing countries, in order to unlock the transformative potential of services trade to spur growth and development. Adequately designing the content, pace and sequence of the liberalization process and coordinating this process coherently with the implementation of national policies and regulations, is essential to creating an enabling environment for trade in services. Complementary measures, such as strengthening regulatory cooperation relating to services trade to create a more facilitative services trade environment, could also make an important contribution. [Prepared for the Multi-year Expert Meeting on Trade, Services and Development, 18-20 July]

Ahead of the G20 Summit:

(i) B20 statement: 58 CEOs and Presidents of Business Associations call upon the G20 to take decisive actions in shaping globalization. Extract (pdf): We also call upon the G20 members to jointly restate their commitment to open and rules-based trade. We would like the G20 to take concrete actions to strengthen the implementation of the protectionism standstill and rollback. G20 members should further reinforce their commitment to the multilateral trading system. The WTO is the premier guardian of a global level playing field and fair competition. Today, it is more imperative than ever to strengthen the WTO, its rules, its monitoring instruments, and its dispute settlement mechanism. The WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires in December 2017 is an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a future-oriented multilateral trade agenda. The B20 supports the goals of the Doha Round and asks G20 members to strive for an ambitious and rapid conclusion of the remaining topics. Furthermore, G20 members need to actively support the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement. It is imperative that the G20 pushes for a forward-looking agenda. Digital trade holds huge potential. It lowers transaction costs and scale requirements while giving easy access to a global marketplace, particularly for developing countries. However, substantial barriers prevent the potential benefits of digital trade from being fully realized. We therefore would like to see a significant increase in concrete actions enabling digital trade, including advancing the dialogue on rules both in regional agreements as well as the WTO.

(ii) Arancha González Laya, Peter Draper: Five reasons not to give up on global trade. As G20 leaders meet in Hamburg, many people feel the international trading system is unfair or unaccountable. Some blame it for the loss of jobs; others for pressurising local industries or eroding labour standards. It is true that economic globalization has not lifted all boats. Income and wealth inequality is on the rise. Significantly, 42% of countries ranked on the World Economic Forum Inclusive Development Index saw their scores decline over the past five years even as GDP per capita increased, with wealth inequality a chief culprit. Small businesses can be buffeted hard by shocks in global markets. The world’s poorest countries’ share in global exports has barely budged above 1% over the past decade. In the face of these challenges, there is a pressing need for efforts to ensure the benefits from trade are more widely spread. But governments should also recognise the core value of the global trade system as a foundation to build on. Here are five reasons why: [Christine Lagarde: Strengthening global growth and building inclusive economies]

Malawi Economic Development Document: Assessment letter for the IMF (GoM/IMF)

Malawi’s Economic Development Document (pdf) presents an interim picture of the country’s medium-term development plan, as the successor strategy - likely to be called MGDS III - is prepared. Disappointing results with respect to implementation of MGDS II have triggered a qualified rethink in Malawi’s development planning process. There is a growing recognition that Malawi needs a more realistic development plan, in terms of both the underlying assumptions and resource availability, as well as with fewer priorities and a greater emphasis on implementation. Climate change has also become a major new factor in this process. The recent formation of a quasi-independent National Development and Planning Commission will also help to improve the independence of the planning process in Malawi. [Related: Ninth Review under the Extended Credit Facility Arrangement]

Rwanda’s economy grew 1.7% in Q1,2017 (NISR)

In the first quarter of 2017, GDP at current market prices was estimated to be Frw 1,817 billion, up from Frw 1,593 billion in the same quarter of 2016. Services sector contributed 46% of GDP while the agriculture sector contributed 32%. The industrial sector contributed 15% while 7% was attributed to adjustment for taxes and subsidies on products.

Tanzania: Bunge team to look into management of diamond mines (IPPMedia)

Speaker of the National Assembly Job Ndugai has formed a special committee of nine MPs to investigate, among other things, extraction system, ownership and management of diamond mines in the country. He said the committee chaired by Ilala MP Mussa Zungu (CCM) will have 30 days to carry out its duty and his office would support members fully to perform their task diligently. Ndugai noted that the decision to forma the parliamentary committee was reached after recommendations by President John Magufuli on June 12, 2017 when he received the second report on mineral sand. [Mining sector clean-up takes shape]

Tanzania: We’re not venturing into state capitalism, says Mpango (The Citizen)

The government has clarified that it does not plan to introduce ‘state capitalism’, but its current measures are aimed at bringing sanity to the way businesses are run. The minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Philip Mpango, said yesterday people tend to misinterpret official calls by the government for State institutions to consider dealing with public firms. “We’re in no way trying to promote state capitalism. Since we made a decision to shift from that form of managing the economy to a market one, we have no intention of returning to the past system,” Dr Mpango said during an event where he received a total of Sh10 billion in dividend from three companies in which the government has stakes.

Zambia: Smuggled sugar affecting local industry (Daily Mail)

Zambia Sugar Plc has called on the government to intervene in the influx of cheap smuggled sugar into the country, as it is negatively affecting the local industry. Company marketing director Chembe Kabandama says about 20,000 tonnes of sugar, valued at over K2 million, was allegedly smuggled last year into the country. ”We had a lot of imports from Malawi coming in through Chipata, while other products came in through Namibia via Sesheke and from Zimbabwe into Livingstone. We also had a lot of imports coming from Tanzania through Nakonde,” Mr Kabandama said.

Technologies for African agricultural transformation: environmental and social management framework summary (pdf, AfDB)

The overall program development objective of TAAT is to execute a bold plan to achieve rapid agricultural transformation across Africa through raising agricultural productivity in selected Priority Intervention Areas targeting specific agricultural commodity value chains. TAAT will support centrally managed activities and promotion of key technologies in select countries. The overall TAAT activities is proposed in 35 countries and 23 Commodity value chains albeit in three tiers and include program management and coordination, program services (including policy support, capacity development and outreach, youth in agribusiness support, and the services of the Clearinghouse), and core implementation activities of the agricultural commodity value chains. [NEPAD Agency and partners launch 2016 Global Hunger Index: Africa Report]

UN SG proposes ‘Funding Compact’ to retool development system, boost efficiency (ECOSOC)

Mr Guterres noted that his report to the Council (on repositioning the UN development system) is an integral component of the broader reform agenda at the UN to better meet the world’s complex and interlinked challenges. He added that his ideas and proposals are intended to spur further discussions in the Council and to solicit the views of Member States on a number of key areas. A more detailed report will be submitted in December. Mr Guterres highlighted eight key guiding areas for his proposed reforms. He also announced that Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed has been tasked to oversee and provide strategic guidance to the UN Development Group and lead a Steering Committee to strengthen coherence between humanitarian action and development work. Other areas of focus included strengthening a more cohesive UN policy voice at the regional level; strengthening accountability of the UN development system; and ensuring effective and efficient funding structures that would offer greater value-for-money and reporting on system-wide results. [Full text]

European Fund for Sustainable Development: update (EURACTIV)

Members of the European Parliament are expected to pass on Thursday, 6 July the new European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD), a key element to a plan to raise as much as €88bn, blending EU funds with national and private financing, bringing African development to a new level. The EFSD is a key element of the European External Investment Plan (EEIP), an innovative approach to boost investments in Africa and EU neighbourhood countries. The EEIP consists of three pillars:

Hogan Lovells 2017 Africa Forum: highlights

A common discussion thread throughout the Forum centered on the challenges still to be overcome. Delegates were split in their opinion of the biggest challenge to growth in Africa, with 41% each citing certainty and corruption. Government policies were cited as the greatest barrier to intra-Africa trade (38%), with market penetration/ accessibility and lack of knowledge/ understanding of regional markets coming in joint second at 25% each. Political risk was considered the greatest challenge faced by private sector investors in African infrastructure projects, by 44% of delegates polled. Development banks were voted to have the biggest role to play in developing these infrastructure projects (41%), followed by African national Governments and private investors, with 24% each of the vote. In contrast, regional trade blocs were seen as most key to facilitating intra-Africa trade by 55% of delegates, however most surprisingly, none of the delegates considered these trade blocs to be ‘working’ to full effect currently.

Today’s Quick Links:

Dar Port expansion heralds trade boom

Rwanda: Cross-border traders urged to leverage new customs reforms

Rwanda needs its own Bilateral Investment Treaty model

President Kagame’s keynote address, today, at SDG Africa Centre conference Mobilizing African intellectuals towards quality tertiary education

SA’s DBSA seeks to finance projects in Botswana

Botswana becomes Base Erosion and Profit Shifting framework’s 99th member

Zimbabwe: National Diaspora Engagement Action Plan update

Stephen Chan: Trump’s US still lacks an Africa policy – but that might be about to change

Sir Simon McDonald: Brexit will help the UK-Rwanda relationship transition from aid to trade

US trade deficit narrows as exports hit two-year high


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