Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Rod Waddington

Reminder: Today’s out-of-cycle hearing on AGOA eligibility for Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania

Commentary by Fredrick Kamusiime: The Review of AGOA Eligibility Status for EAC Three Partner States: Lessons to Learn

Lowering trade costs through transparency: the importance of trade information portals (World Bank)

Because of the importance of transparency, supporting Trade Information Portals is increasingly common in our facilitation projects. From 29-31 May, the Trade & Competitiveness team in the Bank Group’s Singapore Hub hosted officials from 15 countries for a workshop to share experiences on improving the effectiveness of trade information portals. Some of the topics discussed included: [The authors: Marcus Bartley Johns, Bill Gain, Luc Pugliatti]

ITC launches Export Potential Map for more targeted trade

Export Potential Map pulls in data from a range of sources including import and export data, tariffs, gross domestic product, and geographic data. Based on this data, the tool can quickly carry out evaluations of a country’s potential to export: in specific sectors and to what markets. This represents a unique opportunity for developing countries to ramp up their exports. For example, LDCs on average export to four markets only. Export Potential Map suggests additional markets that offer good demand and tariff conditions for goods exported by LDCs. In addition, the tool helps identify options to diversify and expand the range of products LDCs export. The tool is available for 222 countries and territories at a very detailed product level. The web tool has a user-friendly interface and innovative visualizations that can be easily downloaded, shared on social media and embedded into reports or websites.

COMESA Adjustment Facility: call for submissions

The objective of the 8th Call for Submissions is to invite Member States already implementing RIIPs, approved under previous Calls for Submission, to submit their final Progress Monitoring Reports against performance of 2016 targets. The 8th Call for Submissions will allow for an overall evaluation to be undertaken in relation to the achievement of indicators under the Performance Assessment Framework. Member States are therefore urged to give clear status of implementation of all applicable indicators as at June 2017.

Mozambique: Aligning Mozambique’s National Quality Infrastructure with the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement (pdf, SPEED+)

Despite numerous attempts and support by many international donors to enhance the National Quality Infrastructure in Mozambique, a unified NQI is by and large still to be developed, including building standard-setting systems, accreditation, conformity assessment, product certification and testing capability, technical know-how and, finally, full WTO TBT compliance. While advances in these areas may be made independently, it is only through synergetic interaction that a truly modern infrastructure can be created and leveraged to support export competitiveness. Without a clear, result-oriented, and measurable set of activities it will be difficult for Mozambique to realize the holistic transformation that is needed to stimulate a dynamic and modern export infrastructure. INNOQ today has many of the NQI required capabilities in place, but not all; there are challenges to be overcome and building blocks to be established.

Mauritius-Africa Fund: update (GoM)

The Prime Minister recalled that under the new mandate, the Mauritius-Africa Fund has negotiated and signed four MoUs to develop Special Economic Zones in Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Madagascar. Senegal: the Fund has invested 51 million Franc CFA (Rs 3,733,200) for 51% of the shares in Société des Infrastructures d’Affaires Atlantic S.A., incorporated in Senegal. The Special Purpose Vehicle will manage 53 hectares of land near Dakar. Cote d’Ivoire: the Mauritius-Africa Fund has negotiated preferential access for Mauritian firms to invest in the construction of a Cyber Tower, twin administrative towers, a business hotel and an aqua park within the Technology Park in Grand Bassam. Ghana: the Fund will invest 1,194,000 Ghanaian Cedis (Rs 9.8 million) in the share capital of Ghana Smart City Ltd, a joint venture with the Government of Ghana. The project will consist of the construction of a Cyber Tower in Central Accra and the development of a Technology and Business Park in Dawa. Madagascar: the Malagasy Government has identified 80 hectares of land for the Mauritius-Africa Fund to develop a “Zone Economique Speciale” in Fort Dauphin.

South Africa and the TFTA: New African free trade deal set to boost exports from SA (Business Day)

Department of Trade and Industry deputy director-general of international trade and economic development Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter notes that this preferential access will provide better terms of trade than are currently enjoyed. “It means that we will be able to increase our exports and advance a developmental integration agenda and the development of regional value chains, as it would be cheaper, for example, for SA to import inputs from African countries.” Bilateral tariff negotiations have also started with Egypt, which Mlumbi-Peter said was a critical market for SA and SACU. These would hopefully be concluded by the end of the year. She said care would be taken not to unravel the preferential trade agreements within SADC. The tripartite negotiations would be an add-on to the internal SADC, EAC and Comesa arrangements.

Economic Association of Namibia conference: Regional integration takes centre stage (The Namibian)

Prerequisites for successful regional integration on the African continent include peace and stability, a rules-based approach, macroeconomic stability, maintaining meaningful growth as well as prospects for a fair and equitable economy. This is according to Calle Schlettwein, Namibia’s minister of finance. tralac’s Trudi Hartzenberg: Although Africa does not lack ambition and interest to integrate, it has become increasingly important to take stock about whether or not regional initiatives and endeavours as well as agreements reflect the fundamental challenges and opportunities which form part of regional integration, she stressed. “Are they (the initiatives) addressing our fundamental developmental goals?” [Conferencebackground note (pdf)]

Development prospects for Ghana: Destiny or policy? Selected postings from the Institute of Economic Affairs conference. Get out of narrative that culture impedes growth - economist urges African states. Renowned economist, Dr. Ha-Joon Chang, argues that policies which promote rapid economic growth are not always the supposedly ‘good’ policies of free-market and free trade but also the ‘bad’ policies of protectionism, subsidies and state ownership as shown by the development history of today’s rich countries. He has, therefore, challenged Ghanaians, and for that matter African states, to critically examine best practices from 18th century Britain to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan in the late 20th century, to get out of the narrative that their culture, history and geography is rather impeding accelerated growth. According to Dr Chang, who is also the Director of the Centre of Development Studies, University of Cambridge, accelerated growth had little to do with culture, history and geography but much more was dependant on policy and right policies mainly. [Ha-Joon Chang:Developing countries must promote infant industries protection; Ghanaian businesses are not pragmatic: Dr Ha-Joon Chang; Africa lacks leadership that can build public sector: John Kufuor]

Uganda: 2017 Article IV Consultation (IMF)

(i) Box 2. Managing Oil Wealth. Uganda has approximately 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil reserves, the fourth largest in sub-Saharan Africa. The authorities aim to have oil production commence in 2020. Production would continue for over 40 years. During this period, the government expects to receive between 0.5-4% of GDP in oil-related revenue per year. A joint venture of three international companies and a government owned oil company will carry out upstream oil extraction. The international joint venture partners are expected to make final investment decisions by end-2017. Production could commence as early as 2020 and quickly rise to a peak of 200,000 barrels per day. The total investment cost of upstream extraction is approximately $8bn. The international oil companies will bring external financing, and the investment will be associated with increased imports. The government, through UNOC, has a carried interest share, and is fully involved in all commercial decisions. Additional blocks that could yield further proven reserves and thus additional revenues are set to be auctioned in the near future.

(ii) Selected Issues report. Meanwhile, Uganda’s exports have become more diversified by some measures. The share of total export to African countries has increased from about 20% in 2000 to more than 50% in 2015, while the share of exports to Europe has declined from over 50% to about 30% (Figure 11). Rising exports to EAC are also found to lead to more new products. Many indicators on export diversification and the composition of GDP still indicate scope for improvements. Despite progress in new export products and some diversification, overall export performance is below those of well-performing EAC peers.

Rwanda: IMF Executive Board Completes Seventh PSI Review (IMF)

Building on its successful ‘Vision 2020’ development strategy, the government is drafting a new ‘Vision 2050’ development strategy aimed at reaching upper middle-income status by 2035. Reforms should build on progress achieved, including:

CEMAC: Report on common policies in support of member countries reform programmes (IMF)

The World Bank Doing Business Indicators suggest that there is a large scope for improvement in the CEMAC countries. The weak business environment, reflected in the low scores of CEMAC countries relative to others, hampers private sector growth and job creation. Specifically: Looking at the overall doing business ranking, CEMAC countries lag behind peers in the West African Economic and Monetary Union region, and more broadly in sub-Saharan Africa, although they fared marginally better than SSA oil exporters. Progress in doing business ranking was uneven across CEMAC countries. Between 2005 and 2017, the rankings of Cameroon and Chad marginally improved, that of CAR and Equatorial Guinea stagnated, while Congo and Gabon’s fell noticeably (Figure 4).

Productivity in the non-oil sector in Nigeria: firm-level evidence (World Bank)

This paper examines the determinants of the productivity of Nigerian firms, using three waves of Enterprise Surveys from 2007, 2009, and 2014 and 7,670 firms. The paper uses three alternative measures of productivity, which are found to be highly correlated:

Policy framework and reform strategy for fisheries and aquaculture in Africa (Nepad)

The framework is structured around three main entities: a set of guiding and cross-cutting principles, seven main policy areas, objectives, and strategies against each of the objectives. The Policy Framework lays down the guiding principles for effecting appropriate reforms whilst the Reform Strategy suggests action steps that could be applied in the sector. The Policy Framework and Reform Strategy took into consideration: (i) regional specific priorities of common interest to all or most of the countries in each of the five regions of Africa, (ii) supporting and delivering mechanisms to assist and facilitate implementation of agreed strategies and (iii) suggesting indicators to measure success. [Note: Nepad has recently posted a wide range of related African Fisheries and Aquaculture sector documentation] [Aquaculture to play significant role in Africa’s food security]

Today’s Quick Links:

AfDB EOI: Development of an automotive industrial policy framework in West Africa

Ghana’s parliament ratifies treaty on establishment of Abidjan-Lagos corridor

4th IGAD Business Forum Bi-annual General Meeting: update

Expanding the Russia-Nigeria trade partnership

A Nigerian perspective: Whose gain is Morocco’s accession to ECOWAS?

West African Capital Market integration project: stock brokers to trade across West Africa

Patricia Rodrigues: Investors’ optimism wanes as President Magufuli proves unpredictable

Chambi Chachage: What is Magufuli hiding about Acacia?

UNU-WIDER: Choices for spending government revenue for new African oil, gas, and mining economies

GREAT Insights: Mining for Development (pdf)

BRIDGES: EU’s Trade Policy Review highlights trade negotiating agenda, WTO Ministerial prep


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