tralac’s Daily News Selection
Featured tweet, @AUTradeIndustry: The 9th Meeting of the CFTA Continental Task Force commenced to review Technical Documents for the 3rd CFTA Technical Working Groups
Jack Ma, the founder and executive chairman of Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba, jetted into Nairobi Wednesday evening, starting a packed two-day visit that peaks with a public appearance at the University of Nairobi this afternoon to offer Kenyan youth tips on how to build successful business empires. Mr Ma, who is currently Asia’s richest man with a fortune of nearly $30bn (Sh3.11 trillion or nearly half of Kenya’s economic output), is accompanied by a large delegation of super-rich Chinese. In the entourage are China’s richest billionaires among them Internet tycoon Bob Xu, Alibaba’s founding partner Lucy Peng, founder and chairman of Mengniu Dairy Niu Gensheng and real estate tycoon Huang Youlong. The 38 men and women, from the Beijing Chamber of Commerce, will be looking to cut multi-billion shilling deals with the government and local businessmen.
Assessing Africa’s policies and institutions: 2016 CPIA results for Africa (World Bank)
Policy and institutional quality weakened in Sub-Saharan Africa amid a difficult global economic landscape and challenging domestic conditions. The average Country Policy and Institutional Assessment score for the region’s IDA-eligible countries edged lower to 3.1 in 2016. Forty percent of the countries saw a deterioration in their overall quality of policies and institutions in 2016, more than in 2015, and the number of countries with a decline in CPIA score outpaced improvers by a margin of two to one. Weaker performance was evident across a range of countries, especially among commodity exporters and fragile countries. The dispersion in policy and institutional quality among the region’s IDA countries increased in 2016. With a CPIA score of 4.0, Rwanda again led all countries in the region; Senegal and Kenya were among the top scoring countries, each posting a score of 3.8. The number of countries with relatively weak performance (scores of 3.2 or less) ticked up, and now accounts for more than half the countries in the region. [Download, pdf]
Enhancing African capacities in peace and security: UNSC open debate (UN)
Smail Chergui (Commissioner for Peace and Security of the AU): Financing peace support operations was a perennial issue that hopefully could be resolved soon. Noting that implementation of the Kigali summit decision on financing was underway, he said his organization was convinced that its efforts since 2001 on alternative sources of funding would be achieved. To enhance accountability, the AUC had asked the UN and EU to nominate representatives to its Peace Fund. However, he said, Africa would not be able to fund peace initiatives on its own. Predictable and sustainable funding for addressing peace and security challenges, including through UN assessed contributions, remained a common African position, he said, looking forward to a possible Council decision in September on dedicated support by the Organization to all Council-mandated African peace support operations. Valentine Rugwabiza (Rwanda) said threats on the continent had grown more complex, which called for stronger partnerships between the UN and regional organizations. Liu Jieyi (China), Council President for July, said Africa faced multiple peace and security challenges, with terrorist groups infiltrating the heart of the continent and some countries dealing with unemployment, poverty, refugees and sluggish economic growth. The international community must vigorously help the continent solve its problems, he said, including effective support for African Union peace operations through adequate, stable and sustainable funding.
Extracts (pdf): Although FDI flows to the LDCs have increased significantly, there has been wide fluctuation in year on year levels. While FDI increased from $41bn to $44bn in 2015, they declined by 13% in 2016 to $38bn. Despite improved business environments in many LDCs, there is still room for improvements of the regulatory frameworks. Remittances to LDCs have increased over the past years and stood at 4.3% of GDP in 2015, after peaking at 5.2% in 2002-2003. LDCs have implemented various policies in order to enhance the effectiveness of their use. Combining remittance receipts with broader access to other financial services can increase the impact of remittances on growth by facilitating savings and investments. Recent progress towards graduation from the LDC category is encouraging. Equatorial Guinea’s graduation in June 2017 reduced the number of LDCs to 47. Nine LDCs reached the graduation thresholds in 2015 and several others expressed their aspiration to graduate from the category by 2020 or shortly thereafter. Upon request by graduating and aspiring-to-graduate countries, United Nations support, under the leadership of OHRLLS, has been stepped up in recent years.
Mozambique: IMF staff concludes visit
Performance in some sectors of the economy has improved since the latter part of 2016. Growth declined to 3.8% in 2016 and is now projected to edge up to 4.7% in 2017. Publication of the detailed summary of the Kroll audit report is welcomed; more needs to be done to fill the information gaps on the use of loan proceeds.
Brexit: SACU trade with UK not to be disrupted (Daily Maverick)
UK and SACU trade ministers agreed on Wednesday to replicate southern Africa’s European Union trade deal in a new trade agreement that will have to be negotiated with Britain when it leaves the EU in April 2019.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has disclosed that Nigeria will make a calculated change of direction in its oil and gas business in order to focus on meeting the growing demands of countries in the African continent. Rather than pushing further in its traditional petroleum trade destinations such as Europe and the Americas which he said their demands were thinning down, Kachikwu stated that Nigeria would now shift its focus to push to take over the African market, making sure that majority of the volumes of oil and gas demands of the continent came from her oil fields. Nigeria would work with Angola to ensure that both countries secure and satisfy oil demands from the continent. [Nigeria to end fuel importation in 2019, Downstream oil sector has $10bn investments deficit]
The aggregate foreign exchange inflow into Nigeria’s economy in the first quarter of 2017 has been estimated at $15bn. This, however, represented a decline of 9.2% below the level in the fourth quarter of 2016, but showed an increase of 1.4% over the level at the end of the corresponding period of 2016. The Central Bank of Nigeria disclosed this in its first quarter 2017 economic report (pdf). The report indicated that the performance of the external sector in the first quarter of 2017, improved with an overall balance of payments surplus equivalent to 3.1% of GDP, compared with 0.6% in the corresponding period of 2016.
Kenya: Remittances, tourism rise cushion reserves (Business Daily)
Tourism inflows and diaspora remittances increased by 43% and 7% respectively in the year to May, offering crucial forex reserve support at a time import bill has been growing. Latest data from Central Bank of Kenya shows that tourism inflows rose to $1.02bn (Sh106.3 billion) in the year to May 2017 from $714m (Sh74.2 billion) a year earlier. This means tourism has replaced horticulture as the third largest foreign exchange earner for Kenya after diaspora remittances and tea. Diaspora remittances rose to $1.75bn (Sh181.9 billion) in the 12 months to May from $1.64bn Sh170 billion) over a similar period last year, as horticulture and tea declined in the period.
Abidjan-Lagos Corridor: experts finalise draft design, legal framework (ECOWAS)
The workshop (15 July, Abuja)agreed that in accordance with Article 2 of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Treaty signed by the Presidents of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor highway development Project, ALCoMA will play a full managerial role in the affairs of the Corridor in contrast to the advisory roles of most counterpart Corridor Management Committees. The ALCoMA Headquarters will be located in one of the five Corridor States in line with the ECOWAS Regulation regarding hosting of Regional Agencies which include, among others, conformance with the ECOWAS Principles of Constitutional convergence and the provision of a fully equipped Headquarters at the host Country’s Expense.
Ghana: Customs removes barriers along transit trade routes (Graphic)
The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority has started removing customs barriers along the country’s transit trade routes, in line with reforms at the entry ports and trade routes. The division has, however, suggested the necessity to maintain four of the 60 intercepting barrier points. The Chairman of the Select Committee and Member of Parliament for Tema East, Mr Daniel Titus-Glover, for his part, expressed worry over the refusal by the ministries of Finance and the Interior to be integrated onto the eMDA system and urged the two ministries to integrate their systems, so that they could monitor transactions going on in the trade and revenue chain. He also urged GCNet and West Blue to look at the corporate interest of Ghana and get their systems integrated as soon as possible. [Parliamentary Select Committee On Trade, Industry And Tourism engages stakeholders over Veep’s directives on port efficiency]
Non-tariff measures in Mercosur: deepening regional integration and looking beyond
Solar resource mapping in Malawi: annual solar resource report
Wind resource mapping in Zambia: tower commissioning report
India’s foreign trade: June 2017 data
Inaugural US-China Business Leaders Summit: joint statement