Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo source: Global Trade Review

The Continental Free Trade Area in Africa: a human rights perspective (pdf)

This human rights impact assessment, like others, advocates for the prioritization of concerns of all members of society and their human rights, in the negotiating, drafting and eventual implementation of the CFTA agreement through inclusive, consultative and participatory processes. It demonstrates the value of a rights-based approach and the opportunity it provides for meeting the sustainable development goals and strengthening accountability of economic actors. Initial screening and scoping exercises were carried out to narrow the focus of the assessment on the vulnerable groups that are at most likely to be adversely affected by the CFTA – women, youth, informal cross-border traders and rural producers. The assessment’s focus was also narrowed by focussing on the human rights impacts of elements to be covered in the first phase of negotiations – liberalisation of trade in goods and services – and attaching less attention to investment, competition policy and intellectual property issues which are scheduled for the second phase.

Several important messages emerge from the report. Ensuring broad consultation and participation in the CFTA negotiations and implementation is crucial. This will not be possible without increased efforts by policymakers and negotiators to reach out to all stakeholders and ensure that the voices of vulnerable and marginalised groups are heard and taken into account.

Given that governments have obligations to mobilise resources for human rights purposes, the full breadth of implications of tariff reductions must be considered with utmost care. Governments should embark on gradual liberalization that allows protection especially for vulnerable groups and in key areas such as food security. This should entail temporary exclusion lists and special safeguards which permit limiting imports in times of crisis or against sudden import surges. Economic development is a dynamic process. Member States should be very cautious not to limit their policy space for the future and resist CFTA provisions that could undermine their ability to implement future measures to ensure that all human rights, including the right to development, are protected, respected and fulfilled.

Adjustment mechanisms will need to be designed in a range of areas including re-skilling and training, social protection, and short-term financial assistance. The overall impact of the CFTA must be monitored over time, not only in terms of economic results, but also in terms of its impact on the enjoyment of all human rights for all Africans. Ongoing monitoring and evaluation will be key to ensuring that the CFTA policies continue to respond to economic, social and development needs as circumstances change, and adapt when they do not yield human rights- consistent impacts.

Table of contents: Chapter I: The Continental Free Trade Area in Context, Chapter II: The rationale for a human rights impact assessment, Chapter III: Methodology of this Human Rights Impact Assessment, Chapter IV: The human rights framework, Chapter V: Informal Cross-Border Traders, Chapter VI: Small-scale farmers and the right to food, Chapter VII: The right to work and the agro-manufacturing sector, Chapter VIII: Ensuring a human rights-consistent negotiating process, Chapter IX: Institutional and Structural Mechanisms, Chapter X: Monitoring and Evaluation, Chapter XI: Conclusions and Recommendations. [Published by: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the UNECA, in collaboration with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights]

Nigeria: Director General appointed for Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (Premium Times)

The Federal Government has approved the appointment of Chiedu Osakwe as Director General with concurrent designation as Chief Negotiator, Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations. Before his appointment, Mr Osakwe was a Trade Adviser at the Ministry and provided technical advice on trade policy and structural reforms to the Federal Government. He is also an Adjunct Professor on a leave of absence from the International University in Geneva on International Trade Policy, Diplomacy and Negotiations. Prior to his current position in Nigeria, he headed several divisions, including most recently the position of Director of the Accessions Division at the WTO.

Ghana’s trade surplus hits %1.4bn – BoG (Citi Business News)

New figures from the Bank of Ghana have shown that Ghana’s total balance of trade recorded a surplus of $1.429bn dollars as at June this year. This is equivalent to 3.1% of GDP. The surplus is an improvement over the $1.4bn deficit recorded in the same period last year. This has largely been accounted for by the declining imports for the period under review. The figures which summarize Ghana’s economic activities between June 2016 and the same period 2017, stated that Ghana’s total exports increased by $2bn to $7.159bn as at June 2017. This was an increase from the $5.139bn recorded in the same period last year. Ghana’s oil exports tripled within the one year period. The country exported $1.24bn worth of oil as at June 2017; up from the $408.3m worth of oil exports.

Kenyan products blocked as Tanzania ignores trade truce (Business Daily)

The long-running cross-border trade spat between Kenya and Tanzania has resumed barely four days after the two countries signed a pact removing restrictions that had cost traders billions of shillings by the time it was resolved last Sunday. The Kenya Association of Manufacturers yesterday said Tanzania had maintained a number of restrictions that existed before the Sunday truce, making it hard for Kenyan products to access its market. But KAM chief executive Phyllis Wakiaga said yesterday that Kenyan traders who had set out to test the effectiveness of the truce had found some of the restrictions intact, bringing into question its execution. “We were told to export and see whether the restrictions still exist. We have just done that and found that some products such as margarine, ice cream and tobacco can still not access the Tanzanian market,” Ms Wakiaga said.

Ethiopia and COMESA: Time for Ethiopia to enhance regional economic integration (Addis Fortune)

It is impossible to deny that some sectors could be negatively affected, but the consequences could be slackened by making good use of negotiating terms. The COMESA FTA contains provisions to help countries identify sensitive products and businesses. An agreement that ends up being signed should be carefully drafted to minimise possible shocks to the economy. Fewer tariffs and quotas could lead to porous borders and cultural transfers, which in turn could lead to better understanding. Regional trade empowers individual nations; the fruits of the EU should be a lesson to us all. Ethiopia is a country that once dreamed of a strong and united Africa, and to realise the desire, helped found the African Union. It seems bizarre that the FTA agreement has not yet been amended, that Ethiopia is missing an opportunity to help neighbouring nations become better integrated. Its leaders cannot afford to look like they are spoilers of a regional initiative.

Ethiopia: Why industrial parks are the order of the day (Ethiopan Herald)

In the past month alone, two newly built industrial parks have been inaugurated, while one went officially operational. The Hawassa, Kombolcha and Makalle industrial parks, constructed with more than $400m, specialize in the production of textile and apparel. The Hawassa Industrial Park is the first sustainable textile and apparel park in Africa with state-of-the-art infrastructure and facility, covering a total land area of 3 million meter square. The targeted investment recruitment has been carefully conducted - resulting in the attraction of over 18 global leading textile and apparel companies, eight domestic investors have also been selected and necessary preparation are finalized to facilitate their investment in the park. The majority of companies in HIP are currently operational and some have already begun exporting. At full capacity, the park is expected to generate export earnings of $1bn. The Makalle Industrial Park is strategically located at the heart of the capital city of Tigray State covering a total land area of ten million square meter. Phase-I of MIP covers a land area of 750,000 meter square of which 100,000 meter square is a factory shed built up area. The park is already gaining the interests of leading textile and apparel companies including Ananta Group, a Bangladesh-company engaged in the production of apparel. [More industrial parks, fewer investors]

EU to grant $15.8m fund for Nile Basin Initiative (Addis Fortune)

The European Development Fund Committee has given a qualified majority favourable opinion to commit $15.8m for the Nile Basin Initiative on 18 July 2017, although Egypt was lobbying against it. Out of the total fund, the European Union will cover $11.7m, and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation & Development will cover the balance. The fund, which is expected to be approved by the European Union Commission in two weeks’ time, according to the spokesperson of the German Embassy in Addis Abeba, will be used for generating data and information to manage and use the trans-boundary waters sustainably.

Tanzania to construct dry port to serve Great Lakes region (Xinhua)

The Tanzania Ports Authority said on Wednesday it plans to build a dry port in the east African nation’s western region of Kigoma to cater for East Africa and the Great Lakes region. Morris Nchindiuza, Kigoma region TPA Acting Manager, told a news conference in the port city of Tanga that the project will be among the biggest investments made by the authority in modern times. He did not reveal the cost of the project. Nchindiuza said TPA has finalized plans for the massive project which will largely serve landlocked countries of Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda, the DRC and Zambia.

Kenya: President Kenyatta commissions Sh42bn Isiolo-Moyale road (Capital FM)

President Uhuru Kenyatta Wednesday commissioned the Sh42 billion Isiolo-Moyale road which connects Kenya to Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa. The Isiolo-Moyale highway is a key plank of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Corridor Project. The President, who was accompanied by Deputy President William Ruto, said the Jubilee Administration is also implementing the Lamu Port project which will be completed by next year. He said once complete, the government will launch the construction of Lamu-Garissa-Isiolo road which will open up the second transport corridor in Kenya. “With the opening up of this road, Moyale will become a market centre for Kenyan goods and services. Our brothers from Ethiopia will be coming here to purchase goods from us,” said President Kenyatta.

Nigeria: Moves to stop Asians from having direct dealings with farmers (Premium Times)

The Nigeria-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, NVCCI, on Tuesday said that a mechanism that would stop Asian nationals from having direct access to Nigerian farmlands would soon be inaugurated. Oye Akinsemoyin, the NVCCI President, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the direct dealings Indian and Chinese nationals now had with Nigerian farmers needed to be regulated. “It is increasingly becoming worrisome the way and manner we allow our Nigerian farmers to deal directly with Indians and Chinese nationals, in their farmlands. We do also know that these Asian nationals do not allow Nigerians to deal directly with or buy from their farmers or companies, without approval from their government-recognised organisations. The NVCCI has, therefore, come up with an idea to set up an online real-time trade and investment platform, to stop this trend,” he said.

Members issue joint call for safeguarding the WTO-based global trading system (WTO)

A group of 47 developing and developed WTO members issued a joint call (pdf) on 26 July for fellow members to work together to ensure the sound functioning of the WTO-based multilateral trading system as it faces a number of important challenges ahead. In their joint statement, the group said they are “strongly supportive of the Multilateral Trading System and are concerned that the WTO is facing challenges” as it prepares for its important 11th Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires in December. “In recent months, Members have submitted ideas and proposals both on longstanding negotiating issues and other topics as part of the preparatory process” for MC11, they noted. “However, to date, the political will to find compromises and to forge consensus is lacking. Even the legitimacy of discussing topics of interest to Members has been put into question.” [India tells WTO to follow credible negotiating process; RCEP: India pressed to open up procurement]

WTO General Council: (i) Approves first ever amendment to Trade Policy Review Mechanism; (ii) Elects Vice Chairs for Buenos Aires Ministerial Conference

Impact of agricultural export restrictions on prices in importing countries (pdf, OECD)

During the last decade, several large exporters temporarily restricted exports of staple foods in an attempt to shield their domestic consumers from rising and volatile prices. These policies, however, not only affect markets in the restricting countries, but can also influence prices in global markets and in their trading partners. The study examines four specific export bans: the maize ban in Argentina, the rice bans in India and Viet Nam and the wheat ban in the Russian Federation. These bans were selected because they apply to major food crops and because they were implemented by large exporters. The focus is on export bans because they are the most extreme of all policies restricting exports.

Today’s Quick Links:

Namibia relaxes SA poultry import ban after shortages hit KFC

East Africa Cross Border Trade Bulletin: July 2017

Global Trade Review: How three upcoming African elections could affect your business

Delegation from India in Mauritius for collaboration in energy sector

SADC countries urged to promote understanding of biosafety issues

Zimbabwe: Power imports surge 260%

South Africa: Emerging Truckers Association launched


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