Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Dominic Chavez | World Bank

TICAD Ministerial Meeting in Maputo: selected highlights, reviews

Remarks by Mr Taro Kono (Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan):

(i) Opening Session (pdf): In this context, Japan has been actively engaged in negotiating bilateral investment agreements for high-quality investment in Africa. In this connection, I am delighted to announce that the Japan-Kenya Investment Agreement signed in Nairobi last August will soon come into force. It will be Japan’s third investment treaty concluded with African countries, following Egypt and Mozambique. In the past one year, we have started investment treaty negotiations with others and we are planning to announce the launch of negotiations with more countries in the coming days. Owing to these latest developments, Japan will be working on new investment treaties with thirteen African countries in total.

(ii) Plenary 1: Our efforts for sustainable growth should not be hindered by security concerns such as conflicts, acts of terrorism and the spread of violent extremism. Global challenges of climate change and environmental degradation should not stand in our way neither. Rapid growth and urbanization should not endanger healthy communities. There were lively discussions this afternoon during the side event on African Clean Cities Platform with the participation of local authorities. We need to intensify our cooperation and collaboration to tackle these human security issues and build resilient society.

(iii) Closing Session (pdf): During the session on the promotion of human security and resilient society, we reaffirmed that the steady implementation of TICAD policies and commitments undoubtedly contributes to the realization of the Africa’s own Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We underlined the nexus between development and security in Africa, and highlighted the importance of good governance and the prevalence of rule of law. We also agreed on the need for concerted efforts to promote maritime security by ensuring freedom of navigation and a rules-based maritime order in accordance with the international law.

Opening remarks by UNDP’s Abdoulaye Mar Dieye: As we take stock, during our meeting, on how we have collectively performed, so far, and how we would guide further implementation, I would also suggest, in our deliberations, that we consider the following imperatives, which are sine qua none for sustainable development in the continent, and which can advance the future evolution of TICAD, and help plant the seeds and shape the contours of TICAD VII. First, the imperative to ensure that the various regional and international initiatives on Africa, work in synchronicity. TICAD has demonstrated its integrative value and its instrumentality as one of the most central global partnership on Africa. We could, down the road, review how it relates to other initiatives; and how all initiatives collectively contribute to Agenda 2063. Second, the imperative to ensure that all initiatives foster regional integration; as only through regional integration can Africa get out of the syndrome of fragmented markets. The question, therefore, is: How can we use the three pillars of TICAD VI to effectively accelerate regional integration in Africa?

TICAD publications disseminated during the Ministerial: note that the reports are available in English, French, Portuguese, Japanese

(i) TICAD Progress Report 2017: For the benefit of clear presentation, progress in the six pillars of “Yokohama Action Plan 2013-2017” and the three pillars of “TICAD VI Nairobi Implementation Plan” is illustrated under two broad themes.

(ii) TICAD Japan’s Initiatives 2017: Since 2016, Japan has implemented measures worth more than $5bn. In the context of TICAD V, since 2013, Japan has steadily implemented TICAD V-related measures worth a total of approximately JPY 2.67 trillion (about $26.7bn, including ODA spending of approximately JPY 1.39 trillion, equivalent to about $13.9bn).

(iii) UNDP and Japan: Working together for an emerging Africa (pdf)

Customs contributions explained at the TICAD Ministerial meeting in Mozambique (WCO)

Secretary General Mikuriya emphasized Customs contributions to economic development by ensuring connectivity at borders and improving business environment through various initiatives that pertain to the establishment of Single Windows, the implementation of the Transit Guidelines and the introduction of One Stop Border Posts. He also stressed the crucial role Customs play in protecting human security, and enhancing social resilience by fighting illicit trade and trade-based illicit financial flows. Dr. Mikuriya added that these two functions would eventually enlarge the tax base and prevent a loss of State revenue. He therefore urged African governments to recognize the multiple missions of Customs. Furthermore, he appealed to African governments to establish adequate legal frameworks to empower Customs, support coordination between Customs and the other government agencies, and provide the necessary resources for Customs to achieve its objectives.

Spur self-sustaining development of Africa via more Japanese investment (editorial comment, The Yomiuri Shimbun)

The Japanese government will establish a representative office at the headquarters of the African Union in Ethiopia within this fiscal year. For Japan to realize its aim of becoming a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, it is vital to expand cooperation with African countries. Japan must build ever-closer relations with these countries, on both the political and economic fronts.

Income inequality trends in Sub-Saharan Africa: divergence, determinants and consequences (UNDP)

The book we are launching today, being the first comprehensive income inequality study on Africa, systematically explores income inequality and draws lessons to reduce income inequality in Africa. To accomplish this objective, the book presents an Integrated Inequality Dataset for Sub-Saharan Africa, an innovation that helps overcome persistent problems of scarcity and inconsistency of data on income inequality. This book explores the dynamics and complexities of income inequality and offer solutions around the following five key messages. First, seven outlier countries (South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Central African Republic, Comoros, Lesotho) drive income inequality in Africa, making the continent’s Gini significantly higher than the global average. Fourth, this book brings to the fore an important policy lesson to policymakers: Policies that reduce poverty are not necessarily the same as those that reduce income inequality. For instance, quality education and enhanced productivity help accelerate reduction in poverty, but can raise income inequality – if not accompanied by a progressive tax system and effective social protection programmes. [Remarks by M. Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Regional Bureau for Africa]

Related UNDP SSA inequality analysis: (i) Building the integrated inequality database and the seven sins of inequality measurement in Sub-Saharan Africa; (ii) An econometric analysis of the bifurcation of within-country inequality trends in Sub-Saharan Africa 1990-2011

Towards democratic developmental states in Southern Africa (OSISA)

While the first chapter (pdf) looks at the concept of developmental states in historical perspective, it makes the case for a transition from the autocratic states of the twentieth century to democratic developmental states in the twenty-first century in order to meet the complex challenges involved. Chapter 2 examines developmental states from gender perspectives, while Chapters 3 to 8 are based on the six country case studies [Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Angola, South Africa], each of which follows the outline below: (i) Brief overview of the history of dispossession as well as the resulting levels of poverty and inequality. (ii) Brief analysis of state interventions after independence. (iii) Identifying shortcomings since independence and the need for developmental interventions that promote structural transformation from low productivity activities to high productivity activities. (iv) Analysis of the potential for developmental state interventions, considering the various political, social and economic factors involved. (v) Identifying the obstacles to developmental state interventions (internal and external). (vi) Drawing a country-specific conclusion based on the above analysis. The last chapter provides the synthesis and way forward.

Sylvian Boko: A strong infrastructure base critical to Africa’s economic transformation (UNECA)

Speaking during an ECA-sponsored session at the annual Nigerian Bar Association conference in Lagos, Nigeria, Mr. Boko, the Principal Regional Advisor and Head of Development Planning and Statistics at the ECA, said it was imperative for the continent to create an enabling environment for investment in transboundary infrastructure projects that will change the lives of millions of ordinary people. He said the harmonization of policies, laws, and regulations through the ECA’s Model Law on transboundary infrastructure projects, will go a long way in strengthening existing continental, regional, and national institutional capacity. He added there was also an urgent need for the ECA and its pan African partners to help develop the knowledge base of transboundary infrastructure projects and technical advisory capacity on such projects on the continent. “There’s also a critical need for capacity development,” he said, adding private perception of risk and uncertainty in the past may have been exacerbated by the disparity and lack of harmonization of the regulatory and legal frameworks governing transboundary infrastructure projects even if such projects are otherwise profitable. [ECA unveils model law on transboundary infrastructure development in Africa]

Bringing e-money to the poor: successes and failures (World Bank)

Moving toward universal access to financial services is within reach, thanks to new technologies, transformative business models, and ambitious reforms. Instruments such as e-money accounts and mobile accounts, along with debit cards and low-cost traditional bank accounts, can significantly increase financial access for those who are excluded. Bringing e-Money to the Poor: Successes and Failures examines the lessons of success from four country case studies of “gazelles” -Kenya, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Thailand - that leapt from limitation to innovation by successfully enabling the deployment of e-money technology.

Report of the Kenyan private sector meeting with Jack Ma (pdf, KEPSA)

Opening the Round Table, Ms Carole Kariuki, the CEO of KEPSA, pointed out that Kenya is the East Africa landing point for China’s One Belt, One Road initiative which aims to stimulate investments in and development of trade routes from China to the world. Ms Kariuki emphasized that Kenya’s strategic location also makes it the sea and air gateway to the East and Central Africa with an expanded Port of Mombasa and air connections to over 54 destinations on the continent. Chairman Ma supported Dr Kituyi in noting that the first 20 years of any technology is about the innovation while the next 30 years is about using and leveraging the technology. Electronic commerce is no longer new and for Africa and African entrepreneurs, it is going to be about the using of the technology. Chairman Ma reemphasized his belief that the youth are Africa’s future and small businesses and women are part of that future and will be the rising power for the 21st century. Specific attention needs to be paid to them. He challenged entrepreneurs to think globally, and win locally.

Botswana: Fresh attempt to revive AGOA exports (Mmegi)

Despite duty free access to the US market, exports from Botswana have virtually dried up due to inadequate awareness of the African Growth Opportunities Act programme and the high cost of compliance with technical regulations, standards and quality certification. From the peak of exports worth around $17m in 2011, which were dominated by textiles, exports under the AGOA pact to the US in 2016 were at a paltry $4m. At its peak in 2011, Botswana had over 10 textiles and apparel firms exporting under AGOA. Of these textiles and apparel firms that operated in Botswana, some have shifted focus from exporting to the US market towards South Africa while some have relocated mostly to Lesotho with others having closed down.

Why the 11 countries that rely on the Nile need to reach a river deal soon (The Conversation)

Fresh evidence now points to the fact that both the political and ecological situation in the Nile basin is becoming more precarious. Water quality appears to be worsening, there are growing water quantity issues and agricultural yields appear to be falling. These challenges are exacerbated by the looming completion of various dams on both the Blue Nile and the White Nile. The biggest of these is the Grand Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia. There are also new, and increasing, concerns over the potential impact of climate change on the Nile river basin. Recent studies point to two contradictory scenarios that would require completely opposite adaptation strategies: one entails floods and increased runoff, the other water scarcity and possible drought. [The author: Richard Kyle Paisley]

Today’s Quick Links:

South Africa-Mozambique Bi-National Commission: updates

DBSA’s support to the SADC Master Plan: presentation at SADC Industrialisation Week 2017

Financial Times: edited transcript of interview with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City: global trade analyses delivered at Jackson Hole symposium

Mario Draghi (President of the ECB): Sustaining openness in a dynamic global economy

Reuters: Trump renews threat to scrap NAFTA going into next round of talks

AfDB appoints Dr Abdu Mukhtar as Director, Industrial and Trade Development

UNIDO: Nigeria prepares for Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa

APEC/FAO: Agricultural trade in Pacific Rim economies faces challenges due to climate change


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