Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Rediff

International trade statistics: Continued, albeit slower, G20 merchandise trade growth in Q2 2017 (OECD)

G20 international merchandise trade (seasonally adjusted and expressed in current US dollars), increased for the fifth consecutive quarter in the second quarter of 2017, though at a slower pace than over the previous three months. G20 export growth slowed to 1.4% in the second quarter of 2017, compared with 3.4% in the first quarter of 2017 while imports increased by 1.7%, down from last quarter’s 4.2%. G20 merchandise trade remains around 10% lower than recent highs in 2014. There were, however, significant divergences across regions.

Simon Freemantle: BRICS 2017 – poised for new relevance (Standard Bank)

For Africa, the rampant post-2000 momentum of trade growth with the BRICS has certainly ebbed. In 2016 total BRICS-Africa trade amounted to USD248bn, down from a peak of USD366bn in 2014. Notably, Africa’s exports to China have declined from a 2013 peak of USD113bn to USD55bn in 2016; while Brazil’s recent economic recession has precipitated a 70% decline in the value of its imports from Africa since 2013. However, though the BRICS heads of state will meet with these challenges in mind, there remains clear and growing space for the BRICS to continue to nurture the enthusiasm and developing world emphasis that their formation arose to represent.

First, the BRICS economies have likely reached a cyclical bottom in their respective economic cycles, with average growth of 3.2% expected this year. And the proportionate global relevance of the BRICS has continued to rise: between 2009 and 2016 the BRICS collective share of global GDP increased from16% to 22%. Over the past decade the BRICS have accounted for nearly 50% of the world’s GDP growth. Second, though trade values have declined, the BRICS are still a collectively profound trading partner for developing economies in general and Africa in particular. Recent declines in BRICS-Africa trade must be seen within the context of a far more profound drop-off in, for instance, US-Africa trade since 2012. [BRICS Think Tank Council: Realising the BRICS long-term goals – road-maps and pathways]

India-Tanzania Joint Trade Committee: highlights from the just-concluded Fourth Session (Ministry of Commerce, India)

It was mentioned that Tanzania is one of the most important countries in Africa in so far as India’s bilateral co-operation in various sectors is concerned. With an investment of $2.2bn, Tanzania is among the top 5 investment destinations for India. The Indian side conveyed to the Tanzanian side that the potential areas for Tanzania in India include light oils and petroleum or bituminous minerals, motor cars and vehicles, medicaments etc. Similarly, metals and minerals, dried cashew nuts in shells from Tanzania are required in India. During the discussions, it was mentioned that long-term (at least one year visas) for reputed business companies with multi-entry facility will be helpful to promote investments and business collaboration between the two countries.

41st World Tourism Conference: Do not ignore African tourists, they are the future – UNCTAD’s Mukhisa Kituyi (New Times)

“The fastest growing tourism is intra-African tourism. Movement of tourists from one African country to another. There are very many positive components about Intra-African tourism, one is that it is not seasonal. It is 12 months a year, conference tourism, medical tourism, educational tourism and business visit. This sustains the industry better than the occasional seasonal tourism,” he said. According to statistics from UNCTAD, tourists from the continent make up a total of 44% of the total visitors received in the continent and this is expected to grow to 50 per cent in coming years. “Intra-African tourism grew from 34% to 44% of the total number of tourists in Africa. The projections are that it will be above 50% in the next 10 years,” Dr Kituyi said. [President Paul Kagame’s speech, COMESA to launch a regional tourism handbook]

Malawi: Stakeholders take stock of Malawi’s economic performance (IMF)

The IMF and the Government of Malawi co-sponsored a high-level international stakeholders conference (28-30 August, Lilongwe) aimed at taking stock of the objectives and performance under the recently completed Extended Credit Facility, and the lessons for future engagement with the IMF. Participants agreed that the ECF program broadly achieved its macroeconomic policy stabilization objectives, including reducing inflation and increasing international reserves, but fell short on achieving sustained and inclusive growth.

US AGOA poultry exporters struggle with SA’s empowerment provisos (Business Day)

US poultry producers nearly reached their full 65,000 ton quota of exports to SA under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act in the year to end-March. However the start to the current year had been slow, the president of the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, James Sumner, said on Tuesday on the sidelines of the biggest bi-annual conference in Brazil for the poultry and pork industries. Sumner said the start to the 2017-18 year had been slow due to the delay and confusion in issuing import quotas. [Outgoing economic counsellor sees big ‘untapped’ US-SA economic potential]

Zimbabwe-SA trade deficit widens by 15% (NewsDay)

Data gathered from the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency shows that Zimbabwe exported goods worth $1,1bn to South Africa between January and July against imports of $1,3bn, giving a trade deficit of $131m. Last year in the same period, trade deficit between two countries stood at $114m, with imports standing at $1,1bn against exports of $1,03bn. In total, Zimbabwe’s trade deficit narrowed by 21% to $1,2bn in the period under review, after imports amounted to $3,1bn while exports trailed at $1,9bn. Some of Zimbabwe’s major export markets in the period under review were Mozambique ($226m), United Arab Emirates ($85m), Zambia ($40m), Kenya ($16m) and Belgium ($13m). The country’s major import markets in the period under review were Singapore ($706m), China ($306m), Mozambique ($75m), Japan ($70m), India ($60m) and Mauritius ($59m).

Zimbabwe: Trade in Services (foreign affiliates statistics) report 2015 (pdf, ZimStat)

The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency conducted the second Trade in Services (Foreign Affiliates Statistics) Survey in Zimbabwe in 2016. The survey collected data for the year 2015. The statistics on foreign affiliates largely could be used to monitor globalization and its impact on the national economy. The purpose and main objective of the survey was to establish the supply of services into Zimbabwe by foreign affiliates as well as to assess the economic effects of the operations of these affiliates. The statistical units covered in the survey were enterprises in Zimbabwe under foreign control. Selected findings: (i) The total turnover recorded by foreign affiliates in 2015 was $3.5bn. Foreign affiliates trading in services recorded a total turnover of $1.7bn in 2015. (ii) Gross output of foreign affiliates in the year 2015 amounted to $3.8bn. The gross output of foreign affiliates trading in services in 2015 was $2.1bn. (iii) Total value added from foreign affiliates amounted to $2.9bn in 2015. Total value added from foreign affiliates trading in services amounted to $1.7bn in 2015. [Companion report: Foreign private capital survey report 2015]

DRC temporarily bans import of key consumer goods (News24)

Authorities have banned imports of several popular consumer products in the west of the DRC for six months to fight smuggling, Trade Minister Jean-Lucien Busa said on Monday. “We have decided on the temporary restriction of imports in the western part of the country for six months of grey cement, sugar, beer and fizzy drinks in order to put an end to fraud and contraband,” Busa told AFP. The measure was also aimed at “protecting local industry in a crucial period of growth that risks being undermined by those who practice prices below production costs”, the minister said, stressing that he had not “turned to protectionism”.

Mozambican government should be transparent before creating sovereign fund – economist (Club of Mozambique)

Mozambican economist Tomas Selemane says that the Mozambican government must ensure transparency and accountability in its management of public resources before creating a sovereign fund with natural resource revenues. “I support the idea of creating a sovereign fund, but I would like to draw attention to the fundamental problems that need to be solved first: corruption, lack of transparency and the lack of reliable mechanisms for accounting for national assets in terms of mineral resources,” Selemane said. According to Selemane, a sovereign fund would be useless in a context where state resources are managed in an opaque manner and with impunity for the perpetrators of corruption.

Botswana: Government moots one-stop-shop for transport projects (Mmegi)

The Ministry of Transport and Communications is in the process of developing an integrated national transport policy that will unify all transport-related projects in the country. Director of Transport Planning and Policy, Orapeleng Mosigi said the policy is expected to be launched some time next year.

Modal choice between rail and road transportation: evidence from Tanzania (World Bank)

With firm-level data, this paper examines shippers’ modal choice in Tanzania. The paper shows that rail prices and shipping distance and volume are important determinants of firms’ mode choice. The analysis also finds that the firms’ modal choice depends on the type of transactions. Rail transport is more often used for international trading purposes. Exporters and importers are key customers for restoring rail freight operations. Rail operating speed does not seem to have an unambiguous effect on firms’ modal selection. [Companion paper: Rail transport and firm productivity: evidence from Tanzania (pdf)]

Concession model in question as RVR hands back assets (Business Daily)

A number of pressing questions still linger as Kenya joins the list of African states whose train concessions deals have failed after a complete take-back of its assets from the Rift Valley Railways tomorrow. Key to these is the probity of loans borrowed from international financial institutions, which include the World Bank and the AfDB. But first, the story of RVR’s sojourn in Kenya. [Kenya: New railway line expected to boost business and tourism in four counties]

Western, Central Africa regions move ahead on digital customs, e-commerce (WCO)

36 representatives from 20 Customs administrations of the region, Regional Intelligence Liaison Offices of Western Africa (Senegal) and Central Africa (Cameroon), African Alliance for E-Commerce, Express Industry and IT providers participated in the workshop. There was a clear emphasis towards moving to a paperless Single Window environment and eventually having an interconnectivity/interoperability of Customs IT systems/Single Windows for an efficient exchange of information (e.g., e-certificate of origin and e-phytosanitary certificate). The capture and use of new data sources from all economic operators in the E-Commerce supply chain for integrated risk management as a whole government approach was equally explored as a potential way forward. Being the first of its kind in the Region, the Workshop was very well received by participants and raised a lot of interest and robust discussions.

Today’s Quick Links:

Maputo International Trade Fair: (i) Botswana looks to boost exports to Mozambique; (ii) Portugal highlights importance of security in Mozambique business environment

Conference alerts: African Green Revolution Forum (4-8 September, Abidjan), Brazil-Africa Forum (23-24 November, Sao Paulo)

Ethiopian Airlines to fly to Sao Paulo nonstop

WTO chief says Brazil actively trying to lift restrictions on meat trade


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