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

Starting, today in Accra: ACBF’s 26th Board of Governors Meeting on the theme Enhancing access to and absorption of development resources in Africa.

The Atlantic Council launches two issue briefs on Thursday in Washington. They are Escaping China’s shadow: finding America’s competitive edge in Africa (by Aubrey Hruby) and Capturing the African consumer market: truths, trends, and strategies for the road ahead (by Aleksandra Gadzala)

President Jacob Zuma officially launches the the InvestSA One Stop Shop – Western Cape on Friday in Cape Town. Minister of Trade and industry, Dr Rob Davies said that the value-proposition for the Provincial One Stop Shops is the co-ordination and incorporation of the special economic zones, provincial investment agencies, local authorities and the relevant government departments involved in regulatory, registration, permits and licensing matters.

Multimedia: Prudence Sebahizi, head of the AU’s CFTA Unit, summarizes the 3rd Meeting of the CFTA Technical Working Groups which ended on Friday in Durban.

ACBF calls for establishment of Africa Central Bank, Africa Monetary Fund

Prof Emmanuel Nnadozie, the ACBF Executive Secretary, made the suggestion in Lagos at the final plenary session of the 2017 Annual General Conference of Nigerian Bar Association. He said that these two institutions were need in Africa to foster economic integration. “Everybody has a role to play in the regional integration of Africa. We need to ensure that pan African credit institutions are adequately involved in the integration process.” Nnadozie stressed the need to address political issues confronting trans-boundary integration in Africa as well as means of broadening intra-regional infrastructure. “There is no question that regional integration is critical to Africa’s development. A lot has been achieved since the idea of regional integration was introduced to the continent though there is a lot of room for improvement. Of Africa’s 55 countries, only five belong to five regional economic committees, while four belong to three of such. Regional integration in Africa has tended to follow a top down approach. Most African countries are intergovernmental in nature making it difficult to make decisions. It is important to address these issues, we need transformational leadership, Africannness, allow a solid financial capacity and foster a regional citizen development process.”

Building resilience to global risks: challenges for African central banks (BIS)

The policy response of many African commodity exporting economies to the slump in commodity prices after mid-2014 has been markedly different from that of commodity exporters elsewhere. First, few African countries allowed their currency to depreciate as much as other EMEs, for instance in Latin America. Instead they resorted mainly to administrative controls, despite the high economic costs associated with such measures. Second, many African economies kept their policy rates very low despite considerable exchange rate pressure and rising inflation. Again, this differs from the response of many Latin American commodity exporters, who raised policy rates in order to keep inflation expectations anchored. Finally, many African economies have been less successful than other EMEs in shielding their banks from the fallout of lower commodity prices, sharp depreciation and feeble growth. [The authors: Benedicte Vibe Christensen, Christian Upper] [SARB’s François Groepe: The changing role of the central bank in economic policy]

Mauritius International Financial Centre: update (GoM)

The elaboration of a Blueprint for the Mauritius International Financial Centre was the focus of a one-day consultative meeting at the Hilton Hotel in Flic en Flac. The Minister of Financial Services, Good Governance and Institutional Reforms, Mr Sudhir Sesungkur, as well as representatives from local authorities and agencies were also present. The Executive Director at Harvard Law School, Mr James Shipton, will be responsible for the elaboration of the Blueprint. He will be assisted by a team from the Ministry of Financial Services, Good Governance and Institutional Reforms and the Financial Services Commission.

Trade and Development Bank nets $101m in profits (COMESA)

The Trade and Development Bank has recorded a net profit of $101m, a 7% increase over the $94.7m achieved in 2015. Operational and financial performance has also continued its upward trajectory recording. Chairperson of the Trade and Development Bank Board of Governors Hon. Claver Gatete disclosed this during the opening Session of the 33rd Annual General Meeting of the Bank’s Board of Governors in Mahe, Seychelles on 31st August 2017. Hon. Gatete informed the meeting that the bank has embarked on rebranding to reposition itself and place it on a firm trajectory of renewal.

AGOA: Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland statement in support of Swaziland’s eligibility status (IndustriALL Global Union)

The decision to call for readmission has not been taken lightly, but after extensive consultations and assessment by TUCOSWA and participation in the ILO process to review whether Swaziland had met the standards for internationally recognised workers’ rights including the rights to organise. Concern was also raised over the use of security forces stifling of peaceful demonstrations and arbitrary arrests. s trade unions, we support Swaziland’s readmission to AGOA eligibility status because this will not only save jobs but create thousands more in the textile and apparel industry, and across the value chain. In our fight for decent work, these jobs are an important lifeline for young women who constitute over 90% of the workers in this industry.

‘Zimbabwe heading towards de-dollarisation’ (NewsDay)

The central bank’s decision to more than double the size of its bond-note programme to $500m confirms the country is headed towards de jure de-dollarisation, which threatens to accelerate inflation, an international research body has said. Dollarisation has two forms, namely, official/de jure and unofficial/de facto. BMI Research found that an increase in bond notes was actually de-dollarising the economy. BMI Research warned last week that increasing money supply would contribute to an accelerated growth of inflation from 1,4% by year-end to 8,5% in 2018 — making the steepest growth since 2009.

Roman Grynberg: Namibia’s industrialisation policy is not succeeding – why? (The Namibian)

While GDP has grown and so too has the real value of manufacturing, they have in no way come to dominate our economy as the government would like. In terms of exports, Namibia exports virtually the same range of goods as just after independence. The most important new development has been some cut diamond exports and canned fish. But that, like so many other manufacturing activities, has only been possible because of considerable subsidies from government. With the exception of the rapid growth of tourism, there has been almost no real diversification, and industry is no more important now than then. So, why has Namibia not industrialised?

Botswana: Efforts to increase trade along Trans-Kalahari Corridor intensify  (Mmegi)

During a University of Botswana and Trans-Kalahari Corridor stakeholder engagement workshop in Gaborone last week, the stakeholders implored governments of the three states to make efforts in linking Africa to the rest of the world. Marketing and business development specialist at the TKC secretariat, Zunaid Pochee said since inception of the TKC, they have so far made efforts to harmonise legislations and procedures to make it easier to travel in the three countries. He said the signing of the One-Stop-Border bill by Botswana and Namibia has enabled the countries to harmonise customs procedures. However, Pochee decried the fact that border posts do not open throughout the day, stating that they are working to change that to make possible for borders to open for 24 hours. According to the specialist, they are seeking to increase movement of goods along the corridor to have 22 trucks moving per hour, which translates to about 196,416 per annum. [Rwanda: How One Stop Border Posts have helped reduce truck transit time]

Mozambique: Moatize-Macuse project to begin in late 2018 – govt (Club of Mozambique)

The head of the Ministry’s legal department, Luis Chauque, said the project includes a new deep water port at Macuse, and a railway from the Moatize coal basin to Macuse, a distance of around 500 kilometres. The total cost of the project is currently put at $2.7bn, $810m for the port, and the rest for the railway. Chauque said the new railway and port will handle 25 million tonnes of cargo a year, which should gradually rise until it reaches 100 million tonnes a year. The proposed railway will be much shorter than the existing lines from Moatize to the ports of Beira and Nacala-a-Velha. Macuse port will be able to take ships of up to 80,000 tonnes – Beira, a port which must be regularly dredged, cannot match this capacity, although Nacala-a-Velha can take ships of any size.

Tanzania: Dry port master plan to ease transit cargo handling (Daily News)

As competition among ports in Eastern and Southern Africa stiffens, the Tanzania Ports Authority has decided to come up with a Master Plan for establishment of dry ports in strategic regions, to ease clearance and shipment of transit cargo to neighbouring countries. TPA Director General, Engineer Deusdedit Kakoko said Arusha dry port would significantly attract customers from the neighbouring countries of Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda, including the northern regions of Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Manyara to use Tanga Port and Dar es Salaam harbour. “Our competitors have built a dry port at Taveta area in Kenya. This means that containerised cargo that enters through Mombasa Port with destinations in Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi is now transported up to Taveta as a strategy to attract customers from those countries,” he said.

Tanzania: Why cabinet ‘hot seat’ in JPM’s govt is still vacant (IPPMedia)

The high-profile portfolio of Minister for Energy and Minerals remains unfilled more than three months after the previous incumbent, Prof Sospeter Muhongo, was unceremoniously removed over the mineral sand export row.

South Africa: Sasol banking on big projects in Africa, US (IOL)

The group said in its annual report that the $1.4bn (R18.28bn) development in Mozambique was progressing well. Joint chief executives Stephen Cornell and Bongani Nqwababa said development in the Production Sharing Agreement licence area in Mozambique was on schedule and within the approved budget. “By year-end, six wells had been drilled. We expect to complete the 13-well drilling programme by the end of the 2018 calendar year and remain firmly committed to our growth plans, despite the financial challenges the country faces. We will continue to partner with the Mozambican government and other institutions on projects that will help stimulate growth,” the joint chief executives said. Sasol released its year-end results last week, during which the group also outlined some of its projects in the year ahead.

India: GST woes are adding to India’s export slump (The Wire)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the launch of the goods and services tax (GST) regime, described it as a “good and simple tax” that would end harassment of traders and small businesses and integrate India into one market with one tax rate. However, it has not turned out that way at all, at least as far as exporters are concerned. Indian exporters are already feeling pressure on their margins because of rupee which has appreciated by nearly 7% this year. GST issues could add to their woes. Exporters, especially small ones, are having a tough time complying with the new indirect tax regime. Not only that, they also fear a loss of competitiveness due to higher working capital requirements and tedious documentation work. Latest export data from July, which paints a lacklustre picture, has only deepened this fear.

Today’s Quick Links:

Tanzania: Plans afoot to resuscitate ailing milk sector, increase production

Madagascar to focus on land governance in its Agricultural Investment Plan

South Africa: Competition policy on SOEs must be clear - Commissioner

Bob Diamond’s Nigeria plan takes shape as Fairfax completes deal

WHO Regional Committee for Africa: documentation from 67th session, Zimbabwe

Factbox: Key issues in the NAFTA renegotiations


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