Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: FMM West Africa

Featured tweet, @MaureenAAchieng (IOM Ethiopia Chief of Mission and Representative to AU, UNECA, IGAD): @AUC_DPA Continental free movement in Africa is a step closer after 3 days of deliberation on a roadmap in Mauritius.

Featured African migration policy publications from IOM:

(i) Free Movement of Persons in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa: trainer’s manual. The Manual builds on a needs assessment among representatives of the National Monitoring Committees, National Focal Points and the COMESA Secretariat to establish training needs. The assessment was designed to gauge current levels of knowledge, understanding and capacity to administer roles and responsibilities in relation to the COMESA Visa Protocol and the COMESA Free Movement Protocol. This Manual (pdf) therefore responds to the demand to provide trainers with a comprehensive, interactive, practical and flexible training guide for effective adoption and implementation of the COMESA Visa Protocol and COMESA Free Movement Protocol respectively. It is targeted at helping policymakers and practitioners to comprehend what adoption and implementation of the Protocols entail, as well as enable them to embark on concrete measures to undertake these tasks. The Manual focuses on the following key areas:

(ii) Regional guide to facilitate South–South labour mobility in Southern Africa. This document (pdf) has been prepared primarily for use by decision makers and labour migration practitioners within the SADC region and has drawn upon the current context of labour migration management in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as good practices in other regions of the world. Chapter 2 outlines the legal frameworks, examines the labour market conditions and determines the scope for potential labour management cooperation between Mauritius and Zambia. Chapter 3 offers a framework for an SADC circular labour migration model that could be used for a Mauritius-Zambia labour exchange, or more broadly throughout the region. We conceptualize an intra-SADC circular labour migration model in five phases: planning, recruitment, predeparture, preparation for employment and return. [Note: this report is also available in French, Portuguese]

UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Board (11-22 September): preview. Note: The Trade and Development Report 2017 will be launched on 14 September. The report links the issues of globalization, inequality and growth, with the SDGs, specifically, SDGs 1, 8 and 10, which define the inclusive growth agenda in the 2030 framework, as well as through the Fourth Industrial Revolution, macroeconomic aspects of gender issues, and the rise of rentier capitalism. The African Union launches the report at a briefing (14 September) to be addressed by the Commissioner for Trade and Industry, Amb. Albert M. Muchanga. He will discuss the key messages of report in the context of the AU’s Agenda 2063 and one of its flagship project, the Continental Free Area.

The Africa Agriculture Status Report 2017 is posted. Recognizing that Africa has experienced significant economic changes over the past decade, the Report calls for an agricultural transformation that is more focused on a market driven, business agenda that encompasses the entire food system, not just agricultural production. It argues for an inclusive transformation based on promoting small farms and SMEs on a commercial basis with the potential to create many more productive jobs, reduce poverty, improve nutrition outcomes, and make farming and value chains more resilient to shocks from climate change, and more attractive to young workers.

2017 Africa-China Poverty Reduction and Development Conference: update from Mauritus (GoM)

The theme of the two-day conference is Africa and China: rising to new challenges in poverty reduction. The objectives are to discuss poverty reduction challenges and strategies and practices in African countries. It also aims to address progress and challenges of poverty alleviation in Africa and the role of society engagement for Africa-China poverty reduction cooperation.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative: boosting trade opportunities for Sub-Saharan Africa (Commonwealth Trade)

The experience of five triennial summits as part of the FOCAC process should stand African countries, especially the 35 least developed countries, in good stead to take advantage of the letter, spirit and promise of the BRI. Thus far, the major recipient countries of BRI funding have been Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Laos, Pakistan and Russia. Next in line are Ethiopia, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania and Vietnam. These countries provide the gravitational pull for the initial geographic focus on Central Asia and Southeast Asia, with subsequent expansions to Africa and the Middle East. Sub-Saharan Africa could benefit significantly as the BRI attempts to reshape the nodal structure of the global economy by establishing Kenya and Tanzania as new BRI hubs. What is important for Sub-Saharan African countries is how to take advantage of the strong initial BRI project focus on energy, transport, industry and trade, water and urban infrastructure, and agriculture. Much of the investment in these projects will come from Chinese state-owned enterprises with which African countries have had considerable negotiating experience and operational interaction. [The author: Garth le Pere]

US Congressional Delegation visits the African Development Bank (AfDB)

“I know the US is very concerned about the issue of security − as it should be − but the message I want to suggest is for you to think of this in the form of a disaster triangle. What I mean by that is that in every area where you have the three factors of extreme rural poverty, a very high level of unemployment among young people, and climate and environmental degradation, you always have terrorism,” said Akinwumi Adesina, President of the AfDB. He urged the delegation to consider the three areas in future engagement of the United States in Africa.

Admassu Tadesse: “Mauritius ought to be a bigger stakeholder in COMESA’s Bank” (L’Express)

On the 33rd annual general meeting of COMESA’s Trade and Development Bank, Weekly speaks to Admassu Tadesse, president and CEO of the bank, about its role in regional integration, Mauritius’ role in the bank and the region as well as where he sees its future heading. Q: How much has Mauritius committed into the bank? A: Well, Mauritius has committed funds to the TDB but it’s still not really a major shareholder. Given that it’s a middle-income country that is hosting the TDB’s headquarters, the perception is that Mauritius is still quite small as a shareholder. They’ve become more relevant and influential in the bank but nowhere near as influential as they should be in my view. Mauritius controls 1.77% of the shares of the TDB but it can easily grow that to, say, 5%.

Ghana: 2017 Article IV Consultation (IMF)

IMF comment on Ghana’s trade statistics (from the Statistical Issues section): Currently, the GSS is not publishing timely monthly trade statistics, although the data are available from the Customs, Excise, and Preventive Service. The staff has recommended that the GSS collaborate with the CEPS to process customs data within six weeks and with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the BOG to identify and reduce discrepancies in trade statistics and to ensure that imports into bonded warehouses are not double-counted. Data collection procedures of the CEPS need to be improved, and there is also room for improving trade volume data collected by the CEPS through customs invoices, which would help the GSS to extract meaningful import and export unit values. Fund staff has recommended that the GSS produce export unit values for major export commodities, such as gold and cocoa. A high coverage of the country’s export bundle can be obtained from just three major exports – cocoa, gold, and oil. [Ghana: IMF Executive Board completes Fourth Review under the ECF]

Unlocking the potential of the power sector for industrialization and poverty alleviation in Nigeria (UNCTAD)

Enterprise surveys suggest that the total factor productivity (TFP) of Nigeria’s manufacturing sector is below its expected value relative to the country’s per capita income. For example, although Nigeria has a higher per capita income than Ethiopia and Ghana, the median manufacturing firm in Ethiopia has TFP that is two times higher than that of Nigeria, and in Ghana the median firm has TFP that is about three times higher than that of Nigeria. In principle, a country with a low TFP could remain competitive if it has relatively low wages. However, in Nigeria unit labor costs are higher than in some African countries. For the median firm in Nigeria, unit labor costs are about 31%of output compared to 10% in Ethiopia, 12% in Kenya, and 17% in Ghana. That said, the median firm in Nigeria has a lower unit labor cost than the median firm in South Africa (45%) and Cote d’Ivoire (34%).

India: Developing a logistics facilitation monitoring mechanism – the next step in trade facilitation reforms (RIS)

It is also critical to understand that customs and other clearances is just one leg of the entire process of logistics that supports connectivity to global value-chains. Thus, the concept of trade facilitation needs to address the infrastructural and regulatory bottle-necks all along the complete chain of transport, port and airport gateways, freight movement system in the railways, and ancillary services that make up the overall logistics solution for trading across borders from India (Box 1, pdf). Thus, there is a need to move away from what might be a limited perspective of trade facilitation to the broader concept of logistics facilitation that integrates both the ‘soft’ regulatory and ‘hard’ infrastructural performance measures and the means to monitor and improve them. A key first step in this process would be to establish a holistic framework that can identify the key elements of these individual activities in the logistics chain, and find an effective way to monitor their performance. Box 2 summarizes the key principles of such a framework. [The authors: Rajeev Kher, Pritam Banerjee]

Nigerian sovereign wealth fund grows to $2bn, CEO says (Bloomberg)

Nigeria’s sovereign wealth fund stood at $2bn this month with the investment agency seeking further growth through agriculture and the addition of asset management, its chief executive officer said. The government’s contribution stands at $1.5bn, with the rest including funds owned by the institution and those managed for several government agencies, Uche Orji of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority said in an interview on Wednesday in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana. The authority has revamped 11 fertilizer-blending plants so far this year as part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s initiative to boost farming output and reduce the economy’s dependence on oil, which contributes two-thirds of government revenue.

Local content in Tanzania’s gas and minerals sectors: who regulates? (CMI)

The implementation of Tanzania’s local content policy for the petroleum and mineral sectors has been hampered by inconsistency, confusion, and un-coordinated donor interventions. There is a need to replace overlapping institutional authorities by clear lines of regulatory authority to advance Tanzania’s vision of leveraging its gas and mineral wealth for industrial transformation. This is crucial in the areas of training and skills development, the development of small and medium enterprises, and the monitoring and enforcement of regulations. [The author: Jesse Salah Ovadia]

Abundant resources, absent data (PWYP)

This report analyses publicly available data in an attempt to draw a comprehensive picture of Australia’s extractive presence – by company, country and project. It shows stakeholders a regional snapshot of what a mandatory disclosure law would cover in the Australian context and how this would enable citizens and governments to ensure that they are receiving a fair deal for the extraction of the natural resources. It also demonstrates how Australian policy can support the sustainable development of natural resources in the countries it operates in. Using data, it argues for the introduction of a mandatory disclosure law which would align Australia with the global reporting standard set by the 30 countries who have already implemented it.

The AfDB has posted a revised strategic framework and action plan on the prevention of illicit financial flows in Africa 2017 - 2021

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