Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Sven Torfinn | PANOS

Featured @AUTradeIndustry tweet (from the ongoing BIAT conference in Tanzania): Intra-Africa Trade would double from the current level of ~$170bn per year to almost $400bn by addressing availability of market information

Today, in Johannesburg: SACU and EAC trade ministers meeting

A reminder: the launch of the Trade and Development Report 2017 takes place today (in Geneva and Addis)

AU reforms update: African Union appoints Heads of the AU Institutional Reforms Unit

Sachin Chaturvedi: Asia Africa Growth Corridor aims for people-centric growth strategy (Livemint)

Trade facilitation is a major component of AAGC Framework. In a study conducted by the European Commission, it is found that the time taken for export and import activities is among the highest in Africa (excluding the northern region). Moreover, the documents required to export and import are also on the higher side in Africa. Thus, there is a need for customs modernization plan with focus on better organization and management, coupled with administrative, financial and technical autonomy as well as accountability. We also need to strengthen institutions and infrastructure for valuation through legislative framework, training of valuation officers, establishment of valuation offices and value information systems and databases. India has established the directorate of valuation, special valuation branch and National Import database, to improve custom valuation practices. Similar institutions can be established in other developing countries in Asia and Africa through technical assistance. India’s success in the single-window custom clearance through SWIFT could be replicated in African countries.

Thomas A. Shannon: US-African Partnerships – advancing common interests (US State Department)

Second, as far as the United States is concerned, Africa is already a continent of allies and partners. With a few notable exceptions, the vast majority of African states share our commitment to free markets, equitable trade, democracy and the rule of law, secure borders, and effective responses to global terrorist threats. African states’ progress towards open markets and free trade have spurred economic growth, development, and tremendous opportunity across the continent. Indeed, six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies are in Africa. By 2030, Africa will represent almost a quarter of the world’s workforce and consumers, and by 2050 Africa’s population is projected to double to two billion people. And our balance of trade with Africa is near parity - thanks to booming demand for infrastructure investment, aircraft, consumer products, and services. African states consistently attract strong investor attention from American companies. [Prepared remarks by Thomas A. Shannon, Jr., Under Secretary for Political Affairs at US Institute of Peace seminar]

Tanzania: No ban yet on ‘mitumba’ says government (The Citizen)

The government has not yet officially banned importation of second hand clothes (mitumba), a senior officer has said, reiterating that a recent import duty increase was merely a step towards nurturing the growth of the local textile industry. Speaking to The Citizen on sidelines of last week’s breakfast meeting between the Confederation of Tanzania Industry and Tanzania Revenue Authority, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Adelhelm Meru, said: ”This is what we told them (US trade bodies) when we met recently….We never said we are banning second-hand clothes….We only said that we are building the capacity for our local industries and that is what exactly what our team of experts said during a recent negotiation with the US trade bodies.”

Looking beyond the horizon: a case study of PVH’s commitment in Ethiopia’s Hawassa Industrial Park (World Bank)

The story of how the PVH Corp. came to lead a group of its top suppliers to build factories and a fabric mill in Ethiopia’s Hawassa Industrial Park is the study of a strong collaboration between a private company looking to optimize its business model and a government aiming to transform its economy through global strategic repositioning. The success of this story hinges upon the intersection of their goals and a shared vision of development that includes a strong commitment to social and environmental goals. PVH was motivated to invest in Ethiopia to respond to shifts in the global apparel sector, its growing desire to retool its business model and to address its concerns about compliance with social and environmental standards in its traditional sourcing locations. The case study further assesses the government of Ethiopia’s strategy, level of readiness, interest, and commitment, and sets out some key challenges that lie ahead for this partnership. The case study is structured in ten sections.

Rwanda: Developing a coherent national policy framework on agricultural trade (RNA)

To address this challenge and to assess the coherence of policy and coordination mechanisms between the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, FAO, with support from ECDPM and the Enhanced Integrated Framework facilitated a workshop yesterday in Kigali. Among the objectives of the meeting were the alignment of sectoral policy interventions and the promotion of strategic use of public and private resources. Speaking at the workshop, Dr Charles Murekezi, the DG of Agriculture Development at MINAGRI, provided a number of ways to improve agriculture and trade policy coherence in Rwanda. [Related: Cabinet approves National Strategy for Transformation 2017-2024; NAEB moves to enforce coffee zoning strategy to achieve export targets]

Central Africa: ICE2017 preview (UNECA)

They (Cameroon’s minister of trade, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana and Antonio Pedro, Director of ECA’s Sub regional Office) discussed progress made by other RECs in promoting intra-Africa trade, noting that “Central Africa is lagging behind other sub-regions, but that its success stories should be emulated and replicated for scale and transformational change.” They also concurred that “by maximizing trade in intermediate goods and fostering backward and forward integration, countries in Central Africa will benefit more from trading with each other than with the external world.” The Minister of Trade stated that with a population of more than 150 million, Central Africa provides a “big enough market” for all its member states, “especially if we effectively promote free movement of goods and services.” He cited a “positive example” of Cameroon, which imports palm oil from Gabon for its refineries that produce vegetable oils and soap. “We need to do more of this,” said Mr. Atangana who then deplored the fact that Cameroon’s textile industry does not benefit much from the country’s cotton production since, “only about 4% is transformed locally. The rest is exported.”

IGAD convenes member states and development partners for first time

IGAD has brought together Member States and IGAD development partners for the first meeting of its kind aimed at facilitating interaction between development aid end recipients and donors. The objective of the meeting was to highlight achievements by IGAD within the framework of the regional programmes and country level programmes with IGAD assistance, and also to touch on the challenges and opportunities in face of the organisation.

Unlocking the potential of trucking business in Southern Africa (NewsDay)

Operations to and from Southern Africa are governed by bilateral agreements. Unlike West and Central Africa, the Southern African agreements do not establish quotas. This enables direct contracting between shippers and transporters and creates incentives for transporters to be more efficient. The agreements contain the following provisions, among others:

South Africa: Quarterly Bulletin (Reserve Bank)

The value of exported gold and merchandise goods increased at a slightly faster pace than that of merchandise imports, resulting in a widening of South Africa’s trade surplus with the rest of the world in the second quarter of 2017. The value of both mining and manufacturing exports increased, the latter following three successive quarterly declines. The value of mining imports increased despite a decline in the value of crude oil imports, while manufacturing imports were boosted by higher values of imported machinery, transport equipment and textiles. The shortfall on the services, income and current transfer account widened further in the second quarter of 2017, resulting in the deficit on the current account of the balance of payments widening from 2.0% of GDP in the first quarter of 2017 to 2.4% of GDP in the second quarter, despite the improved trade surplus. Extract from Quarterly Economic Review (pdf): The share of manufacturing exports to total exports increased from 35.6% in 2008 to 38.3% in 2016. In 2016, the main regional destinations of South African-manufactured exports were Europe and Africa, followed by the United States. In 2016, South Africa’s largest manufactured export product category was vehicles and transport equipment (35.4%), followed by machinery and electrical equipment (22.3%), chemical products (15.0%) and food, beverages and tobacco (9.4%). That same year, Germany was the single largest destination of South African manufacturing exports, comprising mostly vehicles (62.3%) and machinery (22.6%). [Various downloads available]

UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Board meeting: profiled presentations - Investment and the digital economy (James Zhan, UNCTAD), Air connectivity in Africa, challenges and opportunities (Brian Pearce, IATA). [View the complete set of presentations, statements, updated daily, here]

Short-term impact of Brexit on the United Kingdom’s export of goods (World Bank)

The short-term impact of Brexit on goods exports is assessed using the Overall Trade Restrictiveness Index of the UK’s major trading partners. The analysis shows that in the short run, leaving the European Union may cause the United Kingdom’s exports to the European Union to decrease by 2 percent, and the prospect of a major trade collapse post-Brexit is unlikely. This is because the European Union’s Most Favored Nation tariffs are higher on products that are less responsive to tariffs, and lower on products that are more responsive to tariffs. The study assumes that there are no further compliance costs associated with the existing nontariff measures facing firms in the United Kingdom, should the United Kingdom leave the European Union.

India’s exports to Japan halve to $3.85 billion in four years (Livemint)

Amid growing bonhomie between Japan and India - Asia’s second and third largest economy, respectively- lies the dark reality that in just four years, Indian exports to Japan have almost halved to $3.85 billion in 2016-17, from $6.81 billion in 2013-14.

Today’s Quick Links:

African Minerals and Geosciences Centre seeks more members as non-payment of fees bite

Registration has opened for Afreximbank’s Structured Trade Finance seminar (6-9 November, Cape Verde)

UNSC debate summaries: Lake Chad Basin humanitarian crisis, Somalia, Guinea-Bissau


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