tralac’s Daily News Selection
Today, in Lusaka: Zambia’s Minister of Finance, Felix Mutati, delivers the 2018 national budget
Yesterday, in Maseru: The first sitting of the Lesotho Coordinating Committee on Trade. The LCCT serves as an advisory body to the Government on trade and trade related policies, and function as a key facilitator for negotiations as well as implementation of trade agreements.
Earlier this week in Dakar: The first meeting of the steering committee and experts of the Continental High Speed Rail Network project. The first session was devoted to presentations on the experiences of Senegal, South Africa and Morocco, the latter two countries considered to be the most advanced in this field, which can inspire other countries on the continent.
Africa’s changing place in the global criminal economy (pdf, Global Initiative)
In patterns that are both old and new, Africa is becoming more enmeshed in a global web of illicit economic networks. Today, the continent is regularly featured in media reports on worldwide criminal markets and organised crime. Such coverage often focuses on what might be called organised corruption; the so-called ‘migrant crisis’ enabled by human smuggling from North Africa and the Sahel; or the poaching of animal species, such as rhinos and elephants in Southern Africa; the growth of different types of financial fraud; or the illegal trade in commodities or drugs across the continent. Indeed, one of the marked features of Africa’s criminal economy is its diversity.
How do we analyse the recent growth of these illicit markets and the organised-crime networks associated with them in Africa? And how do we understand and measure their impact on indicators such as governance, economic development, poverty reduction, human security and quality of life? What impact do they have on Africa’s long-standing (and increasing) conflicts and on violence? And how can we do so in a way that is useful across the plethora of criminal challenges Africa now faces? [The author: Mark Shaw]
President Museveni, EU boss Jean-Claude Juncker discuss EPA (State House, Uganda)
President Yoweri Museveni has met the EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and presented a raft of concerns raised by EAC member states on the Economic Partnership Agreements. Leading a delegation of EAC trade ministers to the meeting at the EU headquarters in Brussels on Thursday, President Museveni, who is also Chairperson of the EAC, noted that the bloc sought several clarifications before making a final decision on the EPA. On the team was Uganda’s trade minister Amelia Kyambadde and her colleagues Adan Mohamad (Kenya), Prof Palamagamba Kabudi (Tanzania) and Alain Nyamitwe, the Burundian Minister for External Relations. Rwanda and South Sudan sent high-level government bureaucrats. Key among the concerns is the question of strategic industrial development, the denunciation process, development agenda, the rendezvous, joint declaration and domestic support.
The Trade and Gender Toolbox is the first attempt to provide a systematic framework to evaluate the impact of trade reforms on women and gender inequalities prior to implementation of those reforms. The methodology is applied to a specific trade agreement – the EPA between the EU and the EAC (pdf) – and is used to assess the likely impact of the EPA on the well-being and gender equality of women in Kenya, an EAC partner state, mainly through employment. The same methodology can be used to assess the gender impacts of any other trade agreement or trade reform in any other country. The toolbox methodology is used to estimate the impact of implementation of the EPA (and particularly the tariff reduction on European Union exports to Kenya) on Kenya’s GDP and exports; on the country’s labour demand by sector; and on the Kenyan female labour force. The methodology is based on a Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model. Specifically, it makes use of the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) based on a static, multi-country, multi-sector CGE model.
According to the calculations, the impact of implementation of the EPA (as compared to the GSP scenario) is positive on Kenyan GDP, exports, and household income, but to a very small extent (0.02 per cent or less). Overall, the results of the estimation indicate a net welfare benefit, implying that the benefits for consumers (lower prices of imported goods) and producers (increased export opportunities) altogether outweigh the losses faced by import-competing producers, reduced employment, and diminished tariff revenues. Conversely, the results show an overall negative effect of the EPA, compared to the GSP scenario, on the employment of both skilled and unskilled labour. There are no significant differences between the expected variation in demand for skilled and unskilled labour across most sectors. However, in all sectors the expected impact on labour demand is small in magnitude, as the estimated variation is generally less than 1%. The most negatively affected labour force is in that of the chemical sector, where demand for skilled and unskilled labour is expected to decrease by 1.14 per cent and 0.54 per cent, respectively. Notable exceptions to the overall negative impact of the EPA on labour demand arise in the other crops, leather, and heavy manufacturing sectors, where demand for both skilled and unskilled labour is expected to increase.
(i) Zim-SA trade deficit shrinks by 32% (NewsDay). The trade deficit between Zimbabwe and South Africa narrowed by 32% to $98 million in the first eight months of the year, after exports increased by 15%, latest trade data from the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency shows. Data gathered from ZimStat shows that Zimbabwe exported goods worth $1,4 billion to South Africa between January and August against imports of $1,5bn, giving a trade deficit of $98m. During the same period last year, the trade deficit between the two countries was $145m, with imports at $1,3bn against exports of $1,2bn.
(ii) Cross-border truck drivers threaten to shun Zim routes (NewsDay). Zimbabwe is likely to lose millions of dollars in potential revenue as cross-border truck drivers, particularly those in transit to other regional countries, have threatened to shun local routes in protest over the recently-introduced electronic cargo tracking system, which they say is too slow and costly. The drivers met on the South African side of the Beitbridge Border Post on Wednesday, where they resolved to shun Zimbabwean routes and use the longer, but “stress-free” Botswana route unless the government reviews the new law. At least 10 000 foreign-registered trucks pass through Zimbabwe en-route to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Malawi and parts of Mozambique.
(iii) New law against cash vending (The Herald). In an Extraordinary Gazette published yesterday, President Mugabe issued Statutory Instrument 122A of 2017 — Exchange Control (Amendment) Regulations 2017 (No 5) — to deal with the widespread cash vending on the streets. This comes after Government’s realisation that cash vending had become a catalytic agent to the price madness obtaining in the country. President Mugabe amended the Exchange Control Regulations of 1996, published in Statutory Instrument 109 of 1996, in particular section 2 of the principal regulations.
(iv) Reforms needed to ensure recovery (Zimbabwe Independent). Despite President Robert Mugabe’s meeting with the business sector at State House last week, the first time such an engagement has been held in a decade, doubts remain over the veteran leader’s commitment to reforms demanded by business leaders. In a 17-page document, prepared at the meeting, captains of industry implored the government to embrace far-reaching reforms, among them improving the investment climate, fiscal sustainability and financial sector stability, state enterprise restructuring and stamping out corruption in both the public and private sectors. [Adopting the rand was a better economic option]
COMESA queries AkzoNobel on local firm purchase plans (Daily Monitor)
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Competition Commission has written to AkzoNobel Coatings asking them to respond to a notification of Sales, Manufacturing and Distribution Agreements with local paint manufacturers in Uganda. The Competition Commission faults the Dutch manufacturer for allegedly failing to notify it about their planned acquisition of a local paints manufacturer in the region. The 19 September letter, by Mr George K Lipimile, the director and chief executive officer Competition Commission, asked AkzoNobel to respond their position on the matter not later than Monday September25, 2017. [EAC urged to embrace arbitration in commercial dispute resolution]
Uganda: National Household Survey 2016/17 shows 3,4m more slip into poverty (Daily Monitor)
More Ugandans are slipping into poverty with the number of poor people increasing from 6.6 million in 2012/13 to 10 million in 2016/17, according to the Uganda National Household Survey 2016/17 report released yesterday by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics. The above development translates into income poverty levels rising from 19.7% to 27%. At the sub-regional level, the survey cites the worst hit regions as Karamoja, with 61% of the people categorised as income poor, followed by Bukedi with 48% and Busoga with 42%. [Download: National Household Survey 2016/17]
The Angolan Ministry of Finance is set to issue a $1.5bn sovereign guarantee to ensure the financing of the construction of the Barro do Dande port, located on the country’s northwest coast. The guarantee was published in Angola’s official gazette under a presidential decree, and will grant the contract for the port’s construction to a partnership of Atlantic Ventures and the management company of the port of Luanda.
Advancing Mozambique’s green-blue economy agenda: EOI from AfDB
Under the national green-blue economy agenda and directly supporting the roll-out of the national Natural Capital Program - co-led by the Ministry of Economy and Finance with the Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development - the scope of work includes two interlinked complementary objectives: (i) Update, expand, strengthen and finalize the components of the national Natural Capital Program’s current draft Implementation Framework in consultation with all national stakeholders: (a) enabling environment policy reforms, (b) private sector interventions and (c) built infrastructure regional master plan’s alignment with resilient ecological infrastructure at national and provincial level; (ii) Design and develop Provincial Action Plans in consultation with all provincial actors in the Northern provinces of Niassa and Cabo Delgado to support the mobilization of funding and execution of the Natural Capital Program Implementation Framework.
WTO Public Forum: Role of trade key in achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals
The SDGs put significant emphasis on the role that trade can play in promoting sustainable development. There are direct references to WTO activities in many of the SDGs, ranging from ensuring food security and sustainable agriculture to conserving marine resources and promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Agriculture’s role in meeting the SDGs was the centre of discussion at a Public Forum session on 27 September organized by the Geneva Office of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group, the FAO and UNIDO. Speakers noted that several of the SDGs directly relate to agriculture and that modernizing agricultural production will be key to achieving this. WTO members have already agreed to eliminate export subsidies for agriculture, one of the SDG targets, at their 2015 Nairobi Ministerial Conference.
Global Economic Governance Africa programme papers: (i) Informing the approach of multilateral development banks to use of country systems; (ii) The New Development Bank as an advocate of country systems
Witney Schneidman, Moyombuya Ngubula: Post-AGOA - moving to a reciprocal US-Africa trade arrangement
ATAF Abuja conference updates: (i) Logan Wort: Building a prosperous future Africa from a solid base; (ii) FG calls for robust, effective tax regimes in Africa
Namibia: Metal fabrication takes centre stage