Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection

This week, in Abuja: Seventh meeting of the CFTA Negotiating Forum

The objective of the meeting is to consider the draft texts of the CFTA Agreement and its Annexes and Appendices proposed by the Technical Working Groups. Chief Negotiators will also discuss criteria for designating sensitive products and exclusion list in the modalities for tariff liberalization. Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe, Chair of the CFTA-NF, underlined that “the conclusion of the CFTA was a strategic economic priority for the continent for growth, structural transformation, job creation, welfare and prosperity. There was no Plan B and failure was not an option”.

This week, in Johannesburg: The first ILO Decent Work Academy in Africa

Under the overall theme of “the Sustainable Development Goals and Decent Work in Africa”, the key objective of this Academy is to share the latest global thinking on the world of work issues in order to find innovative solutions for some of Africa’s most pressing labour market challenges.

Tomorrow, in Paris: the AUC/OECD's 17th International Economic Forum on Africa on the theme Entrepreneurship and Africa’s industrialisation.

OECD Development Matters Africa commentaries: (i) Rémy Rioux: Helping entrepreneurs thrive in Africa, (ii) Tabea Lakemann, Jann Lay: Services, informality and productivity in Africa

Mozambique: Baseline assessment of Mozambique’s sanitary and phytosanitary measures and road map for reform (SPEED+)

Mozambique’s participation in the WTO SPS Committee meetings is occasional and irregular. The country therefore misses the opportunity to share information, hold bilateral talks and eventually seek support from trade partners, explore market access opportunities, and learn from the experiences of other countries with similar profiles, and it excludes itself from the development of natural alliances with countries with similar SPS concerns and profiles. Mozambique is also not an active SADC member state regarding SPS issues. Mozambique suffers from a generalized lack of or limited access to adequate training; the absence of modern technology and control capacity capable of responding to the entrance and rapid spread of new pests/diseases (recently illustrated in the Panama disease crisis in bananas, fruit fly; fall armyworm, aflatoxin, etc.); and outdated legislation, standards, and regulations, often not harmonized with international standards. Several laboratories lack well-qualified and trained staff, and existing equipment is in many cases obsolete or stalled due to malfunctions. Finally, and perhaps most crucially, SPS is not regarded by senior decision makers as a priority issue, and there is no national SPS strategy, which makes it difficult to build a dedicated national SPS agenda. [Download the draft report, pdf]

The cost of borders: Mbembe makes a strong case for African integration through open borders (AfDB)

Renowned African historian, Joseph Achille Mbembe, has made a solid case for Africa’s integration through open borders that allow free movement of people on the continent. “History tells us that the first thing you do to incapacitate people is to restrict their ability to move. Mobility allowed the stretching of societies; was determinant to trade and to building African civilizations,” Mbembe said. The erudite scholar made these arguments at the 21st edition of the African Development Bank’s Eminent Speakers series on the theme, The cost of borders. He said restricted mobility and limited open borders is a serious cost prohibitive issue in a continent saddled with hundreds of internal borders and is highly cost prohibitive. The biggest challenge facing Africa in the 21st century is for the continent to become a vast area of freedom of movement. The future of Africa does not depend on restrictive immigration policies and the militarisation of borders, he says. He further explained how barriers and political issues constrain continental efforts to integrate Africa through investments, trade, finance and free movement of people and skills.

 Ethiopia eyes improved export trade in 2017/18 fiscal year (Xinhua)

The Ethiopian government on Thursday affirmed that the country’s export trade would improve during the just commenced 2017-2018 Ethiopian fiscal year. The announcement came amid dissatisfaction in the performance of the east African country’s export trade during the 2016-2017 fiscal year, in which the country was only able to secure $2.9bn, falling way short of the initial target of $4bn. According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade, the large number of industrial parks that went operational during the last fiscal year and earlier on the just commenced fiscal year would play a pivotal role in improving the performance of export trade. During the past fiscal year alone Ethiopia had registered a record $866m earnings from coffee exports. The exports of flower and other horticulture products had generated some $271m.

Ghana: Trade Minister inaugurates board of Export Promotion Authority (GhanaWeb)

Mr Alan Kyeremanten, the Minister of Trade and Industry, has inaugurated a 10-member board of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority with the task of focusing on the country’s export drive to facilitate economic growth. The board members were expected to improve the export sector since it has the propensity to create job opportunities and generate foreign capital and resources for the economy. GEPA confident of meeting US$10bn NTEs target: The Ghana Export Authority is confident of meeting its target of taking the volumes of non-traditional export (NTE) to $10bn by 2021. Per the four-year plan, NTEs, which include agriculture products, handicraft and processed and semi-processed products, are expected to rake in US$4 billion by the end of 2017, up from the US$2.46 billion recorded in 2016.

 Nigeria earns N13.5 billion from cashew nuts, as federal government shores up non-oil exports (Premium Times)

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, during a presentation on Thursday at the National Economic Council meeting said that the country’s agriculture exports in the second quarter of the year were largely driven by the export of cashew nuts which he said was worth N13.5 billion. Mr Ogbeh was briefing the NEC on Nigeria’s “Strategic Export Initiatives” which is a framework and action plan to grow and diversify the export of agro-products. The NEC meeting which is chaired by the country’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has all the state governors, including the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, as members.

Rwanda: MINAGRI, World Bank, EU launch partnership to increase evidence in agricultural policy-making (RWA News)

The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, World Bank Group, and European Commission have officially launched the WB-EU Partnership for Evidence-Based Policy Making in Agriculture. The objective is to increase the role of evidence in agricultural policy-making in the country, through the implementation of rigorous Impact Evaluations in key policy priority areas in the sector. The partnership will be spearheaded by Development Impact Evaluation – a unit within the World Bank’s Research Group that works with governments to design and implement impact evaluations to inform policy decisions, through its Impact Evaluation to Development Impact (i2i) program.

COMESA: Infrastructure experts review implementation of regional projects

Infrastructure experts from COMESA Member States have concluded a three days meeting in Zambia to review the status of domestication and implementation of programmes in transport and communications, energy and information technology in the region. Among the key projects in focus in the three sectors were; the establishment of a navigational route between Lake Victoria and the Mediterranean Sea known as VICMED, the regional power interconnectors and the proposed establishment of a cybercrime capacity building centre. This is the 10th meeting of the COMESA committee of infrastructure experts representing the 19 Member States. The technical experts meeting, which began on Saturday ended today, giving way to the 37th meeting of ministers in charge of infrastructure. During the technical session, progress report on the implementation of Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya Power Interconnector was presented. The project is under implementation and seeks to interconnect the three countries and create a link between the Southern African Power Pool and the East African Power Pool. This will make it possible for transmission of power from Cape to Cairo. According to a market study conducted on the project in December 2016, the link will make it possible to transfer as much as 600MW from Ethiopia, through Kenya to Tanzania and Zambia in the short-term and vice versa in the long-term.

 ICE2017 issues the Douala Consensus (UNECA)

The 33rd meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts for Central Africa (ICE2017) has ended in Douala with calls for the adoption of well-targeted and sequenced counter-cyclical measures as a means to promoting resources-driven and trade-induced Industrialisation in Central Africa. In a document dubbed, “Douala Consensus” - issued at the end of the four-day deliberations - policymakers, industry captains and other stakeholders made the case for a paradigm shift “from a resources for infrastructure model to a resources for Industrialisation (R4Id) model.” The document notes the imperative to promote the "made in Central Africa" label; establish industrial zones and growth poles; accelerate the implementation of the AU’s Boosting Intra-Africa Trade programme; focus on the subregion’s rich natural resources as basis for its industrialization; and re-enforce inter-sectoral coordination and public-private dialogue.

Tanzania: Electronic Certificate of Origin payment system launched (Daily News)

Tanzanian traders are expected to benefit as import and export will become easier thanks to the launch of an electronic Certificate of Origin payment system which is expected to enhance trade efficiency. The system under the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA) project through financial support of TradeMark East Africa was launched in Dar es Salaam over the weekend. It is to expedite application and issuance of delivery of Certificates of Origin (CO) by reducing physical movements and time taken to process the document and thus cutting on days of processing the vital certificates.

 Botswana's June 2017 merchandise trade surplus (pdf, Stats Botswana)

Botswana recorded a trade surplus of P1, 146.1 million in June 2017, which is slightly higher than the May 2017 trade surplus of P1, 134.5 million. Five graphical presentations appear in this digest. Chart 1.1 shows imports, total exports and trade balance from January 2015 to June 2017. Charts 2.1 and 2.2 show Principal Commodity groups for imports and exports respectively, for June 2017. Charts 3.1 and 3.2 show imports and exports by major trading partner countries and regions for the month under review. [Matambo forecasts P8bn budget deficit for 2018]

Information Economy Report 2017: digitalization, trade and development (UNCTAD)

The UNCTAD Report shows that Africa is lagging behind the most in key aspects of e-trade readiness: connectivity, payment solutions, trade logistics, Internet security and legal frameworks. For example, less than 40% of African countries have adopted data privacy legislation. Nonetheless, digitalization is increasingly affecting African economies in a number of ways. The use of big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and three-dimensional (3D) printing are examples. In sub-Saharan Africa, large sets of data on soil characteristics are mined to help determine fertilizer needs and increase productivity. In the United Republic of Tanzania, recycled plastic bottles are being used to 3D-print prosthetics. And IBM is using its AI solution, Watson, to address development challenges in Africa in areas such as agriculture, health care, education, energy and water through the Project Lucy initiative. E-commerce is another area that is growing fast. The Jumia Group (formerly Africa Internet Group) founded in 2012, now has a presence throughout Africa. According to the company, half a million local African enterprises are conducting business on its portals every day. Jumia offers retail sales in 7 African countries (Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco and Nigeria), and its marketplace is available in 14 countries. Its growth has been strong, with an increase in its Gross Merchandise Value rising from €35 million in 2013 to about €289 million in 2015.

National Assembly will ensure Nigeria is readmitted into EGMONT Group – Dogara (Premium Times)

The suspension of Nigeria from the EGMONT group is a major set back for the Federal government’s fight against corruption, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has said. Mr Dogara said the National Assembly was working to ensure that the suspension placed on Nigeria is lifted within the shortest possible time. Speaking when he received in audience the Director General of Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering, GIABA, in West Africa, a unit of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Adama Coulibaly, who was accompanied by the Director of the NFIU, Francis Usani in his office, the Speaker stated that Nigeria’s suspension was a rude shock because the APC government is committed to the fight against corruption. He said the fight against corruption cannot be successful without support and cooperation from other countries because in most cases proceeds of corruption are taken out of the country and kept in other jurisdictions.

Today's Quick Links:

Saharawi Republic takes part at 7th Meeting of the Continental Free Trade Area Negotiating Forum

Dangote Group denies 10-year tax waiver agreement

China’s Foshan City seek to increase trade with Namibia

Tanzania: (i) Peas get three new markets after India ban, (ii) Cereal producers fault India curbs on pigeon peas

Why President Kovind's Ethiopia, Djibouti visit is important for India


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