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: The WIDER Development Conference on migration and mobility (jointly organized with the African Research Universities Alliance). Downloads: poster presentations

Later this month, in Kigali: Specialised Technical Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons (20-21 October). Profiled conference documentation:

(i) The revised draft Migration Policy Framework for Africa and Plan of Action (2018-2027)

The MPFA is a non-binding, reference document and does not impose any obligations on Member States. It provides guidelines and principles to assist governments and RECs in the formulation and implementation of their own national and regional migration policies, in accordance with their priorities and resources. Since migration flows, patterns, volumes and dynamics vary among States and regions, the MPFA does not provide resource mobilisation mechanisms for implementation or monitoring and evaluation of the recommended actions, as these would be determined by States or regions, on the basis of their migration strategies and policies, and the migration dynamics which have shaped them. However, relevant UN Agencies and International Organisations, NGOs, CSOs and specialised agencies and institutions, with migration expertise and competencies, could support governments and RECs with the necessary resource mobilisation. In the context of the foregoing migration trends, the 2006 MPFA has been revised to respond to current migration realities and aptly guide AU Member States and RECs in the management of migration. To this end, the revised MPFA identifies eight key pillars with sub-themes and makes policy recommendations for consideration by AU Member States and RECs. It provides comprehensive policy guidelines on the following thematic issues and respective sub-themes:

(ii) Draft Implementation Roadmap for the Draft Protocol to the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community relating to free movement of persons, right of residence and right of establishment; (iii) Draft Common African Position on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (October 2017, pdf)

At the WTO: DG Azevêdo discusses preparations for MC11 with the WTO’s Africa Group: ”The African Group is a very important constituency of the WTO. African members make up more than a quarter of the total membership. And over recent years, these members have been increasingly central in the WTO’s work. Africa’s constructive engagement was instrumental in the successes of Bali and Nairobi, for the entry into force of the TRIPS amendment – and much else besides. I hope that you will be ready to play a similar role in helping to shape the Buenos Aires outcomes,” the Director-General said.

Indian Ocean Commission sets new regional ambitions, urges collective action in Indianocéanie (GoM)

The possibility of transforming the Indian Ocean Commission into a ‘Community’ reflects new regional ambitions and translates the will of Member States to strengthen their role and reinforce the solidarity amongst the peoples of the Indianocéanie. This is one of the main strategic decisions taken during the two-day Extraordinary Council Meeting of the IOC which was held at the Hilton Mauritius Resort and Spa in Flic en Flac. A working committee has been set up and will submit a final report to the next Council meeting in March 2018 to indicate and advise on the way forward with regard to the transformation of the IOC into a ‘Community’. The session also initiated a strategic reflection on the structural transformation of the IOC so as to enable it to efficiently address challenges at several levels: economic development, climate change effects, and peace and security. A Ministerial meeting on food security will be held in March next year in Madagascar as the island is considered to be at the centre of the regional strategy for food and nutrition security.

Unlocking COMESA’s $80bn trade potential pegged on infrastructure (COMESA)

COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya informed the Ministers that the absence of cross border production networks that would result in intra industry trade between and among firms within the region has been a major trade barrier. “The current intra-regional trade in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa is US$20 billion with a potential of over US$82.3 billion,” he said. This potential can only be unlocked by addressing transport and logistic challenges which are fundamental to the COMESA agenda of inclusive and sustainable industrialization.” The sectors with the highest intraregional trade potential are textiles, wooden furniture, horticulture, household items, confectioneries, hides and skins, footwear and leather products, sugar confectioneries, tobacco and precious metals.

African carriers register 29.4% y-o-y growth in freight volume in August (IATA)

African carriers posted the largest year-on-year increase in demand of all regions in August 2017 with freight volumes growing 29.4%. This is a slight slowdown from July but still more than three times the five-year average pace of growth of 8.8%. Capacity increased by 5.9% over the same period. Demand has been boosted by very strong growth on the trade lanes to and from Asia which increased by more than 67% in the first half of the year. [IATA’s passenger growth analysis]

Zambia: ZIPAR’s analysis of the national budget

The diversification drum gets louder: It is hard to measure diversification and as such even harder to know definitively whether the economy is making progress against this agenda. However, one partial measure of diversification is non-traditional exports and here the Budget is fairly clear, they are down marginally by 3% which suggests limited progress on diversification. Agriculture is an important part of the non-traditional exports but we observe challenges, such as an export ban on maize in 2017; and the regional fall in maize and soya beans prices, certainly raises question about Zambia’s ability to boost agriculture exports in 2018. The 2018 Budget links Zambia’s diversification ambitions to a number of priority economic sectors. Here, we focus on diversification in agriculture, tourism, energy and industrialisation.

Japan commits R10m into Namport (Southern Times)

Japan has committed R10m in grant assistance for the feasibility study and future development of the Namibia Ports Authority in Walvis Bay on the western coast of Namibia, Japanese ambassador to Namibia, Hideyuki Sakamoto, has disclosed. He said that the country was also giving technical assistance to Namport and was continuously supporting the realisation of the corridor development for the Southern African region. Sakamoto noted that they could give more assistance in the future if the government of Namibia requested. He added that they were mainly supporting the preparation of the development phase of the port’s technical part, customs duty and capacity building at border posts, while also mapping out a plan for the Trans-Kalahari Highway transition. Sakamoto, who was attending the 9th Annual Logistics and Transport Workshop in Walvis Bay, hailed Namibia as one of the best gateway into the Southern African region, but said the region could be better connected depending and how the private sector is involved.

Lack of hard currency in Zimbabwe has goods suppliers concerned (Bloomberg)

Cash transactions have shrunk to about 2% of daily takings across the 33-store Spar Zimbabwe chain, from 60% a year ago, managing director Terence Yeatman said. The country’s statistics agency said last month that consumer prices rose 0.1% in August from a year earlier. “About 60% of stock on any supermarket shelf is imported,” and without sufficient dollars, inflation on imported goods is as much as 60% a year, Yeatman said at the Groombridge branch in the capital, Harare. “Suppliers are obviously concerned because the hard currency isn’t there.” At other retailers, a 200-gram jar of Nestlé SA’s Nescafé Classic instant coffee costs $14 compared with $9 a month ago.

Zimbabwe: Prices increase by more than 50% (NewsDay)

The government says prices have increased by at least 50% in recent weeks, according to preliminary results from a survey it is conducting. Industry and Commerce permanent secretary, Abigail Shoniwa told NewsDay on the side lines of a Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) breakfast meeting yesterday in Harare that the government would not tolerate any price increments. CZI Groceries and Manufacturers’ Association chairperson, Nancy Guzha blamed the price hike on their suppliers, who have increased their prices. “What we have been told by our members is the pain they are under because none of them is getting the 100% foreign currency that they want,” she said. [RBZ: Our hands are clean]

South Africa: Fourth Industrial Revolution prioritises innovation – Davies (Engineering News)

Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies has highlighted the challenges being posed to the South African economy, and especially industry, by what is called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0. He was delivering the keynote address at the sixth Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Conference, in Pretoria, on Thursday. “We are entering an era, and probably are already in it, in which the premium for innovation has become significantly raised,” he highlighted. While innovation had always been important, it was now even more important. “We need to prepare ourselves as a country.”

SME Competitiveness Outlook 2017: Deeper and wider trade integration more beneficial for small businesses (ITC)

Comprehensive trade agreements that provide for deep regional integration are better at connecting small businesses to value chains and ultimately better for building more inclusive growth. According to the International Trade Centre’s SME Competitiveness Outlook 2017 – The Region: A Door to Global Trade, deeper regional integration turns out to be a major success factor in developing multi-country value chains, which in turn raises the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises. The report finds that trade agreements – especially ‘deep integration’ deals that combine trade provisions with those on foreign investment – are associated with increased domestic value added for exports. The conclusions are drawn on novel econometric analysis of 261 bilateral and multi-country trade agreements involving more than 150 countries and territories. While trade agreements that include investment provisions are associated with a 2% increase of the domestic content in value-chain exports, stand-alone bilateral investment treaties do not have an effect on domestic value added.

Increasing value-chain activity in turn appears to boost the competitiveness of SMEs more than it does that of larger domestic companies. The report finds that for each additional policy area – such as investment, dispute settlement, competition policy, intellectual property or environmental provisions – covered by a country’s trade agreements, there is a 2.5% increase in the country’s integration into value-chain trade. More significantly, this leads to a 1.25% reduction in the competitiveness gap between small and large firms. This can have substantial impacts given that this reduction represents, for example, the difference between the competitiveness gap in countries like Botswana and Ecuador and that in Eastern European countries that belong to highly competitive regional value chains.

Note: The 50 country profiles contained in the report allow readers to develop a deeper understanding of which sectors have the potential to attract foreign investors and how national suppliers are positioned to serve or lead international value chains. In addition, the report contains five detailed stories of successful supplier integration: cocoa in Ghana, the automotive industry in Hungary, horticulture in Kenya, the electronics industry in Indonesia and the aerospace industry in Morocco. Together, they provide useful insights into the components of an effective value chain strategy. [Technical Annexes, pdf]

New survey evidence on the impact of Brexit on UK firms (Vox EU)

UK economic performance has been poor since the vote to leave the EU in June 2016, but has not been the catastrophe that many predicted. This column draws four results from the evidence gathered in the new Decision Maker Panel survey of around 2,500 businesses in the UK. While most firms expect a negative impact of Brexit on sales, investment and costs, only larger firms and those that are more exposed to international markets are likely to think that they might move part of their business abroad. [The authors: Nicholas Bloom, Paul Mizen]

Today’s Quick Links:

Investing in Mauritius: Financial Times survey

South Africa: SARB’s Monetary Policy Review

MRA says Malawi tax rate low in SADC region

Zimbabwe: Govt expects to stop soya beans imports by May 2018

Caterpillar to invest more than R1bn in Southern Africa in next decade

A new generation of CEOs: six businesswomen discuss entrepreneurship and start-ups in West Africa

Understanding correspondent banking trends: a monitoring framework

IEA: Renewables 2017 report


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