tralac’s Daily News Selection
Applications are now open for tralac’s e-course: Trade in the 21st Century – legal and policy considerations for Africa. Note the closing date: 11 October 2017
tralac’s weekly e-Newsletter is posted: The competitiveness of African economies – innovation, infrastructure, goods trade and public institutions
WIDER Development Conference on migration and mobility: papers from the 18 conference sessions have been posted. Profiled sessions: Migration within Africa: defining the governance challenge; Gender; Macro and trade session
East Africa: strengthening migration governance (IOM)
IOM, the UN Migration Agency, with cooperation from IGAD, organized a capacity building training from 18 to 29 September at IOM’s African Capacity Building Centre in Moshi, Tanzania. The training aimed to enhance migration governance and migrants’ protection in the IGAD region, which comprises Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. The two-week event covered topics such as labour migration and border management, international migration law and migration and development. Thirty-four attendees selected from institutions belonging to the National Coordination Mechanisms came from diverse backgrounds including Ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs, Labour, MPs, and Immigration and Police Services from IGAD Member States.
The Refugee Sub-Sub Committee and Legal Experts meeting (27-29 September, Gaborone) to review the Draft SADC Regional Policy Framework on Management of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in line with the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework which forms part of the United Nations New York Declaration, adopted by the General Assembly on 19 September 2016. The meeting was attended by Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Swaziland. Addressing the Refugee Commissioners and Legal Experts, Adv. Maemo Peter Machethe from the SADC Secretariat’s Directorate of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs, emphasised the need for SADC to align the Draft SADC Regional Policy Framework on Management of Asylum Seekers and Refugees to the CRRF.
The Home Affairs minister said South Africa was questioning the capacity it had to absorb more people and how it would relate to migrants’ countries of origin. “The thinking is that as people migrate from their countries, the host countries should have on-going engagements with the countries of origin so that, you hope, as their circumstances improve, there will be possibilities of secure repatriation.” As a member state of the UN, South Africa needed to guide migratory processes and look after refugees, she said. “The whole idea is that we have to protect the safety, dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms of all immigrants, regardless of their migratory status, at all times.” Mkhize admitted that it was seen as contradictory that the country had embraced the African Union’s Agenda 2063 but was also putting in place interventions that controlled migration, such as border management.
Over 60 stakeholders from 16 countries in Europe and Central Asia attended the two-day, peer-to-peer event, including representatives from customs agencies, sanitary, phytosanitary and veterinary agencies, ministries of economy and finance, and the private sector. Participants shared their experiences and challenges related to border management and agency coordination, and discuss best practices and potential solutions. A key outcome was the strengthening of a community of practice among countries in Europe and Central Asia.
Elisha Tshuma: Zimbabwe’s transit management system and international best practice (tralac)
Traders cannot force Zimbabwe to comply with the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement because it is yet to ratify the agreement and WCO Revised Kyoto Convention are mere standards that are difficult to enforce. This scenario has resulted in transporters resorting to the non-tariff barrier reporting system though complaints take long to resolve. Another alternative would be to approach the COMESA Court of Justice since Zimbabwe is a member of COMESA and COMESA has aligned its Customs Regulations to both the WTO trade facilitation agreement and the WCO Revised Kyoto Convention. However, this requires exhaustion of local remedies before approaching the COMESA Court of Justice which may prove to be expensive to do on the part of traders.
Government has reduced the number of products that require import licences as part of its ongoing efforts to improve Zimbabwe’s ease of doing business while at the same time placing imports of school uniforms under import management. The changes are contained in Statutory Instrument 122 of 2017 (pdf), which also consolidates into one single instrument, goods which are currently under import control. The SI was published on September 22, 2017. Industry and Commerce permanent secretary Abigail Shonhiwa told The Herald Business that the ministry had consolidated all the controlled imports under one instrument for ease of reference by manufacturers. ”The only addition to goods under import management are school uniforms. There are a lot of companies involved in the manufacture of uniforms in the country and we felt that in order to realise the full implementation of the Cotton to Clothing strategy which promotes the textiles value chain, we should promote local companies,” said Mrs Shonhiwa. Following the amendments, the only four products that still require export licences are fertiliser, raw and refined sugar, gypsum and second-hand equipment which were deemed as strategic.
Nigeria working with neighbours to tackle smuggling – Osinbajo (Premium Times)
The vice president said this when a delegation of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria paid a visit to him Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. “More importantly, the whole issue is that we are able to police the borders. Last week, we had discussions with all the agencies connected; including the Customs, the Minister of Internal Affairs, NPA, and we were looking at how we can work with our neighbours, especially the Benin Republic, and our neighbours also in the North, to police our borders as much as we can,” Mr. Osinbajo said. The vice president reiterated that the major focus of the Buhari administration’s Ease of Doing Business reforms was to increase patronage for locally manufactured goods, as well as to create an enabling environment for the private sector and businesses in the country to thrive.
The Comptroller General of Customs, retired, Hameed Ali, said that the service has seized 3,665 vehicles from 2015 till date with a Duty Paid Value of over N13 billion. Mr Ali said this during his lecture titled “Problem of smuggling and its attendant consequence on Nigeria’s economy and the way out” at the IBB Golf and Country Club, on Thursday in Abuja. He said that Nigeria imported about 70% of its needs and that 45% of all the imports were smuggled into the country. “Lack of patriotism among the traders and complicity of Customs officers has added to the problem. Over 85% of traders are not trustworthy as they falsify documents except for about five per cent of them who can be trusted and often have their goods cleared within 48 hours.”
Rwanda: Small-scale cross-border traders call on DRC to enforce better tax regime (New Times)
Small-scale traders along the Rubavu-Goma border have raised concerns over what they perceive as an ‘illegal tax’ levied on them by DR Congo officials. Their protest is hinged on an existing bilateral as well as regional trade framework exempting import duty from those dealing in products not exceeding the value of $2,000.
Angolan vendors irk Namibian business people (The Namibian)
Some Namibian small business owners and vendors in the north have expressed discontent with the increasing number of Angolan citizens selling on the streets of many northern towns. The business people are accusing their Angolan counterparts of stealing business from them as they sell merchandise at prices as low as 50% cheaper than the locals, and the situation is expected to have an ugly ending one day if not contained. The Angolans sell food items such as cooking oil, sugar, milk, rice, macaroni, sugar cane, fruits and vegetables as well as meat and chicken products. They bring in the products from their country, in most cases using illegal entry points to avoid paying customs and duty fees at the Oshikango border post.
Lions (still) on the move: growth in Africa’s consumer sector (McKinsey)
But because of the recent slowdown, some executives have begun to question whether Africa’s once-roaring economy and burgeoning consumer sector still hold promise. Is Africa truly worth investing in? Can multinational companies succeed in the region? Is the African consumer opportunity still as attractive as it once seemed? Our unequivocal answer is yes – but companies will need to adopt increasingly sophisticated approaches to compete effectively. In this article, we share our latest perspectives on Africa’s outlook to 2025 and what it will take for consumer-goods companies to thrive in the region. [The authors: Damian Hattingh, Acha Leke, Bill Russo]
Citizens in COMESA member states may soon enjoy reduced calling charges, courtesy of a decision taken yesterday by ministers in charge of infrastructure. In their 10th meeting (3-4 October, Lusaka) the Ministers and government representatives from 15 of the 19 COMESA countries resolved to initiate action towards abolishing roaming charges levied on mobile calls. “The ICT regulators are encouraged to carry out studies to reduce the interconnection rates and reduce or eliminate the roaming charges,” said the Ministers.
India-Ethiopia Business Dialogue: full text of President Kovind’s address (New Kerala)
India is now among the top three foreign investors in Ethiopia. Indian investment has made a mark in textile and garments, engineering, plastics, water management, consultancy and ICT, education, pharmaceuticals and healthcare. Indian investments in Ethiopia have had a significant presence in manufacturing and value addition to local resources. They have created jobs in this country, and they have contributed to the prosperity of Ethiopian families. Ethiopia has been the largest recipient of Indian concessional lines of credit in Africa with over $1bn committed to projects in power transmission and sugar. I am happy to learn that the Finchaa sugar project has been completed and handed over to the Ethiopian side. Two other projects in the sugar sector have also gone into production, and are expected to be handed over shortly.
Tanzania: Food exports okay, unprocessed grain not allowed – state (Daily News)
The government has emphatically stated that it has yet to issue any ban on export of food products outside the country with only one disclaimer: nobody is allowed to export unprocessed grain. The Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Charles Tizeba, said yesterday that any businessperson who wants to export food products was free to do so, pointing out that his ministry would issue the export permits. “My office had never denied any businessperson an export permit for flour, rice or any processed cereal outside the country,” said Dr Tizeba. But, on unprocessed grain, the minister added, Tanzania was not ready to export cereals because the country knew its implications. Last year for example, someone issued an export permit to a businessman to export 300,000 metric tonnes of rice cereal from Kahama District to Uganda, and within a few days 115 rice processing machines shut down operations, rendering hundreds of Tanzanians jobless,’’ he said.
Zambia: Government launches the Zambia Agribusiness and Trade Project (Lusaka Times)
Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Margret Mwanakatwe said the project reflects Government’s determination to attain the Vision 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals. Ms Mwanakatwe notes that the Agribusiness and Trade Project will boost the country’s economy as well as support poor farmers especially the Small and Medium Enterprises, affirming that 4,000 farmers will be employed under the same project by 2022 and that include 300 Small and Medium Enterprises. [World Bank ZATP project documentation]
Even India witnessed a mild rebound in exports in August. But a closer look at the data suggests that the 10% year-over-year growth in India’s exports in August was largely on the back of increased earnings from commodity exports – industrial metals and petroleum products – amid a global rise in prices of these products. Thus, it would be premature to hail the August trade numbers. Using a three-month moving average adjustment to smooth out monthly fluctuations, we find that India has been lagging behind most major Asian economies in merchandise exports. [India: The implication of firm competition on industrial policies]
Today’s Quick Links:
Hilton Hotels launches Africa growth initative: expects to add 100 properties to its portfolio over five years
Namibia: African mining sector scrutinised