Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: Boris Rumenov Balabanov | World Bank

Updated World Bank macro poverty outlook reports: Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe

AU’s STC on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration: advance documentation is posted

The meeting (23-27 October, Addis Ababa) will consider the following agenda items, with a view to making proposals for adoption by Summit: (i) Report of the F10 Ministers of Finance on the 0.2% levy on imports; (ii) Revised strategy for the harmonization of statistics in Africa; (iii) Assessment of progress on regional integration in Africa; (iv) Pan African Investment Code; (v) African Inclusive Markets Excellence Centre; (vi) Continental Free Trade Area, among others. [Downloads: event resources]

Leveraging African pension funds for financing infrastructure development (pdf, UN OSAA)

This report suggests a number of policy recommendations to address the obstacles to pension funds investment in infrastructure. First, pension reform driven by strong political leadership and ownership by all stakeholders can help improve the performance of African pension systems and develop pension assets. However, pension reform should be carefully designed so as to learn from the lessons of the mixed results of earlier experiences in Latin America, notably in Chile, as well as in Central and Eastern European countries. Second, improvements to the governance, regulation, and supervision of pension funds can help pension funds invest in infrastructure in a manner consistent with their primary goal of ensuring old-age income security. Third, even when sufficient pension assets are available and asset allocation to infrastructure investments is made, African countries will still need to develop domestic financial and capital market instruments for infrastructure investment. Finally, given the large scale of infrastructure investment, African countries will need to consider the net benefits of complementing domestic pension assets with foreign and multilateral investments through co-financing and innovative policies.

The rest of the paper is organized as follows. Section II reviews the current sources of infrastructure finance in Africa (official development finance, private sector, new and emerging partners, such as China and other emerging development partners, and government finance). Section III reviews the international experience with pension funds investment in infrastructure and discusses the potential for leveraging African pension funds for infrastructure development. Section IV analyzes the obstacles to pension funds investment in infrastructure and some concrete steps taken by the NEPAD Agency while Section V concludes with policy recommendations for African pension fund managers and governments as well as multilateral institutions and bilateral partners. [Note: This paper, by Dr Amadou Sy, builds on an earlier background paper prepared in consultation with the UN Office of the Special Adviser on Africa for the Third UN Conference on Financing for Development, 2015, Addis Ababa]

Can the AU save Africa’s mineral resources? (Southern Times)

The Windhoek symposium contained delegates from Chambers of Mines and Mining Associations in Africa and was held under the theme “Leveraging the role of Chambers of Mines and Mining Associations in Africa.” The symposium provided a platform for the establishment of continental mining body called the Association of Chamber of Mines in Africa. ACMA is earmarked to supervise and coordinate mining activities in Africa. An interim committee comprising of five members was established to make ACMA a reality. The Southern Times understands that the committee has been given a year to come up with guidelines and a constitution to be presented at the 2019 African Union heads of state and government summit. It will also be responsible to monitor the transfer of African mineral resources from the continent and most importantly to bridge the existing gaps between the mining communities, private sector and governments.

ESA-EU Interim EPA: 6th meeting joint communique (EU)

The Parties discussed progress made so far in the implementation of the iEPA and the exchange of information in respect of tariff reduction and modification of the tariff nomenclature and agreed to continue exchanging information on these matters. The Parties agreed to consider setting up an appropriate mechanism of monitoring of the implementation of the iEPA. The Parties agreed to finalize the procedures relating to the implementation of the modernization of the Protocol on Rules of Origin of the ESA-EU iEPA as agreed at the 5th EPA Committee meeting.

India, Mauritius back to negotiating free trade pact (The Hindu)

“Negotiations are expected to begin full-fledged after the next meeting in November in Mauritius,” a government official told BusinessLine. The CECPA will include trade in goods, services as well as investment facilitation. “Now that the DTAA has been signed and implemented the bitterness is behind us and the two countries are now ready to go ahead and finalise the CECPA,” the official said. India is not expected to gain much in terms of market access for goods from the free trade pact as Mauritius is a very small market. However, in the area of services, especially tourism and hotels, there is a lot of scope, the official added. “Mauritius also has trading arrangements and preferences with other countries and regions which Indian investors could take advantage of once the FTA is in place,” the official said.

Bridging the Red Sea: how to build an Africa-Gulf partnership (emerge85)

Africa’s importance is not lost on the rest of the world, and the uneven relationship that has developed between the GCC and Africa leaves room for mutual growth. While individual members of the GCC, such as the UAE, enjoy flourishing trade connections, the GCC as a whole lacks a cohesive strategy for trade with Africa. Instead of having individual countries compete with each other – and sometimes getting in each other’s way – the regional bloc is uniquely positioned to embrace a comprehensive Africa strategy. It is a win-win situation: Not only would Gulf companies benefit from better access to African markets, they would also offer tried-and-tested solutions to the development challenges facing these emerging markets. Executed properly, it could be a model example of South-South co-operation. But it needs to happen quickly – before this particular dhow has sailed. [The authors: Simon Allison, Joseph Dana] [Related: Why the UAE is leading the charge into Africa]

ECOWAS ICT ministers approve free roaming for West Africa (ECOWAS)

ECOWAS Ministers in charge of Telecommunications and ICT have approved the free regional roaming regulation for ECOWAS member countries. The ECOWAS Commissioner for Telecoms and ICT, Dr Isaias Barreto da Rosa described the decision as historic and something expected to “touch the lives of ordinary ECOWAS citizens and bring tremendous contributions to our regional integration process as we strive to establish a single digital market in the sub-region and as we move from and ECOWAS of States to an ECOWAS of people”. The approved free regional roaming regulation includes a clear implementation roadmap which will start at the beginning of 2018. A number of other important decisions were also made to foster the development of the ICT sector in West Africa. This includes a revised supplementary act on Universal Access and Service and its funding for digital access.

South Africa copyright policy issues:

(i) Draft IP Policy Phase 1: access to medicines and compulsory licensing. The keenly anticipated draft IP Policy Phase 1 (2017) was published in September 2017 for public comment. It constitutes the first phase in the implementation of a comprehensive IP policy for South Africa. One of the key issues to be addressed is the interplay between the constitutional rights relating to property (of which intellectual property is recognised as a subset) and access to healthcare. This update explores the provisions relating to access to medicines – specifically, those relating to compulsory licensing.

(ii) Department repeats mistakes of others in bid to alter copyright law. The parliamentary portfolio committee on trade and industry is debating a bill to amend the 1978 Copyright Act. The bill, which originated with the Department of Trade and Industry, is intended to give legacy industries such as publishing and civil society institutions such as libraries at least some of the concession they have sought for years, sometimes decades. While the issues at stake are clearly of paramount national importance and not always easy to resolve, the resulting bill is a backward-looking amalgam of provisions poorly aligned with the National Development Plan. Indeed, it would seem to be in contradiction with a related policy recently released by the same department, the draft intellectual property policy of 2017, recently approved by the Cabinet and under finalisation, which calls for a “greater emphasis on innovation, improved productivity, an intensive pursuit of a knowledge economy and the better exploitation of comparative and competitive advantages”.

Uganda: WCO assists URA to enhance its capacity to implement WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement

On request of the URA and in support of its effective implementation of the TFA, the WCO undertook a scoping mission from 18 to 23 September, 2017 to assess Uganda Customs’ current practice specifically on the trade facilitation measures. The mission included technical conversations with senior Customs officials on strategic planning, AEO, risk management, human resources management and training, Post-clearance-audit and IT application. The WCO experts briefed the Commissioner of Customs, URA of the findings and will submit a draft Mercator strategy in the coming weeks.

Economic growth in Guinea and how to accelerate it (World Bank)

This paper addresses two main questions: What are the binding constraints to Guinea’s economic growth? What would it take to accelerate growth in the country? Using the growth diagnostic approach, the paper finds three binding constraints to growth: (i) lack of good infrastructure (roads and electricity), (ii) low access to finance, and (iii) poor governance.

Tanzania: From mining to oil and gas - structural change or just big numbers? (UNU-WIDER)

This paper extends UNU-WIDER Working Paper 2016/79, which examined the economic situation in Tanzania during the resurgence of gold and diamond production after 1999, with the situation that emerged as the country began to exploit its very large resources of natural gas mainly from the Indian Ocean. The mining boom after 1999 provided the authorities with significant lessons and opportunities associated with managing natural resource wealth. The present paper additionally examines some of the specific policy and regulatory decisions taken since 2015, and tries to assess how the multiple challenges of new natural gas wealth are being addressed. It concludes that the experience thus far is not encouraging.

Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four: statement (IMF)

Reforming the governance of the Bretton Woods institutions: We support a quota-based, adequately-resourced IMF that is less dependent on borrowed resources. We call for at least maintaining the current lending capacity of the IMF. We look forward to the completion of the 15th General Review of Quotas, including a new quota formula, by the Spring Meetings of 2019 and no later than the Annual Meetings of 2019. We call for a revised formula that emphasizes greater weight of GDP PPP within the GDP blend and further shifts quota shares from advanced economies to dynamic EMDCs, reflecting their growing weight in the global economy, while protecting the quota share of the poorest countries. The realignment of quota shares must not come at the expense of other EMDCs. We reiterate our longstanding call for a third Chair for Sub-Saharan Africa to enhance the voice and representation of the region, provided that it does not come at the expense of other EMDCs’ Chairs.

For the World Bank, we call for a Shareholding Review that upholds the Istanbul Principles to achieve equitable voting power between developed and developing and transition countries (DTCs) and produces an outcome that has broad support from the membership. We call for its successful conclusion by the Spring Meetings of 2018. It is essential to enhance and safeguard the financial strength of IBRD and IFC, including through capital increases, further balance sheet optimization, and review of financial transfers. We urge the WBG to put robust measures in place to ensure the effective implementation of IDA18 by the time of the mid-term review. [Note: Kenya, Ecuador are new members of the G24]

IMF Fiscal Monitor: tackling inequality

This Fiscal Monitor focuses on how fiscal policy can help governments address high levels of inequality while minimizing potential trade-offs between efficiency and equity. It documents recent trends in income inequality, including inequality both between and within countries, then examines the redistributive role of fiscal policies over recent decades and underscores the importance of appropriate design to minimize any efficiency costs. It then focuses on some key components of fiscal redistribution: progressivity of income taxation, universal basic income, and public spending policies for achieving more equitable education and health outcomes.

Today’s Quick Links:

EU Trade Commissioner Trade Cecilia Malmström will host a High Level Roundtable (20 October, Brussels) on the interlinkages between EU instruments and policies on trade, investment and development.

SADC Joint Tripartite Technical Meeting (16-18 October, East London)

ECOWAS court orders Nigerian govt to pay N18 million to women maltreated for allegedly being prostitutes

Islamic Finance Corporation, Morocco launch study to bridge Africa transport, logistics gap

Ethiopia’s move towards Bt Cotton commercialization

UNCTAD: Green energy could help developing countries diversify their economies

GTR: Assessing India’s trade finance scene

OECD: Valuing New Zealand’s digital economy (pdf)

FAO: Latin America and Caribbean are falling off path to Zero Hunger by 2030


Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel +27 21 880 2010