Building capacity to help Africa trade better

tralac’s Daily News Selection


tralac’s Daily News Selection

tralac’s Daily News Selection
Photo credit: John Seaton Callahan

Tomorrow, in Cape Town, a CCR Public Dialogue: Civil society’s region-building role in Southern Africa’s agro-processing sector

Tomorrow, in Accra, the launch of Imani Africa’s new report: Maximising gains from Ghana’s trade partnerships

Statistical brief on selected socio-economic indicators on Africa: six trade data sets (pdf, AfDB) (Intra-exports in 2016; Intra-imports in 2016; Total intra-Africa trade in 2016; External trade: exports in 2016; External trade: imports in 2016; Total external trade: in 2016)

Cecilia Malmström: Trade with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries – putting partnerships into practice (EU)

Today, I am returning from Pretoria in South Africa, where I have been celebrating that it is one year since the entry into force of the EPA between the EU and countries in the Southern African Development Community. On Monday, I got the chance to speak with over 150 civil society organisations at a civil society forum about the experiences of the trade deal so far. Our partnership agreements will stay high on the agenda throughout this week – on Friday, 20 October, I will co-host a high-level roundtable in Brussels, together with my fellow EU Commissioner, Neven Mimica, the trade ministers of Jamaica and Madagascar, and vice-president Van Ballekom of the European Investment Bank. At the event, entitled ‘Partnership in practice: making EU trade work for ACP countries’, we will look at the current trade relationship between the EU and the 79 countries that make up the group of African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. We will consider EU policy tools such as those Economic Partnership Agreements between the EU and ACP regions, as well as the External Investment Plan for Africa, and trade-related development programmes. We will see how they are working at the moment to help ACP countries attract more investment, industrialise, integrate into global value chains, and create jobs in the process. And we will discuss what lessons we can learn about what more the EU and ACP countries can do to facilitate trade and investment. [Related: EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström’s speech at Wits University: Global Trade: path to shared prosperity]

Time to reset African Union-European Union relations (Crisis Group)

The relationship between the AU and the EU has reached a potential turning point: “It’s now or never”, a senior EU official told Crisis Group. Reforms at the AU coupled with renegotiation of the Cotonou Agreement mean that existing arrangements inevitably will change. There is political will in both commissions to work together, and cooperation and coordination has improved in recent months following a low point in relations during 2016. The Africa-EU summit represents an opportunity to bridge some differences. If seized, a stronger and more mature partnership, based on mutual interests could emerge. Extract (pdf): The 0.2% levy is “very controversial” among some member states. Their objections are threefold. First, the levy contravenes WTO rules and could harm bilateral trade relationships. The WTO and US government have questioned the levy’s legality and some African states are using this as the basis for delaying implementation. The WTO objections are not insurmountable: the AU could establish a continental free trade area or push for a waiver. However, such measures would take considerable time to implement, making the originally proposed January 2018 start date unachievable and the new 2020 deadline a longshot. [African Union: Decision on preparations for the AU-EU Summit, 29-30 November, pdf]

Cheaper visas are more important than lower tariffs for boosting Nigeria-China trade (Quartz Africa)

Startz suggests a number of ways these travel costs could be reduced, including lowering the price of visas, but the simplest of these would be to amend Nigeria and China’s air service agreement—China is by far the largest supplier for consumer goods for Nigerian importers. Air service agreements are international treaties which specify the number of airlines that can fly between countries, as well as how often and where they can go. Currently, the agreement stipulates that only one airline from each country can fly into one city in the other country (Lagos in Nigeria and Guangzhou in China). Previous studies have shown that when restrictive air service agreements are lifted to allow for as many flights as the market will bear, it can bring down flight costs by more than 30%. Startz estimates that such a reduction would lead to an annual economic gain of about $650 million dollars for Nigerian consumers from increased trade alone.

Nigeria: National trade facilitation road map ready (Punch)

The Federal Government on Monday announced that the National Trade Facilitation Road map for Nigeria was ready. The National Trade Facilitation Committee presented the road map to the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment in Abuja and the document was received by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr. Edet Akpan. Akpan explained that trade facilitation was critical in reducing cost and time of doing business, according to a statement issued by the ministry in Abuja on Monday. He stated that the free flow of trade constituted a critical element in Nigeria, particularly at a time when the Federal Government was doing everything possible to diversify the economy into non-oil sector. [Related: ‘Implementation of export strategy key to harnessing trade deals’]

Nigeria’s Fifth Trade Policy Review (13 and 15 June): minutes of the meeting, documentation

Building the capacities of selected LDCs to upgrade and diversify their fish exports: Maputo workshop. The principal objectives of the regional training and capacity building workshop (17-19 October) include:(i) to seek ways and means of upgrading and diversifying fish exports in the African region; (ii) to upgrade the technical knowledge and expertise in beneficiary countries including to overcome challenges posed by international standards on fish exports. [Nepad workshop: Enhancing information sharing and linkages for fisheries and aquaculture development in Central Africa]

Trade and investment in fish and fish products between South Africa and the rest of SADC: implications for food and nutrition security (PLAAS)

Imports and exports of fish in South Africa are driven by import substitution, shortfalls in local production, and meeting growing local and regional demand. Most South African fish and food processors prefer to export, rather than establish plants in other African countries, mainly due to factors of economic efficiency and the challenges of doing business in these countries. Currently, however, increasing volumes of fish are being imported into South Africa to meet demand from the African migrant community. While self-sufficiency and food sovereignty are acknowledged priorities for SADC, imports to meet local shortfalls and specific demand ought to be acceptable options for ensuring fish food availability and affordability. The reduction or removal of tariffs, through regional free trade agreements, promotes increased intra-regional trade. Overall, imports and exports provide for demand-led exchange of fish between SADC states, which promotes increased availability and affordability of fish; thereby contributing towards food and nutrition security. However, despite regional free trade agreements that have stipulated the removal of both technical and non-technical barriers, most small-scale traders still experience problems in conducting cross-border trade. Extract from the conclusion (pdf):

Structural and institutional weaknesses and inefficiencies at most South African and other SADC member state borders result in traders having low confidence in formal border systems, thereby encouraging and reinforcing informal systems and channels. This represents loss of revenue for states, and loss of data captured through documenting and recording the volumes and product forms of imports and exports. Agreed regional standards for importing and exporting fish and fish products is another area in need of urgent attention and resolution. Given the traditional and cultural differences and habits that food represents to consumers, this is a difficult aspect of regional and multi-lateral trade agreements; however it is necessary to resolve it. Improving border infrastructure, processes and institutions and developing common principles for minimum quality and standards through shared understanding and agreements could greatly increase traders’ confidence in formal border systems and enhance the contribution of cross-border trade to food and nutrition security. [The authors: Mafaniso Hara, Stephen Greenberg, Anne Marie Thow, Sloans Chimatiro, Andries du Toit]

SADC Industrial Energy Efficiency Programme: technical stakeholders workshop (19-20 October, Maputo)

The focus on the Industrial sector is critical as the region has developed an Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063) to spur development and growth in the SADC countries. Energy efficiency is considered to be an important instrument to make industrialization competitive by reducing costs of production and help alleviate the power deficit. The overall objective of the workshop is to consult SADC MS and other stakeholders on the design and development of the SIEEP. The process and findings of the Scoping and Assessment on the status of the energy efficiency in the industrial sector in the SADC region will be presented.

Related: Download the presentations from the SACREEE/IRENA African Energy Corridor workshop (April, Windhoek). Profiled presentation, by Johnson Maviya (SAPP): Meeting growing power demands through Southern African regional integration (pdf)

SACU achieves progress in the development of its Compliance Management Strategy (WCO)

The SACU Compliance Management Strategy will be instrumental to positioning any compliance management programme in the region, such as the SACU Preferred Trader programme. During the working sessions, lessons were drawn from the work done to date at member states level on compliance management to inform the process of developing the regional level strategy to ensure that it corresponds to the context of the SACU region.The first draft of the SACU Customs Compliance Management Strategy is currently undergoing national consultations, and the final draft of the strategy is targeted to be concluded early November 2017, before submission for the WCO-SACU Connect Steering Committee consideration and approval.

South Africa’s bulk exports decline 7.3% in September (Business Day)

South Africa’s bulk export volumes fell by 7.3% year on year in September to 13.8-million tonnes after a 7.2% drop in August to 11.7-million tonnes, after surging by 34.5% in July to 15.6-million tonnes, according to Transnet National Ports Authority. This brought the increase for the first nine months to 5.1% year on year, showing that mining and agricultural bulk exports are boosting the South African economy.

4 takeaways from the IMB’s latest global piracy report (ICC)

A total of 121 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported in the first nine months of 2017, according to the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau’s latest quarterly report on maritime piracy. The flagship global report notes that, while piracy rates were down compared to the same period in 2016, there is continuing concern over attacks in the Gulf of Guinea and in South East Asia. No incidents were reported off the coast of Somalia in this quarter, though the successful attacks from earlier in the year suggest that pirates in the area retain the capacity to target merchant shipping at distances from the coastline. Here are four main takeaways from the report:

Today’s Quick Links:

Betting on Africa to feed the world: text of Dr Akinwumi Adesina’s Norman Borlaug Lecture

South Africa: New incentive scheme to boost agro-processing and exports

South Africa forecasts lower stonefruit exports for 2017-18

Western Cape: update on agriculture and agri-processing jobs

Egypt’s agricultural exports rose 13.9% in first 9 months of 2017

Zimbabwe bans fruit, vegetable imports as forex crunch deepens

Botswana, Ethiopia sign several trade deals

In case North Sudan joins the EAC fold…

NAFTA renegotiations: USTR Robert Lighthizer’s closing statement

Mauritius: China–Africa Civil Aviation Academy poised to boost national and regional aviation sector

2017 Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook

India-Brazil-South Africa Dialogue Forum: communique (pdf)


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